X-celsior bound: My parents move back to New York State#atozchallenge2024

X is for X-celsior bound: My parents move back to New York State. No. 24 of 26 posts in the April 2024 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme, My Life: The Prequel (in Snapshots) — adding my parents’ story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

Before my parents Norm and Peg (Laurence) Charboneau married, they were living separately and working at their first post-college jobs in New Jersey.

As their wedding day approached, they set out in search of the apartment they would share as newlyweds.

Mom and Dad’s first home

They ended up renting a second-floor apartment on Tennyson Place in Passaic, N.J. The apartment was a walk-up on the second floor of a two-family house, but they were young newlyweds so the stairs weren’t an impediment.

My parents Norm and Peg (Laurence) Charboneau on the landing outside their second-floor New Jersey apartment. They were young newlyweds, so the stairs weren’t an impediment. Scan by Molly Charboneau

The apartment, located on a side street, was nicely situated. After a short walk to Main Ave., they could catch a bus to New York City. A few doors down the other way there was a lovely local park — with a small walking bridge over McDonald’s Brook.

“Your mom liked to take you down there in the baby carriage and sit by the water,” Dad told me.

The apartment was close to Dad’s job at Dumont Television Labs in nearby Clifton and to Mom’s new job at Garfield High School. They also lived close to St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, so Mom could easily attend weekly mass.

My parents’ home on Tennyson Place as it looked in 2020. When my parents lived there, the apartment had external stairway to the second floor (likely located at the back, which can’t be seen in this photo). Image: Google maps.

Heading back to New York

As nice as it all looks, though, climbing those stairs must have become more difficult once Mom was expecting. And after I was born (more in Letter Y), Mom and Dad found that they missed their families and the support network they needed as new parents.

So they made a decision to move back to the EXcelsior State — leaving their jobs and packing up for the trek north in early 1950. Initially, they lived with my maternal grandparents Tony and Liz (Stoutner) Laurence and Mom’s younger sister Rita in Gloversville, N.Y.

However, Aunt Rita was in college and headed for a career of her own, and my grandparents were also longing for a change. That’s how my parents, grandparents and I ended up moving to a new, shared home in Albany County, N.Y. (more in Letter Z).

Up next, Y is for Yours truly joins the family. Please stop back!

© 2024 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

12 thoughts on “X-celsior bound: My parents move back to New York State#atozchallenge2024”

  1. The apartment is really lovely, despite the stairs, but I can imagine how difficult it would be when pregnant and later. Carrying shopping up must have been onerous. I had never heard of the Excelsior state before. So once, again, I have learned something new from A to Z.

    1. Excelsior is actually the state motto, but it does capture the lure of New York and gave me a Letter X title 🙂

  2. I’d love to be in a neighborhood where you could walk to everything so this first apartment sounded ideal for them. Family support is so necessary, though, when you become three (or more).

    1. I actually went back and visited the block as an adult. It’s a lovely neighborhood still. And I crossed the bridge over the brook in the park, too. Only later did Dad tell me about Mom taking me there in the stroller as a newborn!

  3. I’ve never been a big stair person (bifocals at a young age always made them difficult to go down), but the location within town sounds perfect.

  4. Those stairs!
    My parents moved back to Detroit about the same time. I’m so glad I had the chance to grow up around my extended family.

    1. Yes, quite a climb with groceries or a baby! I’m glad they eventually moved in with my grandparents — and that Mom’s sister Aunt Rita lived nearby. As you describe, it was fun having an extended family around in my early childhood.

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