Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How do you take a trip without a car?

Picture taken in 1960. I loved that coat I'm wearing. Unfortunately, I wore it to Youtharama (I wrote about that young-peoples semi-monthly get together before) and someone got sick and threw up on it. The stench never came out and I had to throw the coat away. It was the first store bought coat I owned -- not a hand-me-down. Vanity of vanities -- they'll get you every time. I was very prideful over that coat, I'm sure. Notice the purse on my wrist? I still have that purse. It was GENUINE leather, and I purchased it myself. It was my Sunday best. Can you imagine -- that purse is 50 years old. Wow! And it's still useable.

We had no car. How many times have I mentioned that. We went to the zoo -- on a school field trip. We visited the Ben Franklin Museum in Philly -- on a school field trip. We visited the Philadelphia Art Museum -- you know the steps of which Rocky ran to the top -- on a school field trip. After I became proficient at using buses and subways, my trip taking horizons broadened. To get to college I had to make two transfers and it took me two-and-a-half hours one way. I only used the bus to get home from college on days I had to work, or days when I had an 8:00 a.m. class and no others. Fortunately, I was in a car pool and that worked well most days.

But to go on trips to any place outside the Runnemede-Philadelphia corridor we (the family) depended on friends, neighbors, and relatives to take us places.
The picture above shows a few of us familiy members at the Pocono Game Farm, which was a good 2-1/2 hour drive from our home, via turnpike. The person who drove us there was Uncle El (Wentzel) and his wife, Aunt Blanche went with us. You will see her on the left in the picture. Mom is on the right, and Carl, Mark, and myself are in the picture as well. That's me in the middle, back.
I have several other pictures of this day, one in which one of the llamas was nibbling at my collar. Apparently, the collar on my coat was made of sort of "fur" from either llama, sheep, or some other wool-bearing animal, and I guess the llama thought I was family. Scared me nearly to death.
So, I thought I'd include a picture of one of our trips to a place other than the shore, and a trip taken with someone other than family. Uncle El took us on several "road trips" that I can recall. I'm not sure how many other family members went since most of us had a tendency toward motion sickness. I recall one trip we took with him shortly after the Pennsylvania turnpike opened part way, and it was a big deal to go through a tunnel. So we went as far as the first tunnel -- outside of Harrisburg -- and back -- all in one day. I think we were gone about eight hours. What a man he was, all that driving, with noisy kids, and no complaining at all. In fact, all I remember of Uncle El is that he smiled all the time.
BTW, Uncle El and Aunt Blanche were NOT related to us. It was just a name we assigned to them because they were like family. Aunt Blanche was my pray-er when I was growing up. She was one of the two local Good News Club teachers in Runnemede -- the other being Aunt Marian Manduka. And Uncle El was our transport down to Camp Haluwasa on Friday nights.
We young people were so fortunate to have folks who would take the time to transport us non-drivers (in NJ you couldn't get a permit until you were 17). They will receive crowns in Glory for their work with teens in the 50s and 60s in that small town in NJ. Thank you Lord for those who were willing to be with us, enjoy us, and never complain about taking the time to move us from one church activity to another.

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