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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Main Street Art Wants to Inspire YOU!: Paint and Sip Parties & More!

Stopped in at Main Street Art today and bought myself a great fun pendant made with a vintage stamp.  You know I love all things postal, so it was a fun present for myself.

I am up to Chapter 11 of The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, which is a book about how to re-stoke your creative furnace.  My latest artist projects have been family heirloom scrapbooking, and as you know cards and postcards made with old family photos:  part of my "What to do with your family history" efforts.  How can we interest others in what we find fascinating, the lives of those who came before us.

Anyhow, Diane has Paint & Sip Parties:  Birthday parties, Girl's Night Out, Bachelorette Parties, Baby Showers, Team Building, You name the Occasion = $30 per painter.  There are kids parties too, for $20 per painter.  Only 6 people needed for a party, so if you have always wanted to give it a try, here's the place, and this is the time!  Go for it!  Diane Paul also offers Art Lessons and Workshops for adults or kids.  For more information call 856-979-5356 or go to
www.mainstreetartnj.com

Diane and I know one another from our student days at Rutgers The State University, in Camden, where we were printmaking majors.  

Coming Soon ENJOY FREE COFFEE while shopping and creating: cards, jewelry, pottery, photography, candles - Walk in Art Projects include create puzzle for $5 each!  

You Know how I enjoy local journals, newspapers, and such.  I picked up a copy of The Maple Shade Messenger, and Diane was featured on the front page:  Main Street Art Wants to Inspire You!  Main Street Art, 18 East Main Street, Maple Shade, NJ 08052 also diane@mainstreetartnj.com

Diane also had a great variety of wonderful gifts for that upcoming birthday, housewarming, anniversary or any important occasion.  There is jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, clothing, crochet work, art objects of a great many kinds, and paintings by  many artists at reasonable prices.  I have bought jewelry, gifts, and small paintings from Diane's shop for myself and for my friends' birthdays.  Drop in and visit and look around.  You won't be disappointed!

By the way, there is parking in a municipal lot in the back of the shops on Main Street.  And a flyer that I picked up remind us that the classes and offerings change often so check in at the web site for updated information, hours and changes!




Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Winter 2016/17 Sojourn EXCELLENT!! Whites bog Lecture On Eliz White EXCELLENT too!

What a wonderful day!  It began with a drive to Whitesbog to hear the lecture on Elizabeth White and her contribution to the early development Four Mile Colony, later Lebanon Residential Center for Disabled Adults.  

I am sorry I didn't catch Albertine's last name but she was introduced, I think, as Whitesbog's Archivist.  Anyway, her power point supported lecture on Elizabeth White's involvement with several reform efforts, and the context provided by Albertine in regard to efforts to assist needy children in that time (late 1800's and early 1900's) was most informative.  

I went with one of my hiking buddies, who was especially interested as she worked as a special ed teacher early in her career, later, as a school counselor.  She had begun to read, and then abandoned, a non-fiction book by a former inmate at the Lebanon Colony;  it was too hard to read because of the cruelty the author had to endure while a child there.

The Whitesbog Preservation Trust newsletter , 4th quarter 2011 has a cover story on this topic.  

The ten person audience was an intelligent and informed one, and the lecture was given in Suningive, Elizabeth White's former home and office.  

After the lecture, we took my Lab, Trixie on a nice hike around the always glorious bogs under a china blue sky and in sparkling fresh air.

Then, when I got home my new issue of SoJourn had arrived.  I hadn't expected it till Monday.  What a treat!  And What an ISSUE!  This one is all I had hoped it would be - really timely and interesting essays and a great variety.  I immediately read the very well written essay on Margaret Meade and Hammonton.  This issue is a real keeper and I plan to buy more as gifts to friends who also love the history, geography and culture of South Jersey.  Well Done!  I recommend that any of you reading this blog, buy this journal.  As I said, I got it from amazon.com.  The cover is gorgeous.  

Hope your day was as good as mine!
Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Curator at the Museum of the Ordinary Person - A Short Fiction - Part 1

Foreword:  I have often had a fantasy of coming into a large sum of money.  Of course since I don't buy lottery tickets, it is highly unlikely, but that's why it is a fantasy.  For the past few day, a short story has been writing itself in my head:  The Curator at the Museum of the Ordinary Life.  In fact, the American Museum in Glamssboro is somewhat like that, the assortment of personal collections and the array of objects from farm implements to model trains that they have there, but I would go even further and add diaries and family photos and such.  So here is the story.


Gloria placed her mug of steaming tea carefully on a coaster on an under shelf of the counter near the door of the museum, then went to the front door to unlock it.  The doors were massive the building having belonged to a bank before it was bought by a philanthropist who turned it into an archive and museum of ordinary people's lives.

Already, coming up the path dragging a bag, she saw a woman in a nurse's scrubs dragging a large trash bag up the steps.  Gloria held the door open for the woman and they greeted one another.

"Well, well, what have you got there?"  Gloria asked.

"You wouldn't believe it, I saw two women, an older woman and a younger one putting these bags out on the curb and some were open and family photographs and other precious items were spilling out.  I stopped and they said they they were cleaning out their grandmother's house and they didn't want any of that old junk.  The nurse opened the bag and took out a handful of items and put them on the large work table in the center of the room.  There was a slim white box, just turning a pale yellow from age, with a silver stripe diagonally across the top.

Gloria opened the box and carefully wrapped in smooth white tissue were a lovely pair of opera gloves.  As she took them out, she noticed that beneath the gloves there was tucked an identity card, that showed a picture of a lovely young woman in a ball gown, who was a ballroom dancer employed by a nightclub.  Her name as it was printed on the card was Gina Spano.

There was a passport, and a leaf pile of old photographs taken in what looked like the tenements of New York of women working in a tiny back yard garden with vines on a trellis and wearing print cotton dresses and large white aprons.  The photos looked like they were from the 1920's or 1930's.

There was a passport and there were postcards from Naples, Italy.  There were photos of half a dozen people sitting around a small picnic table in the same small yard with a clothes line overhead and clothes drying on it.

Once again, though she had seen this sort of thing dozens of times, Gloria wondered at the lack of feeling that could allow family members to discard precious and treasured memories after 80 or 90 or a 100 years of safekeeping.  To put them on the curb for the trash.

"Were there other bags?"  Gloria asked.

"Sadly, yes, but I am already late for work and I really couldn't take any more time and after all, it's their family not mine.  I did the best I could."  The nurse brushed her hands together to rid them of the dust, and prepared to leave.  "I am so glad you people do this.  Somebody should care about the old people's treasures."

"Thanks for taking the time to gather them and bring them in. I hope you don't get in trouble at work. Have a good day."  Gloria shook hands with the nurse, who bustled off out the front door again, got into her car and drove off.

While Gloria stood at the door watching the car drive away, a van pulled up and another woman got out.  She opened the back of the van and yanked on something heavy.

Gloria went out the door to see what she had and if she needed help.  It was a large metal trunk, wrapped in wooden support  straps.

Over her shoulder, the woman said, "Do you take big stuff like this?"

Gloria replied, "Does it have any history?"

"The woman, in jeans and a sweatshirt answered, "Yes, it has some stuff in a foreign language in it, baby shoes, cards  I think it was a bridal trunk from some other country.  Like a bride coming to America bringing her stuff, or a wife  I don't know"

The woman took one strap on the end, and Gloria took the other and together they carried the trunk up the steps and into the main room, placing it beside the table with the  materials from the previous visitor.  The young woman asked, "Can I get a receipt as a donation, for tax purposes?"

Gloria went to the counter and asked, "How much is the trunk worth?  Did you buy it?  What did you play for it."

"No, it was in the attic of a house we bought.  But I saw a trunk at an attack store recently that was  $100."

Gloria made out the form for donations for $100. and gave it to the young woman, who immediately left.  "Thanks for having a place for this stuff.  It would be a shame to throw it away and antiques are so out of style, nobody wants big heavy stuff like this hanging around anymore.  I had to clear out the attic to put up insulation and drywall and turn it into a work-out room."

Gloria walked her to the door, watched the van drive away, and then returned to the trunk.

Even after the several months that she had been working at the Museum, something like this trunk still held suspense and mystery for her.  She lifted the lid.  The leather hinges were brittle and fragile, so she put a stool behind the lid to support it.  Inside were just a few items, a pretty wedding card.  Gloria, though she didn't have much foreign language background, thought the words looked like Greek even though they were in the English alphabet.  There were baby shoes and a disintegrating lace Christening dress, wrapped in tissue.  There was a kind of official form taped to the inside of the trunk in a foreign alphabet, the tape brown and peeling off.  Gloria had a part-time assistant who was an expert in these objects.  He would e in later and would take of the trunk.

Gloria had been hired for reception only.  Her task was to greet people, accept donated items, explain the mission of the museum and take people on a tour of the displays if that was what they had come for.  She went to the storage room in back and brought some acid free boxes to hold the photographs from the first visitor, with the gloves and the passport  It was great to have identifying materials.  She wrote up an acquisitions form to describe all she had gathered of the depositor's location and any identifying information.

Back at the counter, Gloria's tea had already gone cold.  She couldn't help but reflect on her own personal items and family heirlooms and what would become of them.  Would her son or daughter want them?  Probably not.  Perhaps she should make provision to have them brought here now.  Next time the kids came home, she would broach the subject.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cape May County Herald on St. Patrick's Day 2017

Today after having a delightful lunch with my cousin Patty at Mel's Waffle House on Bayshore in the Villa's, I picked up a free copy of the Cape May Herald.  I love these small town newspapers which ALWAYS contain some golden nugget of news for me:

Three bits of interesting information:
1.  Do you remember the Peace Pilgrim of Egg Harbor?  She walked for Peace across America nearly her whole adult life.  There is a sculpture and memorial to her in Egg Harbor.  
Well, South Jersey has spawned two such advocates for peace, apparently.  In the Herald there was an item about John Frances, Phd. aged 71, who has walked an astonishing 36,000 miles for the Environment.  He began after witnessing the devastation from an oil spill in California.  Mr. Francis currently lives in West Cape May but was originally from my own hometown, Philadelphia.  Mr. Francis has walked all over the world to raise awareness of environmental issues and has worked with educational groups as well, as for instance as first education fellow at the National Geographic Society.  He has developed curricula and walking programs all over the country.

2.  Kate Wyatt of the Cape May Historical Society was seeking municipal help to celebrate the centennial of America's entry into World War I in 1917.  There is a memorial and Wyatt simply wanted help to plant a red white and blue garden and to ensure a speaker on Veteran's Day.  We should always honor those who made the greatest sacrifice for our nation, especially on the days designated to do that.  I wish her luck.  Don't forget row opening of the new exhibit on WWI at the Camden Co. Historical Society detailed in a previous blog post.

3.  Finally, I have ALWAYS wanted a fern garden.  First of all my yard is filled with trees and very shady.  Secondly, I love ferns - their old and venerable lineage, their beauty and the way I run into them in odd corners of the forests where I like to hike.  So, over the years I have tried to grow ferns in my yard, so far with no success; perhaps  the information in this article will be the secret ingredient to a new try and a better success rate.  hay scented fern and Christmas fern for my dry and shady yard.  this tip came from Cape Shore Garden's horticulturist, Lauren Popper, a graduate of Temple, but perhaps I can find these ferns closer to home at Platt's Farm in Mickleton, a place worthy of a blog post of its own one of these days.

My advice to you - pick up one of those little local newspapers when you see them, often they are even free.  You may be pleasantly surprised by all the useful information you find inside!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Basil Payne, Poet - Remembered and honored for St. Patrick's Day

When I was a student back in the early 1970's at Glamssboro State College, I was fortunate to have Basil Payne for my poetry teacher.  He was a poet in residence from Ireland.  His famous book was Another Kind of Optimism.  He was a brilliant, inspiring and compassionate man.  He died in February 2012 and I think of him often even after all these years for what I learned from him of kindness, warmth and a comradely humility not shown by many college teachers at that time.  He also inspired in me a love of poetry.  I would offer you a poem or a quote but I can't find my copy of his book.  I've ordered it again from amazon.com, and I couldn't find any of his poems on-line.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all the Irish and those who have benefited from the Irish in America and abroad.  Jo Ann (Irish ancestry:  McQuiston family from Northern Ireland, Scots Irish)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

blogs or print media on NJ History that you like

Lat me know if there are blogs or magazines you like about NJ history, in particular South Jersey.  Here is one recommended to me by several other people:  www.thehistorygirl.com

https://vimeo.com/208408408/1de27b26e5?ct=t(The_Pine_Barrens_film7_15_2016)&mc_cid=71fac37866&mc_eid=7bc5900498&ct=t(The_Pine_Barrens_film7_15_2016)&mc_cid=71fac37866&mc_eid=7bc5900498

I don't know if the above link works but David Kessler has posted a video with a storyteller telling the story of The White Stag at a campfire.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Oh yes, you can reach me at     wrightj45@yahoo.com

SoJourn, a journal devoted to the history and culture of South Jersey Available at amazon

Barb Solem called to ask if I had picked up the winter 2017 edition of Sojourn, the new journal published out of Stockton State College.  I had gotten the Summer issue but had been greatly disappointed.  Once again, the old beat up topics were dragged out of their moldy and dusty boxes for yet another annotated, footnoted flogging - the East West Jersey Line and whether Ogden Nash ever lived at Nash's cabin.....Who the hell cares!  No one even remembers who Ogden Nash is.

As for the East West Line, a more interesting article may have been to interview Bill Bolger who, in his 60's, hiked the line from end to end.  Even better, a little reportage on the Hugg Harrison Glover House which was built in the late 1600's, added onto in the 1700's and was home to a Revolutionary War patriot who fought alongside General LaFayette in the battle of Gloucester on the Delaware.  The house, as you no doubt read, was demolished in secret by the DOT while various groups were working on funding and strategies to save it.  

South Jersey isn't dead and writing about our history doesn't need to be either.  I have read other good publications with charming, and fascinating information and many blogs exist that reflect people actually going places and researching their history in New Jersey.  Also, there are fascinating people who work in history who would be worthy of interviewing such as Bonnie Beth Elwell of Camden County Historical Society, who is also president of the Salem Genealogical Society and who published an Arcadia book on Pittsgrove, Upper Pittsgrove and Elmer.  How about an article on Arcadia and how it is saving our local history one town at a time!

On March 29, I am going to interview Wes Hughes, who is head of the volunteers at Batsto and also is on the Batsto Citizen's Committee.  He had done some research on the CCC in New Jersey but so many publication roadblocks were set in his path he had to abandon it, so I want to capture his story on this blog.  I love print media and don't want to see internet media push it out, but I have to say, Print Media - Get With It!  Recently I replaced Time Magazine with a subscription to This Week Magazine, because it is more timely, broader, covers the whole world and an assortment of subjects.  It is fun as well as enlightening.  They are not mutually exclusive!

Happy Trails - Oh yes, you can get the new winter edition of Sojourn at amazon.com.  I heard that it is much much better and has several excellent articles including one on Margaret Mead and her mother's research on Italian immigrant farm communities in South Jersey.  Can't wait to get it and I will review it when it comes.  I had some trouble getting the title accepted at amazon.com but finally it found it and I should have it in a few days.  
Jo Ann

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snowed In March 14 and 15, 2017!

When I awoke yesterday morning, it was to the sound of something like cannon balls being shot at my house, hitting the roof and rolling off.  I was reminded of the story of Ann Whittle spinning when the cannonball came into her house and rolled macro the floor during the Battle of Red Bank, October, 1775.

In my case, it was giant limbs from my 60 year old trees snapping under the weight of ice and wind.  When I looked out my bedroom window, the view was entirely obliterated by a fairy tale jungle of tree branches, like a sleeping princess whose castle gets fenced in by brambles.  The limb lay across the roof, the rain gutters and stretched down to the ground like a monstrous broom, leaning on the house.  

Up in the attic, I checked to see if it had come through the roof itself, and once again, I was fortunate.  I found a stress fracture in the drywall seam, but no hole in the roof.  Once before like Thor's thunderbolt, a limb had punctured the two layers of roofing shingles and the layer of wood and came down into the attic about half a foot.  My neighbor, Pete was still alive then, and he patched the roof (always for reasonable sums) and his son plastered the hole in the attic and we went on with our lives.

AS I have gotten older, I have felt a kind of diminishment of courage, or perhaps I always had it and forgot, but I do seem to feel shakier faced with such problems and I can fall into worry about the future, but a phone call to my daughter and a PLAN resolved all that.  She said:  Take a photo of the ceiling, call the insurance company, get some estimates, at least three, and see if the estimates are more or less than your deductible.  Get someone to check the roof and then you can make a decision.

Once I have a plan, like a map in the desert, or a flashlight in the dark and moonless forest, I feel I can carry on.  So I did everything but the estimates.  I am waiting for the storm to subside and the snow to melt, then I can work on the estimates, but I did get a call from a friend who has a good tree guy.  It's like that old song by the Beatles "Baybe you can drive my car.....I don't have a car,  but I found a driver and that's a start."

I LOVE my house the way a turtle loves its shell.  The walls are dressed in my art work, the shelves are filled with my books, my pets nap in the funny spots on the piano and the desk, and my treasure sit before me in the glass cabinet made by Van Sciver's in Camden in 1947 (it is signed under the drawers).  My house was built in 1947!  And I was born in 1945.  We have spent our lives together through the last half of the twentieth century and we celebrated the beginning of the 21st together.  My house has held me in its arms through many tragedies, disasters and we have shared many beauties like the sight of the trees all hung with crystals from the frozen rain, lit by the rising sun, and the flocks of black birds migrating who stop in the grove that is my yard and set everything crackling with their busy chatter, the owl that hoots every November, and the daffodils planted by someone who lived here before I moved in back in August of 1985.  

This house was my wish come true.  I have photos of my daughter and my father making a snowman in the front yard, and family barbecues in the backyard, back when I still had a family.  But even though the family is gone, the trees are still here, the quiet guests who stayed.

I hope you are warm and safe and have a good book to read while snowed in - I do!  And if you are really lucky, you have a snoozing dog on the carpet and a purring cat on your lap.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lines On The Pines

Today, Sunday, March 12, 2017, I was fortunate to have a couple of friends invite me to join them for Lines On The Pines being held this year at the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor.  

I love this event, because I love these people.  These are the people who make things and take care of things.  They make music and the instruments to play them, they sculpt, paint, make fragrant soap, and write books about the pines.  Because I too love the pines, we have a lot in common.

As we entered the first of the many rooms of tables, I saw a dark wooden bowl, very thin and graceful and a matching wooden goblet, and I wanted them, but having just arrived, I was trying to be prudent and wait.  Also, I didn't want to carry it around all day.  Next, I admired the pine snake curled around his human handler's arm.  It is an endangered snake.  

Once, while hiking in the Dolly Sods of West Virginia, I had an experience with a rattle snake.  I was stopping on a shelf overhang to do some yoga stretches, and when I leaned forward to rise, I saw on a jutting piece of the shale cliff surface, a curled up rattler.  He simply and peaceably looked at me and I looked at him, then I slowly rose and backed away.  When a peace loving and respectful person such as myself meets a wild creature such as that snake, on his own home turf, it is an altogether different interaction than a typical violent conflict that some more aggressive or fearful people might experience.  I have always had a strangely solemn and soulful feeling in the presence of snakes since that meeting.

Someone was playing a dulcimer.  I feel sorry for musicians under these circumstances, the sensory overload, the chaos and and the crowding make it impossible to give the music the attention it deserves.  

We meandered from room to room, through the wine glass museum, which reminded me of the lovely wine glasses my former husband and I had bought in Germany when he was stationed there. 
We met up with our writer friend, Barbara Solem, who had just completed, the day before, two programs (or more) in the Short Course in the Pines.  Another friend, Janet Romano, volunteers for the Unexpected Animal Sanctuary, and not too far away was Barry Casselli's table being manned by his father, who had printed the immensely useful Visitor' Guide to vendors and performers.  I had enjoyed Barry Casselli's on-line Ghosttowns digest for many years, but his father said it is gone now.   I thought I had lost it when I changed e-mail address.  Apparently it is a victim to Facebook.

I bumped into a favorite historian acquaintance of mine, Paul Schopp, looking very spiffy in his top hat.  But I didn't see a friend I was looking for, Bonnie Beth Elwell, now Chief Librarian at Camden County Historical Society Library and President of the Genealogical Society  of Salem County (which is how I met her.) She was there, others I met had seen her, but sadly I missed running into her.

I did speak with two volunteers, whom I cannot praise enough.  My heroes are the volunteers who give their time generously to our cultural heritage.  Wes Hughes of Batsto Mansion and also of Batsto Citizens' Committee is a prince!  His enthusiasm is contagious and he has warmth and charm galore.

A volunteer for the Vineland Historical Society and I chatted briefly as I purchased the Vineland Historical Magazine.  Then my friends and I headed out to get lunch.  We had superb brunch at a hotel across the street from the Renault Winery which is now located on Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City.  A wonderfully mello saxophonist played in the quiet and restful restaurant while we ate.

You may remember a former postw where I described the history of Egg Harbor City.  A group of charitable German businessmen from Philadelphia, pooled money to buy property to move German immigrants out of the cities where they were being harassed and beaten and their shops and homes firebombed by native-born Americans in anti-immigrant programs.  They set the people up in small plots in town on streets named after cities in Germany in shops featuring tailoring and dressmaking.  Outside of town they were offered small farms.  

It is worth remembering that before the turn of the century - the late 1800's into the 1900's, almost all clothes were made by people at home not machine in factories.  My own German great-grandmother, Catherine Sandman was a dressmaker in Philadelphia in 1900.  It was a trade that employed thousands, both tailors for men's wear and dressmakers for women.  The farms and shops of Egg Harbor flourished, but as time moved on, so did the Germans and new people moved in and only the street names remain to remind us of the origins of Egg Harbor.  

After lunch we returned for a final stroll through the festival and I went to buy the dark wooden bowl only to find it had been sold.  I had hesitated and I had lost. But I bought another bowl and half a dozen wooden eggs to put in it for my daughter's Easter gift this year.  She is a vegan/vegetarian and so both chocolate and eggs are out.  Last year I bought fragrant soaps for her basket.  I like these wooden eggs in the pretty little bowl so much, however, that in the intervening month (Easter is in early April this year) I may find something else and keep the wooden eggs and bowl.  Moms have a right to indulge in a little selfishness after a life of sacrifice, I think.

The first half of my day was just wonderful and I felt really happy.  So now we get to the sad part.  I couldn't believe that the Hugg Harrison House had in fact been destroyed, so I drove to the site to see for myself.  Foolishly I hoped I would see it there and find out reports of its destruction had been in error.  I drove away, after viewing the desolation, with tears in my eyes.  If only I had money, I thought, I could have bought it and moved it and saved it.  But it is gone forever now.

However, I refuse to be pulled down by those things which cannot be helped and by the inevitable losses that break the heart of anyone with a heart, so I drove on home and sat down to write this blog.

I do hope you made it to Lines On the Pines today and I hope to see you at Whitesbog next Sunday!  It is the lecture on Elizabeth White and her contributions to Three Mile Colony.  I plan to pack a lunch and enjoy a nice hike around the always gorgeous cranberry bogs.  Maybe we will run into one another there!

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Like Thieves in the Night - Our Revolutionary Heritage Reduced to Rubble

Like Thieves in the night, without a permit, the Transportation Department hired a demolition group to destroy the 300 year old house of a Revolutionary War hero.  

In this new world of "alternative facts" they used for their excuse, structural instability (Not true - they were using it for their office!) and lack of historical significance - (Not true - how many Revolutionary era homes of Patriotic defenders do we have left?).

Well, it's too late now.  An irreplaceable and invaluable American historical treasure is turned to rubble proving the ignorance of those who run our state.  

I am tempted to wonder how we failed to instill in students in New Jersey a love for and a respect for our National Heritage?  I know as an English teacher and as an Art teacher, I did my best.  I had students in my Art classes at ME Costello School hike our town, Gloucester City, photograph historic sites such as the Mill Blocks and our Century Club waterworks, and design postcards and coloring books based on their photographs.  Their work was displayed at the Gloucester City Historical Society Museum on King Street.  I know other teachers, too, who did their best such as the brilliant Louisa Llewellyn of Gloucester City High School.

I know it isn't only New Jersey, after all, I am from Philadelphia and my birthplace razed Benjamin Franklin's House among many other historically significant structures.  And my current home town has been known to demolish historic structures as well.  Mt. Ephraim allowed to be razed the Harwan Theater and their own Harrison House (a member of the family of above mentioned) once on Rudderow Ave., so that it could sit as a weed infested lot.  

As the destructive, greedy, and ignorant push a poisonous pipeline through the pinelands, and gleefully destroy our national heritage, we can wonder what we will leave for our children and the future: parking lots, poisoned waterways, highways and crumbling casinos along beer can strewn eroded beaches.  

I am reminded of Joni Mitchell's famous song from a more hopeful decade "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

No very happy trails for this blogger today,
Jo Ann

Friday, March 10, 2017

update on Whitesbog Event Mar.19

I looked it up and didn't find info on their website but did find it on their Facebook which is much more up to date so I recommend ou go there to find out more.

Also I wanted to say that there are 2 Wawa stores nearby, one on 70 and one on the circle (can't remember if it is the first circle or the 2nd, but I think it is the 2nd at 72) so you could buy lunch, (or pack lunch) and hike around the cranberry bogs at Whitesbog on the day you go to the program.  It is a wonderful way to spend the day, I have done it countless times, it is one of my all time favorite places to go in the Pines and in New Jersey

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann
ps. found a lot on forest bathing by simply googling it.  Get healthy! Hike and forest bathe.

Two Events from a Pinelands Newspaper March and April 2017 all "Forest Bathing"

March 19, Whitebog Historic Trust presents a talk on the contributions of Elizabeth White, famous for cultivating the contemporary marketable blueberry from the wild New Jersey Highbuh berry and for becoming a notable expert on holly bushes, to Three Mile Colony, known later a the Lebanon Developmental Center for Disabled Youth.  The program will also offer the history of the developmental center.  The program is at 2:00 p.m. but I am sorry to confess, I lost the small item I clipped from the paper and I put the paper out with recycle, so you may have to look up more information at the Whitesbog site.  There was a phone number to call as well.  

The Second event is one I may have posted on before, but a reminder can't hurt:  Camden County Historical Society opens its new exhibiton World War I on April 9th at 1:00.  The exhibit will be on the second floor in the new Camden County Room.  CCHS is located at 1900 Park Boulevard, Camden.  The way I get there is I go down Haddon Ave., west, use the underpass under Rt.130, pass Haleigh Cemetery (If you have time and inclination, you may like to stop there for a stroll and possibly make a short visit with Walt Whitman) turn right just at the end of the cemetery between the cemetery fence and Lady of Loures Hospital   Drive down to the end, go left and the CCHS and Pomona Hall are on your right.

If you have never been there before, it is well worth your visit.  There is a library and a charming, brilliant and helpful Library Director, Bonnie Beth Elwell, president of the Salem Genealogical city, and there is the museum, and the historic house to tour.  It is a wonderful resource.

Also noted:
By the way, yesterday, one of my favorite history writer friends, Barbara Solem who has written Ghosttowns and Other Quirky Places in the Pines, Batsto, Jewel of the Pines, and The Forks, and I took a walk around Pakim Pond and down the Cranberry Trail, with my dog, Trixie.  Have you ever heard of "forest bathing?"  I had a book some years ago on trees that talked about it.  As you are probably aware, trees exhale (fortunately for us as they clean air for us to breath) and in their exhalation are chemical messages that both communicate with other trees and with the world around them.  The messages may warn of dangerous infestations, or may warn off predatory insects  These exhalations contain healing properties for humans  The Japanese have long known about the healing effects of certain forests.  Just walking in certain kinds of forests can reduce diabetes and other chronic modern diseases.  I'm sorry I can't tell you more about it now.  I don't even know where the original book that I read is, it was a birthday gift.  But if the notion strikes your fancy, you can look it up.  Meanwhile, my point is that I have always felt that walking in the woods provided healthful benefits to me, and now I know it is a scientific fact.  And the air was very fragrant yesterday in the sun and warmth  Pakim Pond is my favorite place on earth.

I grew up in Philadelphia and we all live in a smelly state in New Jersey, with trash to steam plants, refineries, auto exhaust on the enormous highways  I remember as a child driving to West Virginia on one of our annual visits and having the car window down and the fresh fragrance of clean air and honeysuckle coming in the window.  It was like heaven.  Also, when we went t the seashore to visit my grandmother, and we went over the Ocean City bridge and causeway, the smell of the fresh, salty ocean air.  It's no coincidence so many health resorts at the turn of the century were opened at the seashore to treat lung diseases like tuberculosis.

Get out there and breathe that fresh forest air!
Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Womens' Day 2017 Women Writers

OK, so I'll start with an international woman writer, Elena Ferrante.  Time magazine, in 2016, called her one of the 100 most influential people on the planet.  I don't know what they mean by that, but her novels have been best sellers in a dozen countries and she has won more than 4 awards including the Man Booker Prize.  Elena Ferrante is a nom de plume, or a pen name, and for years, she refused to allow her true name to be disclosed to protect her privacy.  She was revealed this past year, but I will stay with the pen name and respect her wishes.  She was born in 1943, in Naples, and the books I have read of hers are in what is called The Neapolitan Quartet, I have read books one, two and four because I started with book four after reading a book review, and liked it so much I went back to the first book in the series.  The novels are about the childhood and the growth and friendship over a lifetime of two girls who start out in poverty in Naples.  They are profoundly intimate, beautifully detailed and revealing portraits of girls and women and their lives and how they get that way.  This kind of book is called the bildungsroman, or coming of age novel.  Some American classics in this genre would be Little Women, Catcher in the Rye, Adventures of Tom Sawyer and I am sure you could name a dozen more modern ones but that's what came most immediately to my mind.

Lately I have been working my way through a book that purports to help you regain or re-inspire your creativity.  It is called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.  I began because a friend and her husband are following a 12 week course.  I didn't do the course, just the book, but one of the exercises asked you to name your ten all time favorite movies.  Among mine was Gone With The Wind, which I have probably watched every year from my earliest childhood.  I am a huge fan of the giant historical epic.  I will always remember seeing Lawrence of Arabia on the first cinemascope in 1963 on our high school class trip to Washington D.C.  It was an unforgettable highlight of the trip to me.  Years later, I was thrilled to find out the book was written by a woman, Margaret Mitchell.  She died young, after being hit by a car, and only produced the one great masterpiece, but it was the biggest hit of its period and the movie became a classic of the film world.

Another great monument of American literature written by a woman was Uncle Tom's Cabin, author, Harriett Beecher Stowe - the biggest seller of the 19th Century, and like Common Sense in the Revolutionary War period, it was a book regarded as mind-changing cultural influence on the Civil War.  

Famous New Jersey Women Writers include Judy Blume (children category) Janet Evanovitch (popular fiction) and Mary Higgins Clark (mysteries).  

In 1909, on March 8th, the Socialist Workers' Party celebrated the first International Womens' Day, at that time, the International Women Workers Day.  It has been celebrated every March 8 ever since, and has become a day to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and to recognize our contribution to civilization.  
Some of my favorite authors from my past from other countries have included George Eliot (real name Maryann Evans) who wrote The Mill on the Floss - high school English class favorite though no one told us she was a woman with a pen name), Virginia Woolf (England), possibly best known for To the Lighthouse. George Sand (real name Amandine-Lucille Aurore Dupin,  France) Isak Dinesen, (Denmark). The book you may know her for is Out of Africa. Sigrid Undset (Norway) who won the Nobel prize for literature.  The book I read of hers was Kristin Lavransdottir.  and of course, last but not least, since I am a 50 year diaries, Anais Nin (France) whose diaries were bestsellers back in the 1970's.  There ar 16 of them published and her diaries spanned 60 years!  She died in 1977.  

I buy most of my books from amazon.com these days.  I have a prime membership which gives me free shipping, and if I am buying 2nd hand instead of new, I often get my books from Better World Books through amazon.  My favorite bookstore is gone (I will always miss it - one of a kind) - it was Murphy's Book Loft in Mullica Hill, but there is still Bogart's in Millville and the Old Bookshop of Bordertown.  

Happy International Women's Day March 8, 2017!  
Jo Ann


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ron Johnson's paintings at Cooper House

So many reasons to have lunch at Cooper House on the Cooper River, Pennsauken side.  First of all, be sure, when you walk in to look at the paintings on the walls of the entry way.  They are lovely.  When I see them, each time I go to Cooper House, I am envious of the relaxed and contemplative mood they embody.  I am an artist as well, but stuck in a kind of precision and angular realism, photographic, that I can't seem to break out of.  These paintings are what I would like to be able to do - and I rarely say that about anything.  I like my work and am pleased with all I make (although that self-satisfaction may offend the native puritan soul of my America.  

Anyhow, it surprised me when I went there so many times that almost no one that I walked in with, stopped to look at the paintings.  People are lost in thought or just so inundated with imagery from advertising or decorative wall crap that they walked right by these gorgeous painting.  I had to make them stop and look - these are too beautiful to miss.

My second surprise was that no one at Cooper House seemed to know the artist's name.  I wanted to see more of his work and I thought he might have a web site.  Finally, a manager who had been on vacation in Ireland returned and gave me a first name and a phone number.  I hadn't actually wanted to phone "Ron" but just to look up his work, however, this morning, I did call, and he was very gracious when he answered the phone.

After the compliments I had waited so long to deliver, I got his web info. and some great tips - "don't get attached to the final product" - "work in a smaller scale" - "work in a shorter time frame."  He told me he stops his car on the road and does quick landscape painted sketches.  I will try this approach and see if it can break me out of my old pattern.  It is time to grow - it is after all - spring!

http://www.workbyronjohnson.com

But the work at the site is his larger, more important work and all I was writing about were the small landscape studies so to see them, go to the Cooper House, which is where I will be today at 12:30 having lunch with a friend for her birthday!

Happy trails!
Jo Ann

Monday, March 6, 2017

Oaklyn Ritz Theater and To Kll a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Oaklyn Ritz Theater opened in 1927 which makes it a 90 year old operating theater thanks to the efforts of the man I always think of as Wolfie because he acted in a  play I took my daughter to see when she was very little.  The Oaklyn Theater Company, under this man's direction, and I wish I could have found his name for you, but I searched briefly and I am out of time now and can only get this blog post done before I leave for the gym, first leased then bought the theater. When you think, as I have, of the many local theaters that have been demolished over the years, the one in Mount Ephraim where my daughter and I saw Little Women the Old King Theater in Gloucester City, the Century Theater on the White Horse Pike, and the theater still standing but I don't know wha it is now, a bank? on Haddon Ave. in Collingwood, it is a miracle that they pulled off saving the Oaklyn Ritz.  BRAVO!!

Sorry about the long sentences and the ramble but I am in a hurry.  Anyhow I have been going to the Ritz for 30 years.  One year when my daughter was about 10, I took 10 of her girlfriends for her birthday when they had a special food bank drive and if you brought a bag of groceries, you got a free ticket!  

I have seen more plays and musicals than I could list here but yesterday I saw To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  She died last year in February after publishing her second smash hit book Go Set A Watchman.  Her first book, published in 1960, won a Pulitzer and made that other mysterious and difficult leap into the classics canon of American Literature - difficult for women, that is!

The play and the book are as relevant today as they were when she published it.  As hate and blaming take over in our country and ignorant vandals take to desecrating cemeteries (in Philadelphia a week ago) and killing people in churches (Dylan Roof killing people at the Charleston AME church) and attacking mosques, it is good to take a look at the old reverberations of that kind of hatred and its most fertile ground - the Southern slavery culture.  

People love to blame others for their problems when the more intelligent and successful know that if things aren't working out for you, you should look at yourself, your situation and come up with a better plan - try some research.

I grew up in a brick row home in South Philadelphia, with two loving parents whose childhoods in the depression deprived them of a high school education but they succeeded in life, and I went on to finish high school and get 3 college degrees with honors.  It can be done, but not by the easy and lazy way of expecting to follow the past.  That's what I loved about J. D. Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy.  He deals with that same change of attitude.  At present, there is a climate in our country that gives the Bob Ewell's of the country, the ignorant, angry and drunken haters, a pass to spill their angry out onto others by shootings and vandalism.  

Seeing To Kill a Mockingbird helps remind us that we have fought this battle before and won and we can do it again.  Here are some good quotes from the film
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

"Real courage i when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

"you never really know a person until you consider things from his point of view."

That last one is particularly telling.  I thought about that in the portrayal of Bob Ewell as a low class, drunken brute who beat his own daughter and blamed it on an innocent African American passerby.  We have to spend more time and money on examining mental illness and addiction and alcoholism in this country.  Bob Ewell lives today in Dylan Roof, a boy who was undoubtedly a sociopath and both mentally ill and lethal.

Well, don't let all that spoil your thoughts on attending the play! ha ha.  It is well worth it and running for 2 more weeks - very timely, obviously thought provoking, and a celebration of the work and life of one of America's great authors on the anniversary of her death, and the 50 anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize, and the 90th anniversary of a grand old theater that has survived the vicissitudes of time and has been recently renovated!

Happy Trails, happy tales!
Jo Ann

Friday, March 3, 2017

German and Irish ancestry events coming up in March in Camden County - celebrating your ancestry

In the 2000 census, a little over 17% of Americans identified as of German ancestry.  A little over 12 % identified as of Irish ancestry.  As per my ancestry.com dna test, I am 52% English extraction, and 17% Scandinavian (which I presume to be the effect of the conquest of Ireland during the Norse invasion as my mother's parents and grandparents are evenly divided amongst the English (Garwood and Cheesman) and the Scots/Irish (McQuiston).  We have no identifiable Scandinavian ancestors except for a wife from Denmark married to a German, four generations back from Holstein Schleswig, the Jutland peninsula that has been Danish then German, then Danish then German, back and forth throughout history.  A devotee of ancestry.com contacted me once because she was related to Anna Koble of Danish ancestry married to  Wilhelm Jung, one of my German ancestors.

All of that is to let you know about some German and Irish events coming up. this Sunday, March 5th at 1:00, in Gloucester City, will be the 2nd annual St. Patrick's Day parade from Martin's Lake, off Johnson Boulevard to King Street.  Johnson Boulevard comes off Rt. 130, so it is easy to get to, but parking will be difficult so get there early and park off the parade route, not on it.  They say that on St.Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish and that is certainly true in the sense that everyone can share in celebrating the contribution to American life by Irish immigrants from the poor fellows who died building the railroads, to the first Irish Catholic President, John F. Kennedy.  

The ancestry with which I identified was cultivated by my close attachment to my grandmothers, Lavinia Lyons (the Irish side - from McQuiston's of Londonderry) and Mabel Wright (the German side of the Jungs of Holstein Schleswig and Prussia) and the Sandman family of Southern German, Hesse Cassel area).  We ate German heritage foods such as knockwurst and saferkraut, and Irish foods, cabbage and potatoes, and we sang Irish songs like "When Irish eyes are smiling."  

On Saturday, March 25th the German American Cultural Society will hold its 26th annual dinner dance at the Woodbury American Legion Post #133 from 5:oo pm to 9 pm, located at 1018 Washington Avenue.  Live German music by Willie Aust and a; German Buffet plus beer and wine, $26 for adults.  Reservations must be made by March 10 856--468-9525.  I would like to go to one of their events, but I don't drive at night anymore due to visual difficult resulting from Fuch's Dystrophy, a corneal disorder.  I can see well enough but in th dark, not so much.  Also, thought fairly confident, going to a dance alone might be beyond me, even though I can still Sprechen in bassinet Deutsch from my Drei yahren of Deutschland of neunzen hundred nun und sexisch (spelling may be wrong - I learned by speaking).

As it turns out through the good fortune of good choices and simple luck, I have managed to visit all of the countries of my ancestral origin, Ireland (with my daughter in the 1990's) and England and Germany in 1969 through 1971, when I was married and lived in Germany for 2 years.  I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania afer  the victorious end of World War II to two happy Philadelphias who had a long and loving marriage.  So the city of my birth has always meant as much to me as my ancestry.  It is also where my daughter was born in 1983.  To be born in the birthplace of American Liberty is, to me, a meaningful thing and probably the inspiration for my lifelong interest in history. 

Hope you can attend one or both of these events or at least find some way to celebrate your ancestry and to meditate upon the rich fertilization of our native human culture by the contributions of immigrants from other lands.  Speaking of winning the War, where would we have been without Einstein?

Auf wiedersehen, Slante', Arrividerci, Hasta Luego, Vaya Con dios Amigos!  Au Revoir, Salaam, Shalom!  May the Road Rise up to Meet You and the Wind be at your Back.
Jo Ann

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ceres Park in Mantua

Today, Sunday, 2/26/17, a couple of my friends took me to a park they had found once before and wanted to hike again, Ceres Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Mantua Twp, NJ.  

We had a little trouble finding it, but it is off Broadway.  I wasn't driving so I can only tell you we took Lambs Rd. coming from Fries Mill in Sewell, then alternate 553, then Broadway and it was on the left as we faced west.

There is a broad trail through a 53 acre tract which contains a couple of lakes and a running stream.  The first and larger of the two lakes is a strange jade green color.  One of my friends thought it was algae, but it is too cold and early in the season for algae and the color wasn't quite right for algae.  I instantly knew it was marl, without actually knowing why I knew that.  Long ago, I came across information in regard to fertilizing farm fields in Southern New Jersey, which had become severely exhausted from being over farmed.  Someone discovered that if they enriched the soil with marl, they could bring back the fertility.  Marl, then, became the reason for town names such as Marlton.  That knowledge built on my prior experience with quarry swimming in the pines in my youth, instantly led me to conclude the green lake was from marl mining, as later research corroborated.  Plus I knew most ponds and lakes in South Jersey come from mills, or mining pits for sand or marl, or clay for example, or from agricultural uses like cranberry bogs (as in the case of my favorite pond in the world, Pakim Pond, created for Reeves Cranberry Bogs a long time ago).

Speaking of fertility, Ceres was the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and agriculture.  She was especially devoted to grains and germination and hence, her name is the root of words like create, and recreate, which brings us back to recreation!

Ceres Park has a website with much better directions which you can find simply by googling the name.  There is a small parking lot and although the website said the park could be busy on Sunday, we found it delightfully quiet.  I think the unexpected return of the cold after all those unseasonably warm days kept everyone home.  It was my favorite hiking weather however, crisp and clean and cool.

One thing I did not discover but I theorize is that the stream is somehow connected to Mantua Creek.  I will look into that.  Meanwhile, I would strongly recommend Ceres Park for hiking, and not too far away is Tall Pines, which you may remember from a  blog entry a long time ago when a hiking buddy and I were 
researching all the little parks in Camden County and Gloucester County.  

I don't know how it could have possibly been a more beautiful day for a hike with Ceres, goddess of fertility.  The sun was bright and the water sparkled and you could feel the spirit of spring just waiting to emerge from the brown leaf and pine needle carpet covering the earth.  

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

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 -
amrevmuseum.org

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

Contact

If you wish to contact me and have trouble with the comments, you can reach me at:

wrightj45@yahoo.com

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.
http://www.bigtimbercreek.org/index.html


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.