Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Watch night services

It's almost the end of the year.  What do I remember about New Year's Eve and New Year's day?  Well, from the time I can remember anything I remember what we called "Watch night service". 

"Watch night service" was a church event where the women would provide a pot luck, not to be eaten until after the 12:00 a.m. church bells rang on New Year's Eve.  I never knew about the ball dropping in NYC until I got into high school because I was always at the church on New Year's Eve, not home watching TV. 

I loved that time of getting together with other church people, including any children that came, and especially if I was able to stay awake, the after midnight prayer time (praying in the new year) fun, food, fellowship.  The food especially.  All those cookies.   All those chips.  All those other goodies.  Yum.

The prayer time started at midnight after my father rang the church bell for about one minute.  We had a short service of singing prior to the bell ringing.  Early in my life while I was happy to be in the prayer time, it wasn't a part of my life, so I just sat with my head bowed and my eyes closed until the praying time was over and we could go to the fellowship hall and eat and have fun playing games with each other.  If there was snow outside, we certainly had fun throwing snowballs at each other. 

I don't recall when the praying became the central focus of my New Year's Eve, but I know it was before I got married.  New Year's Eve for my husband and I is still a time of prayer for our country, family, and friends.  So if  you fit in one of those categories, expect to get prayed for this New Year's Eve.

Finally, I wish there were some pictures floating around of this service.  Mom and dad didn't have any, so I guess the pictures will have to remain in my mind (and heart) for me to see.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Inspections and registration

Yesterday I wrote something about my first car, at least I think I did.  It was 3 a.m. when I wrote my last BLOG. Who writes BLOGs at 3 a.m.?  Only the sleep impaired.

I was thinking about that car some more and realized that I had to take it in for inspection every time I got my registration renewed.  The car always failed inspection.  The "little old lady's" car had definite balance problems.  This "little old lady" also has balance problems due to new hardware in her knees.

I don't know and never did find out what caused my auto to always fail on wheel alignment/balance.  I would go right from the inspection station to a gas station that could do the alignment and would drive straight back to Woodbury to get the car re-inspected, and fail again and again.  Finally, after seeing me and my certification from the gas station three times in one day, they would finally let me through.  I guess they figured it was a junker and I was doing the best I could.

Only the old gray lady wasn't a junker.  She was a really nice car.  Wish I had a picture of her.

Do they still have inspection stations in NJ?  Here in KY they don't inspect autos.  And in Ohio, when we lived there, the inspection system lasted for only three or four years and was set up only in certain cities concerned with air pollution.  We never failed those inspections. 

You all would love Ohio's system of registration, to which we were indoctrinated after the NJ system, and that is they send you a notice that your registration is up for renewal and could you please send the state $35 (back then, don't know what it is now) and they would send you a registration card for one year.  No inspection until the mid-80s.

Here in KY we get a registration renewal notice each year and we have to go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and pay an exorbitant amount of money to register any vehicles we own.  They base what you owe for registration on the blue book value of your car.  We usually pay around $400 per year to register our autos, and it does go down a few dollars a year for depreciation, but not enough.  Also included in that registration -- I call it a tax -- is the public school fee, which is a little over $100 per vehicle, and other taxes about which I haven't a clue.  Am I happy about how KY registration is conducted?  It is certainly better than sitting in car in a line that make me cough because of the emissions from the autos in front of me.  Now I just park the car and go into the building and pay the bill.  And I usually don't have to sit or stand in a line.

This is the year for both Alan and I to get our licenses renewed -- they do that every five years here in KY.  We have to pass an eye test and that's it.  Alan will get his license renewed even though he isn't supposed to drive.  I will get my license renewed even though I shouldn't drive.  I'm slowing down, much to the chagrin of the folks behind me. 

So, that's my tome about auto registrations and inspections. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

As I try to sleep

I find over and over when I lay down to sleep I remember things and when I sit down to BLOG about them I forget them, so bear with me.

I was thinking about my first automobile.  I was 21 when I bought it.  It was the first car we had in our family.  Daddy wouldn't have a car because he thought they were "murder weapons".  He rode a bike.

The auto was a 1951 Pontiac, straight eight automatic, gray.  I did have to "crank it up" every time I got in it.  The crank was a small button on the dash and it was hard to press in to get the car started, but it eventually fired each and every time.  I loved that car.  I drove that car before I was married, and I have to say that Alan, my husband, murdered it.  What did a kid who grew up in Kenya where there were no speed limits know about driving an elderly automobile no more than 55 mph as I had and the little old lady that had it before I did probably drove it even slower.

I am just realizing that when I get rid of my current car the person who buys it will say, a little old lady owned it.  Thing is, this little old lady doesn't drive slow except in town.  I push the envelope wherever I can. 

Back to my car.  Alan and I traded that car in just before we got married and bought a Chevelle.  That was not an automatic, and I had to learn how to drive a shift car.  My husband-to-be took me to Airport circle, pulled into GEX parking lot, and told me to drive.  That car only lasted three years before Alan's coveting and my learning to drive a stick shift, pushed us to buy a snazzier car.  I have always been the one who has said we should keep cars rather than getting a new one -- that is until recently when I began to see the value in not pouring money into a car when buying a new car would give us a few years of no repair bills.  Alan has taken good care of our autos, getting them greased, oiled, and whatever else needs to be done on time and now we have a five year old car that only has 22,000 miles on it.  We don't go anywhere except long-distance trips twice a year, if that.

So, that's the tale of my first car.  Not too interesting, I admit, but it was one of the things I was thinking about as sleep overtook me.