Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

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.