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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 9, 2000. All rights
Between the Lines
We have received yet another letter in response to
Foote Edelmann’s July 12 article on the Sourland Mountains. This
of mail surprised us — usually a paper has to write something
about sewers or schools or means of controlling the deer population
to generate mail like this. Edelmann’s article not only struck the
fancy of readers treasuring the last remaining natural treasures in
our densely populated state, but it has also sparked some poetic
— this week’s letter writer reports that she and her husband built
their house not with their hands but with their hearts.
We should not be so surprised. As our Summer Fiction issue attests,
we have plenty of poetic readers picking up our paper. We are
this Thursday, August 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble to
celebrate those poets. We hope you will join us.
I picked up a copy of U.S. 1 to read on the bus, and
the word "Sourland" caught my eye. What a treat! For 25 years
my late husband and I lived one mile beyond the top end of Hollow
Road, on 73 acres which we bought in about 1965, when it was fairly
cheap. We built (not with our own hands, but with our hearts) a pale
pink brick house with sage green trim. I recall that day when we made
our weekly visit to see what progress the builder had made. It was
just "framed," in the center of the cleared acre — the
raw wood looking so unseemly — and I cried out, "We’ve spoiled
But somehow, when the house was finished, it seemed to disappear!
Something about the green and pink just canceled each other. And when
it was finished, my husband, who had a Fulbright in Italy to study
Italian poetry, put up on the outside of the fireplace wall a marble
panel, saying "Sempre caro me fu quest’hermo colle." (Ever
dear to me was this solitary hillside.)
We spent every weekend roaming the woods during the two years the
builder worked on the house. The builder was a dear man — he
after finishing it. He had specialized all his life in building barns,
and the gray-green shingles of our mansard roof somehow resemble the
I’m 84 now, and live in a retirement community 55 minutes from our
Sourland home. I would have been heartbroken to leave; but, happily
for me, my daughter is as fond of the place as I am. Instead of
money after my death, I gave her half of my husband’s estate, and
she gave it back to me in payment for the house and land. She is our
only child — she and her husband have no children. She has bought
some cheap "land-locked" acreage next to ours (hers), so that
she can leave more land to expand the mini-Appalachian Trail that
some people hope to extend across the Sourland.
She has taken all three Lyme-tick shots, and, still bundled up and
sprayed with tick-killer, she spends all possible time hiking through
the woods and working outside to keep wilderness from reclaiming the
I often visit them, and I think they are very happy. So am I.
Meadow Lakes, Hightstown
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