My Own Private New Jerseyana

I'm traveling tomorrow to New Jersey, so I will have to miss the first session of Our Relationship with God. I'm helping my eldest sister move my mother closer to where my sister lives. I wonder how often I'll get back to New Jersey after this. I used to love it so much, and I haven't lived there in 18 years, almost exactly.

One of my claims to NJ fame is that I went to elementary school with the daughter of Peter O. Wacker, the most famous geographer of New Jersey in the world. In fact, they lived on our street, even!

My parents sold the house I grew up in and moved to a smaller place not long after we moved West. My father passed away almost two years ago. So now my mom is moving away from the state altogether.

In December I learned that a childhood friend from NJ had passed away, earlier in 2007. It was in some ways unsurprising, and yet devastating. I've been in touch with his brother, who lives not so very far away, and we hope to get together one of these days. Oh, there's so much I want to write about this, and my friend, and yet I think it should wait, maybe until I see his bro.

Tonight on the way home from work, I was listening to Iris Dement's version of this one, on her 2004 record "Lifeline," and it was hard not to tear up. (Fortunately, I was at a stoplight.) It was a comfort in this time of changes and transitions.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Words: Eli­sha A. Hoff­man; Music: An­tho­ny J. Sho­wal­ter

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.


Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.


Martin Kelley said...

You lived on the SAME STREET as Wacker. Oh wow. I'm barely even exaggerating, of course I know who Wacker is.

It must be strange when you have no personal ties back to the place you grew up in. I've had friends who I would see once a year until their parent retired and moved south and now nothing brings my friends around.

It sounds like you're going to be pretty busy and I'm just perpetually busy these days (need/new/job/now) but it'll be nice knowing you're in the state. If time does miraculous appear don't hesitate to give a ring.
Martin the Quaker Ranter, the convinced New Jersian

anj said...

I am sorry the timing for your trip will mean you miss the first session.

As a newly transplanted (5 year) New Jerseyan, I am quite surprised at how much I like it too. I can understand how you loved it so much.

My parents moved away from my hometown in Kansas when I was a sophomore at uni. I have only been back about four or five times in the twenty some years since, mostly for funerals.

I am also sorry about your friends death. The song you quoted kind of speaks to the depth of all the changes going on...Perhaps soon you will feel led to write what you want to write.

Chris M. said...

Thanks, Martin and Anj.

Martin, I'll be getting into PHL at 10 pm tonight, packing all day Friday, and driving away Sat. So while it would be great to get away long enough to see you and the family, it would be a miracle. I will pray for sufficient faith to move that particular mountain! :)

Anj, interestingly enough, Robin pointed out to me last night that you also live in NJ. Don't know when I'll next get up to your region, though.

Robin M. said...

Sweetheart, my heart goes with you on this trip, as always.

My parents moved more than yours did - twice! But they also left the last home I lived in with them a dozen years ago, and I've only been back to town twice since, both for high school reunions, ten years apart.

I'm also happy to keep San Francisco's largest collection of New Jerseyana on our bookshelves...

anj said...

There is always room at the inn here!