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.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Crossroads item, and restaurant review for Naked Lunch Saturday, 2/24/17

Here is a bit of information from a Crossroads of the Revolution e-mail I received:
The first St. Patrick's Day celebration in the not yet entirely born United States of America was declared by General George Washington when he gave the troops a much needed day of rest on 3/17. A quarter of the troops were Irish or of Irish descent (as am I) and the choice of the day off was no coincidence.  It happened at Morristown, New Jersey, the 2nd winter encampment there.

Now, as for my trip to Mom's Organic Market in Cherry Hill and lunch at the cafe' there, Naked Lunch, the food was excellent but I HATE those tall counter stools.  If you have a bad back, like I do and so many of my friends, you want to put your feet on the floor when you sit down in a chair.  I know those high stools are trendy, for some reason, but they are NOT comfortable.  But perhaps they didn't want people hanging around too long.  

Anyhow we had the black bean burgers, very good, and I chose the kale and spinach side, while my friend, Nancy, chose the home-made pretzels.  Very tasty.  I bought yoghurt and freshly ground coffee, along with cashew butter and a great multi-grain bread while there.  Very worth the money and the effort.

Mom's is located in what used to be I Goldberg's a long time ago, on the Cherry Hill side of Route 70 on King's Highway.  They carried a very large selection of produce and many other kinds of products.  Of course everything is more expensive that it is at ShopRite, but you expect that when you shop higher quality goods. I would go back for food item, but not for lunch, though I enjoyed the food, I can't stand those high stools where you can't rest properly while seated.

Such beautiful weather, my mini-daffodils are in full bloom, and I am heartened by the discernible approach of spring.  Soon, a rain storm will be here, in an hour or two, but I got my walk in early today at Knight's Park and I hope you got out while the sun was shining too!  A friend and I, an old friend from the old neighborhood in Philadelphia, Gale, and I walked then enjoyed a nice peaceful lunch at the Station House corner cafe' in Haddon Heights, a place of which we are both very fond.  We had breakfast items.  

Happy Trails!  (wrightj45@yahoo.com)
Jo Ann

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stuff Going On All over South Jersey!

Just got issue of SJFirst, a AAA magazine and found a few things to tell you about.  Generally when I am posting, I am thinking of the person who is looking for something to do and may have heard about this blog.  That was why I created it.  When I was retiring, a few other retirees were saying they didn't know what to do with themselves and I had so many things to do and places to go I was busy every day, so I thought I would share them.  I am a big reader, of magazines, brochures, local papers, you name it.  And I have rarely to never met a brochure I didn't take home with me.  So:

1.  If you love lighthouses (and I do!) Hereford Inslet Lighthouse Maritime Festival North Wildwood is being held in mid June - food, music, living history pirates - sounds like fun.  The magazine didn't post an exact date or a place to get information.  They want you to book their tours, so you will have to look this one up on your own, but if you found me, you can find the lighthouse site!

2.  If you like theater:  
Barefoot in thePark, Friday March 10 at 8 p.m. The Broadway Theater of Pitman thebroadwaytheatre.org

To Kill A Mockingbird, Friday March 17, 8 p.m. at The Ritz Theatre Company, Oaklyn (my personal favorite and what could be a better time to revisit this classic since Go Tell a Watchman was published to great hoopla a year or so ago!) ritztheatreco.org

If it is food that rings your bell, A Taste of Collingwood takes place Saturday, March 11 from 1-3 downtown Collingwood
onthetownfoodtours.com  (now food is not generally my thing but tomorrow I will be visiting Mom's Organic Market, Kings Highway off Rt. 70 in Cherry Hill, to have lunch at the cafe' there called Naked Lunch.  I will let you know how it is, and since we are on the subject of food, I LOVE the Bankok City lunch special, spring roll, soup or salad, and an entire, all for under $10 and the food is delicious and the atmosphere is serene.  

Don't forget in March, Lines On the Pines!

If you like to look ahead:  From April through August Wheaton Arts, Millville, a series of selected days throughout the month with free admission for all visitors  I can't seem to figure out when these free admission days are but it looks like three day weekends, so I guess not during the week.  www.wheatonarts.org

Some weather we are having!  I have been enjoying my daily walks with my dog pal Trixie!  I hope summer doesn't descend too suddenly however, neither she nor I can take the heat.  I do like 70 though!  Knight Park has been wonderful - still empty, kinds in school, still peaceful, and still beautiful.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Washington Square and the dead

Well, I looked it up and in an article at a site called Chestnut Hill, a plaque was cited that did indeed proclaim that thousands of sick and wounded Revolutionary War soldiers were buried under the park, not yellow fever victims!  During the years when I worked at W. B. Saunders, I must have seen the plaque.  

Today at the gym, although I was listening to music on my iPod shuffle, the tv directly in front of me was showing black and white footage from World War II.  I didn't unplug and tune in because the music helps me keep moving but I saw sailors boarding ships, many of whom looked like my dad.  My father was on troop transport ships both in the North Atlantic and the Pacific.  The year he died, I had bought him a book about the Battle of Tassaferonga, which he witnessed.  Needless to say, it brought tears to my eyes to see those young men, many of whom would never be coming home to get married and make families like my father was fortunate enough to do.  He lived to be 89.

At the end of the footage, or actually, at the end of my bicycling time, they showed an elder vet looking at the USS NEW JERSEY in Camden.  It reminded me of my many visits there, including one with my father before he passed away in 2011.  

My father had also been in the Merchant Marines, and before that the Civilian Conservation Corps.  He worked on the Skyline Drive and we spent many happy family vacations there when I was growing up.  His experiences helped to inspire in me an interest in history as well as an appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our citizens in uniform.  

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

The Museum of the American Revolution

Okay, it is in Philadelphia, Pa., not South Jersey, nonetheless, our history is inextricably linked with our sister across the river, and I am personally linked as well.  That is where I was born!  

In my just received issue of Early American Life, a magazine I treasure, on page 6, there is a half page piece on the Museum of the American Revolution.  The official opening will take place April 19 through 23rd, beginning with a wreath laying at Washington Square (where I had my first job at W. B Saunders) at the tomb of the unknown Revolutionary War soldier.  AS I had always heard, over a thousand yellow fever victims/soldiers are buried in a mass grave at Washington Square.  I have never corroborated that.  A representative of the Oneida Nation will offer a blessing, readings and music.  There will be a procession and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  For more information, go to -

I am so excited about this.  It is long overdue.  So that is a special  event available each month - Lines on the Pines in March and the opening of the Rev. War museum in April.  A man I have much admired over the years, Gary Stone, was working on a Rev. War site map for New Jersey.  He is at Morristown Battlefield.  I look forward to that being completed and published some day too!  

What a coincidence, since I had just posted about Common Cause and Paine's house in Bordertown yesterday (or the day before).  When I worked at the Whittal House, Red Bank Battlefield, as a volunteer, I was very much enamored with Revolutionary War history.  I believe I may have posted some time ago on books you can read about events in SJ during the war.  I have a long shelf full of them, some are very special to me, such as the one about the battle for the Delaware River - between the forts in Philadelphia and Red Bank Battlefield.  Well, I don't know if I will be at the opening, but I will definitely be at the museum later in the spring.  I rarely go to Philadelphia these days but I will make the special effort for this event.  

Happy Trails!  If you want to contact me and cannot use the comments feature, you can write me at wrightj45@yahoo.com

Monday, February 20, 2017


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Thomas Paine in Bordertown and printing presses

I was sure no one wanted to look at snow, so I changed my photograph today and put in a photo I took at (I think) Camden County Historical Society Museum in Camden, New Jersey.  I visited there recently and found this photo in my camera roll, so I thought I would post it and drop in a little printing press history.

During the Colonial period, printing was one of the few trades open to women.  During the Revolution, about 30 women printers were in operation.  In Baltimore, Mary Goddard devoted the front page of The Maryland Journal to the Declaration of Independence.  Like most printers, including Benjamin Franklin, Mary K. Goddard had to keep a second business in order to earn enough money as the printing business was not particularly profitable.  Sometimes her paper subscribers would pay her in goods rather than money, and she sold these goods in her store.  Franklin, himself, ran a stationers next door to his print shop, although to be fair, we should say that most of the time, his partner Deborah ran the store as Franklin spent decades in Europe on behalf of the new American government .  Mary also worked as a postmaster as did Franklin.

My New Jersey Great Grandfather, William C. Garwood also worked as a postmaster in Turnersville.  

A second connection is that I studied printmaking when I was in my second college, Rutgers the State University, which I attended from 1979 through 1981 or 82.  I had already taken a degree in English with certification to teach at what was then Glamssboro State Teachers' College, and at Rutgers, I was taking a major in Art and certification to teach.  Many of my education credits could be transferred, so I finished in less than 4 years.  

The kind of printmaking I studied used a press, but we drew with grease pencils on fine grained slabs of limestone from Germany, then used a variety of etching chemicals to make the stone ink resistant while the grease pencil lines could pick up ink.  It was a laborious process, but I liked it and I continued it after I graduated and moved to Philadelphia, by studying at Fletcher Art Memorial on Catherine Street.  

Eventually, I changed over to woodblock printing because I could do it without a press, and finally, I gave it up and made paintings.  However, My personal history has always made me interested in printing presses.  Add to my Art history, my work history - I worked at W. B. Saunders Publisher on Washington Square, and McMillan, a subsidiary, in Riverside, New Jersey, and the interest in printing expands.  Also, since I worked as a secretary, I have also always been interested in typewriters, and I have both a 1919 Underwood, and a 1980 Smith Corona electric typewriter.  

Once, I visited the Parker Press up near Perth Amboy.  This was a Revolutionary era printer shop and there is a nice little park beside the tiny shop.  I have a book on Parker, the printer, but I confess I haven't read it yet.  

New Jersey History - Thomas Paine's famous and highly influential pamphlet, Common Sense was printed by Robert Bell.  Half a million copies of the pamphlet were sold.  "...In proportion to the population......It had the largest sale of any book in American History."  It is still in print today.  You can find a plaque commemorating Thomas Paine's home in Bordentown, New Jersey and there is a statue of him at Prince and Courtland Sts.  

One day we will have a great book of historic places in New Jersey, in the meantime, the rest of us will have to do our little parts in keeping the history alive by visiting and writing about it on blogs and newsletters!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Collingswood, a town arisen from the dead

Yesterday, a friend and I after being disappointed at The Cooper House, tried our luck at Sabrina's for lunch.  My friend is vegan, I am only vegetarian.  Cooper House had only a brunch menu and nothing without eggs.  We knew for certain Sabrina's had vegan friendly menu items so we headed over there.

I was astonished to find, not for the first time, a line so long, we had to give up.  And Sabrina's has a serious noise problem.  Although I have been a mother and was a teacher for 32 years, I have to become inured to the high pitched shrieks of toddlers.  Similarly, I have a dog, but prefer not to be plagued by incessant barking.  If my dog barks, I bring her in from the yard.  I taught my daughter restaurant manners, but she seemed to know how to behave and it was never a problem.  Anyhow, we marched on to find another place to eat.  We went to SaladWorks, an old favorite of mine.  

But the theme of our conversation became how Collingwood, once a dead, or dying town, was resuscitated and has become the hip and happening place it is, vibrant with new restaurants, young families, and beautifully maintained houses and properties.  They have spring garden tours and porch teas and summer park movies!  This is a great place to live and visit.  The park is clean, and all of us dog walkers scoop and bag and use the many receptacles.  There are no dirty diapers in the parking areas and there are only bottles thrown during sports seasons when sports parents seem to either not teach their children manners or to not have manners themselves, then you find bags of fast food wrappers and discarded sport drink bottles, right next to receptacles for recyclables and trash.  Oh well.

Many years ago, I lived in Collingwood.  It was the 1970's and I was married.  We lived i one apartment then another, and liked it there so much, we bought a house, a little brick row home facing the Cooper River.  We were both fitness oriented and we both biked and hiked the 4 mile Cooper River trail daily.  I loved that house and that town.  Often I would walk from Cooper River to Knight's Park, then to Newton Creek, about a 5 mile walk, maybe 7 miles round trip.  

During my early years, the occupying force was Reverend Carl McIntyre and the Bible Presbyterian Church.  The 20the Century Reformation Building on Haddon Ave. faced it's brethren The Missionary Bible Building across the street.  It was a town of old-timers and fundamentalist religious people.  Then something happened.  Perhaps it was the death of Rev. McIntyre in 2002, and the closure of his radio program,  but the town began to founder.  McIntyre was a grass roots, fundamentalist, and populist preacher and a prolific fundraiser.

Now I have nothing against religion, but I do hold to the very basic principle that your rights end at the end of my nose.  An old saying of my fathers, which means I have a right to my own beliefs and my own body.  The period in which I grew up was a period when religion was on the wane but still held some sway.  

My mother was a deeply religious woman and my father was a respectful agnostic.  We children went to Sunday School and our first church, Gloria Dei, Old Swedes Church, in Philadelphia, was a place I actually enjoyed.  I liked Sunday School, and the churchyard, the interesting cemetery and the old and heart warming church building located at 916 Swanson St. 215-389-1513 for information.  It is the oldest church in Pennsylvania and was built around 1698.  I attended Sunday School there with my mother and my brother Joe from my earliest years to my early teens when we moved to New Jersey.

The town we visited during our whole lives for vacation was another of those old religiously founded towns, Ocean City, NJ.  My grandmother lived there.  The religious basis of the town kept it dry (as in non-alcoholic), clean, and family friendly.  Compare it to Wild Wood for example a hellish nightmare of ugly bars and ignorant and rude drunks like a "Pottersville" (from It's a Wonderful Life, the film).  

In the case of Collingwood however, Rev. McIntyre became a despot.  His need to dominate and exert his will over everything and everyone finally brought about the ruin of the empire he created.  He fought not only with the non-religious, but with other fundamentalists.  He alienated all his former associates and co-religionists. 

He brought "Pirate Radio" to the New Jersey shore, from which he broadcast his fiery sermons against Satan on earth, and apostates, and communists!  He had fought a long battle with the FCC and they finally won.  His voice could be heard over hundreds of other religious radio stations but his pirate ship was closed down.  Those were the days when people took the separaation of church and state seriously.  Eventually, like a disease, Reverend McIntyre's poisonous rage destroyed its own host.  He lived to be 95 and to see his empire crumble to dust and debt.  The Missionary building was demolished and I believe the 20th Century Reformation building is now a municipal office of some kind.  

I had an amusing experience some years back in Collingwood when I was out to lunch with my cousin, Patty.  We were walking down Haddon Avenue window shop amidst an unusually large number of other pedestrians.  Suddenly there were also major network news trucks, CBS, NBC, ABC.  Collingwood was allowing same sex couples to apply for marriage licenses, and later, ten couples celebrated their nuptials at the Scottish Rite Auditorium.  My cousin said we might be on tv and how shocked our friends and family would be if we were misidentified as one of the couples looking for a license.  Patty was a widow by then and I, a long time divorcee.

Collingswood had come a long way from the stodgy, angry, excluding and hell-fire and damnation of McIntyre's period, to the vibrant, open, cafe and restaurant decorated town of today.  Once, those store fronts were boarded up and covered with cardboard, now you see the faces of the happy people through the glass.  

It is a town I would be happy to live in if I didn't live in the house I love already.

If you want a walk and a lunch, you couldn't find a nicer spot - three parks - 4 miles at Cooper River and lunch at the Cooper House, 1 1/2 miles at Knight's Park, and lunch at Sabrina's or Salad Works, or 3 miles at Newton Creek.  By the way, I have kayaked on Newton Creek as well, you can go from Cuthbert Blvd. up to the BlackHorse Pike, not a long ride, but an interesting one.  I once saw a dozen white herons roosting in a tree along the banks of the creek near the Black Horse Pike.

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Great Link

A is so often the case;, I was looking for one thing and found another.  I wanted to find out some history of Grenloch Lake but I found Watermills of Camden County, by i William Farr this excellent link instead.  In this collection of links and documents was the Water Mills of West Jersey by William Farr, but I couldn't get anything about Grenloch.  What I did find was more on my own ancestor's Mills:
Major Peter T. Cheeseman.

Also, a nice postal photo of Evan's Mill at Haddonfield.  There is a nice little pond there that I like to walk around also.  

I had a good time checking out the many interesting thing on this wonderful web site including the Hessian maps of South Jersey.  

Mills have always fascinated me and I was green with envy when I saw the collection of old mill paintings collected by Sue Hueskin and on display in her home.  Sue Hueskin is a supplier of Colonial era clothing to re-enactors and a re-enactor herself.  You can find her and her stall at most Colonial re-enactment events.  When I was a volunteer at Red Bank Battlefield, I had an entire outfit:  petticoat, bodice, cape and a mantua for special occasions, from her.  She is a very nice person as well as a talented costumer.  I wish I had thought to collect those old mill paintings.  Perhaps I will simply have to get out my supplies and start painting my own.  Maybe I could do a painting of Cheeseman's Mill, a photo of which is in one of the mill booklet from Camden County Historical Society.  

A collection of tours and hikes from Mill Ponds, by county, would be an interesting project!  Meanwhile, I found nothing on Grenloch.

Another great link for info on Timber Creek.

Grenloch Lake Trails

Today, I had the chance to explore a new trail with my most loyal hiking buddy, Barb Spector.  We bought lunch at Wawa and ate picnic style in the parking lot off Blackhorse Pike at Grenloch Lake.  I wasn't sure it was Grenloch Lake until the end of the hike.

For many years my general practitioner family physician, Dr. Vitola, had his office in a little office-park across the street from the lake and I always wondered what lake it was.

As you know, all the lakes in South Jersey are man-made to serve the mills that once proliferated along all the creeks and rivers.  My own family history is involved with the mills.  Peter T. Cheeseman put up the local teacher, Mr. William Collins Garwood, in his home, as was the custom in the early 1800's.  William fell in love with Rachel, Major Cheeseman's daughter, and they married.  William was not only the teacher at the Turnersville One-Room School, he was also postmaster for a time.  

Rachel died young, after giving birth to a son and a daughter.  Anyhow, her father's mills are the theme here, and I don't want to let the family history take me off in a different tributary.  Peter T. Cheeseman had two sawmills and a grist mill on the Timber Creek. I have found a photo of one of the mills and a location for another - the Lebanon Branch but haven't found the Lebanon Branch itself.  So I am always on the lookout for lakes in the area of Timber Creek.  

Since it is winter, I noticed a trail beside the parking lot at the lake along the Black Horse Pike.  So today, with my intrepid explorer hiking pal, we returned to follow the trail.  We found a nice trail beside the lake, which did, in fact turn out to be Grenloch Lake, and we found an upper trail on the way back that skirted a residential neighborhood and a playground.  I would guess the trail was about half a mile, and so, a mile round trip.  There was a road from the neighborhood, going to another parking area with a nice little bridge, but we were not able to find out the name of the road.  

I plan to do a little more history on Grenloch and return to the lake and the trail.  Not many more chances to hike the woods before tick season!  My brother's dog was just sick with Lymes Disease, a frightening hindrance to hiking in the woods.  March is the hatching season, so we keep to paved trails that time of year and spray like mad.

Happy Trails! 
Jo Ann

Monday, February 6, 2017

Postcard Love

Today, Monday, February 6, 2017, I received a package in the mail which is always an experience of high expectation:  "What did I order and when?"  This package contained a vintage postcard of the Pyramid of the Sun, outside Mexico City.  I ordered it because I had just finished reading Lost City of the Monkey God, and I wanted to see the pyramids again that I saw for the first time in 1964.  I was 19 and it was my first trip alone as a young adult.  Well, that is to say, without parents, because I went with a friend from work, a girl my age.

Needless to say our parents were terrified, but we were daring and felt ourselves to be completely competent to undertake such a journey.  The adventures of that trip will have to wait for another occasion because this entry is about postcards.  

A taxi driver outside our hotel in Mexico City, insisted that we should pay him to take us to the pyramids.  We didn't know if we were being kidnapped or abducted, but we paid our $10 (amazing isn't it - 1964 price!) and had the archaeological experience of a lifetime.  I sent postcards home, of course.

Probably, because I am the age that tends to repeat stories, I have told you how I got started collecting postcards.  My Uncle Yock, Joseph Frederick Young, worked part-time for the post office at Ocean City as a mail sorter.  He was a droll and mischievous Uncle, a reader of Argosy magazines.  Often when he was at work, he came upon postcards with postage but no address, a frequent occurrence at resort areas where people begin their cards, put them aside and let the ones with no addresses, accidentally get mailed with the correctly addressed ones.  He would put my mother's or father's or my name and our address on Warnock Street in Philadelphia, on the cards and we got these wonderful messages from strangers.  So much fun!

From that time forward, I have been a postcard sender, buyer and collector.  I have had special interests off and on, over the years, beginning with vintage seashore cards.  My oldest is 1911, with a penny stamp and a message to a Mr. Eck, from his friend vacationing in Ocean City, reminding him to "set a date to get together to study the Constitution."  I am imagining that G.B, the sender, may have been an immigrant working on his citizenship, as were the grandparents of Joseph Frederick Young, at one time.  I have photos, dated 1884,  of Catherine Sandman and William Adam Young, Uncle Yock's parents, whose own parents had come here from Germany in 1820.  I have a photocopy of the original Jung's citizenship paper.  

Also, in my one year travels around Europe in 1969, I sent many postcards to my parents and my grandmother, Mabel Young Wright, in Ocean City, Uncle Yock's sister, and they saved them and gave them back to me tied with a ribbon.

Last year I began a postcard project using old family photos from holidays and special occasions to send out as greeting cards.  

A bit of information if you have postcards to sell:  The person from whom I purchased my Mexican pyramid postcard from buys "Collections and Accumulations Large and Small" among a variety of other paper items.  His name is Eric Larson, and you can reach him at eric@cardcow.com.

I used to collect postage stamps and beads (sold in a yard sale to a child the year I moved from Philly to NJ) and I still collect books but I don't have any other collections any more.

Something I do not collect but have admired in collection is passports - so intriguing, the stories they have to tell about history.

And speaking of small and beautiful landscapes, once in New York, many years ago, I saw a gallery show of postcard sized original paintings, sent during the Victorian period by travelers making the grand tour of Europe.  Some were sent by the artists who made them, others were purchased or commissioned by travelers to send home.  They were exquisite treasures.  And again, when I was in college studying printmaking, other artist friends and I would make and send original art postcards to one another.  What a treat.  Back in that time, I was actually in an art show at the Muse Gallery of "Femailable Art."  

I have no art friends left in my communication circle, but I wish I did so we could send one another such gifts.  The mail will always have delight and adventure attached to it to me.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bits and Pieces: Camden Co. Historical Soc. News etc.

If you are not a member of the Camden County Historical Society, you wouldn't be getting their newsletter:  the Communicator, so, as I am a member, I am happy to pass on some of their news.  First of all, their current theme is The Great War, of course, World War I.

This was of great interest to me a couple of years ago.  In fact, I attended a series of lectures on the subject at Camden County College, that was possibly the best series of lectures I have ever attended, or, in my  maturity, I am better able to enjoy such things than I was before.  Each lecturer was a profoundly knowledgeable and interesting young man.  I had, previously, encountered some very disappointing courses there on subjects that should have been interesting, some I found myself re-writing at home on my own because they had been so poorly done, such as the series I took on Dickens, one of my lifelong favorite  authors.  I've got to be honest here, the professor, emeritus, was tired, chair bound, no longer interested in his own subject. we were all respectful of his age, but you have to know when to stop  Some people remain dynamic and passionate into their old age, others are worn out and should move over for younger minds.

Enough of the ranting.  The Communicator offered a very interesting account of Camden County and the Great War, a photo of John Albert Overland, first Camden Marine to die for ins country and his father's response to this sacrifice.  There were photos and descriptions of major battles as well a references to reference works that can be found at CCHS Library if you want further information.

EVENTS:  1.Living Hisory Presenttion on Henry "Bo" Brown and the underground Railroad Sunday, Feb. 19th at 1:00 p.m.
2.Paranormal Unveiling, Thurs. Mar. 9, at 7:00 p.m. 
3.Pilot Emory Conrad Malick Lecture, Sunday Mar 26, at 1:00 (1st licensed African American Pilot)
4.World War I Exhibit Opening, April 9th at 1:00 p.m. in new Camden County Room on the upper floor of Pomona Hall (newly restored)

BIG EVENT:  Lines on the Pines Festival will br held Sunday, March 12, at 11:00 to 4:00 at the Renault Winery, 72 N Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City, NJ (CCHS will have a table there) Admission is free.  

There was an update on the Historic Hugg-Harrison House ongoing preservation battle.

The CCHS library is open Wed. through Friday 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday 12 to 3 and the new Library Director is Bonny Beth Elwell, a brilliant young genealogist, South Jersey Historian and author.  She has been president of the Salem County Genealogy Society, for a number of years with some very energetic programming for that group, and she has been author of a long-standing admired column called Ancestor's Attic in the Elmer News, as well as Arcadia author of Upper Pittsgrove, Elmer, and Pittsgrove, available at amazon.com.  Bonny Beth Elwell, along with all her accomplishments is a brilliant, charming, warm and helpful person.  I am delighted to see her career branching outwards and upwards and happy to have her in my home county, Camden.

THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD;  If, like me, you are an adventure reader, you will love this book.  The author, Douglas Preston, takes you on a well-written and suspenseful journey into the Mosquitia Jungle of Honduras in search of the White City.  It reminded me of so many of my closer to home forays in search of lost places, rambles along the mud beaches of the Delaware Bay now near Greenwich in search of Native American projectile points (arrow heads) or along Timber Creek in search of the Lost Fort Hudson, fur trading post of the Dutch and Lenni Lenape, or in search of the Lost Fort Elfsborg, Swedish fort of which only a road name remains.  I believe you can find that adventure resides right in your own backyard.  Look at the discovery of the Dinosaur Foulkii in Haddonfield off Maple Avenue.  

I have had as much joy in finding glowing green remnants of the glass factories of the pines as if it were a gold nugget from an Amazonian tributary (without the snake bite and flesh eating bacterial infection from insects!)

Happy Trails!  Maybe I'll see you at a CCHS lecture or at Lines on the Pines!
Jo Ann

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Paterson, the movie by Jim Jarmusch

Before the glow wore off, I wanted to post this review of Paterson, the movie just out by Jim Jarmusch which is set in Paterson New Jersey.  What a beautiful and heartwarming movie.  It happens that I love poetry, and back some years, did a good deal of traveling from coffee shop to cafe to attend open mic's and other poetry events.  I even won a prize once!!  However, even if you have no interest in poetry, this movie is delightful.  

A Paterson city bus driver, also named Paterson, an "everyman" played marvelously by Adam Driver with such subtlety that he did reach that pinnacle of acting which was to so inhabit the character that he became him and you believed him as a real person.  It was a perfect work of Art in every way, visually (without prettifying a gritty post-industrial city) it makes Patterson's aged face gorgeous, and the slow pacing that is so hard to carry in our hasty and impatient modern society, becomes meditative and allows you to fall into a reverie.

The characters are charismatic.  You can't help but fall in love with the quiet manly chivalry of Paterson, the poet/bus driver, and his scintillating and lovely wife.  The quiet contemplative style allows you to really see the characters in the bar and on the bus, not as some fast glimpse cliche, but as touching and human and real.

I have always wanted to visit Paterson because of its fascinating history as a silk capital in the world trade, and also because of the Falls!  The camera returned again and again to the falls and the churning water that once powered the many mills of Paterson.  My car is old and my eyesight isn't great (I have trouble reading street signs) so I don't know if I will be getting there any time soon, but I feel as though Jim Jarmusch took me to Paterson in a way more profound that an actual physical visit.

Also, I cannot leave this review without mentioning Marvin, the English bulldog, a powerful character in the movie in his own right.  They should give an Oscar to animal actors and Marvin should get one for his nuanced performance.

Go see this movie and be enchanted both with a fascinating and historic city in our state, and for the pure Art of the Film!  You can find it at the Carmike Ritz, Voorhies, NJ (Haddonfield Berlin Road).

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