Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Sunday, January 4, 2009

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.


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