Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Big Rock #ThrowbackThursday

Me & My Boys on The Big Rock | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My two oldest with me visiting my
old playground: The Big Rock
Old neighbors, relatives, and friends will all recognize the images in this post. They are of one of my favorite places in the world: The Big Rock. It's where my siblings and I spent much of our childhood.

In the mountains of Northern New Jersey, there used to be a dirt road in the shape of a circle. It wasn't a perfectly geometrically round circle. But if you started at the top of the hill coming up from the bus stop on Clinton Road, made a right walking toward the Myers' house, followed the curve around the big tree in front of the Tierney's house to go up the hill, you'd arrive at the back of the circle. That's where I grew up and that's where The Big Rock lives. If you kept going, turning left at the Nicara's house, the road would lead right back to the top of the hill by the Schott's house.

The Big Rock was a fort, a restaurant, home base during marathon games of tag, a high-rise apartment complex, a school. I left my doll on it overnight on more than one occasion. My mom saved her every time. My knees and elbows were skinned multiple times by The Big Rock. My first kiss happened behind The Big Rock.

Playing on The Big Rock in the early 80s | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My cousin, me & my sister around 1980.
The Big Rock was as responsible for shaping the person I became as were my relatives, neighbors, friends, elementary school teachers, and public television. Only my parents had more influence over me.

That is why, when given the opportunity when my two oldest were young tots, I had to take a picture of them with me on The Big Rock. As many times as AnnMarie and I played house on The Big Rock with our baby dolls, it seemed only right that I visit with my actual, real live children.

But then I had one more son. My youngest has not yet been to The Big Rock. I hope someday we can take one more picture there. Although, I understand that today things are different. I heard the roads are paved and there are houses inside the circle where The Big Rock lives. But if The Big Rock remains, we'll do our best to make one last visit. It's the least I can do.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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