Sunday, March 16, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #150 - Home Number 3, My Favorite, Bloomingdale, New Jersey, September 2013

This is a photo of my favorite home of the six homes my parents owned, before my father died prematurely in 1967 and I permanently left New Jersey in August of that year. We moved into this home around the end of December of 1956 and left it about six or seven months later in July or August of 1957. It was, without question, the shortest we had lived in any home during my youth.

You can see that this home was nothing like the previous homes (or those three that would succeed this home). The others were all on small, standard city lots, devoid of trees. This house was custom built in a community called Hillcrest Heights in Bloomingdale, New Jersey. Bloomingdale was a small town in a rural area of Passaic County about 16 miles from Clifton, also in Passaic County. While Clifton had about 15 elementary schools, Bloomingdale only had one. The house was built on a half-acre lot and all of the woods you see in the photo existed when I lived there. As a matter of fact, the house looks exactly the way it did when I lived there.

The house had three bedrooms, but still, only one bathroom, as I recall. There was a fireplace in the living room and a second one in the basement. This was literally on a mountaintop with an extremely steep hill to reach the top where we lived. The builders had to blast into the rock to excavate for the basements of virtually all the houses in the sub-division. The rock was so pervasive where our house was built that they left a large rock formation in the basement, under the living room, and built a three-step, terraced platform over it. Had my father built a family room in the basement (he never had the opportunity) he would have incorporated the terraced platform in the design of the room.

I said this was my favorite home and it was, because this is where I discovered the stork had made a miscalculation and dropped me with a family in the city instead of a family in the country. I knew that this was the kind of lifestyle I wanted to live in the future. Unfortunately, my mother felt that being 16 miles from Clifton was simply too far and felt she was stranded in the boondocks. So, she put the pressure on my father and he put the house on the market and we moved back to Clifton the following summer. But, there were small cliffs up here for me to scale up and down. There was lots of nature all around and, while a half acre isn't a massive amount of land, it seemed like a small kingdom to a 6th grade kid compared to the standard lot size in cities.

This community has grown up, been further developed and, while still basically rural, has lost a tiny bit of its original charm and appeal to me that it held some 57 years ago. Of course, I could be jaded by the wonderful rural places I've had the opportunity to live during my adult lifetime.  

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