Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Daddy's Christmas

I pulled this picture off-line, but it is the exact same outside as my father's Magnavox. Apparently, the model name was "The American." These old things are selling now for around $500 whether they work or not. Question: Can you still get tubes to repair them?
The set-up in dad's Magnavox was a little different than this one. The drawer where the record player comes out was actually on the left, and the top was split so that the side that had the record player (the top cubby-hole) lifted up in order to put the records on the spindle. Where you see the record player drawer, was where the speaker was housed. The bottom-left cubby-hole is where he stored his favorite, or the children's favorite records.

I was a small child when my father bought himself a very large Christmas present.

"Rose" he said, "Listen to this."

Well, listen she (and we) did!

Daddy bought himself a Magnavox High Fidelity combination radio/record player in a beautiful mahogany cabinet. Where he got the money for it, I haven't a clue, except he bought it the year his step-mother died. And, I, being too young to understand things such as inheritances just assumed daddy had bought himself a wonderful gift.

But was it so wonderful?

Well, for dad, it was. But, I think one of his purposes was to either drive me (and my mom) nuts, or make us deaf. The deafness certainly has come to pass for me, and before he died himself.

Anyway, this wonderful radio/record player combo was a real boon for our family. I recall listening to "I Love Judy" on Sunday evenings, watching the radio, and visualizing all that was being done and said on that show.

Each evening we would gather for at least one radio show and I and my sister would sit on the floor right in front of the radio and listen to the show, transporting ourselves into the box, and seeing those wonderful programs such as: The Shadow Knows; The Lone Ranger; Sergeant Preston of the Yukon -- those were my favorites.

And the records: Dad signed us up for the Big Jon and Sparky record club and each month we would get a new record which was either a story or a set of songs related to the program. We just loved those records and they were in different colors, not just black.

Dad's Christmas tradition, and here's where the deafness comes in, was to play the Messiah on Christmas morning. He would turn the bass up (or down) to it's fullest., and turn the volume up as far as he could get away with before my mom went over and not-so-gently turned it down. After all, we has four screaming, over-active children in a very small house, who had just opened their Christmas present. More noise we didn't really need.

I suppose dad turned it up so he could hear it over the children's noise. He would announce:
"Listen to this, Rose." Bass turned at full blast, floor shaking, he would sit in his captain's chair by the Magnavox and seem to be in bliss as he shook along with the floor as the music emanated from the record player's speaker.

Of course, the bass on that machine was nothing compared to what came out later in the 20th century, but dad sure did enjoy his Magnavox through the years. And so did we.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cards

I know I keep harping on the same subject. Christmas cards. This will be my last missive this year on this topic.

Well, I didn't get any written again this year, except as I mentioned before the ones to the grandchildren. I don't know how my mother did it. Except to say, as far as I knew, she didn't have arthritis in her hands (or anyplace else for that matter). If she did she never complained about it, except to say, she hated getting old. To that I can relate.

Writing the few cards I did write was not pleasant because of the arthritis in my hands. It's amazing though that keyboarding (typing) doesn't hurt, nor does playing the piano. I wonder why that is? I guess squeezing the hand and the way a pen is held uses different muscles, tendons, and pulls on the bones in a different way. And, oh yes, my dad would be so proud that I'm still using a fountain pen to write out my cards. I do prefer a fountain pen to a ball point or gel pen, but they are hard to find. I have one that is on it's last legs, I'm afraid, and my old Esterbrook is gone for good. Oh, I still have it physically, but the bulb inside into which the ink supplied was siphoned, wore out. I know of no place that replaces just that part of the pen, if it is replaceable at all. And all those extra style points I have for my Esterbrook.

If you don't know what an Esterbrook pen is, Google it, and for those in the family that read this you will remember my father always had an Esterbrook pen in his pocket, and he would, when using it, make a bit ta-doo about removing the cap, and swinging his arm to just so, and with a flourish would begin writing. I can see that so vividly. Dear daddy and his pens. He would have made a great President of the US at a signing ceremony.

I'm wondering, though, did my grands get the cards? Did the USPS do their thing and deliver them in a timely manner? I realize we've had snow almost every day since the beginning of December, and that may have delayed the cards getting to their appointed address on time, but I did mail them at least a week before Christmas.

I suppose in this day and age with IMs, texting, and e-mails -- and even e-mails are passe, aren't they, what with Facebook and Twitter -- getting mail may not be the thrill it was when I was a girl.

I longed for those cards at Christmas time, and birthdays. I was so pleased when daddy would allow me to open one or two of the cards -- the ones addressed to "The Drexler Family", and yes, especially the ones addressed to "Judith Drexler". Even though I never went by that name, all dad's family and former parishioners knew me by that name, thus, I would get cards at Christmas time to that name. If a card happened to come to Judy, or after 5th grade to Judi when I cut out the "th", I was thrilled. And I kept those cards in a special box for a long, long time.

Do children do that today? Do they enjoy getting REAL mail, mail delivered to their door, put in a special box, and affixed with almost a half-dollar's worth of stamps? Maybe when I see the children in a few days, I'll find out.


Friday, December 24, 2010

No cards this year

May 2010
I did not write out cards this year (except to the grands). My hands don't write well anymore and it's a chore to handwrite all those cards. So I just didn't do it.

My mom never missed a year until she was in her late 70s. I'm in my late 60s, does that count? Obviously, I'm not as conscientious as my dear mom.
I was thinking as I was wrapping gifts and trying to tie the ribbons with my two hands, instead of having a child to put his or her finger in place so I could get a tight knot on the ribbon, how I used to love doing that chore for my mother. And I also loved licking the stamps for the cards. Of course, now they have self-stick stamps, which really is a blessing. No more paper cuts on the tongue. And, of course, I loved curling the paper ribbons. I still do love doing that job.

I hope you all have a Blessed Christmas, and that you take time to recall why we have a holiday on December 25 each year. The purpose is to celebrate the birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as a baby, lived among men for 30 plus years, and then was crucified, died, and then rose again, so that we can have eternal life.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Post

New post up on The Fat Lady Singeth. December 9, 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas cards

I recall my dear mother sitting at the dining room table late at night addressing Christmas cards. She had all her addresses in one book, and in that book were pieces of paper, or rather pieces of envelopes, that had more addresses that she hadn't written down in her address book. She never seemed to lose any of those pieces of paper.

I recall that she mumbled and grumbled about the chore every year, and finished it up a couple of days before Christmas Eve, just in time so the USPS would deliver the cards by Christmas.

I remember loving to help her with this chore by licking the envelopes -- the glue tasted good. And sticking the stamps on the envelopes -- the glue on the stamps also tasted good.

I mention this because I am sitting at my computer and there are "monsters in the closet." Those monsters are unwritten, non-addressed Christmas cards.

I never sent out Christmas cards until Alan decided to run for our community board of directors and then he asked me to send a Christmas card to each household in the community (that would be 166 cards). I (at that time) knew most of the folks who lived in our neighborhood. That has changed somewhat in the past 10 years. People have passed on, and others have moved on. But, there are still a good number of residents who have been here for the 10 years we've been here (Is it 10 years already?) and so I decided since Alan is once again running for the Board I should send out Christmas cards to at least the people we both know.

So this pile of boxes of Christmas cards stares me in the face every time I enter my office and I feel guilty because I haven't written up the cards yet.

I have a friend who, of course, has written all her cards up already. In fact, she had them finished way before Thanksgiving. There's always a friend like that, isn't there? I probably have a niece or nephew's wife (the women address the cards, not the men) who also is so organized that they have written out their cards for this year already.

So, if you get a card from me, count yourself privileged. If you don't get a card, don't think I wasn't thinking of you, because I was. You know who you are -- those I'm thinking of. Maybe when it gets closer to Christmas I'll just write a list of all those I'm thinking of and let it go at that. In the meantime...

Does it count that I bought the stamps?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another saying of my father's

I have posted so many sayings we Drexlers had when I was growing up. Well, last night, I thought of another one, and my one hope was that I would remember it until today (Tuesday). I did!

That saying from my father was one word which was uttered most often when he was trying to open a package or a pill bottle with the child-proof lid. He had arthritis very badly in his hands and so anything that needed extra work to be done with his hands was painful and usually had to be passed off to my mother.

Anyway, folks, are you ready for it? Family: are you ready? Do you remember?

The one-one expletive was: Dagnabit. Pronounced with all short sounds on the vowels: dag nab it.

I remember it well!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

New post at RRR

Runnemede Remembered Recipes, November 7, 2010 -- new posting.

Love my new knives. I bought a ceramic knife and one of those new Yokio (or whatever) knives. Boy do thy work great. I love a sharp knife. And while I take good care of the knives I do have, I only have a couple of other ones that I use frequently.

One is a knife I received from my mother for a wedding shower gift, and it is the sharpest large knife I own. I also have two of her knives -- handed down to me after she died, both are small paring knives, but they are great for pealing skins off peaches or apples, and cutting celery into small pieces. But they are not good for smashing garlic or slicing meat. They are too small, but I do love them.

They were always in mom's knife box, which hung on the wall of the kitchen cabinet right next to the sink. The cabinets were blue -- a blue that came to be known as Williamsburg blue. Who knew we were in style before it was the style to be in style. And the knife box was only one row deep, but it hung on the wall and each slot had it's own knife and boy did we hear about it if we got the wrong knife in the wrong slot.

No such luck in my kitchen. I'm still waiting for my knife magnet board to be put up -- it's only 5 years. No nagging in this family!!!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Election Day

We always had election day off -- a school holiday. How wonderful. I don't remember much of what I did during those days, but I remember the reason why we had a holiday -- the schools were used for voting places.

Well, when we moved to Ohio, I found out -- after keeping my kindergartner home from school on election day -- that in Ohio they didn't close the schools, because 35 years ago, they didn't use the schools for polling places, or at least not in our community.

However, that has changed. I found out this year that after all those years of either teaching on that "holiday" or sending my children to school on that holiday, that, in fact, Ohio finally caught up with other places in the USA and made election day a holiday. Lots of offices were closed also, which makes voting NOT AN OPTION as far as I'm concerned. If you don't have to work on that day, you have absolutely no excuse for not voting.

Yes, I voted....

And.... let's reminisce.

In 1994 I received a phone call at 2:00 a.m. (the morning after election day) which woke me up and I was told by the election board that I had won as Representative to the Ohio State Board of Education from the 3rd District (that would be Cincinnati and a few of its neighboring towns, approximately 1 million people). After doing the happy dance, I went back to bed, but didn't sleep. I received a phone call the next day and was invited to attend the next meeting of the Ohioe SBE in Columbus and would I be there-- they needed a head count for lunch!

That said, I was remembering that campaign. I campaigned in Warren county with John Boehner -- and I'm sure he remembers me (NOT). And I campaigned in Cincinnati with both Rob Portman (new US Senator from Ohio), and Steve Chabot, newly elected Congressman from Cincinnati west -- taking over a Blue Dog Dems seat. Yeah!

I have to say that all three men were back then fiscally conservative and consistently received high marks from the government waste people -- high meaning good, so they might actually have received low marks. Whatever. They got the marks for being cheap!!!!! Don't you love it?

All three are back in Congress. I campaigned with those men, and can honestly say that I think all three men are good men.

I recall the children of Mr. Chabot and Mr. Portman being tiny, almost babies. Now they will be almost 20. I recall Mr. Portman rushing from the airport to a rally, being greeted at the rally by his then two-year-old, him picking up his son, and keeping him on his shoulder for most of the rally.

I have to tell you it brought tears to my eyes. I have always loved to watch the interaction of men with their sons, no matter the age. Men being kind and loving to their sons.

So, election day passed, and since I was thinking of the "holiday", and while it's a bit late to be getting this entry posted, I needed to reminisce about that "holiday" that I don't remember, except that it was a day off from school, and probably cold, and most likely rainy.

My job as an SBE rep? I loved it. I did what my constiuents asked of me. I had a two-day turn-around personal agenda. If I got a request, I determined to settle the matter in two days, for the good or bad. Mostly good. I loved that "job." I loved serving the people, working hard for no pay (except for actual meetings) to keep anyone who called me happy. Best job of my life.

I think I've said that before (best job of my life). Seems I loved most of my jobs, didn't I?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I wish I'd written that.

Check out the posting at Dead Reckoning written by a man who grew up in Runnemede about the time I did. What he said, what I wish I had said about October. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Christmas is coming

I know it is. And it's coming fast.

Answers in Genesis is getting their Christmas Village ready.
The stores are putting up their Christmas decorations.
I am beginning to panic because there are only 11 weeks left until Christmas.

What brings all this angst about the upcoming holidays about?

I posted something on Runnemede Remembered Recipes (click on link) which will explain why I am thinking about Christmas, and yes, it does have to do with Runnemede which is why I'm posting the link on RR.

Mt. Calvary has some special events planned for the season, and I wish I could head back East and enjoy the fellowship. Alas, I have my family here, and we will have something all together during the season -- other than church activities.

So, read RRR and let me know if you have any ideas on my conundrum posted at the bottom of the BLOG.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another celebration

Just got word that Mt. Calvary is having another celebration Sunday in honor of their 100th year. Wish I could be there.

I pray the service will be a blessing to all who attend. Pastor Cook is delivering the message on Sunday. He was pastor after my father. I enjoyed listening to his sermons on the several occasions I had to return to the church on our visits back home.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another year

Well, Alan and I are celebrating another year together -- we will have been married (tomorrow August 27, 2010) for 44 years.
It was a lovely, almost fall-like day. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and one I had dreamed about for several years. We were engaged for only a year -- the longest year of my life in some respects, but the shortest in others.
I remember when I told my mom the date we had set. We had been engaged for several months and hadn't decided on a date. We knew we wanted to get married while Alan's parents were on furlough from a missionary stint in Kenya, and that end-date hadn't been set yet, but we knew they would be returning to Kenya in early fall. We also knew we wanted to be married before he started his junior year at Rutgers because we needed to line up student housing. So mom should have known that we'd be getting married some time in late summer of 1966.
Well, I came home from a date with Alan, and he had told me he had gotten us student housing and we would get married two weeks before school started and would start paying rent on our housing in early August, getting married in late August, 1966. Mom got this news in late March 1966 and told me it would be impossible to get a wedding ready in six months. I told her it wouldn't.
I'm very organized, and I had a list of things to do before I got married, and mom didn't even have to do anything but give me names for invites. By the time the next week was out I had purchased my wedding gown and veil and shoes. I had decided on my bridesmaids. Arranged for a date at the bridal shop in Runnemede to purchase bridesmaids gowns, purchased my invitations, arranged for a cake and caterer, and thought I was all set.
Then mom dropped the bomb. She said I hadn't asked to use the church. Excuse me? Dad was the preacher. I knew the date was open and no one else was getting married (in the church family) that date. She said I still had to formally ask to use the church. I felt so silly doing that. So, I wrote a note to the deacons and trustees requesting the use of the church for that date. I knew mom was putting me on, because I knew that when people wanted to get married, they only had to ask my father to use the church and they got married. But mom was adamant that I was to ask permission from the "powers that be". Dad had already given his permission and written the date on his calendar.
I waited on tender hooks for several weeks, asking the head of the trustees each Sunday if I they had decided I could use the church. Believe me, by the time I finally got permission, I was about to find another church in which to have the wedding. They were all pulling my leg, and it wasn't a leg I wanted pulled. I wasn't amused by the joke they were all pulling on me.
Other than that little bauble, the wedding went off without a hitch. And we lived happily ever after. Yeah, right. However, I have to say, that I remember the good times more than the bad times, and while Alan and I "fight," it's really our way of communicating, a way our children can't understand.
Do we still love each other? You bet we do. And it seems that we are getting nearer to our "first love" feelings the older we get. I guess it's because we know that today might be our last day together on this earth. Ouch! Did I really say that?
Well, we are getting older and older and older and more frail as the days progress. Time is flying by and can you believe it's almost Christmas again? So, we make sure we greet each other in the a.m. with an "I love you" and end each day with an "I love you," praying that we'll both see each other in the morning.
We won't do anything to "celebrate" our anniversary. We've tried for the past few years to do something special but something always comes up and interferes, so this year we're just going to REMEMBER the day. Look at our album. And relax.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


My dear friend Dawn lost her battle with cancer and is now safe in the arms of Jesus. I shall miss her, but I know I shall see her again when I, too, meet my Lord some day.

I wish I could go back to Runnemede for her funeral, but I cannot because of other family obligations.

Dawn taught children -- she told me once she was not a school teacher, she was a children teacher, and I had to agree. She taught the little ones (K-3) and retired a few years ago.

The last time I saw her on May 22, she looked beautiful and didn't let on that she was suffering at all. She did admit to being tired, but then with all the chemo and radiation she'd had in the previous days and weeks, that was expected.

Contributions can be made to Mt. Calvary Union Church for the stained glass fund.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Prayer for Dawn

A dear friend, one of my bridesmaids, Dawn Anderson, is in 24-hour hospice care. I am praying that God will be merciful to her and keep her from pain as she ends this life and goes into the arms of our Lord and her saviour.

Dawn and I had time to talk when I went home in May and she made it through the Sunday events and seemed to be okay. She wasn't, but she let me think she was. I'm glad I had that time with her, even though it was just a little bit.

Please pray for her and her family. Her sister is with her.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Yes, it's tomato time. It's my favorite time of the year (except for Christmas). And I recall that my mom always planted tomatoes, and we enjoyed the fruits of her labors for the whole year. During the summer we enjoyed raw tomatoes and during the winter we enjoyed the canned tomatoes she put up the previous summer.

Mom's tomato garden was between the garage and the back of the church. At the time I lived there it was fenced, about 15 x 15 and she grew tomatoes, basil, green beans (not a whole lot), zucchini, lettuce (Bibb), and probably some other stuff that I just can't recall.

But now it's my time to BUY tomatoes. It's the time of year I make friends (again) with the local farmers -- those who sell at Lunken Airport. I went to the same tomato farmer for over 25 years. He died, so I picked up another one after that, and I've been visiting his stand for about 10 years now. He's Marty.

And Mr. Schneider is the corn man. He's been selling his corn from his truck (along with melons) for the entire 35 years we've lived here. He's really getting old and his children are helping him. But he and his wife are there every day asking: "What can I get you, honey?" And I get my usual 12 ears (13 actually) of the best corn around here -- not as good as Jersey corn, or the Jersey corn I remember-- and two cantaloupes, so sweet and luscious, and a couple of cucumbers.

Then I hop over to the next stand and get my zucchini and my peppers and some onions. All fresh picked.

Yesterday I really lucked out. My tomato farmer had been to North Caroline over the weekend and picked up the best peaches. I recall my mom always sugaring the sliced peaches to make them sweet enough for dessert. These peaches need absolutely no sugar. And they are so juicy, you really need a paper towel when you eat one.

So, I'm thinking about all these wonderful fruits and vegetables, and I fondly recall the days when my mom grew her own.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I wonder

I wonder -- when did Runnemede have it's Fourth of July celebration? Did they have a baby parade? Did they have a bicycle parade? Was the parade on The Pike or Central Avenue? Did Mt. Calvary have a float as they had planned? Anybody know the answers to these questions? Let me know. Comments please.

I miss the small-town ambiance on the 4th of July and while I was able to view seven fireworks displays from my sun porch, it just wasn't the same as spending time in the morning at a parade and then having a picnic in the afternoon, and then watching the fireworks in the evening, and coming home exhausted -- even like did when I was younger.

I wish I could have transported myself to Runnemede for the 4th. Of course, we don't have that technology yet, and getting on a jet plane, going through two airports, twice, isn't my idea of transport. I mean I can almost drive to Runnemede from here in the time it takes to go through the check-in at the airport, and then hopefully get a non-stop flight to Philly. Go through the Philadlelphia airport, get some sort of transport from the airport to Runnemede, watch the parade, and then do it all over again. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

So, if anyone out there has any info or pictures of the 4th of July happenings in Runnemede, 2010, post them or send me a comment and I'll tell you how to get them to me.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A walk through the garden

When I was in Runnemede, one of the things I did -- and I by no means did all I had intended on doing because three days just wasn't enough time -- one of the things I did was to go through the garden at the house and tell my daughter and granddaughters and I think my niece was with us as well about the plants around the house. Some of them are in the pictures with this BLOG.

It was refreshing for me to revisit the garden. My mom so loved her garden and her plants, and I imagine that late in her life when she could no longer physically visit her garden she would think about it and recall the days when she was able to work it and get those plants of hers to their beautiful best.

Some of the plants have grown so much in the intervening years, unbelieveably so. I was so amazed to see the size of the lilac bush, her pink rose climber, the holly tree she started from a rooting from my bush in Cincinnati, a dogwood tree, also started from a runner from my dogwood tree.

And I was disappointed that so many of the bushes she had grown and tended were no longer around.

I hope the girls had an enjoyable journey around her garden as I told them what each plant was. At least they didn't run off to do something else, so I must have captivated their attention.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doctors, etc.

I posted an update to Alan's and my life (currently) on It doesn't have anything to do with Runnemede, but explains how we are continuing our life now that we're back in N. KY. Notice I didn't say "back home" because for as long as I live, Runnemede will be "home".


Monday, June 7, 2010


I posted my Runnemede Remembered BLOG to the wrong BLOG today. The title of the BLOG that I intended to put on Runnemede Remembered went into the Runnemede Remembered Recipes BLOG. OOPS!

I included pictures from my recent trip to Runnemede in the posting and entitled it, "Giggles."

If you want to see the pictures and read the post about "Giggles" go to

Sorry 'bout that!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

More great pictures

If you all want to see more great pictures of Runnemede -- pictures which I haven't posted to Facebook yet, pictures of the Downing school, inside and out, go to my niece's blog:

If this doesn't work, then just go to and then go to her index on the right and pick Day 4 -- School visit. She took some really great pictures of the inside of the school including, ta da!, inside the boy's restroom. Go figure. It had to be at my brother's pushing. I mean who cares what the inside of a restroom looks like, right? Well, I guess some people do.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

We're home

The view from the condo in Wildwood.
It's so good to be at my "old people's" home -- where I currently live, not the place I shall always call "home" in Runnemede.

On our way home we stopped in Wildwood to spend time with Alan's family. The weather on the first day was bad, but the second day was beautiful, and so it was the day we left.

The trip home was really good. No traffic mishaps or stops or problems of any kind, and beautiful weather.

This entire trip was probably one of the best trips (vacations) Alan and I have ever had, and I know it's the best we've had in years. Alan handled the travel well. He was able to walk most of the time. I was able to walk most of the time, albeit painfully. And, except for what I wrote about our rustic accommodations in the non-Poconos, all went well. We both probably gained 20 pounds each, though, because we ate very, very well, and lots and lots of those good eats.
Again, I can't say enough about the folks in Runnemede who made our reunion/stay so very enjoyable. Our prayer is that the church blossoms and grows and spreads God's Word far and wide for another 100 years.

I'll be bouncing back and forth between here and The Fat Lady Singeth ( for the next days, weeks, months, years. Who knows?

This is me, signing out. TTFN

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The view from the porch

When I was a child I played on the front porch from April until October. When I grew up a little, I sat and read books on the porch. And these pictures are just a couple of views from the front porch.

After we ate dinner last night we went to the house and gathered to look at old family photos. I was surprise how well that activity was received. And happy that there was so much interest in the family history.

So, I hope you enjoy the pictures from the porch. I always enjoyed the view.


Gathering of friends and family

Pictures: Mark preaching, empty church, Micah Drexler singing, and friend, Faye Hopkins Bourne.

Well, today was the "big day." The beginning of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary to Mt. Calvary Union Church. The family was gathered -- most of the living Drexler/Sbaraglia clan -- and so many friends joined us at church today.
My brother preached, I played the piano during the congregational singing, and Micah Drexler (my nephew) sang. And the service went long, but that was okay because we were having fun. At one point my brother was commenting on the fact that one of his "fold" in Goshen, IN told him ages ago that if he went too long in his sermon that he would stand up to let him know he was becoming long-winded. Well, Mark related that at the very beginning of his sermon. At which point, I stood up. It was good for a laugh, anyway. And maybe you had to be there.
Tomorrow we tour Downing school -- the school across the street -- and then we all head home. Such a joyful occasion, and now I feel the let down of the quietness hitting me. I want this time with family to last and last and last. A little taste of heaven, I guess.
It was wonderful to meet up with friends I hadn't seen for so many years and just laugh and, yes, cry together. My dear cousin, Joan, joined us. Joanie and I haven't seen each other since my mother's funeral over 20 years ago. But we've been facebooking and e-mailing for the last five or six years. I love modern technology. I never would have located her without real estate transfer listings. And so many of my friends from long ago were found via Facebook.
Won't it be wonderful to be with family and friends forever and NEVER GET TIRED! That was the big drawback this weekend, my being so tired. But I would do it again and again and again.
What a wonderful time. Wish my sis could have joined us.


This is a picture of my brothers (Mark on left, Carl (Dit) on the right) and me. My how we've aged.

Followers of this BLOG know that I have fibromyalgia. That diseases causes me to have pain when people touch me -- most of the time, that is.

So, I was really not so looking forward to meeting the entire family at dinner because I thought -- uh oh, painful hugs.

Well, God was good.

Most of the time children's hugs aren't painful because I can mostly control them. In other words, I do the hugging, the kids just stand there and accept the hug, except for the girl children. But even so, they don't have the strength at their young ages to squeeze quite as hard as an adult.

So, when I first met my youngest brother and his wife (my oldest brother knows of this affliction and doesn't touch me) I was reluctant to hug them, so I didn't. But we met prior to the dinner at the diner where we were all going to congregate, eat, and then head home for a night of reminiscing.

However, when the rest of the family arrived at the diner, I thought, oh well, I'll probably never see these nieces and nephews again, and all these grands again, so I'll bite the bullet and hug.

And hug I did. No problem at all.

I still hadn't hugged my youngest brother and his wife.

We all went back to the house and talked and looked at family albums for hours after dinner, and when my brother got ready to leave, I said, "Dit," that's his nickname, "Dit, give me a hug." Now this brother is big and strong, albeit 60. But what a joy to get that hug. No pain, just happiness that I could receive it.

Now, we're on our way to church where I'll be meeting and greeting friends and other family that I haven't seen for more than 20 years. God will be good again, I'm sure, and allow me those hugs.


Saturday, May 22, 2010


Peace Rose.

Back of church.


The fifth picture is a holly bush/tree. My mother transplanted a small seedling from my holly bush (in Cincinnati) 27 years ago. And this is the result. Next is the 2nd Ave view of the school across the street that I attended for K-2, then grade 8. The name of the school is Grace Downing School, and the family is scheduled for a tour of the building at 7:45 on Monday morning. The Bridge Deli used to be Vince's Deli, where I bought hoagies for years and years and years. I went there today, and got a hoagie from the new owners. It was just as good as Vince's. Sooooo good. I shared it with Alan.
There is a picture in the group of my mother's iris, at least the late-blooming ones. Most of the iris in her garden were finished. The pink rose bush is a climbing bush and the roses are a very soft pink. Beautiful. I got a closeup of one of the roses. But the rose pictures in this group is a peace rose -- one of my mother's many rose bushes. Her name was Rose and I suppose that had something to do with her love for roses. I was dismayed, however, that her rose garden is now grass. There are only a few of her rose bushes left in the yard. The west yard has no roses left. It contains a shed and about 10 garbage cans. Not a nice view. And I added a picture of the back side of the church. That's the view from our house's back door. I didn't mention that the back porch was dry-walled making it a true three season porch. I imagine if a space heater was put out there it could be used year round.

I will take pictures of inside the house tonight, and my "view from the porch" at that time as well. I didn't have anyone to help me get up the steps today to get to the porch.
I have more pictures that I took around the town. I drove all around and took pictures from my car window. I'll get them posted another day.
I'll just say, ttfn.


To say "We've Arrived!" is saying something. The road to Runnemede from our last "pit stop" was basically one parking lot after another. We got to the Valley Forge exit of the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike with no problems. Then we got on the Schuylkill Expressway. I used to know the way to Runnemede from there. And Ms. Garmin was helpful. If only there weren't so many automobiles. However, nothing seemed familiar to me, this time. So I was glad for Ms. Garmin.

My objective in leaving our non-Pocono retreat was to get past Philly before 4 p.m. Well, I could have just forgotten that objective. I discovered that Friday -- all day -- is rush hour in the Philadelphia area. Add to that a baseball game -- the Phils were in town. We left our rustic abode around 11 a.m. and should have gotten to Runnemede by 1:30 or 2:00 at the latest.

From the Valley Forge exit of the Turnpike, it took us 2 hours to get to the Ben Franklin Bridge (Garmin's preferred way to get us to Runnemede -- I would have gotten us to Runnemede via the Walt Whitman Bridge). Since I was following that voice, I got going in the wrong direction. Once we got to the BF Bridge traffic FINALLY was moving faster than 10 mph. Until, that is, we got to the NJ side of the bridge. Then again, we hit another parking lot.

Well, because I recognized names, I took us off the expressway, and wove us in and out of side streets and got us to the Black Horse Pike in Bellmawr. Okay, we're now within sight of our hotel at 9th & Central in Runnemede. We're up to 30 mph and bam! Another parking lot which began at Exit 3 of the Turnpike. Two blocks to go. I zipped up the middle lane -- not exactly lawful -- to 9th Avenue and turned left onto 9th, went to the Comfort Inn and checked in around 4:30 p.m.

My brother, Mark, had already arrived and was antsy to get dinner, so we headed over the "THE DINER" -- that would be the Phily (spelled incorrectly -- their choice, not mine) Diner. Another parking lot. This one a real parking lot with no available spaces. The place was jammed at 4:45 in the afternoon. I parked behind the diner, my legs were aching and I walked around the front. All three of the handicapped places were taken. And valet parking hadn't started up yet.

I have to say the food was something else. Wonderful doesn't even come close to describing my meal.

I met with the banquet coordinator and we're all set for 38 for dinner tomorrow night at the same eatery. Can't wait.

It seems so many things have gone wrong in the past few days, and I won't go into those details in my BLOG because frankly their family business and not everyone elses. Just need to say my sister can't be with us this weekend, nor can my niece, Jennie and her brood. My brother Mark, has to leave right after church on Sunday because of the loss of one of his church people in Indiana.

On the plus side, another one of my nieces, whom I haven't seen for years, joined us for dinner -- a surprise for all of us, and we spent hours talking to her. It was a real treat for Mark and me as well as Alan and Sue.

I was so tired after dinner that I left the house -- we all went there to wait for the rest of our family to arrive -- early (around 8:30 p.m.) and headed back to our hotel and went to bed. Now it's 12:30 a.m. on Saturday and I'm wide awake. Amazing how 2 hours of sleep can do that for me.

Tomorrow is picture taking day. I'm still determined to walk the block, which is so very much changed from what it was like when I grew up. Our neighbor's picket fence, which was there for at least 50 years is gone. Now there is lawn from our house clear up to the end of the block, where before there was a large yard surrounded by a white picket fence. As I was leaving the side yard -- where we parked our car -- I was watching for the fence, because I didn't want to hit it (habit). It wasn't there, so I didn't have to be so careful.

Everyone was commenting on how small the house seemed. I didn't notice the smallness. It just seemed like home. Different decorations, but still home.

Hopefully, I'll get some pictures up tomorrow, but I'm not promising anything because it's going to be a very, very busy day.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Alan and I went to Hershey yesterday (Wednesday). We sort of drove half way back to Ohio (not where we lived, but the border) and when we got there we went to the Antique Car Museum. I thought it would be a two-hour maximum thing. Stupid me. Alan needs to get his money's worth. We were there for four hours.

However -- and this is a big however -- we really had a good time. The whole day. The weather was mostly cloudy, but there were patches of blue -- the kind of blue that matches Alan's eyes. I told him that long ago, in a solar system far far away, it was his eyes that drew me to him. He had the most magnificent eyes. After four eye surgeries and 65 years of aging they aren't quite as forceful as they used to be, but they're still the same magnificent color of aqua marine.

While Alan went through the museum -- he used the seated walker and stopped between each exhibit to read -- I saw in the car and did all kinds of things. I read, I downloaded some more freebies to my Kindle, I made phone calls to family members to check in on what's going on with them for the upcoming weekend, and I inadvertently turned off my phone, so I didn't get a couple of calls.

One very sad call I received was from my sister, Deb, who absolutely can't make it to Runnemede unless God sends down some angels to transport her and pay for the trip. Jenny and her children won't be coming either. Jen's father-in-law is very ill and at this point being fed with a tube, etc. I did cry a bit last night (sorry Deb), and Alan was really sympathetic about it because he knows how much I was looking forward to having ALL my brothers and sister in one place for one last time. Oh well. God knows what he's doing, and for some reason he needs Deb to stay behind. I don't always understand what God does, nor why he does what He does, but I accept it, sometimes kicking, screaming, and crying. In this instance, only crying.

Deb-- I shall miss you most of all. My sister whom I've grown to love to much in the past four years. I guess I'm just going to have to dump on you (visit) in the month of July.

I was telling Alan, now that we've stop his Interferon shots, I feel so free to go places because I don't have to be home in three days to give him a shot. Speaking of which, he goes to the oncologist on June 4 and we'll find out then about the Interferon reactions he's been having.

So, today, is a beautiful day. Warm. I plan to sit in the sun and read a bit. Then, I'll get dinner ready for our friends from Rutgers who are visiting us tonight.

This will be my last post until I get to Runnemede -- hey that's tomorrow! I'll write from there.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I have nothing against rusticity -- is that even a word? I love the quiet, the deer that come to my deck, the skunk that runs away from my car, the breezes coming in the window with a fresh, clean smell, the ability to see the Milky Way, and probably some other things I'm missing.

What I don't love is the spiders -- furry, little beasts that crawl on me in bed. I've killed three of them so far -- all wanting to crawl on me in bed. Charlotte's children they are not.

I don't love the fact that I had to BUY a G3 stick for my computer so I could have internet. They don't even have dial-up here! I have decent cell service, which I needed for the G3 thingy, but if I move my computer an inch I lose my cell service. I have great service in the middle of the bed, but near the pillows, not so much. Go figure. At least I can use my cell phone, mostly.

I don't love the fact that this place didn't supply what I consider necessities -- sugar, coffee, salt, pepper, dish cloth, toilet paper, paper towels. But that was easily remedied by a two-hour trip to the not-so-local grocery store. It took us about 15 minutes to find the store, even with the directions -- handwritten -- we were given. But that's okay, because we did find the Radio Shack with no problem. Could that be because it was right next door to the Shop Rite? Probably.

I love the ability to read and read and read (my Kindle) without feeling guilty that I'm vegging and not doing housework.

I am very grateful that they provided a washing machine and drier. However...the doors that hide the appliances are folding. They fold and unfold well, but no matter how far I open or close the doors, I have a difficult time with the drier door. And the washer door (lifts up) is barred by the shelf they put above the appliances to hold soap (which they didn't provide) and towels and face cloths.

We have today and tomorrow and then we will, Lord willing, be in Runnemede, my hometown. I am sooooo looking forward to getting there, and being there for a few days.

If you're reading this, please pray that my legs hold up, and that Alan's legs support him.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rainy Days and...

Today it was raining -- all day long -- lots of rain. So, we didn't go to Hershey. The deciding factor was that Alan's legs were so very wobbly he decided since it was raining and he was wobbling that we'd wait until tomorrow -- our last day to go there. On Thursday, we're entertaining old college friends, and I'm doing the cooking.

Speaking of cooking: We found a great east-coast diner and went there tonight. Actually, it was only about two miles down the road. The food was wonderful, and I (and Alan, too) had a really hard time choosing what we wanted to eat. I settled for veal Parmesan and Alan has his usual ham. It was really good food. The sauce for the spaghetti was wonderful. Good salad. Great garlic bread.

We took cheesecake and cherry pie back to the condo for dessert before we leave here on Friday. I think we'll have it on Thursday night when I make dinner. I'm making spaghetti and sausage. It will be yummy. We're having "honeymoon" salad (lettuce alone) because I don't have anything I can add to the lettuce to make it anything other than a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. No tomatoes. No cucumbers. No nuts. No berries. No carrots. Nothing else but lettuce alone.

I saw a skunk tonight when we drove in. It was slithering into the neighbor's yard. Better them than us.

So, until tomorrow, when I'll try to report again, I'll say: ttfn.

PS: If you ever have a chance to read any books by Erynn Mangum, do so. She is so funny. Alan keeps reminding me to be quiet because I'm laughing so loud. Her Lauren Holbrook series, is hilarious.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting there

Yes, slowly, but surely, I'm getting nearer "home."

The first day out was wonderful. Great hotel. Of all the hotels I've ever stayed in, including condos, this was #3 on the list. And, I've stayed at a lot of hotels!

We left Saturday morning for our week in the Poconos. Wrong! We're no where near the Poconos. We're in a rustic cabin in the woods, though. And the cabin is a nice three-bedroom abode. But it is rustic.

By rustic, I mean -- it is NOT handicapped accessible, as I had been told, and I WILL get my week back because of their misinformation to me. I never would have accepted this exchange if I had known what we were in for.

Saturday evening, just checking in, was one of the most painful experiences of my life. That's all I'm going to say about it. Sunday was a close second. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Back to "rustic." I have NEVER been to a time-share exchange where they don't provide toilet paper, coffee, salt, pepper, and sugar. I knew it was a mistake not to take my kitchen pack, but it was just something extra to pack into the car (it's ever-ready) and so we are without coffee, sugar, salt, pepper (how can I cook without salt and pepper), and TP.

First order of business on Sunday was to go to the store. Never go to the store on Sunday. Since I haven't shopped for myself for over two years, I didn't know what it was like. It was a mad house. The only saving grace was that the Shoprite was like coming home. The smells! The availability of the foods I grew up with (TastyKakes?, Lunchmeat?). Yum! By the time I finally got out of the store two hours later (and I only got 8 bags of food) I was famished. Needless to say, we had a great lunch!

I forgot to get -- you got it -- salt/pepper/sugar/coffee/and TP. Those things that I realized they didn't provide, I forgot to get, so we will stop at WAWA on our way to Hershey tomorrow and pick up those items.

Monday -- I've been in bed all day, sleeping, reading, resting, getting my knees back in order. Getting rid of a fibromyalgia flare up. etc.

I also installed a WIFI stick -- they don't even have dial up here -- and that took the better part of the morning. Figured out that where I was sitting there was little reception, but if I moved three feet to the right I had full reception. GO figure.

So, for now, I'm getting closer to home, with a side trip to Hershey.

See you all soon.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Going Home

It's getting close. Going home, that is. The hoagie buying spree is all set. The hotel arrangements have been made. The Sunday service is all in order. Saturday's foray into the Philly diner with 40 other Drexler's is all set as well. And I finally made the arrangements for the tour of the school (Downing) for those in the family who were interested. It's at 7:45 a.m. Let's say quarter to 8, that sounds later, right? Well, most folks can just tumble out of their sleeping bag and head across the street. I'm not going to be able to do much at the school because there is no elevator, and I can't do stairs. I MUST however get myself to the top of the gym/cafeteria. And I really wanted to get up to the top floor so I could see where the old Principal's office was, which then became a teacher's lounge. Don't know what that room is now, but I recall it as being a glass room, like a sun room.

When I talked to Pat Watt's, Downing Secretary, (nice lady, by the way, thanks Pat for all your help today), she wasn't following what I was saying about that room, so perhaps in some renovation of the school, that room was done away with.

It's going to be an fun-filled, fast-paced, adventurous, giggly, tear-infested, sappy, tiring three days. All this work -- a year's worth on this end, and much more on Mt. Calvary's end -- for three days of family.

We're praying for health, safety in travel, and financial aid (from above, God is able to provide) for those who need the aid. God will provide. He is faithful, and we're all counting on Him.

I can't wait to see cousins whom I haven't seen for at least 20 years, probably longer. I can't wait to see folks I haven't seen for over 35 years. The last time I saw most of these folks they were early 20s, now we're all mid- to late-sixties. I can only imagine the changes. I hope I recognize some of the visitors.

We're (the family) all so thankful for this opportunity, and really believe it is a God-given opportunity. A chance to enjoy each other's company one more time. How good is God! And, I make no apologies to those readers who don't agree with me on the God thing. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able....

Mom and dad, we'll miss you. Wish you could be with us. This is to honor you both for all the years of service to a small NJ church in a small NJ town. 100 years! Amazing!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm losing it

This is a picture of my mom and her four children. I figure I'm about 8 in this picture. Probably in third grade. In order, left to right: Deb, me, Mark, Mom, on her lap, Carl.
I dialed my old home phone number (the 931 area code number) wanting to talk to my mom. Of course, I realized what I was doing in time to quit before the number went through. Duh!

My mom is with Jesus and has been for over 20 years. I was just thinking about her and was going to wish her a happy mother's day -- something I did NOT do very often when she was here on this earth. I feel bad about that. Mother's Day was not a holiday we celebrated very often in our house. Maybe that was because it just wasn't one of those days that was advertised very much (no TV) back then. There were no Hallmark stores. The local 5 & 10 didn't have mother's day cards, and unless my mom's birthday fell on the day after mother's day, I didn't even think about it.

I was also thinking last night about how often my mother went to school functions for me and my sister and brothers. She never joined the PTA -- it cost money she didn't have, but she went to the PTA meetings. She helped the PTA ladies with their events. Poor mom. I know she felt she needed to join PTA but she couldn't, so she helped when she could.

I recall vividly my mom sitting along the wall in my 1st grade (2nd grade) classroom, while we students put on a Christmas play of some sort. I had a small part. And my mother was the prettiest lady along that wall, except for perhaps Mrs. Lott -- the pastor's wife of the Lutheran Church across the street from our church. Mrs. Lott (Linda's mom -- one of my best friends at that time) was really a beautiful woman. I always thought that. But my mom was right up there with her.

I was so proud to have such a beautiful mother. And I always wondered if the kids whose moms I thought didn't measure up in the beauty department thought the same thing about their mother.

Aren't our own moms the most beautiful moms in the whole wide world? I think they are.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm just bubbling

You all can't imagine. I've been bubbling in my soul all day.

First I was reading Karen Kingsbury's novel, Take One, and one of the children in the story told every one to PUSH -- PUSH stands for Pray Until Something Happens.

Well, I've been praying for so much regarding the 100th anniversary celebration in the past few weeks and I'll let you all in on just what.

First and foremost, that God will be glorified, and those who come in contact with any Drexler will know that we're different from the world.

I've been praying for health for all of us, Drexlers and church people. No broken bones, no lost teeth, no falls, etc., and I've been praying that God will provide the finances for all who are coming. That's a biggie since my son, Phil, is still out of work. I've been praying for safety when we all travel east.

There will 37 of us at dinner on that Saturday, and many more that I'm aware of at the lunch/dinner the church is having on Sunday.

Plus, I got exciting news of some people who will be coming to church on Sunday. News I didn't expect, and I shouted a loud "Hallelujah" and Alan wanted to know "who else is coming?" Isn't that fantastic. I guess I have a "someone else is coming Hallelujah" that he recognizes.

I'm bubbling when I think about it. And I just know I'm going to embarrass myself and dear Alan by giggling through the church service. That was something I did as a child/teenager/young adult and I'm afraid that giggle bubble will erupt during the church service that Sunday. I may have to stay outdoors (weather permitting) that day.

Anyway, I'm bubbling. Lori's BLOG is keeping track of how many more days, and we're heading east real soon.


Friday, April 30, 2010

The excitement builds

You know when you go "Home" it's always a nice thing. "Home" on this earth will always be that tiny house in Runnemede. And the anticipation of heading back there is tickling me in the gut. Yes, tickling me. That's what it feels like when I think about this trip I'm going to make and all the family I'm going to see.

God is so good to provide this opportunity for the Drexler clan to get together as a family and enjoy each other's company -- family we haven't seen for years, some family I haven't seen for over 20 years. My brother, Carl's, family I haven't seen, it seems like, forever. I have seen my brother -- I met up with him on one of his road trips a few years ago. But his children were babies -- well, under 10 -- the last time I saw them, and now they're in their 20s and 30s.

What is so neat about this is that all the cousins and second cousins will be able to get together in a swarm and enjoy each other's company. I know my children didn't have much interaction with their cousins when they were small, since we only got to Runnemede once a year, if that often, and so the children would get to visit with some of their cousins then.

And then there were those yearly Thanksgiving visits to my brother, Mark's house, so my children could play with his children. They'll all be there (in Runnemede) all grown up, and their children will be playing with my children. Do you see why I have that tickling feeling in my gut?

And I am determined to walk around the block. Yes siree, I am. If it takes me two hours, I shall walk around the block, take pictures, and think about what it was like 50 years ago, and what it's like now.

A lot has changed, yet a lot remains the same. Anyway, I can't wait.

I pray that we have health and good travel to get us there, and that God will grant us ALL a time of respite and reflection and enjoyment of each other's company for that short time we'll all be together. And yes, I'm praying for great weather so the children can run around outdoors and enjoy the "climbing" trees, and other outdoor things I enjoyed as a child. I'll be there to guide them. I'll sit on the back step and watch them and wave, and point out things for them to do.

Somebody bring a can for "kick the can."


Monday, April 26, 2010


As I've mentioned before, the house in which I grew up didn't have much closet space. The home had one small closet for clothes about 4 feet by 1-1/2 feet deep, and a medium sized storage closet in the hall which was 1-1/2 feet wide by 4 feet deep. The storage closet housed the vacuum clean, the Bissel cleaner, and winter coats. The other closet housed my mother's clothing and my sister's and my Sunday dresses.

I would play for hours on the floor of that closet, even with the door closed, in the dark.

However, this is about shoes.

Because there was so little closet space, shoes were stored under our respective beds. My shoes were under my bed, by sister's shoes were under her bed, and my brothers shoes were -- well, I can't remember where they were because they had a trundle bed, and I don't think you could store shoes there. Perhaps they were under the bureau. Anyway, my mom's shoes were on her side of my parent's bed, and dad's shoes were at the foot of their bed.

Now days no one would think of putting their shoes under their bed, would they? I don't have shoe racks in my walk-in closet or any other closet for that matter, and I have always stored my shoes in my closet (since I got married -- before that I didn't have a closet, I had pegs), just neatly lined up on the floor. I watch H&GTV and shoe racks in closets seem to be a must have.

The big question of the day is: What is wrong with storing shoes -- neatly aligned -- under the bed?


Monday, April 19, 2010

School days

My sister and I were talking yesterday and she reminded me of something that I had forgotten about school.

We were wondering whether Downing school had put in a cafeteria or if, as I was thinking, the children that could still went home for lunch, and the others brought sack lunches like I did when I was a child.

We were also wondering about bus service. When I went to school, only the kids that lived out in the Sunset area came in by bus, and, of course, they HAD to stay for lunch. I wonder if because of the times that changed and those who live closer to the school are now riding a bus. I know where we lived in Cincinnati, the children rode a bus and the school was only 1/4 mile away. Seemed like a waste of tax money to me. Let them walk. It would be good for them. Apparently, because of the threat of child kidnapping, they had to have bus service for the close-in children as well as those who lived outside the state required 2-mile radius. The use of bus service for children who lived within the 2-mile zone was up to the school district. I digress.

Then I recalled that there was a kitchen in Bingham -- I went there for several years between attendance at Downing -- and on rare occasions Aunt Nelly would cook. Even though it was a good 15-minute walk home, I usually went home for lunch. After I got my bike, I could do it in five minutes. I didn't like staying for lunch. I don't know whether it was because it was boring, or whether it was because of bullying, although I could give as well as take back in those days, even though I was probably the smallest kid in the class.

I recall that once a year they had a PTA dinner. It was always spaghetti, and I recall Aunt Nelly sweating (not really) away in the kitchen making the dinner. The dinner was held in the room adjacent to the kitchen. The kitchen was in the basement, and that adjacent room was an auditorium of sorts. It had a stage at one end, and then there were two doors that went into the kitchen in the other end of the room. When I was at Bingham it was used for a classroom, Grade 4, Mrs. Kline. That was before the addition in the back was finished. When that was finished, I don't think it was used for a classroom any more, but for an assembly room.

Still no library.

I wonder where the two older schools house libraries, or if they do. Aren't they required in schools now days? And are cafeterias also required?

When I head home and visit Downing, I'll get you all caught up on those things. In case you're interested.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Applesauce is a dessert

Tonight, my husband, Alan, and I went out to Bob Evans to eat. He made it in and out again without falling down. Quite an accomplishment.

But, that's beside the point. Alan ordered meatloaf and changed out the green beans for apple sauce.

He left the apple sauce until last, and just before he started to eat it, he asked me if I wanted dessert, and he thought he did. I pointed to the apple sauce, and said, "Dessert."

He replied: "Apple sauce is not a dessert, it's a vegetable." Since when.

When I was growing up, if we had apple sauce, it was a dessert. It wasn't a garnish, and it wasn't a cake, as I'm sure he enjoyed it, since his mom made a fabulous apple sauce/raisin cake. And it wasn't a salad. And it wasn't a "vegetable." Apple sauce in our house was a dessert.

My mom dressed up canned apple sauce (not the stuff she canned, which we gobbled up in a couple of months, but the stuff that came in a can in the dead of winter) with cinnamon sprinkled on the top. I know it was one of my favorite desserts, and my father seemed to enjoy it, although he had to have a couple of butter cookies with his apple sauce.

So, I can say with all certainty, that apple sauce is a dessert!


Monday, March 29, 2010

My father

My niece posted a short video clip of my father which brought tears to my eyes. My daddy was first and foremost a Bible teacher. He wasn't a preacher, and frankly not a very good pastor, but he was a great Bible teacher.

Anyway, the clip shows my father in 1989 or 90, and he would have been 81 or 82 years old. He was still an active minister, teaching three times on Sunday, Wednesday night, and then at the small Bible School (Grace Bible Institute) in South Jersey on Monday and Thursday nights. Pretty active stuff for an old guy, right?

He was spry for a person of that age, even though he was suffering from arthritis. Please go to this link and view the video. You'll see that my father when asked to tell someone in the background a story spouts forth Scripture. I'm pretty sure the person requesting a story wanted him to give them some information of when he was a youngster, but he gave them Scripture instead. So like him.

Oh, yeah, notice the pocket full of pens and the suspenders. It must have been a hot day because normally he would have been wearing a vest and a jacket and a tie. The first scene is my brother talking to him and that was his "in-house" desk. The dining room table. He also had a "study" at the church, which I loved to visit, mainly because it smelled like a library. You know how smells evoke memories. Well, dad would "babysit" me in that room when I was a youngster and I loved that little office of his, and I mean little. I think the room was probably 7 x 10 at the most. It contained a mimeograph machine, which had it's own odor -- I guess you could say a person could get "high" sniffing mimeograph ink. Not that I tried it, but I did love the smell. Okay, so I'm weird.

In a few weeks, the family and others will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of that small church, most of its ministry was that of my father. If the family had all stayed in South Jersey, the congregation would be pushing out the walls. Frankly, I don't know where we're all going to sit on that Sunday morning when we're all there, but, they'll find a way, I'm sure.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I remember Mrs. Mahorter. She was an older woman who lived across the street, and one of our favorite babysitters. She was also a very faithful member of our church.

One cloudy day I was over in her yard and she was outside just sitting on her front step. I was about five at the time, and I was jabbering to her and she asked me if I could see things in clouds. I said, "Huh?"

So she patted the step next to her and asked me to sit down, and then she proceeded to explain to me about clouds and how if you looked at them you could see dogs, cats, leaves, boats, all kinds of things, and sure enough my inventive mind was able to see all kinds of things in the clouds.

To this day, I like to look at clouds and try to imagine what they are. Is that a giraffe? Is that an elephant? Neat, huh?



I remember my mother sitting with me in church, holding my hand, and rubbing her fingers over the top of my hand as she was holding it.

It was such a wonderful feeling to have her touching me and "petting" me. I miss my mother.


Friday, March 19, 2010

The mirror over the piano

When I was growing up, there was a mirror over our piano. [This picture is the same piano, different mirror.] It was a really pretty mirror, sort of shaped like a crown, with a large center section, and two smaller side sections. My father's uncle Harry crafted the mirror, and he used bevelled mirror and etched panels on the side. He built the wood frame which held the mirrors together in one cohesive unit. The wood was carved on top to look like a crown, and all the frame was silver gilt.

I wish I had a picture of it. Alas, I don't

You see, one summer afternoon we heard a crash, and the mirror has dislodged itself from the screws that held it to the wall, and came and splintered into a lot of pieces. We cried. I mean, my mom and I actually cried. After that, my mom put some pictures over the piano -- NOT THE SAME.

I was thinking about that mirror around 3 a.m. I do so wish I had a picture of that mirror.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting ready

The family -- what's left of it -- is getting ready to descend on Runnemede in late May.

Mt. Calvary Union Church is celebrating it's 100th anniversary, and most of us are heading to Runnemede for the first part of the 6-month list of events the church is setting up.

The church is going to be in the the 4th of July Parade -- a float. Neat, huh?
In October, which is really when the building opened, but not when the church was incorporated (I think I have that right), they have a special day planned with pictures and a special program.

In some of the official church records they found a page that told the committee step by step how the church celebrated Christmas back in the 20s, and they're recreating that sometime in December. Then for New Year's, they will have an old fashioned Watch Night Service and meal.

I wish I could attend all the celebrative activities, but I can't.

Today has been a day of collecting addresses, getting in touch with family, trying to finalize some of the housing issues we'll have. Trying to get some sort of schedule for the family so we can all get together at least one time (not at the church) just to catch up with each other.

There are some things we all want to do: (1) walk around the block and remember who lived where, take pictures; (2) visit the school across the street -- this might be a problem. We don't want to cause a commotion during school hours. We may have to go really early in the morning on Monday; (3) visit the shore (not gonna happen for all); (4) go to the diner at least one time; (5) go to church; and (6) get some good hugs!

As the time gets closer so the agida increases. So much to do, so little time. What movie is that a line from?

Praying that we all have safe trips. So many families are coming from distant places. I hope to have updates as the time gets closer.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today is my 67th birthday. The best thing about it is that I'm getting closer to going Home and looking into my Saviour's face.

I did get a great gift from my husband, as I've mentioned before, a Kindle. Great, great gift.

I was thinking about birthdays back when...

We didn't do much to celebrate birthdays. I got a gift from my mother and father, usually clothing or new shoes. When I got to be a teenager, my dad would give me a piece of jewelry -- the real thing! I loved those gifts.

When I was 11, my father got me this really awful blouse with a matching skirt, so that when I wore it, it looked like a dress. What made it awful was the material it was made from. It was a gray background with safety pins holding small daisies to the material. You had to see it. Another thing about it, was that my mom hadn't had any oversight on dad's picking out this gift. When she saw it, she was aghast. However, the good thing was that it didn't fit me -- it was miles too big, so I wasn't able to wear it for a couple of years. And dad, in his nagging way, asked me almost every day, when I was going to wear the outfit he bought me. I'd smile and say, "It doesn't fit yet."

By the time it finally fit me, the material's ugliness didn't matter too much, because I finally had a semblance of a female shape, and the outfit actually looked good on me. I wore that all through my teenage years, usually on Sunday (which made my father happy) when the kids at school couldn't see it. I mean I would have been ridiculed for the material of the dress, but no one at church would have laughed except behind my back, and then I wouldn't know about it.

We usually got our favorite dinner and mom made a cake. I loved my mother, but she really wasn't that good at baking cakes. Her pies, though -- yummy. But whoever heard of a birthday pie?

When I passed the age where candles and hoopla were enjoyed a lot (about when I was 10 or 11) the birthday dinner was a formality, and we just ate our dinner then I got my gift. That was it.

I have to say that my husband didn't fare much better on birthdays. And unfortunately we carried this into our marriage for ourselves and our children. We just didn't make much of birthdays. Until CYNDI!!!!

I put that in all capital letters because my Cyndi wouldn't let birthdays be anything but a large celebration. She started in June to remind us how many days it was until her birthday in late October, and she would remind me, at least, every day exactly how she wanted, and how to celebrate it -- that is what kind of cake she wanted, how many presents she wanted (good luck with that one), and what kind of party she wanted (another good luck with that one). Birthdays were family events, and poor Cyndi didn't get many of those parties she planned. She did get her presents, though, and on time.

I think Alan and I did pretty well with birthday celebrations for the children since we both felt that while our own birthdays were celebrated as well as our parents could afford, we would go a little further to make the day special for our children. That specialness included their favorite supper, their favorite ice cream, a cake (store bought -- I inherited my mom's inability to make a very good cake), several gifts, and the best gift of all -- they could stay up as late as they wanted, even if there was a school day the next day.

Now, Alan and I have 13 grandchildren, and I try to get gifts to them on time -- I'm a month behind on Annie's gift which I have purchased and wrapped -- the same with my own children. Of course, in this day of electronic gifting, that's easy. Just send them a gift card and they're thrilled -- at least that's what they tell me.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

The garage

Oh, how I wish I had a picture for this posting. If you look at the snow picture, the garage is barely visible on the left of the walk way.

When I was a little girl, I mean pre-pre-teen, I used to play in the garage. I pretended it was a playhouse.

Now, the garage housed the incinerator, the lawn mowers -- I think there was three of them -- hand-pushed style, all moms gardening tools, and some spare lumber. These were spread along one wall and behind one door of the garage. The rest was free space.

I would sweep it out each spring, and make rooms in there with chalk on the floor, and by arranging the outdoor furniture that was also housed in the garage. It was a fun place for me to play. And dry. I could play in there when it rained.

Of course, I had the back porch in which to play school, since that was set up like a school room. And the basement was available for me to play in on a rainy day. I could skate down there. And the front porch was also available when it rained, but that was just for reading.

But the garage...that is where my imagination really let loose. I was a mother to my baby dolls. I was a cook in my pretend kitchen. I think I had three or four of my mother's old dinged pots to play with. And I would use the small charcoal grill as my stove. Small doesn't even describe that grill. I mean it was hibachi size, before hibachis became popular. I arranged the folding chairs into my living room. It was so much fun for me.

I am so looking forward to going home in the spring and taking pictures. Oh, I know nothing is the same, but I'm certain I can find some things that have changed little. I plan to walk, yes walk around the block. It might take me two days to do it (just kidding) and I will be taking pictures along the way. I will go down to the pike and get a few pics as well. Then, if I am able and Alan is able, I'm going to ask him to walk to Triton with me and take pictures along the way.

We used to walk home from Triton on Mondays for Hi-BA, and he would stay for dinner, then his dad would pick him up. I will have someone either take us over to Triton and we'll retrace the steps we used to take, or I'll have someone pick us up at Triton. I don't think we could make the round trip any more. Our legs just don't work that well.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Facebook and Runnemede

Facebook is amazing. I know it's probably very invasive into the privacy of anyone who signs up and uses it, but it does get me connected with people who I thought were either gone or who are hidden in the recessives of my mind.

Today I found another "friend" who shall remain anonymous. Just let me say to the family, her mom made the best cookies! The family will know who I mean, at least I think they will.

I'm still looking for folks and someday I might find some more.

I remember when I found my cousins. I found them almost simultaneously. I had a state address for one of them and through her I found a couple more who led me to some more and by the end of a week I had found all my living family on my mother's side. Then I received an e-mail from my father's cousin's daughter. And since then I've e-mailed that side of the family as well.

Facebook is helping me find high school friends and church friends and rekindling those friendships long forgotten.