You could miss it. Ridge  Road is high ground, and the Blossom Road entrance to Pine Ridge is not through across Ridge. I can’t say how many times I drove past myself, and I lived in that town for half my life, more or less. Blossom terminates at Ridge on a little down slope just half a block past the high school.

Everybody was somebody in Pine Ridge, but then again that could be said for most of the people in that well lit town. Funny how powerful stories are. Loose lips sunk ships, our parents believed until it was too late. 

The county was run by the party, and the party was run by the same people who owned the MIC. What is martial law? We were kids, not heard, and only seen when we screwed up. We learned to be invisible before learning to ride a bike. We learned to swim before anything, except perhaps toilet training. 

We were not somebody. We lived on Ridge about  hundred yards past the easily missed unmarked entrance to Pine Ridge. We had no story. The stories were all on the other side of our back fence in Pine Ridge. We snuck in through a hole in our back fence too small for adults. The high school kids had to struggle to cut through but few did, as it was not really a short cut to school...Blossom Road was quicker. 

We were not somebody and we were not there long after Kennedy got shot, but Pine Ridge stayed put. The Cold War raged on. The thing was that winters were half as bad in Pine Ridge as they were at the south end of Waterman, only two miles east, where we moved in 1964. 

We all could swim then, and we had to because the water was swift and deadly cold. I had barely turned seven, when the seven of us left the two bedroom one bath on Ridge for the early spring on the estuary for the four bedroom three and a half bath wreck on the river. We were out of place on Ridge, and Marines were out of fashion. Oswald didn’t get to say much at all. What the MIC knew and when the MIC knew it is still up for grabs. We just lived in the belly of that beast.

Pine Ridge stayed put, but all the pieces that had been assembled shifted, and continued to shift, almost imperceptibly, as the invisible hand worked its Cold War magic to the MiC’s cadence. 

The other entrance to Pine Ridge was just as easy to miss on Avenue Of Two Rivers, and was how I entered and exited after we moved. Because everyone I knew was in Pine Ridge, I was there a lot, especially in the winter. I hated winter on the water. The house was freezing, and the wind blew right friends in Pine Ridge were warmer and better fed. I would have stayed there all winter if I could have. But we were not them, and never were. We had no story. 

Pine Ridge will not wash away in a storm, but the MIC is gone...and so are we. The people who live in Pine Ridge now mostly know nothing about what was what and who was who. Our part of Cold War history remains unwritten, but evidence of what was then exists strongly in our present. 

Bury my heart there, if you can find it.

Views: 83

Comment by J.P. Hart on December 24, 2018 at 12:04pm

Way cool!
(Now I can wear my Frank Sinatra lid and not feel like a walking antique)


OM is horsing around with his manual garden sprayer and ground pine nuts...Gloria's winding down the staircase and at the top of her lungs (awesomehoneymustard! Perfect soprano!) singin' Gloria! Gloria!


Comment by Robert B. James on December 24, 2018 at 4:06pm

    Thank you Dr. Hart.  Frank wore that sky and was, like Springsteen... ambitious and  hard working...a sex symbol for his generation, but neither did much for me sexually...though I do love hats. The  Sinatra look is never out in urban NJ, which is more than half the state. 

     I never saw Sinatra, but his father hung out on Barley Point, in between the two houses we lived in as kids. Sandy pretty much wiped the place clean, but now is well in the process of bing rebuilt...on stilts. A 25’ x 40’ lot sold for nearly half a million last summer on Barley Point last summer. 

     What the hell is worng with antique...don’t they call that vintage? 

      It is a good one. I’m not freezing cold, and not driving. Merry to you JP, and yours.



Comment by Tom Cordle on December 25, 2018 at 9:06am

Vintage – that's the name of my current band. We don't cover Sinatra, but we do a lot of the old standards – when the audience is old enough. But mostly, we do classic rock and classic country Sixties to Nineties, and the young'uns are quite content to hear that and long for the days when rock was rock and country was country, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

PS It took me about half0way through before I figured out you weren't talking about the real Pine Ridge – bury my heart in Michigan and bury my knees in Tennessee.

Comment by Robert B. James on December 25, 2018 at 3:19pm in pieces! 

Comment by catch-22 on December 26, 2018 at 12:00pm

The geographical twist you take here is most appreciated.

As for hart’s walking antiques...lotta wily wisdom in those, I’ve found.

Anyway, thanks for this, Robert B. James. Here’s to staying warm, staying put, head above water.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 26, 2018 at 7:54pm

"Everybody was somebody in Pine Ridge," That could be said for every little community in the country then.  The sad thing was that most of them didn't know it. So many were intimidated by so little.

Comment by Robert B. James on December 26, 2018 at 11:52pm

Thanks C22 and RR for your comments. 

I’m warm high and dry!

    I’m not sure about Pine Ridge or the rest of the country now or then, but the big wigs of the top secret MIC operation lived in Pine Ridge, not us. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 27, 2018 at 5:26am

I'm sorry, my previous comment was an off-topic tangent.  It was along the line, "You are somebody" meaning everyone is important.

This link is about a St. Paul, Minnesota restaurant, the Sioux Chef, featuring a "pre-reservation" menu.  I found it doing an MIC Pine Ridge search.

MIC in medical jargon stands for minimal inhibitory concentration.  That is the lowest concentration of an antibiotic that will inhibit the growth of a bacterium.  It's useful in the decision about which antibiotic to use.  That was the meaning that jumped into my head when I saw MIC in your piece.  I've been retired 13 years and SOB still stands for "shortness of breath".

Comment by Robert B. James on December 27, 2018 at 7:38am

RR: thanks. A full third of my MA was supposed to be medical history, but we had no one the two schools that shared the program to teach it. Dr. Maher, the wonderful kid who ran the joint History department, neglected what he was not well versed in. Nobody cared much about what the history department was doing or not doing in Newark...or anywhere else as far as I can tell. Historians who stick to truth don’t work much...medical history is a horror show. Thank you for the tid bits. I’d read bits about medical history all day to make up for what I never got. Most of my medical history was learned as a patient starting almost five decades ago. What little we got in the program led me to conclude that blind devotion to a status quo kills no more today than it has in the past. 


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