Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, encouraging participation, and networking.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Free Music in Gloucester City this Summer

Hosted by Michael Tearson ( renowned counter-culture dj as famous as a rock star in his WMMR days!) Time 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Place: Proprietor's Park, on the Delaware River on King Street at Powell.  

June 27 - Kenn Kweder with Skip Denenberg (Songwriter)
A Tribute to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
Opening Act:  Lost Art

July 11
Swinging Cool Cat
Rock & Roll, Jump, Blues, Jazz and Swing
Opening Act:  Drew Harris from Naked Sun

July 25
Dave Kelly with Bryan Schnell from Tulsa Oklahoma
A Tribute to the sounds of American Southern Rock
Opening Act:  Dave Bakey from Celtic Thunder

August 8
Jon Toulon with Mike Brenner
A Tribute to the Grateful Dead
Opening Act:  Michael Tearson
Broedast Pioneers Hall of Fame with Bill Ferguson

August 22
the Swingz featuring Fan Smith, Jr., Steve Butler, Eric Smith
Opening Act: Sage Lobiano

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Museum of Failure

You may have visited when I was posting on my Museu of the Ordinary Person.  I got up to episode 3, but I have 5 episodes with a shocking reveal at the end and I will resume on a rainy day when nothing else is happening.

But today, I heard on nprp, the bbc broadcast that a Danish Psychologist has opened a so far popular Museum of Failure, to show that behind every success there is failure that had to be overcome and that the person or team experiencing the failure had to persevere beyond it.

He got the idea when he visited the Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia.  

When I get home from the gym and my painting plan, I will look up these museums, I'd love to see what they have!

Happy trails (whether in the woods or the mind)
Jo Ann

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Ukulele Lessons at Collingwood Music Store

I was doing a book/workshop on creativity that asked what thing we had always wanted to do and had never done.

All my life from when I was a child, I had wanted to play a musical instrument.  Also, I had wanted to learn a formal dance practice, and I had!  I studied Graham Technique for nearly 8 years.  I had wanted to write a book and I have written and independently published 3!  Most of all I had wanted to draw and paint and I have a degree in Art and I can draw and paint.  But, I had never learned an instrument.

When my daughter left home, I kept her piano tuned and eventually I thought, "Why not, it's sitting right here in the living room."  So I took lessons for a year and I did like it but I stopped.

For Mother's Day, my daughter bought me a Makala Shark ukulele, so I tried teaching myself but I soon felt it was hopeless, then, I found Collingwood Music Store and saw that they gave lessons.

My teacher, Scott, is marvelous.  He is delighted when you 'get it' kind and supportive when you are struggling, and he has impeccable pacing.  He is a natural and gifted teacher.

Now, I am a three- time award winning teacher, and I taught in the graduate Art Department of the University of the Arts for many years, so I know a good teacher when I see one.  He has a gift!  He makes the lessons so much fun.  I feel encouraged and inspired when I take a lesson.

When you are learning something entirely new and foreign to your existing skills, there is a lot of nervousness, at least for me, so I appreciate lessons with no anxiety.

This week, I am learning "You Are My Sunshine."  Previously I learned 4 chords and how to read the basic notes.  Now we get to the real deal - a song!  I will let you know how I make out. 

And if you, too, have always wanted to learn to play an instrument or if you have one gathering dust and you are finally ready to learn how to play it, I strongly recommend Collingwood Music.

Ted Velykis - Owner
9 Lincon Ave.
Collingswood, NJ 08108 
Music Lessons for all Ages:  Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums, Voice, Violin, Banjo and more!
Also Vinyl LP's, Vintage and Boutique Instruments, Accessories
Buy-Sell-Repair-Special Orders

Friday, June 9, 2017

Things to do - Places to go June with Camden County Historical Society

Dear Members of the Camden County Historical Society--
You are invited to join a Cooper River History Paddle Tour on Tuesday, June 20th 10am-12:30pm. The history paddle tour, based on the book “Along the Cooper: Camden to Haddonfield,” will be led by its co-author Robert Shinn, an officer of the Camden County Historical Society (CCHS). Whilst paddling, the rich history of this region comes alive as Shinn tells the tales of the Cooper. The route, led by experienced UrbanTrekker guides, takes paddlers through the still-viewable underwater remnants of a Victorian garden and a WPA-era swimming pool in Farnham Park and then under the bridges and railroad trestles that supported Camden’s industrial might in its midcentury heyday. Continuing toward the Delaware River backchannel, the juxtaposition of modern investment and poverty in the city is striking, as is the environmental richness and natural beauty leading to the paddle’s conclusion at Pyne Poynt Park.
Urban Trekker will provide canoes, paddles and lifejackets. The fee per person to cover costs is $20 for CCHS members and $30 for non-members. Transportation service for those who bring their own kayak or canoe may be provided for a reduced rate if space is available.
Advanced registration required. Use link below: 
Sign up early as space is limited!
--Bonny Beth Elwell
Library Director

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Glorious Day on the Maurice with Captain Dave

Yesterday, my two Barbara friends and I were gliding down the Maurice River with Captian Dave out of Millville.  No more beautiful Spring day could have been found.  It is a 2 hour round-trip at $15, call in advance to reserve your seat.  Yesterday, we arrived just as a bus of folks from Medford Leas were departing  The boat can fill up as it is very popular.

Naturally, we saw eagles, as well as other river birds, and enjoyed the now familiar sights of the Maurice River Bluffs and the Bercham dyke farm. 

A brisk breeze kept us all cool under the sun, which we haven't seen in a few days, and the day was in every way perfect!  Including a truly delicious lunch at Wildflowers Vegan Restaurant.  I had a back bean burger wrap and the two Barbaras had saitan wraps and all of us agreed they were the best yet and the best wraps we had ever eaten anywhere.  

Now, Saturday June 3rd,  the sun is gone again, but we have the memory of our lovely day to remind us that summer is around the corner.  And this afternoon a friend, and I, are going to the Strawberry Festival at St. Mary's Episcopal Church on White Horse Pike in Haddon Heights.

By the way,  I added two new pictures in the side columns, the little free library at the Mt. Ephraim Clock on Kings Hwy. where I dropped off a couple of books and a cd.  And, the view of Curtin's Wharf where my friend, Gail and I had lunch on Memorial Day - also couldn't have been a lovelier day, breeze off the Delaware, Caribbean live music, a convivial and cheery crowd - everyone in high spirits.  

I am always delighted about the many wonderful things to do and places to go in South Jersey.  I hope you are too, and if not, just read more blog posts and find more things to do and places to go and you will be too!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Friday, May 19, 2017

Upcoming Events received through e-mail - Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield & Glo.Co.Hist.Soc. Archaeology

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Things To Do - MayFest Smithville

In case you don't see the Sunday Courier Post, or if you do see it but missed the ad, Town of Histtoric Smithville is holding its 
MAYFEST - Saturday & Sunday, May 20 and 21st from 10 am to 5 pm.

Over 100 Juried Crafters will display their handiwork, and there will be food, rides, exhibits, and entertainment.

For more information call 609-652-7777 or visit:

Location is 1 North New York Rd., Smithville, Nj 08205
By the way, a follow-up on an unrelated story:  some time past, I believe I posted a story from Collingswooe's town newspaper, the Retrospect, about a South Pacific Islander who found a 1939 Audubon school ring on the beach.  The original owner's family was located.  The original owner had been in World War II which is how the ring got to the South Pacific.  

My father, too, had served in World War II, in the navy.  He had been in both the Pacific and the North Atlantic.  Just before he died, he had been reading a book about the Battle of Tassaferonga, which he had witnessed.  

In the Sunday Courier, there wa a follow up article in which Audubon High School sent a high school class ring to the Islander who had returned the lost ring.  I thought that was very thoughtful of them and a nice ending to that story.  My daughter's Audubon Class ring is in my jewelry box.  My own class ring from Merchantville is long lost.  

I liked this story especially in view of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  My Memorial Day family photo postcards have just been completed by Belia Copy Center, 1047 North Broadway, Woodbury, NJ.  I put my Mothers' Day design in just a bit too late to get them out for Mothers' Day, but I can send them next year.  The Memorial Day cards look wonderful and I am very happy to be able to honor the memory of my Grandfather Lyons (WWI), my father, Joseph Wright (WWII), and to show respect to my brother, Joe(US Marine Corps), who fortunately survived Vietnam and lives peacefully and happily in West Virginia.

To all who answered their country's call, ThankYOu for your Service, and to those who didn't come home, your memory lives on in our hearts!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers' Day at the Riverview Restaurant in Burlington City

Do you remember the Cafe' Galleria in Burlington on the corner of Farnsworth and Pearl.  It had those lovely large windows looking out to the Delaware and Burlington Island and the walls were filled with beautiful paintings.  I loved that place.

Then, it disappeared!  All of my friends and I wondered what happened - such a great location, and a wonderful restaurant and very little competition in Burlington City.....Then we discovered Curtin's Wharf and were happy again.

Today, my friend Gail and I tried Robin's Nest in Mt. Holly first, but they had buffet in a tent, one of those event tents, and it was     c o l d out there today, so I said no.  And we tried out luck at Curtin's Whart - not opened until May 21st.  Why would you not open for Mother's Day, surely a very profitable day or restaurants as we moms are supposed to be released from kitchen duty.  Oh well, we drove over to where the Cafe' Galleria used to be to ees if the new restaurant was open yet and VOILA! it was. 

The only seating still available was on the patio, but by then it had warmed considerably, 65 degrees by my phone and there was a lively breeze off the river and a lovely view, so we were happy.
Gail had Juevos rancheros, and I had creamed oasted cauliflower soup with a nice spring salad and a lemon grass tea.  The soup was delicious!  The salad was a little too much greens and not enough other kinds of salad goodies.  If you are going for a spring salad, some strawberries would be nice, or grated carrots, but it was good and healthful.  

Gail found her jeuvos's rancheros overcooked.  The eggs were hard and it was too much potatoes and hardly any black beans.  But those few minor complaints aside, the music was delightful, a mellow selection of standards in jazz of the Billy Holiday variety mixed with some soul and R & B, very smooth and calming and conducive to thinking about old times and old loves.

The big excitement came when a very assertive breeze carried off one of the large red umbrellas and sailed it like a tethered space shape over the fountain, barely missing two daughters and their mom.  Soon, though, the other umbrellas were closed and the crashed plane umbrella was righted and closed and all was safe on the patio again.

I am so glad that the restaurant opened there in that lovely location and I wish them the best of luck.  I would definitely go there again to have lunch and I will recommend it to my friends, too.

We drove home in the late afternoon sun, and took a detour to Knight Park for a walk, a quiet sit on a bench by the pond, and then headed home.  

My daughter had sent me a pretty little Honolulu bay blue ukulele for Mother's day which was a thrill!  I was happy to find that Black Horse Pike Music Store was still open and operating yesterday so I could buy a tuning helper.  The proprietor tuned the uke for me and with the help of a few internet sites of ukulele for beginners, I gave it my first one hour practice.  

She sent me that gift after I mentioned that I had answered a question in a creativity book about what one thing I had always wanted to do and had never done.  I had always wanted to play a musical instrument.  The piano was too hard (for me) and the harmonica gave me sore lips.  The guitar gave me sore finger tips.  I was hoping the Luke would be friendlier to a slacker with tender fingers  I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy Mother's Day!  Hope your day was as good as mine or better!

Jo Ann

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mothers' Day 2017

The gift of a mother's love and care has been celebrated since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  In medieval England, a Sunday in May was given as a holiday so people could go home and visit their mothers.  It was called Mothering Sunday.

In America, Anna Jarvis' mother died in 1905 and Anna worked to create a holiday in America to thank mothers for all they do.  On the anniversary of her mother's death, Anna arranged for living mothers to be given a pink carnation, a white carnation was given for those who had lost their mothers.  She then worked to get the government to pass a bill to make it an official holiday, which President Wilson did in 1914.  For Jarvis the point was to get young people to write a letter to their mothers thanking them for all they had done for them.  But commercialization soon took over and the handwritten thank you letter was replaced by flowers and cards.

In fact, Mother's Day is the biggest day, in the U.S.,  for florists and the phone company!

Personally, whatever acknowledgement I get from my daughter is dearly appreciated, and she does many things to help me.  She just texted me that she has bought me a ukulele which I mentioned to her that I would like to learn to play.  More on that when it comes - I'll post an update on ukuleles and my progress.

Meanwhile I want to remember my mother, Mary Lavinia Wright, who was a gentle, loving, gracious woman, unfailingly kind and devoted to her family.  She died in December 2000 and left a wound in this family that can never be healed even by time.  My mother bought me blooks on every holiday because she knew I loved to read, and she sewed me lovely clothes with her tremendous skill.  She was not only a fine seamstress, she was a wonderful cook, baker, and she loved to paint.  I have one of her landscapes from West Virginia hanging in my den.  My mother loved to play the piano, and the organ, both of which were supplied to her by my father who appreciated all that my mother did to make a beautiful home for us and he supported her efforts.

My mother also found time to volunteer for the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and for her church, the Episcopalian church.  She was a good friend to all and a popular neighbor.  One of my fondest memories of our life in Maple Shade was when the other mothers would gather in my mother's dining room for coffee after the husbands and kids were off to school.  The Bond Bread Man, Steve, would drop in for a cup of coffee from Mom's large silver percolator, and she would buy donuts.  All the ladies would sit around drinking coffee, eating donuts, smoking their cigarettes and sharing their life and experience stories with one another.  They would be in their housecoats with their hair in pin curls wrapped in scarves, and I loved to stay home from school sick, so I could hide out of sight but not out of hearing of this view of the grown up world.  

My mother also loved to can and preserve the fruits and vegetable my father and she grew in our large kitchen garden in the back.  When they moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey, they threw themselves into gardening.  The main thing I remember about them was how happy they were.  They were so young and beautiful, and grateful for their many blessings.  My father had survived the War, and my mother had the home of her dreams.  

I was lucky to have such a wonderful mother, an inspiration and a consolation.  Also, I would have to say that in my own life of many adventures and accomplishments, my greatest achievement was having and raising my own daughter who has always been the true love of my life.  I had a great mother, and I strove always to be a good mother.  If the health, beauty, and goodness of my own daughter is any proof, I succeeded.  

It isn't easy to be a mother.  You start off at the very beginning learning how much of yourself you have to sacrifice.  You have to put someone else's needs always ahead of your own beginning with getting up in the night to feed the baby when you want to sleep, and changing the diapers, and staying home when you want to go out, but you learn soon enough that the sacrifices are small compared to the love that you give and the love that you get from that child and the fun and joy you get from sharing their childhood, when your own childhood has been left so far behind in time that you have forgotten the beauty of it.  What an adventure enjoying the years as your child grows up to be an adult.

So, I am grateful for the mother I had, and grateful that I had the opportunity to be a mother!  To all the mothers - Happy Mother's Day and to all who had a mother - remember her today!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

The Best of.......

Annually the Courier Post runs a "Best of South Jersey" survey and prints the results.  This is an invaluable tool, not only for finding out where you can get something done, or buy something, or eat, but where your neighbors think they have gotten the best service, help, health care, and so on.

Often in early years after retirement, my friends would ask me how I know about "these things" "these places" "these events" and how I know is mostly from local newspapers such as the Retrospect, the Gloucester City News, or the big one, The Courier Post.  Many of my friends have very streamlined homes and lives and don't want to be bothered with the detritus of newspapers, magazines, or pamphlets, but I am a print voracious person with a comfortably lived in bungalow and I can manage with a little clutter.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a hoarder, but we do have weekly recycle pick-up so I can take the newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, and read them, pass them on or recycle them.

Several of my favorite places made the South Jersey Best lists:  Belia's Copy Center (where I get my postcards printed, among other things), Maritsa's (one of my favorite luncheon places) and for many years, my veterinarian made the Best of list:  Dr. Sheehen in Fairview section of Camden.  

Here are some categories I would like to add, and the reasons:
Best local park to walk in:  Knight Park in Collingwood
(it is paved, a veritable arbor museum of large old and beautiful trees and it has new clean bathrooms)

Best Historic House to visit: James and Ann Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ (reasons:  gorgeous house and park with paved walked trails, picnic shelters, and many great events such as the October Re-Enactment of the Battle of Red Bank of 1775)  I have a runner-up:  Pomona Hall, Camden County Historical Society, Camden, Nj (reason:  beautiful house, interesting history and excellent museum about Camden County History, PLUS a genealogical research library and Bonny Beth Elwell, a wonderful young historian and genealogist.

Best History Lecture Series:  Corson Poley Center of Burlington County Historical Center, Burlington City, NJ  (reason:  when I think back on the most interesting lectures I have heard I always come back to the monthly lectures at Corson Poley Center where I just heard the lecture on Pirates last Sunday

Best Book Store/Coffee Shop:  Bogarts in Millville (reason:  really good music, free, lots of books and good coffee and tables to enjoy it.)

Best Garden Plants:  Platt's Farm in Mickleton, either Democrat Road or Harmony, you can look it up on your computer, (They have everything!  And competitive prices)

Best auto mechanic:  Rob's Auto Mechanic Shop, corner of Market and Green, Mt. Ephraim, NJ (reason:  I have always found Rob to be kind, talented, and fair.  His work is excellent and very reasonable, and as a woman, honesty is important to me - I have a fair understanding of auto mechanics, but who can understand the engines of this century with the computerized and sensor technology.  I trust Rob and have had good, fast, inexpensive service from him every since he opened his shop.)

Best Vegetable and Honey Market:  Verccio's, Brooklawn Circle (I drink herbal tea and thus use a lot of honey - Verccip's is local honey, inexpensive and the widest array of vegetables and fruits I have ever seen - also seasonal and holiday plants and cut flower bouquets at very reasonable prices!)

Best Road Side Markets:  Red Top and Green Top on Route 70 near Marlton, Medford, Shamong area (reason:  I pass them on the way to Pakim Pond and always stop to buy apples or fruits and plants and to gaze upon the beauty of the plant displays - abundance!)

Best Fast Salad Lunch:  SaladWorks in Collingswood (reason:  for $9 you can get a big salad with 5 toppings, or soup and salad and a delicious hot whole wheat roll and the staff are always friendly and polite and helpful.  If you are health conscious, you want to go there for lunch!)

Best Art Lessons/Gallery/Gift Shop:  Main Street Art in Maple 
Shade where you can book a "Sip and Paint" experience or an Art Party for child or adult, and take lessons or buy interesting hand-made gifts for an upcoming birthday, or Christmas)

Best Dog Park:  Timber Creek, off Chews Landing Road in Blackwood (reason:  old Slim's horse back ranch - great woodland trail that was the old horseback riding trail, varied scenery along Tomber Creek and a lovely little pond for our dog to frolic in, bathrooms, picnic table and a nice nasture to walk around or the leashless fenced in park which can get muddy in season)

I will add more later and I haven't forgetten to add my list of really old trees, But it's time to get ready for the gym!  Also, I will finish my Museum of the Ordinary Person tale one of these days.  I promise!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gardening and our State

Admittedly, I was a city girl with no experience of gardening when I  bought my house 31 years ago.  Over the years, however, I have planted no less than 250 shrubs and trees. 

My yard is relatively large, my house being over 70 years old and built before tract housing came to New Jersey.  I don't know feet and yards, but my backyard borders the substantial yards of three other properties.

My property is pie shaped, so at the front, I have only a dozen sidewalk squares and a driveway, but we expand out in the back like a fan shape. 

Over the years I have come to deeply love my yard and the residents thereof, the old trees, the wild roses on the back fence, the wild flowers that bloom in the grass, white ones, buttercups and dandelions, are all welcome to visit me.  And to feed the neighbors, squirrels, opossums, birds of many kinds, and rabbits.  

Most of my planting originally came from holidays, the Mother's Day azaleas, the root ball Christmas trees we always bought, my daughter and I, until I got too old and tired to dig the holes and haul out the heavy trees after Christmas was over, and had to go to an artificial tree, which is an Appalachian styled tree I bought in West Virginia.  I could never go for cut trees, a beautiful healthy young tree killed for a week in a holiday.  

Anyhow,  one day, on NPR, I heard a great garden show and mention of the concept of Permaculture.  I bought a book about it and it got me to thinking about the ways we can live in harmony with our natural world.  Now, my yard is a natural yard in the sense that I have lots of trees, shade, little grass in front, and patches in the back, but I didn't know enough to think of planting native species when I did my plantings.  I got lucky in one way, I have always loved holly bushes, and they are both native to New Jersey (see Elizabeth White of Whitesbog and her career in holly culture) and happy with our sandy soil.  I have half a dozen in my yard.

One way that I got unlucky was that I planted ivy to fix a mud pit in one section of the yard beneath a big old tree.  The ivy, like the British Empire, spread to all parts of the yard, and one summer, several years ago, I spent $600 getting it pulled out.  It is an invasive species.  It did however fix the mud pit, and now I keep it trimmed back.

This past weekend, one of my friends was volunteering at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance Annual Native Plant Sale, which sold out the first day leaving many disgruntled shoppers with nothing to buy.  It is encouraging to think that native species are becoming more popular and that people are thinking that way.

I have had many disagreements with friends who cut down their trees to dispense with leaf raking in fall, and who poison dandelions.  How could anyone look down into that hopeful and radiant little yellow face and poison it?  I don't know, but then I am not and never have been a fan of what I think of as the boring golf course style lawn - give me the wild and free and diverse!

Speaking of gardens and trees however got me to thinking of South Jersey's oldest arboreal citizens, which of course makes me think of the Salem Oak which I have visited many times.  I copied information on other largest and oldest trees in South Jersey, and tomorrow when I have more time I will post what I copied.  

My e-mail is     wrightj45@yahoo.com   if you want to contact me to talk about old trees, gardening or any of my other posts.

I've got to go now - heading out to dinner with a friend for her birthday, and to an Art show at the JCC in Cherry Hill in which a friend of hers has work on display.  Tell you about it later - 

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, May 7, 2017

America's Pirates and Their Hidden Treasure, Lee Ireland

Today, Barb Solem and I attended Lee Ireland's lecture on Pirates in the New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland waterways.

It was both informative and entertaining. I bought Mr. Ireland's book published at his own publishing company.  

I did not know that treasure was buried all along the coast and particularly along Long Island!  Another interesting fact, as recently as 1992, gold coins were found at Cape May and that a pirate ship, Blackbeard's,  was recently found off the coast of North Carolina!

The author described the difference between pirates and privateers.
Pirates were unsanctioned robbers, privateers had letters of marque authorizing them to prey on ships of enemy countries.  

My friend, Barbara Solem, had written a book around 2002 on a related subject, The Forks.  The Forks is the waterway at the junction of the Mullica and Batsto rivers if my memory serves me correctly.  There, a buy Colonial era shipbuilding and privateering enterprise went on until the British raided and burned Chestnut Neck.  

The privateers liked the New Jersey rivers because they led off the Atlantic inland through circuitous routes where the British war ships couldn't find them or follow them.  

Also, if I remember correctly, Benedict Arnold's beginnings of rancor and betrayal began when his profitable load of goods from his privately invested privateer ship were about to be looted by the British attack on the Forks.  He used army men, carts and horses to bring his loot to safety, thereby earning a severe sanction from his superiors for using military resources for private profit.  Apparently he was having trouble finding the money to court his young finance'  Peggy Shippen in the style to which her wealthy family had raised her.  

Lots of fascinating and surprising history in the Pines, in the pine where the un barely shines.

On another topic, the entrepreneur who started the Dark Net business called the Silk Road, which old drugs and guns and other illegal materials was recently captured after he attempted to hire a killer to assassinate a client who had robbed the Silk Road.  This young man who developed this illegal business called himself "Dread Pirate Roberts!"

In my next post, some upcoming events at Vincentown.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Great Site and contact info for me.

If you want to contact me, my e-mail is

A really great site for my fellow hikers, and walkers is   https://southjerseytrails.org

I have found great tips there for places to go and additional information about places I already go, so if you are looking for fine photographs and useful information on places to hike, I strongly suggest you visit this most excellent site.

A Happy tale of Small Town Libing - We get a citation!

Last night a policeman knocked on my door and asked for my daughter  I explained that she didn't live here any more and was residing in New York and asked if I could help.

He told me our town was giving my daughter a merit citation for her part in helping to save a neighbor's house from burning down at Easter.

We were walking the dogs around the corner when my daughter called out, "Mom, look, a chair is ablaze on Krauss's porch!"  I looked up and sure enough, the wicker furniture on my neighbor's house was burning in a regular bonfire.  

The flames were peeling the ceiling off the porch and had in seconds gone from one chair to the whole set ablaze!

I noticed a window open and the car in the drive-way, so I rushed up to the door and banged on it, ringing the bell and calling out to see if anyone was at home, possibly sleeping late.  It was about 10:00 am.  No one answered so while my daughter called 911 and gave the report, I ran to the neighbors.

One man, Mark, came out with a fire extinguisher, and another from across the street, with the assistance of a woman from another house across the street, found the hose and turned it on.  Between the hose and the fire extinguisher, by the time the fire truck came, the blaze was out.  The firemen checked the house in case the fire had gone in through the window that had broken out from the heat, or in case it had gotten into the porch roof.  

The Policeman at my door had been the first responder.  They arrived just a couple of minutes after my daughter's call.  

Just last year, in March, my sister's house had burned to the ground because the fire got into the roof and walls where the hoses couldn't get to it, so I knew how lucky it was that we happened to be passing at just that moment, in time to save the house.

As it happens, it was Mrs. Krauss who had called me on the phone at school, 31 years ago to tell me about a cute house around the corner where she could just picture me and my (then) little girl.  I went over at lunch, with the help of a friend who had a car, and got the phone number of the Realtor and made an offer, full price and points!  The rest is history. 

I have lived here all those years in peace and harmony and I can honestly say I LOVE this town!  Mt. Ephraim is a wonderful small town with kind and helpful neighbors (at least on my street for sure) and it is an honor for me to go to Borough Hall and receive the citation for my daughter.  I am so glad she saw the fire and made the call and we could save the home of the people who made it possible for us to live in this great small town for all these years.  I hope I can stay here for the rest of my life..

More things to do and places to go - May 2017

The Farmers' Markets are opening again!  On Saturday May 6, the Collingwood Farmers' Market will hold its annual ribbon cutting to announce the opening at 8:00 a.m. 

It is held on Atlantic Avenue along the Collingwood PATCO Hi-Speedline.  It opens eery Saturday through November from 8 to noon.  There are special events you can attend by signing up at collingswoodmarket.com (I've never done this so I can't vouch for the link or the activities, but I can tell you the Farmer Market is a fun place to shop and to have brunch or breakfast, or early lunch.  There is usually music by the crepes concession.

I noticed that the Haddon Heights Farmers' Market is also opening in May and is held on Sundays as well, in the area beside the train station and tracks down Station Avenue.

Here is a sweet one:  The Delaware and Susquehanna Model Railroad will have the Haddon Heights passenger station open and their HO scale train running.  The West Jersey National RR Historical Society will show train videos at Town Hall and the library will show chid friendly train videos.  Free Trolley rides from 10:30 to 1:30 and the town cafes and restaurants are open.  The Pine Barons Barbershop Chorus will stroll and sing for you.  Sounds like a fun day, Saturday, May 13th!  You know I LOVE Model Railroads!

All aboard!
Hope to see you there!  Happy Trails - Jo Ann

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Jury Duty in Camden

Yesterday, I served one day, eight hours of Jury Duty service in Maria Greenwald Criminal Justice Court in Camden, New Jersey. 

Somehow, I and the lady I met in the parking lot, Barbara, have been called up every 3 years of our adult lives.  Many of the other people with whom I spoke, in particular April and Monique had the same experience.  We concluded it was because we vote in every election and because we have driver's licenses and keep our registration in order.  None of us wanted to serve.  For most of us it was both an inconvenience and a physical ordeal.

Alice has degenerative hips, I have degenerative spine, so sitting for such long periods is painful for us.  Barbara works for a small doctor's office and being away put a burden on the rest of the staff, the doctor, and the patients.  I am sure everyone there had similar feelings and I could hear grumbling when we moved from place to place throughout the building.

By the way,  Maria Greenwald was the first woman surrogate in Camden County, and there is a park named for her in Cherry Hill, too.  

My other problem is eyesight, so I missed my turn off after route 130 and then the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, onto Martin Luther King Boulevard, and floundered a block or two until I found a crossing guard who helped me get back across a little highway bridge into Camden, then my memories of the basic layout helped me find MLK again.  I went to college at Rutger's The State University for 2 or 3 years in the 1980's, and I was familiar with Cooper Street, MLK Boulevard, and Broadway, the main streets.  

I found the parking lot and met Barbara during a brief downpour.  I had seen a huge bank of black clouds over the Delaware as I was parking, but fortunately, my cluttered car always contains an umbrella or two, and hats, gloves, extra shoes, socks, and other necessaries.  We took the shuttle to the Greenwald Court building and went to the room that housed the jury pool.

I had left an hour early, but having gotten lost, I got there just exactly on time, 8:15.  The first jury room was already packed, no empty seats, and we were directed to room 2.  We were told that juries were being picked for 5 cases, 14 people for each.  First call was for 75 people and MOnique's number got called, next call was for 125 and Barbara's number was called  I was one of the last to be called for the third panel for a criminal case.

I reported to jury room 56 and had Judge Schweitzer, presiding.  I remember her name because of Albert Schweitzer.  We all filled out a lengthy questioner and read two pages of instructions.  Then we were called one at a time up to the judge, where the two lawyers were standing.  I had answered two or three questions one of which was whether I had served on any other trials.  I had served on two both of them traffic accidents.  The judge asked if I thought justice had been properly served on both and I said on one it had, and on one not so much.  She asked for details.

"On my second trial, a pretty young nurse had run a stop sign driving to an emergency for a diabetic.  She had her two children in the car.  She had hit broadside, and elderly woman on her way home from a bakery.  The elderly woman had the right-of-way, on a large boulevard.  It seemed clear to me that though the pretty nurse was doing a kind deed, she had broken the law by running the stop sign, but we had to distribute percentage of blame and responsibility.  I thought the elderly woman had no blame, but there was a man who was charismatic and won the other jurors over to his side and finally, I had to capitulate as we had been there till 4:00 on a Friday and everyone wanted to go home.

The judge asked if I thought this would influence my participation, and I said that more so, would be the severe pain I experience with my back problem and sitting upright for hours a day, which would be distracting in the extreme.  She excused me.  The officer had told me that after the 14 are chosen and seated, the lawyers can excuse any juror they don't like and then the election goes on to replace that juror.  

Needless to say I can't discuss the case I was called up for because we were instructed not to.

But, I had to report back to the jury pool in case I was needed for another case.   I went outside for a breath of fresh air while we were on lunch break and met April   We sat and talked for a time.  She was in pain too, about my age, but with hip problems.  As she was main babysitter for her daughters children it was a big problem for them.  She was very nice, also a retired teacher.  We noticed many tv trucks outside the building and wondered what was going on.

Back in the jury pool, I met up with Barbara and Monique, but Monique got called up again.  Barbara and I sat there until 4:00!  People were picked all around us even up to 3:30.  I felt sorry for those people who slumped out of the room like the dead being condemned to purgatory.

When I got home, I called a friend and she told me the tv people were there because of a tabloid case where a man murdered his toddler son so he could stay with a teenage girlfriend he had been seeing after his divorce.  The teenage girl didn't like that he had a little boy.  He reported the boy missing but the child's body was found near Cooper River, and the father was the main suspect.  All he had to do was give up custody, but I guess he was too bitter to give his wife the satisfaction, so he murdered that little child who loved and trusted him.  Although, of course, innocent until proven guilty.

I am glad I didn't get on that case, or for that matter any case!  I am going to ask my doctor's for notes when I have my next appointments in case I get called up again in 3 years!  I am glad I have always done my duty, but I HATE jury duty!  And I think I should have been able to opt out for age.  I think if you can retire from everything else, you should be able to retire from jury duty when you have done your duty so many times and are older.  Of course, we are just the people who probably make the best jurors, because of maturity, experience, and judgement.

Well, it is all over now and probably my last time doing it.  My back was screaming at me by noon, by 3:30, I was in abject misery.  Fortunately the jury pool room had better chairs.  But that was just too many hours upright for my spine.  I have desiccated disk disease and both a herniated disk and stenosis.  That alone should get me out.  My back doesn't hurt if I get on a recliner after half a day.  It is hours upright that count.

The jury system is as old as ancient Greece but has its roots in ancient Germanic, Anglo Saxon tribal traditions whereby eight to a dozen villagers were chosen to investigate as well as to judge in a case.  It even goes back to ancient Greece.  What I thought was interesting when I did some research was that in the Middle Ages, in Glasgow Scotland, it was decided that  dozen was too many for honest neutrality, and a number that could likely lead to being swayed by a charismatic member, and that seven was more likely to retain integrity of the members.

Now that I think of it, I bet the reason they kept us so long and had so much trouble filling that last jury, the one Monique got called for the 3rd time to, was they were filling the one for the father who killed the toddler.  That would be a long long case, and a terrible one.  My case would have been 3 days this week and 2 next week!

Life in Camden County!
Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Monday, May 1, 2017

Photography and New Jersey

Perhaps the most famous photographer (and you can argue with me about this if you like) who was born in New Jersey was Dorothea Lange.  She was born in Hoboken on May 26, 1895.  And it is also arguable (I guess) that her Depression Era photographs made her most famous.  She worked for the Farm Security Administration which was also responsible for saving images of many historic places across the nation, and, especially important to me, in New Jersey.

So my post today was inspired by an article about another famous New Jersey Photographer, of whom, I am embarrassed to say, I hadn't heard until I read the article, despite my Art education background and lifelong interest in photography.  

The Sunday Courier Post ran an article and samples of the work of Irving Penn, born in Plainfield, NJ in 1917.  His work is being shown in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through July 30, 2017.  He made his mark mainly through fashion photography but used his success to fund his experiments in more aesthetic art photography in contrast with his commercial work.

One of my favorite photographers in New Jersey today is Albert Horner who has taken simply magical photographs of my favorite place in New Jersey, (my favorite state) - the Pine Barrens.  You can find his work on-line.

If you take photographs, you might enjoy sending them to be shown on the SHOW US YOUR SOUTH JERSEY page of the Sunday Courier Post.  This Sunday, April 30, 2017, it was on page 15C.  Some are so beautiful, I cut them out and paste them in my giant Sketch pad journals.  Some of my favorite photographers in this section of the Sunday paper, have been hollyferret, oskhernandez, memorieslostintime, and andrealaing - their on-line names.  
If you have some gems on your phone that you might like to share with the world, The Courier suggests you post your phone photos to Instagram #SJshowus.  So if you have some beauties, you might want to send them in and try it out, if you know how to use Instagram - can't help you with that, I've never done it, but when my daughter comes home again in a week or two, to visit, I may ask her to show me how!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Events at Whittall House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

May 7, 12:00-4:00pm
Colonial Tea & Gardens
Admission is $10 per person. Reservations must be made by calling (856) 307-6456.

May 20, 10:00-4:00pm
Archeology Day at the Whitall House and Red Bank Battlefield Park Co-Sponsored by the
Gloucester County Chapter of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey

June 18, 12:00-4:00pm
Annual Flower Show

June 21, 6:30-8:30pm
Community Read and Discussion of John McPhee's The Founding Fish at the West Deptford Public Library

June 24, 12:00-4:00 pm
The "Founding Fish": Shad at Red Bank, Yesterday and Today

July 16, 12:00-4:00 pm
Myth & Memory at the Whitall House and Red Bank Battlefield Walking Tour

August 20, 12:00-4:00 pm
Writing with the Whitalls Tour

September 17, 12:00-4:00 pm
The Augusta at Red Bank Walking Tour

October 22, 10:00-4:00 pm
18th-Century Field Day- If you have never been to Red Bank Battlefield for this event, don't miss it!

October 28, 12:00-4:00 pm
Fall Festival & Children's Haunted House

December 8, 6:00-9:00 pm & December 9, 3:00-9:00 pm Holiday Candlelight Tours

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mark Your Calendar Continued

Spirit of the Jerseys, State History Fair at Monmouth Battlefield State Park May 13.

America's Pirates and Their Hidden Treasure, May 7 at 2 pm, at Corson Poley Center of Burlington County Historical Society, 457 High St., $5 per person, Call 609-385-4773 ext.1 to reserve your spot to hear the author of the above named book speak on this topic.

Atsion Mansion is open for tours again, on Saturdays.  You'll have to look this one up, I don't know for sure who to call or the phone number.

Food Truck Festival at the New Jersey Motorsport Park in Millville May 6 njmp.com

Like Rocks and Minerals (who doesn't!) Cape Atlantic Rock Hounds Spring Show, May 20 and 21 at Rock Hounds Club House, Mays Landing  CapeAtlanticRockHOunds.com FREE!!
rocks, minerals, fossils, gems, crystals, jewelry and more

May Fair in Collingwood, May 27 & 28 10-5, collingswood.com

Gloucester County Water Fest, June 5 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Scotland Run Park in Clayton, gloucestercountynj.gov

Renaissance Faire, Liberty Lake, Bordentown, May 27, 28, njrenfaire.com

That's all for today folks! Now don't let me hear you say there's nothing to do!  Hope to see you at one or another or several of these events!  
Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Mark your Calendar! Upcoming Events Spr. Smr. 2017

Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-3, Salem County Fairgrounds in Woodstown,Nj, www.delawarevalleybluegrass.org

Pitman Spring Craft Fair, May 20 9 a.m. to 4:00

Markheim Art Center May 12 7 pm to 9 pm Flower Power

Studio Artists Tour throughout Salem County May 20 and 21 10-5

Gotta run, more later!
Happy Trails - Jo Ann

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Another thought regarding The Lost City of Z, and The Lost City of the Monkey God

It is astounding to think that cities the equal (as archealogy is now revealing) of ancient Greece and Rome existed from the Amazon basic in South American, up through Central America and Mexico, and that some mysterious blight struck them and caused the survivors to return to the jungle from which they had emerged centuries if not millennia earlier.  So mysterious.  Was it climate? Volcanic dust clouds? Chicxalub asteroid hit? Disease? Drought?  What could have happened to them over such a large expanse of territory?  The cities were abandoned, not destroyed, as though they were somehow cursed or poisoned.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Movie Review: The Lost City of Z

Just saw The Lost City of Z, to whch I had looked forward with great anticipation.  Having read The Lost City of the Monkey God, I had great hopes for The Lost City of Z.  It was a good movie in a kind of slow and dreamy way, but I enjoyed it though I wouldn't say it was great.  It was a teensy bit stuffy.

We had lunch at Bankok City, Eagle Plaza, Voorhees (across from the movie theater lot) which is never disappointing, the serene atmosphere and the fresh and delicious food is consistent and so is the courteous and non-intrusive service of the wait staff.  They are friendly and quick and attentive but do not try to engage in long conversations as happens in some places.  The atmosphere is very calming.  The lunch special is an appetizer, soup or salad, and the main dish for $9.  The spring rolls are the best I've had since I moved from Philadelphia.  I used to go to a restaurant there, Saigon City, on Washington Street (below South) and their spring rolls are the best ever, but Bankok is almost as good.)

I couldn't help comparing the fight of the American Indians whose land is being encroached on by the pipeline in the Dakotas with the enslavement and land grabs inflicted on the indigenous people of South America.  

Having World War I thrust into the movie also increased my feeling that life itself is often a struggle for resources.  Creatures including humans always guarding territory or invading territory, even plants, when it comes down to it.  Look at kudzu or even the ubiquitous English Ivy.  Nonetheless, amidst all the struggle there is always beauty, and shafts of sunlight through the leaves, and the occasional acts of kindness.

I highly recommend The Lost City of the Monkey God - also a true story, and a current event.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

New Post - The means of production return to the people - Independent publishing.

Yesterday I read in a news magazine, This Week, that in 2015, 300,00 books were published by corporate publishing companies, but 700,00 were independently published!!!  It struck me that the new way that individual were taking back the means of production from the Big Business, through independent enterprise are all around us.  My daughter has an air-b&b room in Brooklyn and hipsters from Europe who want to live amongst the bohemians of 2017, come there to stay rather than an overpriced hotel.  

And when a friend went with me to the train station to pick up my daughter recently, we were laughing and admiring a guy who looked like Charlie Chaplin who was lovingly polishing every inch of his BMW Uber taxi.  So there is Uber, Lyft, Air-B&B an my independently published memoir surfing the new wave.

If you remember Future Shock, and Mega Trends, I always was interested in the books that talked about the waves of the future, and now I am seeing the ones I have read about in my own life.  Even this blog is part of the trend towards individual power.  I didn't need to get hired by a newspaper or a magazine to speak on things of interest.  Blogspot empowered me to find and fill my own niche.  

Happy Trails!  whether in the woods, the park, or thought trails!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Went to Genealogy Lecture at Camden County Historical Center yesterday, 4/23/17

I with I had been able to her the lecture some years ago when I was wandering around web sites and buying books and magazines as a beginner in family history.  It was very comprehensive on a middle level and helpful.

There were from 25 to 30 people present and I ran into an old pal from my volunteer days at the Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield, Harry Schaeffer, who is also a Sons of American Liberty Member at Red Bank.  He is also doing the 10,000 steps app so we headed over to Knight Park, in Collingwood and got in another 5,000 steps.  I still only made it to 7,800.

Going to the lecture made me think of Joe Laufer and how he enriched so many lives in the Local History world.  He passed away a couple of years ago after holding many positions in the Burlington County History world.  The event that he hosted that I liked so much was the Burlington County Historians' Roundtable.

All the people from different historical sites met once a month at a different site in Burlington and at the start of each meeting these unofficial or official representatives would tell the group what was going on in their area.  It opened so many doors for me.  I visited places I would never have known about like the Red Dragon Canoe Club, and the Chesterfield Meeting House.  

Now I find I miss a lot of things I would have liked to attend because I don't know about them.  For example, Harry told me he had been to Gabriel DAveis Tavern the day before where they held an Black Powder encampment.  I missed that because I didn't know about it.  Heaven knows I try to keep up but there is no central posting like the Roundtable where you can find a listing of everything that's going on.  Next time I see Harry, I'll have to ask how he found out about the Daveis Tavern event.  

Good Walking weather so I hope you were outside in Nature on Earth Day!  I celebrated it with my best walking buddy, Trixie, at Knight Park where we go every day to visit the trees and the ponds, the birds and the beauty

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Friday, April 21, 2017

Genealogy at Camden County Historical Society - FREE!

If, like me, you are an on again, off again, Family History researcher, you may find yourself getting a good kick-start at Camden County Historical Society this Sunday, April 23 at 2:00.
Address:1900 Park Boulevard, Camden, NJ (I go straight down Haddon Avenue, through Collingwood, over Rt. 130, past Haleigh Cemetery, make a right at the corner light at Haleigh, go straight to the end and turn left - then there it is, Pomona Hall and CCHS. It is right behind Lady of Lourdes Hospital and a small neighborhood.)

For weeks, and months, I will work feverishly on genealogy, then the field goes fallow for a year or so.  Often what sparks my renewed interest is a lecture.  Once, it was the Ancestry.com convention in Philadelphia.  I got so fired up, I bought the dan kit and that started a whole flurry of family  history interest in my friends, a few of whom also bought the kit and did the test.

By the way, I love ancestry.com.  All the features are fabulous and really speed up your search and when you record all your findings, your work is saved even if you take a break from membership, because holding onto the data is a bonus resource for continuing members.  And whenever you return, you find hints! Ancestry.com has found things that may or may not be connections for you.  

Another thing that always got me back into the family history work was when I attended the Genealogical Society of Salem County lectures at Friends Village near Woodstown. I used to be a regular but my deteriorating vision due to Fuch's dystrophy (a cornea condition) made night driving too hazardous.  But now that the president of the GSSC is head librarian at Camden County Historical Society, I am hoping that her boundless enthusiasm will bring a re-birth to the programming there.  Since it is close and daytime, I will be attending this Sunday, for sure.

Advice from a tree:

Stand straight and tall,
drink lots of water
Always remember your roots!

Happy Trails, whether in the woods or in the research library!
Jo Ann 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lunch at the Blue Plate and visit to Red Mill Antiques

Mulch Hill is always a delightful place to spend a day.  My friend Gail, and I went to the Blue Plate for lunch, right on the Main street through Mullica Hill.  She had a very good grilled cheese with peppers and onions on pumpernickel bread, and I had a very interesting, and to my taste, delicious quiche.  It was green!  I forget all the things it had in it but peas were in it.  It was very spring-like in appearance and taste, and the side was a caesar salad - PERFECT!

Next we meandered over to the Red Mill Antiques and had a friendly conversation with a nice young man who showed us the strangest sewing machine I have ever seen.  Originally, he bought it for the base, to make a table, but he was so intrigued by the sewing machine itself, that he left it intact.  Instead of the wasp waist body that most of the machines I have ever seen had, this one had a half circle bridge like shape.  I suggested that perhaps it was a specialist machine for something that had a wide side.  I had never thought of that before, but I am sure there were sewing machines made specifically for particular tasks and material.  Something new to learn and look into.  

We noticed there were fewer shops than there used to be, and we had heard that antiques and country style were out of fashion.  The young man at the Red Mill, said there had been a drop and the market hit bottom, but they it was making a slow and gradual rise.

When I got home, I looked it up and The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and several other economy oriented web sites said that indeed, antiques were out of fashion and they cited two reasons for it.  One, boomers (of which I am one) are downsizing and often moving into condominiums and don't want too much stuff or big furniture.  And younger people are living in apartments and are more fond of "Mad Men" style 1950's modern furniture for its simplicity and light weight.  

I like 1950's furniture too, and when I was very young, I was in love with Scandinavian Modern, my parents bought me a beautiful bedroom set in that style, and I still have the cedar chest that they bought for my graduation from high school, that matched it.  They were so kind to me and so generous and what a contrast to their own hard childhoods, both of them born in the 1920's and growing up in the depression.

When my father was a boy, he swept and cleaned up for the local butcher shop in south Philadelphia, where both sides of my parents families had their long roots.  One Christmas the butcher bought him a pair of skates.  He was telling me because he said it was the best gift he ever remembered..  They were so poor, they picked coal from the railroad tracks on Front Street, where the trains would rumble along the waterfront and coal fell off the coal cars.  

As long as I knew my parents, from 1945 to their deaths, my mother in 2000 and my father in 2011, they were prosperous and comfortable, due to my father's strong work ethic and my mother's homemaking gifts.  Bounteous is the word I would use to describe their lifestyle, not ostentatious or showy, but bountiful and generous.  

I hope the taste for antiques picks up again but those old objects tell us so much about the past and the lives of the people before us.  I am working on a scrapbook that combines photos of my ancestors with the objects that I have that are left from them, Great-grandmother Catherine Sandman's sewing machine with which she supported her family in her widowhood.  Grandfather Young's deck chair from his years in the Merchant Marines, and so many other not money valuable objects, but things that were touched by hands long gone.

One of my favorites i my own old Easter basket, the reeds are coming apart at the top and the handle is broken but I love it and keep it and it reminds me of the bounty of the Easter Bunny from 1945 to the present and the joys of spring.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
Jo Ann

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Time to visit Duffy's for Easter Bunnies

Well, it is time to visit Duffy's Chocolates in Gloucester City, on Broadway, near Hudson Street.

For 30 years I have bought chocolate bunnies and eggs with my siblings and daughters, nephews and nieces names on them there. In fact, today, I will be stopping at Duffy's and then Verccio's on the Brooklawn circle for porch flowers and hanging plants.  

Duffy's is an institution in these parts.  You could get drunk on the smell of the chocolate, all items made on the premises in this old traditional family store.  The closer to Easter, though, the better the chance you'll wait in a line - it is a very popular shop.

I hope you stop in, it will take you back in time.

Whenever I go to Verccio's I am struck by the overwhelming bounty of our land, especially New Jersey, which though the new crop seems to be housing developments, is still a garden state.  They have the BEST prices on produce, if you can buy in quantity, which I can't being unable to use the amounts in the units they sell, and the best prices on plants in season.  For several years I have bought the most exuberant ferns imaginable there for $10, for my porch.  I am very fond of ferns.

Happy Easter!
Here comes Peter Cottontail, Hopping down the Bunny TRAIL!
Jo Ann

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bricks and EAL

When I came home today after a delightful walk amongst the yellow flowers that border the old mill run at Haddon Heights Park, after dropping off two books at the Free Little Library and taking one away, I found the newest issue of Early American Life Magazine in my mailbox!

I love this magazine for so many reasons.  Today was a special issue because it held an article with a photo of a house I adore, the Abel Nicholson House, in Salem County, NJ.  I have been out there many times to visit the house which is very very hard to find.  It is off Fort Elfsborg Road and I only know it by a patch of dirt on the side of a small unmarked dirt road.  You can find a HABS photo of it at the Library Congress, American Memory site.

At times when I have visited the house, I have waded through puddles on the flooded road to the house that were as deep as my knees!  I had to take off my shoes and socks and roll up my pants and wade through hoping not to encounter snakes, or broken glass.  

The article in which the photos of the house appear was about brick making in the Colonial period, a subject with which I was once obsessed.  When I worked as a volunteer at Gloucester County Historical Society, I researched around and found a tiny beautiful little book on brick-making in New Jersey.  There are no words to express the deep warmth, respect, and gratitude that floods my heart when I come across the work of these often forgotten and obscure historians who have researched and written about these topics which are, in fact, vitally important to understanding the world we live in.  

Having been born the daughter of a craftsman of many talents, my father, Joseph Wright, who was a hobby stained glass artist, a carpenter of much skill, who made beautiful pieces of furniture and who re-built a burned out historic home, and when he retired, built his own house on a hill in West Virginia.  I have always had sincere appreciation for the man-made or woman-made object, whether a house, a quilt, a carving, a painting, or a brick!

The June 2017 issue of Early American Life has a fabulous essay on the art of brick-making along with the aforementioned photo of the Abel Nicholson House in Salem.  It is well worth buying and reading.  I have a subscription and I have enjoyed it for many years, whether for Christmas ideas, or gardening, recipes or building, and I  very much enjoy the essays on the restoration work that people have done on early houses.

There is also a great essay on canals.  Anyone who has ever hiked along the many canals accessible to those of us who live in the middle of New Jersey, will find this article of interest.  Somewhere back in my 400 odd entries there is a blog post on the headquarters and museum of the D&R Canal, which a friend and I explored and found one summer day trip.  

A long long time ago, another friend and I ice skated on the Delaware Canal up near Belle Meade, which is not far from Princeton.  She was an art school friend of mine, a gifted painter who now lives in California.  We used to get together in the summers from time to time to make paper.  She had a nice stone patio overlooking the meadow, and a very sturdy press.  She gave me a book made of hand-made paper once for a birthday gift, which I treasure.  Paper is another of those old-time basics that were once man and woman-made.  And I will close with a little rhyme on that subject:

rag make paper
paper makes money
money makes bankers
bankers make paupers
paupers make rags

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

ps.  The old myth that houses were made of bricks carried in ships from England as ballast is untrue.  Only expensive and valuable goods were worth carrying across the Atlantic, and most brick houses were made right on the property being built, because as you know, New Jersey is made of clay and sand.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Colonial Re-enactment at Gabreil Daveis Tavern Apr. 22 & 23

Attended the opening of the World War I exhibit at Camden County Historical Society today and enjoyed a lively conversation with their curator of objects, Josh, as well as the always lovely and charming Bonny Beth Elwell.  She is a remarkable young woman, so warm and friendly to everyone and so knowledgeable as well as dedicated to the history and genealogy world.  I am delighted that she is at Camden County Historical Society now and I may even do a bit of volunteering there again.

Their new booklet is out, the Volume 1, Issue 2 all on military with a great deal of material supplied by the very many historical societies in Camden County.  It was more than I ever knew existed. And the information is fascinating, though often sad.  I read the memorials to each of the young men from my own town who had given their lives and it made me cry to think of them, so young, smiling in their photographs, and dead before they had a chance to live.  Also, to think of the pain their families experienced.

We have been so lucky in my family.  Men in each generation served and all the men survived.  My brother survived Vietnam, my father survived World War II and so did his brother, Clyde.  My Grandfather Lyons survived World War I, and my Civil War ancestor, William C. Garwood survived, as did Hiram McQuiston, who was at Gettysburg, though not in the battle.  We even had Cheesman ancestors in the Revolutionary War and they all lived through it.  Lucky Lucky us.

One of the people I met is Robert Fishr Hughes who is head of both the Griffith Morgan House and the Burrough Dover House, in Pennsauken.  They have recently merged.  Both Houses are amazing and well worth a visit, check them out on Facebook for more information including directions and phone number.

I picked up a flyer for the COLONIAL RE-ENACTMENT at Gabreil Daveis Tavern and Spring Open House, Revolutionary Weekend April 22 & 23 from 9 to 5 on Saturday and 9 to 3 on Sunday, Rain or Shine!  Admission is free!
They have advertised:
Tavern Tours, American Legion Flag Ceremony and 21 gun salute, Artillery Demo, Archery, Tomahawk throwing, Campfire cooking, Blacksmithing, Weaving, Colonial Crafter, to name a few.
www.facebook.com/glotwphistory or 856-228-4000 X3249
The address is 4th Ave. and Floodgate Rd. Gender, Nj
(and I can tell you that if you drive East on the Black Horse Pike - I know it is South(?), anyhow towards the shore, keep your eyes open and on the left, beneath the number name street sign there is a slim sign naming the Gabreil Daveis Tavern.  I love that house!  Nice garden walk, and checkout the beautiful painting restored by the society that takes care of the house.  

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Little Free Library Movement

On my way to Haddon Lake Park today, I passed a "Free Little Library" on, I think, Sylvan Drive.  

For about 12 years I have been aware of the free book movement and back in 2006, when I still worked at the University of the Arts, I participated by putting free books in the Atrium of the old hall, of the building that used to be PCA (Philadelphia College of Art) and also on benches such as the one in the park nearby.  

At that time,you registered the free book online, and borrowers went online to post that they had borrowed it.  I don't think people bother with that anymore, but I have seen photos of the free little libraries before.  I never saw one in person however  

Now that I know it is there, I plan to go back and leave some books!  I would like to put one outside my house too, but I am afraid of vandalism.  Maybe I will be optimistic and give it a try!  What a wonderful idea!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Friday, April 7, 2017

E-Mail on Mexico and WWI and more

This morning I sent my daughter, Lavinia,  an e-mail about our family and World War I.  Here is a copy of it:
Good morning Lavinia!  I wanted to share a little family history that merges with world history and I didn't feel like trying to fit it into a text.  Unlike Donald Trump, I am not as succinct as a tweet - I am more like Marcel Proust!  

Anyhow, I have a copy of a photo of your Grandmom Wright's adoptive father, whom I called Grandpop Lyons.  He wa a sweet, mild mannered man, kind to children and animals and he and I spent meaningful time in the side garden at the Lyons house on 10th Street when I was a child growing  up in Philadelphia.  He would go out there to smoke his home-rolled,  and I would keep him company as did the Irish setter, King

In the photo he is in uniform before a tent in a desert and it is 1917.  America has just entered World War I.  This month is the centennial of our entry in World War I.  Grandpop Lyons is on the border of Mexico, and I never understood what Mexico had to do with World War I.  After all, it was in Europe, right?  

But a year ago I took a 6 week night course in World War I, all these brilliant young men from prestigious colleges, had been invited to give lectures, each did an hour on some aspect of the war that they were experts on.  

In April of 1917, Great Britain had broken the the German code for messages between Germany and its ally Japan.  They broke the code on the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in which the German foreign minister, Zimmerman, offered Mexico a deal  If Mexico joined Germany and Japan, they would give Mexico several border states, which I think included Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. (not sure about the states on offer.)

So the U.S., outraged, mobilized and sent troops to the Mexican border, and one of them was my Grandfather Lyons, and your Great Grandfather.  Just imagine, a young skinny Irish postman in the desert on the Mexican border waiting for the War.  But Mexico wisely declined the offer.  

Love you, Mom
To blog post readers:
I also wanted to add a note about April 6th, yesterday.  Merle Haggard, one of country music's greats, was born on April 6 and died on April 6!  I was thinking about him yesterday because I had incorrectly attributed "King of the Road" to him.  It was actually written by Roger Miller.  

Merle was most famous for "Okie from Muskogee" - and the reason I was thinking of "King of the Road" was that I had met an elderly man in the parking lot at my gym yesterday, who was living in a camper van and traveling around.  I didn't stay out to talk long as it was drizzling and I had a gym work-out to get to, and he was getting back into the driver's seat of his van, but we talked a little about living on the road.  He told me he had outfitted the van for camping himself.  I told him I had lived in a van for a year in 1969.    

Another note:  Some time back, a few years, there was an Atlantic article about retired people choosing, in some cases, being forced, in some cases, to live on the road in campers, and living in RV parks or free camps around the country, sometimes doing seasonal work, for example before Christmas for amazon.com.  I wish I had talked to the King of the Road a little longer and gotten his story.  

My dad had bought a camper and wanted to travel around but by the time they got their new house built, they had entered a period of declining healthy, especially my mother, and weren't up to the rigors of it.  I think they made, tops half a dozen trips in the camper, and it sat in the yard and rotted until my father died and the family gave it away to whoever would come up on the hill and haul it off.