Jersey and/or New Jersey must be embedded in my mind: last week I raved about seeing The Jersey Four perform the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ sensational song book. This week I am going to pull you into the feelings of fear and anxiety that took hold of me on a trip to New Jersey.
It was shortly after Art had passed away and I was on my way to spend the weekend with my sister, Roe, and her two golden retrievers. I was looking forward to spending quality time with her and taking a break from life and sadness here in New York. It was late afternoon and I had an almost two-hour ride ahead of me. My Chrysler 300 was waxed and shining, gassed up and packed: suitcase, a few doggie toys for Sprocket and Sierra and a fresh cup of coffee. I could stack three CDs at a time—can’t do that in new cars of today—so I loaded my favorites: Eagles, Bee Gees and complete set of Phantom of the Opera. There was plenty of music for the round trip. I was all set!
Being a Friday afternoon, the traffic on the Turnpike was heavy but moving well. I was wheeling right along toward the New Brunswick exit, singing along with the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes.” Of course you know what happened next: Yep, I sped right past the exit!!
I don’t remember the next exit—I’d never gone further than the New Brunswick exit where I’d then travel to Spotswood where Roe lived. It took me a while to get off the Turnpike and after a few turns, I was in total darkness, the only light coming from my headlights and absolutely no road signage. I called Roe from the car phone and shakily announced my situation: “It is so dark here, I see a building with no lights, no other houses or stores and plenty of totally black, spooky woods. Where am I, Roe?”
“Tee Tee, I have no idea where you are! How did you get there?”
“I was so busy singing with the Eagles that I whizzed right by the exit! I’m going to turn around and go up this road to my left and see if there is any civilization.”
“Be careful, Tee Tee. I don’t like this!” Neither did I, little sister.
As I carefully drove up the road, my heart was pounding and I had difficulty catching my breath; what if someone came out of the darkness and began following me or even tried to break into my car; what if my car broke down...I was frightened out of my mind! Believe me, I was a strong candidate for an anxiety attack.
Suddenly I saw light ahead and came to a fork in the road. Appearing like a gift from the Travel God was a sign: “Jamesberg.” Roe had lived there before moving to Spotswood. I relayed the information and the name of the road.
“Okay, I know where you are and I’ll get you to my place—I’ll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting!” I think I settled for something stronger when I finally arrived!
“Tee Tee, you never do stuff like this!”
“Oh, you are so right! Just blame it on the Eagles!”