Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

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!