Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Every year since we moved from New Jersey to the Cincinnati area we have been "blessed" with at least one good snow storm Most years it has been only one. However, the ice-age years of 1977 and 1978 we had several. And, I'm not talking about the snow storms where there is only two inches of snow. I mean the storms that dump at least six inches of the fluffy white stuff.
Monday, January 26, 2009
My daughter-in-law, Amy, who has NEVER been to Runnemede, by the way, recently wrote in her BLOG things she, who is in her 30s, remembers fondly. Things that have already changed in her short married lifetime -- that is in the last 10 years or so.
If I were to think about all the things that have changed in my lifetime the list would bore you all.
And, since I've written about many of those things, here's my most favorite short list.
. A drugstore wherein there was a soda fountain and you could get a glass of coca cola for a nickle.
. Nickle candy bars, penny candy.
. Stockings that were not attached to panties.
. TV with exterior antenna, or with rabbit ears.
. Calculators that cost $150 (yes, that's true) and didn't fit in your pocket, but were digitalized.
. Computers with a max ram of 128K!
. No microwave ovens (boy am I glad they invented them in my lifetime)
. All liquid beverages came in glass bottles. no cans.
. Hawaiian Punch -- do they still make that?
. Store bought cookies that didn't taste like cardboard (before they removed all the transfats)
. School supplies supplied by the school and not the parents
. The introduction of the polio vaccine
. Yearly TB testing in school
. Smallpox vaccinations
. Brownie box cameras that took black and white pictures -- 12 pictures per roll of film. Film? what's that?
. Mothers and doctors only in the delivery room. No dads or other family members allowed!
Technology and medical advances are too numerous to mention, and while I often wish I lived in the late 1800s, when I really think about it, I'm not one who would do well using an outhouse -- been there, done that, and it isn't comfortable. So, I'm thankful for my computer, my ability to print my own photos, BLOG, use my microwave to zap coffee or tea or frozen veggies, and one item I don't have and wish I did -- a crock pot.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I saw Cake Wrecks' title today (Do you know what time it is?) and that reminded me of The Howdy Doody Show, but really that started with: Kids! Do you know time it is? And all the kids shouted back, "It's Howdy Doody Time," at which point the song:
It's Howdy Doody Time
It's Howdy Doody time
Bob Smith says Howdy Doo
and Howdy Doody, too.
Let's give a rousing cheer,
'cause Howdy Doody's here
It's time to start the show,
So kids let's go!
And then the show would be off with Clarabel, the clown, Phinneas T. Bluster, Captain Scuttlebut, Flubberdub, Princess SummerFallWinterSpring, and others.
I was so little then, and mostly I had to watch it at friend's homes because we still didn't have a TV. It came on after school was out, at 4 o'clock, I think. I was about 7 when I first saw the program. And the catchy opening tune was easy to learn. I wanted to go be on the show, but it wasn't a show that was broadcast out of Philadelphia, like Willie the Worm was, so I was never one of the studio kids. And Willie the Worm didn't have children in its audience. That's Willie with Gene Lockhart (old movie actor).
All these shows were puppet shows, along with Punch and Judy and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. We were mesmorized by puppets. Can you imagine today's children being held spellbound by simple hand puppets, or string puppets? I frankly can't. But it would be nice.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
First, the TV thing and school children watching the inauguration address that's been broadcast far and wide, I'm here to tell you that is NOT a new thing. So, I don't understand all the hoopla about that. I mean don't the media know ANY history at all. Don't they even recall watching such events when they were in school, or had the school system gotten so bad that even current history wasn't part of a child's education?
I recall listening to Dwight David Eisenhower's Addresses, both of them, and then I recall WATCHING the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. If I remember correctly, however, it happened on a snow day, but we were scheduled to watch the event in both US history class, and English class. We didn't have TVs in every room back then, but there were a few and they figured most of us would be able to view the historic inauguration (back then all inaugurations were historic) in one of our classes.
So, I recall that after World War II, Mr. Truman was president, but the country was recovering from a war-time economy and the men who returned from that war were buying homes and cars and the country was ready for CHANGE. Sound familiar? Gen. Eisenhower was the Republican selection and the country went wild. After all he was a war hero, the General who initiated D-Day and started us on our way to ending WWII. DDE had charisma and people just loved him. I recall the news people saying that he was the hero who would dig the country out of the mire it was in because of the post-war "recession". He was the media darling back then and there was a lot of hoopla around his inauguration.
The next President who had probably the biggest fanfare I can recall (prior to Pres. Obama) was JFK. He was, after all the first Catholic president. I never could figure out what was so great about that, but apparently it was something to have someone in office that was a religion other than Protestant. And the parade, the speech, and the beautiful wife only added to the aura around his popularity. It was some day, that day, much like today. A long parade, lots of speeches, the media taking up the whole day with nonsensical stories about his life up to that day.
But one thing missing from both those inaugurations: there was no "savior" complex embedded into everything the men said or did. They were, after all, just men, and the electorate realized that. While there was HOPE for CHANGE after these men were placed in office, there was a realization that there would be bumps along the way. And we also knew back then that God was in control (although some Protestants thought the end was near!) and in Him was our hope, our peace, and our salvation.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if people realized that today. Our ONLY salvation is Christ our Lord. Our only PEACE comes through having him as our SAVIOR. With Christ as our SAVIOR we have HOPE for eternity and his glorious return.
I remember so well this old firehouse (that's the building behind all those firemen). This was a place where I first heard Christmas songs that weren't carols. Songs like "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus" and "Rocking around the Christmas Tree" and others of that ilk. They did play the old standbys such as "Silent Night" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", but I really enjoyed the new "songs" as opposed to "hymns". My mom and dad didn't think they were proper because after all they were considered "rock and roll."
So, I would march, walk, trot down to the Pike and just listen to the music as it was played through those speakers at Christmas time.
You can also see the Gulf gas station next door. I wrote about that before. Then right next to that gas station was Second Avenue. We lived two blocks away from the Pike.
You can also see that the new firehouse, that was built on Second Avenue, just down the street from our house, was going to be opened for business soon. I do recall one time my dad running down there because a neighbor's house was on fire and he ran down to pull the alarm which woke up the town's volunteers. Yes, Runnemede is all volunteer fire fighters, but they always did a good job.
I recall one Sunday night, just after church, the sky lit up and we knew there was a big fire. The lumber yard had caught on fire. You can imagine what the result of that fire was. I mean wood burns really well, doesn't it? It was, however, a night that set a fear in me, and I was fearful every time the fire siren went off, calling those volunteers to their job. That fear lasted until well in my teens.
I don't recall what replaced that old fire house. I think it was torn down, but I don't recall what was put in its place. Anyway, just thought you might like to see a little bit of our little town, Runnemede, NJ., as I remember it.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
And I know for your thirty-somethings out there, 1966 was before you were born. So those older NEW albums would be OLD albums for you and the OLD albums would be ANCIENT. But I'm trying to let you know my mindset on those albums in case the subject comes up again.
Well, I was looking through those books today and just looking at the clothing we wore, the clothing my mom and dad wore when they were courting and in their early married life. I had a pair of suspenders which I loved and I wore them for several years and then my sister inherited them. They (the suspenders) are in a lot of those pictures taken of me and my sister in the late '40s, early '50s.
And I was looking at the photos taken in our small house, remembering what each item in the picture was and feeling good about knowing that most of those items -- knick-knacks, books, furniture -- is still around in some other member of the family's home collection dust and having to be dusted just as it was in my mom's house.
My sister reminded me about my mother and how she got my father's attention. My mom would call his name, "Carl" in her normal indoor voice. NOTE: we didn't have indoor and outdoor voices back then, it was all one normal tone. Then she would call "Carl" a little louder, and finally, she would take a deep breath and let it blow, and you could hear her down at the pike. Well, not really, but my dear little mother had one powerful set of lungs and one loud voice when she wanted someone's attention.
It wasn't that my dad didn't want to hear her, because usually until she let is out, he really didn't hear her. Rarely, however, did my mom have to yell for my father's attention. We children? She yelled all the time, maybe not as loudly as I yell, but the only way to get my brothers' attention was to yell -- or as I would put it forcefully speak. Some call it yelling, but I would prefer to say forcefully speak. And she would wag her index finger while she was forcefully speaking to any of us who were misbehaving.
Well, I would rather have had the force speaking than the feeling of a switch from the forsythia bush across my legs. That hurt!
I think a prerequisite for mothers should be lessons in forcefully speaking, as opposed to yelling. To get one's child's attention, you can yank the hair, pull on the ear, hit them upside the head, or forcefully speak.
So folks, when you think I'm yelling, I'm not. I'm just forcefully speaking.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Written on the back of the picture is the date, 1934. Assuming that is the correct date, and what else would one assume(?), that picture was taken two years prior to my mother's and father's wedding. They were married on March 31, 1936.
I don't know why we have so many pictures of the Sbaraglias in front of that window, or in that window but we do. I was looking at the brick work around that window. Not your normal setting for a window. And we know from seeing the pictures of people photographed on the inside of that window that it was a large window. But, once again, I'm chasing another rabbit.
Pictured are (l to r) my mother, Rose; her brother, Joe; and her sister, Anne. So that would be mom, Uncle Joe (Sbaraglia), and Aunt Annie of the photo album fame. Uncle Joe is father to my cousins (still living) Robert, Joan, and Lynn. Aunt Annie has no children of her own, but adopted my cousin Betty Evangelista. Long story there, which is told in an earlier BLOG, and my mom had, well we all know who she and dad had.
But they didn't have any children for almost 7 years after they were married. I was their first child. Apparently the docs told my mom she would never have a baby. Fooled them, didn't she? She had four and after my brother Carl was born she was warned not to have any more. So she didn't. I remember dad sleeping in the attic (that was before my sister and I inherited that space) for several days a month. What did I know about why he was doing that? I thought he was studying, not trying to prevent another child that could kill my mom. Bless his heart.
So, that's the good news for today. Old pictures bring to life old memories. Old memories remind us of our family still here and those gone from us now whom we will see again after we see our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what a day that will be!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I found a few on line, corresponded with them a couple of times, and then lost touch again. It's my own fault, really. I should be more tenacious about keeping in touch with them.
I do correspond sort of frequently with one of my bridesmaids who still lives in New Jersey, but not in Runnemede. Although until she retired last year, she was a teacher in the Runnemede school system. Does that count?
I found a church friend who became a doctor and is now living in Washington, DC and working at a hospital in Northern Virginia. I only write to her on her birthday. She writes back, then I respond, and that's it until the next year.
I've had a couple of friends contact me -- friends from high school -- and I've written back, but that's as far as the contact has gone.
I know God puts people on your heart to pray for, so today must be a day to remember "old friends" in prayer, naming them one by one.
Pray for those friends of years gone by today. You don't know what their needs are, but God does.
Monday, January 12, 2009
My mom was short, she said she was 5'2", but I think she was shorter than that because I was 5'3" (before I shrunk to my now height of 5'1") and I towered over her. But I digress. This is about washday.
Before we got an automatic washer, mom only washed on one day a week, that was Monday. Back in those days we kept our towels for one full week, and got a new washcloth mid-week. That really cuts down on the laundry. Mom changed the beds on Monday and washed the sheets that day as well. Now when I was really little she had a wringer washer and I remember her pushing the clothes through those ringers to get the water out of them so that they weren't so sopping wet when she hung them on the clothes line.
Now here's where her "shortness" comes in. We had saggy clotheslines because mom was short. But, we had poles that had a notch on the end that held up the lines so that the sheets and other things didn't drag on the ground.
I recall standing on the second and third steps off the back porch so that I could hang clothes and help my mom when I was a little girl.
By the time I was 9 or 10 I was hanging along side my mom and using the clothes pole to raise the clothes lines to a height well above the ground.
The clothing smelled so good. I don't care what kind of softener or detergent you use, you don't get that fresh air smell you get when you hang clothing outdoors.
After I married I never hung clothing outdoors because I always had a drier. And now, even if I wanted to hang my sheets outdoors I couldn't because where I live hanging clothing or any items outdoors is verboten!
Be sure to click on the title and watch the "washing day of old".
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I'm not too certain when this picture was taken, but I believe it was taken at my brother, Carl's, home in Williamstown, NJ. The child "hanging" over the top of the swing set is my Cyndi. She was about 7 or 8 in this picture (I'm guessing based on what she's wearing) so that means it was probably around 1980.
The "larger" person in the front is me. I haven't really changed that much, but I dress better now that I can afford something that doesn't come from Goodwill. Next to me is my mother. How frail she looks. And then comes my father. Note the suspenders and the tie. It must have been a really hot day or he would have had on his jacket. I'm surprised he doesn't have a dozen pens in his shirt pocket. He usually did. And next to my father is my sister, Debbie, who still looks just the same as she did then.
I always envied her because she always dressed so beautiful. I always looked frumpy, even when I was a size 5. Yes, folks I was once a size 5 (new size 0). Size 5 was the smallest you could get back when my nickname was "Olive Oyl" not because I looked like Olive Oyl, but because I was built like her. Stick!
Behind me is my brother Carl. He grew to be the tallest of the bunch. My dad was only 5 foot 8 inches, mom was five foot two or less. Next to Carl is Mark, my other brother. The one who hates broccoli.
I don't really remember why we all had this reunion, but I know it wasn't for my parents 50th anniversary, because my Cyndi was a teenager and she would never have been hanging over a swing set.
I suppose we had some reason for a reunion. Perhaps my sister and her family were visiting Jim's family in Delaware and we were visiting my mom, as was my brother, and we were able to get together. I can't imagine, though, my five and my brother's five in the little house on second avenue, all at the same time. But then, I'm remembering less and less as the days go by.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The first one that comes to mind as a dislike is LIVER. Oh, how we ALL hated that stuff. But daddy liked it, so every once in a while, too often for me, mom would make liver. And, we HAD to eat our small (thankfully small) portion. The only way I could get that stuff down was cutting it very, very small and surrounding it with mashed potatoes so that it would slide down without having to chew it (or taste it). Mom, thankfully, wasn't real fond of liver either, and so she told us about the mashed potato trick, and she always made mashed potatoes when we had liver.
The second dislike that comes to my mind is TONGUE. Ewww! While it really does taste sort of like ham, I could never get past those taste buds. The way it felt on my own tongue made me gag, and gag I did with every single bite. Mom wasn't as generous with mashed potatoes when we had tongue, because oddly enough she liked the stuff. And fortunately we had it only once or twice a year.
I don't recall disliking any vegetables except for TURNIPS. Since we depended a lot on what people gave us in the vegetable department, and what we raised, we didn't get many turnips. I think I had to endure that horrible root veggie only once or twice in my life.
I know my brothers and sister weren't overly fond of BEETS, but I loved them. I loved them pickled or hot with lots of butter or in orange sauce. Beets were one of my favorite veggies and my father loved them.
My mother had a knack with LIMA BEANS -- which I really liked -- that I don't have. Her limas were always soft in the middle and the skins were still intact. My limas seen always to be very hard through and through. Maybe it's the beans? Do I over cook them? Do I under cook them? I don't know. I've tried cooking them for a long time and they are still hard as rocks, which would lead me to believe I over cooked them. Then I cooked them for a shorter time, and still they were hard. So, while I like lima beans, we don't eat them very often. Dad liked succotash, and mom saved the left-over limas and then the next night combined it with corn (which we always had on hand because she froze a lot of it in the summer).
Now, to the subject of my nieces, hilariously well written article on BROCCOLI (click on my favorite BLOG list, All Because Two People Fell in Love and read the BLOG entitled "We must keep up the fight"). I know my niece, Lori, gets her dislike of broccoli from her father, my brother, Mark. I'm not sure she's ever even tasted this wonderful veggie. I love broccoli. I don't like it raw, however. My children weren't especially fond of it, but I made it at least once a week when they were growing up. Alan ate it, but wasn't particularly fond of it, so now that it's just the two of us, we don't have it very often.
Growing up, we had broccoli a lot in the summer because people would give to us from their abundance. My mother basically blanched it and served it with butter, salt, and pepper. While I enjoyed it that way, after I was married a friend introduced me to a sauce she used on broccoli and I started putting that on the broccoli all the time. It a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard -- three tablespoons of mayo and 1 tspn of mustard, all mixed together and poured over the broccoli. My own children would tolerate brocolli served that way. I guess the sauce masked the flavor of the broccoli for them. Alan started to enjoy the broccoli after I fixed it that way. Now I even use that sauce for his chicken, and anything else he's not particularly fond of.
In thinking back to when I was a child and when we were fed based on what (1) mom could afford, which wasn't much, and (2) what our generous parishioners handed us, I don't think there was much we all didn't like because I think we knew we were eating what God had given us for that day, whether it was a chicken that mom had to pluck given to us by our neighbor who raised chickens and supplied us with eggs on a daily basis, or whether it was from a neighbor who had an over supply of broccoli in his garden. We ate what we had and enjoyed it or went very, very hungry.
I personally am thankful for the variety we had and especially the way my mom cooked what was given to us and stretched it so that we didn't go hungry. God was good.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Alan is sitting on the end, looking back toward the camera. I am in the lower right of the picture. I am about four months pregnant, and since I wanted to badly to be pregnant, I started wearing maternity clothes as soon as I couldn't button my skirts. Since I was a working lady, and pant-suits weren't permitted in the work place, I had skirts that I had to fit in. And spandex was just the gleam in some inventor's eye at that time.
This must be our Christmas dinner in 1968, because it looks like all the family, sans papa is there. Also in the picture is Alberta and her husband, Harold; my brother Carl and his wife, Linda; and the guy with the sideburns on the right, back, is my brother, Mark.
My sister, Debbie, is at the end, and she too, is pregnant, with Jennie. Now, she tells me that Becky was already born when she was pregnant with Jennie, but I'm too skinny, I think, in this picture for me to be pregnant with Cyndi. I hadn't lost much weight after Becky was born, and bam! I was pregnant with Cyndi. My brother, Carl is in the foregound, right; Aunt Annie is on the right-hand side, back side of the table.
That's our "little" family. Weren't we cute? My mother is holding my youngest brother Carl (Diddle), whose birthday I missed again this year. He was born on January 2, 1949. It was a Sunday. And I've written about that before. To rehash: My mom informed me prior to Sunday school that we would have a new baby before the day was out. She let me feel her belly as she had a contraction. Like an almost-six-year-old cared. I pretended I did. And Dad took us (my sister and other brother, Mark) to church. He preached, while messengers went between the house and church keeping him informed of mom's progress. Actually, it was one messenger, Mrs. Aspling, who was attending her. After church we children were hustled off to people's homes to await the birth. He was born around 1:00 in the afternoon and we were all home by 2:00 p.m.
Anyway, he's probably two or almost two in this picture.
You can see some greenery on top of the bookcase, so it was around Christmas time when this was taken. I recall the incident. Mr. Fisher, a member of the church got a new camera for Christmas and wanted to try it out, so he came over to take the "preacher's family's pictures."
We children weren't very still and I recall it was quit difficult to keep my two brothers still long enough to get a decent picture. So why am I surprised when my younger grandchildren don't want to sit still to have a picture taken?
We are all sitting on THE LOVE SEAT. The LOVE SEAT that has seen more wear and tear in the past 65 plus years than I can remember. My niece Lori, who sent me the picture, asked several questions about the history of the still-in-existence loveseat. Her sister Emily now houses it.
My father's Uncle Orf and Aunt Mary gave the three-piece set (love seat and two chairs) to my mother and father, I'm guessing for Christmas, because I sort of remember it being cold when the furniture arrived. Our old furniture was put in the basement and we used it for a "family" room/playroom for years. Anyway, the seat is made of a mahogany frame (very sturdy) and the material that covers the seat and chair in the picture went the way of four children and was replaced in the early 60s with the covering that now is on the seat -- a sage green material.
You might ask why the material is still in fairly good shape. Well, mom kept it covered and only exposed it when we had company. I always thought it had a baby-poop colored yellow cover on it. Obviously, I was wrong.
One of the chairs in the set had low arms -- arms below where you would normally think arms should be. That's because it was a lady's parlor chair, and they were purposely made that way so that ladies billowy skirts wouldn't either get squished or their hoops wouldn't bounce up exposing all their undies! That particular chair is just out of the picture on the lower right-hand side.
Also in the picture is my dear sister, Debbie -- she's on the left end. I'm squished in between her and my brother Mark. And Mom, the controller, the trying to keep us still enough to get a fairly good picture. She succeeded. This is one of about three of what seemed like a hundred pictures that were taken of us that night. I do remember asking, "Are we through yet?" And being told to "Behave, Judith." Ah, yes, I do remember those things.
The wallpaper gives the illusion that we had high ceilings. We didn't. The house had 8-foot ceilings and the room was very small. On the wall opposite us is the piano, which, of course, you can't see.
On the left as you look at the picture is the Magnavox radio/record player. I can't tell you the hours I spent in front of that non-television watching pictures in my mind of what I was hearing on either the radio or from the recordings.
I think it's no wonder my generation was so prolific in inventions and moving this country (and world) forward in so many areas. We had only our imaginations to motivate us. Today's children, for the most part (Jon & Kate plus 8 an exception) don't get much chance to use their imaginations.
There's a whole world out there yet to be explored by children. Too bad they depend on others (such as cartoon and TV producers) to do that exploring for them.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
We had a great week in Tennessee. The weather cooperated amazingly. We had rain at night and one morning, I think. Today was yucky, but who cares, we checked out and came home and it was sunny by the time we got home.
Becky and her three children (and husband, Quinn, of course), and Phil and Amy and their four children joined us for the week. We sort of had an open-door policy between the condos, unless and until Me-mom (that's me) told the children that Me-mom was feeling pretty bad and could the little ones stay at their own place for a little bit.
I had planned around ten projects, crafts, a play, games, etc., and was only able to complete about half of what I had planned. Well, it turned out okay because instead of my activities, they all went swimming while I rested.
I'll post a supplement to this announcement that I am home again and getting caught up on all that I missed here and abroad this past week. I took my computer, but had no access to the Internet, so I have lots and lots of e-mails to go through, actually 153 NEW ones, and I left about 25 old ones that I was going to read and do something with this past week, but didn't. I had no Internet, so I had no Facebook. So I need to go through all my family members and try to reconstruct what I missed with them this week. And of course, because I had no Internet, I had no BLOGging ability. Bummer.