Apparently I can go home again. I revisited my first home last week — I lived at 14 Avenue J in the Midwood section of Brooklyn from 1943 until we moved from Brooklyn to Queens in 1948. Last week I got off the ‘F’ train several stops before the Avenue ‘X’ one — got off at avenue ‘I’ so I could revisit that first home and take some photos. The neighborhood has changed of course — its been 64 years. The lumber yard on the corner of avenue J and MacDonald is now an auto repair shop. The very elegant (in my memory) free standing house across the street is run down. Our house is a brick row house that seemed so big to me when I was little. The pickle factory around the corner where I used to steal pickles from lightly covered barrels is no more.
The street is short and ends in a T intersection — I thought of it as a court yard when I was 4 or 5 — traffic was pretty brisk last week and came fast around the corner. I had to wait for openings before taking photos, several shots from various angles. I’m into using my iPhone camera with some cool apps like Hipstamatic and ProCamera to see what results i can get so that’s the camera I had with me. As I waited for a clear shot a car pulled up and someone went to the door at number 14, to make a delivery I guessed. When he opened the storm door to knock on the inner door I saw something I did not expect — “Welcome Back” was written on the door in white paint – large letters white letters welcoming me home! As I tried to get a shot with all the letters (I failed) the door opened and a young woman in a purple and while head scarf opened the door to complain about my picture taking.”I don’t appreciate your taking all these photos” she said. “I used to live here 65 years ago” I blurted. “Oh then that’s ok” she said.
I should write at greater length about my first home about how I was so jealous of the baby across the street in its beautiful carriage with a lace coverlet protecting it from flies that I tried to do it harm, about the time my new cowboy gun was stolen by a neighbor boy and my parents did nothing about it, about how my teenaged aunt used to love me and play with me like I was a doll, about my first girl friend Dierdre who lived two or three doors down – her Mom used to take us to Coney Island beach and pack a picnic lunch of sandwiches and milk in a baby bottle that we would drink from with a straw. But for now I’ll post photos stay amazed at the welcome back sign painted on the door of my first home.