Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just a Jersey Girl's Memories

 I just have to write about this.  In Wednesday's Washington Post   is an article,  Thrown for a loop in NJ,   about the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway  (and here and map here ) near Princeton, that really hit my memory bank.  This is my story about the area.

My Mom's best friend from high school was Bea.  Here they are in 1942, Birmingham Alabama.

After living in Caldwell for many years Bea and Al surprised all their friends by moving to the then boondocks near Princeton to a ... FARM!  No farm background at all here, Al was a salesman.  But their oldest, Dick wanted to be a farmer.  Were they crazy?  And Dick joined the Navy and never did become a farmer.

Nine months after they moved their daughter ... and my brother were born. (It was some send off party.)  This is a c1954 picture of a party with some of the old crowd.  Al is 3rd from left, next to my Mom and sister.

Here we all are in 1951on the porch with my Nana.  I'm looking very sharp in braids, plaid shirt, Mom's version of "jeans" (I'm sure she made this outfit) and saddle shoes, book in hand. That hasn't changed, I still always have a book in hand and wear jeans. Babies Martha and Kevin are on Nana's lap, with my sister Vicki and Kenny (my cousin who lived with us and was like a twin to Vic, with only 6 months between the two).

We spent several summer weeks each year at the Rolling Acres Farm on River Road in Belle Meade/Millstone, NJ.  Then Jimmy and Martha would come to the beach.   c1960 at our house:  Jimmy, Bea, Martha.

I loved the little house.  We slept in the attic with no AC and it was stifling, hard to breathe hot.  On the way up the stairs was a cubby hole filled with books...all the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and lots of other classics.  I was in heaven.

We spent the days chasing butterflies with homemade nets, watching the scary big pigs wallow in mud or cows being milked, hanging out with Grandpa in his "grandpa space" in the barn, playing with Bayly Dog and the barn kittens, grooming horses for the 4H Fair and getting in hay.  I even got to drive the hay truck in the field while the crew threw up the bales.

Being horse crazy, the very best part for me was Mousie, her foal Patrick and Patches, a wild little pony. We would track them down in the field and saddle or just bridle up since I often rode bareback.  We'd ride thru the secret tunnel under River Road that connected the pastures and hook up with Doug and Freddy, the kids on the next farm.  Then we'd ford the river.  Mousie was so huge I just pulled my legs up and seldom got wet.  We rode the tow path, having "bean" fights with these long seed pods we snatched from the trees as we rode.  When we were all totally sweaty we jumped in the river.

Eventually, the farm was sold for a housing development (not so crazy after all!) and Bea and Al moved to Kitty Hawk where the Dick had a beach house.  Even going down to this new place was like going home.  All the same things I loved from the farm minus the animals ... the kitchen table with the lazy Susan, the pictures, the serving dishes, the books. The farm was a great era.

I'm so glad to see the Millstone River and Delaware & Raritan Canal celebrated in the Post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you. Don't be shy!