Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is our car as of Saturday, Feb. 1. The storm started Monday night into Tuesday, and then ice came on Tuesday afternoon, ending up with snow on Wednesday. We still haven't dug it out, but it's sunny out today, but only 16 degrees, and tomorrow will also be sunny and above freezing, at least they say it will be. These are really small icicles hanging from the garage next door. I found a few large icicles, but they are too far to photograph.
So, I remember icicles. Not itty-bitty ones like these, but huge icicles. They always hung right outside the back door, hanging from the porch roof reading to drop on your head or decapitate you if you went out the door and rattled the edge of the roof. Maybe because I was small when I first noticed the icicles, they seemed so large, but as I grew older, they were still very big, and mom or dad had to knock them down with a broom.
I used to love to try to knock the icicles down with something clean so I could suck on it like a popsicle. Often I would try to catch it as it fell so that it wouldn't break on the top step. I also liked to look closely at them and see how many sections they had (growth sections).
The front porch provided good icicles as well. Those were easier to reach because I could climb on the porch rail and grab one off the roof. I think we had these large icicles because neither porch (the front nor back) had rain gutters, so as the snow melted, it just naturally ran off the porch and if it was cold enough we had icicles.
I don't remember it getting below 20 degrees very often, but the variance in temperature during the day wasn't that great, either. Like here in N. KY we can go down to 5 at night and then get up to 30 during the day. In Runnemede, we would go down to 20 at night and maybe get up to 30 during the day.
Oh, we had some really cold weather, but not with snow. And that made our snow so much better and thicker. The warmer the weather was when it snowed, the heavier was the snow.
I recall one Christmas Eve -- the first year Alan and I were married. We went to Runnemede to spend a couple of days with my mom and dad (at the house on 2nd ave) and then we were going to head down to Ventnor where his parents were staying until they returned to Africa, and spend a few days with them.
Well, this storm rolled in on Christmas Eve around supper time. It snowed like crazy and we even had lightning and thunder with that storm. By morning we had almost 18 inches of snow on the ground, but the sun was out, so the storm was over. The big dilemma, should we try to head down to the shore (Ventnor is right on the ocean, just south of Atlantic City) or stay with my mom and dad another day. Another dilemma we had was: we were supposed to pick up Alan's grandfather Hahn and take him with us to Ventnor.
Well, we opted to wait one day, spend Christmas in Runnemede -- no relatives made it to the big dinner that year -- and then head down to Ventnor.
Why is it the snowstorms I weathered in Runnemede are so vivid to me. I could make a list and recall that all the largest storms were accompanied with temperatures in the high 20s, low 30s. Best snow in the world.
In case you're wondering why I remember snowstorms. thunderstorms, sunny days, etc., I always loved looking at weather maps. Some people would open to the comic section of the newspaper, I opened to the weather map. I would study those maps and try to predict on my own what the next few days of weather would be. Those maps along with dads barometer were a treat for me. I also picked up as many books at the library -- there were three of them -- on weather as I could find. Small library. My mom bought the World Book when I was about 10, and the first thing I read about was weather, climate, snow, rain. How weather patterns moved in North America and in Europe.
So, that's my icicle tale, and I'm sticking to it (not with my tongue -- I did that once, licked the back steps railing which was metal -- ouch!).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 2009 snow

You can sort of see the ice on the trees.

The sun came out for a few seconds.

And yes, these pictures are in living color, although it does appear that they are in black and white.

Every year since we moved from New Jersey to the Cincinnati area we have been "blessed" with at least one good snow storm Most years it has been only one. However, the ice-age years of 1977 and 1978 we had several. And, I'm not talking about the snow storms where there is only two inches of snow. I mean the storms that dump at least six inches of the fluffy white stuff.
You have to realize that in this area of the world two inches of snow basically paralyzes the area until (1) the snow melts, usually within two hours of the end of the storm, or (2) the plows/salt spreaders get to the roads.
These pictures are of the three-day storm we just went through. First we had six inches of snow. Then we had a few hours of just very cold weather and lots of threatening looking clouds. Then the next step of the storm swung in and we had sleet and freezing rain. When I went to bed last night I could tell that the plowed areas were nothing but a sheet of ice. And I could see that my snow covered car was fast become ice covered. Then this morning the third round of the storm hit, and we got another six inches of snow on top of the first six inches.
So, what you see in these pictures is six inches of snow layered with an inch of ice and then topped with another six inches of snow. It surely does look pretty.
Alan and I live in a community where we don't have to dig ourselves out. Our streets are cleared already, salted, so the ice is gone, and the driveways and walkways are being cleared as well. That doesn't mean I'm going any place. Oh, no. I'm not going near the car. I mean, how am I even going to get into it. The door handles and locks are covered with ice and I don't own a hair dryer!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I remember when

My daughter-in-law, Amy, who has NEVER been to Runnemede, by the way, recently wrote in her BLOG things she, who is in her 30s, remembers fondly. Things that have already changed in her short married lifetime -- that is in the last 10 years or so.

If I were to think about all the things that have changed in my lifetime the list would bore you all.
And, since I've written about many of those things, here's my most favorite short list.

. A drugstore wherein there was a soda fountain and you could get a glass of coca cola for a nickle.
. Nickle candy bars, penny candy.
. Stockings that were not attached to panties.
. TV with exterior antenna, or with rabbit ears.
. Calculators that cost $150 (yes, that's true) and didn't fit in your pocket, but were digitalized.
. Computers with a max ram of 128K!
. No microwave ovens (boy am I glad they invented them in my lifetime)
. All liquid beverages came in glass bottles. no cans.
. Hawaiian Punch -- do they still make that?
. Store bought cookies that didn't taste like cardboard (before they removed all the transfats)
. School supplies supplied by the school and not the parents
. The introduction of the polio vaccine
. Yearly TB testing in school
. Smallpox vaccinations
. Brownie box cameras that took black and white pictures -- 12 pictures per roll of film. Film? what's that?
. Mothers and doctors only in the delivery room. No dads or other family members allowed!

Technology and medical advances are too numerous to mention, and while I often wish I lived in the late 1800s, when I really think about it, I'm not one who would do well using an outhouse -- been there, done that, and it isn't comfortable. So, I'm thankful for my computer, my ability to print my own photos, BLOG, use my microwave to zap coffee or tea or frozen veggies, and one item I don't have and wish I did -- a crock pot.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

I feel like I should say something

But nothing comes to mind.

I saw Cake Wrecks' title today (Do you know what time it is?) and that reminded me of The Howdy Doody Show, but really that started with: Kids! Do you know time it is? And all the kids shouted back, "It's Howdy Doody Time," at which point the song:

It's Howdy Doody Time
It's Howdy Doody time
Bob Smith says Howdy Doo
and Howdy Doody, too.

Let's give a rousing cheer,
'cause Howdy Doody's here
It's time to start the show,
So kids let's go!

And then the show would be off with Clarabel, the clown, Phinneas T. Bluster, Captain Scuttlebut, Flubberdub, Princess SummerFallWinterSpring, and others.

I was so little then, and mostly I had to watch it at friend's homes because we still didn't have a TV. It came on after school was out, at 4 o'clock, I think. I was about 7 when I first saw the program. And the catchy opening tune was easy to learn. I wanted to go be on the show, but it wasn't a show that was broadcast out of Philadelphia, like Willie the Worm was, so I was never one of the studio kids. And Willie the Worm didn't have children in its audience. That's Willie with Gene Lockhart (old movie actor).

All these shows were puppet shows, along with Punch and Judy and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. We were mesmorized by puppets. Can you imagine today's children being held spellbound by simple hand puppets, or string puppets? I frankly can't. But it would be nice.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All the hoopla!

I know people think that this presidential inauguration day is the most exciting in the history of the country, but folks, I'm here to tell you that I've lived through two other such events in my lifetime, and I'm sure there are folks older than I who could say they've lived through three. And I can guarantee that baring the return of our Lord, there will be another day like this.

First, the TV thing and school children watching the inauguration address that's been broadcast far and wide, I'm here to tell you that is NOT a new thing. So, I don't understand all the hoopla about that. I mean don't the media know ANY history at all. Don't they even recall watching such events when they were in school, or had the school system gotten so bad that even current history wasn't part of a child's education?

I recall listening to Dwight David Eisenhower's Addresses, both of them, and then I recall WATCHING the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. If I remember correctly, however, it happened on a snow day, but we were scheduled to watch the event in both US history class, and English class. We didn't have TVs in every room back then, but there were a few and they figured most of us would be able to view the historic inauguration (back then all inaugurations were historic) in one of our classes.

So, I recall that after World War II, Mr. Truman was president, but the country was recovering from a war-time economy and the men who returned from that war were buying homes and cars and the country was ready for CHANGE. Sound familiar? Gen. Eisenhower was the Republican selection and the country went wild. After all he was a war hero, the General who initiated D-Day and started us on our way to ending WWII. DDE had charisma and people just loved him. I recall the news people saying that he was the hero who would dig the country out of the mire it was in because of the post-war "recession". He was the media darling back then and there was a lot of hoopla around his inauguration.

The next President who had probably the biggest fanfare I can recall (prior to Pres. Obama) was JFK. He was, after all the first Catholic president. I never could figure out what was so great about that, but apparently it was something to have someone in office that was a religion other than Protestant. And the parade, the speech, and the beautiful wife only added to the aura around his popularity. It was some day, that day, much like today. A long parade, lots of speeches, the media taking up the whole day with nonsensical stories about his life up to that day.

But one thing missing from both those inaugurations: there was no "savior" complex embedded into everything the men said or did. They were, after all, just men, and the electorate realized that. While there was HOPE for CHANGE after these men were placed in office, there was a realization that there would be bumps along the way. And we also knew back then that God was in control (although some Protestants thought the end was near!) and in Him was our hope, our peace, and our salvation.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people realized that today. Our ONLY salvation is Christ our Lord. Our only PEACE comes through having him as our SAVIOR. With Christ as our SAVIOR we have HOPE for eternity and his glorious return.


Old Runnemede

Picture from the history of the Runnemede Fire Company's website.

Well, not THAT old. At least when you get to be my age, old is a relative term. Is something that was around in the 1940s old? Not for me, but for my children and their children that's ancient, just like 1908 and 1909, the years my mom and dad were born are OLD to me. So old photographs for me come from the pre-1920s. Well, this picture is not quite that old.

I remember so well this old firehouse (that's the building behind all those firemen). This was a place where I first heard Christmas songs that weren't carols. Songs like "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus" and "Rocking around the Christmas Tree" and others of that ilk. They did play the old standbys such as "Silent Night" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", but I really enjoyed the new "songs" as opposed to "hymns". My mom and dad didn't think they were proper because after all they were considered "rock and roll."

So, I would march, walk, trot down to the Pike and just listen to the music as it was played through those speakers at Christmas time.

You can also see the Gulf gas station next door. I wrote about that before. Then right next to that gas station was Second Avenue. We lived two blocks away from the Pike.

You can also see that the new firehouse, that was built on Second Avenue, just down the street from our house, was going to be opened for business soon. I do recall one time my dad running down there because a neighbor's house was on fire and he ran down to pull the alarm which woke up the town's volunteers. Yes, Runnemede is all volunteer fire fighters, but they always did a good job.

I recall one Sunday night, just after church, the sky lit up and we knew there was a big fire. The lumber yard had caught on fire. You can imagine what the result of that fire was. I mean wood burns really well, doesn't it? It was, however, a night that set a fear in me, and I was fearful every time the fire siren went off, calling those volunteers to their job. That fear lasted until well in my teens.

I don't recall what replaced that old fire house. I think it was torn down, but I don't recall what was put in its place. Anyway, just thought you might like to see a little bit of our little town, Runnemede, NJ., as I remember it.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Photo albums and chatting with my sister

I always enjoy looking through the old family albums. I have four albums of OLD family pictures. One is devoted to my dad and his family with a little of him and my mom at the end of the book. Another is devoted to my mom and her family, with a little of her and dad at the end. The third is devoted to my cousins, the Evangelistas and the Sbaraglias and the Boylls, with some of the Drexler children thrown in. And the fourth is about me and our family of six. It ends at the point where Alan came into my life. Then starts the NEW albums. Anything that is before 1966 is OLD and after 1966 is NEW.

And I know for your thirty-somethings out there, 1966 was before you were born. So those older NEW albums would be OLD albums for you and the OLD albums would be ANCIENT. But I'm trying to let you know my mindset on those albums in case the subject comes up again.

Well, I was looking through those books today and just looking at the clothing we wore, the clothing my mom and dad wore when they were courting and in their early married life. I had a pair of suspenders which I loved and I wore them for several years and then my sister inherited them. They (the suspenders) are in a lot of those pictures taken of me and my sister in the late '40s, early '50s.

And I was looking at the photos taken in our small house, remembering what each item in the picture was and feeling good about knowing that most of those items -- knick-knacks, books, furniture -- is still around in some other member of the family's home collection dust and having to be dusted just as it was in my mom's house.

My sister reminded me about my mother and how she got my father's attention. My mom would call his name, "Carl" in her normal indoor voice. NOTE: we didn't have indoor and outdoor voices back then, it was all one normal tone. Then she would call "Carl" a little louder, and finally, she would take a deep breath and let it blow, and you could hear her down at the pike. Well, not really, but my dear little mother had one powerful set of lungs and one loud voice when she wanted someone's attention.

It wasn't that my dad didn't want to hear her, because usually until she let is out, he really didn't hear her. Rarely, however, did my mom have to yell for my father's attention. We children? She yelled all the time, maybe not as loudly as I yell, but the only way to get my brothers' attention was to yell -- or as I would put it forcefully speak. Some call it yelling, but I would prefer to say forcefully speak. And she would wag her index finger while she was forcefully speaking to any of us who were misbehaving.

Well, I would rather have had the force speaking than the feeling of a switch from the forsythia bush across my legs. That hurt!

I think a prerequisite for mothers should be lessons in forcefully speaking, as opposed to yelling. To get one's child's attention, you can yank the hair, pull on the ear, hit them upside the head, or forcefully speak.

So folks, when you think I'm yelling, I'm not. I'm just forcefully speaking.


Friday, January 16, 2009

One more from Christmas, then I'll stop.

I know there were things about the trip that were, shall we say, not so much fun. My dear D-I-L, still recovering from pneumonia, was in bed a great deal of the time. She's still not up to snuff. And memom sagged at the end of the week and never did do all the projects she had brought with her with all the children. Bummer. Well, some other time.

But here's one last picture, taken by Becky. This is the candy walk (like a cake walk, only using candy). Each grandchild was given 15 pennies and they had to work it out in their minds how they were going to spend those pennies and hopefully win their hands at getting the winning number so that the candy would be theirs. Poor Dan. He tried, he saved up because he really wanted one specific candy, but he was two pennies short and, yes, one of those other pennies won the candy he really, really wanted. Other than that, I think the kids loved the candy walk.

The one hand where no one won (an empty plate was a no-win, if that number was rolled) and it was decided to give that basket to the family (Cyndi's) that couldn't be with us in Tennessee. We missed them, and I think if they had been added to the mix we would have had an even better time.


Isn't this the best picture?

My daughter took this picture on the last day of our recent trip to Tennessee with two of our three children and their children. The children in the picture are, of course, the seven grands who were with us.
Left to right: Daniel Ford, age 10; David Hahn, age 7; Matthew Hahn, age 3; Grace Ford, age 9; Rachel Hahn, age 5; Annie Ford, age 7 (almost 8); and Rose, age 9.

All I can say is, it's a great picture, and the children had a great time.

New Picture

My dear niece, Lori, sent this picture to me yesterday. I am so thankful for this picture. I don't have it in my collection, although I do remember seeing it both at my mom's house and in one of Aunt Annie's albums.

Written on the back of the picture is the date, 1934. Assuming that is the correct date, and what else would one assume(?), that picture was taken two years prior to my mother's and father's wedding. They were married on March 31, 1936.

I don't know why we have so many pictures of the Sbaraglias in front of that window, or in that window but we do. I was looking at the brick work around that window. Not your normal setting for a window. And we know from seeing the pictures of people photographed on the inside of that window that it was a large window. But, once again, I'm chasing another rabbit.

Pictured are (l to r) my mother, Rose; her brother, Joe; and her sister, Anne. So that would be mom, Uncle Joe (Sbaraglia), and Aunt Annie of the photo album fame. Uncle Joe is father to my cousins (still living) Robert, Joan, and Lynn. Aunt Annie has no children of her own, but adopted my cousin Betty Evangelista. Long story there, which is told in an earlier BLOG, and my mom had, well we all know who she and dad had.

But they didn't have any children for almost 7 years after they were married. I was their first child. Apparently the docs told my mom she would never have a baby. Fooled them, didn't she? She had four and after my brother Carl was born she was warned not to have any more. So she didn't. I remember dad sleeping in the attic (that was before my sister and I inherited that space) for several days a month. What did I know about why he was doing that? I thought he was studying, not trying to prevent another child that could kill my mom. Bless his heart.

So, that's the good news for today. Old pictures bring to life old memories. Old memories remind us of our family still here and those gone from us now whom we will see again after we see our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what a day that will be!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Old friends

I think about the friends I had in Runnemede and wonder where they are. There were my school friends, my "block" friends, my church friends, and my "just friends."

I found a few on line, corresponded with them a couple of times, and then lost touch again. It's my own fault, really. I should be more tenacious about keeping in touch with them.

I do correspond sort of frequently with one of my bridesmaids who still lives in New Jersey, but not in Runnemede. Although until she retired last year, she was a teacher in the Runnemede school system. Does that count?

I found a church friend who became a doctor and is now living in Washington, DC and working at a hospital in Northern Virginia. I only write to her on her birthday. She writes back, then I respond, and that's it until the next year.

I've had a couple of friends contact me -- friends from high school -- and I've written back, but that's as far as the contact has gone.

I know God puts people on your heart to pray for, so today must be a day to remember "old friends" in prayer, naming them one by one.

Pray for those friends of years gone by today. You don't know what their needs are, but God does.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday was wash day

I know I wrote about this before, but my niece, Lori reminded me about something I may not have mentioned. This picture is NOT my mom. I don't know who it is, I just wanted to show the kind of washing machine my mom had when I was little.

My mom was short, she said she was 5'2", but I think she was shorter than that because I was 5'3" (before I shrunk to my now height of 5'1") and I towered over her. But I digress. This is about washday.

Before we got an automatic washer, mom only washed on one day a week, that was Monday. Back in those days we kept our towels for one full week, and got a new washcloth mid-week. That really cuts down on the laundry. Mom changed the beds on Monday and washed the sheets that day as well. Now when I was really little she had a wringer washer and I remember her pushing the clothes through those ringers to get the water out of them so that they weren't so sopping wet when she hung them on the clothes line.

Now here's where her "shortness" comes in. We had saggy clotheslines because mom was short. But, we had poles that had a notch on the end that held up the lines so that the sheets and other things didn't drag on the ground.

I recall standing on the second and third steps off the back porch so that I could hang clothes and help my mom when I was a little girl.

By the time I was 9 or 10 I was hanging along side my mom and using the clothes pole to raise the clothes lines to a height well above the ground.

The clothing smelled so good. I don't care what kind of softener or detergent you use, you don't get that fresh air smell you get when you hang clothing outdoors.

After I married I never hung clothing outdoors because I always had a drier. And now, even if I wanted to hang my sheets outdoors I couldn't because where I live hanging clothing or any items outdoors is verboten!

Be sure to click on the title and watch the "washing day of old".


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Family reunion long ago

I'm not too certain when this picture was taken, but I believe it was taken at my brother, Carl's, home in Williamstown, NJ. The child "hanging" over the top of the swing set is my Cyndi. She was about 7 or 8 in this picture (I'm guessing based on what she's wearing) so that means it was probably around 1980.

The "larger" person in the front is me. I haven't really changed that much, but I dress better now that I can afford something that doesn't come from Goodwill. Next to me is my mother. How frail she looks. And then comes my father. Note the suspenders and the tie. It must have been a really hot day or he would have had on his jacket. I'm surprised he doesn't have a dozen pens in his shirt pocket. He usually did. And next to my father is my sister, Debbie, who still looks just the same as she did then.

I always envied her because she always dressed so beautiful. I always looked frumpy, even when I was a size 5. Yes, folks I was once a size 5 (new size 0). Size 5 was the smallest you could get back when my nickname was "Olive Oyl" not because I looked like Olive Oyl, but because I was built like her. Stick!

Behind me is my brother Carl. He grew to be the tallest of the bunch. My dad was only 5 foot 8 inches, mom was five foot two or less. Next to Carl is Mark, my other brother. The one who hates broccoli.

I don't really remember why we all had this reunion, but I know it wasn't for my parents 50th anniversary, because my Cyndi was a teenager and she would never have been hanging over a swing set.

I suppose we had some reason for a reunion. Perhaps my sister and her family were visiting Jim's family in Delaware and we were visiting my mom, as was my brother, and we were able to get together. I can't imagine, though, my five and my brother's five in the little house on second avenue, all at the same time. But then, I'm remembering less and less as the days go by.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Food we ate when we were growing up

I know I've addressed this before, but my niece's recent BLOG about broccoli got me to thinking about likes and dislikes in the food department that we, as children, had.

The first one that comes to mind as a dislike is LIVER. Oh, how we ALL hated that stuff. But daddy liked it, so every once in a while, too often for me, mom would make liver. And, we HAD to eat our small (thankfully small) portion. The only way I could get that stuff down was cutting it very, very small and surrounding it with mashed potatoes so that it would slide down without having to chew it (or taste it). Mom, thankfully, wasn't real fond of liver either, and so she told us about the mashed potato trick, and she always made mashed potatoes when we had liver.

The second dislike that comes to my mind is TONGUE. Ewww! While it really does taste sort of like ham, I could never get past those taste buds. The way it felt on my own tongue made me gag, and gag I did with every single bite. Mom wasn't as generous with mashed potatoes when we had tongue, because oddly enough she liked the stuff. And fortunately we had it only once or twice a year.

I don't recall disliking any vegetables except for TURNIPS. Since we depended a lot on what people gave us in the vegetable department, and what we raised, we didn't get many turnips. I think I had to endure that horrible root veggie only once or twice in my life.

I know my brothers and sister weren't overly fond of BEETS, but I loved them. I loved them pickled or hot with lots of butter or in orange sauce. Beets were one of my favorite veggies and my father loved them.

My mother had a knack with LIMA BEANS -- which I really liked -- that I don't have. Her limas were always soft in the middle and the skins were still intact. My limas seen always to be very hard through and through. Maybe it's the beans? Do I over cook them? Do I under cook them? I don't know. I've tried cooking them for a long time and they are still hard as rocks, which would lead me to believe I over cooked them. Then I cooked them for a shorter time, and still they were hard. So, while I like lima beans, we don't eat them very often. Dad liked succotash, and mom saved the left-over limas and then the next night combined it with corn (which we always had on hand because she froze a lot of it in the summer).

Now, to the subject of my nieces, hilariously well written article on BROCCOLI (click on my favorite BLOG list, All Because Two People Fell in Love and read the BLOG entitled "We must keep up the fight"). I know my niece, Lori, gets her dislike of broccoli from her father, my brother, Mark. I'm not sure she's ever even tasted this wonderful veggie. I love broccoli. I don't like it raw, however. My children weren't especially fond of it, but I made it at least once a week when they were growing up. Alan ate it, but wasn't particularly fond of it, so now that it's just the two of us, we don't have it very often.

Growing up, we had broccoli a lot in the summer because people would give to us from their abundance. My mother basically blanched it and served it with butter, salt, and pepper. While I enjoyed it that way, after I was married a friend introduced me to a sauce she used on broccoli and I started putting that on the broccoli all the time. It a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard -- three tablespoons of mayo and 1 tspn of mustard, all mixed together and poured over the broccoli. My own children would tolerate brocolli served that way. I guess the sauce masked the flavor of the broccoli for them. Alan started to enjoy the broccoli after I fixed it that way. Now I even use that sauce for his chicken, and anything else he's not particularly fond of.

In thinking back to when I was a child and when we were fed based on what (1) mom could afford, which wasn't much, and (2) what our generous parishioners handed us, I don't think there was much we all didn't like because I think we knew we were eating what God had given us for that day, whether it was a chicken that mom had to pluck given to us by our neighbor who raised chickens and supplied us with eggs on a daily basis, or whether it was from a neighbor who had an over supply of broccoli in his garden. We ate what we had and enjoyed it or went very, very hungry.

I personally am thankful for the variety we had and especially the way my mom cooked what was given to us and stretched it so that we didn't go hungry. God was good.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dinnertime in the 60s -- Another episode of Back to Runnemede

Here we are eating dinner, or rather having our picture taken after dinner. The year? 1968. Christmas. I know this because? There is a stupid santa hat hanging from the picture behind the buffet which is at the top center of the photo.

Alan is sitting on the end, looking back toward the camera. I am in the lower right of the picture. I am about four months pregnant, and since I wanted to badly to be pregnant, I started wearing maternity clothes as soon as I couldn't button my skirts. Since I was a working lady, and pant-suits weren't permitted in the work place, I had skirts that I had to fit in. And spandex was just the gleam in some inventor's eye at that time.

This must be our Christmas dinner in 1968, because it looks like all the family, sans papa is there. Also in the picture is Alberta and her husband, Harold; my brother Carl and his wife, Linda; and the guy with the sideburns on the right, back, is my brother, Mark.
You will notice all those cans on the buffet -- remember I talked about all the cookies our family received at Christmas time -- baked fresh by the ladies in the church? Well, take a look. And that was AFTER most of the children had left home, so they weren't giving dad as many cookies as they did when he had four hungry children living at home.
This picture was taken in 1970, I believe, although my sister thinks it was later than that. I think this is when I am pregnant with Becky, who was born in 1971. The guy on the back end, left-hand side, is Alan. When I first saw this picture, I thought it was Phil, my son. Of course, that wouldn't be possible because he was only 1-1/2 years old at Christmas, 1970. This may be Thanksgiving, though.

My sister, Debbie, is at the end, and she too, is pregnant, with Jennie. Now, she tells me that Becky was already born when she was pregnant with Jennie, but I'm too skinny, I think, in this picture for me to be pregnant with Cyndi. I hadn't lost much weight after Becky was born, and bam! I was pregnant with Cyndi. My brother, Carl is in the foregound, right; Aunt Annie is on the right-hand side, back side of the table.


Back to Runnemede circa 1950

That's our "little" family. Weren't we cute? My mother is holding my youngest brother Carl (Diddle), whose birthday I missed again this year. He was born on January 2, 1949. It was a Sunday. And I've written about that before. To rehash: My mom informed me prior to Sunday school that we would have a new baby before the day was out. She let me feel her belly as she had a contraction. Like an almost-six-year-old cared. I pretended I did. And Dad took us (my sister and other brother, Mark) to church. He preached, while messengers went between the house and church keeping him informed of mom's progress. Actually, it was one messenger, Mrs. Aspling, who was attending her. After church we children were hustled off to people's homes to await the birth. He was born around 1:00 in the afternoon and we were all home by 2:00 p.m.

Anyway, he's probably two or almost two in this picture.

You can see some greenery on top of the bookcase, so it was around Christmas time when this was taken. I recall the incident. Mr. Fisher, a member of the church got a new camera for Christmas and wanted to try it out, so he came over to take the "preacher's family's pictures."

We children weren't very still and I recall it was quit difficult to keep my two brothers still long enough to get a decent picture. So why am I surprised when my younger grandchildren don't want to sit still to have a picture taken?

We are all sitting on THE LOVE SEAT. The LOVE SEAT that has seen more wear and tear in the past 65 plus years than I can remember. My niece Lori, who sent me the picture, asked several questions about the history of the still-in-existence loveseat. Her sister Emily now houses it.

My father's Uncle Orf and Aunt Mary gave the three-piece set (love seat and two chairs) to my mother and father, I'm guessing for Christmas, because I sort of remember it being cold when the furniture arrived. Our old furniture was put in the basement and we used it for a "family" room/playroom for years. Anyway, the seat is made of a mahogany frame (very sturdy) and the material that covers the seat and chair in the picture went the way of four children and was replaced in the early 60s with the covering that now is on the seat -- a sage green material.

You might ask why the material is still in fairly good shape. Well, mom kept it covered and only exposed it when we had company. I always thought it had a baby-poop colored yellow cover on it. Obviously, I was wrong.

One of the chairs in the set had low arms -- arms below where you would normally think arms should be. That's because it was a lady's parlor chair, and they were purposely made that way so that ladies billowy skirts wouldn't either get squished or their hoops wouldn't bounce up exposing all their undies! That particular chair is just out of the picture on the lower right-hand side.

Also in the picture is my dear sister, Debbie -- she's on the left end. I'm squished in between her and my brother Mark. And Mom, the controller, the trying to keep us still enough to get a fairly good picture. She succeeded. This is one of about three of what seemed like a hundred pictures that were taken of us that night. I do remember asking, "Are we through yet?" And being told to "Behave, Judith." Ah, yes, I do remember those things.

The wallpaper gives the illusion that we had high ceilings. We didn't. The house had 8-foot ceilings and the room was very small. On the wall opposite us is the piano, which, of course, you can't see.

On the left as you look at the picture is the Magnavox radio/record player. I can't tell you the hours I spent in front of that non-television watching pictures in my mind of what I was hearing on either the radio or from the recordings.

I think it's no wonder my generation was so prolific in inventions and moving this country (and world) forward in so many areas. We had only our imaginations to motivate us. Today's children, for the most part (Jon & Kate plus 8 an exception) don't get much chance to use their imaginations.

There's a whole world out there yet to be explored by children. Too bad they depend on others (such as cartoon and TV producers) to do that exploring for them.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Last of the pictures

This is during the gift opening session. Dan is leaning on the coffee table. You can see Becky, Grace, Annie, and Quinn on the sofa behind Dan. The blondie is Rosie.
Alan is opening a gift from one of the children.

Grace opening one of her gifts, and Dan in the back enjoying a sword he received.

And, I gotcha Beck! She's hard to catch to get a good picture, or any picture for that matter. Like me, there are few pictures of her or me. Me I don't care about, but I do like to have pictures of my children.

And that's Becky, Annie, and Grace at in front of the tree. You can see the paper chain that Rosie made.
The children all had a sticker nativity that they put together. Matt decorated the tree with the angels and stars and bows while the older ones were swimming. And Rosie came next door to see Me-mom and she made the chain and some snowflakes at that time. We taped the snowflakes to the windows.
I think the highlight of the week was the "candy walk". Each child was given 11 pennies and they could use those to select a number of several numbers for a certain candy pack -- and the packs were very large. Ask the parents. Well, if they ran out of money before all the candy choices were set out, they were out of luck, so to speak. The Hahns won most of the candy. The Fords? Not so much, but all the families received some candy.
And at Bingo, we played five games, and the child which won was able to go to the treasure chest and pick out a gift. At the end even the losers were permitted to get a gift. Memom doesn't like losing and so there were gifts for the losers during the games as well as the winners.
I can't remember who the winner of the Pick-up-sticks game was, but those non-winners also got a small gift.
All-in-all I think that until I fizzled out at the end of the week, all went pretty well. God was good.

Home again, home again, jiggety jog

How's this for a Charlie Brown's Christmas tree? I got it at Dollar General for $12.50, $15 if you throw in the ornaments. It's a six-foot prelit, very sparse Christmas tree, but the children loved it and Matt our youngest grandchild decorated it. Later Rosie made a chain of green and red paper and that was hung on the tree as well. Those ornaments twinkle as they twist and turn because of air currents. Really quite attractive when all the other lights are out.
Here's Matt and his mommy, Amy. Amy was so very ill the entire week. She's still recovering from pneumonia and she was not up to snuff, as we used to say. Can't say who felt worse this past week, Amy or Me-Mom.

This is Annie. Beautiful Annie. I have always "signed" that to her since she was a baby. And she is living up to it. Such a sweet child. Don't you just loooove the hat? It's got sequins sewn into it.
All the girls received scarves that I had knitted. And I think they must have liked them because they wore them each time they went outdoors, even though it wasn't really that cold outside.

And this is Grace. Quiet, helpful, cutie-pie Grace. Her name says it: She is our Grace. We love her to bits. And she just stays in the background, but is right there when you need her.

Well, these are just a few of the pictures I took while we were in Tennessee.
Alan and I love Crossville, TN. It's a quiet place and the resorts (there are four that we're aware of) are back in the woods, on lakes, and we are so able to relax. Another added bonus is that my cousin, David Evangelista, Aunt Daisy's ONLY son, lives there. And while we cousins are aging more rapidly than we'd like, it's nice to know that even in such a tranquil, bucolic place, we can get together and enjoy each other's company.

Unfortunately, this trip that didn't happen. Dave and his wife, Linda, were visiting family in California, while we were in Crossville, and they arrived home shortly before we left. The only window of opportunity was a day when I could barely move, so we cancelled our planned get together.

But, I know you're all just interested in the family pictures anyway. So enjoy.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Pictures to follow.

We had a great week in Tennessee. The weather cooperated amazingly. We had rain at night and one morning, I think. Today was yucky, but who cares, we checked out and came home and it was sunny by the time we got home.

Becky and her three children (and husband, Quinn, of course), and Phil and Amy and their four children joined us for the week. We sort of had an open-door policy between the condos, unless and until Me-mom (that's me) told the children that Me-mom was feeling pretty bad and could the little ones stay at their own place for a little bit.

I had planned around ten projects, crafts, a play, games, etc., and was only able to complete about half of what I had planned. Well, it turned out okay because instead of my activities, they all went swimming while I rested.

I'll post a supplement to this announcement that I am home again and getting caught up on all that I missed here and abroad this past week. I took my computer, but had no access to the Internet, so I have lots and lots of e-mails to go through, actually 153 NEW ones, and I left about 25 old ones that I was going to read and do something with this past week, but didn't. I had no Internet, so I had no Facebook. So I need to go through all my family members and try to reconstruct what I missed with them this week. And of course, because I had no Internet, I had no BLOGging ability. Bummer.