Dispatches: The 804

Usually, my Dispatches posts deal with me traveling out in the world someplace.

However, this week I’m devoting this Dispatch post to that little place Stuart Sipahigil likes to call Close To Home.

How close? Well, as close as it could get – The 804, as I often call it.

As in, when I send a note to my wife: How’s everyone at the 804 today?

As I’ve been saying recently, we’ve been in the last few moments of selling this home and buying a new home. After a long wait, it’s finally going to happen.

The moving vans will be pulling up today. Fingers crossed, we’ll be closing on the new house by the end of the week and moving in Saturday.


It’s a lot of moving parts for a family with three little kids, two dogs and seven years worth of memories under this roof.

I jokingly say the 804 became the most expensive bagel run I ever made – because it was while picking up bagels earlier one morning that I saw the open house ad in the real estate section of the free community newspaper.

I showed the ad to my wife, and she immediately said we should go look at. It was in the neighborhood we wanted (her sister lived around the corner) and it had the “look” she wanted. As soon as my boots hit the porch, I knew I was in trouble.

It was exactly the type of house we, especially Leslie, wanted to start a family in.

The open house walk-through was a formality. Instead of going to see Million Dollar Baby that evening as planned, we left the showing and went to a diner, where we usually make big decisions. Later that night, we put an offer in on it.

Like all first-time buyers, we probably didn’t negotiate enough, and probably spent to much. But it was all good, we were ready for it.

Leslie took those white walls we saw on the walk-thru and, with her vision, created a warm home based in autumnal colors. Kind of fits us.

In the warm orange breakfast nook hangs a painting we bought from a street vendor in Rome, our last big trip before having kids.

It’s in this neighborhood that we watched the season change from our big front porch, where we sat and read and played with the kids. While we are excited about the new house – and the acre of yardspace that will come with it – the 804 will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s the first house Leslie and I bought together, the first one we (well, she) decorated, the first one we brought our babies home to, where we laughed and fought and dined and had parties.

The yard of the 804 is no bigger than a postage stamp. When I cut it, it’s an hour from when I pull the lawnmower back to when I push it back into the garage. Now, I’m looking for a riding mower as the new lot will be over an acre.

At times, the lawn and I have battled. A few years ago, weeds and crabgrass were an ugly reminder of the previous owners. With a lot of diligence, sweat of my brow and dirty fingernails, I fixed that.

The backyard may be small, but we and the kids have had some good times in it…always something to find.

And relax…

This house is also where I’ve “grown up” some as a photographer. It’s where I’ve become serious and, as you can see, have utilized it in many of my photographs, especially early on. It was at my dining room table that I shot my very first noir-themed image, giving way to one of my favorite concepts. My garage, too, gave me the “location” to stage quite a few of my noir images.

Sometimes I say we’re trapped in suburbia. This neighborhood has been good to us but I guess we’ve outgrown it a bit. We weren’t looking for a bigger house, just one with more property (especially for the taxes we way here in the Great State of New Jersey). Something where we the kids can continue to grow and have fun.

So, that’s what we found, just a few miles in Allentown, New Jersey.

It’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter in our lives, to make more memories.

There’s a lot of nervous tension about if we’re making the right move or not.

I think we are.

Still…you never forget your first.

And we’ll always have The 804.

© Mark V. Krajnak 2012 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved


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