Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Friday, July 17, 2009

RR is back for a few

I promised I was going to go through my pictures and see if anything gave me a nudge as to what life was like back when.... (1943 - 1972). Not that I died in 1972, it's just that Alan was in the Army and we moved to our first house in 1973 which was in Fanwood, NJ, and we went "south" rarely. Then two years later we moved to Cincinnati, OH. We retired in northern Kentucky (just south of Cincinnati).

Now for a few pictures which I got at my sister's last week. Pictures of various times and I'll try to tell you what each picture evoked in my memory.

This first picture I chose because it shows our family kitchen. You can see how small it was, and yet, we had a table in the center (drop-leaf) and we all six squeezed around that table, even when one of us was in a high chair. The high chair we used was my father's when he was a boy. I still have that high-chair. Those chairs were different back in the early 20th century. No trays. You pushed the chair to table and the table was the tray. I recall mom putting a plastic table cloth under the high chair when my brother, Carl, was in residence.

Things to notice in this picture, other than the small size of the room. Between the door and the window is a calendar with a scripture-a-day attached. Every year a friend of the family would give mom a new one of these calendars and each year she would tear off the day's scripture and take it into her heart and mind and live by it. You can barely see it. It's just above the light switch.

Notice the lovely curtains. Mom had these curtains in the kitchen for years and years and years. I'm not certain of my sister's age in this picture, but I'm guessing early 20s.

Also notice the cabinet over the counter (which is full of mom's "plant starts" for her herbs). We always had to share out 26 square feet of counter space with her plants, daddy's pills, and the dish drain. Attached to the cabinet (don't you love the locks/handles?) is a wooden knife holder. I mentioned in Runnemede Remembered Recipes that I still have a couple of those knives and Deb also has a couple of those knives. She also has the knife holder. It's so 1940s. I really did love the stainless steel counter-top with linoleum inset. It was so very easy to keep clean.

When dad left the house, the trustees gutted the parsonage and they got rid of those wonderful old cabinets. I spoke with the new mistress of the parsonage (the pastor's wife) and she was really disappointed that they had taken them down and put new dark wood cabinets that didn't go all the way to the ceiling. Of course, under the counter space were four drawers and cabinets. In the drawer on the far left as you face the sink, were the tea towels (as dish towels were called in those days). The next drawer to the right of the sink was the junk drawer. I've already written about that, many, many moons ago. Then came the "silverware" drawer. Knives, forks and spoons of all designs -- we didn't have a matched set -- were in that drawer along with baby bottle nipples, baby spoons, etc. Then the next drawer which was very large and deep was where mom kept all her kitchen gadgets.

Even though the kitchen was small we always seemed to have enough cabinet space. I think it was just that mom didn't get anything new to put into the cabinets and that's why they weren't crowded. Mom used every available space to have what she thought was an efficient kitchen. Also on the side of the cabinet is a can opener, attached to the wood of the cabinet.

I'm also sure that if mom saw this picture she would die of mortification. The place is really a mess!Below is another picture of my sister. Notice the beautiful "collar" she has around her neck. Actually, maybe this is me in this picture, but I'm pretty sure it's Deb. I had a collar just like that. And, don't you just love the droopy Christmas tree? We always had a droopy tree -- a Charlie Brown tree -- that shed most of its needles before it was up. We got the tree on the day before Christmas eve when the trees had been knocked down to $1 or $2. A couple of times I recall someone actually getting us a tree and delivering it about a week before Christmas. This picture was taken in the dining room.

In the next picture (below) my sister is holding one of her dolls. She had several (this was also in 1955) and had inherited by this time my baby dolls. I did not give up my collectibles until my husband made me when we got married and moved to a 604 square-foot apartment. I had to give up a lot of things when we moved there, and mom didn't store them for very long! Anyway, this is Deb in front of the porch on a wintry day. I'm guessing it was Christmas because we always went outside on Christmas to get our pictures taken with our favorite toy.

Below, Deb is sitting at the dining room table, her husband, Jim is almost out of the picture. Mom's arms are visible. It doesn't look to me that this is a holiday. It must have been summer, though, because mom's "summer" curtains are up in the living room. On the wall you can see a "nick-nack holder." I had this shelf for years. It disintegrated several years ago. Just as well, it was a dust catcher which rarely receive the hand-in-glove needed to clean it up. And, I know Alan thinks I have lots of junk (nick-nacks) but I've downsized quite a bit, believe me. Now my kids have all the "junk." I'm thinking that fat arm on the right of the picture is mine. No other family member that I know of has arms like that -- none but me.

And finally, this is Deb and daddy. Not sure of the year, but I think she told me it was just after Jennie, her eldest, was born, or maybe it was when she was at PCB. Anyway, she's sitting with daddy on the love seat, which now resides in my niece's home. I had it for years, then my daughter had it, now my niece. That piece of furniture has to be at least 100 years old. This also has to be in winter because mom's winter curtains are hanging at the window. Ah ha, I see an angel on the top of the bookcase. So, it must be around Christmas.

So, that's it for this edition of RR again. More to follow in a few....

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