Little Silver, NJ

I have struggled to write something about this town that won’t sound indulgent and precious. It’s hard.

We have a baby now, and she is brand-new. The littlest silver. And if I didn’t romanticize my hometown before – the nature and the nights, full with sea-air, mist, exploration and imagination – I do now.

I called a friend the other night that I’ve been out of touch with for four years. He and I spent hours as kids driving through the lush, still roads to the ocean, through farmland, to each others’ houses – listening to the same cassette tapes over and over again, drinking coffees we hadn’t yet developed the palate for, me singing, and him listening or playing guitar. And for all of this clichéd teenage-dom, we lived like the world wanted us, like we were part of it.

I asked him if he felt, as I have expressed now in my loony post-partum state, that where we grew up was extra-special.  After a slightly terrifying-to-me pause, he said quietly, “Yes. I’ve found it difficult to explain to people.”

Here’s the thing: everything was innocent, as it is when you are young, forming an identity that you aren’t even aware you’re forming. Even the most debaucherous, most hurtful, or most shameful things you can do at that age are fueled by an innocence that is of a time, and by default, a place. I’ve wondered if anything sets my town apart from any other small town in America – and I’m not sure. I recall it for the ocean and the country roads, and though environment is huge and evocative, ultimately I suspect that this is just how one feels about where they grew up. It is that innocence that I romanticize, and that I associate with Little Silver.

Here is a pic that our friend Mauricio snapped from the train as he was passing through only last week.