Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Friday, October 31, 2008

Doggie magnets

Does anyone remember these little Scottie Dog Magnets? Dad had a set which he would permit us, under close supervision, to touch. He would show us how when the magnets were put together one way (both dogs in the same direction) they would actually push each other apart, but if you put them butt to head, they would attract and be melded together until with some force you were able to get the Scotties apart.
I was remembering those times when I would go into Mom's and Dad's bedroom, and he would be at his secretary desk (now at my brother Mark's home) and would call us in one at a time to see these marvelous dog magnets. And us leaving the room asking: How do they do that?
Of course there were times when we'd just burst in and he'd settle us down by showing us either the magnets or the disappearing red ball magic trick (which I have in my possession).

I had a dream...

I had a dream the other night. In it my sister and I were fixing up our rooms in the attic where we slept for most of our childhood and all of our teenage years. I had the front, unheated room, and she had the back, heated room. Neither room had a closet, so we used those roll-around clothing hanging things you see on the streets of New York City in the garment district for our clothing. If it didn't go in one of our two drawers, then it went on the garment hanger thingy.

This was really a dream I didn't want to wake up from. In this dream we had won some sort of prize and we each had $5,000 to spend in fixing up the rooms. The first thing we both did was build closets in the rooms, back to back on the dividing wall. We were actually doing the work ourselves, and our husbands were doing the drying walling. We would do the painting.

We had just spent a boatload of money on "accessories" and I was about to finish the room arrangement and decorating when BING my bladder went into "hurry up" mode and I woke up from one of the nicest dreams I've had in a long time. And it was in color.

Why was it such a nice dream? Well, believe it or not, while I now know that my bedroom was less than attractive to most people, and would be one of those "worst bedrooms in the world" that appears on TLC today, to me it was a cocoon of blessing and I loved my room. I loved the fact that I could move the furniture around and change it for the various seasons. I loved the fact that I had wonderful antique furniture and antique linens to use in my room, those linens stayed with me for a long time. In fact, one of the items was a satin, down-filled quilt which was my grandmother's, and I had that until one of our dogs decided she wanted to eat it.

I had to get rid of the quilt, and it was the last straw with that dog. We got rid of the dog as well.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Clean hands, pure heart?

My father, as I've mentioned before, had several idiosyncrasies. Mention was made of another one at THE WEDDING.

My father could not tolerate onions -- the smell, the taste, eating them -- he would get sick if he ate them, and the smell, I guess nauseated him, although he never really said that was the case.

Well, all my father's children loved hoagies. (a.k.a. subs) A Philadelphia area hoagie is completely different from any hoagie in any other part of the country. I know, because I've tried to get Jersey Mikes and/or Subway to make one that duplicates the taste of the hoagies we were able to get when I was growing up, and after I grew up and left Runnemede, the ones I purchased each time I returned home, but those two places have never come up to the standards of a Runemede hoagie.

My father had to know what was coming when I returned home each year, but probably prayed that this time things would be different, because the first thing I would do when I got home was run down to Vince's and get myself and Alan a hoagie. As my children got older, the girls, at least, enjoyed this South Jersey treat. I don't think my son every enjoyed them.

Ever since I was a teenager, I would spend some of my allowance money on a half a hoagie made by Vince (I've talked about that hoagie shop before). I would come home, and before I even got through the back door, dad would be standing there telling me to wash my hands. What? I hadn't even touched anything, yet.

You see, a good hoagie starts with a special kind of Italian roll -- it's like a baguette, but it is not as hard crusted as a baguette, but not as flimsy at the rolls you get at Subway or Jersey Mikes. If you haven't had a hoagie roll, correctly made by a Philadelphia artisan, there's just no way to tell you what they are truly like.

Anyway, you start with the bun, then you put on it provolone cheese, Genoa salami, prosciutto, cappacola, boiled ham, and probably another kind of salami. Then you add shredded lettuce, not as much as they smother your sub/hoagie with at Subway, tomatoes, ONIONS, and hoagie spread. Hoagie spread is a mixture of hot and sweet peppers pickled in vinegar. Delish! And then you sprinkle lightly the whole thing with a mixture of spices -- there's the rub (pun intended) -- no place has the right mixture of spices except the little Italian delis all over South Jersey and the Philadelphia area.

After purchasing my hoagie, I would bring it home, and enjoy it at the kitchen table. The whole time I'm enjoying this delicacy (because it truly is), my father would be telling me to wash my hands, wash the table, wash the floor, wash my face, wash my hair; and don't touch anything until you've washed your hands.

Did all that nagging bother me when I had a delicious hoagie in my hand? Not at all, but we were remembering that dad had said the same thing to my brother whenever he came back to Runnemede and got a hoagie. So, I imagine it was the same with all the children, because growing up in South Jersey/Philadelphia, not a week went by after I became a teenager, that we didn't enjoy a hoagie at least once. Even mom got in on the act and would buy a whole hoagie -- a rather long version of the regular sized hoagie -- and bring it home, and then divide it up between herself and her four children, with the voice of my father nagging in the background:

Rose, make sure you wash your hands and make sure all the children wash their hands. Judith, be sure to wash your hands. Deborah, wash your hands. Mark, don't touch anything until you wash your hands. Carl, be sure to wash you hands.

So do clean hands mean a pure heart? I don't know, all I know is it means my father would be pleased he wasn't smelling onions any more.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Anything be'cept clothes

Anything be'cept clothes. Ah, what a statement. It is the mantra of every child who receives gifts that are what that child needs rather than what that child wants. What child wants clothes? Even if that child's shoes are full of holes, a child would much rather have anything be'cept clothes. (be'cept is except in adult language).

Well, my brother, Mark (John), was the originator of this phrase in our family. Me? I didn't care what I got if it was wrapped and I could tear off that paper and open a box. Maybe it was because I was a girl, and little girls like clothes almost as much as big girls. But not boys, no siree.

My dear, dear brother...what can I say?

Apparently, one year, my brother was given $2 for a birthday gift from our Aunt Francis. Now, back in the 50s, $2 was a fortune to a kid who had next to nothing, and boy was he looking forward to spending that money on himself. And, Aunt Francis was a poor missionary, and we rarely got any gifts from her and Uncle Howard -- not because they didn't want to give us gifts, but we were giving them gifts because they had less than we had.

Anyway, I think Mark had visions of a new fire truck or some such "real" toy (not popsicle sticks). But, no, mom took the money and fled -- straight to the 5 and 10 and bought Mark SOCKS! That dreaded gift that no child wants to receive -- SOCKS! Yikes!

So, when Aunt Annie asked him what he wanted for his birthday a few days after the money for socks event, and not knowing that Aunt Annie had already bought him a new shirt, Mark said, "Anything be'cept clothes."

And that's how that expression caught on in our household. But it didn't matter, whether we wanted anything but clothing, we got clothing anyway. Why? Because we really, really needed new clothes.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Popsicle stick races

My brother related something to me last weekend about how he spent some of his time when he was a boy. He would have Popsicle stick races -- in the gutter, around the sewer drain, and back into the gutter down to the pike.

Here's how it works -- and I think I got this correct.

He would take two Popsicle sticks -- they were free -- and you'll see the ingenuity of a child who didn't have Wii or other video technology. Just loads of fun back in the 50s.

He could only do have these races after a rainy day or an afternoon shower, so the timing was limited. Anyway, the trail of the race was from the gutter down on Central Avenue, between Second and First, and then apparently there was a loop around the actual storm sewer, so the sticks didn't go down the drain, so to speak, and the route continued down First Avenue to Jack's Five and Ten -- at the Pike and First Avenue.

Mark would put two Popsicle sticks into the stream in the gutter making sure they were at the starting line together, then he would pick one, and hope that the one he chose was the one that won the race. He would give them both a little nudge and off they would go and he would race along side the stream in the gutter down the block and around the corner and down the next block, following his Popsicle sticks until the finish line.

He didn't say what his percentage of wins was, but I gather he was ahead in the end.

How many kids today would race Popsicle sticks in the gutter?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

My daily BLOGs

All right, all you out there -- and this is a common thread among several of the BLOGs I track -- where were you today. I realize that Blogspot was down for several hours, but that's no excuse.

I am a BLOG junkie and I need your news updates or your comments. Either way. Please, please keep the news coming.

My list of daily read BLOGs is now at 14 and of those 14, today I was the only one who updated. That's abysmal.



I was laying in bed last night thinking about this election. As you know my dad was a Republican, and by being his daughter, I too, am Republican -- not RINO (Republican in name only), but a card-carrying CONSERVATIVE Republican. And I probably shouldn't admit that, since this BLOG is NOT a political BLOG and I don't want it to be. My father must be rolling over in his grave, though as current events unfold.

Take, for instance, this Colin Powell thing. Don't misunderstand me. I like Gen Powell. I think he did a marvelous job as Sec. of State. And as chief of staff. But....

Do any of the Obama supporters who are so gung ho Gen. Powell remember that HE was the person who put the case for us to invade Iran before the UN and before the US Congress. And now, he's best buds with Obama? How can that be? Obama has said that Powell and Bush lied. But he is willing to accept this "Liar's" endorsement?

Does anyone remember this? Frustrating for me. Frustrated that folks are all bending over backwards over this endorsement of a man who told the country we needed to invade Iraq, and that invasion is, according to the Obama Camp, the biggest mistake that was made in the last 8 years. And yet, no one, on either side, brings this up. Go figure.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Bridling Place

You will note that on the side of my BLOG I list several BLOGs that I faithfully read -- every day. The Bridling Place (click on the title of this BLOG to be connected) is one of my favorites. Tyararr Jones writes from his heart -- his heart with a love of God. His poetry is wonderful, IMHO. And if the Spirit moves me, I shall set some of it to music. I hope that is okay with Tyararr.

I do not know Tyararr personally, but he is listed as a favorite BLOG on another one my "every day" BLOGs.

He has just put up several new poems which I think will soothe your soul. Read them.

Mavis, Maude, and Magirk

Another idiosyncrasy of my father's was to give people names other than their own. My three children were given the names in the title of this BLOG. I know that Phil was Magirk. I don't don't which daughter was Mavis and which was Maude.

Well, we discussed this recently, and I found out that my father didn't really give names to everybody. I know this because Emily, Lori, and Micah, didn't have names given to them by my father, other than "son" for Micah. But then dad called almost every male he couldn't remember the name of "son." So, what does that make Micah. The only son of his favorite child, my brother? It makes him invisible, a non-remembered person who was just there in his face from time to time, and of whom he didn't remember his name, so he called him son. Poor Micah. What a terrible thing for him, don't you think?

Actually, until I put it in print, I don't think Micah even thought about being a nameless entity to my father. He probably through that his name was "son" when he was at my dad's house.

But, Micah, don't be offended -- he called Phil "son" more often than he called him Magirk. And the girls he just called them "sis". He just didn't feel like going through the whole list of names, like I tend to do. So "son" and "sis" sufficed for his older mind.

I hated what he called me, but it was my given name, so I put up with it. I would have preferred "sis". His wife? He never forgot her name. My Rose -- that's what he always called her.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My father and his knives

I'm not talking about his penknives. He had several of those, all well-sharpened. And he always carried one -- a three-blader.

No, I'm talking about what he did with his knife at the dinner table. I was recently reminded of this at one of the gab sessions during the wedding weekend.

The members of the family really didn't like using the table butter after my father finished with his hacking away at the stick.

First, of all, he liked to cut up his broccoli -- a veggie we had at least once a week -- which was cooked soft and almost mushy, yet he still had to cut it up. Then, to add insult to injury, he would stick that broccoli laden knife into the butter stick and get bits and pieces of broccoli on the butter.

And, I have to add, it was the same with mashed potatoes, grab some butter? Not enough, go back and get potatoes on the butter. Carrots? Cut the carrots, leave bits of carrots on the butter. We were all so relieved when we had peas or succotash -- dad only needed to get his butter -- no cutting of the vegetable needed. Whew!

Well, who would want to butter their bread after all that junk was imbedded in the butter? My father would. Only, he'd start on the "clean" end of the stick. He'd butter his bread, then stick his knife in his jar of jelly. Was one slice of jelly bread enough? No way. He would then take his jelly soaked knife and stick it into the still clean end of the butter stick and get jelly all over the butter.

Now, we children weren't overly fond of jelly, unless it was mom's peach jam. My father didn't particularly enjoy peach jam, he liked grape jelly, and grape jelly is what he was served day in and day out. And, day in and day out, there would be pieces of grape jelly on the butter stick.

I visited a friend's house one time and was invited for dinner. Well, her dad had butter-stick issues. Because I was used to skimming butter off the top of the stick -- where there was no jelly nor broccoli -- I proceeded to skim some butter off the top, and she went apoplectic saying her dad was going to kill her because the butter stick was not in its true form. Was her father "Monk"? No, he just had an issue with butter. An issue my dad didn't have, and it wasn't related to knives. Or maybe it was!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Sunday "B"

I know I've written about this before, but can't find it. And, the family members that attended Emily's wedding said that I haven't, so, I'm going to write about this...again!

The Sunday "B" was a mission in Philadelphia. And, just as you left (at that time) the only bridge into Philadelphia Center City, which crossed the Delaware River, from New Jersey into Philly, you were confronted with The Sunday Breakfast Association's building at 6th and Arch -- nicknamed "The Sunday "B"." I mean it was right there. The road split around the building.

Daddy loved that mission. It was a mission to the drunks and down-and-outs from Philadelphia and it was started during the depression when its ministry was mainly to the poor (monetarily) men and gave hand-outs to help these men's physical and spiritual needs.

My father spoke several times a month at the various "spiritual" handouts the Sunday "B" presented, and in return they would send one of their in-house helpers to our church to speak maybe four times a year.

The Sunday "B" had a radio broadcast on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. on WFIL -- every week -- for years and years and years. And whether my father was the speaker or someone else was, we listened to that broadcast "religiously." (pun intended)

When I was a child, my father would head out of the house around 7:30 a.m., hop on a bus, and get off the bus at 6th and Arch, go into the Sunday "B" building, and preach his message to these poor men. These sermons were broadcast, and on those Sunday mornings that daddy was preaching I would listen, and I would watch the radio hoping to see my father as he talked to these men.

Of course, I never saw him on the radio, but I heard him. And by the time he got home -- just in time for Sunday morning service -- I knew that even though I couldn't see him when he spoke on the radio, all was okay, because I could once again see my father. Did I listen to him in church? Not very often, sad to say. But I did listen to him on the radio once a month as he was featured speaker at The Sunday "B". I mean that meant bragging rights at school the next morning. TV was just becoming something that households had, but none of my friends homes included the picture box at that time.

I hope that clarifies to all your young'uns about my dad's association with that mission, and recalls to your mind what I'm sure I have written about before -- at least I think I have. I can't find it either!


One last wedding remembrance

Sort of. Well, this isn't really related to Emily's wedding, but rather on the trip out to Goshen.

When we got to Lima, Ohio and it's outskirts, we noticed signs in front yards requesting people to vote for -- are you ready for this? -- DEB DREXLER for JUDGE. Yes, my sister -- well, not my sister but someone who has assumed her name -- is running for Judge in Allen County. And while we were listening to Rush Limbaugh Deb Drexler ran an ad on his program. Does that mean she's ultra conservative? Who knows.

I was sorely tempted to stop the car and usurp one of those signs for myself, but I didn't.

So Deb Drexler -- here's to you. I hope you win. I like your name at least.

NOTE: For those of you who don't know Deb Drexler was my sister's name before she married her first and only husband.

NOTE #2: I posted an album on Facebook of Emily's wedding photos. Friends of Judi Hahn can view it. Actually, I said anyone who wanted to see it could, but I don't know how to get those of you who don't have Facebook into Facebook without being a friend. Try and fish around, maybe you'll find the rest of the pictures.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just a couple of pictures

Above are just a couple of the pictures from Emily's wedding. Unfortunately, my light settings didn't turn out too well, and my battery ran all the way down.

I know: Excuses, excuses, excuses. At least you can get an idea of how beautiful Emily looked. And Jeff didn't look too bad, either!

Emily gave all of my grandchildren which were in attendance the thrills of their lives. One picture I took was of David and Rose with Emily and Jeff. David asked me if he could have his picture taken with Emily and I told him if she said it was okay, I would take their picture. Another nice thing that Lori did was to give each of the girls (Annie, Grace, and Rose) one of the bridesmaids bouquets (because all three girls tried to catch the bride's bouquet and were disappointed when they didn't catch it. David, on the other hand, did get the garter!

So enjoy these few pictures. As I get time I'll add to the "album." Oh, yeah, the "old" man with Emily is her father, my brother, Mark.


Watch for it!

Okay, so I'm back from THE WEDDING ensconced in my cocoon which includes my laptop, getting ready to give you some new updates on my life in Runnemede. I want to try to find a few pictures, first.

I was unable to attend the family "meeting" after lunch on Sunday because I don't do night driving. As it was we got home at 7:00 p.m. just after sunset. Nonetheless, I was able to garner several topics to write about, and hopefully my niece, Lori, picked up some more at the gathering after lunch.

I just know I missed the best part of the whole weekend -- except for the wedding, of course. But I also know my physical limitations and knew we needed to be on the road, not enjoying laughs and chuckles with the family.

So, in the next few days, I'll be writing about some really neat events that occurred in Runnemede when I was a child or when my siblings were children.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Emily Rose gets married

Just a few pictures to whet your appetite. I'll be sending more tomorrow. Alan and I are wiped out, and these are the best of the best.

Well, I thought I was going to be able to show you some of the wedding, but apparent BLOGSPOT is having difficulties and my pictures won't upload, so, I apologize.

The wedding was beautiful. Emily was beautiful. The mother of the bride, Sue, was beautiful. And she WALKED all the way down that aisle! It was very difficult for her, but she did it! Yeah.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Family get togethers

With the Drexlers, family get togethers are few and far between. This weekend, however, many of us are gathering for a family wedding -- pictures to follow tomorrow or Sunday. I think there will be 23 of us at the wedding, and after the wedding there will be 24 of us, a new member added to our family.

I haven't met Cara Drexler -- she's Micah's wife -- yet, but from the pictures I've seen of her, she's very, very pretty. I have met Jeff -- Emily's husband-to-be tomorrow. And I've met Lori's husband, Pete, and her children. That meeting was before she had Olivia, who is, what? almost three? And I think I met Jeff the summer before Olivia was born, or maybe the summer after. Alan was attending a "Friends of Israel" conference in Warsaw, and Alan and my brother, Mark, were going to those meetings together. I stayed at Mark's home with his wife, Sue that week, and at least on one of those days Jeff was there with Emily.

Now that all are thoroughly confused, I'll try to straighten it out.

My brother Mark married Sue Roper back in the early 70s. They had three children -- Lori, Micah, and Emily. Tomorrow Emily is getting married. Lori and Micah have been married for several years to their spouses (Pete to Lori, Cara to Micah), and each have three children. Don't ask me the names of Micah's children, because I don't know them, but Lori's children's names are: Maddie, Noah, and Olivia.

I'm so looking forward to this wedding and seeing my brother and nieces and nephew again and meeting all the children. Of course, I'll have competition for their talking to me since two of my three children and their children are also planning on being in attendance. With 20 people to share around, it's going to be one Italian madhouse! So much fun! I can't wait!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Talking to God

In the early 1960s many of us changed the way we prayed -- talked to God. We got rid of "thee" and "thou" and substituted "you" instead. No more "thine" -- it became "your".

Were we rebels? I don't think so. The older folks still prayed using the King James English, while we youngsters were using our everyday language. We believed that since God knows all languages he would understand us just as well if we used out contemporary English instead of King James English, and it was something with which we were more comfortable.

I believe there were some folks who thought we were being irreverent, but, I don't believe we were. It was so much easier for us to pray using "you" and "your" instead of "thee", "thou", and "thine".

However, it all backed up on me one morning in church. The music director had changed the words to an old standard "Great is Thy Faithfulness". Get it? There it is "Thy" in the title. Well, now it was called "Great is Your Faithfulness." I'm singing away, because I knew the words to the KJV of GITF and didn't realize I was almost the only one in the audience singing it using the King James words instead of the "today" words. That one other person? Our Pastor Emeritus.

Seems like we both learned it at the same time. I'm still quoting scripture using King James English because that's how I learned it. But prayer?

Praying is talking to God and since I speak in non-King James English, that's how I pray.

Just a little note, here. This does have something to do with Runnemede, because in our youth group meetings we always used our own English not the "old folks" English. In that respect, I believe, we were irreverent -- not to God but to our elders.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wasps and hornets

I hate these bugs. They sting at the least provocation. I have been stung many times by these creatures.

The first time I recall being stung by at least one of these critters was when I was about 5 years old. There was a wasps' nest built in a corner of the roof overhang over the basement door. It had never been a problem. We all knew it was there, but it was the main door to the basement and we used that door more often than the back porch door to enter and leave the house.

One day, I went out of the house, and somehow one of those bugs got up my overalls' leg and began stinging me. I did nothing to that bug, except I guess it figured I had enter its space, when in reality it had entered mine.

Wasp nests were all over the place in that Runnemede house. Find a corner of anything, and one day there would be nothing there, the next day, a nest would be in the making. Where do all these bugs come from?

Every winter I recall my mom and dad removing the empty nests that had been built around the house and garage the previous summer. But each summer, they would build them up again. Spraying did not deter them at all.

Dad had one of those bug sprayers that had a handle with a plunger, and you put the DDT or whatever bug killer you were using in a tank at the front, and then the plunger was pushed down the shaft attached to the tank and you got a fine spray.

Well, the day I got stung, dad tied his pant legs, his shirt sleeves, and put a net over his head, also tied, and got out that bug sprayer and with all the vengeance he could muster up he sprayed that nest of wasps. He didn't stop until they started dropping like flies from that nest.

I mean, how dare they -- HOW DARE THEY -- hurt his precious little girl.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rose is nine

Rosie, one of my granddaughters, is nine years old today. It doesn't seem possible.

When Rosie was born Alan was going through his second round of high volume chemotherapy and aphoresis preparing him for his bone marrow transplants. So, while I missed her birth, I was able to get to the hospital a couple of days after she was born.

Rosie was the cutest baby. And I still thing she's adorable. She's very precocious. She reminds me of me.

I like to talk to her on the phone and I like to have her around, although she still tends to wear me out, without trying. And I say this, not because she is doing anything wrong, not at all. She is a wonderful, inquisitive child, but she just doesn't stay on one "project" for a very long time.

When she visits, though, she is thoughtful and helpful and very, very polite.

When my granddaughters reach the age of nine I have a tradition. I give them a charm bracelet and today was Rosie's ninth. I thought I had a bracelet in my "store" of charms and bracelets -- I get them when they are on sale at Macy's -- and while I had several charms which would have been appropriate for Rosie, I couldn't find a bracelet. So, I humbly asked for her forgiveness for my lack of a bracelet for her today, and promised I would get one just as soon as I could.

In fact, after her party, I went over to Macy's and found a bracelet -- a small one -- on sale at 75 percent off! So now I'm all set, I just have to get the charm on the bracelet and get it over to her.

Rose was named after my mom, but lately she wants to be called Evelyn Rose (both names) because -- well, because she does. Hard for me to change mid-stream, as it is for her mom. But we're trying. Evelyn is her mom's grandmother's name.

Her party was nice. She was so appreciative of all the gifts she received, no matter how big or how small. And she spent time enjoying each one as she opened them. From me she received an easy bake oven. I told her to freeze me a cookie or two and I would enjoy eating them when she got them to me.

So, that was Rose's ninth birthday day. Pictures are from her party. Obviously, Matthew didn't last until the end, poor kid, he was exhausted. He also was very helpful when I arrived, he carried the package into Rose and handed it to her, and it was a little heavy, but he did a good job. Then he let me have a lick of his ice-cream cone later on. But, he just couldn't hold up until the end. It was a good day.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soccer grandmom

When I was a girl growing up in Runnemede, New Jersey, there was no such thing as a soccer mom, let alone soccer grandmom. We didn't play soccer. When I got to Triton High School we had our requisite two weeks of kicking the ball around, but I never got the hang of it, nor did I want to.

My own children did not have a soccer mom, because when they were youngsters soccer was just starting to be an athletic activity in the township in which we lived. Now there are soccer fields galore all around the township. Back when my children would have or could have played soccer the only fields were at the high schools.

So, while this really has nothing to do with Runnemede, it sort of does, because now I am a full-fledged, lipstick wearing soccer grandmom. One thing you don't want to mess with is a soccer grandmom.

I went to Dan's and Grace's soccer game today. They are in a league at their church. And both Dan and Grace are on the same team. Both have outstanding skills for their ages -- and I'm speaking objectively, not out of my devotion to my grandchildren.

Well, the other team's coach was settled in right next to my daughter and me and we got into it in a friendly way. His team only had four children show up. The other team (my grandchildren's team) had six show up. And from the beginning I could tell that Dan's and Grace's team was far superior to the other team. And, while I sort of felt sorry for the coach of the LOSING team, I really didn't. He is a really nice man who attends Becky's and Quinn's church. So our "wrangling" was all in friendship.

I guess you all are wondering who won the game. Well, of course, my grandchildren's team won -- Dan score two of the three points.

Dan, Dan, he's our man, if he can't do it Gracie can, etc.

So, today I really became a soccer grandmom. While I have attended a couple of their games in the past, today I really felt like a soccer grandmom and really enjoyed the game. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Oh, and I wasn't really wearing lipstick, just chapstick. Does that count?


Friday, October 10, 2008


I like Ike. That was the saying that went 'round the country in 1952 and again in 1956 when Dwight David Eisenhower -- war hero -- was running for President of the U.S.A. on the Republican ticket. His vice-president choice was Richard Nixon. In fact, DDE (Ike's) grandson married Nixon's daughter many years later.

I recall that we had an in-class election on the day before the 1952 election -- schools used to be closed on election day because they were polling places. My class voted 28-0 for Ike. We liked Ike. In fact, the school, as a whole went for Ike. Did that mean our parents went for Ike? I don't know.

I do recall that we had a lot of history lessons just prior to the election about WWII and about Ike's part in D-Day and his other part in that war.

I do NOT recall that the teachers ever mentioned who was a better candidate. I don't think they even mentioned Adlai Stevenson at all in our history lessons, and perhaps name recognition was what pushed Ike over the edge in our class.


Daddy was a Republican

I can do several BLOGs about my father's politics. He hated Harry Truman's party, but loved Harry Truman. He would not and never did vote for him, but he was glad (as I recall) that Dewey lost and Harry won.

My father would NEVER vote for anyone but a Republican (except once when one of his Sunday School boys ran for mayor in Runnemede on the Democrat ticket).

I told my dad that I had voted Democrat in one of Ohio's primaries back in the 70s and he was aghast. He wouldn't talk to me for hours. I finally explained why I had crossed ranks, so to speak -- it was because I didn't want the OTHER democrat to be on the ticket against my republican because I knew the OTHER democrat -- the one I didn't vote for -- would beat the republican I really wanted to win in November. Confused?

Well, my father understood what I had done, but he told me to warn him if I ever did anything so awful again.

For those of you FEC folks out there monitoring this BLOG, rest assured, my father NEVER, EVER told the folks in church who to vote for, nor encouraged them to vote for either a Republican or Democrat. I do recall, though, that he mentioned that one of the mayoral candidates had been a boy in his Sunday School class years ago, and he would be voting for him because he knew him, but he never mentioned the boy's (then man's) name, and only those few folks who were at the church back in those days would have known who he meant.


Daddy's attire

I know I've written about how my father would never go anywhere without wearing a suit. Well take a look at this picture. Here he is wearing a shirt and tie, and if you look closely you can see his vest peaking out behind the bathrobe.

The only thing I can think of as to why he is wearing a bathrobe over his shirt, tie, and vest, is that he was cold.

Just wanted you to see that no matter what, he would never be caught without his tie on. Actually as years progressed, I do have a few pictures of him without the tie, but he still has on a dress shirt and jacket.

Where else could he put all those pens, New Testaments, and change purses?


New readers

I'm actually getting more interest from readers who live in Runnemede. I'm surprised almost every day when I receive a comment (not all are posted) from a "stranger" about the BLOG. I hope as they say, they are really enjoying it.

This last year plus has been an experience for me. A mind-taxing experience as I try to dig out of my mind those lost memories of Runnemede. There are so many things running around in my mind and I have to categorize them and single them out so they are not just a jumble of thoughts -- as they are at the present time. So I write down topics and thoughts and think about them for days and days. Then after I've thought about them I write about them.

I know there is so much more about my time in Runnemede and my growing up time that will be awakened as I continue this trek through my past.

I pray that this small remembrance will be a nudge to my grandchildren to look at their heritage -- at least on my side of the family, as I don't know much about Alan's family at all.

As an avid scrapbooker, I still have all these pictures in my mind of sitting on the floor of the small bedroom -- actually in that small closet -- pasting cards and cut-outs from cards into a scrapbook, and writing down from whom the card came and the occasion for that particular card. I am sitting cross legged -- a feat that would NEVER occur today -- and sticking my tongue out as I glue (I still stick my tongue out as I type, play the piano, anything that requires concentration) those pictures into the book.

I wonder what ever happened to those books?


Another niece, another BLOG

You'll notice I added another BLOG link to my Runnemede Remembered faves. Jennie, aka, Jessie, aka as J Rose, has started a BLOG about her and her family and their life in SW Virginia. It's almost in North Carolina, not far from Mt. Airy.

So, enjoy.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I know I've touched on this topic before. As I mentioned, my mom and dad were not dessert people, so any dessert at all was a treat for us, even if was plain, green, lime jello.

Tonight, I presented one such dessert to Alan, who loves desserts because his mom was big on giving his family desserts (at every meal, including breakfast, and then at night just before bed).

Anyway, I presented him with canned peaches! Yes, canned peaches. Plain, old canned peaches. I love them. And for me, growing up, they were a real treat. We children always fought over the syrup, and mom would carefully dole out the syrup into 1/4 servings so we each got a fair share. Mom generally canned 48 quart jars (or more) of peaches each year, and also made peach-pit jelly, about which I know I've written.

So, as we were enjoying this dessert -- I say we, because I was enjoying it, and Alan likes anything sweet -- I mentioned that this reminded me of a fall evening dessert from when I was growing up. And then I said, "You probably didn't get much canned fruit in Kenya" (where he grew up). He said it was one of his favorite desserts as well.

Then, I said, "Your mom didn't just serve plain, old, canned fruit. She had to have added cake or something to it." He didn't say anything. I figured he was going to drop the subject, then he chimed in, "Ginger snaps -- that would go well with this fruit -- that's what we usually had." And then I remembered, we often had ginger snaps with our fruit dessert as well. But more often we had those dry, butter cookies that were sort of shaped like a flower with a hole in the middle. I don't know the name of them, but they were made by Keebler.

So, that's my dessert tale, and I'm sticking to it.


Monday, October 6, 2008


Is that a word -- vividness? Well, I vividly remember that at the beginning of October it was time to start practice for the annual church Christmas pageant. And since I'm trying to get my trees in a row for the upcoming season which, as always, will be busy and fly by, I was thinking about this.

I know my mom never showed any panic or dread at the upcoming season -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas -- she just always seemed to be in such control of herself and any situation she was in. I don't recall her ever saying, "I wish they wouldn't do this, this year, because I have too many other things to do." Or, "I don't have time to go shopping for gifts, let alone address 100 cards to people in the church and elsewhere."

Mom just flowed. Halloween was not something my father particularly enjoyed. Mom loved giving out goodies to the children in the neighborhood. Mostly Mary Janes. I hated those things, but they were a good buy -- you got two for a penny, so mom could almost afford to give out Mary Janes by the fours, and kids thought they were getting a lot of candy -- do the math, that's two cents per child that came to our door, and since we lived on a quiet street, we really didn't get more than 25 or 30 kids. And we always had left over Mary Janes because mom bought 100 of them (that's 50 cents).

Then she started in on Thanksgiving, and she decorated our dining room table with a cornucopia and fall colored candles and a tan-ish table cloth. She planned her menu carefully -- unless it was Aunt Anne's year for Thanksgiving, then she just had to "bring something." But she breezed through that as well. Then is was December.

In December she started around the first by going down into the basement and getting out the decorations that she put around the house -- her favorite angels, some greens, some Christmas balls -- the tree came whenever dad decided to go get it, usually around December 24th, sometimes earlier, but not often. Then she spent part of the month making the gifts she would give to her Sunday school class (the 20/30-something women) and she never seemed flustered about that, either. Even the time, I recall, she was making really cute aprons, and she had to rip out one seam several times before she finally got it right. She just ripped away, never mumbling or complaining.

When we were growing up, if we were dissatisfied with something, we'd go around the house saying "mumble, mumble, mumble" or "grumble, grumble, grumble." Do you remember that, sis?

Back to mom. Also in December she had to be at the church almost every night for practice for the pageant or some other meeting, she had to visit four school performances in the month of December because she had four children and she couldn't very well offend one of them because she didn't really have time to see their play.

And, I remember her coming to our school plays and I was always so proud at those events because I knew I had the most beautiful mother of all the mothers there.

Then after Christmas was over, it was time to get ready for New Year's Eve service -- which meant baking several items for the church pre-midnight feast. New Year's day was very quiet. I guess that's when mom and dad finally after three months of go, go, go -- finally could rest for a few days before the new year started in and once again the rounds of church and school events became part of the busyness of their lives.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My mother and stairs

With all this falling up and down steps that I've mentioned in The Fat Lady Singeth, my sister reminded me of something that my mother endured that was very similar.

About 8 years before my mother died, she fell down the cellar steps -- the laundry was in the basement, and she tumbled down the last few steps on day when she was going down with a basket of dirty laundry, and broke her hip.

My dear, frail, mother -- how she did the laundry in the basement when she was in her late 70s I'll never understand anyway, but she did. She'd get the clothes down the steps and then start the washer, climb the steps, work around the house for an hour or so, then descend the steps again, and put the clothes in the dryer. After another hour of piddling around the house, she'd go back down those steps, and fold the clothes that were in the dryer.

Now those steps were not carpeted. They were rickety, old, wooden steps with open sides and backs; typical, I suppose of unfinished basement steps. There was a handle or stair railing, but it was not something I would place my life upon as an upholder of my girth. Of course, mom was such a little thing, that I suppose that railing was strong enough for her.

Well, one day she fell. After that incident -- since the washer and dryer were in the basement, and laundry does pile up -- after her hip healed enough for her to be able to go up and down steps again, she would go down those steps backward, crawling down the steps as a baby does when it is first learning to climb and go down stairs. Then she would crawl up the steps, much like a baby does, again, when a baby is first learning to climb stairs.

I hadn't known about this because I was no longer living in Runnemede. But, apparently that's how she did the laundry.

One additional note -- Alan asked how she got the laundry back up the stairs (I'm assuming she just threw it down the steps, forget a laundry basket). I told him, the same way I did it before we got the elevator -- put the laundry basket about three steps in front of you, climb a couple of steps then move the basket up a few more steps, and keep climbing until you get the basket and yourself to the top.