Whenever I travel, random thought just pop into the noggin — I call them free range thoughts.  So, I thought I would clean up some of those cobwebs cluttering my mind…

I think this was the first time … ever … I did not see any green on the side of the road when I traveled over multiple states. From upstate New York to northern New Jersey, there was nothing but white, white, white. Usually, by the time you hit the cities, things are pretty much back to normal, even just a few days after a storm. Not this time. It sure was interesting…

There were so many more memories triggered by my visit to Don Bosco Tech last weekend. Hitchhiking with Mike after school … Freshman baseball {I think I still hold the record for the longest foul ball that plinked into the Passaic River} I was a power hitter and rarely missed a fastball, but a change up or curve got me every time … Experimenting in the electronics lab … Hooked on the World’s Fair … The All-Star game with Dennis back in 1964 at Shea Stadium watching stars like Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Brooks Robinson, Ken Boyer, Bobby Richardson, Joe Torre, Elston Howard, Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning and Juan Marichal … and on and on.

I ended the day with a lovely dinner with a close family friend. We spent four hours at the Barnyard Inn catching up. Thanks Arlene!

Speaking of dinner, I chose the grilled salmon with a double helping of grilled veggies. See, I can make good food choices. Of course, we won’t talk about the rest of the trip.

Part of the nostalgia is driving through town, visiting some of the old haunts and driving by some of my homes. The upstairs apartment in East Paterson {now Elmwood Park} looked pretty much the same, as did my boyhood home in Totowa, although after my dad sold it, the new owners moved the front door and probably altered the inside. But structurally, it was pretty much the same, unlike the neighbors who had built up and up.

I opted to take Route 23 home, which led me past our home {a slight detour off Route 23} in Ogdensburg. It virtually looked the same after 40 years, included my pitched porch, although the cedar shake is now painted. I couldn’t tell if the forsynhia branches I had planted as a break survived so many years and bloomed into bushes because of the snow. I was tempted to stop and see what the owners over the years had done, but it looked like they had company, so I just stopped and left. I remember we cut some “extras” to get in, one being a laundry shoot. We had the shoot … just no place to catch it — except the hood of the car parked in the garage.

Lower Route 23 through Wayne, Pequannock, Riverdale and Butler was pretty much unrecognizable, but once you hit the reservoir in West Milford and north, landmarks started appearing like Jorgensen’s Inn in Stockholm and the bus garage I worked at. The Franklin exit was about 45 minutes from Paterson, reminding me of my daily trek back and forth to work. Since I worked the night shift, most of the time I was pretty much alone on the road.

North of Franklin — where you turn off to get to Ogdensburg — has grown up, although the quaintness of Hamburg and the strange turns in Sussex remain. I was tempted to stop at High Point State Park — where New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania meet — but with the snow pack figured the only sight to see would be a sea of white.

The route also brought me to Route 84 in Port Jervis, NY. Once you crossed into Pennsylvania, however, the road deteriorated substantially with many potholes. In fact, driving on that stretch is akin to driving the western leg of Route 86 in New York where slalom driving is an art form. Of course, Paterson’s potholes remain the worse in urban areas, although Geneva, NY, is quickly gaining, especially on the arterial roads.

The scenic route added about an hour to my trip home … but I did save a $1 toll.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t let a mess get started.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in growing up, Memories, New Jersey, observations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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