My Old Ho-Ho-Kus Street

Gilbert Road, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Gilbert Road, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, U.S.A.
It’s just a quiet suburban street, like millions of others in the world.

But this one’s my street, where I grew up. My mother lived here for fifty-four years, until last year when she moved to assisted living.

This is the street where my late brother Rob and I rode our bikes around the block in the summer and went sledding down the hill in the winter. It’s the street where we ran through neighbours’ yards with our friends and played kick-the-can long into the summer twilight, until it got dark and Mom called us inside.

It’s the street where we walked to and from school twice a day, from kindergarten through eighth grade. (How did our mothers do it, having us home for lunch every day?) It’s the street my father drove up twice a week when he picked us up for his divorced-dad visits.

It’s the street I can no longer say is mine technically, but I can always say is mine in my heart.


For the past nine days, Clive and I have been running non-stop in and around Ho-Ho-Kus. It’s been so strange, reading my favourite Paris blogs (listed on my blogroll) about everything blooming in France, when the trees here were still mostly bare.

Yesterday was our first sunny, spring-like day. In between appointments, I took a few photos as we drove around town. Reddish buds have appeared on tree branches, and daffodils are poking their heads above the ground. Today it’s drizzly and mid-40’s again. Brr!

A few people who read this blog also grew up in Ho-Ho-Kus.

Amanda, if you’re out there, these are for you and your “82”:

Carlton Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Carlton Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Amanda's "82"

Amanda's "82"

And for my friend Eleanor, these are for you and your “710”:

Warren Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Warren Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Eleanor's "710"

Eleanor's "710"

We’re headed to Washington, D.C, this weekend, then on to Paris.

Until then, I’ll share a few more photos and memories from this little New Jersey town.

23 Responses

  1. Beautiful… I almost forgot how beautiful some American houses are… I miss that!! Looking forward to seeing you here in France soon…. Take care, Leesa

  2. I love eastern style houses as they are so loaded with charm, unlike L.A. master planned communities. Your house looks like a lovely place to grow up.

  3. Hi Carol,

    My old home looks quite attractive. It appears as if quite a bit of work was done in the room that my brothers slept in. New windows and I think the roof was raised. Very nice looking house. It was a nice house to grow up in. Several of the trees have been removed: the large maple trees in the front yard that were quite mature when we lived there. We have taken down several of the trees in our yard for the same reason. Trees, too, get old and need to come down.

    I am seeing the buds form on trees around town and campus, and I know we are heading into spring because it is time for the tree pollen and then means antihistamines for me! My daffodils are coming up and a few in sheltered areas are beginning to bloom. The snow drops are finished and the crocuses have been in bloom for the last 10 days. Forsythia is coming out all around town and is usually ahead on campus because of all the brick buildings.

  4. I always find it so strange returning to childhood places-everything seems so small like I’m Alice in Wonderland, especially my old school.

  5. What a wonderful little street, and the home where you grew up looks so charming! I hope some nice people bought it from your mother, and that it is well cared for. Hope your mother is doing well; I know it means so much to both you and her, these visits.

    Have a great weekend in Washington with your son!

  6. THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting the photos of Carlton Ave and my “82”!!! I teared up when I saw them – I haven’t been back in over 4 years and I miss it so much! I can’t wait for my parents to see. Our house has also had some work done – we were lucky we sort of knew the people who first bought it from my parents, and the neighbors to the right keep us up to date on the goings-on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  7. Thanks, Leesa, Belette, Linda, and Kim – I appreciate your comments (and yes, Mom’s doing really well). Eleanor, your house does look great. Amanda,, you are so welcome — I’m thrilled you’re ‘out there’ and liked the photos! 🙂


  8. My childhood memories include the period 1949-1954 when we lived at 50 Gilbert Road.

  9. Leigh, thanks for your comment. That is so cool about your also having lived on Gilbert Road!

    My parents moved there in February 1954, so there’s a chance they met your family. By the time my brother and I were running around the neighbourhood, the couple at #50 had the surname Grill (maybe they’re the ones who bought it from your family). If the Grills had any children, they were already grown and out of the house. I never saw the inside.

    There’s a lovely woman who lives there now, and the house and yard always look great. She told me last year she had lived there and known my mother for 36 years.

    Cheers and thanks for stopping by.

    • The Grills lived next door to us, to the north, before they bought #50, and the Naisers (Nazers) lived next door to the south, 46 Gilbert Road. At the corner of Glendon and Gilbert lived the Stripes. We moved up to Darien, CT after life at #50.

  10. Leigh, thanks for this! I was in error with the numbers and the Grills were indeed one up from your family.

    The same family still owns #50, now one of the sons. That’s a great house and fabulous back yard.

    I wonder if our paths ever crossed in Darien. I’ll send a separate e-mail. Thanks again for your comments!

  11. This is wonderful! 🙂 And what wonderful and warm comments, too.

  12. Thanks, Karin – glad you visited here and appreciate your kind comment as well.

  13. My parents lived in Ho-Ho-Kus, in the same house, from 1952-2004. I have great memories of growing up in this wonderful little town, especially riding bikes and walking to town with my sisters and friends. Playing on the field or playground at HHK Public. I haven’t been back since 2005 but will again some day.

  14. Lois, welcome! and thanks so much for your comment and sharing your wonderful Ho-Ho-Kus memories. It’s great your parents lived there for so long and wasn’t it fantastic the way we could all ride bikes and walk to town!

    Cheers and thanks again – and enjoy your next visit to our special town.

  15. Hello!
    I came across your blog in researching what a “Cheelcroft home” is all about. My husband and I are looking to move to a new area and are considering Bergen County. I have never been to Ho Ho Kus nor had I ever heard of Ho Ho Kus, but in looking through real estate sites and now finding your sweet memoirs of Ho Ho Kus, I am sold on wanting to live there. It seems like a little secret gem nestled in Bergen County. Thanks for your stories about the neighborhood you grew up in; ironically I love a house on Gilbert Avenue! I am looking forward to reading more about your neighborhood. Now, all I have to do is go visit!!!

  16. Aimee, hello and welcome! Thanks so much for your lovely comment — I’m so happy to know you’ll visit Ho-Ho-Kus and I hope you and your husband find what you’re looking for there.

    As you’ll see from the comments on my various posts about the town, I’m not alone in thinking it’s a lovely place — it seems most everyone feels the same way about it.

    Cheers and good luck to you! Thanks again.

  17. I lived in Ho-Ho-Kus from 1960-64. I remember the downtown merchants letting the school children use tempera paint to paint Halloween pictures of their store front windows. Also I remember the children participating in a real parade through downtown Ho-Ho-Kus. I knew the Stripes and was pleased to see someone else mentioned them above. Yes, very fond memories. Wonderful small town.

  18. Susan, hello and thanks so much for your comment.

    The Ho-Ho-Kus Halloween parade and window-painting contest seems to be one of the greatest shared memories of those of us who grew up there during those years 🙂 The Strypes lived on the same street we did — indeed a wonderful family.

    Really appreciate your sharing your memories. Cheers and thanks again.

  19. Hi – My sisters and I lived in one of the 10 houses in your magic triangle on Glendon road from 65 – 72. The children names you have posted must have been the family of the previous owners. Nancy lived 2 houses down and was around my age. Jody lived on the other side of us on Blauvelt, he was a year older than me. The children that I remember on Gilbert on our block were Lynn who was in my class and I think she had an older brother Rob. They had the BEST treehouse.

    I lost myself one night reading the posts to your site. Vivid memories specific to the “triangle” include our home made go cart that we use to ride down the hill around our corner on Blauvelt, my mother sending us out of the house to walk up the hill with our letters to Santa Clause to drop in the mailbox at the corner of Blauvelt and Gilbert, playing catch, stickball, football on Glendon with my friends who lived on Sheridan because their street was too busy.

    Thank you so much for enabling people to post all their memories so others we could all reflect. I have only been back to the area once since 1972 for our HHK ’74 reunion, so its wonderful to be able to visit virtually.

  20. John, hello and thanks so much for your wonderful comment and memories.

    It’s really great to hear you lived in one of the houses! From your comment, it sounds like the beautiful corner house where Karl, Linda, Jeffrey, and Susie had lived previously. Our group of kids wore down a path behind that house (along the side of the garage) then into our next-door neighbour’s back yard and into our yard or Gilbert Rd. (or into Jody N’s back yard on Blauvelt!). My friend Renee lived across the street on the Glendon/Blauvelt corner and we could get from her driveway to my back yard in only a few seconds. Wonder if you and your sisters ever did something similar.

    The family you remember on Gilbert were also friends — their Rob was, I think, a year younger than my brother Rob. I was class of ’66 at HHK School, my brother class of 1970, so perhaps didn’t have the chance to know your family (unless your sisters were/are older?).

    Love your memories — the go-cart down the hill (we rode our Flexible Flyer sleds down Gilbert Rd. …), the mailbox up the hill, and oh those games of stickball and catch with kids of all ages.

    Thanks so much for sharing your comment — am sure others will read and remember their own wonderful experiences.

    Cheers and all the best.

    • Hi Carolyn, my Mom remembers the path you mention when we first moved in. It reminds me of the paths I had through the yards across the street from our house to the houses on Sheridan where my friends lived. She remembers the 4 children who lived in our house but Renee’s family must have moved around the same time. A family of Saudi descent lived in her house on the corner when we were there. I was the oldest of my siblings so I benefited the most from spending my childhood in HoHoKus. It really was the best place to grow up. Thanks again for allowing us all to relive the memories.

  21. John, please tell your mom thanks for sharing her memories too 🙂

    Our kids’ path through the yards definitely sounds similar to you and your friends’ going across/through to and from Sheridan Ave. (I think we called it ‘cutting through’ …) Good times. And yes, Renee’s family did move as well. The family who moved in put the large addition on the second story on the Blauvelt side of the house.

    Thanks so much for your comments! Cheers.

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