Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

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!