Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where I Have Lived

I'll grab hold of today's writing prompt as it is late and I need to get to bed so I can get up at the unholy hour of 330 AM to go to work.

Today's prompt: Do you still live in the place where you grew up? How far away are you now and why?

I've lived in several places growing up. I was born in New Jersey and spent my first 13 years growing up there. At age 14, just as I was about to enter high school with all my friends, my family was uprooted to North Carolina when my Dad got a promotion. One year later and another promotion and we moved to Severna Park, Maryland, which sits between Baltimore and Annapolis. I attended Severna Park High, which was a very good place to get a public education. After graduating, I moved to Auburn, Alabama for college. I loved Auburn. After graduating college, I got a job in Charleston South Carolina before finally moving here to Virginia where I've been for the better part of 32 years now.

If I had to name the place where I felt I really grew up, it would have to be Newfoundland, NJ. I lived there from age six and until we moved to NC at age 14. My fondest childhood memories are from there. The baseball team (Newfoundland Cardinals) where I played second base and catcher. There were summer days filled with bike riding, swimming, camping out in the Moody's backyard, endless hours of Kick the Can and Flashlight tag, pick up baseball games in the Buckwheat field behind the fire station and trips to High Crest Lake. I was in the high school marching band even though I was only in middle school at the time. The Newfoundland/Oak Ridge Fireman's Fair every Labor day week. There is a line from the movie "Stand By Me" where Richard Dryfus is typing at the end and he types something to the effect of and I'm paraphrasing "You never have friends like those you have when you are 12". For me that could never be truer. So to Bobby Dunn, Kevin Meistickle, all the Moody boys, Doug Wickford, and the rest of the Allison Ave gang, I miss you all.

According to Google Maps, Newfoundland is 277 miles from where I live now. Although it's a lifetime from that 3 bedroom, one bath rambler to the 4 bedroom 3 1/2 bath colonial I live in today. The big reason I moved away was first my dad moved the family so staying in Newfoundland was not really an option. Once I saw life outside Newfoundland, there was no going back. There is really nothing in Newfoundland that would call me back. All the people I knew there are long gone themselves. There is no real work to speak of. It's surrounded by Newark watershed property and numerous reservoirs. It's pretty country but very isolated. I'm sure that sounds strange to people who only know NJ by way of the NJ Turnpike or Newark itself. Actually now I'm located not far from where I went to high school. Severna Park is less than an hour away. I use to look forward to visiting when Daughter#2 would have a WAGS soccer game against the Severna Park team. I like it here. I love being so close to the Occoquan. I could have moved when my job did 11 years ago. But I chose to stay and commute the 80 miles. Its been worth it. This is home now.


Carl Grover said...

I was googling "Newfoundland, NJ fireman's fair and ran into your blog. I grew up in Newfoundland also. I lived just off Clinton Road on Ricker road which is the next neighborhood down from Allison Ave. It is a quick walk from the field behind the firehouse to my neighborhood. I was there from 1964 until 1980. I also grew up doing many of the same things you did. It's been nearly 30 years since I left and I've only been back twice. Nothing left there for me either.

Francis said...

Carl,thanks for leaving a comment. I have very fond memories of growing up in Newfoundland. It was a great place to be a kid. I remember your neighborhood well as one of my best friends lived there - Bobby Dunn. I made the trip from Allison Ave, through the Buckwheat field to his house a lot. Sounds like we were moving away from Newfoundland just as you were moving in.

I'm curious what made you google the fair? Certainly it was the highlight of every kid's summer. The last hurrah before school started. My Dad was one of the volunteer firemen (as were about half the Dads that lived on Allison Ave at the time) and worked the fair every I spent almost every night/day there during its run.

Thanks again for your comment. It's nice to take a stroll through some old memories.