When I wasn't going to the pool every day, I spent a week or a little bit more in New Jersey with my sister, Gerri Lee and Debbie. Sometimes Thom was at summer camp for the reserves, other times he wasn't. Sometimes we met part way and they picked me up. This way no one had to make the eight hour trip one way.
I was in junior high when they moved to a house in Bloomfield, NJ. The Runyons scrimped and save to get out of Newark with the apartment living. The gray house was on a corner and the side street dead ended to the rail road. Thom commuted on the train into New York City every day.
The summer I was twelve I played stick ball in the streets with the neighborhood kids. A girl lived next door who I believe was two years younger than I. Being the youngest of all boys, she was a bit of a princess, but I got along with every one. No air conditioning, I was glad she had an above ground pool and invited me a few times.
Gerri Lee and Thom arranged to take Debbie and I into the city to Radio City Music Hall to see the movie, Mary Poppins. We rode the train in the early morning with Thom. I observed all the commuters. One lady had a dress just like mine at home. She wore the large plastic brown frame glasses so popular then, and had frosted hair. I wore my white pants outfit Mom bought me earlier in the year. I felt very stylish.
We ate at a crowded, small restaurant. Then Thom went to his office. We rode the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. The clear day allowed me to see the three states. I imagined dropping a penny, shuddering. The great expanse of green that was Central Park stood in contrast to the gray buildings, very small or so it seemed.
In the dark theater, we watched the Rockettes kick it with the Disney characters. I always loved Disney and did not feel too old at all. Debbie, being four, loved it, too. Then the movie played on the really big screen. Mary Poppins did not disappoint, as magical as the first time I saw it when I was four. I had not seen it since. No video tapes in those days. I still think it is a wonderful movie promoting family. I cry when I watch it, now.
Since the movie was a matinee, we headed back to Bloomfield on our own, not waiting for Thom to be done with work. We rushed with the crowds on the hot streets. Debbie's little legs tired out, forcing her to sit on a stoop. We didn't notice right away, but when Gerri Lee did, she jerked around frustrated, grabbing Debbie by the lower arm. The anger mixed with fear escaped from her voice as she scolded Debbie. Debbie continued with us and did not whine anymore.
I do appreciate what my sister and brother-in-law did when I visited. I know they were on a strict budget, as Gerri Lee was returning to college. She stayed home with Debbie, till she was in school. I felt with the time I spent with them in the summer, I have a taste of city living, well, enough to know New Jersey is hot in the summer.