1947: the earliest year-date that I remember.

by James K. Sayre

The 1947 New Jersey license plate was mounted on the back of my parent's black 1941 Ford coupe, which was parked in the front driveway at 19 Kenilworth Road in Ridgewood. Our house was a large white 3-story affair that had a fenced backyard, with room for my parent's vegetable garden (mostly corn), a dramatic dark-red-leaved Japanese Maple, some shrubs including Lilac bushes and some lawn.

The neighbors to the right of our house had a ritual of burning all the overgrown grasses and weeds each autumn. All of his neighbors stood by nervously on their properties with garden hoses at the ready, but the small grass fires never spread into their yards.

Across the street and down one property was the elementary school, whose function was very obscure to me until at age five years and one and a half months, I was walked over there by my mother one September Monday morning and left inside of a very large room, with many other new kids and some very large weird building blocks. This whole new situation seemed vaguely unpleasant and somewhat threatening to be and I cried at the door for a few minutes... Eventually I must have agreed to go along with this social gag that everyone else called "kindergarten" and "school."

What's the earliest year-date that you remember?





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