Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Saturday, May 22, 2010


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.


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