Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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.


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