Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming home

"Over the river and through the woods," etc. We learned that song at Thanksgiving, as well. Of course in Runnemede, in my mind, the river was the Delaware River (not very picturesque), and the woods, were the small patch of woods down on Central Avenue near 8th Avenue, and never the twain would meet, so that song meant little me..

But, I do remember coming home. After I married, and left my permanency in Runnemede, I always enjoyed coming home, at least until the last couple of visits home, which were the difficult, constant care visits, and then clearing dad out of the house in Runnemede in which he had lived for over 55 years. But that has nothing to do with this episode about coming home.

After I married, of course, we always came home for Thanksgiving. I remember our second Thanksgiving after we were married. Alan and I arrived -- we drove down from Rutgers in New Brunswick -- and Aunt Annie was already there. Well, when I got in the house I smelled no good smells, and I was a bit concerned. It turns out that someone had given mom a fresh turkey, but by the time she was able to use it for Thanksgiving -- a mere four days from the arrival of the bird -- it had spoiled and had to be pitched.

Well, Aunt Annie and I hopped in my car and started searching for something, anything, for dinner. I mean mom had all the trimmings, but no bird or roast or ham -- no meat.

Back in the late 60s, stores weren't open on holidays like they are now. I mean if my turkey turns out bad, I can just go out to Kroger and get an entire meal, and pick it up fresh cooked, even on the day of Thanksgiving. But back then... Well, Aunt Annie and I started down the pike. I knew where there was a Wa-Wa and I thought minimally we could stock up on turkey TV dinners and pick out the turkey to go with all the fixings mom already had. No such luck. They had no TV dinners. The A&P and Shoprite weren't open. In fact, only Wa-Wa was open. So we were unable to get any meat anywhere.

Well, true to form, Aunt Annie got the giggles about the whole situation, as did I, and we laughed all the way home -- back up the pike -- and were laughing when we got in the house. Mom wasn't amused, and certainly dad wasn't, but Aunt Anne and I thought the whole situation was hilarious.

We didn't have turkey that year, but we did have a good time, and it gave us something to remember. I don't recall where my brothers and sister were that year.

That's just one of the "going home" events I can remember, but this time of year reminds me of going home -- over the river (Ohio) and through the woods (most of western Pennsylvania) to mother's house we would go -- all three children, me and Alan -- and we'd spend a few days at "HOME" either at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or in the summer. Sometime during each year from 1966 until dad left Runnemede in 1998 we went HOME.

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