RFD#1, (before 911), the first house on the left where walking around the “block” turned into a 3 1/2 mile trek from the dirt “back” road to the paved “main” road: We lived on a road with no name. But it was the Jobins, the Hammers and Cloughs’ names that lined the way to the bridge where the troll lived under its rusted steel. And the thousands of twigs dropped over the one rail greeted us at the other side in the water’s swirling “rapids” over the smooth rocks as we leaned hard over the rail to catch our breath from our mad dash race in this childhood ritual.
At the close of an afternoon of play, Dad’s two-tone finger whistle or Mom’s yoohoo-ing song like call lured us back inside with the fragrance of the outdoors following us in. But, it was the smell of a warm modest dinner that delighted us. Meatloaf, baked potatoes and corn! Spaghetti, Shepherd’s Pie, Tacos, Chili or Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, the staples for our young bellies. Milk poured from a cold quart glass bottle. White bread or…white bread. And maybe, just maybe, a treat in the breadbox…gingersnaps, lemon cookies, maple creams, or even mallowsmars!
It was the only childhood home I knew, spanning the years to my own adulthood and independent living. But no apartment or house has ever replaced the comfortable familiarity and sense of family, however simple or complex, as this ol’ house on the road with no name. It was home.
“A Million Dollar View”, my father use to always tout as we sat on our porch in a summer breeze. With Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings, Grandchildren and more, the screened door banged the rhythm to all the shenanigans. Kick the Can…”Alli-alli-um-come-free”, Tag…”You’re it!”, “I’ll be right back, I gotta go the bathroom!”, “I gotta getta drink!”, “Wait for Meeee!”. But, when the breeze became still and the last laughing roll down the hill turned into eyes breathing in the sky, my Dad was right. It was a million dollar view. Green Mountains to the East, the Berkshires and Taconics circled round to the West, so close they nearly kissed the fields and stream across from our door. Allen’s Peak, The Hairpin Turn and Mt. Greylock distinguished those surrounding hills. With pride, I remember nearly staking claim as we pointed out the landmarks to each other. “No bare feet with snow on Allen’s Peak”, Uncle Don use to say when we couldn’t wait for the full warmth of Spring to come. Or a cold dark night’s flashing lights way off on a hill loomed of possible tragedy on an icy hair pin turn. How many rambles or drives we made up the winding mountainside to the great Beacon of Light in the tower atop Greylock. The narrow spiral stairs and the cool dampness within encased a history, a mystery, of a time before.
From the lookout, we finally found our house …miles away, a little speck to the eye. We named it, “There it is! There’s OUR house!”. “Look”. “See?”. With pride, I remember nearly staking claim as we pointed out the landmarks leading to our “grand” speck hidden in the surrounding trees ..and again, Dad was right. It was a million dollar view, a million dollar view indeed…our house on a road with no name.