My parents bought the house on the corner of Rumsey and Spring roads in 1954. A World War II veteran, my father used the G.I. Bill to help finance the purchase. Having lived only in apartments in the Bronx, he was immensely proud to be a homeowner. He became a proud Yonkers resident, too.
Dad loved to walk and he loved walking with me and our dog, Ruby, up and down Rumsey Road. The three of us walked together almost every evening. As we walked, he taught me how to march like a soldier. He’d call out “Hup two, three, four!” and I’d march in time. Then he would order “About face!” and I’d turn around, just like the soldier Dad had been.
Rumsey Road’s special feature was the “islands” in the middle of the road. My friend, Sharon, and I spent endless hours walking from one island to the other, jumping on the grass and playing pretend games. Sharon lived almost directly across the street from me, and for a week or two we tried sending one another Morse Code messages by flashing our bedroom lights to each other. I don’t think we actually figured out the other’s message, but it was fun.
Down the block on Spring Road lived the Chin family. I’d often ride my bike or walk over to play with one or more of the Chin sisters. Mr. and Mrs. Chin always welcomed me.
In the fall, we kids would walk down the hill where there was a huge chestnut tree and compete to find the biggest chestnuts on the sidewalk.
In the winter, Spring Road next to our house was a sledding paradise. As early as our parents would let us out of the house, a bevy of kids would bring out our sleds, walk them to the top of the hill and steer down almost to Rumsey Road. Some kids used the round silver saucers to whirl downhill, often crashing into one another. Up and down the hill for hours, we all screamed and laughed in the joy of a winter’s day. It was extra special if it were a “snow day” off from school!