Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reminiscing again.

Today I was once again thinking about Fall in Runnemede in the 40s and 50s and very early 60s.

I recall going down to the pike and crossing over at Third Avenue from the east side to the west side, with the help of a policeman who was there at 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and then from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. That was before they put a light at Third Avenue -- LONG before they put a light there.

While I was on the west side of the pike I would take my pennies and dimes into Joe's and see what was new that I could afford and if there was something I really liked I'd save up until I could buy it.

Then I learned about bottle returns and walked all over town looking for empties (my early bag-lady days I call them) so that I could get more money for 5 & 10 items at Joe's or on the east side at Jake's, when Jake was on the pike. He did move to 1st Avenue when the optometrist took over the space.

And Fall, as I recall, was the time when I collected as many bottles as possible. Too cold in the winter, and too wet in the spring. During the summer I was doing other things and not thinking about going down to the Pike to buy trinkets at either Joe's or Jake's.

So, that's what I was thinking about today as I look out my windows and see the Fall colors on the trees, and enjoy the perfectly cool "football weather."


Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's that time again

Fall has officially arrived and I am presenting again my annual rant about the descending darkness. Can you feel it? I can. I especially notice it in the morning. It's dark outside until almost 8 a.m. In the evening, it doesn't get dark until after 7:30.

I don't like the shortening of the hours of daylight. I guess I should move some place near the equator where I would get 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness and that would be it. But that's a little boring.

As a girl, this was the time of year when the cool weather blew in, the leaves changed their color to those beautiful reds and oranges which are abundant in the Northeast, and which in the midwest are more of a burnished yellow or orange. The trees are the same "brands" (oaks, maples, sycamores, etc) but the leaves don't change to the same hues as those which I was so fond of back when I lived in Runnemede.

I so enjoyed taking a walk after dinner -- that would be around 6:00 p.m. I would start at the front porch, descend the steps, and turn left on the sidewalk. I'd then walk down to the pike, turn right, do my window shopping tour until I got to Clements Bridge Road, then I'd turn left, and head east on CBR to the place where Second Avenue comes into CBR and then turn left again until I reach home.

I remember that most evenings I had to wear at least a sweater, and my little nose would be a little runny when I got home. This September, so far, I haven't needed a sweater in the evening, and my nose is, well, it's dry.

So, my rant isn't really a rant, but I am not looking forward to the impending darkness that won't change over until after Christmas. Yikes! Can I say that word already? It's coming up faster than I'd like, but I do love the remembrances of my childhood Christmases.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dancing the night away

Lorraine Hynes requested that we post only pictures where people aren't making faces. And unfortunately my photos of the dancing were too dark to post, so I only have these few remaining from a memorable weekend.

Nancy Ivins and Art Adams

Seated next to me were Dave Diehl and Conni Beakley

Joan Stroup and Elwood Pollock

Don Balch

Calvin Weatherby


I am a "closet" dancer. I am not good at dancing and my husband doesn't dance at all. Oh, we often will hear a slow song and hug each other and move our feet a bit, but that's as far as our dancing goes. I, myself, love to twist, clap, sing out loud, and just move with the tempo/rhythm of the song to which I'm listening. Of course my favorites are from the late 50s and early 60s.

So what does this have to do with the 50th reunion?

Well, let me tell you. I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. Not-so-young people dancing like any 17-year-old back in the days of Bandstand -- twisting the night away. They were having so much fun, and I was enjoying watching them, since my body will only allow chair dancing any more.

Did you know that chair dancing is good exercise and there are exercises especially designed for those of us who are unable to move quickly using our legs? Check it out online sometime.

Back to the 50th. On Saturday night, September 10, we met in a room across from the banquet room for meeting and greeting one another. More folks were present than on Friday evening, at least I met more classmates than I did the night before. I just scooted around and secretly read name tags of those I didn't recognize and then started right in by saying, "Hello S0-and-so, I'm Judi Drexler, and went on from there.

Since I'm basically a shy person (YES I AM) I really mostly talked with men and women from Runnemede and with whom I had also attended grade school.

Then when we were permitted to enter the dining room, I scooted in on the right side of the room, found no seats there and probably was the last person seated on the left side of the room in the only seat I could find. I was in the good company of people I really had only been acquainted with (the women, mostly from phys ed). I am so terrible with remembering names, so if I got that wrong and if I forgot who was at the table, I apologize. Conni Beakley I remember being nearby during the evening. Janette Haines sat nearby as well. Dave Diehl was to my left. Talking across the table was difficult and I barely heard the names of the women who were seated opposite me.

One other memory that will be seared in my brain for years to come is the sight of many of the women dancing with 3 and 4-inch heals, which I loved and about which I am very jealous because I haven't worn heals since one of my prior bosses told me I was putting dents in the floor (old pine) of his family home, in which the law office was located. Also all that twisting and bristol stomping and strolling.

Just goes to show that we who are nearly 70 can still handle dancing up a storm.

So, dear friends, once again we had a great party and I'm looking forward to scooting around our 55th event. Enjoy the few pictures I took of the evening.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

50 years!

Reunion photos -- more to follow in tomorrow's finale.

Elsalyn Palmisano and Sue Youngblood. I would have recognized them anywhere, including the Carnival sailing ticket counter in Miami!

Richie Kaye. For three years I spent the earlier hours of morning in his car on our daily trip to Glassboro State College. He was my ride. And Richie is ALIVE and well, not as rumors had indicated earlier this year.

Richie and Lorraine Hynes -- Lorraine you did it again, you and your helpers. Great job.

It was a little over 50 years ago that my high school class graduated from Triton. What a day/night that was. First, the day started out very, very warm and humid and we practiced out on the football field, then we came indoors and practiced indoors, just in case the weather was bad, which is was predicted to be.

About mid-afternoon the storm(s) rolled in. Would the graduation ceremony be indoors or outdoors. Of course in the school it was quite warm, but since the outdoors cleared of any rain or threat thereof, we were moved outdoors. Apparently the temperature maker didn't know that we were graduating that night, and turned on the chill. We just about froze, and because it had rained so hard, the ground was a little bit muddy -- well more than a little bit -- and our high heeled shoes sunk into the ground too far so that we who were stupid enough to wear heals had to march on our toes or barefoot, leaving out shoes behind, because no self-respecting graduate in those days would carry anything in their hands.

Of course, after the main event, there were several parties. My mom and dad would not let me attend any parties, never did find out why.

So, last weekend my class, the class of 1961 celebrated it's 50th anniversary of graduation and had a reunion.

It was such a fun event, starting with the cocktail/appetizer mixer on Friday night. Introduction ourselves to one another was quite humbling for me, at least. Yes, we had name tags, but to try to guess to whom we were speaking, without being obvious about looking at the person's name was quite a effort.

Some I recognized right off because, hey, even in 50 years, they hadn't changed much. The names that come to mind are Elsalyn Palmisano, Sue Youngblook, Nancy Touchet, Lorraine Hynes, Jack Weaver, Jerry Belber. The rest of us? Well, we all still looked good, I think, but not recognizable.

I must mention that I did notice that the of the women in attendance, there were very few with gray hair, including myself. Under my blond "do" there is a head full of white, note even gray, hair which until last February was my "color" from the time I was 30 years old. Yes, I was gray by the time I was 30, and white by the time I was 40.

To differentiate between gray and white -- there are still a few strands of black, brown, red, mixed in with the white hairs. White means no colored hairs at all. All white. I am so glad I change the color.

The men on the other hand, I guess, didn't really care what color their hair was. Quite a few white heads among our men -- which only made them seem much more dignified.

More to follow.


Monday, September 19, 2011

High school 50th reunion, etc.

I will be posting several articles -- some with pictures -- for the next few days about my 50th high school reunion.

I went to Triton Regional High School in Runnemede, NJ. We were the first class to go all four years at Triton. In fact, the school wasn't even finished when we first started. Some of the hallways were blocked off, but the school opened in September of 1957 anyway.

Yes, I met my husband at Triton, but that's another tale for another day.

Let the journey begin!

Alan and I left on Wednesday, planning to arrive in Mt. Laurel around 2:00 in the afternoon on Thursday. That didn't happen. And prior to our leaving I had told Lorraine, reunion coordinator extrarodinare, (last name omitted on purpose) that I was going to be at the reunion if I had to be wheeled in on a gurney. Well, I did wheel myself in on a scooter for old, mobile-impaired people. I thank the inventor of scooters that come apart and can be put into the trunk of a smallish car.

However -- there's always a however or a but, isn't there? -- on Thursday morning after breakfast Alan collapsed/passed out/ fainted, we don't know, at any rate the poor lady in the hotel breakfast room where we stayed in Somerset PA on Wednesday night, came running out to the lobby where I was sitting in a comfy chair waiting for Alan to finish his breakfast and reading USA today, figuring I could get in a good hour of reading a book I was into. (Phew, long sentence. Ms. Magargee would never approve.) When Lois (the lady in the hotel breakfast room) came running out to the lobby yelling "CALL 911, CALL 911", I knew that Alan was down and out, and I was correct, he was lying on the floor next to our table unconscious. At that point I started laughing and Lois was near tears and I told her about relating to Lorraine that I would come to the reunion even if I had to be rolled in on a gurney and it looked like my husband was going to be the one on the gurney, or I was really going to miss the reunion, and that was NOT going to happen.

Actually, after 12 years of these episodes, I take it in stride and everyone thinks I don't care about Alan, which I really do, but I can't do anything, so I wait until EMTs arrive and then transport him to the hospital and get a doctor's report. In this case, they filled him with fluids, raised his oxygen levels, watched as his blood sugar level went down, and let him go, telling him to be certain to get in touch with his physician as soon as he got home. That appointment had been made several weeks ago, so tomorrow he will be seeing his physician.

Today is Monday, September 19, and this is the first BLOG I have written since before I left for NJ and the reunion. Needless to say, since I got to the reunion, and home again, all is well with Alan.

When we left Somerset, three hours later than I had scheduled for us to leave, after three hours of great driving on the PA Turnpike, I saw a line of red lights ahead after we exited at Valley Forge. We had run head on to a massive traffic jam because of more flooding in NJ and PA, on the Schuylkill Expressway. Four hours to go from Valley Forge exit of the PA turnpike to the Ben Franklin bridge. By the time we checked in I was exhausted and my knees were killing me.

You know what happens in traffic jams you have to switch from gas to brake, gas to brake, gas to brake and that really is not pleasant when you have two bum knees. Funny thing is, I had absolutely NO pain for the three days prior to our departure from Cold Spring, until we were on the Expressway, then I went downhill from there.

So, keep checking FB and I will keep going through the reunion part of our trip, since, after all, I went to school at Triton, which is located in Runnemede, and many of the attendees at the reunion were from Runnemede. So what happened at the reunion is not staying at the hotel where we had all our fun, but will be BLOGged for all the world to view -- as if!

Pictures will be included as soon as I get my battery pack recharged and the pictures downloaded.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's getting close

What is? The 50th anniversary of my high-school graduation -- well a little past that time, but the class is celebrating next weekend. I am really excited to be going back to Runnemede again, and it will probably be my last trip East.

I shall get a hoagie, a cheese steak, a half a pizza, and anything else I can think of. Since TastyKake is no longer in existence, eating that won't happen. So that means, I suppose I can eat more hoagies or cheese steaks that I had originally planned.

I'm also really looking forward to going to church on Sunday morning at Mt. Calvary. I forgot to get a picture of the cornerstone when I was home for the 100th anniversary celebration, so I want to try to remind myself to get a picture of that this time "home."