Monday, December 15, 2014

A Broken Jar, a Beach Trip and a Birthday

Our last few months in Kenilworth, New Jersey, were mostly happy times although Sara recalls one event that was quite a tragedy to her almost five year old self. She remembers walking to and from the preschool, but one day around Easter things didn't go well on her way home.  

They had spent the class time on a project that included filling a jar with layers of colored sand and were also given those little yellow marshmallow chicks called Peeps. Sara was so excited that she started running because she couldn't wait to get home. She must have tried to go too fast, because she tripped and fell skinning her knees. The impact caused the jar to break spilling all the sand. The Peeps had gotten squished and some had fallen out taking on pieces of gravel where they landed.

To a little girl it was a very hard thing to take. I cared for her knees, and we went back to the school. There they were kind enough to give her another jar of the colored sand, but there were no more Peeps. Sara, being determined, figured out a way to eat the squished ones. We gathered them up and got out the gravel as best we could and she enjoyed at least a few of them.

(Sara and Jamie having fun at a park)

Steve seemed to be doing well fitting in as a teacher at Covenant Christian School. Towards the end of the school year we were asked to be the chaperones for the seniors on a class trip. It was a very small class of less than 10 students. One of the parents offered her large beach house in Pleasantville, New Jersey, as a retreat for a couple of days.

(Can you find Steve and me?)
Our bedroom had windows looking right out over the beach. It was wonderful! The salty sea air was good for my sinuses and I was amazed at how well I could breathe. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the bright sunlight. Even though I grew up in Florida near the beach, it had been awhile so I had forgotten about the intensity of the sun. With it reflecting off the water and the sand, my eyes became dry and red. It almost felt like tiny pieces of glass were irritating my eyes. I finally was able to get some eye drops to give some relief and wore sunglasses whenever I was outside.

(We were right on the beach)
Sara (almost 5) and Jamie (2 1/2) stayed with the family whose kids and dog we had cared for earlier in that school year. It was the first time we had ever left the kids so I was a little nervous about it. We knew they would be in good hands, but I wanted to do something to help the girls not miss us too much. I had a bracelet and necklace that I knew the girls liked, so I gave them to Sara and Jamie before we left.

Maybe giving the gifts was not such a good idea. I'm sure they had a fun time during the day playing with their friends, but when the quiet stillness of nighttime came they must have been a little scared in that large house without Mommy and Daddy. Sara's mind was filled with all kinds of imaginings. Every night as they were supposed to be going to sleep, Sara told Jamie that something was going to happen to us, and they would never see us again. She told her that was why I gave them the jewelry. You just never know how children will react to some of the things you do.

In June we celebrated Sara's 5th birthday complete with a ladybug cake. 

This concludes our time in Kenilworth. That same summer we moved into a house in Plainfield, New Jersey.  I shared the story of our traumatic first week there in three posts starting with this one:

You can find previous memoir posts HERE.

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