Estaugh Avenue

I was born in eastern Pennsylvania. My family moved into 112 Estaugh Avenue in Haddonfield, New Jersey around 1967, when I was nearly 2 years old. A year or two later we moved across the street to 115 Estaugh. Another year or so after that moved across town to Center Street in 1970, just after I turned 5.

Rediscovering my Forgotten Past

For a few years I didn't go back, but then as I got old enough to ride my bike farther from home I discovered the old neighborhood on one of these rides. Each time I would cruise through on my bike I had a Twilight Zone feeling that I was suddenly much larger than I was; everything on that block had been so big when I lived there, but now it felt so small — as if the entire street was a 3/4 sized replica of a normal street, or I was suddenly much larger than I was normally. I would ride slowly through, but would not stop, now wanting to break the spell of being there. Though there were many children in the area that were my age I didn't get close to any of them in junior high or high school, so there was a 4 block square around the intersection of Estaugh and Redman Avenues that existed in another world for me.

The surreal feeling was compounded a few years later when I got into Junior High School and all the kids from Elizabeth Haddon joined the kids from Central and Tatum elementary schools in one building. I felt another strange sense of recognizing a world that I somehow lived in, but in an alternate reality. I felt like there had been a disturbance in the continuum of my life that had marked me, but in some way that I would never be able to understand. I was aware of my current life, but then there was a shadow life that I could have lived had I stayed at my old house and gone to school at Elizabeth Haddon. It was a disconcerting feeling, but I didn't know how to let it go. There was also something distant in time for this place. While there was no gap in time between living in one house and the other, it felt to me like Estaugh Avenue existed in a different time, and my presence there took on the vague recollection and persistent feeling that I have since heard associated with a past life memory.

Later still I was shown the house where we lived in Villanova PA, and also on Ardleigh Street in Philadelphia. I was told that I had lived here, but had no recollection. It further made this whole sense of 'where I was from' more complex for me. I had something of the feeling of a displaced person. Not because I didn't like where I lived, but because I had a sense of connection to places that I could only recall in hazy images, if at all.