But by her first fall, Fran was happy to be on Broadview Avenue, though it wasn’t for anything she could have told Isaac that she wanted. It was simply that the leaves on her street were beautiful. Their block in Brooklyn was nice in the fall too, but Broadview was different, different than even the streets in their neighborhood. On Bayeau, the leaves on the birch trees became a sickly yellow before falling off. But Fran’s street was lined with oaks, maples and sweetgums, and all of their leaves turned red and orange. The block was fragrant with decaying leaves, a smell Fran had forgotten about after spending the last seven falls in the city. Across the street from her house was her favorite tree, a maple whose leaves stayed red for all of October before becoming a bright, almost translucent orange. Besides the tree, all she knew about her neighbor was that she drove an old Saab and lived alone.
During Fran’s first suburban fall, she spent her weekends reading about the Mondale-Reagan campaign in the living room by the window overlooking the front lawn. Between page jumps and sometimes paragraphs, she found herself staring out at the tree. From the distance of across the street, she had a better view of her neighbor’s tree than if it had been on her property. Eleven years later, she still spent her fall weekends watching the tree change colors: it was still the thing she loved most about New Rochelle.
Returning to New Rochelle tomorrow. Hoping the fall is happening