Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Remember when?

Sometimes when I can't sleep at night I think about the days when I was a child.  And tonight was such a night.  First I couldn't sleep because I couldn't remember certain street names in Runnemede.  Then I couldn't sleep because I was uncomfortable in the bed.  Then I couldn't sleep because I had an idea for this BLOG.

So, now, it's 3:30 a.m. and I'm writing what I was thinking about remembering back when...

I was wondering if any of you who read this BLOG remember "skating" down West Third Avenue, toward the Pike between Read Avenue and the railroad tracks during the winter?  No skates, just shoes.  In the middle of the street.

You see, there were very few cars on the streets of Runnemede to worry about back then.

I can even remember sitting on the curb with Linda Lott watching cars come down East Clements Bridge Road, heading toward the Pike.  Sometimes we would wait for what seemed like forever.  We even had a lemonade stand one summer on my side of Clements Bridge Road and only a few cars passed us and even fewer bought our lemonade.

I remember riding my bike to school (when I attended Bingham) and enjoying the lack of need to pedal when I came home from school either for lunch or when school was out for the day.  I would just let go of the handle bars and lean back and enjoy the ride.  Yes, I was quite the dare-devil back then.  Being small for my age didn't stop me from doing some things which I would consider quite foolish now, but I do like to see children riding bikes at break-neck speed without using the handlebars.  I know their parents down enjoy that sight, but I do. 

I remember skating (using the kind of skates that you had to use a skate-key on) and hoping my skates would stay on and not pop off.  Some half-years my shoes were such that they [the skates] stayed on and other half-years they wouldn't stay on at all.  I say half-years because I got two pairs of school shoes per year, so I would have each pair for half a year and beside riding my bike skating was a favorite thing for me to do.  I would pretend that my roller skates were ice skates and do "tricks" like the ice-skaters did on TV.  We didn't get much ice in the winter and you can't ice-skate on snow.

Which takes me back to "skating" down West Third Avenue between Read and the railroad.  You see, there was ice in the middle of the street from where the snow had melted and then frozen again and by the time we were out of school, it was frozen because the sun had set far enough that it was in shadow.

How times have changed.  You can hardly sit on the porch at 116 E. Second Avenue (our homestead) without a car whizzing by every few minutes, far more frequently than they were passing us on Clements Bridge back in the early 50s.


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