Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More of 1960

I'm sorry this picture is so hard to see, but in the early 60s color pictures were not an everyday happening, we were still in the black and white age. Alan's dad took this picture one Sunday after church. That's the Runnemede house in the background, as well as the grade school across the street where I attended for a few years. Do you see how thin I was? I'm sure I was wearing at least three full slips under that dress so that I'd look more like a woman rather than a stick.

1960 -- the year of Judi and Alan. We had eight months to enjoy each other's company and learn as much about each other as we could. We both knew that Alan would be going back to Kenya with his parents in early August. So, we spent as much time together as we could, which really wasn't very much. After all, neither of us could drive and he didn't live near a bus line.

We saw each other every weekday during the school year (January through mid-June), but they were short times because we had four minutes between classes and our paths didn't often cross while we were changing classes. We both tried to get to school early but since he was dependent upon a school bus, I was the one who was early and he had to catch up. Same with after school. I'd walk him to his bus and we'd talk until the bus was filled, then it was good-by for another day.

On weekends, occasionally he would be dropped off in Runnemede on a Sunday while his parents were off to another church trying to drum up financial support for their mission work. Those days were special, but we had to share all our time with my brothers and sister. I really didn't mind missing my Sunday afternoon nap on those days.

After school let out we got to see each other one day a week -- his father agreed to bring him to Runnemede for a few hours once a week, when he was out and about. The only other way Alan could get to see me was hitch-hiking from their home in Laurel Springs to our home in Runnemede. Neither his parents nor I liked him to do that, even though back in those times it was customary for young men to hitch a ride to get from place to place and you never heard of any mishaps or bad behavior on the parts of the drivers.

So, during the summer we spent most Sundays together and maybe one other day which was our "date" time. We had so little money so our dates were either something we could do for free, or something that cost less than a dollar each. Miniature golf was our favorite because it was 50 cents a game. Bowling was $1 plus shoe rental but you could bowl as many games as you wanted.

One very special date was the time we went to Clementon Lake Park -- it was an amusement park -- and it's still there -- but not like King's Island. It was a small park, but it was a great park and as far as we were concerned it was the best park in the world. We had a wonderful time that night and spent a whopping $5 -- all the rides were priced individually back then and so you got to ride the roller coaster only once because it was the most expensive ride. We spent most of our time just walking around the park. I think we probably got some popcorn (buttered) for 25 cents. If you click on the link you'll notice that the price has risen a bit. When we went there it was free to get in the park and you paid for each individual ride.
Alan never kissed me until one evening late in June. We'd been a couple since January. And we had been taught that you didn't kiss anyone until you were engaged. Okay, we were too young to be engaged, even though Alan was certain I was the one he would marry. I thought that was a nice thought, but I wasn't as certain as he was. But back to that first kiss.
Alan and I were going on a boat ride with a group from church down the Delaware River. It was one of those big river tour boats. I was so excited because I love boats. Well, we were alone by the railing on the top deck and I dared him to kiss me. I told him I'd give him 25 cents if he did. Well, he took the bait. He kissed me -- at least he said he did. I didn't feel anything and it was a cheek kiss, whooptie-do. He insisted that he kissed me and that I owed him a quarter. I insisted that since I didn't feel it I didn't own him anything.
I think we carried that argument on until shortly before he left for Kenya -- like the day before -- when finally he kissed me proper, just to remind me that he would be back and that he would marry me.
Guess he told the truth.

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