Historic Places in South Jersey

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

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lunch at the Blue Plate and visit to Red Mill Antiques

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
Jo Ann

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