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Thursday, September 22, 2016

The "Memories From The Green House On Janet Ave." Story

Rear door still has mom and dad's name plate on it.
It was an ordinary day.  Just took a few photos of the back porch, turned to head back into the kitchen and there it was.  The little ceramic plaque, perhaps two inches by five inches on the home's rear door, with the flowered details around the edges that read across the center ... "Woods". Wow!  I said to Beth, "You still have that plaque on your back door.  How neat!"  
A small wooden replica of 944 Janet Ave. which was made years ago.
You can see the shutters on all windows and shrubs in the foreground
My story today actually started a few weeks ago when I received an email from someone named Beth.  She told me in her email that she and her husband had purchased my mom and dad's house at 944 Janet Ave. a few years ago and at the time of viewing the home with their realtor had found mom's recipe file in the kitchen.  
944 Janet Ave. as it appears today.  
They told their realtor that they loved the home, but the file would have to be part of the deal, since she felt something of my mom should remain after having lived there for so long.  Their realtor passed the information on to my cousin Susan who was also a realtor and was handling the sale for us.  
Living room as it now appears.
I was fine with that and was just glad I could sell the home, since dad had recently died and mom was in a nursing facility.  Mom died a few years ago and after her death I had totally forgotten about the recipe file. That was until the email.  Beth was reaching out to me and offering the recipe file back if I wished to have it.  
Dining room with the recipe file sitting atop the table.
I asked my wife, Carol, if she would like to have mom's old recipes and we both agreed that it would be interesting to see what was in the files. I returned the email to Beth and said I would love to have the file returned once again.  A day or two later Carol and I left for Stone Harbor, NJ for a week of vacation with my brother and sister-in-law.  When I told my brother, Steve, about the file, he was more excited than me.  He loves to cook and had tried for the past few years to make mom's special meals without the help of a recipe.  
Mom's favorite room, the kitchen looks much like it
did before we sold the house.  
He was anxious to see what dishes he was going to be able to enjoy once again.  Well, today I pulled into the parking space on Janet Ave. and walked the same pathway to the front door that I had walked for quite a few years.  House is still the same pastel green and white that it had been since 1964 when mom and dad purchased it from Miss Frances A. Coventry.  Much of the shrubbery in the front of the house was gone, which I found was due to a water problem and the necessary grading needed to correct it.  
The bamboo, which covered most of the fence in the background,
is now thankfully gone.  Dad's lawn has now been turned
into a garden for fresh vegetables.
The bamboo garden in the back yard, which was a huge burden for dad for years, was finally gone.  The rear yard was now broken into small plots that are used for raising a variety of crops, but the entire atmosphere of the house and grounds was as if mom and dad were still living there.  As I followed Beth through the front door it was as if I was going back in time.  The living room, with the wood-burning fireplace and half wall of gray wooden cabinets was still the same.  
Mom's favorite, the back porch, still is inviting and
as beautiful as ever.
The beautiful hardwood floors, which mom and dad had covered with area rugs, were just as beautiful as ever.  Then, as I walked into the small dining room, there on the table was the piece of history I had come to retrieve.  Before I retrieved it, I finished looking at mom's kitchen and her favorite ... her large rear screened-in porch.  She loved that porch and took great pride in her collection of bird houses she had hanging around the edge of the porch.  
The much anticipated recipe file has now been
returned to the Woods' family to be enjoyed by
more generations of mom and dad's relatives.
Many family parties and meals were served on that porch over the forty-something years she and dad lived at 944 Janet.  If she were still alive, she would be happy to see that it is still in the same condition as when we sold the house.  Beth showed me the basement as well as the second floor which both still remain much the same as I remember them.  The black and white bathroom floor is still in place and as nice as ever and the bedroom that Steve and I shared looks exactly as it did when I moved out in 1967 when I got married.  As I walked back down the stairs, there on the bottom post of the railing still sat the small glass jewel, or mortgage button, that dad had so proudly placed in the railing after they had paid off the mortgage on the home.  After an hour or so, I accepted the file from Beth and made my way back the pathway to the car.  I may never step in the green house on Janet Ave. again, but the memories of my visit today will stay with me forever.  Thanks, Beth for sharing the green house on Janet with me one more time. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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