Letters To The Editor: The Newbie

By Penina Metal

I relocated to the Pomona/Suffern area a little over a year ago. Until I moved here, I spent my entire life residing in various cities, so it doesn’t take much imagination to understand the huge adjustment that I am experiencing.

I grew up in Bayonne, NJ, a city located in Northern NJ region of Hudson County.

Until I left home to marry, I thrived in a safe, friendly environment. My parents therefore felt quite secure in the knowledge that I could play outdoors for hours with my friends without any concerns.

It was de rigeur to greet perfect strangers with a “hello,” and a smile. The postman lived down the street, so did actress Sandra Dee and actor Frank Langella. Mass. Rep. Barney Frank attended the same high school that I did. Although age separates us by several years, we were both privileged to be taught by the same outstanding English teacher, with whom I kept an unbroken connection until her passing at the age of 102!

Although I have lived in several different locations throughout my marriage, I retain an innate friendliness which surprisingly offered me protection even in the most dangerous of situations. To wit, the 1991 Crown Heights riots, took place on my street but my African-American

neighbor, with whom I enjoyed cordial relations, put her life in danger because she insisted on venturing out to procure food for my family!

Enjoying several decades of working in the public sector, one can imagine how different my weekdays are for me presently for although I have worked from home for the past several years, the quiet of this more countrified environment is challenging for me to say the least!

With the days still quite short, I push myself out of the door to go for a walk before the utter blackness of night, descends. Newbie that I am, I know that with the exception of Shabbos Day, it will be rare for me to see another human being on the road.

I never realized until now how vital it is to connect with other flesh and blood human beings, so if any of you reading this see a solitary woman walking down Sherwood Ridge Road, take a second to wave as you drive by….