Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Friday, December 27, 2013

Almost forty years ago.

Who ARE these people?

Well, I'm sure my children know who they are and would like me to take this picture out of my BLOG.  To the left is Phil, my only son, at age 7 or 8; then comes Alan in his early 30s, Cyndi, our youngest; me; and Becky, our middle child, age 5.

This picture is almost 40 years old.  Weren't my children adorable?  My girls are beautiful women and my son --- well my son isn't beautiful, and if anyone ever said he was he'd probably punch them out, and get killed in the process.  But I have to admit my son is a very lovable person and he has four children who wish he would be able to spend more time with them.


This and that.

So many people were praying for Mt. Calvary and the near demolition of that century old church.  I know several area churches were praying.  Many contributed money so that the church could be restructured and the members could once again worship in their familiar building.

I am not sure when the church was built but there is a corner stone that says 1911.  And there was a water hole cover in our back yard, later moved to the edge of Mom's garden on the side of the house,  that also said 1911.  I didn't see that marker the last time I was in Runnemede and did my walkthrough of mom's garden, which was her successor's garden, which then became the church community garden, I suppose.

Anyway, that round cover, which has disappeared since the water hole (aka cesspool) was filled in, wasn't in use for over 50 years.  But I remember that cover, and it was made of cement and stones -- which is called pea gravel these days.  Give stones a special name and you can charge more for them.  Thus pea gravel rather than stones.

I, myself, am so very glad that the church is being rebuilt and that it is now safe enough to be occupied. 

Christmas Eve was the first service since the flood in late July took out the east lower wall. 

I know when dad was pastor they didn't have a Christmas Eve service.  He always went to the Lutheran service (and dragged me along with him, when all I wanted to do was open my gifts) and recommended that anyone who wanted to attend a Christmas Eve service should go there. 

My dad and Pastor Lott had a lot in common theologically, and dad loved that service.  He surely did.

So MCUC opens its doors again.  I pray that the church will grow and be a light on the North side of Clements Bridge Road, as Evangelical Lutheran Church is on the South side.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Not a creature was stirring

It's very quiet at our present home right now, but it wont be on Sunday.  That's the day my son and his family visit us for their Christmas "DAY" with dad's parents.  I know they will probably be bored most of the time, but we're keeping the time short.  Maybe we'll play Bingo, maybe not.  It's a tradition with the grandchildren no matter what their age to play Bingo, but I'm way behind this year and I don't know whether I'll have Bingo "cards" ready by Sunday. 

Did I have days like this when I was a child?  Well, not exactly.  All of my grandparents were gone, as in passed away, so there wasn't a trip to my grandparents, but...

We did have trips to my Aunt Annie's and then later in Christmas week, a trip to my mom's brother, Joe. 

Aunt Annie's game was Chinese Checkers and we giggled our way through that game.

Then at Uncle Joe's all we cared about was eating Aunt Rita's delicious rigatoni and sausage, and her baked chicken was so good as well, and then, of course she had an anti-pasta and a mixed greens salad.  Yummy. 

I have tried to mixed both events -- games and food -- for my grands and up until this year I have had pretty good success (Alan and I had the stomach flu one year). 

Do I miss my Aunts and Uncles and cousins?  You bet I do.  We had such fun times.  At least that's how I remember it.

I hope you all have pleasant memories of Christmases in the past and that this year you will make another pleasant memory for your family for years to come.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

MCUC update

I received an e-mail from a friend in Runnemede who said that the church has been saved!  An organization in Runnemede provided help in the form of Engineers and foundation builders to get the church back onto a foundation. 

I am so glad the church will be opening soon.  There is still no heat in the building because the heater (boiler) was so damaged, but being in a cold church is just like in the early 1900's when folks brought hot bricks to church with which to keep warm (minimally) by stashing the bricks at their feet or putting them in their coat pockets.

I'm sure the Lord will provide what is needed for this tiny church that has faithfully taught the Bible above all else.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 60 years ago

The day started with a breakfast of homemade breakfast cake and milk (or coffee if one was old enough).  Then our family all dressed up in our best church clothes and went to Thanksgiving service at church. 

After service we went home and entered the house by the kitchen door to an aroma -- oh, my -- so wonderful that our mouths watered before we even got a taste of the dinner we had waited for since the year before.

Thanksgiving dinner was the best meal of the whole year.  A lot of people in the church gave us groceries that we only got one time of the year and those groceries included lots and lots of olives -- green and brown -- a large metal container of olive oil, and cans of sweet potatoes, corn, green beans and yes, even Spam.  We ate it all, not at our Thanksgiving meal of course but before Christmas, let me tell you.

Mom was a very good budgeter of our food stocks which were sometime a little lean, but she made do, and we never knew we were almost out of food.

Around 1:00 p.m. some of the family members who would share this feast prepared by my mom and her sister began to arrive.  We welcomed them all.  Aunt Annie.  Uncle Joe.  Cousin Bette.  Cousin Esther.  Cousin David.  Uncle Joe and Aunt Rita, Cousins Joan and Robert.  And sometimes we would even be surprised by a visit from our Tennessee relatives, Aunt Francis, Uncle Howard, Cousins Betty and Dan.  Some of the family came after their first dinner to have their second dinner of leftovers.

The leftovers were just that.  Whatever was left over from the dinner was set out on the dining room table along with bread and sliced cheese and people could munch when they got hungry or not munch at all.

It was a noisy crowd and we laughed until our sides hurt hearing some of the tales my mom and dad and other family members  told of their growing up and schooling.

I guess the most memorable event at every Thanksgiving was dad's grace at the beginning of the meal.  He knew how hungry we all were -- chomping at the bit sort of -- and he started his prayer by reciting a Psalm -- one of the longer Psalms, then because I was peaking I noticed he looked around and if most of the eyes were shut we would go on thanking the Lord for everything he could think of.  And I have to save he was very sincere with this prayer.  Well, after what seemed like an hour-long prayer some of us started giggling -- I think Aunt Annie got us going and we could not stop until we heard a rather loud AMEN meaning "dive in folks, it's finally time to eat."

After dinner we played board games.

I remember plucking at the purple grapes.  We rarely got grapes and I was piking them and mom told me it was rude to pick at the grapes and she cut off a small stem of grapes for me and when that stem ran out of grapes she cut me another stem.

It's funny you know what you remember.  Imagine loving grapes at Thanksgiving and doing with out them the rest of the year and then being so thankful for them again the next Thanksgiving.  Mom also always had a mixed nut tray with a nut cracker and the adults seemed to enjoy the exotic nuts she had rounded up along with Aunt Annie.

So I say to all my family who never knew this joy of Thanksgiving be Thankful in everything for God has given you what you need, which is maybe more than you want.

NOTE:  I mentioned the can of olive oil because EVOO was expensive and mom rationed that can to last six months.  Remember she was an Italian cook and EVOO was a staple for her cooking.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's amazing to me that I can write a BLOG in my head and I can even type it on my stomach as I'm thinking about what I intend to write, then bang! it's out of my head already. 

I was thinking of a new subject for a BLOG just this afternoon, and now I cannot for the life of me remember what it was about. 

Oh, yes, now I remember (10 minutes after the first two paragraphs were written). 

Some of us (myself for one) have can recall things that happened early in our lives so what I'm relating today was way back when -- in MY history of Runnemede.

First, I recall my father running me down to the post office.  I was on his shoulders, and I must have three.  At that time Runnemede had about 3,000 residents.  I recall asking him what was on the other side of the railroad tracks (the west side) and he said more house like the one we live in.  At that time the train came through town twice a day and it was pulled by a steam engine, the kind that put out black smoke.  I love that train and I would sit on the stoop near the sidewalk in front of our home and watch for that train.  I could just see it from there.  That was two plus blocks away from me, but I could see the smoke and see the cars.  If my mom would let me out, I would sit on that stoop in all kinds of weather just waiting for that train.

Dad would every once in a while take me down closer to the tracks so I could see the train close up.  I know, I know, it was a boy thing to do, but I loved trains. 

At that same approximate time, Third Avenue ended about a block from Bingham school. The new neighborhood (the split levels) had not been built or plotted yet.

I am one of the few people left that remember when Runnemede was truly a small town with no "Cinderella" homes (they were the homes on the South side of Clements Bridge Road that started to grow up about a block from CBR on Johnson, Knight, and Lindsay Avenues.  I thought it was the coolest thing that there was a sidewalk that went through from Johnson to Lindsay, running parallel to CBR about 1-1/2 blocks in the "Cinderella Homes" development.

Then in the mid-50s new homes were constructed at the end of Third Avenue and we affectionately called them the "Split-Levels".  And at that time we had a bunch of new people come to church and Sunday  school.

Some things remained the same -- three churches in the town; two schools (Bingham and Downing) in town, and were over crowded so that the churches had to house some of the classes; no A&P; no CVS (but we did have one outstanding Snow Cone shop); and a wonderful town attitude during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

That's what I was thinking about this afternoon -- the growing up of Runnemede from a very small town to just a plain small town, population at that time about 5,000.

There have been other neighborhoods developed within Runnemede since then, but they are the ones I remember.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A girlhood friend

  • She was one of my best friends, and she was one of my best competitors. 
  • She played the piano.  She had long fingers so she could play Rachmaninoff.  I have short fingers so I could play Bach. 
  • She played tennis.  I won a trophy for best tennis player (female) in high school between my junior and senior year.  She placed a little lower. 
  • She was smarter than I.  She became a doctor.  I am who I am.
  • I played the organ, piano, and violin.  She played the French horn and piano.
  • She attended Mt. Calvary Union Church where my father was the minister.

Her name was Kathy Kenders. 

She went to be with the Lord yesterday. 

I shall miss our e-mails, though frequent, and her Facebook page.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Seventh Grade

Continuing the "school saga". 

Seriously, seventh grade was my worst year in school.  I was still at Bingham School, which had nothing to do with it being my worst year.  It was the teacher.

I had Mr. Latieri -- who spent weekends in some town in northern PA and came in on Monday mornings and regaled us with what he did over the previous weekend, whether it was a play by play of a football game (high school, when they were still on Saturday morning or afternoon) or a movie he saw, or if he slept what he dreamt.  BORING.

The room his class was in was on the northwest side of the building, uppermost floor, old part.  The room was fine and I had a seat by the window.  And about the only thing I did like about his class was that he had the desks in straight rows, like a normal classroom back in those days.   I really didn't like the circle classroom set-ups, or the sideways rows set-ups.  I was very happy with my seat in the last rows from the door and one of the back seats.  

I was absent a lot that year.  I was sick to my stomach a lot (not really, but it was easy to convince my parents I wasn't feeling well).  I spent a lot of time at the chiropractor (Doc Feldman in Philly) which I didn't mind at all, except for the bus ride, which really did give me a sick stomach for two days.  I don't remember why I went to the chiropractor a lot, but I did.

I still learned whatever we had to learn, though.  I got all A's.

As an aside:  One day the class was being rather rowdy and Mr. Latieri was getting frustrated.  A lot of pencil sharpening and paper getting was interrupting Mr. L's train of thought.  So when the lesson was over Russell Fisher raised his hand and asked if he could have a piece of paper.  Mr. L in his frustrated voice said, "Take five."  Russ took five pieces of paper.  Mr. L meant get lost for five minutes (which he explain after Russell sat back down).  I don't think any of us had heard that expression before (meaning take five minutes off).  Poor Russell, he was then made to go to the back of the room and stand against the wall for five minutes, and be the butt of Mr. L's jokes for the entire five minutes he was standing there.

I did have fun in the school yard that year.  I beat Joe Spence in hitting a baseball one day.  He was the best hitter in the 7th grade, so I felt pretty special.  And finally....

I give up.  I was trying to put a picture of the school in the BLOG, but BLOGger must be broken for now.



Saturday, September 14, 2013


So many of my facebook friends have mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Manduka (pictured) and asked about them. 

Mr. Manduka -- uncle Bill to many of us -- was our main driver to all youth events.  I remember one time it was snowing very hard and piling up fast.  It was a Saturday, and Saturday was Youtharama, a program that was held for area church youth at the Philadelphia at Town Hall on every other Saturday night.  He called me and told me that he wasn't taking us to Youtharama.  I was, of course, crushed, and I didn't understand the danger of driving in 12 inches of snow with rear-wheel drive in a big car (by today's standards).  I asked him to please take us.  He was firm and I cried.

The next day there was church, but only 10 people showed up besides our bundled-up family.  My father would never cancel a church service for anything, and weather was on that list.  Mr. and Mrs. Manduka and their two children were four of those 10 people.  They were so faithful.

Mrs. Manduka died several years ago.  She was a teacher until her final illness prevented her from teaching.  I am not certain what she died from, but I believe it was altzheimers. 

Uncle Bill is still living, but he is in failing health.  He is 91.  He does have a facebook account.

Jean is retired.  She still plays the organ at church (Mt. Calvary Union Church), but no facebook account.

David is a missionary in Germany.  His children are grown up now.  I haven't seen him for years, but Mr. Manduka sends me his letters concerning their mission and what's happening in their lives from time to time.

I hope you all will pray for Mr. M (Uncle Bill) that the Lord's will be done with him.  I know he wants to be with his Lord and is looking forward to moving on to his real Home.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week at the shore

It was the summer of my 13th year.  My father's cousin, Alberta, asked me if  I would like to spend a week at the shore (Ocean City, NJ) with her and my friend Linda Speer.  Linda was Alberta's neighbor in north Philly, and a pen-pal of mine. 

I know you all are thinking, "Why a pen-pal?  She only lived in N. Philly, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Runnemede."  That's correct, but I had been writing letters to Linda for several years, and north Philly was a long trip for a child of  9 or 10 to go alone.  I did, however, see Linda occasionally when my dad visited Alberta at her home.  I probably should have said rarely, because we didn't go see Alberta very often.

Moving along.  Of course I wanted to go to the shore for a week.  What 13-year-old girl wouldn't, especially when that 13-year-old was in a family that didn't take vacations?

So we went to the shore in early August.  We stayed in someone's house in a rented unit.  This unit was in the basement, and the kitchen was under the front porch.  That's about all I remember about where we stayed.  I know it was a one-bedroom place, and the under-the-porch kitchen is still vivid. 

This all came back to me a few days ago when I bought a huge cantaloupe from a local farmer.  You see, Albert was quite fond of cantaloupes so when she told Linda and me on that first morning we were having cantaloupe, Linda and I laughed.  I mean, who ever heard of having cantaloupe for breakfast?  Cantaloupe was a dessert in our house!  We overcame our laughter and ate the cantaloupe, which was delicious, I might add.  We also added a bowl of some cereal to go with the fruit.

I know that in this day and age cantaloupe is a common breakfast fruit, but back then, I lived the sheltered life of a preacher's kid and we didn't get much cantaloupe, so mom used the fruit for dessert.

I recall one day we went to a very large hotel on the boardwalk.   I was in awe of the place.  And the was huge.  The Flanders Hotel is still there and is still a beautiful, elegant hotel.

Well, after a week at the beach I had acquired quite a tan and I was, I admit, so proud of that tan.  I had tans before, but this was the best.  And I didn't use any tanning lotion.  And I didn't burn.  I rarely got a sun burn.  Must have been those Mediterranean genes.

I have to say that back-yard tans never come close to week-at-the-shore tans.  I never had a week at the shore again, just day trips.  Thank you, Alberta, for a great week!


Rubber Boots

I was looking through the LL Bean catalog today and saw something that reminded me of those good old days of rubber boots -- we called them rubbers.  Mine were black, boy's boots, hand-me-downs; but they did the job, sort of.

Anyway, we all had them, but the boots went over our shoes, so they had to be a couple of sizes bigger than our shoes so they would fit.  I wasn't overly fond of them for two reasons.

They were difficult to put on and then get off again, especially if you were a third grader and your mother wasn't around to help you.

The second reason was when you wore them in snow, the cold, wet, damp snow tended to implode downward into the boot freezing your tiny feet off and coaxing you to go indoors in less time that  you really wanted to spend outdoors playing in the snow, building snowmen, or sledding down the slight incline across the street, into the street, and onto the yard across the street.


Today the rubber boots are lined in warm, fuzzy fleece, and you don't wear them over your every-day shoes. 



Sunday, September 8, 2013

The church bell

Up in the belfry there is a working bell.  It is pretty loud.

My father used to call us children to church by pulling on a rope and getting the ringing started.  He would pull the rope about 10 times and his own children would march in with his wife and other children would come as well.

I don't know much of the history of the church, but I know some of the history of the town.  It was decided in 1910 that the town of Runnemede (population 500 maybe) needed a church.  I believe the name Mt. Calvary Union Church was named "union" church because it was a union of the various denominations in the small town.  I know that one of the builders stayed with MCUC until his death.

I believe the bell was used to call people to church and those nearby could hear that call.

The bell was used for other occasions as well.  I remember when WWII ended in Europe on V-E day my dad went over to the church and rang the bell. He rang it for a long time.  I was only two but I remember that and I remember when Japan surrendered there was another ringing of the bell.  Of course by the time Dad got to Runnemede there were two other churches.  There was the Lutheran church and the Catholic church.  And with Runnemede being built up by that time, I don't know how far the sound of the bell went.

Also, after weddings, the bell was sometimes rung -- not always.  I asked that it be rung on my wedding day, but my father didn't want to do that.  He was losing one of his girls and, well, you've all seen Father of the Bride so I guess you can understand why he wouldn't ring the bell.

To my brother Mark:  Did you ring the bell on my wedding day?  Just wondering.

The bell still rings when someone pulls the rope.  But you have to pull that rope gently, because pulling too fast, or too hard will turn the bell upside down and then the rope gets all messed up.

I remember my father getting up into the belfry on a couple of occasions to get the bell straightened out -- he had to unwind the rope where it had gotten tangled, and he was not a happy camper on those occasions.  I think Sue Youngblood's father also came over to the church to fix the bell on a couple of occasions.

I think it is amazing that I can see Mr. Youngblood as he was then, and Mrs. Youngblood as she was then.  But I can't see how my aunts and uncles looked in the late 40s/early i

My sister, Debbie reminded me that my father always rang the bell at exactly midnight on New Year's Eve.  And when I say "exactly midnight", I mean, exactly midnight.  Dad would check with the phone company a couple of times a day to make sure his pocket watch was holding perfect time and that it was set with US Naval Observatory Time.  And, I can't believe I forgot to mention that!

Well, I guess that's enough about the bell at MCUC.  Ring that bell one more time (at least) for me.


Sunday, a long time ago

Many years ago, a lot more than 50, but fewer than 70, when I was a young child, my father deviated from the regular schedule of the church service. 

Here's what I remember of that Sunday morning. 

My father had purchased a Bible which he wanted to place on the Communion Table (that's the table on which you can see an open book).  He said that the Bible should remain on the table, open, and from time to time he would change the page to another chapter, and perhaps another book, and would talk about that for a few minutes. 

On this particular Sunday he had selected a chapter in Psalms.  I do not remember what the chapter was, nor do I remember the sermon that day.

I do remember another thing that my father pointed to, however. 

In this picture you can see a small sign over the Pastor's Chair which is just behind the Pulpit.  It is black and is just above the burgundy colored curtain.  It says, "Jesus".  This, my father told the congregation is Who was precious to him, and he wanted it there to remind the church on Whom it was built.  As Jesus Christ was humble, my father wanted the sign to be small and unobtrusive, but visible even from the back row of the church. 

Dad then stood behind the pulpit,  prayed his closing prayer, and we all sang the Doxology as we left the building.

I really never forgot that day when dad opened that Bible, placed it on that table, and said as long as he was pastor, he wanted that Bible there. 

It was on that table for over 50 years. 


Saturday, September 7, 2013


I have two brothers.  There's the one that's, shall we say, the quiet one (now); and the one who speaks with forked tongue (broccoli hater) whenever he can get away with it.  I love them both dearly.  One for his yearly birthday call to me, and the other because he makes FB worthwhile.

Mark, is the one that most resembles in mind his sister (that would be me).  He is a pastor in Goshen.  That's the one in Indiana, not the one in southern Ohio.

He's the one I used to leg wrestle.  He's the one I would punch for no reason at all, and he took it because he was trained that as a boy/man he should never hit a girl/woman.  I still give him a slug from time to time.  But since the time-to-time times that I see him are getting less frequent as we get older and spouses that can't travel keep us bound to our local area for the most part, I guess my punches will have to be KIWIs.  (See paragraph below for explanation.

Mark has a running commentary on FB about his dog, his lazy dog, Sherm, and his bathroom habits (Sherm's not Mark's).  Not exactly the most tantalizing subject, but he does put a very humorous slant on all he says about Sherm. 

Mark also hates broccoli.  So, lately, instead of saying _**&^, he says "broccoli".  So, I've been countering with "kiwi".  It's not that I hate kiwi, it's just not in the "my favorite fruits" category. 

Mark has a way of exaggerating something so that it almost sounds like the truth.  And therein is the rub.  Mark is a pastor.  He speaks the truth on Sunday and Wednesday, but other days?  He's just funnin'.  I love him for his humor, believe me.  He is an interesting "preacher". 

As I said he has made my forays in FB fun and interesting and I just have to respond.


My brother Mark (he's the elderly gent, not the baby).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thrifty MOm

My mom was so thrifty.  She could refresh six people with two oranges.  She'd cut the orange into sections, six per half orange.  That would be twelve sections per orange.  And those sections were equal and didn't look very skinny, as they should have. 

So with 24 orange sections, and six people, we each received four sections -- or smiles as mom put it.  We would suck the juice out of a section, then eat the pulp.  Yummies in our tummies.  We had our afternoon snack or breakfast orange supply and we were all happy.

Of course with three oranges, we made out like bandits, 36 sections, 6 people, 6 sections per person.  That would be dessert after dinner. 

To this day I cannot cut oranges the way my mom did.  I mean I cannot cut even sections like she did. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday School Picnic Time

Sunday School Picnic Time was one of the most awaited events of the year back when I was a child.  This was one of the highlights of the summer. 

The church would get a bus to take those who didn't have cars (not all families had cars in the 40s and early 50s) and even those who had cars allowed their children to ride the bus. Some of the dads would take their cars to the site in case the children tired and wanted to get home earlier.

The picnics were usually held at one of the lakes in the "lake region" of South Jersey.  I know we went to Lake Oberst for a few years, and then we went to lake Paletine for several years.   I know we went to a third lake in my teen years, but as much as I've tried to think of the name of that lake, I just can't. 

The picnics always had grills where mom would cook hot dogs for lunch and then hamburgers for an early dinner.  The bus left at 7 p.m.  (I think).  I know by the time the bus did leave the lake to take us home, we were wiped out and slept very well after our Saturday night bath.

The hosts and hostesses of the events (they changed from year to year) had games for the children -- the best of which was the candy toss. 

One thing about the S. Jersey lakes -- they are for the most part cedar lakes.  That means that there are cedar trees in the deepest parts of the lakes, and they are surrounded by these trees.  You cannot see your feet if you are standing in one foot of water.  And you do not want to wear a new bathing suit in one of these lakes, unless it is black or brown, because the suit will be darkened because of the pigment in the water (cedar?).   I learned that the hard way. 

I bought myself a new bathing suit -- I wanted a NEW one, and not someone else's hand-me-down  -- for a change, and it was a really cute suit -- pink gingham, one-piece.  Well, it was brown when I got home, so I washed it right away.  It was still brownish.  It just looked dirty.  I bleached it.  It didn't help.  So I had this mauve and muddy colored bathing suit which I wore for several years. 

The last Sunday School picnic I attended at Mt. Calvary was when I was in my late 40s.  We were home for a short vacation, and it was SS picnic time, only this time it was held at someone's home.  Sunday school had dropped quite  bit in attendance since the 50s.  I remember this day because I helped mom get ready for the picnic and we went in our car.  Mom was carrying the potato salad which I made.  When we got out of the car to go into the very large yard where the picnic was being held, mom would not let go of the bowl.  She said it was helping her keep her balance.

I never knew what she meant by that until this past year.  I have had severe balance problems, and I fine if I am holding something with both hands I can walk steadier.  Who knew?

One final note:  I find that out here in the Midwest they don't refer to these picnics as Sunday School picnics, but church picnics. 


My brother reminded me that we went to Centerton Lake a couple of years and I think that's what I have pictures of in one of my many albums, and we also went to Cedar Lake.  I loved swimming there until one day I saw a bunch of fecal matter in the lake.  That was the end of it for me.  Sorry, Mark.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A small house

I lived for 23 years in the house in the picture above.   It was a small house.  The footprint is at most 1,000 feet.  It is a two bedroom house, with two attic rooms. 

I must start at the beginning.  I am writing this because I used to enjoy watching House Hunters on HGTV.  I have gotten tired, recently, of the younger set whining for and wanting at least four bedrooms (they have no children, just the two of them), they must have at least two bathrooms, and the master bedroom must have a bathroom with two sinks, a soaker tub, and a huge shower, separate from the tub.  The fixtures must be up-to-date, etc.  The kitchen must be huge with granite countertops.  And finally, this is in most cases their first home, not the one in which they want to raise their children.

There is rarely mention of the house being a home.

Well, our small house was a home.  My mother made it a home.

When I was small we had the two bedrooms, one for mom and dad, and one for us children.  In the children's bedroom my sister and I shared a double bed, and there was a crib, and a twin bed. One of the two closets in the house was in that room.  It held my mom's clothes.  Dad's clothes were in a walnut wardrobe.  The only other closet in the house was in the hall way.  It stored winter coats.  There was room for about six coats in there.  The vacuum cleaner was also stored there. 

There was little room to move around in either bedroom but we managed and we didn't think we were deprived.  And, oh, did I mention there was only ONE BATHROOM, no shower, except for a hose-like contraption attached to the faucet in the tub, which was a beautiful claw-foot tub.  Six people, one bathroom.  We didn't feel deprived, because it was our home.

When my sister and I had reached the ages of 6 and 9, respectively, we were put up in the attic.  It was cold in the winter and hot, hot, hot in the summer.  We didn't feel deprived.  There was no closet up there, so we hung our clothing on nails or a very small roll-around valet.  We were crowded in the attic because the center part was probably only 9 feet wide, and the only place to put the bed was sticking out into the 9x15 room that had a chimney in the middle (the heat source) and stairs taking up three feet at one end.  We loved that room. 

To this day, I have very fond memories of that room.  When I went to college I moved into the storage room in the attic, pulling out as much of the junk that was stored there so I could put in a single bed and use one of the chests of drawers that was stored in there.  I liked that room a whole lot.  Why?  Because I could rearrange my furniture as often as I wanted.  I had a desk, a chest of drawers, a bed and lots of neat "stored" items which I arranged in that small room.  The only source of heat in that room was what came through the doorway, so in the winter I had to leave the door open.  I felt like Louisa May Alcott.

I loved that  home.  My sister loved that home.  My brothers loved that home.  Mom and dad put the love in our home.

Yes, we had outdated appliances, fixtures in the bath and an unfinished basement.  Shabby sheik?  My mom invented it!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Church destroyed

I don't have much information on the Mt. Calvary Union Church's destruction by water which occurred as a wall of water knocked out the foundation of the church and it is not open to anyone until engineers look at it.  (run-on sentence)

You can google Runnemede, NJ news and you will read as much as I know.

I am crying right now.  I think I spent as many hours in that church from the time I was one year old until I married when I was 23 as I spent any place else except home.  That church was my second home.  So many memories.  So many messages that my father preached which I sat through and by the grace of God the words entered into my brain and I can now recall much of what my father taught.

I'm thinking about the inside of the church, the room in which I was married, the stained-glass windows, the pewter lighting fixtures, the "new" pews which the men of the church put together many, many years ago, the piano and organ which I played for so many years -- not at the same time, of course, the orchestra, Sunday School teachers and classes, Christmas programs, Sunday school picnics.  Do you get the picture of how much influence and a part of my life that church was. 

I know the "church" is not a building, but the people.  I still have many memories of the building.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm beyond tired

These past few weeks have been ones of ups and downs, mostly ups. 

My dear husband, Alan, had minor surgery on the Monday before Memorial Day, and was released.  He was back in the hospital the following night because he fell, and since his wound was showing signs of lots of fresh blood, I decided to take him to the ER.  Thus began the "I'm tired" part of the journey. 

It found out in his re-examination that he had had a heart attack either right after he was put in the recovery room, or when he fell.  He doesn't remember feeling any chest hurt when he fell.  And, he had all kinds of heart tests before the minor surgery.  So, I left that night (way after midnight) as they checked him in.  I had his room number and I was ready for the next day.  Talking to the heart people at our wonderful Anderson Mercy Hospital.  Alan was going to require double bypass, which turned out to be triple bypass.  He was not a happy camper.  Thus began part III of the journey, "I'm more than tired".  Alan was not a good patient, he even admitted when he didn't do as the nurse and doctor had told him to do to get himself ready for the surgery the he was stubborn and didn't want to do the exercises.

After surgery I kept going to the hospital, getting  updates every four hours, and then getting a full-day's worth of updates when I stepped into the heart surgery unit (ICU).  He was doing pretty going for going through so much stuff, but he was still complaining about everything.  That was very wearing on me.  Our puppy, thankfully was in a kennel until I thought I was able to bring her home.

The thing is, I was so tired when I got home, but the house was so quiet, I brought her home shortly after Alan was put into a rehab unit about five minutes from our home.  Talk about being tired.  For me getting from the parking lot to his room was a long haul.  My own chest hurt by the time I got to his room every day and then I would pick up his laundry which was a lot, and would come home and take care of then so that I could bring back clean clothes in the morning when I went back to the rehab unit.  After two weeks of having the puppy back home, I had to put her back in the kennel because she just completely wore me out.

Alan absolutely hated it in the Rehab Center, and after day one he insisted he was well enough to come home.  Well, he wasn't, and I was able to stall him for three weeks before he wore me, the PT head, the Dr., and all the nurses down and we just decided to let him come home and if he fell or couldn't handle anything, he could come back to the Rehab Center (for up to 30 days after discharge). So, six weeks after surgery he came home.

You know what?  He handled it.  He is doing great. He gets stronger every day, and today he walked into one of his doctors offices with only his cane for support.  Now that I was happy about that but he did it.  We brought the dog home Monday afternoon, and that when I went from...

...being just tired.

I am now weary.  I'm more tired at this point.  I'm just plain weary.  And scheduling all the home health are stuff along with nine doctors' appointments, as well as my own physical therapy, which I have had only three times in the last six weeks, and I can feel it, helped my situations any.  But I'm a good scheduler and can set dates, cancel dates, switch dates around. etc.  Tot day we sorted his pills for this week.  What a mammoth job.  It took us two hours to sort out his pills for one week.

Tomorrow we see another doctor.  This one SHOULD regulate all  his meds and alleviate some of my angst.

I get from strength from the Lord who made Heaven and Earth.  So while this body is weary, I still have strength from the Lord who made me.  It's a promise.  I just have to find it!!!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jobs I loved in grade school

In each class year the students were given different jobs based on each teachers' fancy.  The jobs weren't paid jobs, of course, they were really helps for the teacher so she could leave before 4 p.m.  Remember we got out at 3 p.m.

I liked to:  water the plants, feed the fish, lower and raise the shades, clap the erasers, straighten the desk alignment, if I was in a class with moveable desks, and do the monthly attendance records.  I especially liked the after school jobs because I got to talk with my teacher.  I was a chatterbox back then.  Still am, I guess, even though I don't really say much (quantifiably).


Sixth grade, continued

On the first day of school (in 6th grade) I was amazed to find that my best friend from 5th grade had grown up over the summer.  She has breasts!  Yikes.  Was I ever behind in that department.  It only bothered me because she was the best hitter when we played softball, next to me, of course, and she just refused to play any more. 

We were sent to our classrooms and Mrs. Cunningham's sixth grade was on the top floor in the chartreuse room in the new part of the building.  What a nice classroom that was.  Brand new.

What can I say?  We had new books, new GREEN boards instead of blackboards, new erasers, new desks, new everything, including new plants to water.


Sixth Grade

This was one of my favorite grades.  My teacher was Mrs. Cunningham.  She was older than most of my teachers. 

Of course with the good there is the bad.  The bad was me.  I didn't particularly like the lunches my mom was packing for me so I didn't each lunch when I was supposed to stay at school during lunch-time.  Well, after three days of bringing my lunch home, my dad wanted to know why I didn't finish what was in my lunch bag.  I told him I didn't have enough time.  WRONG THINGO DO.  

My father called the school the next day and asked to speak with Mrs. Cunnigham.  Well, at lunchtime I knew I was in trouble.  Mrs. C asked me to stay after the rest of the lunch children  were released.  She asked me why I told my father I didn't have enough time for lunch.  She said she would have given me more time if I needed it.  And since I hadn't eaten my awful lunch again that day she made me stay in until the next session started (I still hadn't finished my lunch). 

I didn't take any remnants of my lunch home with me. I dropped them in a trash basket on the way home. 

For my sister:  You see, Deb, I wasn't all that good in school either.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our First Summer

Our first summer was the summer of 1960.
That's us.  Alan and me.

It was a difficult summer because we didn't know from day to day whether we could see each other.  We had no wheels!
Alan out in the boonies (at that time) of Lindenwold, and I lived in Runnemede.  It was a good six miles between houses.  That's a long walk.  I have to say that looking at the picture I have posted that Alan has really improved with age.  I, on the other hand....I just won't go there.
I remember a few dates we had that summer, and a few "meetings" as well.  If Alan's dad was driving to any place near Runnemede, say Glendora, Alan would call me, hop a ride with his dad, and we would "meet" about half-way.  Or, if his dad was in a good mood he would drop Alan off and then go to his scheduled activity, giving us from one-half hour to three or four hours of "meeting" time.
If it was one of the shorter times, we'd just sit on the front porch and talk.  If it was one of the longer times we would walk west on Clements Bridge Road, up the hill from Second Avenue, and then down the hill to across the street from Mr. Softee, and somewhere in that area there was a miniature golf place and there was also a trampoline place.  Does anyone remember them?  The trampoline place lasted about two years, the miniature golf a little longer.
All our date were dutch and we never had more than one dollar each to spend.  Golf was fifty cents a game, that left us with $1.50 if it was near allowance day, or pay day for me (I worked at Mr. Softee that summer) and we could get a snow cone at the other end of DBR at the stop light in town at the Pike and CBR.  Snow cones were $.10 a piece.  I loved the root beer snow cones.
We also went bowling a couple of times.  But the real date that I remember the most -- that means HE paid for everything -- was the time we went to Clementon Amusement Park.  At that time there was no one-price-gets-you-on-any-ride-you-want fee, back then you paid for each ride.  You bought tickets and hoped you had bought enough so you could get on your favorite ride.  The picture you see was taken in one of the Park's picture booths on that night.  We had so much fun. 
A few short weeks later Alan left for Kenya and I didn't see him for three years.  Oh, that we had Skype or e-mail or Facebook back then.  Mail to and from Kenya was very slow and a phone call would have cost about $50 for 10 minutes.  So we had no voice contact and little mail contact during those years.
I am so glad that dating is over and I have enjoyed married life with Alan for almost 48 years.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fifth grade

I was still at Bingham School and my teacher in 5th grade was "pre-historic" Jackson.  Mrs. Jackson was an older teacher.  I don't know how old she was, but she did have grey hair.  I had issues with Mrs. Jackson.

Mrs. Jackson tried in insert evolution into our social studies curriculum.  My father was no pleased and went to her to try to get her to understand that God created the heavens and earth.  And that event had occurred about 5000 years ago.

Mrs. Jackson rose to her full height of five feet and told my father that she was teaching what she was teaching until the school board told her otherwise.

Light bulb. 

My father went straight to several of the board members who just happened to be members of our church, and talked to them about what she was teaching.

It finally ended with my father coming to my fifth grade class a couple of times to teach what the Bible says about how the earth and humans began and that we didn't evolve from apes or anything else, but were created by a loving God around 5K-6K years ago.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fourth grade

What good can I say about 4th grade.  My teacher was Mrs. Kline.  A very, very nice lady, but a very bad teacher.  She had no control of the class and the students ran all over her.

I learned 4th grade lessons on my own because she never had enough control to teach anything.  She was a fun teacher and wanted us to have fun in school, which we did.  We were housed in the auditorium of the school.  In the basement.  Next door to the heating room.  Near the bathrooms.

She always left the door open and the noise in the halls was a distraction, at least for me.

We had a stage in our room and made up plays frequently.  Nobody saw our plays except our classmates.  Yawn.

That's about all I have to say about 4th grade.  Yawn.


Monday, April 1, 2013


  Flats 2012
I love the shoes (for women) that are currently in style.  They are so much like the shoes we had in the 1960s.  Then arrived a new decade -- the 70s.  And with the new decade, new shoes.  UGLY shoes.  CLUNKY shoes. 

You can tell from the pictures that the CLUNKY and UGLY shoes from the 70s are not nearly as flattering as the shoes in the 60s and in 2013.

I saw my daughter in church yesterday and she had on really beautiful shoes.  They looked like dyed snake-skin and were, I would guess, the five inch heels illustrated in the 2013 picture. 

I wore shoes like the one in the 1960s picture and when the CLUNKY and UGLY 70s shoes came into style, I bought one pair, and decided that was enough.  I had quite a collection of the 60s style shoes and decided to wear them.  So I was out of style; so what! 

Notice the current "flats" style.  Same as in the 60s.  I know, because I still have a pair, believe it or not of 1960s flats.  The price for the 60s pair of flats?  $3.00.  The price for a pair of 2012 flats?  $30.00 at DSW.  Quite a difference.

NOTE:  In the 60s the highest heel available was a three-and-a-half inch heel and we thought that was high.

I fell off the 60s shoes in the late 70s.  Just couldn't walk in them anymore and went to flats.  I've been a flats lover ever since. 


Friday, March 22, 2013

Third grade

As I mentioned in the second grade BLOG, I was warned that I didn't want to get, if I could help it, Mrs. Barr.  She was the terror (of teachers) in Bingham school.  And this was before I knew I would be transferred to Bingham a few days after school started.

Mrs. Barr was NOT a terror, I liked her a lot.  And she was very pretty.  I guess the person who told me about her was getting bad reports about her first child, and hoped her second child wouldn't get her, but he did.

Third grade for me was a review of everything I already knew.  I wasn't bothered by this and I went with the flow.  I finished lessons before everyone else, and I was permitted to help Mrs. Barr with housekeeping chores and some the menial tasks teachers are asked to do.


Second grade.

My second grade teacher was Mrs. Gledhill.  She was an older teacher.  And she was the third grade teacher.  So all the teaching I received that year was third grade material.  I was using second grade books, but doing third grade work and reading in a third grade reading group.  The Red group, again.

Mrs. Gledhill was a very nice lady.  Her was the south side of the building because it was sunny all day and she kept the shades up so that all that sunlight could come into the room.  Even on rainy and cloudy days her room was bright.  It must have been her cheery bulletin boards.

I don't have much to say about second grade, because I don't remember much.  But coming up was a real third grade and I had been warned about the teacher I was about to get.


Principal's office

In first/second grade, Mrs. Marantonio, mentioned in previous BLOG, was the only teacher to ever send me to the Principal's office.

Here's what happened. 

We had to color a picture in our reading workbook.  I was never a good colorer, but I complied with the request.  When I turned in my paper, I had colored the house and picket fence white.  Well, my white crayon didn't show up very well, and Mrs. M said I didn't color those parts of the picture. 

I told her I did, and I used a white crayon, I even used my fingernail to pick our some of the white crayon.  It didn't matter.  She didn't want that house and picket fence white.

Well, she and I had a discussion wherein I explained in my best first grade debating terms that the clapboard and picket fence should be white and I had colored them white.  She told me to color them.  I said they should be white.  She told me again to color them  and again I said the house and picket fence should be white.  I even took her hand and pulled her to the window and told her to look outside.  What did she see?  White houses and a white picket fence. 

Well, my "one-upsmanship" was met with, "I think you should go see Mrs. French."  Mrs. French was the principal.  So she took me to the principal and the principal called my father.  Daddy didn't see the problem.  He sort of agreed with me, but told me if the teacher wanted black siding on a house and a black picket fence, then I should comply and color them that horrid color.

The next "coloring" day, I did just that.  And, yes, I got into trouble again for coloring them black!


Friday, March 15, 2013

First Grade

In first grade, I was assigned to Miss Welch's class.  A week later I, and several others, was assigned to Mrs. Marcantonio's class, which was a second grade, and in which we did both first and second grade work.  I know this, because by the end of first grade I was adding up all the attendance figures for Mrs. M and they were double digets, 30 lines long.  Quite a bit of addition.

I also know we did second grade social studies and science, but I'm sure we did first grade reading, perhaps a little advanced and maybe catching up with the second graders by mid-year.

Mrs. M is the teacher who taught us Huckle-buckle-beanstalk,  a neat game of closer/farther.  The prize was an eraser and then the next person would get a chance.  I think we all tried to outdo the other by finding the eraser in less time than our classmates.

Mrs. M is the only teacher that ever sent me to the principal's office.  I'll let you know about that in the next BLOG.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Greer Garson

This is Greer Garson month on TMC.  Since I didn't find out about it until last Saturday, that meant I missed the first group of movies.  I was sure I missed my favorites.

You see, when I was a teenager, there was a program on TV (in black and white) called The Late Night Show.  It started after the late night news.  11:30 p.m.  That was pretty late for me especially since I had to be up at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, but there were some "old" movies that my mom and I loved.  Dad enjoyed them also.

And...several of my favorites were all on last night (Monday).  The movies were Mrs. Miniver, Random Harvest, Mrs. Parkington, and Madame Curie.  Now, these were my mom's and my favorites, but there are a couple of other Greer Garson movies we also enjoyed.  Pride and Prejudice and one my father especially enjoyed -- Mr. Chips.  All these movies require a box of Kleenexes.

Now, I was thinking, we watched these OLD movies when I was a teenager.  They were all filmed in the early 40s.  I watched them in the late 50s, early 60s.  Today they would be really old pictures -- at least 70 years old, just like me.

Older is much better.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Kindergarten - last

I've mentioned before that in the morning on Mondays we listened to "At the Zoo", a school program put on by the Philadelphia Zoo.  I loved that program which each week would give us all kinds of information about one of the zoo animals.  We would then go outside and run off some of our excess energy, and return for the rest of our morning learning activities.

In the afternoons, we mostly did reading and practiced our writing (printing).  I wasn't particularly fond of printing, but I wanted to do it perfectly, so I practiced a lot.  I asked my dad to get me one of those tablets that had the lines on it for printing, and he did, and I practiced at home.

We had no homework given us by our teacher, Mrs. Gardner so I could practice as much or little as I wanted.

After kindergarten, of course, came first grade.  I'll start there next.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Kindergarten 6 - Reading groupos

In Kindergarten we had reading groups.  The class was divided into three groups -- Red, Green, and Blue.  The Red group contained the best readers, the Green group contained the readers who read fairly well, but they stumbled when they read out loud once in a while, and the blue group had the poorest readers.  They stumbled a lot.

I wanted to help the children in the Blue group so badly, but, of course, that wasn't my job and none of my classmates asked me for help.

The task of wanting to help my classmates learn to read, became something that stuck with me and I became a teacher of dyslexic children and loved it.  I even developed a reading program for adults who couldn't read, and the adults I taught using the method I had developed learned very quickly how to read.  The program was called Reading Bootcamp.

The desire to teach reading began in kindergarten.  Imagine that.



When I was in grammar school, that would be grades 1-8 these days -- we had no middle school, I was popular.  I loved being popular.  It all came crashing down around me when I got to high school.

When I was under 14 I was popular because my father was one of three town pastors.  Everybody knew me, and I hope, liked me.  I tried not to put on "airs", but I probably didn't always succeed.  I was hindered in my popularity by two small things:  a father who didn't like to have children running around the house, and this included neighbor children; and a household that had very little money, which meant no birthday parties.  And, to get invited to a birthday party you had to invite to a birthday party.

When I was over 14  in high school I really didn't have time in my freshman year to try to become popular.  The only talent I had was playing the piano or violin, and there were other freshman who could play the piano better than I, and worst of all I had to actually study to get As and Bs.  In grammar school it came to me naturally. 

My after-school time in high school was spent on homework so getting together with classmates was out of the question.  Even on Sunday afternoons I had to do homework and/or study.  Telephone time dwinddled to a mere trickle.

Bye-bye popularity.  Hard pill to swallow without choking.  Since I'm still alive, I obviously didn't choke, and swallowed the pill.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Kindergarten 5-Holidays

When I said I was going to write "one-a-day" entries to my BLOG, I didn't realize how household events and health issues would interfere, but I'm doing my best.

The title of "Holidays" isn't a long description of all the Holidays we enjoyed when I was a child.

I would rather mention the "Holidays" we enjoyed then that are now celebrated now.

There was Columbus Day, October 12; Voting day - the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; State Teacher Convention -- the second weekend in November which included Thursday and Friday; Abraham Lincoln's birthday - February 12; George Washington's birthday  - February 22; and Easter Monday.  I think that is about it.

If you know of any others, let me know.  Remember they are not celebrated any more.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kindergarten 4 - Friends

Several things come to mind, but I want to write about a situation gone bad, but I kept the friend.

We got out of school at 3:00 p.m. and one day I was invited to go to one of my friends houses right after school, which was a definite no-no.  My mom wanted me to come directly home from school.  This I knew, but I figured I could be to her house, she could change her clothes, and I could be home before the big kids got out of school.  She didn't live far from the school.

But, I didn't know that my friend had to do some chores as well when she got home, and instead of going home alone and letting her come later, I helped her with her chores.  Needless to say I didn't get home shortly after kindergarten let out, and I didn't get home before the big kids went home.  I did get home when my mom found out where I went.

When I saw her walking up the street as I was walking down the street to go home with my friend, I knew I was in real trouble.  Mom, however, was very nice to me and my friend and she let us play together.  However, when my friend had to go home on her mother's orders, I got the full blast of my mothers disdain with what I had done.

I had worried her to death.  I had disobeyed her.   I had caused her to have to leave my sister and brothers with daddy for her to come looking for me.  Therefore, I was also in trouble with my father.

I don't remember what the punishment was, but I'm sure a spanking was in there somewhere.  I probably was not permitted to have friends over for a week, nor was I to play with anyone on the street.

My friends name?  Joan Berryman.

After kindergarten, Joan and I were in different classes so we didn't get together very often, but I sure remember that day.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kindergarten 3 -- Games we played

I remember few of the games we played during recess.  If we were outdoors I remember playing dodge ball, a game that is outlawed in most schools today (too violent), but which I found to be a lot of fun.  Dodging that ball built my "cat like reflexes" (just kidding) by making me learn how to run backwards, forwards, sideways, ducking under, jumping over, etc. 

Another game we played was Red Rover -- Red Rover, Red Rover for pink to come over.  If you were "it" you had to guess what colors were active and who had what color.  If you guessed a usable color, your turn ended, and the person who had the called color was it.  Rather boring I always thought, but some classmates liked it.

My all time favorite game was an indoor game.  It was Hucklebuckle Beanstalk.  The teacher started it off by telling us all to hide our eyes and not cheat.  We wouldn't dream of doing that in Kindergarten.  She would then hide an eraser (the paper/pencil kind) and the "it" person had to find it.  I always wanted to be "it".  Then I would get to find the eraser and subsequently hide it. 

That game depended on your classmates accurately telling you whether you were hot (near the prize) or cold (far away from the prize) correctly.  I played this with my own children and their playmates on indoor days. 


Kindergarten 2

the Kindergarten day seemed to speed by.  We worked from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., then we had "recess and snack time".  This was a 25 minute block in the morning because recess included snack time.  Then we we worked from 10:30 to 11:25 before we left the building at 11:30 for lunch at home.  All but about 5 of the kindergartners went home for lunch.  We all walked.  We returned to the school building no later than 1:00 p.m.

Since I lived across the street from the school, I had a long lunch hour-and-a-half.  I could watch from the front porch and see if the playground had anyone playing on it, and then I could go back to the playground and wait for a teacher to open the door and let us in for the afternoon session. 

Afternoons were from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  Recess was from 1:45 to 2:00 p.m.  If the weather was nice and not too cold we were outside.  If it was raining we played indoors.  If we misbehaved we didn't get recess at all.

Coming editions of "Kindergarten days" will include a rainy day recess period and the game(s) we played to occupy us and get some of the energy we little ones had under control, and another one will be about the playground and what we did during those times of the day.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


When I started these daily posts one of the first ones I wanted to put up was about kindergarten, but I didn't get around to doing that until now.  I wanted to write a few BLOGS about what I remembered about that year.  And my goal was to make each BLOG short, easy to read, and make the reader want to come back the next day to read "what came next."  Hopefully, I can be a little less wordy now that I've got the hang of things again, and keep you coming back.

So, to begin with:  Kindergarten was from 9 to 11:30, then we were sent home for lunch from 11:30 until 1:00 p.m., then class continued until 3:00 p.m. when we were dismissed for the day.

I went to the school across the street.  That's the view from our front porch.

My first day at school -- and boy was I a happy child on that day -- was the day after Labor Day in 1948.  And since I had been in the school a couple of times before when I had sneaked in, I went into the building like I owned the place.  I guess you might say I was quite sure of myself that first day.


Mother's hearts

To say I didn't appreciate my mother until I was married is putting it mildly.  I love my mother, but I was, after all, one of those teenagers who knew it all, and that was the time when I was at odds with my mom quite often.  So, the short paragraph which follows would highlight the time after I became a wife.

If mom were here for valentine's day, she would get her usual from me -- a big red box of chocolates. She loved those big red boxes, and each time she got one it went into her closet after the chocolates were gone and became a "file cabinet" for greeting cards she and other family members received.

I know this because for years my dad would give her one of those boxes and he and she would share the candy, and she would file away her box and save her cards.


Mommy, continued

First, I had something written for Monday, which I missed, and then Tuesday, which I missed, and then Wednesday, which I missed, but I can't find it anywhere in my list of BLOGs.  So, this is a reprise sort of, and not at all what I had written for last Monday.

I watched the movie (again) called, "I remember Mama".  The very old TV series was based on the movie which was based on the stage play, which was based on a book entitled "Mama's Bank Account."  At least I think that is the proper way the various media went. 

I remember watching the TV series and loving it.  It was on Friday evenings, and I would go up the street to Wallace's (Linda was my best friend at that time) and watched it with their family.  We didn't have a TV.  First came Liberace's program, then came  "I remember Mama."

They were good, clean, programs.  Well tonight after about 10 hankies I finally finished watching the movie AGAIN.  And I know I'll watch it again and again, if the Lord gives me breath and TMC shows it again and again.  And I'll probably need 10 hankies the next times I view the movie like I did tonight.

Mama wasn't like my mommy, at least not the mommy I lived with at that time.  In retrospect, however, I guess all Mamas are like mother bears, very protective of their children, and while my mother's children had free-range of "yelling" distance in Runnemede, she was our mother bear in that few-block area.

On Friday evenings after Mama was over on TV, my mommy did not have to yell up the street to get me home, Aunt Peg (Linda's mother) would send me out the door at exactly 8:30 p.m. and I would get myself back home.


Friday, February 8, 2013


I could write a book about my mother.  I could write a book about my father.  I could write a book about our family.  That's three books.  Unfortunately, I don't think anyone would publish them.

Mommy was such a sweet lady.  Everyone  said/says so.  I have to agree.  For being a mother, which I became and mimicked to some extent, she did a good job with her four children.

What I remember most about her, though, is the fact that every morning while she was drinking a cup of coffee and eating a very small bowl of cereal, she would read her Bible -- her Italian Bible.  English was, afterall, her second language, and until today I never realized that.

Mommy and me. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Promises broken?

I know I said I would write a short BLOG entry every weekday, but I broke that promise, concept, idea, hope, statement, etc., in less than one week.  I apologize.

I talked about the dog we rescued in my previous post.  Well, Doxi is turning out to be a real love of my husband.  He has wanted a pup to raise for about 10 years.  I finally acquiesced. 

Doxi is a real cute pup and cuddly at times, at least with me.  She goes mostly to Alan, which is as it should be since she's his pup to raise into doghood.

She won't get very large and I'm glad about that.  She is already paper trained, so we got those hospital-type pads to put on the floor.  We used up a couple the past few days, and she always heads for the mat and does what she's supposed to do. 

Alan also purchased one of those indoor grass boxes, like kity liter, except there's no renewable litter, you just wash the astroturf and empty the tray under the turf, and it's ready to go again. 

We'll see if it works.  I hope so.  Going downstairs to put her out at 3:30 a.m. hasn't really been fun.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I promise I shall publish a picture of the dog Alan rescued last weekend.  She's a two-month old (yes, I wrote "month", and no, it wasn't a mistake) daschi-uaua, he named Daschi (pronounced Dah-ksee).
Daschi-uaua is a chiuaua/daschund mixed.  She's the cutest thing, but I told him if he got a dog he was responsible for taking it out, cleaning up after it, etc.

Well, that lasted for about 24 hours.  Then I had to take over.  Alan got the flu, sort of, but he cleared up a lot faster than I did.  His "condition" lasted only 16 hours, just enough to let him know I was able to help with his pup. 

Anyway, I'm glad we could rescue a dog.  Alan has been asking for a dog for 11 years.  And after we got Daschi, he  tried to talk me into taking one of her sisters as well.  Didn't happen.  Even though I love dogs one dog is enough for me the rest of my life.


Valentine cards

I addressed valentine cards to lots grandchildren, wrote a note in as many as I could think of something to say, and now I have to go to the post office to get one cent stamps because I over-stocked on freedom stamps the value of which I know is one cent less than what the new stamps are.  So, tomorrow, because I can, I shall have my personal  shopper go to the PO for me and get me 100 one-cent stamps.  :)

I say this in prelude to the main text of my message this morning/evening.  When I was going to school, this was just one part of valentines day I didn't like.  The other part was when I didn't get as many valentines as I had given.

My dear mom always bought the kind of valentines that came on sheets that you have to punch out the card from, and they got shoved into really flimsy envelopes.  Oh, the joys of valentine's day in grammar school -- NOT. 

Then I got older and hoped that my current imaginary boyfriend would send me a valentine's card.  That, of course, didn't happen, until...  I met the love of my life.

I know Alan won't be reading this, but I know he got me a card already because I saw the bag and he hasn't missed very many valentine's days telling me he loves me (with a card).  I, on the other hand rarely return the favor because life gets too busy, or I just plain forget.  I'm ready this year, though.

I hope this is a reminder to all those out there to send MAIL, not e-mail.  Much more personal.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy birthday, Shandon.

This picture was taken this past Christmas.
Today is my oldest grandson's birthday.  He is 19 year's old.  Shandon Matthew Stamper, Jr. was born on this date 19 years ago, and I was there.  He's such a precious young man.  He always gives me a great smile and a hug, and I love him dearly.   My only wish is that I would see more of him.  He works at the family animal clinic and is going to be attending N. KY University.

And yes, he was in Runnemede, once.  Somewhere I have a picture of him sitting on his Aunt Becky's lap "talking" to his great-grandfather Carl Drexler.  He was six months old at the time, or was it six weeks.  I can't remember.  I just know that the number six was in the mix, and he had to be held because he wasn't sitting by himself yet.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daddy's birthday

Today is January 30, 2013.  My father, if he were still alive would be 105.  His uncle Harry died at that age.  My father died 12 years ago. 

Each year I was with him on his birthday, for as long as I could remember, dad would announce at dinner, after prayer, that:  "This is my last birthday.  The years haven't been kind."  I don't know what he meant by that last comment, but I know he said that from the time he was about 40 years old he would utter those words.

This is my last birthday.  The years haven't been kind.  My father died when he was 93, quite a few birthdays after that announcement.  I guess he was wrong.  The Years had been kind.  He had life and touch quite a few lives with his messages from the Word of God.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Aunt Daisy

This is a picture of my grandmother Sbaraglia (my mother's mom), her brother, and her sister, Aunt Daisy.

I come from a large family, if you include siblings, cousins and second cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and now later in my life children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and one husband and his family, which isn't so small either.

Let me give hommage to my Aunt Daisy.  I didn't really know her very well, and I have but three pictures of her.  Aunt Daisy suffered a stroke shortly after I was born and it wasn't until Aunt Annie moved to Springfield, PA, that I was able to meet her and talk to her.  When mom went to see Aunt Daisy, I was usually went along with her.

Aunt Daisy reminded me of my own mother.  She even looked like my mother.  But why shouldn't she?  She was, after all, my mother's sister.  She was soft-spoken, cheerful, treated me more like a grown child, instead of the young child I was.

When she died, I didn't attend her funeral.  Mom and dad left me home with my siblings.  I think I got to know her better because her children, the seven that I knew.  They inherited not just her looks, but her attitudes.  They, the cousins, were all cheerful and didn't treat me like a child, even though all but David and Betty were adults when I was born.


The flu

I was one of most of my peers in the late 1950s to get the Hong Kong flu -- it may have been the Asian flu, since I was a teenager when both of those flus occurred.

Today I am on day five of the same kind of flu.  The aches are what I remember most from when I was 16 and had that flu.  I haven't felt this awful, not even with all the other ailments I have going on, not even since I had to learn to use my legs again after knee surgery.

I do know that a lot of people out here are sick, just like back then, but this flu -- not the one you get a shot for -- seems to be affecting mostly adults, at least we're having a harder time recovering from it, and I don't necessarily mean old adults.

When the flu went around in 1959/60 I got it the first week it hit Runnemede.  I was out of school for a week.  I would feel great in the morning and knew I'd be back in school the next day, but at night my fever would spike (just like now) and dad wouldn't let me go to school on the morrow.  I finally got out of the night-time fever by Friday.

The week I did return to school I was one of only a handful of students to attend, the rest were out with, you guessed it, the flu.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Famly relations

Uncle Orph(eus) and Aunt Mary, Uncle Orph being the family relation, Aunt Mary a relation by marriage to Uncle Orph, were not my favorite relatives.  It had nothing to do with them being mean or nasty.  In fact, Uncle Orph always gave me a half-dollar whenever he came to visit, which mom intercepted right away to put into my savings account.  I think it was their appearance and her perfume.  They were not the most attractive people, which was not their fault.  Also, Uncle Orph talked very, very loud.

We always knew they were coming.  Here's how it went. 

Dad knew they were coming and would watch for them.  As soon as he saw them coming up the street -- they took the bus from Philly -- he would pull the shades in the front of the house and tell us to be quiet.  He thought this might make them think we weren't home.  WELL, mom wasn't having any of that.   She opened the door and as sweet as could be would welcome them heartily.  

Uncle Orph, after giving me and my sibs our money, would start talking with my father, and Aunt Mary and mom would stroll through her garden.  I would disappear until I had to make an appearance.  Then after the stroll around the house, mom would come in and start the spaghetti water.  We always had spaghetti when they came.  I guess they like mom's spaghetti, and for her it was an easy, no brainer dinner.

After dinner they would leave to go back home to Philadelphia and we would get back to our normal life.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Need your input

I have been thinking that I would like to write shorter BLOGS and they would be of my family, the church people, Downing school, Bingham School, and Triton High School. 

After high-school I went to Glassboro State College (now Rowan U) and sort of left Runnemede at that time; even though I still lived there, I was rarely in-house so to speak.  So let me know if this would be okay.  I would write something every day, Monday through Friday (not on weekends) and I wouldn't announce it on Facebook. 

Here is an example of a "shorter" BLOG and it may be more information that you want to know about my family, but here goes:

On January 2, 1949 my brother Carl was born on the kitchen table.  He was delivered shortly after the Sunday morning church service.  Wasn't it convenient that he waited until my father could be present for his birth?  I'm sure of two things.  My mom would have liked for him to come sooner.  And,  daddy was in another room until the birth was finished. 

Home births weren't the norm back then and I never knew why mom had Carl at home instead of in a hospital like the rest of us.  I also never knew how they got mom from the kitchen table to her bed three rooms away.  And back then it wasn't proper to ask!!!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama wanted a car, daddy didn't

THIS update is really from the recesses of my mind. 

Alan and I really like old automobiles, and we were watching the car auctions on TV and the recesses of my mind were opened up.  I doubt even my brother and sister remember this episode in our lives.

Dad didn't drive.  Oh, he knew how.  At least that's what he told us.  He told me he learned to drive in a Stutz Bearcat auto.  But he wouldn't drive an automobile for as long as I knew him, which was for 58 years.  He would, on occasion, state that cars were murder weapons.  Well, he was correct that autos do kill a lot of people, or rather the drivers of autos do, most unintentionally.  So, he would not drive.  But he would be driven.  I don't know, maybe it was his Pennsylvania Deutsch heritage.  The Amish won't drive, but will ride in cars if someone else is driving.

Mom really wanted a car.  I guess she was tired of walking everywhere or taking a bus.

An opportunity came along and was passed on to daddy and mom about an automobile that was for sale.  The notice of this opportunity came from one of the deacons in the church.  Now, that got me to thinking that maybe the deacons wanted dad to get a car so that he could increase his flock by going into neighboring communities.  Dad rode a bicycle if he wanted to get someplace that was a little long on the foot, but mostly he walked -- he walked very, very fast. 

This particular car was in good shape mechanically.  The church mechanic verified this.  He also told daddy that it was a good deal, since the mileage was low.

When mom found out that this car was for sale and it was only $500 she started to give daddy hints that it might be a good idea to get a car. Where she thought we could find $500 when we were living hand to mouth, I haven't the foggiest idea.

She started hinting.   She dreamily hinted that she could go visit her sister without taking a bus to Philly, switching to the subway that went out to 69th street, and then transferring to one of the trains that went to Springfield, about a two hour trip one-way, if the connections were timely.  And travelling with four rambunctous children wasn't exactly a treat for my mother.

Dad wasn't buying it.

Mom could get to the doctor in Haddon Heights easier.  Mom even offered to learn to drive.

Dad wasn't buying it.

And on and on it went. 

Needless to say, we didn't get the car.  It was beauty, too.  It was a 1949 Plymouth, maroon, running boards.  The family would have fit in that car.

I even went to bat to try to convince dad that we needed a car.  I didn't know why, because my travels included those to which my uncles picked us up and carried us, which for me was a treat.  I didn't know at that time that an automobile would have been nice for us to have when I went to college as a commuter.  A commuter without an automobile, just bus money and a two-plus hour ride on buses to get to GSC.  By auto?:  1/2 hour tops.

Mama really wanted that car, daddy didn't.  Daddy won!