Stories of Jerome
Jain -Buddhist Cosmology Dream 12-28-07
In Jain cosmology, the heavens are set up in a multi level system with the lower heavens and the upper heavens.
Jain Cosmology from Religion Facts Online
Jains believe that the universe and everything in it is eternal. Nothing that exists now was ever created, nor will it be destroyed. The universe consists of three realms: the heavens, the earthly realm and the hells.
There are seven levels of heaven in Jain cosmology. The top level, “the Realm of the Jinas” is reserved for liberated souls. The next level down is the realm of the gods.
The earthly realm, or jambudnoa (“Continent of the Rose-Apple Tree”) is divided into seven regions by six mountain ranges. Deliverance and religious merit is possible in three of these regions: India in the south, airavat in the north, and mahavideha in the middle.
The eight hells become progressively colder as they go down.
I had a visual dream today about the heavens. It was multileveled like Jain cosmology, yet it has a very Buddhist twist. I was standing on this plane, and I was taken up to the next plane of existence. I understood that when you die on one plane, you move to the next in an ever present ever changing world of existence.
Each plane of existence was not so much grander than the one before it, but there were clear differences in them as you moved from one level to the next. I was told that you cannot move between the existence planes or influence what was going on below. I had the ability to see cities and towns, and move from place to place, and space to space. I found myself navigating through apartments and gardens. I was able to move from one level [plane] to the next as if floating between the spiritual levels.
It was a technicolor dream of grand proportions. The colors were vivid the sky was bright blue and the temples were incredibly amazing with their sculptures and decorated statues and gardens. There was life and there was death.
I looked upon a calendar like structure, it was almost as if each life was documented and as the soul moved through each plane, they would come to the time where they would leave [each] plane of existence moving upwards towards the uppermost level. At the end of your time of existence on each plane there were temples to celebrate your life and mourn your death.
I do not know if there was an earthbound soul that corresponded to a spiritual soul making their way up through the many spiritual levels, rising to the top most level of shrines and gardens. I could not see below, I was focused on what was going on around me.
You exist on each level in successive and once you complete your time on each level you die, and that is not a bad thing. Eventually you end up on the final level where you find a huge temple with a gigantic Buddha and lakes and rivers, and temples and places to live.
I am familiar with Jain cosmology and with Buddhist tradition. They do not share the same afterlife cosmology which is strange because what I saw was very Jain, but what was the Buddha doing there? Jain and Buddhist tradition are very similar in many ways as when I studied Jainism, Buddhist writings were consulted.
Fern Gully is a jungle habitat that is home to myriads of plant life, flowers and trees like that you would find in any great forest with canopies that hung far above the gulley floor. Jerome lived with the people of fern gulley in caves that were located in the trunks of the largest trees and even dug into large mounds of dirt piled up from the rains and falling debris from the canopy roof. There was a tribe of natives that he was part of – they were his family and he had spent the better part of his life communing with the land and the “people of the land.” Each day on water gathering trips the groups would come upon great waterfalls like no one had ever seen.
Almost like a land of make believe, Jerome would find himself climbing the falls and sitting on top of humungous toadstools and mushrooms, and he would fly about the canopy with the large horseflies that would carry him on their backs to explore far flung reaches of the forests boundaries. Jerome loved this life – there were no attachments to worldly things that most humans are wrapped up in. There is nothing but the hum of the gulley and the sound of falling water and the swaying of the greenery high up above the tribal living grounds.
The jungle fed the people of the land, there were no wars or deforestation, for Fern Gully was so far hidden within the great forest that no human had ever penetrated the sacred land. The tall forest canopy must have been thousands of years old. The gulley animals had never been seen by foreign eyes, nor had any of them fell prey to poachers or human contact. This jungle was pristine in nature and as wonderful as anyone could imagine.
Unlike the native dwellers, Jerome was well traveled. Off to one area of Fern Gulley was a portal that Jerome used to travel to distant lands – it was also a dream portal for that is where Jerome would exit the jungle to visit the lands of many places in his mind. On one occasion Jerome slept the sleep of the deepest kind, and it was in this state that Jerome, accompanied by his friends walked to the portal and as he crossed the threshold, Jerome began to grow physically in size. As he walked down the dirt road he walked by large pumpkins and greens. Soon as he kept walking – the size ration between him and the pumpkin patch changed. At the end of the dirt road Jerome was the same size as any human being on the earth.
The portal led Jerome to the one place he loved to visit the most on earth, the homestead farm of his spiritual family, Joseph, Marta and their daughter Grace. Jerome loved this family, because of what they meant to him.
It was Joseph who led Jerome to the portal road, which was hidden deep within the gardens of the family’s farm. And not anyone was able to neither find nor walk the dirt path – Jerome was special. He could navigate the “universes” very easily because of his spiritual nature.
Grace was standing in the stable, brushing her mare when she looked up from her work after hearing footsteps that startled the mare a bit. She realized who it was walking up the path; Grace dropped her brush and ran with open arms to greet Jerome in a great flurry of joy.
They spun together for a few moments in an embrace that could only be described as sacred. A long time had passed since Jerome had last left Fern Gully to visit them, and Grace was too excited to think for a moment as she dragged Jerome over to the farm house to see her parents. Joseph was standing on the front porch as the two made their way from the stable to the house, a smile began to creep across Joseph’s face as Jerome looked into his eyes and they had at once reconnected. Joseph and Jerome had an unspoken understanding of time and place. Joseph knew of the ability to traverse the universal divide, and it was Joseph who had first taken Jerome into Fern Gulley.
Joseph and Jerome hugged warmly and stood on the porch looking out over the farm, since Jerome’s last visit the farm more than doubled in size and the fields were full of produce, there were cows in the pasture and horses in the stable. It was simple life for them. In most cases the family was incredibly self sufficient and never went into town but to get few supplies and feed.
This solitary life appealed to Jerome, after spending much of his life living in the concrete canyon he sought to simplify his life by getting out of the hectic life and move into a more communal life with the land and the people who fed him spiritually. “A lot has changed here Joseph?” Jerome remarked – “the land provides and we are servants of the land, the harvest was very good this year,” replied Joseph.
Inside the house Marta was busy in the kitchen. She turned from her work on the jamming she was doing as the three of them entered the room; Marta smiled her biggest smile, for Jerome was one of her children. There were few people like Joseph’s family and Jerome was blessed to know them. They provided him with the base of love and acceptance that Jerome needed to pursue his life as he chose. Marta quickly cleared off the table and all four of them sat down over cups of tea to talk about what had been going on in Fern Gulley with Jerome and why he had decided to come back to the farm. Jerome had visited the farm at regular intervals, except this present visit came a lot later than usual, which made Marta think about why he was here now.
No words were spoken to this question, Marta was able to intuit why Jerome was here, and she knew what it was that he needed from them. Jerome stayed at the farm for many days; it seemed that Jerome needed the companionship and community of his family.
Jerome spent the better part of those days talking to Marta and Joseph about his life and how he had come to terms with a great many things in the jungle and it was as if Jerome needed to voice these things to them to clear them off his mental checklist. Grace was busy with her horses for most of the time; she was getting ready for a competition, so they rarely saw each other during the day.
On one specific day of the visit, Marta told Jerome that they were going into the canyon for supplies and to go shopping, something that Marta never did when Jerome was visiting, but he agreed to go with them, as they piled into the range rover, and started the drive into the canyon.
It was a well driven distance before they canyon began to appear on the horizon. As they entered the canyon, Jerome marvelled at the beauty of the towers that extended as far as the eye could see on both sides of the canyon road, towers of great glass and marble reached into the clouds. Great light billboards advertised from above the streets and cars. This was as far from Fern Gulley as Jerome would be.
Marta parked in a canyon lot below the ground and Grace and Jerome found their way to their favourite bookseller as Marta went to do her shopping, Joseph accompanied here to carry whatever it was they needed back to the rover. A relationship had been cultivated between Grace and Jerome and for a time, Jerome and Grace talked about Fern Gulley and the hopes that Grace would one day find her way back there with him, if only to see the beauty of the forest. Jerome and Grace would never marry; they were two different people from two very different places and times. But the time they spent together was sacred in any case.
The family returned to the farm and Jerome was quite amazed at the changes that had come to the canyon, as well, he was ready to get out of the canyon and return to the simplicity of the gulley. Marta knew that Jerome was ready to leave them once again, and Marta brought Jerome into the study and she spoke her truth to him, in no uncertain terms. There were no secrets between them, she kissed him on the forehead and told his to come back and visit soon. Joseph was waiting on the porch for Jerome to exit the house where they said their goodbyes, shaking hands and once again hugging each other.
Grace took Jerome’s hand in hers and they began to walk across the farm into the pumpkin patch, “you’re sure you don’t want to come with me?” Jerome asked her, “not right now, Jerome, I can’t leave the farm right now, but I promise you that I will come visit you very soon.” she walked him as far as she could, until the portal opened up as it beckoned Jerome beyond. They hugged one last time and unclasped their hands, as Jerome turned to walk on.
As he did, he began to change and the bridge between the two universes became visible to him, he crossed the bridge into the gulley as the portal closed behind him, the smell of the gulley had enveloped his senses and his eyes re-adjusted to the gulley lighting from the canopy above.
Funny they knew that Jerome would be returning this day so a great welcome feast was being prepared for Jerome by his native family. Jerome walked through the gulley and washed in the great falls before returning to the camp where his home was built in a tree trunk. Jerome was happy to be home, but he was also happy that he got to visit with Joseph, Marta and Grace. The tribe celebrated with great song and dance that night as Jerome feasted upon great food from the gulley farms cooked by the tribal mothers.
Another Jerome Story
Jerome woke one night from his sleep the branches of the trees slapping up against the windows of his room. The rain was falling, the wind was blowing, so he got out of his bed and ventured over to his window because he heard the voice call out to him “Jerome, it’s me come and let’s go.” He had heard this voice call to him before – it had visited him several times and was unique.
Jerome stood at the windows and reached out with his arms and closed his eyes, as he rose from where he stood, out of the room, out of the house, up, up, up into the firmament that is the heavens above. There his friend was, like Jerome had always known, the face of an angel the voice of peace and eternity, “come let’s fly like the wind the night is young and there are miles to travel before we reach the daylight.”
Intertwining their hands Jerome resting behind him, they took off like a bird for places yet still unknown. From place to place they traveled on the wings of gossamer, their hair blowing behind them the song of the breeze in their ears. They covered much ground in those first late night hours, above the clouds surveying the land.
Jerome was astounded at the sense of calm and peace he felt when he took to the air. It was flight that set him free from the world he lived in by day. They spent many nights flying together, no words needed to be spoken, but the love between them was something Jerome had never felt. He did not know why he was gifted to travel so far and so wide with someone who loved him more than he ever knew before, “why him?”
Around the world they flew by night, visiting great cities and places. He showed Jerome all the secrets of the astral plane and told him of the path he must follow. Jerome knew this as to be the one chance he had to break the chain of life he had been stuck with for so very long. He longed to be free to soar above the clouds and be free from the world that held him so tightly in one place.
Jerome had loved once, with the most pure love he had ever known, he knew the touch that would calm his fears, he knew the love that dare not speak its name, alas, never would they see each other again, and the world saw fit to tear them apart. Sadness and loneliness became Jerome’s constant companion, until the flights began many years after they parted ways.
He spoke to Jerome with a whisper that was music to Jerome’s ears. They dipped beneath the clouds are soaked by falling rain, but it did not matter as long as they were together.
They knew that they were meant to be together, even if the world fought against their union. So there in the air they would fly to places unseen by human eyes, and they knew truths that no one had ever known, they knew what “one love” meant and how they would maintain it.
That night Jerome knew that he was meant to soar, and to love and to explore the far reaches of himself and his thoughts. He would be there to travel with him whenever Jerome wished him to be. Jerome would hear the voice call to him, “Jerome, it’s me come and let’s go!” and once again his eyes would close and he would rise to the love that knew no name with the angel that had no name, it was grace that Jerome was accustomed to feel whenever they spent time together.
In time Jerome’s night flights would become far and few between because his own journey had begun, and so on the odd occasion Jerome sleeps at night, and hears that familiar voice, “Jerome, it’s me come and let’s go” and they would rise above the clouds and travel the world around them…
– Jerome Revisited –
Jerome packed his meager bags and assorted keepsakes and headed off to the campus where he was enrolled for studies. He was to share his basement suite with another student whom he did not know, but the suite was broken up into two spaces. His surrounded by old clothes racks and some old furniture that looked eclectic and right up his alley. The two suites were connected by a common laundry area in a hallway that led to the outside of the house up a common staircase.
Jerome got settled over the first few days, finding his way around campus, meeting his new share mate in the house, although he never went up into the main house, Jerome kept to his own. One afternoon Jerome went to do laundry and he started the machines and thought that he would venture upstairs. Walking through the hallway and up the stairs he did not end up in a house, but in a completely different place all together. Jerome exited the staircase in the corner of the patio of a great house. (There was more to the patio than he had ever imagined) There was a couple who owned the home with their two children, a maternal grandparent a dog and strangely an ape.
Once again, Jerome found commonality with these people as if he had known them for a long time. Jerome found many things that were normal here in this place were not so normal on the earthbound plane. There were numerous aquariums set around the patio with many different species of fish, fauna and animals. It was as if these tanks held a multitude of species for future reproduction and spreading of species to new places. This seemed different to Jerome as the family let him explore the compound. Jerome learned that the dog was a “familiar” and the ape that lived on the periphery of the house between the forest and the house was an “intuit.” This was highly irregular; Jerome had never seen this kind of living situation in all of his travels.
Jerome traveled between these two “locations” on several occasions. He found that there was commonality between his two parallel universes. When he returned home at night after his travels he felt rested and calm. He was learning things from his new friends that he had never known. He later realized that his new friends were “bio-formers.” And Jerome had found a universal portal to this “bio-forming” platform. He had known that earth was in trouble and that expanding bio-life was an immanent need. And his new friends had formed this bio-portal link between earth and other locations in the galaxy.
This was amazing to Jerome, he had never heard of a bio-portal before. When he walked around the bio-home he noticed that things were moving beneath his feet, as if a great ocean expanse existed beneath them. So it was.
This bio-portal sat on a great sea on another planet in an entirely far flung planetary system that had yet to be located by human interplanetary exploration, which was in its infancy. Jerome was preordained to find this portal at some point in his existence and that’s what he was told by his new friends.
The bio-portal was a mechanism for transporting life to other realms of the universe at large. This was all fascinating to Jerome. He had met others from many different realms of existence but this was fantastical. the bio-life that was being cultivated in the tanks around the moon pool were being transplanted on earth-like planets with ocean that could support life it was said that the bio-formers were populating new worlds that would later be discovered by the very same interplanetary exploration. It was as if someone was seeding planets for future colonization to meet the needs of explorers.
Jerome traveled through his portal back home on many occasions sharing this info with his mentors back on earth, funny it seemed the family that owned the home he was living in was uniquely familiar to his bio-forming friends on the other side of the portal, he found this peculiar that he would find a himself living in a basement suite with these people. Yet, Jerome was gifted with his ability to cross thresholds of different places of existence. This was an entirely new trip for him and he spent the better part of his first academic year traversing this stream of universal existence.
At one point he decided that his earthly family should see this new “universe” but each time he attempted to bring the two sides together, they could never met “in-between.” Jerome continued to keep the portal open by visiting it as often as he could. But then came news that the house was to be sold and Jerome would have to find new lodging for himself and his “room mate” friend in the adjacent apartment. He visited the Bio-portal once more and implored his new friends to take him with them – alas, it was not his time to travel “inter-universally” he still had work to do in his own dimension, but he was guaranteed that he would always have access to the portal, and they taught him how and where to find it.
With that Jerome was sent back one last time, as he crossed the portal and descended the stairs into the wash room area of his suite the staircase above him morphed away and became solid, the bio-portal had disappeared, and the staircase that led upstairs was just that a staircase to the first floor of a normal house that he was living in. Grateful for the experience of universal travel, Jerome packed up his clothes and keepsakes and left that location in search of his next residence.
Stories of Jerome – Marge
In his dreams he travels to places seen and unseen. He is gifted with the power to fly about the earth, to see and travel dimensionally and to visit the places he has never seen.
Jerome made a trip into his past, to a time when things were so different. His childhood home appears in the distance, a great big house, in his estimation. It was the first house his parents had purchased after moving south away from the cold.
The neighborhood is full of kids and is close to family who happen to live just blocks away. These were the days when a bicycle is the most important item to him. He would spend hours on his bike traveling from here to there, around and around.
His aunt Marge lives not far away and that is where this visit concentrates today. The house is painted in tropical pink and a well groomed yard surrounds it. Why did he come here today, what was he looking for?
He sets his huffy down on the front porch and rings the doorbell and she answers and invites him in. There is no method to the house, the rooms scattered here and there. He remember that he has visited this house through his childhood before they made the move.
The best part of dream travel is that one can see the passage of time standing in one location as the surroundings change over the years. Upon his first visits to the home there was a huge fire pit in the backyard where they would b.b.q. food. The back yard is a veritable feast of fruit and flowers.
In tropical climes, spending time outdoors is a way of life, hence his traveling by bicycle. Like a flash the fire pit disappears and another room goes up before his eyes. Times change as years pass. Jerome is drawn to the back bedroom suite for some reason. It is quite a large room, with the major dividing wall banked in mirror. There is a queen size bed off to one side of the room, it is very comfortable and clean.
The spirits must be calling him to this place for some reason, but for sure, he does not know why he is here today. He walks through the house once more looking for clues as to why he was called here and by whom.
He remembers Marge’s funeral, and her committal to the ground in the cemetery that he would visit time and time again. Is it she that called him here? To impart a message or just to remember? Jerome is the spiritual medium for the family, he always had been. This was the first time he had heard from Marge in many a year. He cannot remember the date of her death.
The visual she gives him is of family dinners and holidays and playing the piano. They sit in the family room where the television sits and where they would spend countless days together. She reminds him of his past and takes him into the room where he slept and she gives him a mental image of himself as a small child.
Marge is the sister of his father’s mother Jean. Yet on this visit Jean is not present, the energy is missing. But the energy he senses is female he knows the difference. Jerome has not thought about this place in many a year, an anniversary must be at hand for him to be called here to remember.
At some point he knows the visit has concluded because the energy draws back and he is standing on the porch once again with his bicycle, and she has bade him goodbye, he gets on his bike and rides away from the house.
Jerome – Transcendence
Jerome lives on a world of universal creation. The wisdom of ages past serves him well. In his time, the need to label and separate people had come to an end eons ago.
Coming from a world of such division, he questions the way that humanity sees itself and the world that exists around them. His progenitors did not learn the lesson of the law of return. Nor did they learn from their mistakes.
In the intervening centuries, the world would suffer because of men’s and women’s decisions and by their own actions. A world divided is a world separated from itself. There is no wisdom in separation when we all come from the same origin.
Humanity has the ability to transcend its own boundaries if it allowed itself to see the wealth that different humans brings to the discussion of mosaic and melting pot.
The necessity to differentiate, as wisdom speaks is pointless. It requires much too much energy and takes away from the total person who is said to be different.
Where difference was once something to be used against men and women would eventually turn to the respect of personal assets that each person brings to their existence, community and world. Wisdom sees that the labeling and differentiation of population and of peoples was not the right path to walk.
It is not enough to be a resident of a location, but what is most important is that one have a connection to their living planet or biosphere. For if we are not intimately connected to the living process of our biosphere, that biosphere may suffer for lack of attention and care.
Wisdom speaks on the differentiation of religion. What day will come in the near to come time, when realizations are made that the creator of all things speaks and asks for an accounting of piety and observance. Did you keep the path clear, did you help and respect your neighbor, did you care for each other and your biosphere?
Wisdom speaks that many may perish within the division they create for themselves. All will be judged based on their actions towards each other and to their biosphere.
Wisdom of the ages speaks to the affect that until we decide to live together in community, caring for each other and learning the greatest lesson of bio-congruence, we shall all suffer, until we find the common link that connects us instead of standing on issues and differentiations that separate us.
The great lesson that wisdom sees is that we must work towards transcendence, we can be more than we had ever hoped and the biosphere does not need to suffer so. Men and women must work to maintain the world they live on because the children of later ages will be forced into interstellar travel to find locations suitable for humanoid civilizations.
The teachers of interstellar and inter-dimensional lessons have been attempting to make contact with humanoid civilizations and they have not been met with glad tidings. But they carry lessons that humanoid civilizations must learn in order to see themselves through to the next emanations.
It would be utter arrogance to believe that a single biosphere is all that lives in the universe. The creator has spent eons of time in creating worlds to be found, to be traveled to and colonized by whatever civilization figures out how to travel amongst the stars.
But in order to attain such knowledge from interstellar and inter-dimensional peoples, humanity must stop doing what it is doing today on many fronts. Humanity must rise above its kill and conquer attitude, and until generations are cleansed of the kill and conquer attributes, transcendence will remain illusive.
Traveling between worlds Jerome finds that successive generations benefit from the mosaic of peoples that populate his biosphere. There is no longer a need to identify province or language, difference or sameness.
All are united under one path, that is of transcendent life.
Everyone lives to sustain the other. The focus is on life instead of death. Future humanoid civilizations flourish when they have realized that killing generations of people for purely monetary gain goes against all that the creator – created us for. It speaks against and acts against all that is sacred at the universal level.
The dimensional worlds speak to all, when they say that the tribulation is at hand and has begun, the biosphere is purifying its land and proofing its inhabitants. Those that see the wisdom in the suffering will transcend the mundane and human. They will rise above the smoke and fire and from the ashes of destruction new lives must rise.
The creator sees the universe as it revolves and worlds collide and intersect in many ways, dimensions collide and those who have eyes to see it will find it. Those with right vision shall find themselves in successive generations to be able to transcend humanoid existence.
It is not enough to read the words of prophets and sages. It is time for action based on words read and spoken. Through the ages teachers have told us what they see, and have seen. Who in your lineage has the ability to speak for all to tell the universe what he or she has seen or sees? Would would it be that you trust as wise sage for your time, to make an accounting of your sphere?
The age is coming to an end. One must know that the universe moves and we move with it, and we must evolve with that universe or we shall perish. The universe only gives what each human can handle and conspires to assist us in our quest of transcendence.
Generations shall speak wide to the universe about what you failed to see and what you failed to do to attain the greatest gift the universe has to offer you. Wisdom knows what is coming, and what has come before.
Harden not your hearts when the universe speaks to you.
Jerome – Aunty
Aunty lived on top of a mountain, down a long long road named Atkins street. It was a short drive from home on Kennedy drive to aunty’s house where she lived with her husband and daughter. It was a white house that sat on a banking hill and had many levels.
Aunty was a great woman, one of Jerome’s great protectors. Back in the day when they were still family, before the great schism, this is where they would all meet and spend time together. The house had huge rooms and big furniture. BIG furniture. The main family room, never used but for holidays and Christmas had a huge fireplace on one wall and against the front windows was a wooden console cabinet which had a record player on one side and a radio on the other. His cousin Sandy was a dancer and they would attend many dance recitals over those years.
Downstairs was a huge rec room that was specially built from the garage that once was there. The room had a pot belly stove that piped up through the bedrooms and heated the house after its building.
His memory is strong when it comes to this house because he spent many years under its roof. This was forest country as was said before, this was prior to the need to deforest entire areas of trees and forest in the name of consumerism and business.
The back yard was sloped down to a pond that was fed by a running stream that followed the mountain from one end to the other. There were many weeping willow trees on the property not to mention pine and spruce trees.
The best part of aunties house was the pool that his uncle had built into the side of the hill. This is where he learned to swim and where the family would congregate on summer holidays. There was a huge redwood deck that he built next to the pool so that one could suntan next to the pool. It was an amazing space. Times then were simple. He would spend hours skimming the pool because of the weeping willow trees and the bugs that were plenty then.
The kitchen was a nexus point of the house, his aunts and grandmothers and mother would gather in that kitchen and cook fantastical meals for the many family gathered there during summer vacations. They would sit at the king Edwardian table that seated twelve people at once, as was said, everything was BIG then, it seemed to him.
His uncle had a big CB tower on the roof of the house, as he was a trucker, and they would sit and talk to people from all over – over the radio. That was a fad back then, cb radio’s – their family used to make the drive north and south up and down I-95 with their cb radio in the cars they would drive.
There was a field that Sam would grow vegetables in each year and they would pick berries in the fall. Sam was a farmer who lived across the street from aunty’s house. Sam was an apple farmer and owned acres and acres of land covered by apple trees up and down the mountain side. He remembers when Sam would take him up the mountain on his tractor during picking time. It was a most fantastical fall event in their lives.
He remembers one particular fall, getting off the airliner at the airport and being driven up the mountain during the most spectacular fall days he had ever seen. The trees were burning yellows and oranges and the rain was slightly falling, making everything wet and weepy.
The pot belly stove was burning and he remembers the scent of burning wood and the smell of home. He would sit for hours at the poker table [that’s what it was] in the rec room and color in his books with his deluxe crayon set.
There was something specific about this visit that he can’t quite put his finger on suffice to say, after that visit there doesn’t seem to be any further visits to this particular home.
His mother had issues with her siblings as did his father, and after one wedding and the bruising of egos and words spoken, he was separated from all that protected him, and aunty became persona non grata to his family.
As he grew up he could see past the schism of family and he would attempt, throughout his life, to maintain some connection to all the was, alas adults failed to rise to the call of family and he would find himself on the end of a dead phone line…
Jerome – Culdesac
It was a green house they lived in, on a culdesac named Kennedy drive. The house was a split ranch with three bedrooms, an unfinished basement and a huge backyard with a sand pit and a swing set.
Jerome’s best friends lived across the street named Jimmy and Steven. They were a polish immigrant family who were good friends with his parents. It was the most special time of his life, those years before the great move south.
Even at this young age, kids were safe to walk to school following the same path day in and day out. Down the keyhole and up past the old house where the German shepherd lived. This dog was the demon they had to pass every day in order to get to school. Jerome did not escape this demon for he was attacked once as a small boy.
They would walk through the neighborhood up to New Britain Avenue to cross on the way to the covered bus stop where they would survey their lunch boxes and trade treats with each other. Many memories exist in his head about the seasons as they changed from year to year.
Within walking distance of home were the houses of his grandmothers which was great because he could get from here to there within a few minutes of each other. Their goal was Smith School where they all went to school. It was an imposing brick structure complete with a gymnasium, auditorium and art hall.
They would climb the staircase that rose up the side of the great hill where the school sat. Basketball and tennis courts sat at the foot of the hill. During the winters, they would sled and toboggan down the hill on weekends.
Kindergarten was in a small room to the center of the building where two classrooms sat back to back with a common mud room between them. His classroom had a toy kitchen in it where they would play house with little plastic pots and pans and wooden milk bottles in the little aluminum carry rack, which was how real milk was delivered at home.
Mrs. Hesslin was his first grade teacher, she was very popular. There was a further connection to this instructor because his father played softball with her son in those years. Interesting that he still retains these memories where his parents have long forgotten them.
At lunch time he would be asked to go visit the milk lady to get milk for the class in little cardboard containers with a friend. It was a trek through the school to the door which led down to the refrigerators in the basement cafeteria, they would carry the carrier up to the class each day and return it after lunch.
Art was something that was interesting to him then, the room was located to the front of the school, one entire wall was windows that looked out over the hill and to the neighborhood below.
He remembers the distinctive ‘smell of paint,’ the gritty feeling of it in his hands, in reds, blues, yellows, oranges and greens. They would paint on large paper spread out over the desk tables, and sometimes he would even finger paint, it was all quite a messy affair.
There are a few other odd memories which come to mind like the music room that was located in a portable building off to the side of the building near the kindergarten area. They would play instruments like the bells, the guitar and little drums.
It would come to pass at some time, that a production of the Wizard of Oz would be put on by the class and he would eventually get the part of the cowardly lion. How prophetic the film was to his adult life. You never know how little things will impact you later on in life.
After school they would all walk together, the whole lot of them. you would see entire neighborhoods of kids walking down the sidewalk to the crossing guards that would ferry them safely from one side of a busy intersection to another.
On the way they would stop again at the covered bus stop to share goodies from their lunches that were intentionally not eaten at lunch. It was ritual to stop and finish lunch goodies at the end of the day.
Most neighborhoods on the way to school were brick tenement buildings with more than one family living in them and as well, large apartment buildings next door and down the hill from Smith School. That is where his Memere lived for many years. The entire area that was the “neighborhood” was built up on the crest of a great big hill that was terraced below surrounded by lane ways, highways and train tracks.
One particular summer Jerome would get his first bicycle. It was a sparkle blue bicycle with big handlebars, and a white banana seat that had training wheels on it. Soon he would learn to ride without them, and on his birthday in July, his father removed the training wheels from his bike and for the first time, he would free wheel down the street, never being allowed to leave the culdesac. It was that night that he unintentionally ran over one of the kids in the neighborhood with his bicycle, they all thought it was funny…
During the fall the trees would burn with color this was all before the transformation of great green spaces into cement concourses throughout the neighborhood. There was a great respect for nature and of green spaces then. The small town they lived in had not yet been totally industrialized although major industry plants were located not far away.
He remembers winter and falling snow. Walking outside in his snowsuit he watched his father put Christmas lights on the house for decorations. Things were so simple then, a fireplace for heat, an aluminum Christmas tree with the spinning color wheel behind it and common big bulb strings of Christmas lights. One year it snowed so much that they were able to build great big snow igloos in the back yard. Holidays were simple, family was important and friends were the lifeblood of the neighborhood.
One year they would travel to Smith School to sled down the huge white mountain, his brother fell off his sled once and had to get stitches in his head because he was cut by ice. That was a fiasco, he remembers his mother grilling the doctor on call that day hoping that her second son was not butchered by the same doctor who had hurt her father in surgery many years prior. “You better sew my child up correctly and not leave a mark, so help me God…”
They would have Christmas dinner at grammy’s house and so we close with this familiar visual once written about before:
The windows are frosted over, snow is on the ground. The house is hushed with the expectation of guests for a dinner to fit a king. In the grand living room a roaring fire is set. The Christmas tree is alive with colored lights and a thousand ornaments all hand made and delicate. The room is comfy, cozy and warm.
Soon the guests would arrive, entering tonight through the front door, it is a grand occasion, the kitchen is rearranged for the holiday and the mud hut is unaccessible. The glow of the tree, against the frosted windows along with the roaring fire make for a wonderful holiday greeting card.
The table is set with the finest china, and the crystal glasses. There are platters of food, desserts that are fantastical. There are tons of gifts under the tree, and for one last holiday the entire family would be present for holiday dinner. It would be the last one in my minds memory…