Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Childhood Home...

Before my parents died, when I was eleven, and I was sent away to boarding school, I lived in Kingston, New Jersey. This is near Princeton, where Princeton University is. Our house was later sold and turned into a bank with some offices above. I remember one of the upstairs bedrooms, , became a psychiatrist's office. Since I was having emotional challenges during this period of childhood, it seemed appropriate. Below is the flyer announcing the opening of our house as a bank, from back in 1967.

(click to view larger image)

And here is an edited view of the house:

Across the street lived my best friend, Andy (Andrea), who was a year older than me. Her family had some cows. I remember once Andy and I got into a fight and began picking up the 'cow pies' (dung piles) and throwing them at each other. Some were all dried out, but not all of them. A good bath was needed by us both after that!

Andy and I also made friends with a little black steer who lived in the barn. He was a cute fellow, and we named him Blackie. We would visit him almost every day, as he grew larger. One day we went to visit and Blackie was not there. This was very strange. Where could he be? We asked one of the men who was working there about it, and he told us Blackie had been taken off to be slaughtered. This was a great shock to us, as we'd never realized that might be Blackie's fate. It was around this time that I considered becoming a vegetarian, like my big brother Richard... but then, when I realized that would mean no more of my favorite cheeseburgers, I quickly abandoned the idea.

Andy's father was a doctor, and later he would be the one to stitch up my knee, after I put it through the kitchen window as Andy and I were trying to get into my house, to look around after it had been sold. Andy and I also liked to sneak peeks at some of his medical books, to look at the disturbing photos of various diseases, mutations, and injuries. This fit in well with what we called our 'bloody murder' games, which we played now and then, where we would pick off scabs we had to see who would bleed the most.

Andy's mother was the one who taught me how to spell my name when I was little, by refusing to let me in to visit Andy until I spelled it. Andy would lean around her as she barricaded the door, and try to give me hints in silent sign language. I also remember we would hunt through their house before Christmas, trying to find where Andy's mom had hidden her Christmas presents.

And I recall the BIG white chocolate Easter bunnies Andy got each year. I was jealous of those bunnies, even though she would usually share them with me. They took Easter more seriously than my family did, because they were Catholic. The only time I've ever been to Catholic church services was when I went with Andy's family
a few times. That was back when services were still being given in Latin. I think I enjoyed that strange and incomprehensible aspect of it as a young child. And just a few days ago, the current Pope, Benedict, announced he'll be allowing the option of the Latin masses again. I approve of this decision. Bring back the mystery of my childhood - more Latin, and more white chocolate bunnies!


Anonymous said...

Wow Jaya, those were sure fond memories you have there. I could not even remember how my first home looked like! Nor any friends from that part of my life. I was 5 when we moved out of the rented place.

awannabe said...

That is neat. I love learning about people. What happened to your parents? You should write more aobut your life. I'm sure it is interesting and people will learn from your experiences too.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful house, Jaya! They don't build them like that anymore!

B. N. Sullivan said...

Oh, I really loved those white chocolate bunnies, too. When I was a child, I'd usually get a large on perched in my Easter basket as a sort of centerpiece. Usually I'd eat the ears first, and then save the rest until last -- until all of the other small candies were gone -- then savor the rest of that big white chocolate bunny. Now you've got me craving white chocolate! Thanks Jaya... :-D

Jaya said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Awannabe, you asked what happened to my parents- my Mom died of Lou Gerhig's disease, and my Dad died of a heart attack a few months later.