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Chapter V - Florham Park, Edward

Every month I would travel from Newark to New York to make a $10.00 payment on our precious land. At that time I was ignorant of the fact that payments could be made by other means. Meanwhile we lived a serene life. We had rented a larger house with five rooms. We needed that much for our five growing children. There was a bathroom all of our own. We did not have to share one with other tenants and although it did not have a bathtub it was a good feeling to have advanced that much in our style of living. There was a small lawn in front and a large back yard for the children. Most of all I loved the kitchen. The sun would penetrate through the leaves of Wisteria framing one of the kitchen windows and play on the kitchen table.

I still did not have utilities. The rooms were lit by gas lamps by turning a key and applying a match. We had a gas stove but the wash still had to be done with the washboard.

My children were growing and so was my thirst for learning. I was learning as they learned. Their first grade school books were easy for me. I was helping myself while I helped them with their homework. I would always find time to read. The time was usually during the night when my children were asleep. We lived about three years in this comfortable home.

My husband and I began making plans to be near our precious land. Then Edward, our sixth child, became sick with a respiratory illness diagnosed as bronchitis. This was the key factor, which hastened the decision to move. Nicola and I thought a new environment would be good for our sick child. At this time our family consisted of four girls and two boys. Nicola did find a house for rent but there were no utilities. It was a very old house and we had to get water from a well. The bathroom was outside and the stove would burn coal in the winter and wood in the summer. However, there was plenty of fertile land for a garden and a lot of room for our children to play. The day to move was set for March 25, 1926.

Edward came down with a fever and transportation to the house had to be made by bus. Nicola and Tony left early with the moving truck. I was to clean the house after the moving truck left. My next door neighbor babysat with the babies and Carmela and Lucy helped with the cleaning. While I was waiting for the bus, a strong March wind caused my baby to gasp. I was frightened, and I pulled the blanket over the baby's face and hugged the baby against my breast. As I boarded the bus I realized Edward was not moving. With five children staggering for a seat and a full bus, it was very difficult for me to forge to the back of the bus. Some good Samaritans made room for me and my young children. I was afraid to lift the blanket and look at my son's face. Then I felt a stir against my breast. I lifted the blanket. My little son was alive!

Upon our arrival the smell of food and a warm fire welcomed us. Nicola had put the stove together. It was very comforting for all of us to be together around the supper table but the children were not interested in the food. They began to run up and down inspecting every room, but tiredness soon wore them out and they were put to sleep.

This house had an attic, which my active children discovered. There was castaway furniture, old eating utensils, and other discarded interesting objects. There was also a pile of National Geographic magazines, novels and a large medical book. My daughter Carmela was eleven years old and she brought the book down to show me. I immediately became interested with the latter because it had explanations and illustrations of diseases. There were also many other magazines, something I had never read before. Since I was able to read fairly well in English, the features advertised delighted me.

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