Monday, September 14, 2015


(pt. 2)
Old Ira it was who lost his boy at the
road-level street crossing of the train; was
killed right there. And then, not long after, the
idea took hold and the wheels were turning  -  they
dug out the underpass, keeping the tracks at what
was once street-level, but the roadway went down 
underneath. It pretty much displaced whatever heart
old Avenel ever had  -  stores on the left had to close, 
the post office moved, the library/train station taken down.
Losing a heart like that, human or town or place, is certain
to kill. And it did. What's it say now, when the center of
town is Route One crossing? The ghost of animosity? it
never rose up for nothing -  folks in this town just accept.
Out at the Indian Crossing down in the swamp, that was where
Mrs. Gaspari lived too  -  with her son Wayne. She taught
school somewhere, up at Schools 4&5, which became then the
essence of preliminary education in  a place like this: the town
library was as big  -  or small  -  as a box. Wasn't good for much,
except I used to see Linda Napoli's picture up on the wall  -  in a
framed relic of an earlier-day library opening. Since she was my
neighbor, about right years older than me, it felt right to see.
Ira had a gas station at the corner of Avenel Street and Rahway Ave.;
it's a Dunkin Donuts now, even has fake flowers along the front  - it's
funny, things, like that : no one absolutely cares about anything at all.
Indians  -  the other kind of Indians, the ones with the rupees and the
Hindustan Times, they run it, and I'd figure haven't a clue about
anything at all. Local. Hereabouts. Historic. Ira, after like the 1960's,
only had the junkyard down in the reeds, the gas station he closed up.
It stayed like that at least twenty years, just shuttered and shot. I'd 
guess he's dead by now, long ago off, and nobody talks of him 
no more. No mention is ever made of the 
fake flowers either. Oh well.

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