This is a photo of the old Mabey Homestead, on Route 202 in Lincoln Park. It was built in the latter part of the nineteenth century by my great grandfather, William Mabey.
When Winter Time Came
By Richard Mabey Jr.
When I was a boy growing up in the old Mabey Homestead, it was particularly winter time that brought a certain warmth and comfort to heart and soul. My great grandfather, William Mabey, had built the house around 1880. He more or less, built the entire two-story farmhouse by himself.
My bedroom was the front bedroom on the right hand side of the second floor. This was the very same bedroom that my great uncle, Earl Mabey, grew up in. Sadly, Earl was killed in battle during World War I. When I was a young boy, it brought to me a certain eerie feeling to think that this had been the very bedroom that my great uncle had grown up in. But at the same time, there was a certain comfort in knowing this.
The side windows of my old bedroom faced toward the east. The old Mabey Homestead faced toward the south. It stood on the foothills of the famous Hook Mountain along New Jersey’s historic Route 202.
When I was in grade school, the neighborhood kids and I were blessed with an array of winter activities. There was quite a hilly slope at the end of Mabey Lane. The path at the end of the country lane, made for a great sleigh riding trail. The path sloped for quite a long distance. It ended at the tow path of the old Morris Canal.
We would also go ice skating on the old canal. The stretch of existing Morris Canal that traverses through Lincoln Park is one of the longest remnants of the historic canal. Nearly a mile in length, it was great fun to start at the Lincoln Park and Towaco border and skate, in an easterly direction for just about an entire mile. You could really gather up quite a bit of speed in that amount of distance.
Then there were the times that the neighborhood kids would build elaborate snow forts. We would have these enduring snowball fights that would go on for hours.
Of course, there were the less fun activities of shoveling the walkway and driveway. Then, there was the task of removing the icicles that would hang from the roofing of the sides of the house.
The best was coming home to the warmth of the kitchen and sipping hot chocolate. I remember that I had this big, thick, heavy quilt that my mom had made for me. There was a certain comfort in falling asleep beneath this warm quilt. Sometimes, I would think of the deer, the squirrels, the chipmunks that abounded in the forest behind the old Mabey Homestead, prior to falling into sleep. In the midst of a torrid snowstorm, it would bring sadness to my heart, knowing that these poor creatures were struggling with the cold winds and drifting snow. I would pray for the good Lord to look over all of the forest animals as I drifted into sleep.