Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

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.


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