Monday, July 31, 2023

Memories of Moneroeton, PA in late 1940s

 I remember how free it was for us children in the late 1940s/ early 1950s.

Parents would send us out of the house and say not to come back in until the streetlights went on after dinner.  Running everywhere with my friends and climbing trees.

And trying to climb a nearby mountain. (we lived in the Poconos) 

Early elementary school age.  Mom had a new baby. She'd pack me a lunch and off I'd go.  Up the hill, through sheep pastures, always  up up up.  When the sun was overhead, that's when my mom had told me I had to turn around and come back home, So I sat on a rock in the sheep pasture and eat my lunch. Pick buttercups. Then head back home -- getting home about 4 o'clock or a little later. In time to feed the chickens and get ready for supper.  

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Collecting Seashells

I grew up in a family that always collected Sea Shells. 

When we lived in Pennsylvania, we'd drive to the Jersey Shore every few weeks in the summer. On the weekend. Along with thousands of others.  Getting there was a clear shot, but coming home was a traffic jam as all the day trippers (us) and the people who had rented for a week were all driving back home. So, the two hour drive to get there was a three or four hour drive home - two parents and four children. (We lived in Pottstown, just outside of Philadelphia. at that time.)

Side note- When my brother Don was a preschooler, he would wander the shore. Mom could always find him because he wore the tiniest bathing suit there.  Also he kept asking girls and ladies to marry him.  One year we stayed a week across the street from Grace Kelly's family's house in Stone Harbor, NJ. (you know - the one who married the prince of Monaco.) Yes, he asked her to marry him, too. The year she married the prince, my father teased my brother that he should sue for breach of promise. :) 

At that time, the Jersey shore at Ocean City, New Jersey always had large (5 inch or more) clam shells on the beach.  (The other interesting shore thing was the sand crabs we could dig up and let crawl on our hands. Or go beach walking at night and see thousands of them up on the beach crawling around.) Yes, there were also Sand Pipers that we kids would chase and make fly away.

My dad would use these large clam shells as ash trays at home - he smoked Chesterfield cigarettes and no he didn't die of lung cancer - he died after having a heart attack.

Those were the only shells we found in those days at the Jersey shore.  But later, when my parents moved to Florida and I brought my own children there to swim in the bathtub warm water, we found lots of different shells which we collected.  

And now that I live near southern California beaches, I've collected more.  Yes, I still do have one of dad's ashtray clam shells, plus the Florida shells, and here in California I collect beautiful scallop shells plus sand dollars and some other odd ones.  I have them on display on my (gas) fireplace mantle.

Why did my father insist we swim in the ocean instead of the local city pool?  Because in that time Polio was rampant and one of the places people thought you could catch it was in the crowded public pools - so he'd rather protect us by taking that long drive to the shore.  No, I do not remember how our family fit in the car, especially considering the bassinet for baby Marion took up so much space.


Monday, July 10, 2023

life as a writer while working at a day job

 Yes. I was a full time children's librarian and did research and wrote during my generous vacation time. plus raised three children, got one into college and grad school, another into community college, and the third managed one year of college. Oh, and also cared for my mother-in-law who lived with us. And multiple cats and always at least one dog in the house.

 Oh yes, and doing school visits as an author, plus one week of giving 3 programs a day about my books for the Summer Reading Program of the Chicago public library. 

Plus attending grad school during my last years of working as a children's librarian and spending the evenings at grad school 2-week residency (in Vermont) on the computer keeping in touch with my own library branch's summer reading program. 

(my family couldn't figure out why I was tired all the time.)

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Life in the 1950s

Usually our evening meal was meat and potatoes and a vegetable. Sometimes a salad. Dessert was canned fruit and two cookies. Also - we were skinny/ thin. Very few children were fat. We went outside to play and told we could stay out until the streetlights came on. (or we got too cold in the wintertime and wanted to come in to warm up.)  We were thin, but strong because of all this activity. 

We did have ONE TV, but we watched what the parents wanted to watch or what they allowed us to watch. (cartoons on Saturday mornings, of course) 

We all took a bag lunch to school in elementary school. No cafeteria for us - we ate in our classroom. No school cafeteria, no school library, no auditorium. We listened to adventure stories on the radio. And variety shows. The car didn't have a radio. When we went on a car trip, we packed lunch and/or snacks and ate while we were riding in it. (sometimes we read comic books on long trips, ignoring our parent's warnings that reading in the car would ruin our eyes. Because of the bumpiness of the ride.)

As soon as any vaccine was available, my mother made sure we got it.  I still have my smallpox vaccine scar.  We got the first polio vaccines. (for many years everyone collected dimes to donate toward that research.  Dimes because our president in the 1940s, Franklin D. Roosevelt had had polio and the scientific community was determined to eliminate it. 

Friday, July 7, 2023

Adventures with laundry equipment

 I noticed that my dryer couldn't dry my clothes.  After much too long, I opened the dryer door and found the clothing still damp.  Since the air inside the dryer was about 99 percent humid, I stood there for a while fanning inside the dryer to move it out and normal house air in.  Closed the door and 20 minutes later everything was dry.  Hmmmm.

Noticed that the "clogged dryer vent" was lit. (little red light, usually hidden behind my Tide bottle)

So I called the Sears repair department to get them to clean out my vent in my dryer.  The first guy (In Seattle - I also had a choice of calling Chicago - no choice to call my own town) seemed to know who I was and what I wanted, but his computer was wonky so he transferred me to -- INDIA.  Those of you who have tried to work with India call services can guess how well that went.  That man kept saying they'd fix my washer and I kept saying the washer was fine, I only needed the dryer vent cleaned out, so he set  up an appointment for Today (that was fast; that was nice) to have my dryer fixed,  Ho-Kay.

Repair man arrived.  Nope, he doesn't clean out dryer vents, I'd have to call bla, bla, bla.  What?  Who?

He very kindly did the calling himself and got an appointment set up.  I thanked him with a bag of M&Ms.

So, I get a text from the Carpet and Heating Vent cleaners that they'll arrive on Monday.  What? Who?

Evidently that's the right people to do it, because they have a record of doing it for me in 2014. (yes, it looks as if I should have called them before this time to get it cleaned out.)   

So, Monday I will be able to finish my wash with a dryer that can dry things quickly.