Laning Avenue fourth grader Ronald M. Arias, Jr. and his parents recently, and unexpectedly, spanned about seven decades in seven days. Ronnie had just completed his basketball season with Verona Recreation and the family wanted to celebrate and catch the Nets in their new home in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn was also the site of the first Arias home in the United States. Humberto Arias, or “Uncle Bob”, moved from Iquitos, Peru in 1919 to 267 Park Place, which is located just a couple blocks off Flatbush Avenue and Grand Army Plaza in the Prospect Heights neighborhood. This is the apartment where Humberto later brought his sister Clotilde in 1923 and younger brother Manuel in 1924 to the United States. Manuel is young Ronnie’s great-grandfather and he had moved from Brooklyn to Queens, and then out of New York to Cedar Grove in 1970 with his wife Isabel and their daughter. Manuel was in the import/export business and he continued to travel extensively throughout South America until he retired at age 77.
After a few decades in California, Humberto returned and spent the last few years of his life living across the street from his brother in Cedar Grove and died in 1981. Manuel died in 1994 and Isabel in 2007. That Brooklyn apartment, at 267 Park Place, is also where Ronnie’s grandfather, and current Verona resident, Ronald F. Arias was born. The trip back to Brooklyn, and their unplanned trip the following week to Washington, D.C., was beyond their imagination.