Sunday, January 5, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #140 - Home #2 Of My Early Years, Clifton, New Jersey, September 2013

While this may seem like just a house to you and other casual viewers, it's an integral part of the journal of my life. The house pictured is the second house my parents bought and had somewhat customized to our family requirements. On the left side of the house were older homes that were part of an older development, probably ten years or older than our new home. Our house and the homes to the right of us were all part of a new development that was built in a reclaimed, low, flat area that had basically been a swamp and was filled in to develop the housing project. There were two houses in the development like ours. The one we had and another almost identical to it at the other end of the one block long section of new homes. The rest of the houses were all very basic Cape Cod style houses, very similar to the one we left behind on Stanley Street.

When we moved into this home I was in 4th grade, my younger sister was in 1st grade and when we left this home to move to the next, there were five of us in the family. My youngest sister was born while we lived in this home. I attended 4th through the first have of 6th grade in this house. It was the first home to have a garage. Behind the garage was an enclosed porch where we had put the old 19" Zenith TV (that I would eventually take with me to Syracuse, NY and to Washington DC and Annapolis, Maryland. I remember watching the Mickey Mouse Club (with my heart throb, Annette Funicello) and the new national sensation, Dick Clark and American Bandstand.

You can't really tell from the photo, but the house is actually a larger Cape Cod turned sideways on the lot. There was a full basement under the house. The first floor had a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom (we still had only one bathroom). Upstairs in the back section of the house was a third bedroom that was mine. It was, as I recall, about three times the size of the bedroom my sister and I shared in the Stanley Street Cape Cod. The front section of the upstairs was attic storage space.

Very few homes in New Jersey were built with central air conditioning in those days. If you look, you can see a window air conditioner in the front window on the right side of the house. That is the master bedroom. You can't see it through the mature tree that was just a thin young tree when we moved in, but behind the leaves in the upper part of the gable was a large louvered vent that my father had installed with a very large exhaust fan. During the summers we would open windows throughout the house and draw air through the house and out through that exhaust fan and vent. That was our form of air conditioning in those days.

This was our family home from the fall of 1954 until the winter of 1956. It seems to me that the original color was a pinkish rose, but I'm not positive of that. I think the original siding has been replaced.

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