Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Away for a long time

I think the winter blahs got ahold of me and that's why I didn't add to my BLOG.  However, I have been keeping lists of things I remembered about Runnemede and my family during the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. 

The weather has been extremely cold here in Northern Kentucky every since early December.  I've lived out here for 39 years and I don't remember a colder winter, and I don't feel like looking up the weather records for the years I've lived here.  If someone else would like to take that on, so be it.  It is now Spring, but the nights are still cold, and there is a snow storm ravaging the Midwest.  Will it reach here?  I don't know.  I hope not.

Now, I have to admit we have had colder weather in winter, but the number of below freezing days, I think is a record.  It is for the time I've been here, for you researchers, is 1975 to 2014.  And I know we had a lot of snow.  I guess if I watched the 11 p.m. news I'd know all these little tidbits of trivia, but since I have to get up early most days (5 a.m.), I am in bed most nights by 9 p.m.  Okay, too much information.

I remember one winter in Runnemede and it was not only cold, it was snowy.  And I remember one specific week in the winter of '58 - '59.  It was in early March.  School didn't re-open for a week.

We had a lot of snow on March 3 and 4.  I remember this vividly because it was my 16th birthday and I was looking forward to getting a bubble-gum corsage from my friends.  Well it snowed and it was one of those wet, heavy snows, and it took out the electricity in most, if not all, of Runnemede and the surrounding territory (towns - Bellmawr, Glendora, Blackwood, Turnersville).  It was one of many snow storms we had that winter.  Much like this winter (in NJ that is).

The electricity was out.  Did I mention that?  Oh, yes, I did.  What I didn't mention was that we were without electricity for over a week.  Do you know how cold a house can get when the temperature at night goes down into the teens, and only gets into the mid-thirties during the day?  Cold, very cold.  You can see your breath - cold.  And they didn't insulate homes that well back then.  I know in the unfinished part of our attic there was no insulation, just boards and then roofing material.

Dad got a kerosene stove and he had that on until about 1 a.m. (when he went to bed) and then since there was no school and we could sleep in, he turned it back on around 9 a.m.  My sister and I were really cold in the attic, only when we got out from under the many blankets and down quilt we had.  Slippers were a necessary item, however, we both wore socks to bed, so the fact that we didn't have slippers was only that -- the fact that we didn't have slippers.  We didn't need them.  In that particular year -- multi-colored wool socks were in style with our penny loafers, so we just doubled up on our socks.  I had bought several pairs ($1 a pair, which was expensive back then), so on the cold feet front we were all set.

Day after day we had no school, but we also had no heat.  The schools couldn't be heat either, so until the electricity came back into service, we stayed home and mostly inside, except for daily sled rides (down suicide hill) and we found a place to ice skate, so we did that also. 

Just about the time we got used to the cold, the lights came back on and we all welcomed Spring a couple of weeks later.

If I could apologize to my mom I would, knowing now that four children and two adults in a 1100 square foot home (including the attic - uninsulated) must have driven her nuts.