Monday, November 24, 2014

In Which Our New Jersey Adventures Begin!

In an earlier post about living in South Dakota, I mentioned that Steve had accepted a job teaching in a Christian school in Cranford, New Jersey. This meant another cross country move in the span of two years. In the summer of 1978, we moved from New Hampshire to Florida. The following summer we moved from Florida to South Dakota. This time, in the summer of 1980, we would pack up a moving truck and drive east to New Jersey.

(Our little family, summer 1980))
It was a difficult trip with all four of us sitting in the cab of the moving truck towing our car behind. Apparently it had enough space to include the toddler's carseat. Since it was next to the door, and the window was open, little Jamie proceeded to let her sock go out the window. I guess she wanted to see if it would fly.

(Sara and Jamie, summer 1980)
We arrived in New Jersey late one afternoon at the home of Mary Ann Barker, a sweet lady who was also a member of the school board. I remember being exhausted after traveling so far with a 4 year old and 20 month old. Right after we arrived Sara fell and skinned her knee in their driveway. I was thankful for the way Mrs. Barker took her by the hand and helped her into the house. She carefully tended Sara's wounds talking to her the whole time.

Mrs. Barker was quite the hostess. For dinner we sat in their dining room where the table had been set complete with tablecloth and pretty dishes. She served each of us plates of delicious food as if we had been in a fancy restaurant. After dinner we went upstairs and Sara was shown the laundry chute. She was fascinated by the fact that it went from the second floor all the way down to the laundry room in the basement. When it was her bedtime, Mrs. Barker tucked the blankets snugly all around her making her feel secure. Sara loved it so much that she wanted me to keep doing it every night.

For breakfast the next morning, the table was again beautifully set. Mrs. Barker even had Half & Half in a little pitcher which she let the kids put on their cereal. With all her care and attention she made us feel very special. This would not be the last time her kindness was shown to us. More of her story will be coming at a later date.

(our home in Kenilworth)
We had stored our furniture in the garage of one of the other board members who was gracious enough to let it stay there for the rest of the summer. We visited relatives in Florida, and then came back to stay in the Barker's house for a couple of weeks while they were out of town. That gave us time to find a place to live. We found and rented the lower level of a house in Kenilworth, New Jersey. The owners were Italian and had left a lovely garden full of Roma tomatoes and figs which we were able to enjoy. 

A church down the street advertised a free preschool, so we decided to let Sara attend. She had a lot of fun dressing up as Raggedy Ann for their Halloween party and participating in the parade they had in the classroom.

We became close friends with one family we met at the preschool who had three daughters close to the ages of our girls. Every day when we walked home from school the girls begged to eat lunch together. Most times we did, either at our house or theirs. We shared lots of laughter and fun times with them.

Christmas came and we had a simple but special dinner. The girls loved their Christmas dresses which were gifts from their grandparents.

I had some extra material that was soft like velvet which I used to make matching stockings for Sara and Jamie. I wrote their names with glue and gold glitter. They used them for several years after that.

We did not have much in material wealth, but we were rich in love and friendship, and we were happy. Many different events happened during our year in Kenilworth, and I'll be sharing more of them during the next few weeks.

You can find previous memoir posts listed  HERE with links.

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