Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I am reading a series of books by Patrick E. Craig.  It's the series of an Amish woman who was in a car wreck when she was four and found by an Amish woman.  And since there was no way to find her parents, if they were still alive, the Amish couple was permitted by the State of Pennsylvania to adopt the little girl.

When the girl became a teenager she wanted to find her birth parents.  The story takes place in the late 1950s.  It is called the coming home series.

What has impressed me is the way the writer has placed his thoughts about HOME in his books.  And it is just the way I feel about Runnemede.

While I only grew up there, my husband and I returned every year to visit mom and dad, and I left not knowing whether any particular visit would be my last visit with them as a couple and as individuals.

Even after they passed away I still tried to get HOME every year.  That has now been reduced to once in a great while (like every five years or so).  While I can still walk the streets nearly the old house and remember this house where Joan lived, and that house where Sue and Donna lived, or the house in which Marilyn lived, it revives those precious memories of friends I had as a girl and brings to my mind how much I miss my friends and especially my home (house) and that attic bedroom with no heat in the winter that I enjoyed in my teen years and early 20s. 

My only regret is that I didn't pump my mom and dad for more information about their early years as a married couple.  How did they meet?  How long after meeting did they know they loved each other?  How did my father handle the death of his mother when he was only 9 years old?  How did my mother handle the death of her father when she was only 8 or 9 years old?  What was the past history of mom's family in Italy, and what was dad's family history in the Amish country in Pennsylvania.  He did mention the Amish family farm he visited many times when he was a boy, but I really wasn't paying much attention.  What ever happened to the Casper bath-house in Seaside Heights when his grandmother and grandfather died?  I vaguely remember dad having to do something legal during that time, and he talked about the "shore" house and business.  Where did it go?  Who bought it? 

I will still go home with so many memories, and like Patrick Craig says in his book (not a quote here) home will always be the place where you grew up and those memories will always be the brightest.

I loved my HOME in Runnemede, NJ.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

I lost a grandchild today.

I know this post will probably offend some people, but, you know what?  I don't really care.

I lived in Runnemede for 23 years, and in Gloucester for two years.  During that time I had my son, and was pregnant with my daughter when the Army moved us to Virginia.  Then we were moved to Brooklyn (Fort Hamilton) where we lived for almost three years.  During that time I had both of my daughters.

Also during the latter period of my time in Runnemede the Supreme Court banned school prayer and in the early 70s said a girl/woman could have an abortion of a baby in the first two trimesters.  Even back then there were reports of babies who were being saved in their fifth month, very small babies.  Now, it's more common for an early birthed baby to be saved. 

Today my youngest child lost a child.  She carried it for almost 4 months.  When she got to the ER she saw her child a little baby with hands and feet curled in a fetal position, but no heart beat.  NO HEART BEAT.

I was so looking forward to that child as was my daughter and her large family of husband and 7 children. 

All I can think about is all those BABIES that are being thrown into medical waste receptacles because someone made a "mistake". 

Back to Runnemede in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  If a woman/girl made a mistake they had to live with it.  I know there must have been girls in my high school who got pregnant without being married and were sent away to their aunt or a home for unwed mothers to have their baby and no one would know.  I never heard of coat hangers being used to get rid of a baby, or doctors who would purposely take a live baby from a mother.  There were no day-care centers in high schools back then.  And I really don't know what I think about that.

I lost a grandbaby today.  It was taken from its mother, my daughter, into the arms of Jesus, I believe, and I also believe that one day I will see that baby and somehow, I will know that baby, and two other grandbabies that have gone to heaven. 

How many other babies will there be in heaven who no one will claim as their own?  Think about it.

And if there is just one girl out there who is contemplating getting rid of a blob, I ask, have you ever referred during your pregnancy to the "blob" inside of me.  I'll bet you have referred to your baby.  Please keep your baby and if you can't take care of it, let someone adopt it.  Please save your babies life.

I am mourning the loss of this child as if I had held it and laughed with it and took its picture, and then it died.  It just died early and I didn't get to hold him or her, or laugh with him or her, of take a picture of him or her.  God knows our grief and He will take care of the feeling of loss and give me joy in the morning.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

June -- Let there be light!

I love the month of June.  I decided just today that it is my favorite month.  This really has nothing to do with my growing up in Runnemede, except that I was permitted to stay and play outdoors longer in the evenings, and really didn't have to come in until after the lightning bugs were doing their thing. 

The month of June is the lightest and brightest month of the year.  Think about it.  The longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere is on June 21.  Leading up to that date we see and feel the sun for longer and longer times each day until it is the day that I love, June 21 (or there about). 

I am in awe of the change that occurs as we enter June each year and as we leave it.  I can actually read by the light of the rising sun at 5:30 in the morning.  And here I am working at my computer in a relatively dark room because the blinds are shuttered, and I can see well enough to read.  I love it!

I will be going out onto my sun porch later this evening, for a few minutes of fresh air before I actually go to bed and hope to see some lightning bugs.  If I see them, which I haven't since we moved to Kentucky, I will really be happy.

So, June, yes June is definitely my favorite month of the year -- except maybe December because of the season, and because after the 21st of December we begin to get more light each day.  Having given it a few minutes thought, I still think June is my favorite month!

One last thought -- I know Jersey has lots of mosquitos.  Where I live we are relatively mosquito free.  I wonder if the ratio of mosquitos to lightning bugs is the reason I haven't seen many lightning bugs around here.



I think the following repost (from Facebook) lets you all know how things were in my early years.

My mom and I used to do the laundry on Monday, wring it out in between the rollers, and then hang it outdoors to dry.  No matter the weather, except when the temperatures would freeze the unsqueezed water and the clothes wouldn't dry until spring. :)  Sound familiar? 

She would then hang the cloths in her immaculately clean basement (except for the ever present thousand leggers) until the clothing all dried from the heat of the coal furnace.  Oh, those were the days.

It was daddy's job to keep the coal furnace going so it wasn't too cold in the morning when we woke up, but it was mom's job to clean up after him and his droppings (of coal).  

So every Tuesday, she would dampen the clothing that had to be ironed and put it in a basket and then she would start my training in ironing.  The first thing I ever ironed -- down in the basement -- was my father's handkerchiefs.  I had to make sure they were wrinkle free and square.  If I ironed them incorrectly I would get more of a parallelogram -- and yes, Mark, I know that a square is a parallelogram, but most folks think of a different shape for the parallelogram. 

Then when I had gotten that down pat, we moved to mom's handkerchiefs -- a little more delicate and it used a different temperature on the iron.  No steam irons in those days.  Not yet.  They were coming and while they were okay, there was nothing like dampened clothing ironed without steam.

So, there you are.  Ironing 101.  Soon to follow was the Bendix automatic clothes washer.  I used to sit in front of the door with the window and watch the clothes spin round and round.