Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's time to winter proof the house

I think my dad disliked this time of year more than any other.  He and all the other men in the neighborhood. 

You see, this was the time of year when houses had to be winterized.  That meant changing out the screens for storm windows.   Back "when" we didn't have the wonderful windows we have now, the kind that tilt in and are triple paned, or whatever is selling at the present time.  We had inside sashes -- windows that went up and down by a pulley system and rope -- and outside we had separate storm windows or screens, depending on the time of year.

We also had awnings made of cloth that we used in the summer to supposedly keep us cooler.

Well, October the THE MONTH to get the screens removed and replaced with the storm windows.  That meant the windows on the second floor as well.  And the awnings had to come down.  On the back porch, it was the same deal.  All those windows (I think it was 10) had to be changed out.  Mom did the washing and drying and dad did the changing. 

Those were the days when I and my siblings would hide and keep out of the way because neither parent was in a very good mood. 

Now days we have other things that make us cranky.  We have bill-paying whether electronically or by mail.  Yes, I know my mom and dad had bills as well, but they only had electric/gas (same bill), water and telephone.  And because dad was a pastor and considered self-employed, the good old IRS and SS system quarterly estimates.

We've added to that list with our cell phones, Internet connections, cable TV, insurance (my mom and dad didn't have insurance until later in life when they FINALLY got Blue Cross for health support), automobile payments/repair bills.  I'm sure I've forgotten a few more.

We also get cranky about the weather, cars that won't start, standing in the rain waiting for a bus to get us to work or elsewhere, UPS packages that don't arrive on time -- we used to blame the US Postal Service, but they have lost a lot of their package business to UPS and FedEx.

So let's all lighten up and enjoy each day as it comes.  We don't know how many we have left.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is this for real?

Sometimes I cannot remember fact from fiction, I think. And if have this all wrong, somebody please tell me. Or maybe not. I want to keep this as a nice memory whether its fact or fiction.

I seem to recall that on Halloween day grades K-5 did something special.

All students would come back to school after lunch dressed in their Halloween costumes. I say "would come back to school" because back then there was no lunchroom or cafeteria, and we all had to either pack our lunch (and our Halloween costume if appropriate), or go home for lunch, and during that hour eat lunch, get our costume on, and come back to school ready for the afternoon event.

Of course, this was not an afternoon for any learning. All the students would gather in their classrooms and at 1:30, we would all go down to the school yard -- weather permitting -- and parade around while teachers would watch and decide who had the best costumes. The butterflies were flying on those afternoons. If it rained we would parade in the gym.

Most of the students were dressed as either ghosts or cowboys/cowgirls. When Daniel Boone became popular the cowboy hat changed to a coonskin cap, and the holstered guns were play rifles.

I know I was a ghost, the Lone Ranger, Daniel Boone, and an Indian (native American), complete with homemade bow and arrow. And as I mentioned before I was Snow White.

It was a fun time. I think we all got a small bag of candy corn from our teacher. After the parade and judging we were dismissed to go home. Alas, I never won, not even when I wore the Snow White outfit.

Unofficially, T or T didn't begin until around 3:00 p.m. and my mother would never permit me to go out earlier than that, even if the streets were crowded with other children getting their treats. I was often afraid I would not get that apple taffy! But I always did.

So fellow Runnemede - ites, did I recall this correctly, or is it just a pleasant dream I had one time long ago?


Cold north wind

Yeah, I remember the first cold, north winds of many of the Fall/Winter seasons. It seemed to me that they usually showed up just before Halloween, making wearing a nice costume nearly impossible.

The conundrum was whether to wear the costume over the coat, so you wouldn't freeze, and so that your nose wouldn't run because you weren't cold, or did you wear the costume under the coat so no one could see it.

One year my mom made me a Snow White costume. I loved that costume. I wore it two years in a row. The first year, it was one of those cold, blustery days that come out of the north, denude the trees, and cause you to catch your breath because the wind is so fierce.

Mom insisted I wear my coat OVER my costume. But when I got around the corner, I pushed my coat into the bushes and made by trek to get my apple taffy, money from the money venders, and the nickle candy bars from the nickle candy bar givers.

When I got home my mom KNEW I hadn't been wearing my coat. How did she know? Moms are so smart. First of all my lips were blue, second my hands were freezing cold (and my coat had pockets so they shouldn't have been cold), but the kicker was my nose was dripping!

I was only allowed to keep the apple taffy, all other items were donated to my smaller brothers who were too young to go trick-or-treating.

And BTW, none of us of that era had a parent accompany us when we went begging on Halloween night.


Friday, October 7, 2011

It's apple taffy time

I have a hankering for an apple taffy. This is that time of year.

It's Fall after all.

Beautiful Fall. The time of the changing of the colors of the leaves. Spring leaves are a pale, yellowish green. Summer leaves are a hardy, emerald green, but fall...ah, fall. That's when the leaves put on a color display that can take ones breath away. And Runnemede's trees were no exception.

And when the leaves turned, it was time to get ready to get those apple taffies.

Where did we go to get those taffies? Gardner's Funeral Home. Every year from the time I was six until I was 13, which was a little too old to go begging on Halloween night, I got my apple taffy from Gardner's.

So, I'm hankering for one of those mouth-watering, crunchy red coated apples.

Can I find them anywhere around where I now live? No. The only ones I can find have peanuts on them. I don't like peanuts, never have. So, there's no rush to buy out the store or anything.

However, I can guarantee you, if anyone in Cincinnati lets me know where I can get the red, crunchy apple taffies, I'm off in my car and hobbling into that store likity-split!