Why did we leave our nice home on the lake in the country in Franklinville, NJ? It had been such a refuge from the big city when we moved there eleven years before. I wrote in the previous story about the idyllic floating upstream in a canoe, feeling like heaven, away from the noise and smells of the city.
Things changed. A farmer kept dumping manure into the lake, ruining it. Development up the road flushed an invasion of rats down to our neck of the woods, infesting our entire area. The day I caught two rats in the same trap at the same time, was the day I was ready to get out. Rats!
Death and violence encroached on our heaven, as well. Our friend Polly’s Mom lived above a country store that sold to the migrant farm workers who came up to work the fields. She heard a noise, went down to inspect, and was shot dead by a 21 year old thief whose family she knew. A young couple who pledged sobriety on Prom Night, got struck and killed by a drunk driver when they ran out of gas, right up the road from us. The “Mudman”, an escaped convict, shot and killed a cop a mile down the road from us. It seemed to be all around us.
With a six year old son, it became clear – it was time to go. I missed the lake, the canoe, the early years – but not the rest.