Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Daddy's Christmas

I pulled this picture off-line, but it is the exact same outside as my father's Magnavox. Apparently, the model name was "The American." These old things are selling now for around $500 whether they work or not. Question: Can you still get tubes to repair them?
The set-up in dad's Magnavox was a little different than this one. The drawer where the record player comes out was actually on the left, and the top was split so that the side that had the record player (the top cubby-hole) lifted up in order to put the records on the spindle. Where you see the record player drawer, was where the speaker was housed. The bottom-left cubby-hole is where he stored his favorite, or the children's favorite records.

I was a small child when my father bought himself a very large Christmas present.

"Rose" he said, "Listen to this."

Well, listen she (and we) did!

Daddy bought himself a Magnavox High Fidelity combination radio/record player in a beautiful mahogany cabinet. Where he got the money for it, I haven't a clue, except he bought it the year his step-mother died. And, I, being too young to understand things such as inheritances just assumed daddy had bought himself a wonderful gift.

But was it so wonderful?

Well, for dad, it was. But, I think one of his purposes was to either drive me (and my mom) nuts, or make us deaf. The deafness certainly has come to pass for me, and before he died himself.

Anyway, this wonderful radio/record player combo was a real boon for our family. I recall listening to "I Love Judy" on Sunday evenings, watching the radio, and visualizing all that was being done and said on that show.

Each evening we would gather for at least one radio show and I and my sister would sit on the floor right in front of the radio and listen to the show, transporting ourselves into the box, and seeing those wonderful programs such as: The Shadow Knows; The Lone Ranger; Sergeant Preston of the Yukon -- those were my favorites.

And the records: Dad signed us up for the Big Jon and Sparky record club and each month we would get a new record which was either a story or a set of songs related to the program. We just loved those records and they were in different colors, not just black.

Dad's Christmas tradition, and here's where the deafness comes in, was to play the Messiah on Christmas morning. He would turn the bass up (or down) to it's fullest., and turn the volume up as far as he could get away with before my mom went over and not-so-gently turned it down. After all, we has four screaming, over-active children in a very small house, who had just opened their Christmas present. More noise we didn't really need.

I suppose dad turned it up so he could hear it over the children's noise. He would announce:
"Listen to this, Rose." Bass turned at full blast, floor shaking, he would sit in his captain's chair by the Magnavox and seem to be in bliss as he shook along with the floor as the music emanated from the record player's speaker.

Of course, the bass on that machine was nothing compared to what came out later in the 20th century, but dad sure did enjoy his Magnavox through the years. And so did we.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cards

I know I keep harping on the same subject. Christmas cards. This will be my last missive this year on this topic.

Well, I didn't get any written again this year, except as I mentioned before the ones to the grandchildren. I don't know how my mother did it. Except to say, as far as I knew, she didn't have arthritis in her hands (or anyplace else for that matter). If she did she never complained about it, except to say, she hated getting old. To that I can relate.

Writing the few cards I did write was not pleasant because of the arthritis in my hands. It's amazing though that keyboarding (typing) doesn't hurt, nor does playing the piano. I wonder why that is? I guess squeezing the hand and the way a pen is held uses different muscles, tendons, and pulls on the bones in a different way. And, oh yes, my dad would be so proud that I'm still using a fountain pen to write out my cards. I do prefer a fountain pen to a ball point or gel pen, but they are hard to find. I have one that is on it's last legs, I'm afraid, and my old Esterbrook is gone for good. Oh, I still have it physically, but the bulb inside into which the ink supplied was siphoned, wore out. I know of no place that replaces just that part of the pen, if it is replaceable at all. And all those extra style points I have for my Esterbrook.

If you don't know what an Esterbrook pen is, Google it, and for those in the family that read this you will remember my father always had an Esterbrook pen in his pocket, and he would, when using it, make a bit ta-doo about removing the cap, and swinging his arm to just so, and with a flourish would begin writing. I can see that so vividly. Dear daddy and his pens. He would have made a great President of the US at a signing ceremony.

I'm wondering, though, did my grands get the cards? Did the USPS do their thing and deliver them in a timely manner? I realize we've had snow almost every day since the beginning of December, and that may have delayed the cards getting to their appointed address on time, but I did mail them at least a week before Christmas.

I suppose in this day and age with IMs, texting, and e-mails -- and even e-mails are passe, aren't they, what with Facebook and Twitter -- getting mail may not be the thrill it was when I was a girl.

I longed for those cards at Christmas time, and birthdays. I was so pleased when daddy would allow me to open one or two of the cards -- the ones addressed to "The Drexler Family", and yes, especially the ones addressed to "Judith Drexler". Even though I never went by that name, all dad's family and former parishioners knew me by that name, thus, I would get cards at Christmas time to that name. If a card happened to come to Judy, or after 5th grade to Judi when I cut out the "th", I was thrilled. And I kept those cards in a special box for a long, long time.

Do children do that today? Do they enjoy getting REAL mail, mail delivered to their door, put in a special box, and affixed with almost a half-dollar's worth of stamps? Maybe when I see the children in a few days, I'll find out.


Friday, December 24, 2010

No cards this year

May 2010
I did not write out cards this year (except to the grands). My hands don't write well anymore and it's a chore to handwrite all those cards. So I just didn't do it.

My mom never missed a year until she was in her late 70s. I'm in my late 60s, does that count? Obviously, I'm not as conscientious as my dear mom.
I was thinking as I was wrapping gifts and trying to tie the ribbons with my two hands, instead of having a child to put his or her finger in place so I could get a tight knot on the ribbon, how I used to love doing that chore for my mother. And I also loved licking the stamps for the cards. Of course, now they have self-stick stamps, which really is a blessing. No more paper cuts on the tongue. And, of course, I loved curling the paper ribbons. I still do love doing that job.

I hope you all have a Blessed Christmas, and that you take time to recall why we have a holiday on December 25 each year. The purpose is to celebrate the birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as a baby, lived among men for 30 plus years, and then was crucified, died, and then rose again, so that we can have eternal life.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Post

New post up on The Fat Lady Singeth. December 9, 2010.