FAIRVIEW, N.J.– Hussein Abdouni works as a crossing guard in front of the Anderson Avenue building he lived in for over five decades.
"I take care of the kids," Abdouni, 69, said while manning his DeLano Place and Anderson Avenue post on Monday. "I give my life for the kids because they are very important."
Those most important to Abdouni and his wife, Latifa, are their three children: Sarah, 23; Waleed, 22; and Ameir, 15, who attends Cliffside Park High School.
Although Muslim, Abdouni worked as a Catholic missionary's housekeeper in his home country of Morocco.
A Catholic monsignor found him a place to live in New York City when he came to the U.S. shortly before the Vietnam War. He was drafted but didn't serve after doctors found a cancerous cyst in his chest.
After moving to Fairview, Abdouni became an altar boy at St. John the Baptist Church. One of the priests found him an apartment at 186 Anderson Avenue.
They were good times.
"You used to leave the house open and nobody would bother you," Abdouni said.
The apartment building he lived in now has an Internet cafe below it.
That's not the only thing to change in the borough since the 1960s.
"Lots of people are moving in from New York," Abdouni said. "We have lots of different nationalities."
But, "there's no discrimination," he added. "We all get along great."
Abdouni worked as a mechanic at a Paramus body shop for 15 years and for a Volkswagen dealer on Route 9W in Englewood Cliffs.
He's not completely retired: He still works for Madison Security at night and on the weekends.
Abdouni now lives by School No. 3 and works his post in the mornings and afternoons.
Motorists speed around the streets, so Abdouni said he likes to keep his eyes open at all times – but he's never rude.
"I never scream at anyone," he said. "I'm very polite. I say, 'Please stop or please go.'
"I like to make people happy. I do it from my heart," Abdouni said. "I don't have a lot longer to live, so I give back to my town."
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