Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, August 27, 2015


I often wish I could go back to Runnemede and live again like I lived in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. 

Nostalgia gets me sometimes.  Then I think of all the things that have been invented in my lifetime that have been life-savers, sort of.

Pantyhose -- never did like pantyhose.  I preferred the stockings that had to be held up with a garter belt, but then garter belts disappeared for about 40 years, and the old ones didn't fit any more (you know, weight gain), so I was forced to wear pantyhose.  The conundrum was:  Should I also wear panties with pantyhose?  I always did, and add a girdle to that.  You see where I'm coming from.  Girdles used to be outfitted with hooks for stockings.  The hooks also disappeared form girdles. 

Microwave oven -- best update in my kitchen.  I microwave veggies, cold coffee, water (to a boil), and other things I can't think of right now.

Computers -- from early Apples to very fast laptops to Kindles (which are the best because I love to read).

Smart phones -- I'm too dumb to figure out most of the stuff they provide.

Cheap phone prices -- used to be that a long-distance call could run up to $25 in 10 minutes. 

Digital cameras -- you have to love them.  And if we had had them when I was loving my sweetheart from afar, we could have exchanged pictures and for nothing but the cost of the camera.  We still have Alan's very expensive Nikon, and his father's older German camera -- the brand name escapes me.  Dad did all his own developing.  Pictures were expensive if you were living on $1 per hour which was the minimum wage back in the 60s.

The nostalgia is not how things have changed, however.  I think of the girlfriends, the boys in my classes (could I call them friends -- they weren't boyfriends, but they were boy friends).  Runnemede has changed some, but not a whole lot.  Oh the stores are under different ownership, some stores have disappeared altogether, but the main street -- the Pike -- is still the same, just more congested.

I will be going back for my 55th high school reunion next September.  I can't wait.  I hope I am mobile enough to take some pictures of the town. 

Happy memories.


I was married on this day (August 27) in 1966 to my high-school sweetheart.  (I wish I could find the picture of Alan and me on that day, but I can't.)

Alan only attended Triton for one year, and for the one year he was missing from my high school life, I mourned.  At least I think that's what I did.  He was in Kenya, Africa and there was very little opportunity for communication.  Air letters -- they were blue, tissue thin, cost 12 cents for air mail, and held only one page of communications.  Not at all like today with instant messaging anywhere in the world, Skype, etc.  That would have been so very nice.

I spent hours at the post office, going twice a day to check our family's mail box to see if I had received a letter from him.  Most days I didn't, then I would get several all at once.  Mail from Kenya to USA was iffy at best.  And I suppose it was the same on the other end, although Alan never complained.

When Alan returned to the US in 1963, we picked up where we left off -- sweethearts once again.  Three years later we were married.  We had to get married at a time when his parents were home from a five-year missionary stint in Kenya, and that happened to be in 1965-66 (late '65). 

FINALLY, we were getting married.  Alan was still at Rutgers.  I was out of college.  So I worked after we got married and we lived in married student housing while he finished his bachelors in civil engineering, then work on and got his masters. 

It's been happy most of the time.  We had financial difficulties for part of our years and that was hard, but with three children the happiness was augmented. 

I love my husband.  I almost lost him in 2001 from bone-marrow cancer, but he's been in remission for 16 years.  His oncologist says it's a miracle.  He was given a year, maybe two with treatment.  He beat the odds.  I thank God every day that he is still with me. 

I really, really love that man.


Another family saying (or rather one of mom's sayings)

Mom didn't have as many sayings as my father, but one I remember because I used it the other day; that saying is "I have a yen for...." (fill in the dots).  I had a yen for a pizza, but I don't like to order pizzas and I don't like to go pick up pizzas and I don't like to make pizzas, so I did without.  BUT, I did have a yen for one.

That's all folks.


Saturday, May 30, 2015


I have to admit that when I get nervous I laugh -- or giggle.  It's a plague that has sometimes been a bad thing ever since I was a teenager.

Case(s) in point.

I was in a girls trio at church and we often would sing for the morning or evening service in what was called "special music".  That's when a group or person would provide spiritual music for the church congregation. 

I am an alto.  I can sing the second part naturally, and sometimes I can sing tenor.  I remember several incidences when our girls trio at church was asked to sing and I would start giggling when we started into our song because I was nervous.  I wish I could remember who was in that trio with me.  I know Kathy Kenders was, but I can't remember who the other person was. 

When I played the violin with a couple of other instrumentalists, yes I would giggle, but I didn't have to sing and voice any words.  Giggling and singing don't go hand-in-hand.

Well, in my senior year at Triton I tried out for All-State Chorus (at our chorus teacher's suggestion).  I also with several others from Triton tried out.  I was paired with three others (not from Triton), and I was singing (or supposed to be singing) the alto. 

Unfortunately, as soon as my group began singing, I began giggling -- the nerves set in.  We (my group) had rehearsed the song we were given (everyone who tried out sang the same thing) and were flawless and sounded really good, until...

We went before the judges and I started giggling and I couldn't stop, even though the judges were kind enough to allow my group to start over SEVERAL TIMES.  Yes, I blew it for myself and perhaps the other members of my group, I don't know.

When we got back to school on Monday after the Saturday auditions, our teacher was kind enough to tell us who was chosen, but said nothing about who wasn't or why.  I'm sure my giggling knocked me out. 



A love story

I was talking to Debbie earlier this week and she told me something I had never heard before about my mom and dad.

Daddy was moved to North Carolina when he could no longer take care of himself and lived with Debbie.  She asked him one day how he met my mother.  This is what she told me.  Ladies, get your hankies out.

It seems that early in Dad's preaching career (which was over 65 years long) he was invited to speak at a Baptist church in South Philadelphia.  As he entered the rear of the church he saw "an angel playing the church piano."  That angel was named Rose Sbaraglia.  He told Deb it was love at first sight for him.

My mother wasn't admitting to her feelings for dad because ---

Mom's sister Anne was the one who had connected with my father and got him the preaching gig in South Philly.  Aunt Annie thought my dad was wonderful, and being the good sister my mom was, she wasn't about to encroach on Aunt Annie's "boyfriend", even though it was a one-sided thing (Aunt Annie and my dad).  Dad was having none of it.  He loved my mom and was determined to win her.

Yes, mom knew of my father's love at first sight.  Eventually, Aunt Annie got the picture and gave Daddy over to my mother.

He talked about his love for my mom whenever I visited him after she died.  And he wrote some pretty wonderful love letters to her.  My brother has the letters in his files. 

So, that's the story of how my dad and mom met, fell in love, and eventually married.


PS:  I recently posted a picture of my mom on Facebook.  She does look like an angel in it.  Also on my home page is a picture of mom and dad the day after they were wed.  If you want to see them you can go to

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bad boys.

I imagine many of you know who the bad boys are, but I'll start at the beginning.  I've been "concepting' this for weeks.

I don't remember what time of year it was, or what year it was, all I know is that it was one really bad, bad evening, not only for me, but for my brothers, Markie and Diddle.  Somehow my sister, Debbie, even though she was involved, got off with a smile from mommy.

I was "baby sitting" while my parents were at an evening service at the church.  I hated "baby sitting' chores because my brothers really were bad little boys.

Well, this evening, unbeknownst to me they got into the cough syrup.  Cough syrup -- high alcohol content.  They were LITTLE boys. 

After sharing a bottle of the syrup, they decided to play Ramar of the Jungle (after a popular TV show in the 50s) and got out my mother's largest knives.  I think my sister helped with that one.  And thinking they were hacking their way through the jungle with said knives, they decided to hack away at the doorway into the kitchen.  Yes, that's right.  They chopped away at the door frame.

The evidence of this dastardly deed is still visibly today, or at least it was in 2011, the last time I was in my childhood home.

I sent my drunk sister over to the church to get my mother, who ran right home (about 200 feet).  Needless to say, she was not please, but not nearly as not pleased as my father was after church was over.

Did I ever babysit them again?  I don't remember.  And truthfully, I only remember that one night because the story expands with each telling! :)


For more information, Facebook John Mark Drexler and ask him.

Thunder snow

After watching Jim Cantore's "thundersnow" video all day today (we're having our first snow, so I've been watching the weather channel, which didn't exist when I lived in Runnemede), I decided to write a short epistle on my first remembrance of thundersnow.

My husband, Alan, and I had only been married 4 months.  It was Christmas Eve.  (Make that 4 months and 2 days).  It was our first Christmas as a married couple.

We knew we were going to spend several days with his parents in Ventnor, NJ, because they were heading back to Kenya (missionaries) for another 5-year stint, and we were spending Christmas eve-eve and Christmas Eve with my parents.  We were travelling to Ventnor on Christmas morning.

Well, wouldn't you know?  It started to snow on Christmas Eve around seven o'clock.  It was warmish, and the snow was big, heavy, flakes, coming down pretty hard.  All of a sudden I saw what I thought was lightening.

How could that be?  It was snowing.  Then I heard what I thought was thunder.  Well, it was snow thunder, and it happened several more times during that "winter storm" which was not named, by the way.

Alan and I loved snow and playing in it, making snow angels, having snowball fights, building snowmen, etc.  We were young, what more can I say.

Well, about the time we were leaving for Ventnor on Christmas morning another thunder-snow-storm came rolling through.  When we left there was 13 inches of snow on the ground in Runnemede.  On our way down to Ventnor, the snow accumulations became less and less and so did the snow falling earthward.

It was certainly a Christmas to be remembered.  Our first as husband and wife, and our first experience with thunder snow.