Why I love New Jersey

My husband and I were watching a television show about real estate in Montana. One couple was planning a move from California to Montana. Now, when most people think of Big Sky Country, they imagine the open prairie, cowboys, and wood cabins. Instead of embracing the lifestyle, they were trying to shoehorn California living into their new house. They obviously shouldn’t have left California. That’s where their heart is.

That’s kind of like how I feel about New Jersey.

Frankford-Cemetery

Frankford Cemetery in black and white by Lisaann VanBlarcom Permunian.

I am often asked a simple question. “Why would you EVER want to stay in New Jersey?”

When my husband and I were married there very were few things that were non-negotiable. One of those non-negotiable items is that I would NEVER move out of New Jersey.

“Why?”

New Jersey is my home. I was born in Columbus Hospital in Newark and spent over 30 years in Belleville. When a move needed to take place, we stayed close by in Nutley until we could decide on our next move. While it may sound crazy, going to the next town over from Belleville was tough. I also felt like I had betrayed my beloved Belleville by moving to our rival town. Two years later, we moved again. Instead of town-to-town, we moved county-to-county. Again, I almost had a nervous breakdown.

As my regular readers know, I don’t deal well with change. I know people who have moved across the country and half-way around the world. Me? I move from Essex County to Morris County and I could barely handle it. I’m a Jersey Girl through and through. I would’ve been very happy to stay in my house on Irving Street for the rest of my life.

Where else can you be at an awesome beach and then the mountains within a two hour drive

Rutt's Hut

A typical meal at the Jersey famous Rutt’s Hut.

in the same state? Have the best REAL Italian and REAL Portuguese cooking in the same city? I can go fly fishing in Walpack or grab a cheese steak at Seaside Heights. You want a great deep fried hot dog? I know the place. Oh, and I don’t pump my own gas.

Some people see Newark Airport and the Turnpike. Me? I see important places that played key roles in the birth of our nation. We are tough. If you are from Jersey, you need to be tough to fight off all the stupid stereotypes from those horrible television shows which I will not name.

So will I travel? Sure. But I will always come home to my New Jersey.

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The Second Battle of Trenton

During my time in school growing up, we were all taught about the American Revolution. And if you grew up in New Jersey, extra time was spent on the colony’s important role in the fight for independence. However, I have no idea if that is the case outside the state. I remember in fourth grade, the history section was focused on the state of New Jersey. One of the first questions asked to us as students was “what do you think New Jersey looks like?” One of most common answers included a seahorse. The point was to make you start to think about your state in different ways. When diarama time came around, I did a example of a battle during the Revolutionary War.

The Second Battle of TrentonSince today is the first day of the New Year, I thought I would write about an important battle that took place during the Revolution – the Second Battle of Trenton. While the battle officially started on January second, the Skirmishes at Five Mile Run and Shabakunk Creek in Lawrenceville, which lead to the battle took place on January 1, 1777. This was a much-needed American victory in order to help keep the Revolution moving forward.

On December 31 Washington learned that an army of 8,000 men under the command of General Charles Cornwallis was moving to attack him at Trenton. On January first, both money and new military power arrived from Congress. The men were able to be paid and Washington decided that he would fight at Trenton and ordered General John Cadwalader, who was at Crosswicks with 1,800 militia, to join him in Trenton

Washington’s men were along the south bank of the Assunpink Creek with lines that extended about three miles. There were concerns by Washington’s men that it would be easy to access them on his right flank. He assured his men that the position was temporary.

Despite multiple assaults by the British led by┬áCornwallis both throughout the town of Trenton and at Assunpink Creek, Washington’s men held and fought. Overnight, Washington headed on to Princeton and left a small group of men and artillery to give the appearance the entire army was still in place, complete with campfires. When the sun came up, Cornwallis was surprised to find the majority of the army gone, engaged in the Battle of Princeton. Cornwallis was directed to withdraw back to New Brunswick and New York City.

While I am far from an expert in American history, I love learning about the Revolutionary War and the role of New Jersey. I am incredibly proud that my state played such an important role in the fight our this new nation. It is a story of a rag tag group of people fighting for freedom – from the well-to-do to farmers in the field.

There is a great line in the movie Stripes…

We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A’, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog.

While meant to be funny, I think there is a lot of truth said in that line. We are all about the underdog. We fight for what’s right. We took on the greatest country in the world at the time and won. That battle put 1,800 men with little to no formal training against 8,000 professional soldiers – and won. We’re Americans.