I’ve signed onto The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021.
The challenge is to blog the whole alphabet in April and write at least 100 words on a topic that corresponds to the letter of the day.
Every day, excluding Sundays, I’m blogging about Places I Have Been. The last post will be on Friday, April 30 when I finally focus on the letter Z.
My best friend, Carol, lived with her family in a basement apartment. Her parents were custodians of the four-story residential building near the corner of Summit Avenue and Mercer Street in Jersey City. I lived down the block.
When we were in grammar school and I called on her to play, I had to walk down the three brick steps next to the apartment building. Facing a heavy door, I rang the bell. Carol would come to flip the locks and let me in. If Carol had to get ready, I usually told her I’d rather wait outside. Walking through the dark and damp basement to get to her apartment frightened me. I expected a stranger might be hiding in the shadowy corners of the basement waiting for me to walk by—and pounce!
When I was older, I followed after Carol as she did her chores in the basement. Using the Dumbwaiters, Carol pulled at the ropes raising the box to reach each apartment. She rang a bell to alert the resident to place her garbage in the box. During this encounter, Carol and the tenant would exchange pleasantries, their voices echoing up and down the shaft. In the winter, Carol shoveled coal into the furnace. Throughout the year, she swept the basement floor regularly under the lone light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.
In my teens, I spent more time visiting with Carol and her family (mother, father and older sister) in their cozy two-bedroom apartment. It was easy to forget that outside the front door, the basement stood in darkness.
When Carol began dating, the slog from the front door to Carol’s apartment didn’t deter her suitors.
After Carol and her sister married, their parents bought a single family home in southern New Jersey—for cash.