New Jersey

Two nights at the lake house, a birthday well celebrated, dinner out, day tripping on the Jersey shore, and three childhood homes revisited – June 4-6, 2018



Celebrated in high fashion by Kathryn and James, with cake, candles, ice cream, flowers, gifts, and cards. Yeah man! They will still need you and feed you when you are sixty-four.




Jersey is a funny place; you can bring your own wine to a restaurant, but you are not allowed to pump your own gas. James and Kathryn love this restaurant and so do we. Because he lives in California, Joseph picks out the wine.




This year Joseph chose Apothic Red and Apothic Dark from the E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto where he was pastor for close to twenty years. We were immediate fans. Camille ordered the tower of pisa appetizer to go with her house salad, and was stunned by its resemblance to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Even with help, there was no way to consume this monster in one sitting, so it came home with us to join our other sandwich fixings.





Like salmon, we return to the same spawning grounds every year. Mt. Mitchill is on our must-do list so we can look across Sandy Hook Bay and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the Statue of Liberty. It is comforting to see she still stands, and we hope her values will some day come back into vogue.




Like anyone who has lived in New York, Camille gets a thrill from seeing the skyline. Jersey born Jim likes it too.




The first-gear climb up that steep highlands driveway puts a knot of anticipation in Camille’s throat. The house looks the same, thanks to our cousin’s diligent stewardship.

Camille stands in the same spot her father must have stood in to take the photo of her and her brother, John, on Nana’s swing set on page 122 of Honey Sandwiches.




Nana’s cold frame flanked by hydrangeas, and a wren in the plum tree. Camille’s grandmother knew how to grow and cook food, and taught everyone the value of eating together Sunday afternoons underneath the plum tree.

In this old photo, Camille’s Grandpa Frank is at the head of the table with Nana Helen on his right. Irene and Nicky are at the far end of the table. Nana and Grandpa raised Irene and her two siblings after their parents died. Nicky and Irene started a couple of very successful restaurants in the area, inspired no doubt by Nana’s extraordinary culinary expertise. Either my father or Irene’s brother, Stevie, climbed on the roof for this shot.




Camille dashes to her place with no hope of reaching it before the shutter snaps, and realized she has set the timer for 2 seconds. Someone with better eyesight set it for 10, and voila! Happiness is a beautiful day on a pretty lawn with plenty of history beneath your feet.




Here is the site of one of Nicky and Irene’s restaurants. The original building was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy and a new restaurant built from scratch. We stopped in for a windy, but delicious lunch above the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright.




Joseph and Camille stand in front of the 1898 bivalve lens that once shone up to 70 miles out to sea.



We found the tower stairs to be open to the public and Camille was tickled pink to make her first climb up into the lighthouse.




Next, we visited house number 2 on our memory lane trip, 128 Woodland Avenue in Avon where Camille’s family lived the year Kennedy was shot and her brother, Michael, was born. She remembers going down to this very draw bridge on the Shark River many times with her brothers and their friends and standing underneath the bridge to watch the enormous counter weight move when they opened it for sail boats.



Joe hopped in with Jim for the drive back to the lake house and went on their own memory lane quest. Joe, wearing his Star of the Sea San Francisco parish tee shirt, stands, grinning, in front of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Long Branch.



Joe stands in front of the house the whole family lived in between 1964 and 1970. Jim was born about a year after we moved here from Avon. It is a behemoth of a place, with rooms that still show up in all of our dreams. Gone are the big trees up front, but the twin stone pillars still stand, pillars that Camille and her friend Mary would stand on, like statues, and marvel when motorists failed to take note. They learned then, that if you don’t move, you can make yourself invisible. These photos, and others throughout this album, were taken by Jim. Thanks for the photos, Jim!


[Troutsfarm] * [June 2018] * [New Jersey] *[Pennsylvania] * [Family Reunion 2018]