Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bad boys.

I imagine many of you know who the bad boys are, but I'll start at the beginning.  I've been "concepting' this for weeks.

I don't remember what time of year it was, or what year it was, all I know is that it was one really bad, bad evening, not only for me, but for my brothers, Markie and Diddle.  Somehow my sister, Debbie, even though she was involved, got off with a smile from mommy.

I was "baby sitting" while my parents were at an evening service at the church.  I hated "baby sitting' chores because my brothers really were bad little boys.

Well, this evening, unbeknownst to me they got into the cough syrup.  Cough syrup -- high alcohol content.  They were LITTLE boys. 

After sharing a bottle of the syrup, they decided to play Ramar of the Jungle (after a popular TV show in the 50s) and got out my mother's largest knives.  I think my sister helped with that one.  And thinking they were hacking their way through the jungle with said knives, they decided to hack away at the doorway into the kitchen.  Yes, that's right.  They chopped away at the door frame.

The evidence of this dastardly deed is still visibly today, or at least it was in 2011, the last time I was in my childhood home.

I sent my drunk sister over to the church to get my mother, who ran right home (about 200 feet).  Needless to say, she was not please, but not nearly as not pleased as my father was after church was over.

Did I ever babysit them again?  I don't remember.  And truthfully, I only remember that one night because the story expands with each telling! :)


For more information, Facebook John Mark Drexler and ask him.

Thunder snow

After watching Jim Cantore's "thundersnow" video all day today (we're having our first snow, so I've been watching the weather channel, which didn't exist when I lived in Runnemede), I decided to write a short epistle on my first remembrance of thundersnow.

My husband, Alan, and I had only been married 4 months.  It was Christmas Eve.  (Make that 4 months and 2 days).  It was our first Christmas as a married couple.

We knew we were going to spend several days with his parents in Ventnor, NJ, because they were heading back to Kenya (missionaries) for another 5-year stint, and we were spending Christmas eve-eve and Christmas Eve with my parents.  We were travelling to Ventnor on Christmas morning.

Well, wouldn't you know?  It started to snow on Christmas Eve around seven o'clock.  It was warmish, and the snow was big, heavy, flakes, coming down pretty hard.  All of a sudden I saw what I thought was lightening.

How could that be?  It was snowing.  Then I heard what I thought was thunder.  Well, it was snow thunder, and it happened several more times during that "winter storm" which was not named, by the way.

Alan and I loved snow and playing in it, making snow angels, having snowball fights, building snowmen, etc.  We were young, what more can I say.

Well, about the time we were leaving for Ventnor on Christmas morning another thunder-snow-storm came rolling through.  When we left there was 13 inches of snow on the ground in Runnemede.  On our way down to Ventnor, the snow accumulations became less and less and so did the snow falling earthward.

It was certainly a Christmas to be remembered.  Our first as husband and wife, and our first experience with thunder snow.


Monday, January 12, 2015


I think I wrote about this a long time ago, but I'm going to write about it (again?).

Icing has nothing to do with cake.

Where I live in Kentucky we get a lot of ice storms.  We just dodged one this weekend.  Get it?  Icing?

I can only really remember one ice storm in Runnemede and I think I was in 8th grade at the time.  I know I was attending Downing school, and I only went there for K-2, and then 8th grade.  So, I'm pretty sure I was in 8th grade because I didn't have ice skates in K-2. 

We were sent home shortly after lunch time.  Now, I lived across from Downing, and went home for lunch and didn't notice ice when I went back to school for the afternoon.  However, by whatever time they dismissed us (and I know it was pretty early in the afternoon) the playground and steps were a sheet of ice, so was 2nd Ave. I slid from the steps at the Girls' door down to the steps leading onto the side walk at 2nd Avenue, then walked very carefully home, getting onto grass as soon as possible -- more traction there.

The storm must have dumped quite a bit of ice, because school was closed for a couple of days.  Somebody, I can't remember who, decided to try ice-skating on the playground, and once I saw that it worked I called Linda Lott and we had four great days of ice-skating after that storm. 

It was during that spate of days -- and let me assure you I was skating from early a.m. to dark -- I taught myself to spin, skate backwards, jump (one twist) and that's about it.

I wish I could still skate, alas my bones are too brittle to even think about it.

I hope some of you who have an "icing" his winter, get to try some ice-skating.  I recall it was great fun, even with all the bumps and bruises!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas in the 50s

It's a few days before Christmas Eve and where is our tree?  Well, we're still waiting for the price to come down to under $10 a tree before dad will buy one.  He usually waited until it was Christmas Eve evening when the trees were free, but if we begged enough, he would get it a couple of days earlier (we, being my brother and sister).

I think if we cried and complained enough he would get a tree early.  But let me take you back to a Christmas Eve when we got the tree late in the day (when they were up for grab at the tree lot).    Dad would bring home a tree that was mostly losing its bristles and leave a trail from the back door to the dining room bay window where he would work for at least an hour getting the tree into the stand and then we had to wait for him to get the lights ready.  See, here's where I have a problem.  I would have had the lights ready for the LATE tree.  Well, after he got the lights ready and on the tree we would stop for our annual Christmas Eve dinner (sausage, mashed potatoes, sour kraut, peas and a fresh loaf of Italian bread).  No seven fish dinners for us.  Dad wanted his Sausage and Kraut dinner.

After dinner we could start on the tree.  The balls were glass (I broke two more this year, I'm down to about 15 of the old, old balls from when I was a kid).   We were not permitted to touch them back in the 50s.  We were permitted to hang our school projects.  You know, those macaroni encrusted, gold painted frames with your school picture in them. 

After the balls were on the tree and it was plugged in and the lights were lit, we children were happy.  Mom was in charge of the tinsel and we had to wait until Christmas morning to see the tree with the tinsel on it.  Each piece the tinsel on the tree was hung individually, no pieces were thrown on mom's tree.  

We were put to bed early, but sleep didn't come until around midnight for us children.  We were too excited. 

On Christmas morning we were so pleased to see a decorated tree.  Still shedding!

The tree came down and went out the door for trash collection on New Year's day.

Now to the present day.  I start the week of Thanksgiving   to get all three of my trees up and decorated.  This year I was behind, but finished my third tree last week.  I usually get them all finished the day after Thanksgiving.  I must be getting old.  It takes me a much longer time to get the trees trimmed, but I love the result!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

82 Hillview Drive, Springfield, Delaware County, PA

Aunt Annie lived here and I visited as often as I was allowed or as often as the family was picked up by one of the Uncles Joe to get us there.  There were times, before I was permitted to travel by myself to Aunt Annie's that mom would take me and whoever else wanted to go by way of subway out to 69th street and then get on the train or trolley to Media where we got off in Springfield.

We loved going to Aunt Annie's.  She had all the pictures of her family in albums; you know, the old black pages with corner stickers to keep the pictures in place.  We loved looking at those pictures and she loved reminding us who all the people were.  After many years, we finally knew them all by heart and she didn't have to help us any more.  But, the first thing we'd do when we got to her place was to sit down on her sofa and look at the picture albums.

Then some of us would go downstairs and play Ping-Pong.  Yes, she had a Ping-Pong table.  What fun we had on larger family get togethers playing round-robin Ping-Pong.

My cousin Betty lived with Aunt Annie and Uncle Joe from the time she was a pre-teen until she got married (I think that's correct) and she was so much fun.  And she kept us laughing.  She would walk us to one of the parks in Springfield, not too far from Hillview Drive after she got home from school.  I can image her thoughts:  Oh, no, the Drexler kids again and I HAVE to take them to the park.  Ugh!
She never let us think that.  She was always attentive, making each of us believe we were important to her and that she enjoyed our romps in the park.

If I could get my picture loader to work, I would post a few pictures of those days.  Alas, it doesn't want to work today (or any other day in recent weeks), so you, dear reader, will have to imagine what we looked like back then.

For Throw Back Thursday...ttfn.


I have written so many times about Autumn in Runnemede, but this year, being out of Runnemede and in Kentucky I noticed something different out here.  Whether what has occurred here happened in Runnemede this year, I don't know.

I noticed that our trees turned all shades of red, yellow, purple, and dark green in early September, which was earlier than I remember since I've lived in this tree house (13 years) where I have a personal relationship almost with the trees in our "yard".

Now, it is early October and the leaves are mostly shed and that doesn't usually happen out here until November.

I remember late September as a girl.  And it was almost always cool in the evenings.  After dinner I would walk down to the pike, hang a left and walk to Clements Bridge Road, hang another left and walk to the church driveway and cut through to home.  About a 10 minute walk, unless I dawdled along the way. 

I really enjoyed September and October in Runnemede.  November was okay and I remember some before Thanksgiving snows.  Not deep snows.  But enough to cover the ground and having to be swept off the sidewalks.  I loved kicking the leaves that were unraked and those that were raked.  And I remember falling into the piles of leaves that were left until the weekend  and the leaves were reraked and put into the gutter so that the street cleaner could gather up the leaves.  What I never understood was why the leaves were raked up since it was such good mulch.  I think my mom kept a pile in the corner by the back of the garage for mulch to use in the Spring for her new plants and her annuals.
Autumn was and is the time for high-school football.  I was thinking the other day that Triton was brand new when I walked into those halls for the first time.  That was over 50 years ago.  Triton isn't a new school any more.  But I still think of it as new.  And, where did the time go?

I have a question.  Out here high school football is played on Friday nights.  When I was at Triton and for many years after I left, the football games were played on Saturday.  Are they still played on Saturday, or did they move to Friday night?  I just wondered about that.

I know the predictions for this year are a cold winter and a snowy one as well.  "Winter" meaning the colder months,  which December and November are included.  Let's hope the squirrels and wooly worms are wrong.