The People & Stories program based in Lawrenceville and the subject of the accompanying story encourages people from all background and communities to verbally recount and share moments of their lives.

The program also will encourage a written response to a shared story, as is the case with Tyler Wilson, who wrote “Special Place” at the Albert M. “Bo” Robinson Assessment & Treatment Center in Trenton:

by Tyler Wilson

There is this one picture that best reminds me of my childhood years. My grandmother has it framed and sitting on one of her bookshelves. It is a picture of me in a little white tuxedo standing in the grass looking back with a little grin on my face, hair lightly-colored brown and skin very tan. I must have spent a lot of time at the beach that summer. I couldn’t be more than three or four years old. Anyway my grandmother tells me that this picture was taken that day she and my grandfather renewed their vows. But that’s the least significant part of the picture to me. Although I must admit I was looking awfully dapper and clean that day, what strikes out to me the most is where the picture was taken — a place that I will always hold near and dear to my heart, my own special place.

My special place is my grandparents’ old house. This was the house that I grew up in. It was a big two-story, four-bedroom and two-bath house with a wooden spiral staircase and also a finished basement. The house was painted sky blue, my grandmother’s favorite color, and it even had a pool connected to it, with a big wooden dock, not to mention the sizeable piece of land it sat on. …

… It was very secluded on an old country road, with the neighbors miles away. My grandparents built the house themselves.

Whenever I look at this picture, I am able to reminisce about all the fun I had as a child. All the time free-roaming around the yard. Every day seemed like an adventure to me. This was where I learned to walk, how to talk, how to swim, how to ride a bike, even how to throw and catch a ball. I was so innocent back then. It’s a shame that we grow up so fast. As I got older and times got rough, I would find myself driving down this old country road to get out of my head a little bit, to try to feel as innocent and care free as I was as a little boy. Over the years the grass became overgrown. No one every bought the house, and it was vacant for years, until one day the State finally knocked it down. Although it may no longer be standing, and I will no longer be able to see it again, I will always have that picture of me in my white tuxedo as a little boy. To me, that is worth more than anything in this world.

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