when i was a kid, going with my mom and sister to englewood nj felt like a special treat. my grandmother lived there for most of my life, with my great aunt and uncle just a few minutes away in hackensack. we would drive down for a weekend and spend time eating food, hanging around, and jessamyn and i would find things to do to amuser ourselves. i remember one trip where the amusement jess and i discovered was taking a small pink rubber ball (names Pinkify) and bouncing it up and down the stairs to each other, while pretending it was a small child that nobody wanted to take care of. while in the recap this sounds bleak, the THWACK of the ball and the fun of playing in the dark smoky staircase was actually a joy.
this weekend my mother, sister, and her boyfriend greg all went to a family get together in hackensack. my grandmother and great uncle have passed away, and i no longer get down there as often as i should. we spent the day lounging around the house, eating food, and catching up with my mothers four cousins and their children. the house in hackensack has always felt a little like a museum to me. it holds an amazing collection of art that i can stare at for hours.
and hackensack also has a calming continuity. few changes happen in the house, and my great aunt always serves the same food. each meal is guaranteed to be accompanied by a side of bakes rice and potatoes. for all i know they made one gigantic batch of it in the 1970's, and we have been reheating leftovers ever since.