Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love is

When I was growing up there was a saying:

Love is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before.

Cute saying. We all carried it around in our wallets, and we girls would say it almost like a mantra when we "fell in love" with someone on TV or with our boyfriend of that time.

I recall my father giving a sermon on what love is. He didn't mention the ditty above.

He said "God is love, and because God is love, love is forever." I think he was talking to me because I was "in love" with so many boys at that time. It was before my one true love -- my husband-- came along -- at which time he told me to remember love is forever, not for just this week.

I asked him why he didn't use my definition in his sermon -- which he was perfectly aware of because as I said it was the "mantra" of us girls of the late 50s. He told me to think about it.

Well, as I have gotten older, I know why that is such a silly ditty.

First, there is labor -- having a baby is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before.

Having an auto wreck is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before.

Losing a parent is a grief that is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before.

Having an inflamed sciatic nerve is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before (or ever want to feel again). Same with kidney stones.

Watching a loved one go through the throes of chemotherapy is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you never felt before (and never, ever want to feel again).

So, what's the point? Silly sayings that mean something when we're young and are so tied into your own selves and thinking, can come around and when you finally get the true meaning of what was said, you feel like an idiot for even thinking that thought at all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Family Bible

Okay, who has it?

Becky has Uncle Harry's family Bible, but not the Drexler one. It had the family tree in it and the Apocrapha pages were torn out (in the middle). It was pretty big and had, if I remember right, one clasp to hold it shut.

She and I looked at Uncle Harry's Bible on Sunday and we identified a few of the pictures (tin-types) that are in the picture part. But there is no family tree in that particular Bible, and I know there was one large Bible that had a family tree in it -- the Drexler/Casper tree.

If you have it own up. You won't be harrangued. I just would like to know where it is.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hand-me-downs and character

We had a lovely visit with our oldest daughter, Rebekah, aka Beck, Cyn-Beck, Becky, Debbie -- whatever comes out and it's usually Cyn-Beck (here sister's name is Cyndi - Cyn for short). If I'm with Cyndi, she's Beck-Cyn. Always been that way.

My mom did the same thing, so did my father. Call out all the children's names until you get to the one you want. Exception, in anger you always get it correct because you include the middle name of the child, such as Judith Anne, or John Mark, or Carl David, or Deborah Rose (accent on the "bor").

Back to the visit with my daughter and the topic in the title. My daughter is her mother's child. She is a collector of things, though not as many as her mom, simply because she hasn't the room. But furniture -- she will accept almost anything that "belonged in the family" and put it to good and beautiful use.

These family pieces are all old -- at least 75 years old -- many even older, and they have character and stamina. They were built to last, and last they have. I don't think it's that we have taken better care of them than other furniture. I tend to think -- this is the last sofa I'm going to get and take really good care of it. Or this is the last table I'm going to get, and I take really good care of it. I think that's the way I was raised. We had little, and what we did have, we took care of.

I tried to talk her out of -- or trading with me -- my mom's china cabinet -- or as Daniel, her oldest called it -- the "chinese" cabinet, trading with me for Alan's grandfather's china cabinet. I love the Hahn cabinet, believe me, I love it. I've had it in my home and properly displayed for over 40 years. It contains a bell collection, or what's left of it -- I drastically downsized it when we moved to our condominium -- and the family heirlooms from my mother and his mother that are displayed there. I use the useables, such as goblets, teacups, and platters. But, she said of all the family pieces, that's the one she likes the best. Good taste!

So, my dear daughter is trying to reorganize her home to make it better to use for school. She recently acquired a 1950s sofa and chair, the upholstery is in great shape, and the furniture is sturdy. It just isn't our "style." But, hey, it's functional, and for now it will work just fine.

Well, she has put this new acquisition on her sun-porch which is the school room. But there are no desks or tables, and I have the PERFECT table for her.

Years ago, oh, probably 25 years ago, Alan purchased a "game" table -- a square table with a marble top which he has used for playing chess on. Ans when my daughter Cyndi was trying to "catch" her husband Shandon, she used it to serve dinner for two to him. It was in a secluded corner of the living room -- a room no one was permitted to enter unless we were having a party.

I have always had a problem with (1) where to put the table; and (2) it just isn't my style. matches PERFECTLY the new furniture that Becky has. So, I suggested that I send that table to her for use for school. It has two chairs that go with it -- it used to have four, but they were spindly things and supported only a person who weighs less than 100 pounds. Get the picture? Anyway, I offered it. She haggled back and forth with me -- she has trouble accepting things like that. After all, it's not really a FAMILY piece.

Then we got to talking and I told her I was getting rid of my good china -- all 18 place settings. And that I had found a home for it. Well, she was not pleased. I couldn't figure it out. And I couldn't figure it out because my mind hasn't been thinking future generations of Hahns. She was thinking HER daughters or Amy's daughters or Cyndi's daughters. I'm not sure the latter two ladies' daughters would be interested, but there you have it. She has the same china -- 12 settings. I have 18. I couldn't figure what she would do with 30 place settings. And, maybe her daughters won't want that particular pattern. Times change. I certainly didn't want my mom's wedding china -- EVER.

So, I shall divide up the china and give some to the person I had found that wanted it, and the rest Becky can store until such time as her children decide they want something better.

So you don't think I'm an absolute dork about my grandchildren -- I was saving my silver for them.

We left loving one another, and agreeing that I would be on the look out for family pieces to add to her home.


Friday, July 25, 2008


That's what we had for dinner tonight. I made it just like my mama. It was delish!

What brought up this topic tonight is that I called my sister -- well, I returned her call. And we were talking and I said I had to get back to my BIS KETTI sauce because it was burning. Well it didn't burn.

The thing is, I haven't said BIS KETTI since I lived in Runnemede, at least I don't think I did. My children may have said spaghetti that way when they were little, and I may have repeated it from them, but thinking of spaghetti as BIS KETTI is something that hasn't happened for a long, long time.

Add: BIS KETTI to the list of family sayings.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Short skirts

When I was a girl slacks were verboten (in some circles). Never did we wear pants or slacks or blue jeans to church, not even for a youth social. The only time we could get away with a non-skirt covering of our lower extremities was on the Sunday School picnic. When I went to college in 1961-65, slacks were permitted only AFTER class hours, and NEVER were they to be worn to class. I attended a state college, not a private or religious college. Their rules were even more strict.

Skirts/dresses were always worn at a mid-calf level. Shorts were worn to just above the knee, no shorter, unless you were a slut.

Then came 1961! 1961 -- the year of the mini-skirt.

Not a mini-skirt as we know them now, but a skirt that was JUST above the knee. Only problem? Schools did not permit you to wear them for classes or extra-curricular activities. If the principal thought your skirt was too short you were made to kneel on the floor. If the hem of the skirt did not touch the floor you were sent home to change your clothes.

Of course, some of the girls learned tricks to get through the "kneel" review. If you leaned forward just the wee little bit, you could get your hem to the floor. The principal was either ignorant of girls posture, or chose to ignore their "leaning."

Since I was sewing my own clothes at the time, it wasn't a problem for me. I figured it was a fad.

Then there were the tops, or blouses as they were called back then. Yes, some were sheer (in other words they were made of organza or some other see-through material. But a proper girl was never without a full slip under her clothing. That's when they made slips with pretty tops, like teddies, today. And you could buy (if you had the money) pretty slips to wear under your see-through blouses. You NEVER, NEVER, NEVER wore just a bra or went braless under a blouse, and especially not a sheer blouse.

So, why am I writing this? Well, I was watching So you Think You Can Dance? I noticed that all the girls had extremely short skirts -- not mini -- in the 60s sense, but micro-mini (is that today's terminology). Skirts that even if you didn't bend over your buttocks showed. And the tops (blouses)? Unbelievable. Skimpy. I suppose they used some sort of glue to hold them in place because obviously they weren't wearing any underwear. And, folks, these were NOT the costumes. I won't even go there.

Now, I'm a prude. I admit it. I recall my mom saying to me and my sister and anyone who would listen ( at the time she was in her late 50s, early 60s), as she was watching something on TV and commenting on either the language or the clothing, that she was become a prude. Well, good for her. And good for me. Somebody needs to put the skids on semi-nudity, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination in public.

I just don't know how girls and young women today can be so blatant about what's under their clothes. In other words, they wear tops that have skinny straps, and if they wear a bra under it, their bra straps show (a definite no-no when I was growing up), which personally, I think looks very slovenly.

So, to review, clothing should be worn mid-calf at least, in the summer, just above the knee is permissible if you are not going to church. And you never wear anything other than a dress or skirt and blouse to church. Funny, I still adhere to those principles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bad things DO happen

I remember one instance -- and my brother Mark will hate me for putting this into a BLOG, but too bad.

My brother, Mark, was attending Philadelphia College of the Bible at the time, so he was in his early 20s. Always the prankster, he wondered what it would be like to write: "This is hold-up" on a bank deposit slip, while he was INSIDE a bank.

He got no further than writing the note and he was seized, handcuffed, interrogated, and all those things you see done to suspects (bad guys) on Dragnet.

It took quite a while for him to explain he wasn't really even thinking about robbing a bank. He was a divinity student. He was studying to be a preacher. Preachers don't rob banks.

Police don't believe students. He spent a few hours sweating that one out, I'll tell you.

I wonder if he has a record?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Prayer meeting -- now days

Alan and I were coming home from Bible Study/Prayer meeting. No problem. We do this every week. However, the problem arises the next morning. I think it's THURSDAY.

You see, for over 60 years of my life Bible Study/Prayer meeting was held on Wednesday night. Why the change? It's all Alan's fault.

He was teaching a series on Psalms at the church he has picked out for us to join, but we still attend the weekly Bible study/prayer meeting for the church we used to attend.

With me so far?

So, to honor Alan in his endeavor as a teacher, and because they knew I wanted to be at Bible study/Prayer meeting with my friends of 35 years, they moved it to Tuesday night.

Don't be under any misconception that the entire church changed its Bible study/prayer meeting just for me. Oh, no. Most people in the church don't even attend anything like that. This was just for the group of "oldies" that have gone to the church for the last 30 years who have met for the last 15 years for prayer and Bible study.

My mind, however, hasn't adjusted. It still thinks that it's Wednesday night. I'm looking for Wednesday night 10 o'clock TV programs, and thinking all the things I have to do tomorrow, Thursday.

I'll get it straightened out. I do every week. But the traditional Wednesday night (mid-week) Bible study/prayer meeting is now on Tuesday. I don't really care. I love it and I won't miss it unless I'm in a real bad way physically.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Percy Crawford

I remember waking each morning and getting ready for school, and at 7:30 a.m., Percy Crawford and his family would come into our kitchen via radio. I listened to him every morning during the week (M-F) until he died when I was a sophomore in high school.

I remember calling a friend of mine, Kathy Kenders, and telling her Percy Crawford had died.

Dr. Crawford had three things going for him: His Pinebrook Bookstore in downtown Philadelphia -- a favorite shopping place of both my mom and my dad. And I "suffered" through many trips to that bookstore when I was a child.

Second, he inaugurated "Youtharama" which was a festival of sorts, held every first and third Saturday of the month in Town Hall, on North Board Street, in Downtown Philadelphia. Youtharama had a lot going for it. It had lively, Christian music, which was played in the "style" of the day, they had the funniest skits, and always ending with a great 15-minute message telling young people how to invite Jesus into their lives.

I remember after one of the Youtharama meetings I went onto the stage and talked to Mrs. Crawford, because I really wanted to know how she played the piano so well without any music. How did she improvise as she did. Her answer? Practice, practice, practice, and listen, listen, listen. After you listen practice what you heard. Back and forth, back and forth, and one day, you'll have it. She was correct of course, but Mr. Prichard (our church musician) was the best teacher for me in improvisation.

The third Percy Crawford had going for him was -- well -- he had four of the most handsome sons you'd ever want to see. Don, Dick, Dan, and Dean. He had a daughter, too, Donna Lee, but she was just a little tike during the time when I was listening to his programs.

The boys all attended Youtharama and, in fact, the older sons were in the musical ensemble. Dan and Dean were too young, I suppose, so they just wandered around the theater (Town Hall) and talked to people who attended. The highlight of one of those evenings was when Dan sat right in front of me. Oh, my. Talk about American Idol!

Percy Crawford and his wife also had a camp near Scranton, PA. I never went there, but I wanted to. Couldn't afford it!

Well, if you want to know more about The Crawfords, there is a website which has pictures and almost all of the music Mrs. Crawford (Ruth) composed. It is:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

After the nap -- THE STORM

I've mentioned storms that I experienced in Runnemede. Well, early this evening, while I was working on my computer, I noticed it was getting dark -- no biggie -- we had a storm earlier in the day, and I figured it was so hot the storms had a chance to refire. Then I heard the dreaded siren warnings.

I looked outdoors and the sky was green -- not a good sign. I asked Alan to turn on one of the local TV channels to see what was going on -- there's no TV in my office. He did, he found out, he turned it back to NASCAR racing. I asked, what's up? He said, there's a tornado indicated in Florence, no worry for us.

I said, "Have you looked outside?" He said, "No, that's what you're for." Not a good start to assuage my fears. I fear tornadoes. What right-minded person doesn't? I've had dreams of tornadoes just missing me since I was a kid in Runnemede.

I remember huddling in the basement during a bad storm and looking up and seeing wind blowing everything down in its path, passing between our house and the house next door. I remember dreaming that same scenario for years and years and years. I'll probably have that dream tonight.

But Alan was unconcerned. So I went to the porch side of the house -- which is where the storms end up, and it was boiling over my daughter's (Cyndi's) house, and I TOLD Alan to "get out here" and "look at that!" Pictures are above for you to see. These pictures taken through a torrential downpour, so the quality isn't as good as I would have liked, but you get the picture.
Alan's response: "That's pretty dark, isn't it?" Then back to his races.

Well, the storm passed and we are fine, and I assume Cyndi is fine. And now it's just hot again. More of the same expected tomorrow. Now, I wish I had gone to visit my sister as planned!


Sunday afternoon fashion show

Now, when I was a child or teenager or any time at all that I lived in Runnemede, I never, ever attended a fashion show, at least I don't think so. The old rememberer doesn't remember well any more.

But today, I attended a community fashion show. It was so much fun. It was after church, the luncheon started at 12:30 and no men were permitted to attend. It was just for the ladies of our community.

I, of course, was NOT a model. They don't make model clothes in my vertically challenged, waist enhanced size, so I just watched while the taller ladies who still have a waist modeled.

There were a few young people (under 45) there, but most of us are in our 60s or older. The models were all in their 70s (or older). When you get over 65, you don't mind telling your age, at least I find that true for the ladies here where we live. Youngsters will lie about their age, but we brag about how long we've survived!

So, I went to this luncheon, on the hottest day of the year. The A/C worked well, and even with a crowd of 52 ladies (in a room that has a fire limit of 53) that's saying a lot.

The clothes were beautiful. I did notice that the XL size tag on one of the items was worn by a size 10 lady, so that tells me that if I bought that XL, which I normally fit into with room to spare, I KNOW it would be too small on me. I mean, come on, she weighs a good 100 pounds fewer than I.

After the show, door prizes were given out. I NEVER win in the door prize drawings. I also NEVER buy any tickets for the door prize drawings, but the ticket for lunch was a ticket for a door prize, and then on the tables they had tags for us to put our names on for another drawing. I didn't win that, either.

I usually am rude and talk to my neighbor during the drawings because I know it will be the same ones that always win. And guess what, it was!

So, I'm home now, getting ready to carry out another family tradition -- a Sunday afternoon name.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who knew?

That The Magnificent Seven (M7) was a movie I had never seen before? I thought I had. I'm sure it was one one my father's faves.

That M7 is a tear-jerker? At least a two hankie movie.

That M7 is a really great cowboy movie that would take up two hours of my Saturday afternoon? Actually, I got something started for dinner, cleared out the dishwasher, greeted one of our neighbors, and had a small chat with her, all after making lunch which I ate while I watched the movie.

That M7 is a love story? At least the tear-jerking part.

That in M7 almost all the heros are killed off? But so are the bad guys.

That there must be a sequel to M7 that I HAVE seen, because I'm sure I've seen M7 before, just not this version that I saw today.

That I would ever recommend that anyone watch M7 at least once? I can't wait to see it again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The attack was on!

Japanese beetles. My mother hated them. Well, what's to love about a Japanese Beetle, except maybe the rainbow of colors on their black wings.

My mother spent lots of time battling those critters. She would go out early in the morning and water her garden (best to water in the evening, but she did it both in a.m. and p.m.), and if she saw the smallest hint of the dreaded JB infestation, she was out there with her spray can -- it was pump thing that held the DDT in a canister on the other end, and she would pump and spray her bushes. And she was religious about this and would pump and spray each day until her roses were clean of that awful bug.

She had a battle with mites as well. But I have to say, my mother's roses were always beautiful. She worked at keeping them that way.

She rarely cut them from the bushes, except for the climbers. I think she preferred to see them in her garden rather than have a rose cut, put in a vase, and then dead in a couple of days. At least dying on the vine, to her was more natural.

I know she would have loved to get a dozen roses from time to time, but not from her garden. Her roses were to be on her bushes and that was that!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Leg wrestling

Short post.

Tonight my granddaughter, Tori, was here and she has three brothers -- who are, shall we say, boys -- all boy. They are pranksters, rough and tumble boys. She reminded me of something that happened when I was growing up in Runnemede.

I was telling her how my brothers and I used to leg wrestle on the living room floor. They never beat me. I knew when they got to a certain size that I would not be able to throw them, and then I would quit. And I did.

But we wrestled until I graduated from high school. I guess by the time Mark became a sophomore in high school we quit that practice.

I know, I know, how unladylike for a young lady to leg wrestle her brothers. I had a reason. I needed to build up my leg strength for gymnastics, and because I did that building, they couldn't throw me.

Arm wrestling? I never could win at that, even though I had good upper body strength again from gymnastics. But not that good.

'Nuf said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More on the Drexlers

When we left off, my grandfather, Charles Drexler, was being born. Now he's getting married. You see I know nothing about his formative years.

He married Bertha Mae Casper on Wednesday evening, November 21, 1906 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace reformed Church, 11th & Huntingdon Sts., Philadelphia. People could call on them at their home after January 5, 1907, at 318 N. Percy St., Philadelphia, PA.

At that time, Louis Drexler, my great-grandfather lived at 824 W. Huntingdon St., Philadelphia. I get all this information from a wedding invitation and return envelope, which my niece Lori so wonderfully sent to me about a year ago. Thanks Lori!

Apparently, they honeymooned in Atlantic City. There is a photo labeled "honeymoon" which has Bertha Mae and Charles in it. I have in my home Bertha Mae's dresser set (brush, mirror, clothing brush -- the comb is missing). The couples bedroom suite is in the possession of my daughter. You see how long things lasted back then. You repaired, you didn't throw away and get a new one. Not that I'm against getting something new, I just think we have lazed into trashing anything that gets shabby or that we tire of. Not a good thing. Not being a good steward of what God has given us. And, I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

I have to say, though, I've had permission to purchase a new couch -- out couch is so bad, it sags and its material is not presentable -- for over three years and I still haven't done that. Why? It's not because I haven't found one that I really, really like. It's because I still think there is use left in the couch. Now, I could send it over to my son and his family or to my daughter, but I'm reluctant at this point to buy anything that costs over $1,000, even a cruise.

Back to the Drexlers.

My father was born at home, as well as his father. He was born on January 31st, 1908, at 3618 Percy Street. He was delivered by Frank D. Harris, MD. My Grandfather, Charles at that time was a PO Clerk, he later went on to be the postmaster of a Philadelphia post office. I don't know which one. My father was named (on this birth certificate) Charles John Drexler, now whether that is correct or not, I don't know. His parents are listed as Charles John Drexler and Bertha May Drexler. Notice the difference in the spelling of "Mae" for the birth certification. All other records we have of Bertha, have her middle name spelled "Mae", not "May." My father's wedding certificate names him as Carl J. Drexler, and his social security card, also names him as Carl John Drexler. So when the switch was made from Charles to Carl, I don't know. It may be a typo on the birth certificate.

I told you about my father's graduation from 8th grade. He did graduate from High School, but I don't know which one. It was one of the Philadelphia public high schools. He then went on to work at The Philadelphia Enquirer and then the Link Belt Company. Then he went to the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania, which became the Philadelphia Bible Institute, which became Philadelphia College of the Bible, which is now Philadelphia Bible University (I think that's what they're calling it). Then he went to Reformed Episcopal Seminary.

My father's first church was in Newport, NJ, then he went to South Philly for a couple of years, before ending up in Runnemede, where he stayed for the rest of his pastoral life.

That's all I have folks. The rest is in the Bible which resides with my daughter. Someday, when I'm at her home, I'll get it out and write up a report.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Grace Bible Institute

Alan was cleaning out the garage today (again and still) and was rummaging through one of the many boxes of printed matter he packed up when we moved 7 years ago. He found something very interesting, at least I think so.

He found a schedule for Grace Bible Institute, Carl Drexler, Dean of the school, for the school year 1990-1991.

The school held it's classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings, from 7-9:30, where students would receive "a three-year course based on the original plan of the Bible School Movement in America. This could was designed especially for busy working people who desired further training for Christian service."

There was no tuition fee. The school was supposed by free-will offerings.

The teachers that year in addition to my father were Herbert Graves, Dr. William King, Paul Mitchell, and Charles Dawson. I wrote a comment about Charlie Dawson in a previous BLOG.

Courses taught that year were: Bible Doctrine (the Church, the Scriptures, Last things); Church History; Bible Synthesis (Nehemiah to Isaiah, Mark, 2 Cor. to 1 Thes., Jeremiah to Obadiah). Bible Introduction (Synthetic and Analytic; Explanatory and Comparative, Typical and Topical), Bible Analysis (Genesis and John); and Personal Evangelism (False Hopes, The procrastinator, The deluded, Special counsel).

Thought you'd want to know these things.


My father's photo album

Because of an e-mail I received from my niece, Lori, I'm continuing with what I know or can figure out from my father's photo album -- that meaning, the photo album devoted to my dad.

The picture is his 8th grade graduation picture. The certificate says he graduated from Grover Cleveland school on January 31, 1923. He would have just turned 15. A little old for an 8th grade graduation, but I think that during the influenza year schools were closed, and because of his mom's death, he didn't return until the next year. That last part is an assumption, not something I know for sure. I do know that schools were closed, my dad told me that. He said he was quarantined for over a month. And because the epidemic was so rampant, most gatherings, including church services, and school classes, were abated until the public health people were certain the epidemic was over.

From the pictures I can tell that he didn't wear "long pants" until he was 7 years old. What can I say, boys wore dresses back then, and I even have a picture of my father that is reminiscent of me and my sister -- he's holding a handbag!

My father's family was mostly grandparents and great grandparents. He had no siblings. His father had only one sister, who had only two children, so there really wasn't much of an extended family. And by the time I came along, the grands and great grands were passed on, and the only ones left were Uncle Harry (see his story in an earlier BLOG), his daughter Alberta (about whom I've also devoted a BLOG), and his son Herb, who I recall seeing three times in my life.

I suspect that my present girth is a gift from the Drexlers. Aunt Kathryn was quite broad, and by the middle of his life, my grandfather had expanded his waist line as well.

My grandfather (Charles Drexler) played tennis. And he was good at it. I have the trophy cup to prove it. It now holds pens and pencils on top of my father's desk in my office. See? I do recycle. And, he was the family photographer -- we get this because we have a picture of him with his tripod taking pictures. He took lots of pictures. I think all the siblings got a bunch of his pictures and when we think of it, we share with each other.

My father, and my brother, Mark, definitely resemble Louis Drexler -- my father's grandfather. And, I love looking at the old pictures and seeing my furniture or my children's furniture in the pictures. We have saved furniture from my father's homes and cherish each piece.

My grandmother, Bertha Mae Casper Drexler, must have loved acting. We have several pictures of her doing skits or acting in a play. And she always looks so happy in her pictures.

The Caspers moved down to the Jersey shore and opened a bath house -- very popular in the early part of the 20th century. They owned a whole block of shore-front real estate. The property was in Seaside Heights, NJ. And if you Google Seaside Heights, history, you can find out a little bit about the Casper Bathing Pavilion. I don't know what happened to that property. I recall dad talking about it back in the 70s when someone died, but that's all I remember about it. There are at least 10 pages of pictures of the visits my dad made to Seaside Heights. I don't recall that he ever took us down there, though. ````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

My grandmother, Bertha, died in the influenza epidemic in 1918 as did the child she was carrying. My father was then moved in with his Aunt Kathryn (Alberta's mother). So, Alberta became his sister, so to speak.

In 1923 my grandfather, Charles, married again. He married Anna Mack. I remember Grandmother Mack. She died when I was 5. I didn't see her too often, but I do recall visiting her in Philadelphia on a couple of occasions. Her sister, Stella, was more active in our family and we all visited Aunt Stella in Philly on several occasions. We'd ride the bus, then the trolley, to get to her home. It was a two-story mansion -- at least that's what I thought about it. But then I was little. I do know it was bigger than our home in Runnemede.

I found my grandfather Drexler's birth certificate. He was born on April 24, 1882 in a house on the SW corner of Hanover and Thompson Streets, Philadelphia, to Louis and Kate Drexler. His father was a dyer. He was delivered by a midwife.

I'm going to stop for now. Information overload, you know? Ask me questions if you have them. I'll try to answer them. My daughter, Rebekah has the family Bible and that would have even more information than my photo album.


Sunday, July 13, 2008


I went through my old BLOGs and looked to see if I had written about my father's affinity for timepieces. I'm sure I did, but I can't find it, so I'll reiterate.

This BLOG came about from a reminder from my niece, Lori, about the clock in our living room. Lori remembered and now that her family has a clock that dings on the quarter hour, she was reminded of my father's clock.

My father had three clocks that I know of. One I received when I moved to Cincinnati in 1975. I doubt my brothers and sister would even remember it. It was black and old and square the case was made out of metal (like in the picture). I recall my father winding that clock -- it sat at one time on the bookcase in the living room, and when it was replaced with the mantle clock which Lori remembers, it was moved to his bedroom and resided on his high-boy. It did the quarter-hour thing, until it broke. I had it fixed once, and it broke again. My son, Phil has it now. I don’t think he’s had it repaired.

The mantle clock that was in the living room, either my sister or my brother (Mark) received. That chimed every quarter hour. And dad was very precise about winding it. He did it exactly at the same time every week. And he would check it against Navy time, and his pocket watch. He was always saying how he could hear it ticking. He couldn’t hear me talking to him, but he could hear it ticking!

Then there was a similar clock that was his father’s and it was over in the church study. Either my sister or my brother (Mark) got that one. I don’t know who has what at this point, except for the one I got back in ’75.

And then my dad liked wind-up clocks -- you know those little ones you used to be able to get at the drug store. He had several of those around the house. He had a pocket watch which he loved to hold to his ear to check his hearing. When he couldn't hear it ticking, he assumed the watch had stopped, when in reality, he just couldn't hear it ticking!
Oh, and does anyone remember the clock in the kitchen that was on the wall beneath the cabinets where mom stored her glassware flanked by dad's pill cabinet?

Then he had a couple of wrist watches. I have one of them in my jewelry box, my son received one when we cleaned out my dad's house, and I believe he had two more. He always bought the best watch available (not Rolex) -- it had to be a wind-up watch. So he preferred Whitnauer wrist watches. When he bought my mom a watch, he got her a Bulova. I just had that watched repaired. Believe it or not there is ONE watchmaker/repairer in Cincinnati. He was amazed that I still had an old Bulova, wind-up watch. He (the jeweler) said everyone is into disposable these days. He's right. I buy a watch and rather than getting a new battery, I pitch it and buy another $2.00 watch.

I think I might have caught my father's watch affinity. I do have several watches -- that I do get new batteries for them periodically because I paid a lot for them when I bought them. I also have a couple of cheapo watches that I wear for everyday. And then there is the watch (engraved) which my husband gave me for a wedding gift, my mom's wrist watch, her pendant watch (it's a wind-up also), and dad's watch. That's it. I don't collect clocks, although there is a clock in every room except the living room and the library. In the bedrooms you have to have alarm clocks, right? And in the kitchen, there is a clock on the microwave, on the stove, on the coffee pot, and ...I guess that's it for the kitchen. In the dining room, I have another clock radio. So there you have it.

I'm as dingy as my daddy -- you gotta love that!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Charles Drexler

My niece, Lori, reminded me that I haven't really written much about my father's family. My father's family hasn't been written about much in these BLOGs because, frankly, I don't know much about them.

Charles John Drexler was my grandfather. I never met him. He died before I was born, but only shortly before I was born.

Here's an interesting fact, though. I have a copy of my father's birth certificate and the name on that birth certificate was "Charles John Drexler" -- same as his father's. But he was always called Carl and when he was married, his marriage certificate has the name "Carl John Drexler" on it. I don't know when the name change came about, and I have no paperwork on whether my father every legally changed his name to Carl, or whether his parents did, or whether he just went by that name because having two people with the same name in the family is confusing.

Anyway, back to Dad's family.

My grandfather Drexler's family came from Germany way back in the early 1800s and they settled in the Reading, Pennsylvania area. If I had the bucks to subscribe to, I might be able to find out more about them. Last summer I was going to search through the records in Utah (which would have been free), but Alan got sick and we skipped Utah altogether. I digress again.

My father didn't talk much about his family. His mother, Bertha Mae Casper died during the influenza epidemic in 1918 -- and she was with child at the time. No one else in the family succumbed to that disease.

Dad's mother (Bertha Mae) and father (Charles) were married in 1906. I have the wedding certificate. Dad was born in 1908.

While we have many pictures of dad's family, we really know very, very little about any of them. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, those words are scant on information about my father's family.

As I think of things about his family, I'll post them on the BLOG.

Goodnight Chet, Goodnight David

Goodbye, Tony.

When I was a teenager and into my early 20s, the Huntley/Brinkley report on Channel 3 in Philadelphia, was the favorite newscast in our house. Dad watched that program as often as he could on the evenings he was home, and so Goodnight Chet, Goodnight David became a familiar saying at our home. Of course, I only saw Huntley and Brinkley in black and white. No color TV in our house -- at least not while I lived there.

Today, I am saddened by the passing of Tony Snow. Of all the newscasters on TV -- past and present -- I liked him best. He had a cheerful way of presenting evening the most gruesome event. He always seemed to be happy.

If you click on today's title, there is a link to an essay/obituary (rather long) about Tony Snow.

Yes, he was conservative -- that gave him extra points in my book, but he was never ashamed to admit it, and he could really go toe-to-toe with any liberal.

I loved watching his White House news briefings when he was the current President Bush's press secretary. He didn't let those news people in the audience get away with anything. He called them down, dressed them out, and always in a good manner and with a smile on his face. Never condescending.

So, Goodbye Tony. I am glad God put you into the news media even if it was only for a short time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stamp collecting

I may have iterated about this before -- does one iterate about or just iterate? My father collected stamps. Not many, but enough that he had a beautiful collection which was passed on to my brother Mark.

He especially loved to collect British stamps, and he had someone that got him the new stamps as they were printed by the British government, and he was also able to get some older, out of print stamps from that same source. I think he liked the way they were printed and the colors that were used by the Brits.

He also had a complete collection of all US stamps from the 1/2 cent stamp up through the 30 cent stamp. That collection included the standard stamps and the special stamps.

I recall being called into his bedroom where one of his desks was housed (the one he used at home was this particular desk -- a beautiful two-tiered cherry desk with a slant front, book case above, three drawer's below). My brother also got the desk. Anyway, he would call me in and encourage me to look at any new stamp he received through the magnifying glass so I could see the fine lines that made up the picture on the stamp.

Most of his stamps were newly issued, he did not like to get stamps that were cancelled -- that means they went through the postal system and were stamped so they couldn't be used again. But, in rare cases when he couldn't get that particular stamp without the cancelling stamp on it, he would purchase the used stamps.

All stamps he purchased were in pristine condition, and he had special tweezers which he used to place them in the pages that held them and to remove them if he wanted to view them through the magnifier. Those pages had slots so the stamps would slide in and you could get probably 20 stamps per page. He received such pleasure out of his collection.

I may be wrong, but I believe it was his father -- Charles Drexler -- that got him started on that hobby.

Such small items and they gave him such great pleasure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Silk vs. polyester

First, thanks to all who come to my BLOG -- last week was a record week with twice as many hits (not page views) as the week before. I am glad that someone is reading this. You might want to also hit on The Fat Lady Singeth -- that's really a diary of what Alan and I are doing from day to day. Some of those epistles are funny, some are not so funny.

Next, is the topic for today.

When I was growing up and had to do my own ironing, none of my clothing contained any polyester. That's why I had to iron everything.

But as I grew (both in age and girth) I found that the only material available for a person of my size was polyester, or cotton and polyester (making it easier to iron, but still requiring ironing), or T-shirt material dyed a different color, but still T-shirt material.

Yesterday, though, I was at Macy's (I remember Macy's from the time when we lived in Brooklyn, and the two white sales I plunged into with 100 other screaming, fighting women) and found a blouse that I absolutely loved. It was silk -- 100 percent silk. I bought it. And I didn't pay and arm and a leg for it either. It was really, really reduced in price.

I recall when I was in my early 20s I had a beautiful silk dress -- my favorite Sunday church dress. It had long sleeves, so I could wear it for three seasons. It was beautiful. Somewhere in our picture archives -- not yet found -- there is a picture of me and Alan standing in front of one of Mom's Christmas trees, and I'm wearing that dress.

So, for all you not-size-zero or size-two women out there. Take heart. There are some clothes that aren't old lady polyester, T-shirt material clothing. You just have to rummage through the sales tables at Macy's!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oh, what a beautiful day!

Remember the song "Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh, what a beautiful day, I've got a wonderful feeling, eventhing's going my way."

Well, I can attest to the first two phrases of that song. Today I am celebrating a beautiful morning, enjoying a beautiful afternoon, and looking forward to a beautiful night. The weather is warmish, but not hot, at least not for me.

I was looking over the pool -- which was quite crowded -- and though, hmmm, I think I'll put on a bathing suit and head down there. Now, I rarely go into the pool. The pool temp has to be in the 80s before I'll jump in. Today wasn't that day. The few ladies of my age who went in to cool of, said the water was very cold. So, I visited until I got hot (about one hour) and came home.

Beautiful days remind me of home. Why? Because as I mentioned before, all I remember are beautiful days. I remember very few rainy, stormy, snowy days. And even those days to me were beautiful. What's more beautiful than a snowy day, when you're cuddled up in a blanket, reading a book or just watching it snow.

Am I the only person in the world who enjoys just watching those little, tiny flakes come out of the sky and float like feathers to the ground, building up so that once we have an inch of snow on the ground some enterprising child can build a snow-man from that?

But, today it won't snow, and I'm not of a mind to just watch the air. There is little wind so even watching the trees won't give me much to watch. No, I'll finish reading my book, and by then it should be dinner time.

So, I'm off to the sun porch to enjoy this beautiful day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Fifth of July 2008

Even though it is not the fourth of July, I can still hear the "bombs bursting in air", so to speak. What a display of fireworks I viewed tonight! Wow! There were three towns going off all at the same time, and these were better than last night.

It so reminded me of the times I sat on my front porch in Runnemede and watched the fireworks that were at the ball field about 8 blocks away. It wasn't that I was too lazy to walk that far. It's just that the view from the porch was just fine and, well, I guess in retrospect, I WAS too lazy to walk down to the ball fields. But, and this is a big "but" I had a nice comfy chair to sit on when I view the fireworks on the porch, whereas if I had gone to the ballfield, I would have had to either stand for the whole extravaganza or I would have had to sit on the cold, hard ground, or lug a blanket to the field and sit on that. So sitting on my front porch had its benefits.

My daughter Becky and her children came over to the house after the picnic and we had hamburgers grilled on the stove, then after supper two of the three children went swimming. Dan decided he would rather play a game with Pop-pop (they played Cat-opoly) than go swimming. He loves playing games with his grandfather!

And shortly after 8 o'clock Becky left for Indiana. It's a shame she didn't stay just a little bit longer. The children would have loved the fireworks. But I understand. Tomorrow is a big day at her church. The whole mission team (that went to Arizona with them) will be in town and there will be a picnic on the grounds, and then her church is having a big fireworks display tomorrow night to celebrate the week of back yard VBS -- they have 12 separated Back Yard Bible Schools going on this week. Becky and her family are very excited about the number of people who wanted to have a Bible School in their yard.

So, I believe for Alan and me, anyway, the 2008 Independence Day celebrations have come to an end. But, we live in Kentucky, and one never knows. This is the land of fireworks!

Family picnic

Nothing to do with Runnemede. We had a family picnic to celebrate the 4th of July, albeit we had it today, the 5th of July, 2008. If you want to know more about what happened, check out I put it on the Fat Lady BLOG today.

Here are some more pictures. David is singing -- he was singing Amazing Grace. A partial group photo -- Becky's family with Rosie in front; and tonight in the pool -- Grace. The water was freezing, but Annie and Grace went swimming for about one hour. Then mom (Becky) decided it was time to head home to Indiana. All in all it was a lovely day.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

Today is the fourth of July, 2008, and it wasn't a day like the Fourths of July that I remember. First, our picnic was cancelled because of rain, or should I say mud. We thought it would be better not to go to a park right after a half-inch or more fell in the morning, and the skies were still threatening to pour more moisture onto the already soggy ground. And sure enough, it did -- rain again, that is.

But tonight --

I was certain that any and all fireworks displays would be cancelled because of the weather. Well, it is foggy, but it's not raining and hasn't rained for at least two hours. So, I guess the surrounding communities decided to go ahead with their annual extravaganzas. From my deck I could see seven different displays (my deck is also known as the porch, sun porch, lanai, patio, outdoor room). What a show!

The trees are getting taller and the shows are getting less easy to observe. I can only see the high, blossoming explosions. When we first moved here, I could see some of the lower displays. But hey, I still get quite a view.

Then I noticed that there were a couple other displays going on in the front of the house and so I opened the blind in the library and was able to watch two other great displays.

I'm still hearing the boom, boom, boom of fireworks, so I know there are more people shooting them off. I live here in KY and a lot of people buy lots of fireworks and have their own little shows, so I also benefit from them -- they've been going on all week. It's been nice to see so many different displays. I especially like the light, airy, lacy, white-light ones. And I also like the ones that sort of implode upon themselves in a whole bunch of colors. You know what I mean?

I just love fireworks. They not only remind me of when I was young, but they do something that makes me just feel happy.

Oh, and did I mention the lightning bugs. They were out and about and I saw them as well. And remembered when I used to collect them and put them in a jar, or (gross) pull off the lighted part of the bug and push it onto my ring finger like it was a diamond. I do remember that lightning bugs had a strange smell, and that must have been because of their little tail light.

And, once again, I told Alan how much I loved where we now live. I really, really love this place!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The fourth of July

If you're up late on the 3rd you will read this ahead of when you're supposed to. However, if you are reading this on the 4th, you are getting it right.

It's late on the 3rd so I figure not too many will read this homage to the 4th of July ahead of when it's supposed to be read.

I have a confession to make. I always cry on the 4th of July. The beginning of a 4th of July parade makes me cry. The fire-engines in the parade make me cry. The veterans as they pass in review make me cry. The sweet, sweet babies in their decorated carriages make me cry. I just am a cry-baby. But I love a 4th of July parade.

Then, there are the fireworks. I always cry at the end of the big celebration -- that last hurrah firework that goes boom, boom, boom, boom, boom -- ad infinitum -- well, it just makes me cry. Maybe I'm crying because the celebration of our nation's birth is over for another year, and I wonder what the next year will hold and will we still have this wonderful country to celebrate next year.

Oh, I didn't think of those types of things when I was a child -- and I cried even back then. Let's face it, I'm a crier.

If you want to see other writings on past 4th of July celebrations, just click on the 4th of July link on the side of the page and it will take you to those ramblings. Happy 4th everyone. Remember what we're celebrating. It's not just a day off from work, or a day to party, the day was set aside to honor our fore-fathers and what they did so that we can have the best country in the entire world. Think about that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Going to bed routine

When I was a child, there was a routine before going to bed. And, I suppose most parents have a routine for putting their child(ren) to bed. I know Alan and I did. But this isn't about Alan's and my routine. This is about my mother's routine. My father was most often not home at bed-time because he was either at a church meeting, or a board meeting, or a Bible School teaching session.

(the picture is not of any family member).

When we were getting ready for bed, of course we had to be washed (bathing was only permitted on Saturday night -- I wrote about that before). If we were dirty we got a thorough cleansing, including the feet and ears and hair. Then we had to brush our teeth. I used to just suck the toothpaste off the toothbrush and call it a day. Then mom would have us kneel beside the bed and say our prayer -- always starting with:

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

The would follow the God blesses -- God bless mommy and daddy, Debby, Markie, Diddle, Aunt Annie, Uncle Joe, Aunt Rita, Uncle Joe, Aunt Francis, Uncle Howard, and God bless the missionaries. Amen.

Noticeably missing from the "God blesses" was the cousins. Hmmm.

I don't recall any stories being read or told to me, but I do recall mom quoting some scripture each evening.

Sometimes the God blesses included one of my friends, but usually I was in a hurry to get between the sheets and get my goodnight kiss and hug from mom. She really did smell good. I remember her smelling of roses. And she was always smiling.

So, I now pray that God will bless those who read this BLOG in some way.

Through the years

I thought you might like to see a montage of pictures of my mother and father -- Rose Sbaraglia Drexler and Carl John Drexler. The black and white was taken in 1938. The one next to that was taken in the late 70s, and the other two were taken in the 80s. The one on the bottom left was taken about two months before my mom died. Enjoy.
Please notice dad's pockets -- the pens? Notice the suspenders? The two pictures on the bottom must have been taken in the summer because he wouldn't be without his jacket if it were winter.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Here's a funny note. Every year my husband writes a letter to each grandchild when it's their birthday. Adam's birthday is tomorrow and Alan wrote him his annual epistle. He was mentioning Adam's heritage and just happened to say that he would be proud how Memom's father pestered a church for over 50 years. I think he meant pastored. We laughed over that mistake. Poor Alan, spelling was never his strong point.

BTW, my father didn't pester his congregation. I think it was just the opposite. The further removed he was from them, the happier he was. He hated conflict, and if something didn't get done, he wasn't about to pester anyone to get it done. Did he pastor? That's a matter of opinion. He did what he had to do to lead his flock. He believed that meant teaching, indoctrinating the people in God's Word until it became so ingrained in them that they were, therefore, pastored. He visited the sick, he gave communion to the sick, he had mom send cards to the ill and infirm, he listened to people as they told him their problems. But pester? I don't think so.

Get the difference?