Saturday morning a man knocked on the door and introduced himself as a previous tenant of this house that Tamar and Dan have been renting for the past five years. This was once a carriage house behind the big mansion. It has a long history, apparently, as both a house for the carriages and horses as well as their caretaker. Because the style of this house, the carriage house, is so different from the main house, he thought it might have been built before the big house. Usually the style of the carriage house mimics the main house. The original owners of this estate were the Mills family. There is a big, rambling forest park, 119 acres of hiking trails in Montclair where I’ve been often with Tamar, Dan and Damian. It’s called Mills Reservation and was donated by the Davella Mills Foundation in 1954. It’s a great park to walk dogs and I always miss Lila when I’m there.
There are many interesting features in this house now that are remnants of those days when horses and carriages were parked here. The visitor gave us a history of the estate. When he lived here with his wife and young child, in the 70s, the main floor was not fixed up as it is now and they lived in very cramped quarters upstairs. The original owners had a huge piece of property, it went all the way to the road in back. Apparently, according to the visitor, the wife couldn’t have children and devoted herself to gardening. In the winter you can see terraces up behind this house where extensive gardens were. A portion of the back part of the original piece of property has since been sold and another house built on the road behind the house.
I wonder what it would be like to go back to the house were I grew up. It was sold about fifteen years ago, after my father and step-mother died. I used to dream about that house often. It represented home. More interesting to me would be to go to the apartment and lofts I lived in in Manhattan. The city has changed so much over the years I have been away. I did once go back to take photos from the outside of the various places I have lived in New York. I do go to visit friends who still live in the same building on Spring Street where I lived for three years. I guess I’ve just moved on.