Building it

On the Road

More Than Just a Road:
Driver's Perspectives on the Turnpike's Meaning

"I was born in Irvington . . . in 1934, and lived there until I was 26. I have spent the rest of my life living in various other parts of New Jersey. The Turnpike has been a large part of our lives for the past five decades. During its construction, all of the adults in our family and neighborhood talked about how they would use the road when it was finished, and how much time they would save going to New York City, or Philadelphia. . . . In the 1960s, I used the northern portion of the Turnpike to commute back and forth from Irvington to the Jersey City area where I worked. . . . By 1972 we had two children, and I had been transferred to Philadelphia. Three, sometimes four times per month we would get into the car and head for Exit 3 and ride to 11 to visit the rest of our family and friends since they all lived in New Jersey. In 1978 our daughter entered Rutgers University in New Brunswick; we loaded up the old '63 Ford pickup and moved her off to college by way of the Turnpike. . . . Before we knew it we were in the '80s, my dad had passed away in Delaware and Joyce's mother had passed away living near us in south Jersey. We brought them both back home to north Jersey on the Turnpike. We continued to travel back and forth for weddings, graduations, and other family affairs. We have driven in spring monsoons, summer heat, winter blizzards, had our share of close calls . . . but the Turnpike has been our friend. In the '90s we have become more active in the antique auto hobby, and began using the Turnpike to drive our old cars to and from shows. Our children now drive this road, and reminisce about the past trips they took with us, and soon our grandchildren will use the Turnpike. It is nice to know that your great-grandchildren may someday look out over some of the same fields, buildings, and trees that you and your girl did back in the '50s when all that has transpired were just hopes and dreams. THANKS NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE."

James and Joyce Wickel, Ewan, New Jersey, 2000

2 of 7