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by David Todd McCarty | Saturday, April 23, 2016

It’s a strange thing to lose a town, especially one in which you are currently living, but that seems to be the case for the town I’ve called home for almost 20 years. Many of my neighbors have been here for as many as eight generations.

The village of Goshen, New Jersey was first settled in 1693 by Aaron Leaming who raised cattle on the land. By 1710, there was a settlement and sometime around 1725, my home was built. It’s called the Tavern House and was a tavern and stagecoach stop during the mid to late 1800’s. At the end of my road, which dead ends into the marsh, the Garrison and Harker shipyard stood. Between 1859 and 1898, twenty five ships of record were built as well as a much larger number of smaller crafts.

In addition to the many old homes, Goshen is home to The Goshen Schoolhouse, which was built in 1872 and is in the process of being saved from destruction, as well as the Goshen Methodist Church that also happens to contain an historic cemetery. The church is currently up for sale.

It’s not one thing that’s caused this slow demise. One could argue that it’s simply progress. But after 300 years, you’d like to think there would be enough to keep it going.

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Originally posted Jan, 2005

We’d been hearing for several days about the snowstorm. They made it sound like it was going to be quite a doozy. Of course, if it’s going to be more than a few inches in our neck of the woods, they start calling it a blizzard. It comes complete with graphics and a name. As in, “The Blizzard of 2005” or “Storm of the Century.”

So, everyone was out buying snow shovels, salt, milk and bread, like we were all going to be holed up for weeks. But while everyone else was hunkering down for the storm, Bob had different plans. He wanted to go cut wood.

My friend Bob just moved here with his family from Washington State. Where he’d been living for the past ten years, it’s a little more wild than our little corner of South Jersey. The land is harder, the trucks bigger and the people tougher. Or at least that’s the impression I get. The night before, we’d been standing outside looking up at the night sky, when Bob commented that he didn’t think it was even going to snow.

“Really,” I said. “What makes you think it’s not going to snow?”

“Well,” he said, “Look at that moon.”

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Originally posted in 2005.
When I was in grade school, we had a genius who lived in my closet and smelled of garlic. He lived on the third floor of our house, slept at odd hours of the day, and kept his mail in our cereal cabinet. It’s a credit to my absolute belief in the normalcy of my family, that I didn’t find this strange in the least.
 
The genius and I shared the third floor, which was basically a converted attic. His bed was near a large walk-in closet and that is where he kept most of his processions including his TV. Most nights, while I was trying to fall asleep, he would be watching TV. The light would emanate from inside the closet like some weird Close Encounters moment, backlighting his inert body. The sound would be just loud enough to be distracting, but not loud enough to be entertaining.
 
How he came to live with us escapes me now, but what I do know is that my father had known him for years, and the genius, being without a place to live at the time, had been invited to come live with us. His name was Tom.

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