Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I was just looking out the sunroom window down here in New Smyrna Beach, and saw two little girls, who were probably 4 and 5 years old, running back and forth between the waves and the safety of the beach. I started to cry. Why? It just so reminded me of the days when we took our children to the beach and my girls ran back and forth to the water than back to the beach to escape the incoming wave. The picture above is my girls, Becky and Cyndi, with their grandfather Hahn. While they aren't in bathing suits, they are about the age of the two little girls I saw on the beach.

Where has the time gone? My oldest grandchild is 15 years old. My youngest is already over a month old. Time is just flying by, and I think, where did it go?

When my children were young, I wondered, how long will this last -- taking all the paraphernalia needed to enjoy a day at the beach with three young children? When will they be grown up enough to get their own lunch? How much longer until they can do their own laundry? That,by the way, was one of the first things I taught them. As soon as they could reach the top of the washing machine in order to open the lid, they learned how to do their own laundry.

And I didn't keep in my mind and heart all the good times we had when they were young. We did have good times. We went to the beach almost every year when they were young. My husband's aunt lived in Lewes, Delaware, one-half block from the beach. Granted it wasn't the ocean, but we always managed to spend at least one day at the Rehoboth Beach State Park and that satisfied my desire to be at the beach in the summer.

When I was growing up in Runnemede, it was about a two-hour drive to any one of the Jersey Shore beaches --back in the 40s and 50s. Then the state put in the Alantic City Expressway, and the drive was cut to 45 minutes max. I spent summers as a teenager at either Ocean City or Whale Beach. Whale Beach was washed away during a northeaster in the early 60s. Then it was strictly Ocean City (New Jersey) as my beach of choice.

So, I think I've waxed nostalgic long enough. I just had to get out of my weepy mood and now I'm going back to watching those little girls playing on the beach.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

My cousin, Micki

I just spent the better part of a week with my cousin Micki. She's 83 -- or is it 84 -- I've lost count. But she is pretty spry for a person her age. I wish I could move as well as she does. Oh, she has aches and pains, but for the most part she does well. She was a little oozy on her feet this past week, and while she was encouraged to use either a cane or a walker, she couldn't be bothered.

I bought her a lot of plants before I left and I know she'll get hours of pleasure out of them, first by planting them, then watching them blossom and grow, and then repotting them when they outgrow their post.

Not all the plants were for her porch, some were for her garden borders. And, yes, she insisted on getting down and doing the work herself. Okay by me.

I found a picture of Micki in her album which I didn't, unfortunately, get to copy. It was a picture of her at our house in Runnemede, with her guitar. I'm sure it was on a Sunday afternoon just prior to church service in the evening when she was to serenade us.

Micki, I miss you already. You are such a cheerful person, and you and I had such a great time, mostly laughing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hit or miss.

All BLOGs by this author will be hit or miss for the next few weeks. Florida calls, but WiFi isn't always available. My house sitters will NOT answer my phone, but they will take in the paper and do some other things around here, for which I'm grateful. I hope they enjoy their stay at Hahn Haus for a few weeks. I love giving people the use of my home when I'm not in it. And, I always come back to a house cleaner than when I left! Any takers for my next leave of absence?


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Isn't it always cloudy or rainy on Good Friday?

I recall a time when I was about 14 or 15 that I was getting ready to go to Good Friday services, which were from noon to 3:00 p.m. The pastor of the Lutheran Church and my father would share the services by reading and discussing the seven last words (sentences) of Christ as he hung on the cross.

I have to say as an ADD child I wasn't really thrilled to be in church again. Sitting still has never been something I do well, if at all. I have to have something moving. Same as when I'm talking. I cannot talk without my hands moving! But back on subject.

Well, by the time I was a teenager I was recognizing certain patterns in the weather, and I commented to my mother about the weather on this particular Friday, as it was raining, once again.

I couldn't recall a Good Friday when the sun was shining at least between the hours of noon and 3:00 p.m. She told me that maybe it was God reminding ME that when his Son died the weather was not sunny, but rather, as the Word says: ' was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.' And it occurred to me that on several of those Fridays the sun would sneak through after the 3:00 p.m. hour.

I took that as a reminder ever since when the weather isn't cheery and sunny on Good Friday. I often wonder what it's like in sunny California or Arizona. Maybe it's only dismal in places where Jesus' death is remembered solemnly on that date of remembrance -- Good Friday.

I won't get into a theological argument about the validity of the date. For me and mine, Jesus was crucified on the date we in this world have chosen to remember his terrible time.

As Christ would say: Think on these things.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


My mom's family came over in the early 1900s from Abruzzo (Italy). To be exact, they came from Torrevecchia Teatina Chieta Abruzzo. Torrevecchia Teatina (TT) being the town name, Chieta being the district (like our counties), and Abruzzo (like our states).

Yesterday, there was a rather large earthquake in Abruzzo. It was, fortunately not near TT, relatively speaking. TT is about 10 miles from the sea in southeast Italy, just above the boot heel. As you enter this regions you go up in altitude, and the earthquake was very near the mountains and ski resorts in that Italian state.

I have such a desire, and have had for years, to go visit TT. I really want to go in 2010 -- not specific reason for the 2010 except that I've been talking about 2010 for years. And I want to go with my sister and my cousin Betty.

Family lore says that my grandfather's family -- the Sbaraglias -- were the town's cemetery keepers. Whether this is true of not, I guess I have to believe my older cousins' knowledge of this because they lived at a time when my grandmother was alive and were able to garner knowledge of the old homeland. In another week I'll be having a nice visit with one of these cousins and I hope to get more info about my Italian -- the ones who actually spoke the language and lived there -- family.

On my dreamed-of trip to Italy, I would get a time-share exchange on the sea (there are many, many available) and would go in an off-month. Then I would rent a car and travel to TT and visit with the folks I've had a few e-mail exchanges (Sbaraglias).

There are 66 Sbaraglias in that small town in Abruzzo, the total population being 3448.. There is a website that tells me how many people are in not only that town, but any town I want to know about in Italy. For several years now I've been reading newspaper items about the town, talking via e-mail (rarely) with the locals, and hoping my legs improve enough so that I might be able to make the trip. It's all in the Lord's hands.

You may have noticed that Alan is not included in the trip. We may (just the two of us) go there, but that doesn't seem likely. Neither of us likes to fly and Alan dislikes it more than I. And I think a couple of weeks in Italy with my sister and cousin would be a lot of fun. Can this happen? Who knows? I'll just to wait and see.

Website about TT with Pictures:
If you can't read Italian, get a free It/English converter at:


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lamb dinner

About now, we'd be sitting down to Sunday dinner. Dad would have preferred it sooner, but mom could only go so fast. And if my father had been less ;ocuatious during his sermon, and hadn't asked Mr. Bowers to pray (Mr. Bowers never prayed for less than 20 minutes), he would have had dinner earlier. But I digress.

On Palm Sunday we had lamb. Leg of lamb to be specific. No matter what, we had lamb. We all loved lamb, especially the way my mom made it. She served it with mashed potatoes, peas, and pickled beets. For dessert (yes on Palm Sunday we had dessert) she made jello with canned peach slices in it. That was another favorite. Did I mention that it was cherry jello? Who knew that cherry jello and peaches tasted good together? I wonder now if having lamb was symbolic in some way of our Lord's becoming our sacrifical lamb.

Anyway at this time we are sitting down to dinner. Dad is very hungry. We're expecting a short "grace" before we dive in. But, in my father's best tradition, he offers a grace that isn't our usual "Thank you Jesus for this food. Amen", but he becomes verbose and prays for at least five minutes -- until the giggles begin, then he opens one eye to see who's giggling, continues for a couple more minutes, then says, "Amen."

We dive in, grateful that he's done preaching, pestering, and praying -- in that order -- and we can finally EAT!!!!!