Somewhere between the Navesink River and Shrewsbury River on the aptly named Avenue of Two Rivers, in a house next to the guy who would become Rumson’s police chief one day, I got my first kiss. It was an early afternoon on a school day. We were in a house that had two apartments in it. A friend of ours lived in one with her mother. Her mom was at work, and a few of us use to hang out there after school. My girlfriend and I were two of them. I got a kiss from her at this house, not the one she lived in a few doors south next to the Oceanic Free Library.
Funny, I remember that kiss. I am pushing 60 this year, and the memories are fleeting. I also recall this kind young girl being one of the easiest going people I have ever known. If something went wrong or happened unexpectedly, she simply sighed, “oh well.” That was it—no drama, ever. In a few years, she would go to college in Colorado and never return to Rumson to live.
Fast forward a few decades, and through the magic of the internet, I reconnected with the first girl who would kiss me. We found each other and exchanged emails for a couple of years, and once again, she disappeared from my radar. It was fun sharing stories, past and present. We talked about our lives, how we had grown up and now had families of our own. Here one minute and gone the next. Oh well.
Time passes, people pass too. The police chief on Ave of Two did. Next, another former chief and my mom and dad who knew them both. The street is still the street, I was on it yesterday, but everything has changed, everything!
p.s. I will be around here daily, making an end of year run with my writing. The pandemic is when I started doing this, so with its next wave, I will try to provide a laugh/tear or two for a while.
I have been writing but not quite as much as I am gearing up for the coming year-end. My plan is to blog daily from the day the clocks Fall back until New Years if you want to join the fun.
I have developed a recipe during my time off. I will share my BlackBerry Smoke Bourbon Compote when the time is right. I think I got it just about ready for prime time. The key was adding straight booze, which was made harder as a guy recovering. Turns out, Kentucky has something to offer, Bourbon. Stuff from a state where everyone is related and has six toes. Also, boys and pretty girls are both named Jed in the blue grass. Stuck between the North and South, a state without identity but was home to some Farber’s, who eventually made their way to Sea Bright. Hmmmmm. Now some stuff is starting to make sense about SB.
My health is good enough, not bad, I still struggle to figure out what retirement means and what to do with it. I have been home for four years. I guess I’m not going back. Oh well.
See ya in a couple weeks. The web address is farberisms.com or christianjfarber.com. Either will take you to the same place, my site. Bookmark it.
Every summer for as long as I can remember, there comes a soft tugging at my heart in August. It started last week and continues to get stronger as the days pass. Its a warning of sorts that the season is ending one more time. Another circle was completed from this time last year. I am one of the people who like to talk about it. When I bring it up, others agree that they feel it too. However, no one else I know ever brings it to anyone’s attention. It’s like April first being less of a fool’s day and more of a reminder that taxes are due soon.
This year has been so much different and unique. More so than any I can think of except this end of summer blues. At 59, I am on the other side of the equilibrium that living and dying provides. Every year that passes makes this both true and more true too.
A ball of confusion. The Temptations had it so right back in 1970. I read the lyrics a couple of days ago and attached a link to them here, hoping someone would agree. So right. Everything being as it is, unacceptable and unexplainable.
I remain the same: Bummed that fall is coming and summer is ending as I search for that beautiful slice of life between my love for humanity and challenging those who comprise it.
Here are the lyrics to The Temptations song “Ball of Confusion” written in 1970. Check them out.
Some of my favorite rides with my family growing up were in a big, green Buick Electra. The model covered six decades and was the pride of the corner of Blackpoint and Ave of Two in the early ’70s. The car took its rightful place in the newly adorned front driveway. I was in school at Forestdale, had my first kiss under my belt from a nice girl down the road, and consumed myself with basketball and rock n’ roll.
Like all of our cars, the Electra knew the route. If it was a Sunday afternoon, we headed to my maternal grandparents’ house. This meant a drive west on Rumson Road then south on Seven Bridges Road (which doesn’t and never had seven bridges on it). My sister and I would be sprawled out on the back seat, close enough for protection but far enough away from each other to remind ourselves we were brother and sister.
In a few years, I would break the front windshield of that car one day when I talked my mom into giving me and my surfboard a ride to the beach. I pushed a little too hard loading it, and the nose feathered a crack in the glass. I remember standing in the front yard driveway. Fear overcame me as I knew how this would go, and end. My mom must have felt particularly brave this day as I started to walk back towards the house, giving up on my surf session. She asked where I was going and I pointed to my room. She waved me back, explaining the damage was already done, and the waves were big, so let’s go surfing.
I am still not sure how she pulled that off and will never know. And that is the magic of many moms who manage to make lemonade from lemons and great waves from disaster.
A car ride always had a mystical, transference like effect on me. We took the car from the driveway on Avenue of Two Rivers. At the time, there was no driveway on Blackpoint Road. That would be a later upgrade to the 6181 square foot corner lot with a small house and garage. After my dad became more successful, we added a second and parked it off to the side in the front yard. Show-offs.
Yard parked. Our property had no front driveway in the ’60s. Over time, stones and railroad ties outlined the channel for the car. The creosote on the ties smelled for a long time after they found their way into the ground. Today, it is the first place to park, provided you have a nice car. Oh, so Rumson.
The east end of Blackpoint Road was the most beautiful part of the street and still is. In that way, it is similar to the south end of Avenue of Two Rivers. Lovely homes on lots with oodles of acres of space to call your own only. We were on a kind of cross-section multiplex of 5 roads that cornered closer to the middle of both. We rested on the southwest edge, just far enough from the higher end places to make you envious, farther away from the low rent district so you felt like you made it out of somewhere, but close enough to nothing to call it home. This was good enough for my sister Karen, and I. The home at 93 Blackpoint Road was heaven on earth to our parents.
Once in a while, my dad would declare, “Let’s go for a ride.” So we did. The Ford Falcon station wagon was a transitional vehicle from my dad’s truck to a family car. He still had the truck, but with this car, he could work out of it and fit all four of us on our way to nowhere. Life was just starting, and so was good. Karen would sit with me in the back seat, mapping her plan to be the best at everything and not piss everyone off. She would succeed with her plan. I had my Etch-A-Sketch wondering what made it work. Time passed slowly, wobegone as it was.
For regular readers and followers, I think I will string together some number of days, see you tomorrow.