A sentimental journey back in time to the first house I remember, 35 East Line Street Penns Grove NJ. In addition to the house ( which I actually dream about sometimes ) I want to visit in my mind's eye my first real playmates who were not family. Joey Vanderslice lived next door to me and his cousin Jerry Howard lived down the street.
In recent times I have come across genealogy records for their families also and realize they and others in their lines were very "Old Salem County" families. Of course we did not talk about those things being children with more immediate issues. Joey and Jerry came to my first birthday party in this new house built by my parents in the Post WWII era, I am sure.
Jerry being somewhat older than I was was my escort for a first outing, to movie at the Grove a few streets away.My mother wrote this is my baby book in May 1950.Why then, I wonder was Mom surprised that I dropped her hand and went into kindergarten myself 3 months later?
Joey V. tried to teach me to shoot marbles but I had definite fine motor issues. I tried to interest him in my Bobbsey Twin books which I began to read at 5 and 6 but Joey was not a big reader.I am not sure what we had in common except the neighborhood.I called his mother "Aunt Mae" and liked to hang in her kitchen where she was quite the cook.
East Line Street was on the boundary line between Penns Grove and Carneys Point, then called Upper Penns Neck. An old sewage ditch ran along the back property lines and behind that was a woods.Joey was allowed to explore, I was not but am unsure I would have ventured there anyway. None of that exists now.
Joey's parents had chickens in a coop as did Jerry's. Jerry's family also did a bit of farming, I remember corn growing so surely they had more than the two acres we did. Others on the street had truck gardens and we were the last block in town before actual farms started.
Several years after that my mother went to work as school nurse and we moved to a big house on the river, their dream house.They never looked back,but in my minds eye and sometimes in my dreams I revisit that house and climb the steps and Joey calls me "Yo Kath-ee" and off we run.