In 1984, my parents moved to a retirement community in what was then the wilds of New Jersey. Cornfields and wandering deer surrounded the senior living homes of those who wanted to avoid spending their golden years in New York City. If you had the temerity to set out anywhere after dark, you needed the eyes of an eagle, because there was not a streetlight to be found, and the traffic lights were few and far between. As the area became more and more populous, this began to be a problem. My father had a particular animus for the corner of Union Valley Road and Perrineville Road, which also happens to be the intersection closest to his home. Every time we passed it, he had the same thing to say, “You see this intersection? This is a really dangerous intersection. Four people were killed at this corner. It’s because (he gestures to his left) you can’t see the traffic coming from that side because of the turn in the road. They really should put up a traffic light here. Don’t ever make a left turn at this corner. Promise me you won’t turn left here.” He said these words quite a lot, because in the twenty seven years he and my mother lived there, we passed that corner a lot of times.
My father died in 2013, in California, where he came to live near us after my mother’s death in 2011. Now, we live in New Jersey, part-time in the same apartment in that same retirement community. A few weeks ago, a lot of heavy earth-moving equipment and traffic barriers appeared at the corner of Union Valley Road and Perrineville Road. They are finally putting up a traffic light, some thirty three years after my father declared a need for one. It should be working pretty soon. I can’t wait to make my first left turn onto Perrineville Road.