Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, November 30, 2009

What a trip!

I'm posting this on The Fat Lady Singeth as well.  Covering all my bases here.

Alan and I just got back from a cruise to nowhere.  That's what they call it when you basically wander around in the Atlantic ocean for days on end and enjoy the cruise ship as a resort, instead of getting suffled off the boat every day to try to see sights that you can't possibly see well in the time alloted.

I will get to my ONE TOUR this trip.

The trip was out of Baltimore.  This was a first time to use this port and I have to say that for passengers with mobility problems this was the best ever.  And our immobility this year was the worst ever.  So that's saying a lot.

They were very attentive to our needs and got us to our cabin in good time.  Dumb us.  We showed up two hours too early, thinking we were on a Miami boarding schedule.  Not at all.  But that's okay.  They were still very nice about our earliness (and we weren't the only ones) and weren't put off by it at all.

We had pre-ordered scooters so we would be able to get around the boat with little or no pain.  Well, that worked well for three and a half days, then Alan did a back flip with his scooter -- the back wheels got caught on the ramp through one of the doors to the upper deck -- and he got the wind knocked out of him, bruised several ribs, and was in misery the remainder of the trip.  Basically, he stayed in the room for the rest of the time, except for meals when after not liking the room service selection he decided he would join me for meals at the restaurants.  Someday I'll write about those mis-adventures, but not today.

Anyway, on Thanksgiving day, we were in Nassau, Bahamas.  Now, I've walked from the ship to Nassau several times, and each time it has been a wearying, hurtful process.  But I want those free bracelets and other jewelry they hand out at the various jewelry stores there.  I now have enough charm bracelets for all my girls, big and small!  All free!  And I have necklaces for stockings, etc.  I'm so excited about that.

Anyway, this trip what normally took me 1 hour to get into town, took only 10 minutes on the scooter.  It was so much fun and I could see so much more.  Granted many of the shops didn't have ramps, so I couldn't go into them.  Their loss, as I was in a spending mood, and I had saved my meager allowance for six months!  I bought myself a present for Alan to give me for Christmas -- that's a tradition.  I buy it, he pays for it, and wraps it up, and I enjoy it for as long as I live.  Then one of my girls will enjoy it.  See?  Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

Alan had been complaining and saying he was sure he had shingles, and I kept checking (this was after the back flip) to see if he did have shingles, and I saw nothing, so I decided he needed to get to an ER as soon as we landed.  Well, lucky for him, shingles showed themselves for the nasty things they are and now he only has to endure a trip to the doctor's office to get some anti-biotics.  He has the pain meds that they gave him on the boat, and the meds he's been taking since his last shingles attack.

You see, with a compromised immune system once you get shingles you never get rid of them entirely. You get rid of the rash, but the pain may lessen some, but it's still there.  Sort of like fibromyalgia.  And because his immune system is compromised, he can't have the vaccine that is available for singles. 

So at the end of the trip -- and I have to say we had the best wait staff ever -- I packed us up, and boy did that hurt, because I had been having to lift Alan from a chair or bed, and I was so totally sore from doing that.  I packed us up.  Got us all set to get off the boat which was slicker than butter this time.  What a difference from other cruises.  They wheeled us right up to the taxi.  The cab-driver took care of transferring out luggage to our car which was had parked at the hotel in which we stayed in Baltimore, and off we went. 

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Hall Light

I KNOW I have never written about this before.  And why not?  It was so much a part of my daily life in that little house on Second Avenue.

These days you have what is known as a night light.  Not so when I was growing up.  So my dad, ingeniously, or otherwise, devised his own night light.

The house had two bedrooms, separated by a bathroom room, and a short hall joining the two bedrooms.  On the ceiling of the hallway there was a ceiling fixture.  Into that fixture my dad put a small wattage (25 watts) light bulb, and that light was left on all night long.

It was a comfort for us children because while the door to the bedroom was closed, it wasn't closed al the way.  It was left open a crack, just enough light to keep the children from "dark" nightmares. 

And I suppose it was left on so that when mom and/or dad got up in the middle of the night (after four children, I'm sure my mom did -- it's a woman thing) the light would lighten the way to the bathroom.  The switch for the hall light was on the right of the hall doorway as you were entering it from the dining room, but it wasn't close enough for mom or day to put the light off when they went to bed ir they knew it was going to be needed in the middle of the night, whether it was because of a child who had the croup or because a child had a nightmare or a parent had to use the facility. 

[Note: the location of the switch is murky in my mind, but I know that the thermostat was on the left side as you entered the hall, so I'm thinking the light switch was on the right.]

Some of the comforts of childhood are so obvious that we forget them.  Having that hall lit and having just a crack of that light showing through the doorway, was a comfort for the Drexler children.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Walking to School on a November morning

About this time of year, it was time to give up on wearing the highschool sweater for outer-wear on the way to school.  I saved and saved so I could get that sweater.  Remember them?  They were cardigans, but they were thick-knit and they were BIG, or at least we wore them three sizes too big.  Triton's sweaters were red with blue strips on the sleeves.  I never got any letters for mine, but that was okay.  I liked it "plain."  Oh yeah, I paid only $15 for that sweater, but that was as much as a new coat cost back then!

So, it was now time to break out the winter coat and wear it unbuttoned -- because it wasn't quite cold enough for us hardy folk that walked to school in snow up to our waists, uphill, at 20 below, for six miles.  My winter coat was an old pea jacket and while they are in style now, and I suppose have always been "in", I hated it.  I wanted a leather jacket.  I mean all my friends had leather jackets.  My friends got a new coat every year.  I had mine for two years and it didn't look like I would get a new one this year either.  I made a deal with my mom.  I would earn some money to add to her Christmas fund for my gift and she could get me a leather jacket.  Somewhere I have a picture of my daughter wearing that coat.  It lasted that long.  And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that one of my daughters still had it in her possession.  After all, it is vinitage 50s.

Back to walking to school.  I would leave the house at exactly 6:50 each morning, meeting up with Marilyn Groninger and Peggy Gibson as they passed my house.  We would walk away from the pike to the end of Second Avenue (where 2nd meets Clements Bridge).  We'd cross Clements Bridge Road and walk up Harding which wound around to Shubert Avenue, which is where the school was.  Triton Regional Highschool.  We'd get there and in the doors at 7:00 a.m.  Homeroom started at 7:10 a.m., and the day would begin.

Coming home I was on my own, mainly because either Marilyn or Peggy or I had after-school activities and those activities didn't allow for us to leave school together on most days.  That was okay.  I knew the way home!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Communion/Sunday saying

Communion.  A.K.A. The Lord's Supper. At Mt. Calvary we celebrated the Lord's Supper once a month, the last Sunday of the month.  Communion was very special to me and I looked forward to those monthly "suppers."  I have to say that I was not permitted to partake until I had been baptized, and so for 10 cognizative years I watched as the elements were passed past me on those Sundays.

The church was very quiet during that part of the service, except for my father's recitation of Scripture.  And after everyone (except the children) had been served one element, dad would say, "This do in remembrance of Me.  Eat ye all of it."  And down would go the Matza, which he had cracked into tiny pieces between a paper napkin back at the house prior to the service. 

He also filled all those tiny cups with just a couple of ounces of grape juice.  And said:   "This do in remembrance of Me.  Drink ye all of it." 

I recall that communion set the church had.  The plates for the Matza were peuter and had a wonderful patina.  The juice rack was made of wood with holes in each tier (the church had three because there were three sections in the sanctuary) for the cups which held the juice.  And in the early years the cups were made of glass and mom had to wash them after each communion service.  In my last few years at the church they had switched over to plastic which could be pitched and no washing was required. 

I don't remember mom ever complaining about having to wash all those tiny glasses.  I know I did because I had to dry the things.  After drying them for several years and before we changed over to plastic, I tried to convince my mom that washing them and then letting them dry on a towel was more sanitary than my drying them and touching them with my grimy fingers.  I think I was about 10 or 11 years old when she finally succumbed to my logic and we would place those tiny glass recepticals on a kitchen towel, unside down, and they would air dry.  Then she would carefully place them into the wooden racks for the next month's Communion service.

I loved those days.  What can I say?  They were very, very special.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baby ring

I really should take a picture of what I'm talking about here. 

I woke up this a.m. and was vividly recalling a Sunday many years ago.  I was five or six years old.  And I was sitting in the back row of the church with my friends, Kathie Kenders, Linda Wallace, and Sue Youngblood.  Mrs. Youngblood was sitting right in front of this quartet of five-seven-year-olds and so we were behaving -- mostly.

I had/have a ring.  It was given to me by my grandmother Drexler shortly after I was born.  Of course I don't remember that particular event, and am just going on what my mom told me.

Anyway, it is/was a gold ring set with a small emerald.  I was only permitted to wear that ring on Sunday morning, and I had to ask permission prior to wearing it.  As soon as I got home from church I had to return it to its box -- a small ring box -- which resided in of all places, mom's money drawer.  That was a drawer in her dressing table in which she "safed" the weekly stash on which we lived.

Well, this particular Sunday, I decided to put the ring in my mouth.  No, I didn't swallow it.  I did however bit on it, and not realizing that gold is soft and if thin enough it will become damaged, I dented the bottom part of the ring.  I put a wrinkle in the roundness of the ring.  Not wanting my mother to know what I'd done, and feeling really awful about it, I put the ring away as soon as I got home.  Since the emerald side was showing and not the wrinkle I figured I was safe. 

But when the next Sunday came and I didn't request to wear my ring, I guess mom got suspicious.  She knew that every Sunday I wanted to wear that ring.  So she took it out of the box and found out what I had done.  Uh-oh!  No spanking, just a lecture (which was worse).

Good ending to story:  I was permitted to wear the ring every Sunday, I just had to promise to keep it out of my mouth.  Which I did. 

I wonder why that Sunday is so vivid in my mind right now.  Oh well.  I still have the ring, and it's still bent, but it doesn't fit any of my fingers any more. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid

If I might quote my mother as she was sliding off the bed while she was trying to sit on the side of it in the last days of her life, laughing as she sagged to the floor:  "Stupid, stupid, stupid."  That's me.  I forgot to give you all a Sunday saying. 

Well, this week's saying is "Stupid, stupid, stupid."  And I was SSS because I forgot the Sunday saying saying. 

The saying, was made famous by my mother and we've been using it in our family ever since that day around 20 years ago when she made that statement, and while she was laughing we all got the giggles, and unfortunately were laughing so hard we couldn't help her get back up onto the bed until we were able to control our laughing.   (That would be Sue and I.)

So to you, Sue, and to me, and for mom -- remember when you forget to do something, do something wrong, just say:  "Stupid, stupid, stupid."

One more SSS moment in my life -- the day I left the brand new, expensive digital camera in the car in the parking lot, and we were getting on a boat to go to Panama when I remembered it.  The walk back to the parking garage was prohibitive for me, and I was hitting myself and yelling at myself (Stupid, stupid, stupid) for days until Alan decided we should buy a cheap digital camera on board ship so we would be able to get pictures in Panama and at the Canal.  I mean how many chances would I ever have to get to Panama and the Canal?  This one chance.  The SSS camera is now being used by grandchildren to take their various "event" pictures.


Mt Calvary Union Church -- 100 years!

I just got the outline for the activities for the 100th anniversary of the Church.  It all begins on May 23, 2010, and hopefully as many Drexlers as possible will be there.  It will be a great family reunion if as many of us get there as want to.

The church had a Drexler attending or preaching for over 50 years, that's half of the life of the church so far!  And a couple of years ago I sent to the committee a copy of many of the pictures that my mom and dad had in their albums.  Most of the pictures were of vacation Bible school classes or Sunday school classes. 

All the Drexler children except for Mark, were married in this tiny church. 

Dad never took vacations and stayed at it until his health just wouldn't allow him to do the job any more.  Oh, he could have preached at every meeting that required a "message", but he couldn't live on his own any more, so he had to be moved to a place where he could be taken care of.

I wish I could spend the entire summer of 2010 in Runnemede because the activities will be scattered throughout that time. 

I have so much to be thankful for in regard to this church, mostly the people who attended and took the "preacher's kids" under their wings and taught us how to fly.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Parking Wars

My new favorite program on mindless TV is Parking Wars. This will be very short.  I saw it today for the first time and A&E was running a PW marathon.  I'm hooked.  My favorite part, of course, is when they write the tickets in South Philly.  I love the way those people talk.  Just like me!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The piano tuner

My father was very particular about our piano.  He had it tuned frequently.  By that I mean at least once a year.  And perhaps that's what one is supposed to do when they have a piano, I don't know.  At any rate, at least once a year the piano tuner came to our home.

His name was Lynn Atkins.  He was blind.  Yes, that's correct, blind!  His wife would drive him to our home, dad would meet him at the curb, and lead him into the living room, and set him on the piano bench.  The man was amazing.  He could take that piano apart.  He could repair broken strings.  He replaced felts.  And he could tune the piano.  I suppose that because he was blind his hearing was highly tuned and that made him a good piano tuner.  Daddy liked him. 

Back to the piano tuner.  He had a pitchfork (set at A) and he could begin going up and down the keys until the piano was tuned to perfection.

I think my father must have had an ear because he could tell if there was a problem with the piano and would call Mr. Atkins if he thought there was a problem. 

Mr. Atkins was a very nice man who talked with us kids a lot.  He never seemed to mind us running in and out and around him while he worked. 

He didn't live in Runnemede. I think he lived in Haddon Heights, or was it Barrington? Doesn't matter. I do remember that he and his wife came to church infrequently. Daddy was always telling him about Jesus. Mr. Atkins didn't think he needed the Lord because he lived a moral, upright life. Wasn't that enough? Of course, it wasn't.

Isn't is funny that I remember this man and his name?  Why?  What brings this to mind?  Today I'm getting this same  piano tuned for the first time in years.  Some repair work is needed, of course, and Mr. Blank (Bill) is beginning the tuning, and I hear the ping, ping, ping as he adjusts the strings.  I wonder why it is that piano tuners hit a note three times when they are tuning it?  Maybe I'll ask.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday sayings -- Judith...

This is truly a "Sunday" saying.  I was a preacher's kid.  I was not a sit still child.  That squirmy disease children have was not lost on me.  I have never been able to sit still, even now, I squirm.

And so when my father would call from the pulpit, in the middle of one of his sermons, "Judith!"  I knew I was in big trouble, and would get it when we got home.

I used to hate that!