Thursday, September 17, 2015


(pt. 7)
My father  -  who kept track of these sorts of things  -  
came home one day and mentioned to me his friend
Lou Carew, who worked at the Avenel Post Office, was
about to start working a second job at The Americana,
a motel on Route One, north side, then going up. I was
in school with his son, Louie Carew, who was a real
slow learner and not much of a social kind of kid; but 
we got on. Louie died really young, I don't think he even
made 35  -  he had an aluminum-siding business and his
own white work-truck; small jobs, but he seemed okay 
with it. When we were in about 6th or 7th grade, Louie
surprised me. On the corner, back then, of Inman Avenue 
and Clark Place  - right out in front of Walter Wilk's house  -
there used to be a mailbox, and right there was where all us 
kids walking from school or the bus (I forget) diverged. Louie,
and Linda DeLuca, and a few others, they'd veer off to the left
for Clark Place and we'd stay going straight for our Inman Avenue
houses. Anyway, Louie started talking, just as we were breaking 
apart about a movie he'd seen over the weekend or something.
And he said the word theater in a way I'd never heard before :
like, we'd say 'thee-ter' and he said 'thee-A-ter'. He made three
syllables out of what we'd normally say 'movies' to anyway. And
really deliberate syllables too, like all of a sudden he'd come from
the Queen's family in England or something. That floored me, 
and I couldn't figure out where he'd picked that up from; it all
sounded so unique to me. I made him say it again, and then again,
 just to hear him say it like that. But anyway, back to my father
and Louie's father too  :  my father told me he'd been over there
with Lou, watching then put together The Americana. I asked what
he meant 'put together', didn't he mean 'build'? And he said 'No. 
They're putting it together - really.' Then he said he'd watched as
they pulled in with about 12 or 14 trailers -   mobile homes, just like
at Hiram's Trailer Park, or any. And they'd moved and arranged those
trailers around in a big square, making like a protected fortress, with
all the entrances on the inside, and the parking too, hidden from traffic.
Then they'd begun  -  after linking all the trailers up with water pipes 
and electric and heat, and all that  -  building around and covering 
everything over with brick  -  so if you didn't know, you'd never realize
 it was just a square string of trailers, run together and disguised. And 
that's what it is (see photo). And when I see it, even today, I always 
can remember my father's words and wonder at the sight. Of course, 
as well, now I know that Avenel, Route One, is just a repeated stretch 
of hot-sheet roadside motels, for drunks and lovers and cheaters too. 
The Avenel corridor is, in fact, famous for that  -  people from other 
places that I've met over the years  -  airport workers, delivery guys, 
truckers, they make mention of it. Fame is funny like that  -  and of 
course that explains the squared and hidden courtyard (which my 
father never told me) that hides one's rendezvous automobile from 
passing traffic...or from your wife, or from the detective she's hired 
to trail you and snap photos.

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