Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, June 29, 2009

While I'm getting pictures together

While I'm gathering family pictures around which to weave tales of my time in Runnemede, which may be for the next few weeks, please check out my other BLOG -- The Fat Lady Singeth. Just click on the title and you will be directed to that not so funny epistle of my life as an elderly, health challenged person.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Heat and humidity

Yes, it's hot. Yes, it's humid. A front is supposed to swing through tonight and tomorrow morning and bring relief.

I say this as a prelude to what I remember about h&h in Runnemede.

When we moved out here, I recall that the first day in Cincinnati (just north of Northern Kentucky) the high temp got to 92 and the humidity was pretty high as well. Everyone I met was complaining about how muggy it was. HOWEVER, I didn't think it was that bad. I had just moved from New Jersey -- now talk about humidity!

NJ is surrounded by water -- on the west is the Delaware River, and on the east is the Atlantic Ocean. So the state, being sandwiched by water drip, drip, dripped.

The humidity in NJ as I recall was bad during the day, then when that on-shore breeze -- or is it off-shore, I can never get them straight -- kicked in it got cool. On-shore to me is the breeze coming in from the ocean. The on-shore breeze coming off the ocean was cool because the ocean temperature rarely got above 70 degrees.

So we had hot, humid days, and fairly cool nights.

I guess that explains why my dad never felt the need to get air conditioning!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Keeping it going

Mt. Calvary Union Church where my father pastored for 55 years. He left kicking and screaming, but health issues forced him to "retire." This is also the church where I was married. If you wanted to have a small "country" type wedding, this was the place to do that. Seating capacity, 108. A little large than some other country churches, but the ambiance is there. The ramp was added in the early 2000s.

Below is the house where I grew up. It was so tiny, but to us it didn't seem little. I guess just adults can tell the difference between small and large. We never felt cramped, at least I don't think we did. I suppose it was crowded at times, but we didn't care. It was a fact of life that you had large family gatherings and small homes in which to entertain.
The house is a two-bedroom home with a finished attic, to which my sister and I were relegated after daddy had a study built into the back of the church. There was one closet in the whole house. Can you imagine that? And only one bathroom with one pedistal sink, and no shower except for a hose that my dad attached to the spigot. We used "wardrobes" -- pieces of furniture that were made for hanging clothes -- or we just hung our clothes on nails in the wall (my sister and I did this in the attic).
I have posted these pictures because I know you all want me to continue this BLOG. And I am going to do that, but it will take a few weeks, and all the additions to the BLOG will be pictures. I'm thinking of doing a comparison -- pictures of then and now. Or earlier and later. We'll see how it goes, but it's going to take me some time to go through my albums and scan in the pictures to use in the pictorial essays. So please be patient. I'll be back.

So, another ttfn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Check it out

I know I said I wasn't adding to the Runnemede Remembered BLOG any more, and I probably (definitive word there -- probably) won't be. My brain is just too addled to think of any more incidents from my childhood and young adulthood. However, I will be keeping up The Fat Lady Singeth and that keep my readers up to date on happenings in and around the Hahn household. I'll still add to the Runnemede Remembered Recipe BLOG from time to time as well. (The two BLOGs are linked, so all you have to do is click anywhere on the name.)

So don't fret readers, I'm still around, just not as around as I was before. (pun intended)

If you didn't get the "pun" my brain has lost weight as has my body, so.... Okay, bad pun. Very bad pun. No pun?

No more ttfn on this post. Just tt.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

554, now 555

This is my 555th post on this BLOG. That's a lot of "notes" about living in Runnemede, or my family, or anything else I want to talk about. I guess it's time to quit this BLOG. Enough has been said, and I doubt I'll remember any other "stories" to tell about my growing up time in this -- as I remember it -- wonderful small town in south Jersey.

Runnemede's claim to fame is nondescript. In fact, I don't know that it has one, except that it is an exit (number 3) off the NJ Turnpike. I imagine that the exit number has been changed to comply with the new standard I see as I drive back and forth along the roads to NJ from Cincinnati.

It used to be that the exit numbers were a small number -- No. 1 was the first stop, beginning of the road in that particular state. Then the next exit off these limited access roads was the next number (2). However, a few years ago, the highway departments started to post the exits as mile numbers. Since I haven't driven the NJ Turnpike for many years, I don't know whether they have changed the exit numbers to comply with this shift on roads throughout the USA.

I guess the mile number exit makes more sense, but I shall always know that Exit 3 on the NJ Turnpike was home -- Runnemede.

You gotta love it.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I wrote a short but sweet note on The Fat Lady Singeth about complaining -- something about which I am an expert.

This really has to do with Runnemede because....

I didn't grow up in a era where every five minutes someone in power was complaining about what happened last year or in the last administration or in the administration three powers back. No, the powers that be just dug in and started digging us out of the supposed mess that was left them. And they did dig us out by not doing a whole lot, but by leaving it to US to do it.

We worked to get ourselves into a higher pay bracket than our parents, and were taught in high school how to do that. We were not taught that the government would take care of us if we failed. In fact, failure was not an option back then. We HAD to succeed, somehow, we had to push on and do it for ourselves. No entitlements for us, no way!

Now, all has changed. I don't see us getting dug out. Unfortunately, I know too many people out of work, out of much needed medical insurance, and also out of food. This is not uncommon among the younger people I know. And since the people of my age of mostly retired, we are still not too worried about where our next meal is coming from. Meals on Wheels is still going strong.

And, most of the folks of my age aren't worried about medical bills. They know they're not going to be around to pay them.

But I am concerned for my children and my grandchildren. I just can barely listen to the news any more because I hear about more spending of money that doesn't exist on programs that are a dream and still don't exist, and probably never will exist.

We need to pray for our country as never before. I recall the prayer services we had (in Runnemede) during the Korean war. I don't recall any services specifically for our country during the Viet Nam War era. I recall churches getting together after 9/11. In fact, that very night, churches all over this area of the country (N. KY) were open for prayer, and they stayed open for days.

Is anyone praying for our country now? Isn't it time that we did?


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mrs. Minever

Once again, I watched Mrs. Minever. It was on the old movies channel. I came in on the last hour, right after Dunkirk. I love this movie. It's so clean and wholesome, yet it shows just a little of what it must have been like for the Brits who suffered the brunt of WW II. And, of course, I cried. But then as I mentioned before I cry at almost anything. And no, I'm not depressed!

My father liked this movie and I recall he and I watching it late at night (it was on after the 11 o'clock news) several times. I didn't have to pretend I didn't want to see this program because I knew he would watch it no matter what!

My mom had a Mrs. Minever rose. I wonder what ever became of it. It was a beautiful red rose, not pink/red, not dark red like Crimson Glory, but a true red, and the blossoms were perfect. It was in the side yard in her "rose garden" near the Crimson Glory rose. The bush never got very bushy, but it always produced a few roses which my mom would relish like they were a new baby. She loved her children and her roses.

I tried to raise roses on several occasions, but I don't have a green thumb and they just die on me, so I gave up. Even my lavender died this year, and that usually grows like a weed! I can grow clover, though. :) That's a weed, isn't it?

If you haven't seen the movie, get if from Netflix or Block Busters. It's a good, clean movie. Lots of hymns playing in the background. Scripture read.

Amazing the film came from Hollywood. You'd never see a movie like that today made by the moguls. You might see a similar movie made privately, but not one that was made by MGM or Fox or Warner. Again, rent it, you'll love it.



I was watching the ceremony at Normandy on TV this a.m. and through the tears I was thinking how grateful I am for those men who gave their lives, and those who didn't, but went through the horrors of war so that I could live as I do. Thanks to them.

That brought to mind a man whom I love who still lives in Runnemede. And so he can remain anonymous to all those thousands of Runnemede residents who read this blog (laugh there) I will just call him Uncle Bill. Those who know him know of whom I write (or speak).

He came home from the war and married his sweetheart, whom he met, I believe in kindergarten. I know it was very early in his life. And they settled in Runnemede, attended our church, and he and his wife were such a blessing to the children of the community and the church.

He gave his all at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Then he gave his all for the children of the church, especially the teenagers. He was a "bus" driver extraordinaire! We depended on him to get us to various youth activities held in South Jersey, of which there were many at that time.

Uncle Bill and I still communicate, and I just want to thank him personally for putting his life on the line so that I could live free.

Thanks, Uncle Bill.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Uncle Joe Egitto

Papa Joe died peacefully about 9 a.m. this morning. His attorney had called me a few days ago and we talked about taking a trip out to see him before he passed. The attorney, called back and said Joe had lapsed into a coma. I am so glad he didn't stay in a coma for a long tine. He is safe in the arms of Jesus right now. He was a man of integrity and grace and I loved him very much. He was 94. This is the note I received this morning from my cousin Bette Evangelista, his daughter.

I think I've written about Uncle Joe Egitto before, but here goes again. I have very few pictures of him, and I don't know why that is, except that he was taking the pictures. This picture was taken when he was a young man, and he was helping at a camp in Tennessee. I do have another picture of him, but I can't find it right now, and I wanted to get this notice up.
Uncle Joe spent a lot of time in Runnemede. He was married to Aunt Annie, my mom's closest sister. Aunt Annie loved to visit my mom and she and Uncle Joe would come any day of the week, just to visit. I think my dad and Uncle Joe got along real well, but I don't recall them in close conversation, because I recall that Uncle Joe was playing with us children whenever he and Aunt Annie came to visit. We all knew he really loved us.
Uncle Joe was a mentor to me. He played violin, beautifully. He was so good, and I loved to listen to him play. He often played the violin at our church as a special music number for our small congregation, all of whom loved him and his God-given ability to take a hymn and make it sound so beautiful. He never needed music in front of him to play those hymns, and dad would request a song and Uncle Joe would just play it. It was a great pleasure for me, when I was a teenager, and the church pianist, to accompany Uncle Joe's church solos.
When I took up the violin, when I was 12, he helped me learn how to move my wrist so that I could have that beautiful sound, that vibrato, that comes from difficult practice. I never felt that I got that part of violin playing down correctly, but he always told me I was doing fine and that I was getting better. He always encouraged me even though I know he was cringing at times when I played for him.
Uncle Joe took us to the shore in the summer. He was always so patient and kind and never seemed to mind getting his beautiful car(s) loaded with beach sand, or wet seats. And, I know now that he had to spend a lot of time cleaning up that car after the Drexler pack had ridden to the shore and back with him. He always treated us to dinner on the boardwalk, and I think I wrote about that recently, or maybe it was on Facebook. And he didn't cringe or go tsk-tsk when one of us threw up from being car sick.
We figured out how to avoid the throwing-up part after a few trips to the beach. I got a window, because I always got car sick unless I was in the front. Then I got the front window just to make sure I didn't puke. I know my brother Carl got car sick a lot, and he was given a window as well. Oh, yes, we always fought over who would get a window seat, but it was decided for us based on our ability or inability to hold down our breakfast.
I recall one of his cars had a running board and he would take us for a short ride up Second Avenue and let us ride on the running board. Not the safest thing to do, but back then there were no hard hats or knee pads or elbow pads and we held on tight. No one ever fell off, and no one ever got run over. It was just something we did for entertainment. Great fun!
I had missed Uncle Joe for many years, and finally found him a few years ago. I am glad the Lord gave me the opportunity to write to him a couple of times recently, and even to talk to him on the telephone a couple of times. God is good, and now Uncle Joe is with the Lord.
Goodbye Uncle Joe. You will be missed and remembered!

Monday, June 1, 2009


My father had arthritis -- bad! I have arthritis -- bad!

I was thinking about my father's attempts to get up in the morning. I was thinking about this because I was sitting on the edge of the bed this morning, just as my father did every day of his later life.
Daddy always got up on the same side of the bed, even after mom had been put in her hospital bed a couple of years before she went to be with Jesus. Th
He would sit there and moan (as I do), knowing what was coming as soon as he tried to stand up (as I do).

I couldn't figure it out then. I would just watch him wondering why he was pondering getting off the bed.
Then, as he lifted himself from the side of the bed, after sitting there for about 10 minutes, getting up the courage, I suppose to face the pain, he would moan and groan all the way to the bathroom (as I do). By the time he had a warm shower, however, his moans were fewer and he was ready to face the day (as I am, most of the time).

My dad could still outwalk me (speedy as he was) when I was 50 and he was 82. He could beat me at tennis when he was 70 and I was, well, I'll let you do the math. In other words, he seemed to handle arthritis a lot better than I'm handling it.

He complained that his hands hurt all the time, and to keep his fingers "limber" he played the piano (pictured above) or he'd type out some notes for his Bible school students.

I play the piano only when I visit my son (he -- my son -- has my mom's/my piano), but I notice that my typing has slowed down a lot recently because of the constant pain in my own hands, which until about a month ago, I didn't have.

I'm not complaining, believe me. I know it could be worse. But I now know what my dear dad was going through all those years of moaning and groaning, and in which, I'm sure, I laughed at his discomfort, or made fun of him.

I've learned a lesson from my disrespect of his suffering, that is: laugh then, cry now. I do a bit of the latter now.
were in the same bed. That would be for 50 years plus.