Monday, January 21, 2013

When I was young - Part 2

As I attended elementary school in the 40s, there wasn't much in the way of communcation except by lines to you techies. And, some people didn't even have them. Bergers had the first one on the street & their's was a party-line where two or more families shared the same phone. Once in a great while, Mr. Berger would come over & tell mom/dad that they had a call. We finally got one & it was a two-party line. You could tell by the sound of the ring if it was yours or someone else. Eventually, we got a private line. At school, we would make arrangements to visit each other or make plans for the weekend. We walked everywhere even to Clementon Park in the summer. There was a trolley line that came right through town but we didn't have any money so we walked...sometimes on the railroad tracks. There was always 6-8 of us both boys & girls. It was about three miles to the park. In winter, we ice-skated in the cow pasture. There were always holes that were never deep so didn't matter if the ice broke. My friend, Mary lived in Stratford across the cow pasture that separated the towns so we cut across that rather than walk all around. If the cows were present, that's what we had to do. The farmer's last name was Rexon. He owned all the land that is now Kennedy Hospital on Laurel Road. During the summer, we used to go to the farm & pick potatoes. He paid us ten cents a basket. If I made forty cents, I was in heaven. Jeannette & I had a terrible time learning math. In those days, you learned by rote so the math problems were always a bummer. Mom would always help us & she had just a Ninth grade education. My basic skills were okay but give me a problem & I would freak out. As I mentioned earlier, being in school during the 40s was also during WW11. We had air raid drills & had to sit under our desks. At home, we had rationing with rationing books so could only buy things at certain times. We didn't have a car so gas wasn't a problem. A lot of families had "Victory Gardens" & we had one also. Dad had gotten laid off from his job so worked for the WPA for awhile & then got hired at Sun Shipyard in Delaware to make ships for the war. At the shipyard, he worked as a welder. On his off time, he made steel bracelets for the three of us.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When I was Young...

Kathi asked me today to discuss more about our youth. So here goes! Growing up, I was the middle child wimp. Adeline was bossy (the oldest) & adventurous. I was too scared to do some of the things she thought about doing. But, was a good follower. Jeannette was too young so it fell on me to help carry out her plans. We had "funerals" & buried my stuff (figures) & when I cried, she called me a baby. As our bedroom was on the second floor, she would take her pillow & blanket & sleep on the slanted roof (weather permitting). I just sat by the window & wrung my hands, sure that she would fall/roll off. It wasn't all bad, though. Sometimes, we actually had fun. As she got older & had friends, she left me behind. In the meantime, I was making my own friends. As I mentioned before, the street was full of kids of every age. In the summertime, we did all the usual kid stuff: games such as marbles, step ball, wire ball, hide-n- seek, jump rope, to name a few. The boys had a tree house in the cow pasture out back & with my friend Helen, would climb it if the boys weren't around. The cow's name was Daisy & we often tried to ride her but she would roll her eyes & move away. Bergers owned the cow & also a couple horses & Mr. Berger would give us rides once in a while. In the evening when he milked Daisy, he would squirt us with her teat. I remember that mom would buy milk from him every once in a while. On Saturday, we went to the matinee at the movies which was about four blocks away. It only cost a dime. But for that, you had the previews, a cartoon, serial (usually The Lone Ranger) & the main feature. Before, the main feature started, there was an intermission. Then the owner would hold a talent show with the audience or some other form of entertainment. Helen & I were in love with the usher. His name was Mario Martamona, a black-haired Italian hunk. Isn't that wild that I still remember his name? Dad was the manager of a local baseball team. The games were held right down the street. I handed out soda to the team. (I also had a crush on one of the team members). One day, a donkey-game was held. Whoever was "up", had to hit the ball, jump on the donkey & hope he would lope around the bases that never happened. But, was hilarious to watch! Time to stop for now.