Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This post harkens back to my days in Runnemede. I have linked in the above title to an umbrella website. Aren't the ones in the picture pretty and feminine? If you click on today's BLOG title, it links to an umbrella website.

I just love umbrellas. I don't have a collection of them as my father did, but I still love them. I don't even use them any more. At least not hardly. I just don't go outside when it's raining, so there is no use for one, unless I just want to get one out and use it as a decoration near the front door. Hey, there's a thought. I could get an old fasioned umbrella holder -- they were tall jars with wide mouths that usually stood just inside the door to collect the wet umbrellas.

Anyway, back to why I love umbrellas.

My dad always had an umbrella with him -- after all, you never knew when it was going to rain,right? (Or when his blindness was going to come on and he needed a cane!) And don't forget we didn't have TV or much radio weather forecasting back when I was a child. My father owned several umbrellas and he gave my mom a new umbrellas at least once every three years, maybe even more often than that. Each umbrella was unique.
Dad's umbrellas were always black and large, but the handles were what distinguished the uniqueness of his umbrellas. How I wish we had saved the umbrellas that were in the house when we cleaned it out, but we didn't. I have ONE of my mom's umbrellas. It's yellow and has a tortoise-shell curved handle. Alan has one of dad's umbrellas -- plain black with the usual curved "J" shaped handled, but the handle is made of oak, not plastic.
Oh, I have a collection of my own -- all those "put in your purse" umbrellas that have seemed to multiply over the years. I know I have at least four of those in my closet. But they're useless when you have the hips I have. They cover the head, and that's about it.
We did not have an umbrella stand near our front door or our back door, so my father generally left an umbrella on the front porch and another one on the back porch, as did my mother. The rest were stored in the small hall closet along with the vacuum cleaner (an Electrolux tank model) and the fur coats. Yes, fur, real fur, coats.
I recall that when I was in third grade I didn't want to wear a rain-coat any more. I wanted my own umbrella. Now the pictures above are nothing like the type of umbrella I desired, but the pictures in the link in the title do show several umbrellas I would have desired, and still wouldn't mind owning -- go the the garden umbrella link. So, I requested an umbrella for Christmas, along with a doll, and probably a new bike. I thought for sure that I'd get an umbrella, but I didn't. Then I started the nag -- you know -- hey, it's only 60 days until my birthday and I want an umbrella -- nag. Well, it worked an I got an umbrella, and not a kid's umbrella either. I got an adult umbrella. It was navy blue with a straight handle -- not a "J" handle. I loved that umbrella. I know I wore it out.
After that I forever had my own umbrella to carry with me if I thought it was going to rain. And as I got older and started working as a legal secretary in Philadelphia (another tale for another day) and had to start coordinating my outfits, I had at least three or four umbrellas to switch out. All these umbrellas were before the days of Totes --- no small umbrellas for the purses back then.
And one final thing about umbrellas. When you take a bus to work, and it's raining outside, those umbrellas drip as they come down the aisle and if you sit in the front as I always did because of motion sickness, I was usually soaked from the knees down by the time I got to work because of being brushed against by all those wet umbrellas of boarding passengers!

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