Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and places to go, with the purpose
of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Historic Hugg-Harrison-Glover House in Bellmawr UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Things To Do Places To Go - Book: Springsteen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Old Conveyances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Riverton Christmas Wonderland, cost of a wreath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays,
Jo Ann

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Tree Lights, Famous NJ folks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Independent Publishing Continued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will keep you posted when the final books arrive.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3rd, Getting the Book Printed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

on Broadway,

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

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

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann 

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Printing Your book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Saturday, October 29, 2016

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

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

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

They should get an award!  

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Harleigh Cemetery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Magazine Review - New Jersey Monthly, October 2016 edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cooper House Restaurant on Cooper River in Collingswood, NJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Trails and Bon Appetit!
Jo Ann

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tree Make Paper, Paper makes Books, Writers Study Trees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Trails and Happy Memories!
Jo Ann


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Whitesbog concert and film Satuday September 17, 2016

It isn't often my life intersects with my daughter, Lavinia's life, but as I may have mentioned, among her many talents and career pursuits, she is a filmmaker.  She and Alex Steirmark made a film called The 78 Project a few years back which I viewed at both the Library of Congress and the International House at UPenn. 

A friend of hers has recently completed a film on the Pinelands and it will debut tonight at Whitesbog.  Lavinia was to go with me, but at the last minute, her film got scheduled at another festival so she had to cancel out an another friend is taking her place.

David Kessler is the filmmaker and he spent about 3 years on the film.  He interviewed a friend of mine about the impact of the State of New Jersey on the people known as The Pineys.  A group of us joined her for the filming and we are all going to the show tonight.

The show which is also featuring a concert is sold out, but I suppose there is always a chance for a last minute cancellation if you put your name on a wait list or just show up and ask.  In fact I may leave before the film because I just found out the concert is at 5:00 and the film at 8:00 and as I can't see well, I am not happy about driving home after it is dark in the pines.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Upcoming Events in the History World and nearby

From Crossroads of the AMerican Revolution, to which I have subscribed, here are two local events worth noting.  I have been to many events at Burrough Dover in Pennsauken, and spoken many times to Robert Fisher Hughes, who is also instrumental in the Griffith-Morgan House in Pennsauken, where they also have open house events during the year.  I won't get to the Burrough Dover event this year because my brother will be up for his birthday that day, but if I were free, I would go.
Also, I want to applaud the efforts of Gary Stone from Momouth Battlefield and the other people who work for us all to save and disseminate our history through the Crossroads effort.  
We had more happen in New Jersey than in any other state and yet, we do not have a publicity awareness that makes the rest of the colonies aware of it, nor do we have the awareness to save what we have as witnessed by the Harrison House conflict off Browning Rd. in Bellmawr and the loss of the Railroad Museum up near Browns Mills.  
Keep our History Alive!  Share the news!
September 17 - Fall Festival at the Burrough-Dover House in Pennsauken. Tour a 300 year-old stone house and enjoy country music! 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. More information

September 18 - War Comes to the Whitall House in National Park. Hearth cooking, battlefield tours and more at the site of the Battle of Red Bank. 12:00 noon. More information.

Healing Trees Helping Apps

As you know if you have visited this blog before, when I am sad or downhearted, I go to the woods and walk it off.  Usually a park is good enough, and I have particular trees that just to see them is enough to make me feel better, but sometimes, I am so sad, I have to go to the forest.  In case you think that is sentimental rubbish, I have a book that demonstrates it is scientific fact that forest tree have healing powers.

We, humans, are used to seeing and hearing, but we often discount or forget the power of smell.  I remember once a police unit brought drug sniffing dogs to the school where I was teaching, for an auditorium program.  One of the officers said that a dog walks in an ocean of scent.  

We all know that they have done tests that show babies can recognize their own mother's smell from nursing bras, and they have done tests to show that women prefer the scents of certain men over others, but using t-shirts for testers.

Certainly my dog finds her way around by both picking up and leaving scents.  

Anyhow, chemical signals come in many forms, not just smell, although trees communicate with one another through pushing out scents, and I have to say one of my all time, lifelong, favorite fragrances is the smell of pine trees.  We also have seen the green mists of pollen season in the forest, another kind of chemical communication.  

Trees also release various chemicals when they are attacked by insects, certain toxins through their leaf systems that drive off the insect attackers and warn other trees to do the same.  

In another book some years back, I also read about specific healing properties of particular trees that are cultivated in Japan for people to walk through to enjoy healing properties similar to people taking the waters in Europe, or healing springs.  

The book I am reading is The Hidden Life of TREES:  What they Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben, a German professional forester.   

In a separate subject, I once read how German immigrants were shocked at the spoilage of agricultural practices in America in the periods of the 1700 and 1800.  Having limited land, German farmers already practiced crop rotation and other agricultural improvements to keep their soil vigorous. At the same time, in America, over planting of the same crops, in particular tobacco and cotten, ruined the soil and engendered the land grabs of the Westward expansion.  Wasteful farmers including Jeferson and Washington, destroyed their soil and just bought more forest land, cleared it and ruined new land, then moved on.

I cant help thinking it is much the way these early capitalists exploited labor, both enslaved, indentured and exploited factory workers during those periods before abolition and unions gave a voice to the exploited and oppresed.

So far, I am not very smart with my smart phone but my daughter put an app on my new iphone that I haven't used yet but about which I am excited.  It is called Snapleaf, and you can take a photo of a tree and get it identified with this app.  An app I would like to get but haven't done the research yet is a tracking app, that would follow me in the woods and help me find my way out again.  I haven't been lost often, but the couple of times I was, I would have loved to have had some help.  If you know of such an app, write me at
Happy Trails and Healthful Hiking!
Jo Ann

Monday, September 12, 2016

Up date on essential to happiness after retirement

I had breakfast at the Metro Diner with three friends this morning and we talked about the essentials to happiness.  One said, health and fitness, outdoor activities, animal companions and friends.  Another said precious times with her family along with her friends and her dog, Abby!  Another said financial security was in the top five.  

After our fine breakfast, I had pumpkin spice silver dollars, one friend and I hiked around Newton Creek then went over to Red Bank Battlefield to see the Delaware River when the Pokeman people didn't have the parking lots filled up.  Then we went to another landing on the Delaware and met a nice man named Dave who chatted with us for half an hour or so and let us look through his binoculars.  

All in all it was a delightful day!
Happy Trails

ps.  Another friend just texted:  Good health, good relationships and interesting pursuits.  Sounds like a good life to me!  

The things that sustain over the long haul

On Saturday, I was having lunch at one of my favorite luncheonettes, Maritza's in Maple Shade on Main Street.  It was their street fair day and my friend, Gail, and I walked outside in the tents for a block or so, but to be honest, most people our age are clearing out our houses and trying to avoid gathering any additional clutter so we don't feel like shopping or even taking home several more bags of free stuff.  Stuff is never free.

I noticed, actually, I looked it up, the Wood Street Fair in Burlington City was the same day and I thought briefly about going there, but it was an hour's drive and it was already 2:00, so we ould have been there in time for the packing up, and again, we didn't want any stuff and we don't do crafts any more.  Gail used to make and sell stuff and I used to make things, even up to a few Christmas times ago, I was still making crafts for gifts, but I don't anymore.

So what do I do?  I started this blog when I still worked as a volunteer.  I worked at six different places at that time, about ten years ago already.  I started volunteering at Alice Paul Foundation in Mount Laurel, then Whitall House in Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, then Bayshore Discovery Project at Bivalve, Gloucester County Historical Society in Woodbury, and Camden County Historical Society in Camden.  I did lots of things in those places and visited lots of historic sites.  I was smitten.  I drove from the bay, Greenwich to Bordentown seeking lost and found places and wrote about mot of them here on this blog to help my fellow retirees find places to go and things to do.  

Recently, however, I noticed that I don't do many of those things or visit those places any more.  I still go out to lunch and I still hike.  Yesterday I had a delightful time at Pakim Pond.  Picked up a grilled cheese at Wawa on the 72 circle and at it in the picnic shelter looking at the Pond.  Then Trixie and I (my Lab mix and constant companion) hiked around the pond twice.  Her leg was sore so we cut it short and didn't go for the Cranberry Trail.  I didn't stop at the markets on the way although I had planned to get apples and maybe some chrysanthemums.  

What I do now is go to the gym.  It made me think of what is important in life, what you should do to sustain yourself over the long life.  Focus on health is one of the all time most rewarding endeavors and that's why I hike or walk every day and go to the gym everyday.  What good is a clean house or a new car, if you've had a stroke or can't walk?  So I work out and I have to say just three months of a serious 6 day a week work out habit have changed my life.

So, what sustains you?  I thought I would ask my friends today when we meet for breakfast at the Metro Diner on Kings Hwy and Rt. 130.  Some would say family, others might say friends, and there are those who devoted more of themselves to their volunteer work and it still sustains them.  I have family and certainly friends mean a lot.  I see a friend or two every day.  So I guess friends are high on my list, as is nature.  In fact when I am down and can't get myself out of the ditch, I always head for the woods, which I find healing.  That's why I was at Pakim Pond yesterday.  The park didn't do the job and I still felt sad, so I went to Pakim Pond, and that always works.  Nature, then has to be in my top five:  Friends, health, nature and pets.  Every day my cats and my dog give me affection, companionship, and many smiles.  The cats are the funniest.  The dog mostly naps.  The cats, however, play!  They chase and make games for themselves and they make me get out of bed in the morning by burrowing under the covers and biting my toe (not o much fun).  The trees outside my window give me enormous joy daily, when they twinkle with the rising un, and dance in the breeze, change colors in fall and drop plops of snow in winter.  

One think I worry about and another reason I must stay healthy is to protect my 18 trees.  The neighbors have slaughtered their trees one by one over the years and my house which looked like the others once, is now a grove unto itself!

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Monday, September 5, 2016

Peter J. Maguire, Father of Labor Day, Arlington Cemetery, Pennsauken, NJ

Today is Labor Day and I decided to go for a hike at Pakim Pond and on the Cranberry Trail rather than a party another friend was hosting.  When I got home from the hike with friend, Barbara Solem, and my dog Trixie, I felt that I should have done something to mark the holiday which has had so prominent a place in my life, so I went to pay my respects at the grave of Peter J. Maguire.

Arlington Cemetery is in the 1600 block of Cover Road in Pennsauken, a place I know well as my ex-husband lived nearby on Cove Rd. when we were dating as teens.

There was a large and glorious wreath placed at the imposing monument to Peter J. Maguire, father of Labor Day, who many feel died an early death due to the heartbreak and the demands of the brutal struggle that has always been the Labor Movement in America.

Here is what I owe to the Labor Movement:  My father, Joseph Robert Wright, began his work life after his service in World War II, as a laborer in the Ironwork and Structural Steel field.  It is a hard and dangerous line of work.  The laborers however were protected by their union, the AFof L, CIO, Ironworkers and Structural Steel Union.  Through the union, the men were guaranteed coverage if they were hurt on the job, decent benefits, and a fair wage so that men like my father, who had sacrificed so much in the war, could now come home, start a family and buy a nice home in the suburbs of New Jersey. 

My father was able to support a wife and five children comfortably on his wage and his salary as he rose in the company.  He also worked as treasurer of the Union for many years, and at night, my mother would clear off the dining room table and my father would work late into the night, keeping the books accurate and up to date.  He was a remarkable and honorable man and I am fortunate to have had a father like him.

Also, as a teacher, I am indebted to the work of the American Federation of Teachers and the scale they set for all other educators and associations of teachers.  I am retired today with a decent pension and benefits package to keep me in my old age thanks to their efforts.  And as various state politicians try from time to time to steal away our pension money, which was collected from our wages and invested for us, the union continues to work to prevent that.

So many people fought and died so that the American Working Class, the men and women who built this fine nation, could have dignity and fair treatment in the work arena, that the least I can do, each year on Labor Day is think of them and thank them in my heart for their work.  My grandmothers were seamstresses.  My grandfathers were laborers.  All the lives of working people in every field were enriched and enhanced by the sacrifices of heroes such as Mother Jones and Joe Hill, among others.

By the way to read more about Peter J. Maguire, go to All About Pennsauken, an essay by Robert Fisher Hughes, a fine local historian ans writer who did an excellent job on Maguire's work and life. 

Happy Labor Day!
Jo Ann

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sights Seen and Upcoming PlacesTo Go

Driving home from a store this weekend, my daughter and I passed the MOST enormous American flag we had ever seen, hoisted up into the blue sky by two giant cranes.  I asked a man crossing the street what it was all about, and he said it was  Harley Davidson Memorial 9/11 Rally - hundreds of motorcyclists riding hundreds of miles in memory of the hundreds of Americans who lost their lives.  May they always be remembered.

On another subject:  Do you have books you want to get rid of?  I do.  And I have often bought books from Better World Books via amazon.com, so I was glad to see that they had book drop boxes where you can deposit your books and let them continue their lives in the hands of new readers:  
ShopRite Plaza at Haddonfield Berlin Rd. and Rt. 154 in Cherry Hill
Garden State Pavilions at Rt. 70 and Cornell Ave
I haven't visited either one yet, but I am doing a de-cluttering and expect to visit them soon.  I'll let you know how hard they are to find.  

Collingswood always has fun things to do along with beautiful parks to hike, but here are a few things I liked from their local paper, What's On:  Classic Car Cruise, September 15, and Sept 22.(I believe these are in the evening), There will be historic architecture docent guided tours in Collingswood which has some notable houses, on September 22 beginning at noon.  They said to visit their website for more info.  www.Collingswood.com.

I haven't been to any new places and few old favorites to write to you about.  I've been working on my fitness project.  Lost 15 pounds and got into a great daily habit of an hour of walking and an hour of working out at the gym.  This will keep me in good shape to keep up with Places To Go and Things To Do.  Today, I did my walking at Timber Creek Dog Park, on the old horse trail, with two best walking buddies, the two Barbaras.  Every day I am at Knight's Park, usually before I go to the gym around 9:00 or 9:30.  It is very peaceful there then, not to mention C o o l.  Hope to see you -
On the Trail
Jo Ann