Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey

A discussion of historic sites, and events, with the purpose of sharing, encouraging participation, and networking.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Biggest March the World has ever seen

Yesterday on Saturday, January 21, 2017, the biggest protest and affirmation March the world has ever seen took place in major cities in every country of Western Civilization from Australia through Europe and in the major cities of the USA.  In Philadelphia, two of my best friends marched, with a crowd that defied belief.  My daughter marched in New York City.

All day I watched on CNN.  It was astonishing to me that a half inch of snow can call out helicopters and reporters in parkas on CBS, and NBC, but streets filled with a human ocean is ignored.  However, BBC and CNN covered it, in particular CNN did a good job.  

Another astonishing thing was that it was Peaceful!  That many people marching in every city and it was peaceful.  It was a world history event.  

I wish I could have been part of it.  I actually cried briefly at having to be left out.  Three friends called me to ask if I wanted to go, but my bad knees and deteriorating spine make standing on concrete for so many hours impossible.  I did my marching - to end the war in Vietnam, for Women's Rights, Civil Rights, LGBTQ rights, and Abortion Choice, from the 1960's to the 1990's.  Now I am retired for real.  

However, that said, I am going to a film screening today at Moorestown Friends Meeting at 2:00.  The film is "Equality Means Equality!"  It is open to the public and $10 a person, with books available for sale.  I am going with an old marching buddy with whom I went to junior high and high school, and with whom I marched in the past.  

PROFILE:  Chris Borget, formerly known as Chris Gilbreath, was not only a high achiever in high school, but also a diligent and accomplished college student at what was then named Beaver College, now called Arcadia, in Pa.  She became a teacher and was one of the founding members of the group that put their own homes up as equity to borrow a mortgage to buy the homestead of Alice Paul, the great Suffrage Leader and turn it into a learning center Paulsdale Institute in Mount Laurel on Hooten Road.  It is a great place to visit for Women's History, Human civil rights history, New Jersey History, Quaker History, and Suffrage history.  Chris and I were both members of NOW, and she probably still is!

Just now I am going to the convenience stores to buy the newspaper to read about the March.  It has given me hope that things are not as bad as I had feared and that we are going forward after all, not backward into bigotry, capitalist exploitation, and ignorance.

I still believe that a great motivating force behind a nincompoop like Trump defeating an intelligent and experienced woman like Hillary Clinton, was gender bias.  I think the reason the e-mail fiasco got the attention it did when so many more egregious crimes had been perpetrated by Trump such as income tax evasion in the millions of dollars was the e-mail sounds like female.  Also, racial bias.  I believe a lot of the anti-Obama sentiment was based on race because statistics show that despite being hobbled by the Republicans in the Senate and Congress, on almost every  measurable front, Obama made progress - in reduced unemployment, providing health care, making peace in the world (Cuba), and scaling back nuclear weapons proliferation (Iran) and he was working towards progress in cutting back the pollutants contributing to global warming.  All the things that Trump now wishes to scale back (since in his opinion global warming and climate change are a Chinese Hoax).  God Help US!

Anyhow, enough of that - the Topic was a Million Women Peacefully Marching to show strength and hope and unity!  What a day!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stamp and Scrap and Art for everyone

I found I had begun this post and left it unfinished, so I decided to tidy up.  One of my newest and most enjoyed hobbies has been scrapbooking.  I made a scrapbook for my daughter's 30th birthday because I wanted to give her something special and nothing says love like something you put time into making by hand.  Then, I made a scrapbook for my sister's 50th birthday.

Today, I found a coupon for A. C. Moore and scrapbooks and insert papers were on SALE!  You could get a packet of beautiful designed insert pages and a scrap album for 2 for $10, a good buy.  I have found scrapbook can be very expensive, so I learned to look for sales.  Also, I have found stickers and other accessories at very good prices at the Dollar Store in the Brooklawn Shopping Center, which is where my gym and supermarket are, so very convenient, and the Walmart at the Audubon Shopping Center.  I'm not certain what the address is for A.C. Moore, but I go East on Black Horse Pike past Runnemede, and turn right at the Antique store that has Betty Boop and sometimes, the Blues Brothers statues outside.  Soon the road splits and on the left there is a shopping center with a Babies R Us and A. C. Moore.  If you branch to the right, a bit further down the road there is a shopping center with a Michaels where I have also bought scrapping stuff.

Valentines Day is on the way, and what better way to say to a friend or partner that you love them, than by hand making a Valentine card.  Come on, you know you can do it - you did it in grade school!  Once you have the pad of designer paper, some quality gem stickers and perhaps some heart stickers, you are on your way. I like to include photographs of my friends and I from previous years in mine, such as us hiking in the snow, or on a special occasion.

Another way to indulge or inspire the creative side in you is to check in at Main Street Art on Main Street in Maple Shade and see what fun classes are coming up, or buy a piece of jewelry or artwork for your loved one, or a gift certificate for a class or workshop - now that is creative!  Maybe you could go together!  What a great way to celebrate a birthday too!  

Back in the 1970's I became enamored of rubber stamp art through a wonderful little book I just recently found again while looking for something else, Rubber Soul!  At the time, I was an art student and I really got into carving my own stamps.  I have mentioned before that I love Mail Art and I still like to embellish my envelopes with stamp designs.  Most recently I bought a flock of birds stamp, and a set of snowflake stamps.  

Soon my Valentine postals in the Family History Project will be ready at Belia's Copy Center, and I will stamp them Happy Valentines Day and send them to a dozen or so friends.  If you would like to engage in a postcard share with me, send me a postcard and I will send one to you.  Be sure to include your address however!   Mine is 623 Green AVe., Mt. Ephraim, NJ 08059

Happy Mails! Jo Ann

New Jersey Monthly January 2017 Review of Good Articles

You may not get to read as many magazines as I do because I LOVE them, and buy then half dozen at a time, so when I come across one that I think has articles worth sharing, I will bring them to your attention.

The first article in the above mentioned magazine that caught my attention was about the saved Martin Luther King residence in Camden, NJ.  I am always thrilled when a building that holds historic importance is saved and can be repurposed to share that history with the rest of us.  Martin Luther King lived at 753 Walnut Street in Camden for three years from 1948 to 1951 while he attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa.  Patrick Duff, an independent historian discovered a legal complaint filed against a bar in Maple Shade, NJ in 1950.  He and three companions were unjustly thrown out of the bar during what I must presume was an act of discrimination.  Now, I grew up in Maple Shade, but we didn't arrive there until 1957, during the great exodus from South Philadelphia, created by the growing families of returned veterans of World War II, seeking larger homes and green yards, as well as better schools.  The independent historian, Patrick Duff launched a campaign to save the house from demolition with a plan to create a history museum and NAACP office.

The second article I found useful was in relation to a New Jersey farm and medical practice dedicated to the proposition that food is medicine and can either make you sick or healthy.  This is an idea to which I completely agree.  I have been predominately a vegetarian for most of my adult life.  The practice was set in motion for me by a book Diet for A Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe which I read sometime in the 1970's when my then-husband and I were engaged in a health reclaiming pursuit after he had suffered some severe problems inclouding an infection in the lining of his heart.  We took up hiking, biking, and vegetarianism.  At his Long Valley Farm, Dr. Ron Weiss grows organic foods in restored quality soil and treats sick people in a year-long program culminating in a 14 mile hike.  He cites many success stories in the article.

The third article was about mindfulness which is also a practice I try to keep to on a regular basis.  I find walking meditation helps me best and I often resort to the MANTRA:  BE HERE NOW, when I find myself sinking into despair over some news story, or circling around and around a whirlpool of worries about the future or our country or the planet.  Yesterday, a short burst of tears and sadness were instigated by an NPR interview with a chef who talked about her recipes using "baby octopus" and how much fun it was to catch them while they tried to escape.  She claimed, "That's why they exist, to be eaten by us.  That's their purpose"  Unfortunately, I had just read an article in a science magazine about how smart the octopus is, similar in intelligence to a dog, and how much more sensitive and intelligent its limbs are.  The idea of that chef chasing those poor terrified baby octopi around to kill them and eat them just made me sad.

But, back to the magazine.  Needless to say, I got home, turned off the car and the radio, and did a little mindfulness to recognize that it was thinking, it was beyond my control, and I could reduce my suffering immediately by simply Being Here Now in my own vegetarian home where my animals are all safe and loved and where we try in as many small ways as possible to be compassionate inhabitants of the planet Earth.  I don't believe any other creature exists to be used by me for any purpose.  Even my animal companions have their own lives and I consider them friends who share my shelter not "pets" who belong to me.  

The article on Mindfulness, page 29, is very good.  Many magazines and books have featured theories and cases to demonstrate how mindfulness can improve your health.  If you are wondering what that means, "Mindfulness" well in my personal understanding of it, it means being aware of your thoughts, your actions, and our existence in the present.  Too often we dwell on the past, which is gone, the future, which hasn't arrived, and we let the richess of our present moment get hijacked.  Mindfulness teaches you to recognize that your thoughts are only that - kind of like passing weather systems, and you can always turn them off and return to the present.  Of course, needless to say you are better off getting some books and audio tapes and reading articles to teach you the fulness of meditation practice.  My recommendation is anything by Pema Chodrin, who has been my teacher and mentor through many hard times.  She has more than a dozen well written, clear and enlightening book, and I also have half a dozen of her audio cd-s that I play when I need a refresher.  When Things Fall Apart, is a special favorite of mine.  But perhaps you want to start with the magazine article.  There is also a meditation group that used to meet at the Collingwood Senior Community Center, but I never attended that one.  And there is a Buddhist residence in Shamong Twp. that holds Sunday meditations that a friend of mine has attended but I haven't been there either.  Good Luck!

So that's it for today, 1/15/17, Sunday.  As always, I hope my small and humble efforts bring some enjoyment or usefulness to someone.  I have been told it is too complicated to leave comments for many readers so if you want you can contact me at wrightj45@yahoo.com.

Happy Trails!  (Today was gorgeous, Trixie and I walked around Knights Park in the sunshine and fresh weather enjoying the beautiful trees.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017 Alice Paul's Birthday

Today is the 131st anniversary of the birth of Alice Paul, the main activist who saw the struggle for the right to vote for American Women to its victorious conclusion in the 19th Amendment ratified on August 18th 1920.  

Ken Burns did a wonderful documentary on this struggle:  Not for Ourselves Alone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who fought the long battle until Alice Paul, younger and just as determined could take up the standard and see it through.

It is astonishing to me, a modern woman, to watch programs like the pubs series, Women and Power, which is the same battle fought in England for suffrage, and to read and hear claims  by allegedly intelligent men that woman are 1.  Not rational  2.too weak and would be debilitated by education and political thought (while some women worked 14 hours a day in the "Satanic Mills" that were making them rich.  Of course, none of these arguments were based on any true belief, they were merely  useful cliche's to build a wall to keep women out of power and subjugated to the economic and political control of men.  Maybe they did believe it, I don't know, but I do know that no one gives up territory without a struggle and I am grateful to those women who fought that struggle so that I could vote, get a college education, support myself and my daughter, and find equal protection under the law.

Happy Birthday Alice Paul and that you from my heart!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Alice Paul: Claiming Power, by J. D. Zahniser and Amelia R. Fry

Unless you have done a little study in the area of Women's Right to Vote, or Quaker Activists, or historic houses in South Jersey, you may be unaware of Alice Paul and her legacy.

For a year or two, I did a little volunteer work for the Alice Paul Foundation, located in the old Paul farmstead in Mount Laurel.  I became acquainted with this Institute through my dearest friend from high school and our old neighborhood, Roland Avenue, Maple Shade, NJ, Christine Borget.

After Alice Paul's death in July 1977, her nephew, apparently a disrespectful man, was disinclined to allow researchers access to her papers, and in addition, was prepared to sell the historic family homestead and beautiful property to developers to become condominiums.  A group of far-seeing activists who had met through their affiliation in NOW, pooled their resources and saved the farmstead for all of us.  The governing board decided that Alice Paul's commitment to activism and her humility would be better served by creating an active Institute rather than a museum.

Eventually, her personal papers were also bought from the nephew, and work began on a good biography.  Several books have been written on Alice Paul, but I believe the one I am reading right now is the BEST, the most well researched and most definitive.  Moreover, it is one of those rare works of history that manages to be both scholarly, personal and interesting at the same time.  Last night, I kept putting a marker at the end of a chapter and then finding myself going on to another chapter and another.  How many history books can you say that about?

Alice Paul grew up a Quaker girl in the Mount Laurel, Morristown area and after college and graduate work in the emerging social work arena, she traveled to Great Britain where she met and was inspired by the fiery group of devoted Suffragettes struggling for the right to vote for women.  She came home with their zeal and stout-hearted courage and worked for the rest of her life to achieve the right to vote for American women, and later, the Equal Rights Amendment.

It is astonishing to think that when my grandmother's were 21, they were American citizens, one of them a working widow supporting her own three sons and a niece, and paying taxes, and yet neither of them could vote.  They were expected to give their sons to the nation in war, and to pay taxes and abide by the laws yet they were denied any voice in making the laws and any representation in the governing of the people.  My grandmothers were not suffragettes, to my knowledge.  One, Lavinia Lyons, was far too busy raising her own three children and the orphaned daughters of her sister who died young.  My other grandmother, Mabel Wright, was working alongside her own widowed mother, sewing uniforms for the Schuylkill arsenal to cloth our soldiers, and raising her own four dependents.  Mabel, did, however, take an active part in the political world as a member of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Women's Club of Ocean City.  As soon as the law allowed, they did both vote and they did both have party affiliations and political opinions.

Alice Paul was one of the many women protestors and activists who were thrown into prison, and when they went on hunger strikes over being treated as criminal rather than political prisoners, they were thrown down, had metal funnels and rubber hoses forced down their throats and scalding liquid poured into the funnels.  It was certainly torture and punishment meted out to American citizens fighting for a just cause, the right to vote.  

Alice Paul was brave, unceasing in her efforts on behalf of half of the nation, and well worth remembering as an American hero.  I am glad her book is so good.

It was given to me by that dear childhood friend who was instrumental in the group that saved Alice Paul's family farmstead, which is now on the American Historical Register and the Women's History Trail.  They have a collection of posters, and a good film, and you can take a tour and learn more by calling for an appointment.  They also have programs during the year.  I gave a presentation once on Women's Diaries and their Help with History, in a summer program of Lectures on the Porch.

The book also offers a fascinating look at Quaker life at the turn of the century and reminds us of the vast Quaker influence on our state and our nation.  We need a book on that subject!

Address 128 Hooten Road, Mt. Laurel, NJ 856-231-1885.

Happy Trails!  Jo Ann

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dorothy Stanaitis: Living History

Today, I had lunch with a dear old friend of over 4 decades.  We met when Dorothy was Children's Program Director of the Gloucester City Library, back in the 1970's when I was just out of college.  She hired me to work in a Federally Funded Outreach Program to deliver Library Services to children's homes.

Dorothy and I are both graduates of Rutgers The State University.  Dorothy is also a Trustee Emeritus.  

Since her retirement, her career has taken man turns, but the ones I wanted to mention here, because they have to do with writing and with history, are her program designs for her Storytelling career, and her family memory writings for various publications.  Her storytelling career has moved from camps and libraries to assisted living centers and she is also an on-foot tour guide for the Philadelphia Association of Tour Guides.  Some of her program  titles have been "Scandals, Rumors and Dirty Rotten Lies" and "Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief."  

Together one years back we wrote and present Moments In Time, "Red White and Blueberries" a program on Betsy Ross, Clara Barton and Elizabeth White.  At that time, we also presented for Historical Societies.

Dorothy's published memoir stories number around 150 so far.  We are in a writing group together that meets at Dorothy's home and so I have been fortunate in hearing many of the storie which were later sold and published.  A number of them center on Dorothy's childhood on Ogden Street in Philadelphia.

One memory that Dorothy shared with me today had to do with the tree burnings after Christmas in Mount Ephraim, where we have both lived.  A large bonfire was built of old Christmas Trees, supervised, of course, by the local fire brigade, and the fire whistle would blow to let residents know when it was time to light the bonfire.  Hot chocolate would be served at the firehouse afterwards.  

Today, I was thinking, after we had parted after our delicious lunch at Sabrina's in Collingwood, that I would like to write profiles on some of the people with whom I share an interest in history and who have put that interest to work.  

To name just a few, I'd like to do profiles on:  2.Bonnie Beth Elwell, president of Genealogy Society of Salem County, and now head librarian at Camden County Historical Society who also had published for Arcadia, a book on Upper Pittsgrove, Elmer and Pittsgrove.  3.Barbara Solem, author of Ghosttowns and Other Quirky Places in the New Jersey PineBarrens, The Forks, and most recently, Batsto, Jewel of the Pines.  Barbara was also the main developer of the opening of Atsion Mansion for tours during the past 3 years or more. 4.Marilyn Schmidt, proprietor of Buzby's General Store in Chatsworth, NJ, and a publisher of numerous booklets on cooking and Pinelands history.  5.Vonny Camp, who wrote a fascinating account of her time as a nurse during the Burma Campaign in World War II.  And there are countless other people living lives steeped in history and keeping history alive for others that I would like to interview and or profile here.  Also, 6.Albert Horner, photographer of the Pines, who has also worked diligently in preservation efforts.  Al also has a gorgeous book published of his works, which I bought and gave out as Christmas presents a year or two ago when it first came out.  Last on this list, but certainly never least, my mentor and advisor, 7.Carol Suplee, who wrote a historical account of Willingboro, which is in its second or third printing.  She made many presentations in regard to this book as well.  It was Carol who saved me when I was trapped in the purgatory of 'formatting' and 'converting' recently when I was finished my third book.  Having already negotiating these rough and dangerous waters, she generously offered her guidance in getting me through it  I am sure as I move along in this project, more people will come to mind and the list will grow.

As Faulkner is often misquoted as saying, "The past isn't over, it isn't even past."  And these individuals have helped to keep the past alive and lively!  We have all shared a love of history and most of us a love of writing too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Camden County Historical Society Museum and Library

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 4th, after lunch at the Cooper House with a friend or two, I will be headed over to the Camden County Historical Society where I haven't visted in a few years and where I once worked as a volunteer.

The President of the Genealogical Society of Salem County, Bonny Beth Elwell, is now the Head Librarian and I see from their web site that they have new exhibits and a newly renovated museum area.  

Cooper House is a particularly apt place to lunch before going to Camden County Historical Society because their main historic house, Pomona Hall, is the homestead of the founder of Camden, the original Cooper.  I believe I wrote a blog on him and his sons some time back.  He came from England in the last years of the 1600's and via Burlington, bought land along the Delaware and set up farming.  Pomona Hall has been renovated and there is a very interesting display on the evolution of the house over the years.

At the time that I worked there, I also hunted up the  houses of the original Cooper's sons, Samuel (his house still stands though burned out) and Daniel (his house too was vandalized and burned out after a costly renovation, down on the Point.  And there is one Cooper House behind a big fence that is in good shape and I think was the original Cooper Ferry.  It is in a shipyard.  

I am sorry my information isn't more precise.  It is late and I'm tired, but you and I can both hunt up my original blog posts on this subject for more info.

Tomorrow after my visit, I will let you know how things are at the CCHS, which is located behind Lady of Lourdes, down the road between the hospital and the Harleigh Cemetery.

Happy Trails!  Jo Ann

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Historic Hugg-Harrison-Glover House in Bellmawr UPDATE

In this mornings Courier-Post, Saturday, December 31, 2016, there was exceptionally good news in regard to the preservation of this historic house.  I will quote directly from the article then I have a couple of anecdotes of my own relating to the history of this house:

"The state Dept. of Transp. has slated teh house for imminent demolition as part of the Direct Connection project, a trreamlining of the congested and busy intersection of Interstates 295 and 76 with Route 42...."

"The State of New Jersey has determined beyond doubt the historical significance of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House.  These brand new findings - quite frankly what we believed all along - compel us to take urgent and meaningful action to save this historic home" said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-NJ"

What a good piece of news to end the old year 2016.  It broke my heart whenever I drove by the old house to think they would demolish a house that had survived so much to the present day.  "No respect,"  I would say.  

So, Captain William Harrison fought alongside the Marquis deLafayette at the Battle of Gloucester, an almost forgotten even in the more than 700 battles and skirmishes fought in New Jersey during the Revolution.  We were, after all, the Crossroads of the Revolution.  But, unlike New England, we failed to capitalize on our history.

There are at least two extant Glover residences too, in Haddon Heights, I have visited them both:   the story I like best about Glover was one I learned researching the house of one John Glover, later connected to the Haddon Lake Park watercourse, where he had a mill, Glover's Mill.  He had been engaged to a young woman in England when he was conscripted into the British navy.  While he was at sea, his fiance' moved with her family to Pennsylvania, in the new colonies.  You would think the chances of them ever finding one another again would have been slim, but he came to the New World, found her, married her, built a house in what is now Haddon Heights, and ran the mill.  

As for the Huggs, they ran a tavern in Gloucester City, now memorialized at Proprietor's Park by a structure and a plaque, as the place where Betsy Ross was married.  Her family, the Griscomb family, had a farm along the Delaware on the Jersey side, where the Walk Whitman bridge now rises out of the ground.  When she eloped with Ross, they took a ferry from her workplace in Philly, to the tavern to be married.  The Gloucester City Historical Society, located on King Street near the Mill blocks in Gloucester, used to put out a postcard with a photo of the old tavern before it was demolished.  But how could anyone have known the important place Betsy Ross would one day hold in American history as a representative to give a name and peron to the 50% of American's left out of history, women.  And to represent the laboring class, the artisans who made everything that everyone used to live in Colonial American times.  

I am so happy that the hosue will be saved and that part of our shared Revolutionary War history saved along with it and I wish more people shared my love of history.  Some losses haunt me, such as the loss of the trains and the train museum in Pemberton/Browns Mills.  What a wonderful opportunity lost.

I don't know what you or I can do to support this decision but we can write the author, ccomegno@gannettnj.com or call her at (609)533-0306, to offer our opinion and let her knew we read her article and are glad she is keeping up the news about it!

The house is dated in the brick1764, but I read and earlier report that says the middle house was built even earlier and the 1764 addition is the newer section.  

Happy New Year and Happy Trails!  Jo Ann
ps you can reach me at wrightj45@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Things To Do Places To Go - Book: Springsteen

As I mentioned some posts back, my life has changed and I no longer volunteer at the historic places where I worked after I retired.  First my knees went bad, then my back, not so bad that I can't hike with the dog at Timber Creek Dog Park, or around Pakim Pond or down the Cranberry Trail, just too bad to stand for 4 hours giving tours.  

When I retired, I first joined the Outdoor Club, but aged out of that eventually too.  I ruptured a disc taking a kayak off the top of a car, and that was the beginning of back troubles, but again, my back isn't bad 99% of the time, but I can't sleep on the gound, or portage a kayak or carry a 40 pound back pack anymore.  Nor can I hike 6 or 7 miles.  I am aware that people much older than I am can do all of those things and I'm not saying people my age can't, only that I can't.

That said, however, my point is that I don't volunteer anymore or do Outdoor Club activities anymore.  But I do other things, 2 mile hikes, historic town visits, lunches with friends at interesting places, and I READ A LOT. 

All my life, from early childhood, I have been an avid reader. And I LOVE to write.  I have a trunk full of diaries dating back 50 years!  So, as you saw by my last post, I had just finished my third independently published book, a memoir of a road trip around 38 countries of Europe which I finsihed a month or so ago and launched at a reunion luncheon of my high school classmates in mid-December.  

I have read a lot of books this autumn but the ones I enjoyed the most were the two I blogged about earlier that had to do with the life of trees, and one I finished a week ago, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run.    

Now, even if my blog is not longer about historic places necessarily, it does still stick to the tri-state area and places to go and things to do, so, Bruce belongs here since he was raised in Freehold, New Jersey, a place I have visited often, and since his career started in such places a the Stone Pony (no longer existant) a historic place, to be sure.  

True I don't get up there often now as my car is also experiencing the effects of aging.  It is 10 years old and still running fine, but I am reluctant to do the long trips I used to do such as to Jim Thorpe, Pa., or Manasquan and points north along the shore, Sandy Hook, etc.  

What I liked about Bruce Springsteen's Autobiography, Born to Run,  is that (1.) it talks about his childhood and his conflicted relationship with his father.  I am very interested in family relationship narratives (2.) the behind the scenes of the music busines (my daughter and her boyfriend are both in this business (3.) the inspiration and motivation for his writing and lyrics (always interesting to me as a writer, and (4.) his philosophy and outlook as he enters the same period of his life as I am now in.  

Bruce struggled with depression, of a far more intense version than the wispy clouds of melancholy that often drift across my consciousness as I reflect on my life and the loss of loved ones.  It was very interesting to me to see how he deals with that. I found the book enlightening and entertaining.  In case you think that because I love reading, I am a Pollyanna and love everything I read I can tell you I followed Bruce's book with one I HATED:  P. J. O'Rourke's The Baby Boom.  It was meant to be funny, and I suppose even witty, but I found it silly and annoying, like a drunk at a party who makes snide comments about everything when you are trying to hear the guest speaker.  I learned a lot from Bruce's book, nothing at all from P. J. O'Rourkes' book, though I forced myself to finish it.  

Where did I hear about these books?  I read a LOT of magazines:
Harpers, Atlantic, Oxford, Time, This Week, Early American Life, Vanity FAir, Martha Stewart Living, to name a few, and I will sometimes buy a few I haven't subscribed to such as Genealogy and Ancestry magazines.  I read the book reviews and buy books that sound as though they might be interesting, and I listen to NPR on the radio and I hear a great number of interviews with authors.  

I do not belong to a book club and I don't want to read books chosen by members of a book club.  Popular fiction rarely holds any interest for me and I prefer to follow my own jagged path through the forest of available books.  

So, I do heartily recommend this Jersey Boy's Book to you:  Born To Run.  You can probably get it second hand from amazon.com by now at a good price.  I will end this post with a quote from it:
actually two quotes:
1  "Just when I thought I was in the part of my life where I'm supposed to be cruising, my sixties were a rough rough ride." pg.500
2. "Writing about yourself is a funny business.  At the end of the day, it's just another story, the story you've chosen from the events of your life."  pg. 501

The end is so filled with wisdoem and interesting thoughts, I have to add one more:
3."In analysis, you work to turn the ghosts that haunt you into ancestors who accompany you."

Whether you path takes you through the woods or through a book, Happy Trails!  Jo Ann
Wow, in a couple of days it will be 2017.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Launch

Two days ago, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, I took my newly printed book, about 30 copies to Fontana's in Maple Shade.  Every two or three months, those students who lived in  Maple Shade and went to Merchantville High School, graduating in 1963, get together for lunch.  I thought it was the perfect venue to launch my book because, of course, we all shared that period of time - leaving our teens and entering adulthood.

About 30 people attend at any given month, and as in high school, I generally sit with the women who were my best friends back in the first 3 years of the 1960's, Phyllis Ryan, Terry Donovan, Chris Gilbreath, and half a dozen other women I was friends with if not Besties, such as Barbara, Sue, Phyllis and Gail.  The women have different last names now because they are married.  The fellows I was friends with were Ron Williams, Romeo Ventura, and Berry Robey.  Some of these folks have other connections to me or lived near my old neighborhood, Roland Avenue.  For example, Ron married Joanne Nicholas, whose older brother was my ex-husband's best friend.

The friend I stayed closest with over the years was Chris Gilbreath.  She was my neighbor on Roland Ave. and my number one best friend.  Phyllis and I stayed friends for some years because we worked together at W. B. Saunders Publishing Co. on Washington Square, Philadelphia, Pa. from 1963 until I married in 1967.

It is very unnerving to launch a memoir.  Novels are simple because it is all made-up - the plot, the characters, and you'd have to be a pretty deep reader to find the personal about a writer in a novel, but at memoir like 1969:  A Road Trip, is deeply personal, and also, a bit of a fiction, because the person that you are when you are 21 to 25, is deeply buried inside someone completely new by the time you are my age, which is 71!  It is very apt to compare it to a metamorphosis such as the caterpillar to the moth.  Perhaps in reverse is more accurate because you begin as a beautiful winged creature and are forged into a creeping leaf browsing cow of the canopy.

Anyhow, for better or worse, the book is launched.  And, finally, finished.  And I am ready to move on to a new book!  Yes, despite my assertions that I would never do it again, I am already writing the chapters in my head.  I have a mission.  But I am impeded by needing to get set up correctly from the start this time so as not to end up in the morass I endured last time with too many files flying back and forth between me, editors, and the printer.  Many important corrections were left out of the final printing because, I think, the printer used an old file rather than a corrected and updated one.  Next year, I can go to DPE in Cherry Hill and get the work done for $200 less and there was a much more helpful fellow there, named Ed, to work with, not the impersonal anonymity I found at Perfect Printing.

So, I finished a very interesting book called A Life Discarded, by Alexander Masters, about the person who wrote 148 diaries discovered in a dumpster in England.  He writes it like a kind of mystery, as he reads through the diaries, he discovers clues to the identity of the writer.  This was bound to interest me as I have a trunk of diaries covering 50 years, my entire adulthood.  I have just begun Born To Run, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen which I am enjoying very much, his childhood and mine being somewhat similar as are our ages, and both of us New Jerseyans, though I was born in Philadelphia.  I also like how he weaves family history into his narrative.  This is good weather for reading as it is cold and less enticing to chuck everything and go for a walk in the woods.

Had lunch at Local Links in Haddon Heights last week, always delicious, and shopped for stocking stuffers at the Free Trade Store, next door.  I bought a charming Retablos, a little box that houses the nativity made in Mexico.  I had one years ago that was a gift to me, but I haven't seen it recently, so it was an impulse purchase.  

No historic places recently, but I did write a short piece for a Christmas brunch I'm attending on Monday about my favorite Christmas and it features the Winky Dink screen and Bertie the Bunyip!  Anyone remember these?

Christmas is only a week away!  If you still need gifts, try the Mill Race Shops in Mount Holly or the Free Trade Store in Haddon Heights on Station Avenue, they have jewelry, coffee, chocolates, clothes, all sorts of interesting things at fair prices!

Happy Trails!  If you are reading Bruch Springsteens autobiography too and want to talk about it or about my book, you can reach me at wrightj45@yahoo.com (though don't old your breath - the same way commercials have ruined tv, ads have ruined e-mail and the slog through the detritus makes me more and more reluctant to bother with it - still, if I know you are writing, I will check it out!)
Jo Ann

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Old Conveyances

I hope I spelled conveyances correctly.  My eyesight is getting poorer as is my hearing, and thanks to the gym, I can still walk a good three miles, but my knees aren't what they used to be.  Along with these minor insults, I seem to have lost my former unerring spell talent.  

Oh well, Today I took the time to change some photos in the columns because I haven't felt like doing that for awhile as my continuing cell phone changes make learning new processes a strain on my creativity.  I get lazy and would rather read than tinker with the downloading and re-formatting, and so on.

The old sleigh is from an antique shop, probably the one in Burlington in the old car shed.  I love that place.  The Stage Coach, of course is from one of the Batsto outbuildings.  I missed their Christmas tours last weekend.  The date just didn't get to me in time, and I do love to go to that - oh well, hopefully next year.  My Christmas outings this year may be limited to the Christmas displays at the garden centers.  I'm going to McNaughton's on Friday and I wrote about the Riverton Christmas store a couple of posts ago.

Nothing freezes anymore so there isn't any ice skating, and I suppose next, we will say goodbye to snow.  Maybe not in my lifetime.  But, I don't want to get all gloomy on you here.  There was one bit of good news in this day, my book is printed and ready for pick-up this afternoon at Perfect Communications.  I told you I would call it less than Perfect, but I suppose a good deal of my dissatisfaction is simply from my not understanding the canges that have taken place since I printed my own books last, a decade ago.  

As I said before, when I had Black Horse printed, they did the whole thing for $700.  This time, it turns out every thing was a la carte - to me it was like going to a restaurant to have a dinner and having the chef tell you you had to bring your own carrots and potatoes, peeled and ready to cook.  I had to re-format my word documents (which I didn't know how to do and had to get a friend to help) and other details I won't bore you with.  Anyhow after I did all that myself, it was $880!  I said I had rarely paid so much for such a disappointing experience.  On top of it, I felt like I was a bother, too small to be worthy of their time and attention.  

It may be the last book I independently publish, or perhaps my daughter will show me how to use the right pdf format from the start.  Who can tell the future - not me!

I'm going to put the Christmas station on the radio, turn on the lights, burn some cedar incense in my German Smoking man, bought at the Nuremmberg Christmas Market in 1970, and get in the spirit of the holidays.

Happy Holidays to you and may your days be Merry and Bright and may you be lucky enough to have found the best timer for your outdoor lights!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Riverton Christmas Wonderland, cost of a wreath

A few days ago, a friend and i drove to Riverton Christmas Wonderland at 6 Hartford Road, Delran NJ 08075, phone # 856-829-3560.  To be honest, you are better off using the address of Route 130 and Hartford Rd, as the shop is in the corner of a small strip mall facing the highway, Rt. 130.  

It is a small shop but it had a model railroad display and lots of railroad supplies so I was happy.  I priced the live wreaths because I am entirely decorated except for that one item.  I like to hang a wreath or two indoors for the fragrance of pine.  I have an artificial tree that is from W.Va. and I like it because my living room is very small and the tree is tall and thin, perfect for the space.

The wreaths were $12.95, but I didn't buy one.  Instead, I bought an artificial kissing ball which was $8 and a very good bargain.  I have two others on my porch and paid more.  Live Kissing balls can cost nearly $50 because of the labor that goes into making them.

I waited to get a wreat because they sell them at the local ShopRite and I though they might cost less.  They didn't.  I ended up spending $15 per wreath at ShopRite but they were full and fresh, so it was worth it.

Next stop McNaughton's where I hear they have a Gaudio's display.  It gives me inspiration and cheer to go to the Christmas Display shops.  I'll let you know how McNaughton's is this year. 

Then, it is time for Railroad Days in the towns further north, Bordentown and Burlington.  Can't put my trains up this year due to kittens.  Nothing can move without an attack from my sharp eyes little fur friends, but they are worth the sacrifice and they haven't touched my tree, so it's a deal.

I'll be back with more before Christmas, I promise, not to mention time to change the picture up above.  

Happy Holidays,
Jo Ann

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Tree Lights, Famous NJ folks

I read a lot of magazines, and the Sunday Courier Post, among the even more than  many books that keep me diverted, entertained and informed.  Sometimes I come across a few items that I think a blog reader might find interesting and may not have come across on her/his own.  

Christmas Trees: Most people may be familiar with the German origin of the Christmas Tree - the evergreen that is not defeated by the seasons but stays green all year.    Many may also know that the tradition was brought to England by Queen Victoria's German husband, Albert, in the mid 1800's.  English colonists brought it to America where it spread because for a long time, the major ethnic group was Anglo/German.  (Smithsonian Dec. 2016)  

So, early colonists had something of a decorated tree tradition if they came from Germany, but the decorated tree of splendor as we know it really was a product of the mid 1800's and is, therefore, about 150 years old.  Yes, it is true that some early German colonists hung their trees upside down to keep them safe from rodents because they were deported with edibles such as cranberries strung, and nuts and so on.  I had an Early American Life issue some years back with information on that and also an early 1800's photograph of one.  

When I lived in Germany, in 1969, I had a real tree and real candles, the original tradition for lighting the tree.  It was delightful and, of course, dangerous!  Eventually, back in the USA, I bagged up the candle holders and candles and let them go and went for light bulbs on the tree.  

I was able to do this thanks to Johnson and Edison, two remarkable New Jersey residents who conspired to develop and promote the electric light bulb.  Edison invented the bulb, then Johnson wired and strung red, white and blue bulbs, and hung them on a tree in his parlor by the front window, and called the press.  This  happened in the mid 1800's.  Crowds gathered and so illustrious a newspaper as the New York Times, in 1882, published a piece about the 120 bulbs strung on the tree.  

Now we challenge the dark with tree lights and yard lights and a "Star Shower" of house lights. A science program I heard recently mourned that we are now the third generation to be unable to witness the Milky Way due to light pollution, unless we go to some remote location such as Yellowstone National Park.  I don't mind too much.  I'd rather have street lights than the view of the Milky Way, though it would be nice to have both.  I accept that isn't possible.

Johnson's lit up tree was in Washington Square, in New York, but Edison's workshop was in New Jersey.  And Edison is one of our most illustrious claims to fame, though if you count workshops, Einstein, living and working in Princeton from 1933 to 1955, may outshine him.  You can visit his house too!

In the Sunday Courier, November 20, an article ran with the photos and names of many illustrious New Jerseyans.  They left out a few I would have included and added a dozen I never heard of.  Anyhow, you could change the list by limiting it to people born here, or expand it to people who worked here or accomplished something here, which is what I would do.  Some might expand even further to great events that took place here.

When I worked as a volunteer in the history world, I was astonished to discover how much happened in New Jersey during the Revolution.  Our state is the "Crossroads of the Revolution."  If I recall it correctly more than 700 skirmishes and battles took place here both on the rivers, as in the attack on Chestnut Neck and the Forks, on the Mullica River in the Pine Barrens, where iron foundries made cannon balls, and pirates hid after raiding British ships, or in the farm regions of Cumberland and Salem Counties where for instance Mad Anthony Wayne made his daring cattle raid to feed the starving army in one of the bitter winter encampments, two of which, by the way, were in New Jersey at Morristown - a great site to visit.

The Courier article organized its "Icons" by fields of endeavor.  So they featured musicians like Count Basie, the poet, Walt Whitman, who though born in New York spent most of his adult life here and left a home you can visit in Camden.  One of my favorites in the literary category is James Fennimore Cooper, who wrote The Last of the Mohicans, then there is Stephen Crane and The Red Badge of Courage.  

I won't list  all the famous here because there were dozens, maybe I will add some later, but I wanted to put Alice Paul on the list.  She was the major reason American Women won the right to vote in 1920.  Her homestead in Mount Laurel is an excellent place to visit to learn more about her life and the movement to enfranchise half the population of our nation.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived here too.

Another influential woman in New Jerey history was Clara Barton who started the public school movement in the state and you can visit her one-room school in Bordertown.  As you know, she went on to work for our soldiers in the Civil War which turned into the creation of the Red Cross.

Speaking of the Civil War, a little known fact is that between her life endangering trips South to rescue more enslaved people and get them safely North on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman worked as a cook in the hotels in Cape May.  There, she earned the money to finance her rescues.  There are a number of interesting Underground Railroad sites to visit in New Jersey; other posts of mine have discussed them.

The photographer Dorothea Lange was the model for the photographer in my novel, White Horse Black Horse.  She worked here in New Jersey during the WPA and went on to document the Dust Bowl and the Western Migration in her photographs. New Jersey is covered with WPA sites and you can stumble across them when you least expect it such as the Cooper House Restaurant, which bears a plaque in the foyer stating that it was a WPA building.

I'm skipping sports because this blog is becoming too long.  But before I go, I have mentioned it before and i will mention it again, there is also the grave of Peter J. Maguire, the father of Labor Day. So that gives us a whole other category of people to explore, those not necessarily born here, but who were buried here!

Merry Christmas,
may the Lights of Christmas help keep your spirits bright!
Happy Trails - and don't forget Railroad Day is Burlington and Bordertown - the tree platforms will put a smile on your face!
Jo Ann

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Independent Publishing Continued

Today, Wednesday 11/16/16, I got my proof back from Perfect Communications in Moorestown.  To be honest, I have been a  little over sensitive these days, however, it came to me that I have NEVER paid so much to be so disappointed.  I have bought large ticket items before, a car, a sofa, a piano, a trip, but this was $850.00 and I am disappointed. 

1.  Unfortunately, DPI called me last week but it was too late.  I had already accepted Perfect Communications bid and turned over my files and we were in the process.  DPI however, bid $200 less!  I wish I had been more patient but I was in a hurry.  I had a couple of reasons to want this more quickly, and so I pushed on and didn't get the best bid.  First my 71st birthday was coming up and my Riverton Writers' Club was being held at my house, and my high school reunion group that meets informally every other month was getting together in December.  I wanted the book for all of these occasions. 
Well, I won't have it for them anyhow.

2.  The proof of the book was NOT paginated, there was no blank cover in the front or back, it went straight from cover to text, and my copyright and acknowledgements was left off. 

3.  I do not feel as though they wanted to do this book at all and that I was just an inconvenience, so I won't ever be going back to them again.  Customer Service is GONE.  I did speak with a nice man about the proof this morning and he said he would make the changes.  I am hoping my daughter can open the pdf and check it.  My helper has been imposed upon enogh.  My daughter is coming to visit today and she can open my e-mail on her computer.  My e-mai cannot open pdf.

So discouraging in this time of discouragement.  Trump wins the presidency - and I heard a quote from him on the radio railing against "feminist - dykes from the 7 sister colleges" who are going to be stopped because "if women want to help American then they should have babies and stay home and take care of the house."
Then my auto accident and the people I had the accident with trying to grasp something from it.
Then the news is always so sad.

Oh well, on to better and brighter - the books is in the last stage of the process and will soon be done and over.

DPI explained that they do small projects like mine and Perfect is more for bigger accounts like corporations, so in future it will be DPI in Cherry Hill on Route 70 in the strip mall next to Jaguar dealer. 

I will keep you posted when the final books arrive.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3rd, Getting the Book Printed

Well, to re-cap for anyone just joining this thread:  I wrote my third book this year, called 1969 A Road Trip, a memoir of a year living on the road in Europe.  Previously, I had written and independently published two other books, both novels.  One was a relationship novel, 181 Days, the other a historical novel, Black Horse, White Horse, based on a writer and photographer working for the WPA in 1937 New Jersey.  Neither of these books had interest to a publisher but i liked them so I decided to publish independently.  

First, I went to a printer I had visited before, Fort Nassau Printing, and their original quote was $1000 for a hundred books, a little too high for me.  Then I tried a company they recommended that they thought could maybe quote a lower estimate, Perfect Printing in Moorestown.  

Perfect Printing quoted $700 for 100 books.  The man who did most of the work for me at the time was named, I think, Joe Avilla, and my account manager was Barb Roberts.  Ms. Roberts is still with the company, but Joe is not.  They eventually printed both books, and one was popular enough that I ended up getting it re-printed twice, so they earned $700, 4 times from my account or $2800.  

At that time, 2005, they accepted my manuscript in Word (a word processing program common to PC as contrasted with Apple products which used ClarisWorks at the time.)  They set it up, showed me a proof, made corrections for me, then printed the books.

I was well satisfied, so I went back to them again with my third book.  The first book had been in 2005, and the second in 2006, so I knew there would be a higher price, after all, it is a decade later.  The quote was for $830.  

The quote was okay, but this is where we went off track because when I turned in my manuscript on Word, they said they needed it print ready on a pdf format, all set up,  and they would have to charge anywhere from $300 to $500 more to convert from Word to pdf and assemble the book.  

So, I went to two other printers, Belia, which has in the past done good work for me on small things like postcards, and Fort Nassau which has moved to Paulsboro.  

Fort Nassau came right out and told me they couldn't match the price, and needed pdf print ready copy too.  Bella never got back to me.  Then, I contacted another recommended printer.  PDI in Cherry Hill couldn't help either, but they were the most helpful in explaining what was needed.  

A worker, not the estimator at DPI, pulled my manuscript up on his computer and told me what had to be done, margins, pagination, assembly, and all converted to pdf and in the 6 by 9 page size format.  He explained that they could do all that 'assembly' for me but at a charge of $80 an hour and it would be from 2 to 4 hours to do it, so $160 to $320 extra, not far from the Perfect Printing estimate.  

Crushed, I went home and tried to convert the files myself, but my Word program is too old and my software didn't have the capability.  

Later that night, on the phone with a friend from a writing club to which I belong, Riverton Writers, I described how disappointed and discouraged I felt.  My writing pal, Carol, generously volunteered to help me convert my Word manuscript on her newer computer, as she had the proper software and the expertise having independently printed a couple of books herself.  

Today at 10:00, I went to her house, and we worked from 10:30 until 1:30, about 3 hours.  She fixed all the required elements, the page size, the pagination, the cover and converted the files to pdf format.  

At 3:00, I returned to Perfect Printing.  John Williams, their estimator had said he would honor the $800 quote if I provided the print ready files, so I dropped off my print ready files on the thumb drive with hopes renewed.

I am telling you all this in case you, too, have a book in you and to assure you that rather than languish outside the gates of publisher acceptance, you can take matters into your own hands and make your own book!  You can do this on the internet, too, but I had no success with my effort to do this.  The internet software crashed both my computer and my daughter's computer, and I gave up.  

I have known a couple of other people who have independently published their works, and I have bought a couple of books that were independently printed,  one was by a Millville author about her parents flight from Nazi Germany during World War II, a worthy book and an excellent read.  I'm sorry I can't remember her name and tell you the title just now but you could find the book at Bogarts Book Store in Millville by asking.  

But the point is, you can do it too!  Now you know how to get started and where to go.  

If you have a modern computer with up to date software, you shouldn't have the problems I had setting up your manuscript.  You may need help, so maybe a friend with experience, or, you can pay the extra and have the printer "assemble" for you, check with them on how to set up your manuscript to minimize cost.  All of these printers can be found on the internet:
Perfect Communications (their name has changed from Perfect Printing)
Glenn Ave., Moorestown, NJ

2070 East Route 70 (not Wegmans - a strip mall beside the Jaguar car dealer towards Marlton)
Cherry Hill, NJ

on Broadway,

Fort Nassau Graphics
Paulsboro (they are listed in West Deptford but my gps didn't find them there, Paulsboro worked)

If you have a story to tell, go ahead, Tell It!  Maybe it is family history, maybe it is local history, maybe something else entirely.  Good Luck!  I might also recommend joining a writing group for constructive editing and critique, and remember - Learn to Love Editing.  You can always improve your work.

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann 

ps.  Needless to say, it isn't over yet.  I will have to wait and see if the other shoe drops or if I will get a proof in a few days.  I'll let you know.  Also, my daughter gave me a new modern Apple computer for my birthday and Christmas present this year!  Now I just have to learn how to use it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Printing Your book

It is Halloween!  I would be posting a fabulous photo from Thompson Street but I have a new computer and haven't learned how to do that on the new format.  I used to use an HP pc but my daughter gave me an Apple Laptop and I have to wait till she comes home again to teach me how to get the pictures from where they are saved into my blog.  

Today I visited Fort Nassau Graphics for my 2nd estimate for the printing of my 3rd book.  As I have mentioned before, after I retired from teaching, I wrote a book based on two WPA employees working on the State Guide Series.  One, a photographer (based loosely on Dorothea Lange) and the other, a young entirely fictional male writer.  They drove the back roads of South Jersey writing essays and taking photos of 1937 New Jersey.  

Trouble Publishing.  I had given my manuscript to a publisher, but he said he was more interested in Beach Novels, murder mysteries and such.  History has never been all that popular, so I wasn't surprised, but a little downcast.  If you have ever written a book, you know the immense labor that goes into it.  However, I have always been something of a counter-culture person and an independent one, so I decided that I would get it printed on my own.  

Before I retired, I had worked in a summer program and we too the students on field trips.  One of these summer field trips was to Fort Nassau Printing Company.  So I started my search there, but, to my surprise, they were GONE!  Moved!  So I went to Belia Copy Center in Woodbury and asked after Fort Nassau.  At the time, the quote they gave me when I finally located them, but near $1000.  Bella had also given me the name of another printer, Perfect Printing, in Morristown.  They quoted $700.

That quote was for 200 pages, black and white, glued binding.  So I went with them and was pleased with the product, so when I wrote my next book, a kind of relationship novel, I had them print that one too.  

All of that was in 2006.  I just finished my 3rd book, a whole new genre, a memoir.  It is called 1969:  A Road Trip and it covers a year when I was 23, newly married, and my then soldier-husband and I stayed in a VW camper van for almost a year and traveled around 38 countries in Europe after his discharge from the army.  

I decided to write the book because two fellows who called themselves my "fan club" had said the thing they liked most about my historical novel Black Horse White Horse, was that it was a road trip.  That made me think back to my biggest road trip of a great many road trips I had taken in my youth, and I decided to write about it.  

So, back to getting a book printed.  After I wrote the book, a dear friend and superior editor did a first edit for spelling, punctuation,  what we English teachers call 'mechanics' and even though I was an English teacher, I have trouble seeing my own mistakes.  After she returned the manuscript, I made the corrections.  Then I had my daughter do an edit for content and style.  She made many suggestions about details, and expansion of thoughts and feelings, and I incorporated her changes, edit #2.  Then Nancy, my mechanics editor did another run through and I made those fixes (#3).  

Meanwhile I had put in a call to Perfect Printing, but not having heard anything back, I stopped back at Belia and asked if they did such printing.  They said they did and would give me a quote.  I waited.  No one got back to me, so I tracked down Fort Nassau and found out where they had moved (using the internet of course) and made an appointment to see them.  In the mean time, Perfect Printing got in touch and gave me an estimate.

As you might have expected, over the span of a decade, prices rose, and the new estimate was $830.  I kept my appointment with Fort Nassau this morning, and they said they would have an estimate for me by the end of the day, so then I will choose between the two and by tomorrow, my book, on a thumb drive, will be with one of them.

My next question will be how long it will take to get it back.  I'd like to have it for my next Writer's club in November and for  my next Merchantville High School Reunion Luncheon in December.

They used to call "Independent Publishing" Vanity press, implying that if you weren't 'good enough' for a publisher, you could pay to have someone print your implied inferior work.  But my feeling, and the prevailing attitude is that publishers being necessarily in it for the profits can't afford to publish 'niche' works or works they can't be guaranteed a profit on, so independent publishing has proliferated for those of us who have something to say that doesn't necessarily include a murder mystery, or a spy chase.  

So now you know:  Perfect Printing, Glenn Ave., Morristown (on the web) or Fort Nassau Graphics, Imperial Way, Paulsboro (on the web, but don't use the address West Deptford on your gps, use Paulsboro) and Belia, Woodbury.  But I still haven't heard from Belia, so I will choose between Fort Nassau or Perfect Printing.  I'll let you know how it all turns out and if you have a book and want to 'independently publish' go for it.  People spend less on two weeks in Florida or a cruise, and a book lasts longer!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Inky Dinky Spider is on the town tonight! Bordentown, Thompson Street

Again this year 2016, Thompson Street is dazzling in Halloween Splendor.  It is a tremendous treat to visit the street at Halloween and see what the "Outdoor decor artists" have created to inspire, delight and make us green with envy for this holiday.

When I say greeen with envy it is because those of us who love such efforts are envious that we live on dull suburban streets where  the best you can hope for is a scarecrow and a pumpkin.  I try, a few others around my way try, but we never touch the toes of the giants of outdoor decoration who live at 5 Thompson Street.  

They should get an award!  

A friend and I drove up to Bordentown and enjoyed the trees turning colors along 295 North, then we walked up and down Thompson Street, taking in every detail of each house  Four sets of residents were outside finishing up, sweeping up leaves, and as always, happy to chat with their admirers, and I do ADMIRE what they are able to do.  Their ingenuity and their ambition stun me!  I wish I lived there.

We followed this fun with lunch at Under the Moon which was also delightfully decorated for Halloween and I love their decor anyway - vintage stuff speaks to me!  Bossa Nova musuc played softly in the background.  This time I had the quiche of the day with homefries and a  delicious salsa on top.  

We then walked up the street admiring the historic buildings and the other creative decorators efforts on the shops.  For once, I didn't go into the book shop.  I usually do.  I was short on cash and though I'd better stay out.

So if you are looking for a fun day GO TO THOMPSON STREET in Bordentown!
And the main house #5, has the most delightful team working on it.  One, a retired Art Teacher like myself told me he works for Alzheimers patients as a volunteer.  What a great person!  So charming and talented as well.  

Happy Trails,
Even a man who is pure of heart, and says his prayers at night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
and the autumn moon is bright! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Harleigh Cemetery

Good Morning on this Fine October Day.  Always at this time of year, I am drawn to cemeteries.  The impulse has deep roots.  I am of German, Irish, and English extraction and the ancient Celts celebrated a holiday called Samhain (pronounced Sowain) when the gap between the plenty of summer and the dark deprivation of winter made an opening between life and death and people communicated with their lost loved ones. 

South of the border, people celebrate The Day of the Dead around this time of year as well, maintaining the connection between living loved ones and those who have departed for the mysterious realm after death.  They suggest visiting the graves and visiting the loved ones there, a cup of tea, a glass of wine, a little conversation, some flowers - at home, photographs arranged in a little shrine to remember.

All Hallow's Eve - as with  many folk traditions, when the Christian religion conquered the predecessors, for better or worse (the better is the stopping of sacrifice of animals and people to hungry gods - the worse is the burning of alleged witches and the Spanish Inquisition not to mention persecution of other religions) anyhow, they overlaid Samhain with All Saints Day to celebrate and honor the martyrs to the faith and the saints. 

Anyhow, I make my pilgrimage to Harleigh Cemetery to see Walt Whitman's tomb and also to honor the old art of cemetery landscape design.  If you haven't been to Laurel Hill, you should go, if it is too far, go to Harleigh, a very beautiful place for your final rest.  Harleigh is over a hundred years old. located on the Cooper River.  I take Haddon Avenue over 130 into Camden and just befor Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, the gates to Harleigh can be seen   Other luminaries on the fine color map they gave me at the visitor's center include some names I don't know as well as those I do:
Colonel Sewell, Mother Bloor, Senator Baird
To make a fun day of it, you may want to stop for lunch at the Cooper House on Cooper River in Collingswood, then walk around the river, and visit the cemetery afterwards. 

By the way, there are still sites available if you haven't booked your final resting place yet:  856-963-3500, address 1640 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, Cmden, NJ

By the way, I already visited Peter J. Murphy's grave on Labor Day`and over the summer I visited my Lyons family graves in Beverly. Another nice cemetery near Collingswood is off Collings Ave, make a left if traveling towards Rt. 130, just past the railroad tracks, at the old Railroad Station (another interesting building to admire) and with the little one t-he=room Champion School on the right side.  Here are the graves of the early Irish Quakers who settled the Newton Creek area, as well as the graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and up.  I found this one through the excellent article by Hoag Levins a the Camen County Historical Society web site.

Happy(?) Samhain!  See you on the trail, the path or alongside a body of water anywhere in South Jersey!  Jo Ann

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Deck the Alley - elfreth's Alley and Railroad Days are coming again

Saw a sign at Bordentown that November 25,26,27 and December 3,4,5 will bring us the model railroad platforms I so admire once again this year.  They will probably also be at Burlington, but I have no info on that as yet.

Also if you are looking for something fun, and different and historic near the Christmas Holiday, visit ELFRETH's ALLEY, which will feature 20 decorated houses for you to visit.

Saurday afternoon from 3:00 to 7:00, December 3rd, visitors can expect to view the interiors of a record 20 decorated private homes. 

Author Irene Levy Baker will sign copies of her book 100 Things to do in Philadelphia Before You die, for a donation of $25.  What a great holiday gift!

No other site in the entire Nation celebrates three centuries of working class Americans!  Tickets for Deck the Alley are $25 and help to keep Elfreth's Alley viable for the future. 


Also for mor info visit www.elfrethsalley.org or visit on Facebook at www.faceook.com/elfrethsalleymuseum/ 

Now you are set for things to do for Halloween, Thanksgiving (Railroad Days in Bordentown, and Christmas!)

Magazine Review - New Jersey Monthly, October 2016 edition

To be perfectly honest, I have never subscribed to this magazine although I love magazines and New Jersey, mainly, the cover topics I have seen in the past have not been of interest to me.  My daughter is 32 and sothe best  high schools in Nj would not capture my interest, nor would the best doctors, nor the best recipes.  I HATE cooking magazines and cooking in general.  

BUT, this month featured FALL DAY TRIPS and that is a topic that most definitely interests me.  My initial fear was that they would all be set in what I call north Jersey but which is actually more like central.  So much of what is labeled New Jersey ends up being set in Monmouth, or Morris or Sussex counties.  My blog and my interests have been set more in Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties.

Many of the harvest festivals in the magazine have already been held as it is October 6 when I write this and a good number were held last weekend, however, I found two things of interest to me, one is the Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village on October 8th, the other is Indian Summer Weekend in Ocean City 8 to 10th.  

Then, I found something entirely new that wa captivating to me on several levels.  As you know, I LOVE trains and I had no idea there wa a Pumpkin Express!  It is run by the Delaware River Railroad Excursions out of Phillipsburg.   I don't know where that is yet, but I plan to find out. (It is a STEAM train!!)

So here is the info - weekends in October, train leaves at 11 am, noon, 2 pm and 3:30 pm, $17 per adult, address 99 Elizabeth Street, Phillipsburg and the website is

All Aboard!  
Happy trails and day trips to you!  
Jo Ann

ps.  a magazine subscription costs $15 for 12 issues and each issue on the newstand (I got mine at SHopRite) is $4.99 - a bargain!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cooper House Restaurant on Cooper River in Collingswood, NJ

Yesterday, Monday October 3, 2016, I met a friend for lunch at the Cooper House on Cooper River in Collingswood, NJ.

The Courier Post has been running articles in the Sunday paper about restaurants in the area.  It's a good thing, because I didn't even know that the old Lobster Trap had been bought out and replaced with the elegant new Cooper House.

I used to spend a lot of time at Cooper River, but since my knees  became a problem, I have limited my walking to 2 miles rather than the 4 it takes to get around Cooper.

So, we had flatbread with seasonal roasted vegetables for an appetizer, and cream/roasted cauliflower soup, then bean and roasted vegetable tacos - delicious all three items.  We both had coffee and the bill came out to $20 each including the tip, which we always pay at 20%, so it was a tiny bit more than I usually spend for lunch but a bit more than I usually eat for lunch too.  Usually I wouldn't have an appetizer and soup but my friend, Nancy, is very interested in food and recipes so we tried a few more dishes.  

I would definitely recommend this restaurant, and because they weren't busy and we were interested, we were given a tour.  There was charming outdoor seating areas with the many joggers enjoying the breeze and sunshine, and there was a beer garden for evenings.  

What I especially liked was the small walking oval behind the restaurant along the river and around a little pond, so you could have a nice walk before or after lunch, and benches to enjoy the pretty view of the river.

This was a wonderful lunch experience and my friend and I decided we would definitely go there again and recommend it to all of our friends.

If you are looking for a long hike around the river followed by a delicious lunch, vegetarian or not, or a short stroll around a nice little pond and lunch, you can't beat it.  Also, with one of the many events offered at Collingswood this is a great place to go for dinner after say, the Book Fair! or the Craft Fair.

Here is contact information from their business card: 
5300 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

Also, a note on history - across the river, you can just barely see a bit of the Hopkins House.  I don't go there much anymore either since my poetry days are over, but they have literary and music events.  The house was owned by the nephew of Elizabeth Haddon, founder of Haddonfield.  She brought her sister's son over to the colonies from England to be her heir and his land stretched from Camden to Haddonfield and the Cooper River.  Another note, the Cooper River was named for another founding family, whose homestead is a historic site in Camden (located behind Lady of Lourdes Hospital) Pomona Hall, with a fine library, and interesting tours.  Two other Cooper family historic homes are destroyed, one by arson, and one by vandalism.  I visited them all and possibly did a blog entry on them.  I will check and see and if I didn't, I will at a later time.  Now, it's time to do the chores!

Happy Trails and Bon Appetit!
Jo Ann

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tree Make Paper, Paper makes Books, Writers Study Trees

In an earlier entry I remarked that I was reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben, a Forester in a protected forest in Germany.  I LOVE this book:  "A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.: page 17.  Trees have been my friends from the first poor prisoner locked into a three foot square of earth on the city block of row homes where I grew up in Philadelphia.  You always remember your first love.

A much later tree experience I had was in the Black Forest of Germany when I was living there with my former husband, a soldier stationed at Wharton Barracks, Heilbronn, Germany in 1968 and 69.  The canopy of those fragrant giants was so dense that it was dark at noon.  But most impressive to me at the time was the immeasureably thick needle carpet upon which I tread and which released an intoxicating perfume of evergreen when you stepped.  

Also in Europe, once, at midnight when we had missed our train back to the campground, we had to walk through the Bois du Bologne, which took so long that we walked through a night in the forest, and I watched enchanted as spirals of mist rose from the earth to twist and curve as they joined the low falling fog that turned everything silvery and mysterious.  It was indeed the Enchanted Forest.  

Now I live in a small preserve of my own, of 18 neighborhood trees planted roughly around the time of the second world war.  We are a tiny oasis of decimated land.  All the neighbors cut their trees down when leaves became unpopular and they became too old, too lazy or too poor to arrange to have the leaves removed.  I bought a mulch mower and I pay a guy to run it over the yard, which grinds the leaves to enrich my soil and help keep my old trees healthy.  

My latest book on this subject is as good if not better than the first mentioned.  It is called The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell, and it tells about his year of watching a plot of a nearby forest in Tennessee.  He is a science professor in a college near there.  It is delightful readingm "This is where the snowflakes symmetry begins.  Hexagonal rings of water molecules build on one another, repeating the six sided rhythm over and over, magnifying the arrangement of oxygen atoms in a scale visible to human eyes."  pg 9.  

To my dying day, I hope I have the delight I have had since childhood when the first now falls.  Even at night, I would take my daughter into the yard to look up into the black sky and see and feel the magic of the snow falling and kissing our faces.  

These are the books I am reading about the woods, but I have another waiting, and this one is about people and what the internationally renowned entomologist/philosopher, and nature writer, Edward O. Wilson learned from watching ant societies all over the world.  it is called On Human Nature.  Like the other books mentioned, since we are in fact a part of the community or family of nature, we can learn a lot about ourselves as well as the world that supports us from these books.

More on that later, right now I'm off to Mount Holly to meet an old friend from my high school days for lunch at The Robin's Nest. 2 Washington Street, Mount Holly.  To find out more about this delightful cafe' call 609-261-6149 or google it.  They have a web site.

Happy Trails!  Hope they take you through the forest
Jo Ann 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Three "Pleasntries" in One - Places and Thing - including Trains

Yesterday, I went to Point Pleasant with a friend who lives a little North of here, Westampton to be precise.  I had never been there before but I can tell you I have found a new favorite place, though it is a far drive for me.  It worked out well for us, because my friend lives a half hour drive from me, and so I drove to her house and she drove to Point Pleasant.  We walked along the main street of the town and looked in all the shops.

My favorite shop was The Train Room, 715 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742, 723-892-5145

They had a very nice set-up in the window which drew us inside.  They have n, ho, and o gauge railroad supplies and they had a flyer for a BIG train exhibition at the InfoAge Science Center, Saturdays and Sundays throughout December, 2201 Marconi Rd., Wall, NJ (Route 18 exit 7-A) www.InfoAge.org   The Gardent State
 Central Railroad Club is presenting the exhibit.  I hope I can go!.

Speaking of the Holidays, A presentation I always wanted to make for Family History buffs, and historical societies, was WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE PHOTOS AND MEMORIES.  However, I don't do presentations anymore, so I will do a brief summary here as I plan to execute one of my ideas this year and already did two or three in years past.  

This year I am going to make family photo postcards.  I have family pictures from the 1940s and 1950s that I would like to make into holiday cards to send to friends and relatives, so I stopped in at my all time most favorite and most useful copy center, BELIA Copy Center in Woodbury.  I was informed that the designer charges a one-time fee of $80 to design the card then you pay $20 for, I think it was 50 or 100 cards.  I have two photos of my brother and I visiting Santa in Philadelphia in 1955 that I want to use this year.

Last year, I took one photo each for every family member that I had a photo of, scanned them and arranged the scans  into a family tree chronology collage from 1868 to the present, then took it to Belia where it was scanned and printed into a poster.  I found five inexpensive ($5 each) frames in yard sales during the summer, but also supplemented with poster frames from Walmart at about $20 a frame, and gave one family photo collage to each sibling (4) and my daughter plus a few nieces and nephews that expressed interest in the project.  I typed and printed a key and pasted it on back.  

The year before, I scanned and printed then created scrapbooks for my daughter's 30th Birthday and another for my sister's 50th Birthday.  Since I am the only one who does this kind of thing, I created one for myself for my 70th birthday last year.  

A friend of mine has an Art Studio and perhaps I will suggest to her that I would do a one time only presentation on this topic as I would like to do something to promote the spread and continuation of family history, which is such an important subject for me.

Finally:  In Christmas 2016 issue of Early American Life, a long-time favorite magazine of mine, I found this interesting piece of historical information:  On page 73 there was a re-print of a 1909 photo postcard "the invention of the relatively inexpensive box camera in 1888, coupled with the popularity of photo postcards that met postal regulations, enabled families to record and share special events with distant relatives."

Happy Trails and Happy Memories!
Jo Ann