Can You Go Home Again?

Recently I’ve been going back to the area where I grew up. While it is for a sad and stressful reason, I really don’t mind. While on the way down Franklin Avenue in Belleville during a recent trip, I found was thinking to myself how much I missed the area. When I mentioned this to someone their response to me was interesting:

“You don’t miss the area, you miss what it was to you.”

It was a thought-provoking comment. Do I miss my Motherland because it is familiar? It had me thinking again after reading a similar post by Jersey Collective regarding the demise of a favorite local coffee hangout.

St. Lucy's Church, First Ward, Newark
Candles at St. Lucy’s Church

I can still drive, walk, or bike ride just about all of Belleville and Nutley, as well as a fair amount of Bloomfield and North Newark blindfolded. I know every shortcut and backway. I can still tell you exactly where the cut in the fence was growing up to cut through the golf course to save time walking home. I used to be able to walk up to Franklin Plaza and pick up fresh Italian bread, meat for Sunday dinner, prescriptions, a birthday card, The Belleville Times, and a Carvel ice cream all in one location and walk home. One of my favorite things to do when the weather was warm was ride up to the high school on my bike, head all the way up to the top corner of the stadium, and sit and read a book. Yeah, I know; boring kid. But I liked it. It felt safe. It was home. Once I had my license, I could drive to St. Lucy’s Church in the old First Ward and sit and pray and enjoy the peace of the church and then stop at Di Paolo’s to get a cannoli.

Is it the familiar we long for or is it the place itself?

I’d be lying if I said I know the answer, but it surely makes me think.

Injured peregrine falcon released into wild

For those of you not familiar, the peregrine falcon is making a great comeback in New Jersey. This raptor was close to extinction in North America in the mid-20th century due to the use of DDT and other Chlorinated Hydrocarbon pesticides which caused their egg shells to become thin and crack under the weight of the parents on the nest. Thankfully, those chemicals were outlawed in the early 1970s.

Since then, there has been a great effort to bring the peregrine falcon back from the brink.

peregrine falcon

(Credit: Sallie Graziano | for

One of the organizations that has helped rehabilitate these amazing creatures when they are injured is the Raptor Trust. This week another patient from the Trust was released back into the wild. A second-year male that was discovered injured in Roxbury in November was released over Spruce Run Reservoir.


The peregrine falcon is an amazing creature that can reach speeds up to 175 miles per hour. One of my favorite sites to check out this time of year is the Jersey City Falcon Cam by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. I really recommend you check it out. You will not be disappointed!

Both of these organization rely on donations. If you are able to, I am sure they would appreciate your support.

Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited

By Phillip Buehler; Designed and edited by Steven Brower
In collaboration with Nora Guthrie and the Woody Guthrie Archives

From Woody Guthrie's Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited.

Credit: From Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty.

Through never-before-published letters, historic family photographs, and rare personal interviews, Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty explores the five years Woody spent at Greystone Park State Hospital in New Jersey. Woody was a patient there from 1956 – 1961, in Ward 40 and called it “Wardy Forty.” Through contemporary photographs of the now-abandoned hospital, these years are brought to life and provide a mysterious glimpse into a deserted bygone era.

“When Phil Buehler came to me with these photographs, I knew immediately that this would be the way to communicate and hopefully illuminate Woody’s heretofore unexplored life with HD. As he so often determinedly proclaimed, ‘I ain’t dead quite yet’. – Nora Guthrie

The book includes:
– Over 70 contemporary color photographs of now-abandoned Greystone Park State Hospital by Phillip Buehler taken with medium format film.
– Over 30 rare family photographs from Nora Guthrie’s personal collection.
– Historic, never before seen photographs by world-renowned photographer John Cohen.
– Never-before-published photographs by Guthrie’s close friend Bob Gleason.
– Personal letters from Guthrie written at Greystone to his wife, Marjorie and children; Arlo, Joady, and Nora.
– Archival documents and writings from the Woody Guthrie Archives including a scene from an unpublished play Guthrie wrote at Greystone.
– Rare personal interviews with Marjorie Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Harold Leventhal, and Guthrie’s doctors at Greystone.
– Handwritten lyric by Bob Dylan Song to Woody” that have never been published.
– Plus: a very special afterword written especially for this project by Alice Wexler, Ph.D, author and founding Board member of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, with a brief history of Huntington’s disease and update on recent research and steady progress towards a cure.

Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.