Sunday, October 30, 2011

Re-Post~ What Better Time To Reminisce Than Just After A Birthday~

Do you remember this doll attached to a bamboo cane by elastic string? Perhaps you were at the Phillipsburg Halloween Parade, The Great Allentown Fair, or Bushkill Park. If my memory serves me right, I think there was also a celluloid monkey with lots of feathers attached to a bamboo cane.

Who doesn't have fond memories of Bushkill Park?

How about a ride on old Route 22 passing by the Dixie Cup, did you always sit up trying to get the first glimpse of the huge paper cup on the roof of the factory?

When we lived in Alpha, we would hop on the Trans Bridge Bus to shop in Easton, PA. We disembarked in front of the Easton Sweet Shoppe. Does anyone remember when the bathrooms were under the Center Square? Look closely at the photo on the right, lower right hand corner, and you will see the (green house type covering)top of the steps that led down to them. This photo is looking toward N. Third Street corner.

Well, if that picture brings a nostalgic tear to your eye, check out this next one.

--I have a fond memory of Christmas shopping for my mother, and getting a Bing Crosby with the Andrew Sisters Christmas Album for my sister Irene at that Woolworth's. I sure miss the old downtown Easton shopping district. Does anyone remember John's Bargain Store?

Have any of you gone sleigh riding/sledding down the iron stairs of Phillipsburg? Well, my late brother Buddy did, and lived to tell us the story.

There were two pairs of these stairs, one between Bullman and South Main Streets, and the one on which Buddy tried his dare devil stunt was situated between Washington Street and Shimer Alley/Tyndal Avenue. This one was torn down, but the one between Bullman and South Main still stands.

We had climbed the one to Washington Street many times to go to the movie theater on the corner of Hudson and Chamber Street. Was it called the Philmont Theater?

Speaking of movie theaters, The Boyd on North Third Street in Easton was my favorite. I loved the winding stairs, and the Spanish style of architecture. I would purposely go to the bathroom so I could wonder around and relish the regal surroundings.

Now, I would like some feed back on this blog post from those of you who hail from my neck of the woods.

My question is this: Is it menopause, or nostalgia that makes tears well up in my eyes when remembering these places and things from our past? How about you, do you tear up too? I am so thankful for my memories, for these places, and fun little things from my childhood.

Can you remember when the Halloween parade was just the Phillipsburg Halloween Parade? Does anyone else remember the blue and pink rubber cars or the windmill spice cookies that they sold at the South Main Five and Dime? Did you ever buy a Christmas tree from the Jersey Hose in the lot next to it, or hot dogs from Bill's in that same lot?

Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Re-Post Happy Birthday Aunt Essie!

On Sharing One's Birth Date With Someone Very Special

Aunt Essie & Uncle Bobby August 2001
While writing one's memoir I suppose the proper beginning would be that awesome day where it all began, and for me it was October 26, 1951.  Besides my mother and father, and siblings there was another very special person who was tickled pink to learn that I was born on the twenty-sixth day of October.  That very special person who had also been born on the twenty-sixth day of October is my Aunt Esther Dunwell.  She was married to my father's youngest brother Robert. 

Aunt Essie 2011, Warm Smile
Aunt Essie is one of the two remaining living aunts.  She is and always will be one of the most special and loving souls that I have ever met here on earth.  Aunt Essie is one of God's very special people sent here to earth to spread His message to everyone she meets, and sometimes that is done with just her smile!

Uncle Bobby met Aunt Essie in Texas.  They both had worked at a hospital for those with Tuberculosis.  This very lovely lady stole his heart, and all who have the pleasure of knowing her could very easily understand why that happened.

Lovely "Indian Princess" Aunt Essie
She was born into an American family of Mexican and American Indian decent in San Antonio, Texas.  Her mother died when she was very young, and she took over the maternal responsibilities in caring for her siblings.  At the age of eleven her father got sick, she went to work at the hospital for those with Tuberculosis, and contracted the dreaded disease.  She had a very hard childhood, but never complained about it.  She always spoke of it as a learning experience that gave her strength of character.

Nannie, Step-Grandfather Carl, Aunt Essie
Soon after they were married Aunt Essie and Uncle Bobby moved back to the Easton/Phillipsburg area, and set up housekeeping in Wilson Borough, PA.  I can remember going to visit as a child and Aunt Essie making us homemade tortillas sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Her Christmas Tree was covered in ethereal  layers of pure white angel hair. It had been the first time that I had ever seen such a divinely decorated Christmas tree that truly befit its decorator. She captured the hearts of every member of our extended family. 

When I was a child every birthday was celebrated with the most adorable pinata that was hand made by Aunt Essie.  She made them for all of our birthdays. She is always creating something new in the arts and crafts.  Her local church in the Pocono Mountains often depended on her creations for charitable events.

Jamie and Anna-Jean
Jamie and his mother, Esther
Her story of motherhood is almost biblical.  She often prayed that God would bless her with a child, and when she was almost 40 years old she became pregnant, and she and Uncle Bob were blessed with a son,  Jamie.  Uncle Bob has since passed on, and Aunt Essie has moved to Florida to live with Jamie and his lovely wife Anna-Jean. 

February 2011, Kindred Spirits

I got to spend some time with Aunt Essie this past February when I traveled to Florida with my sister-in-law Joan.  We went to the beach one day, and she came to cousin Paula's home for dinner, and stayed the night.  We were bed buddies that night and shared a wonderful conversation about our ideals, concerns, and memories of days gone by.  It was a very special experience with this very extraordinary woman, a blessing in my life, who shares my day of birth, the twenty-sixth day of October.
Beach Cape Canaveral,FL 02/2011
On Sharing One's Birth Date With Someone Very Special

* One day many years ago my youngest daughter Jamiann came home from Alpha Public School with a new friend Jill.  I very soon learned that her mother's name was also Diane and that.....you guessed it....she was born on the twenty-sixth day of October!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cooler Corn

The Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob for a Crowd...

Before you can ask "What the heck is cooler corn?"
A Coleman cooler is pulled from the garage, wiped clean, then filled with the shucked ears of corn.
Next, two full kettles- of boiling water are poured over the corn { enough to cover the corn }, close the lid, and thirty minutes- 2 hours, depending on how tender you want it to be,  open the lid, and there you have it perfectly cooked corn on the cob!  It will stay hot for hours if you don't immediately eat it all. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pioneer Tree Farm Fall Festival

Saturday October 15, 2011 my daughter Jen, her husband Ariel, her children, Emily, Lilyanna, Gabriel, and I went on a short excursion to the Pioneer Tree Farm Fall Festival in nearby Orwigsburg, PA.  A great time was had by all, with much to see and do.  They have a great Floral/Gift Shoppe with many unique country collectibles, and a special room just for Christmas seasonal items.   The food was good too, they even have home made apple dumplings with ice cream, and sweet potato fries, topped off with hot or cold apple cider.

There was a butterfly enthusiast there with a tent filled with several species of butterflies.  He gave each of the girls a monarch to release when they got home.  He was rather congenial,  and interesting.  We learned that there are butterflies that stay in Pennsylvania all winter long and survive by finding holes in trees for shelter to hibernate.  They are the Mourning Cloak, Comma, and Question Mark butterflies. He has examples of all of them in the tent. 

Check out the photo slide show to see some of the things they have to offer, and click on their link below for more information, fees, and directions.  Enjoy!

They even have a party room that they rent out for all occasions. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Visit To The Historical Brandywine Valley Of PA

One of my favorite places to visit is the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania.  The Brandywine Valley is nestled amidst the rolling hills of Chester County, and is the area where the Revolutionary War Battle Of Brandywine took place.  This area is steeped in historical value, lush gardens, splendid mansions, wineries, museums, and art galleries.
Folke Stone Bed And Breakfast

Foyer/Room Folke Stone B & B
For our tenth anniversary my husband Roger and I vacationed there to renew our vows at Longwood Gardens.  We stayed at the Folke Stone Bed and Breakfast situated in the country just outside West Chester.   This charming beautifully restored stone manor house with its open beam ceiling, random width floors and warm decor and hospitality not unlike the days of George and Martha Washington welcomed us at first glance. 

The Innkeepers Marcy and Walter Schmoll were very friendly and accommodating.  They were so kind that when we checked out, Walter gave me a clump of the ground cover that I admired growing around the tree in the front yard.

Breakfast Table Folke Stone B & B
Marci being a retired dietician creates the most delicious breakfast which is also nutritious.  We enjoyed fresh raspberry pastry that Marci had just made and served at one dining room table where all the guests are seated together.

There were two other couples; one elderly couple who were visiting their granddaughter in college, and they were regular guests at the inn. The other couple was from Washington DC; he a Corporate Attorney, and she a Supervisor for U.S.D.A. which just happened to be the governing office of the agency that I had worked for in the past.  I was a Clerk Transcriber for a New Jersey Food Stamp Office in Warren County. The conversation was very interesting, and the woman from the U.S.D.A.was quite interested in the operations of what she called a "lay office". 

After breakfast we enjoyed the view from the side porch.  I remember that the door leading out to the porch was original from 1732 and had lots of character. 
King Louis Room

Swans on pond Folke Stone B & B

Our room was the King Louis room which had a French Provincial style elegance, and the view from the window was right out of a Romantic Novel.  Our view was of two lovely swans floating peacefully on what appeared to be an old English countryside pond. 

The prices are reasonable and definitely worth every penny spent on  an extraordinary place to lodge in such a historical area of our country.  Our stay there was not just a place to sleep, but was a memorable experience.

Longwood Gardens
Longwood Conservatory
A visit to this region of Pennslyvania is not complete unless you spend a day at Longwood Gardens.  I have often described Longwood Gardens as Heaven on Earth.  It is not uncommon that the first time you visit a vacation spot, is usually the best experience, however with Longwood Gardens every visit is the best!  Each season offers a different view, and experience. 

Loves Temple Longwood♥ Renewed Our Vows
Main Fountain Garden Longwood
A circular arbor is covered with pink roses in June. During the bloom period, the enclosure serves as one of the outdoor staging areas for concerts. In the center of the arbor is an old Italian wellhead.


The next attraction on our agenda is always a visit to Winterthur, a Dupont family mansion converted into a museum with the largest collection of Americana antiques in the world. 

One of several dining room settings
A tour of this mansion invokes a sense of affluence.  Because of my vivid imagination, and love of all things of the past, I simply get lost in an overwhelming feeling of participation in the opulent settings created by Henry Francis Dupont. 

I can picture a huge dinner party seated around the many lovely dining room settings of Winterthur, eating off of fine china, perhaps the set which had been formerly owned by George and Martha Washington.

I have always dreamed of having a home with a winding stairway, just like the one my Great Aunt Ree and Uncle Bill had in their home.  However the one at Winterthur is absolutely magnificent, and on the Yuletide Tour it is decorated beautifully with greens and poinsettias. 

The gardens at Winterthur are gorgeous and their fall foliage equal to that of Longwood Gardens.  Since my last visit to Winterthur they have added an enchanted garden for children, complete with a thatched roofed cottage for fairy tea parties.

Winterthur has a great little store where they sell reproductions of the many antiques that are housed in the museum, as well as garden ornaments, and Victorian collectibles. 

In May of 1997 Winterthur acquired the Campbell Soup Tureen collection.
Campbell Soup Tureen Collection

From their website:  The genesis of the Campbell Collection dates to 1966, when John T. Dorrance Jr., chairman of the Campbell Soup Company, and W. B. Murphy, the company president, decided to begin collecting. They secured a charter for a museum in Camden, New Jersey, and the collection soon grew to include a wide range of tureens and soup-related objects made in Europe, Asia, and America. The dates range from 1720 to modern times.

 If you decide to eat at either of their two cafes, you must try their delicious Kennett Square Cream Of Mushroom Soup!

Brandwine River Museum

The second day of our trip to the Brandywine Valley we visited the Brandywine River Museum the home of the artist work of the Wyeth family in Chadds Ford on Route 1.  From their website:
In 1971, the Conservancy opened the Brandywine River Museum in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864 that was part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts.  With nearly six million visitors to date, the museum has established an international reputation for its unparalleled collection and its dedication to American art with primary emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, American illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family. 
Among the hundreds of artists represented are Howard Pyle, many students of Pyle who affected the course of American illustration, N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth.  There is work by hundreds of famous illustrators.  Landscape, still life, portrait and genre painting includes work by Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, Asher Durand, W. T. Richards, William Harnett, John Haberle, J. D. Chalfant, Horace Pippin, and many others, while the major still life collection includes paintings by William Harnett, John Peto, George Cope, John Haberle, Horace Pippin, and many more artists.  Nearly 300 special exhibitions have been shown in the museum’s six galleries, along with constant installations of work from the collection.  Educational programs and publications for audiences of all ages are regular and frequent.

One thing that stands out in my memory is that they had the 1911 lithographs of N.C. Wyeth's illustrations for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  

Chadds Ford Inn
 Chadds Ford Inn

Second Floor Dining Room
After our tour of the Brandwine River Museum we had dinner at the Chadds Ford Inn which is now operating under the name of  Brandywine Prime.  We were seated in the upstairs dining room near a window.  At the very top of the stairs hung a painting by Andrew Wyeth of a lovely nude woman.  Our waiter pointed out that the Battle Of Brandywine was staged right outside the inn and that the legend  has it that a cannon ball came through the window by which we were seated. 

The ambiance of  the Chaddsford Inn was only upstaged by the beautifully plated meal which was scrumptious.  This restaurant is now under new management and I can't vouch for their food, but the ambiance has to be as inspirational because of the historical value of the inn.  
Chaddsford Winery

The Brandywine Valley is filled with many other historical sites, gardens, and wineries.  After our dinner at the Chadds Ford Inn we stopped by a wine tasting festival at the Chaddsford Winery which was right nearby the inn on Route 1.  It was a very mellow ending to a very memorable trip to the outstanding Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania.  

Brandywine Valley Links:  

Folke Stone Bed & Breakfast

Longwood Gardens

Winterthur Museum

Brandywine River Museum

Chaddsford Inn/Brandywine Prime

Chaddsford Winery

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smoky Potato Soup

When I was a little girl my mother put hot dog coins in her potato soup. About twenty years ago I decided to take her soup in a different direction. I added smoked sausage coins to replace the hot dog coins, and added cheddar cheese. I have never changed the recipe since. Anyone who tasted my potato soup loved it. My granddaughter Abby sure loves it, and requests that I make it often.
After I picked Abby up from school yesterday we went to my house. Because she would be staying for supper, I gave her a choice of chuck roast or potato soup. You guessed it, she chose the potato soup.

This crisp cool Autumn weather is perfect for soup, and especially for soup made with new potatoes. I usually use red potatoes for my soup and my potato salad. The slightly sweet taste of red potatoes reminds me of the taste of chestnuts. Any of the many varieties of potatoes will do just fine for a delicious bowl of smoky potato soup.


Two quart sauce pan

4 large or 5 medium potatoes

1 large Bermuda or Vidalia onion

1 package of smoked beef sausage

1 can of evaporated milk or 1 pint of heavy cream

1/2 stick of butter

1 teaspoon of seasoned salt or soul seasoning(Dollar General)

1 tablespoon of onion powder

2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese or any Velveeta(Aldi's also sell their own brand) processed cheese

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

About a quart and a half of water

Peel potatoes and onion. Cut potatoes into eighths or fourths, and dice the onion.

Cut smoked sausage into coins or diagonal slices. You may also wish to skin the sausage.

Sautee the onion and sausage in the butter until slightly browned.

Add potatoes, and add water just to cover the potatoes

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add seasoned salt, pepper, onion powder, gently stir and then add cheese gently stir again. Once cheese is melted, add milk, and gently stir. Turn heat off. Gently stir again and serve.

Serves four or five.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Re-Post For Pastor Uhler-Memories of Shopping In Downtown Easton, PA 1955-69

Yesterday(October 4, 2011) Pastor Uhler of our Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran church here in the nearby town of Hamburg, PA and I were talking about the good old days in downtown Easton, PA.  Pastor Uhler grew up in Wilson Borough, PA around the same time as I grew up in Alpha, NJ.  We both have the same fond memories of Christmas shopping in downtown Easton.   He told me of the time he was shopping with his brand new Roy Rogers wallet, and he lost it.  The next day while he and his parents were listening to a radio show on the then WEST radio station in Easton, they heard an announcement that someone had found his wallet.  He got it back and all the money was still in it.  He was a very happy young boy, with a lesson that people are inherently good.


Re-Post from 2009-Downtown Christmas Shopping, When I Was Young

So today, many of you may already be finished with your Christmas shopping, but quite a few of you are out shopping as I write this. I heard on the news last night that PennDot was worried that Christmas shoppers would jam up traffic as we are expected to get quite a bit of snow today. Those of you south of us have already felt the trepidation of traveling out on icy snow covered roads doing your shopping.

My daughter Jamiann has purchased the majority of her Christmas gifts online. She avoided the hazards of driving, crowded stores, and the unhealthy quick bites to eat at fast food restaurants on the ride home.

I have discovered that the older I get the more I hate shopping of any kind. Because I have spinal column injuries, walking and standing are quite painful, and money has been tight. I ordered a few gifts online, and my husband got the majority at Cabela's last week. I still have a few to get, and I am waiting for those last minute sales.

Nothing can ever compare to my memories of shopping with my mother on South Main Street in Phillipsburg, NJ, downtown Easton, PA, and even the Hillcrest Mall. I will first address my memories of Twin City, and the South Main Five and Dime.

When I was about six years old Mom took me along to Twin City which was situated on South Main Street between Tyndall Avenue and Hudson Street on the left side going up South Main from Union Square on the left. In later years George Penyak ran a store in the same building called the Lucky Penny.

That year, 1957 I wanted a Tiny Tears doll for Christmas. I can remember my mom whispering to the sales lady and her responding, "We sold the last one yesterday." I just knew she was talking about a Tiny Tears doll. Well, I did get a doll that wet, and cried, that year but it wasn't the real Tiny Tears, it was the reasonable facsimile. Coming from a family of five kids, with a stay at home mom, most of our toys were just that or hand me downs. We all shared one sled, and one bike. One year mom got me the baseball, and Irene the bat. We had to get along with each other in order to play a game. Our mother should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize that year.

My other favorite store on South Main in Phillipsburg or P'Burg to most of the locals, was the South Main Five and Dime. This store sat on the corner of Stockton and South Main right across from St. Phillips and St. James Roman Catholic Church. The store had those creaky wooden floors, and isles and isles of display tables filled with everything from home decorations and clothes, to hardware items, and toys. It also held a candy, and cookie section, which was sold by the pound . Mom always bought windmill cookies, chocolate covered wafer cookies, and horehound candies. Horehound candies, yucky, awful horehound candies, all of us kids hated them. Just like the stinky Limburger cheese she bought for New Year's Eve those horehounds were meant for adult consumption only. I so loved the little rubber cars, trucks, and balls that were sold there for a dime! They were blue, or pink, and the cars had silhouettes of people molded into the side windows. They also sold those plastic naked dolls with the open and close eyes, and wavy hair. The kind of doll that ended up with a crepe paper or crocheted dress and was placed on the hood of wedding cars, along with Kleenex roses.  That is something you don's see brides doing anymore! Back then they all did it, and drove around the neighborhood after the ceremony beeping their horns before the reception.

On Christmas Day 1954 my cousin Carol gave my sister Irene and I crocheted pocket books that were made using those dolls, and the dress part doubled as a pouch, hence the pocket book. I can vividly picture her giving them to us and I was only four years old. I sure wish my short term memory was as good as my long term memory.

There were other stores on South Main Street where mom had shopped, Stoney's Dept. Store, Harold's Shoe Store, Bob Paciello's Italian Market, New York Italian Bakery, and The Food Basket. On one occasion Mom and I went shopping at the South Main Five and Dime. We drove there in our dad's 1959 green Ford pickup truck. After we were done shopping, we headed across S. Main where we were parked in front of the Catholic Church Rectory. We got into the truck, pulled out onto S. Main and were heading back to Alpha. As we traversed down S.Main, I spied a radio in the dashboard, and questioned mom as to when dad put a radio in the truck. Mom screamed, "Oh no, we are in the wrong truck!" She then nervously turned down McKean Street to Sitgreaves and headed back in the direction from which we came. We had to pass the former city hall, and police station, to end up on the right side of S. Main, hoping the same parking space was available, and that the truck's owner had not discovered that their truck was missing. Well, we made it, and there was our truck parked about three spaces down the street.

I have a few favorite memories of Christmas shopping in downtown Easton with Northampton Street all decked out in it's finest of Christmas decorations, and a Salvation Army member in complete uniform, ringing a bell by the kettle, and sometimes playing a Carole on a horn.

On one shopping trip with my mother while shopping in the basement section of  Pomeroy's/Laubach's Dept. Store.   Mom bought me a really nice green hooded car coat, and a stuffed chimpanzee that looked like Chatter the popular TV show personality. In recalling that trip, I have this feeling of pride and joy when I think of those two gifts, that were not at all a surprise from Santa that year, 1960.

During the Christmas shopping season of 1967, Mom, asked me to do some of her shopping for her. I was sixteen, with a list in hand, a purse filled with money, my sister Ruth Ann, and friends Cynthia and Celia, and I boarded the Transbridge bus from the adjacent corner of our family store, The Alpha Luncheonette, and headed off to downtown Easton.

I can't remember all of the gifts I purchased from that list, but I do remember some. One gift was for my sister Irene and it was Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sister's Christmas Album, and I found it at Woolworth's on the corner of Northampton Street and Center Square. I also got a couple of flannel shirts from Woolworth's, and some Christmas decorations. Then there was the Surprise Store where I got some plaid flannel night gowns, white cotton underwear, and cotton stockings that were for Great Aunt Ree. My mother was always practical, and socks, nightgowns, and underwear were always considered the best Christmas gift anyone could give. The other stores where we shopped were, Green's Dept. store that had the " tubular money containers" that traveled above our heads from the registers to the store office, John's bargain store, the forerunner to the Dollar Tree, Lerner's Shop, and The Caramel Corn Shop. At Christmas time we always bought clear toy, barley sugar candies there, if Dad hadn't already gotten them from the Nazareth Farmer's Market and Auction.

No trip to Easton was complete without eating in either the My Place Lunch, the Woolworth's lunch counter, the Easton Sweet Shop, or the Deluxe Restaurant. Our friend Georgia worked at the later for many years, as it was owned by her Aunt Olga and Uncle Pete. So, it was always nice to see her there along with her cousins Lillian and Dino.

I can remember stopping by our dear friend Sam's apartment on Northampton Street in Easton, and convincing him to come home with us for Christmas. At that time Sam was about 68 years old, living alone, and sad as his mother had passed away on Christmas Eve many years earlier.

His name was Samuel Stewart Jones, and he was a vaudeville drummer, turned house painter. He also sold Christmas trees, and fruit for a farmer who befriended him, in Center Square at the farm market that used to be set up in the middle of the square.

He was a friend of our family, since my Uncle Dick introduced him to us after meeting him in the army. We all loved him like a family member, a grandfather like figure. If you have read my book, the character Sam is one in the same. Christmas 1968, he bought not only my sisters and I gifts, but he also bought our friends gifts too. Christmas at our house was more complete when Sam was there.

Another of my favorite Christmas shopping adventures was Christmas Eve shopping at Harold's Auction House in West Portal, NJ. It was the same year, 1968 when my sister Irene bought our brother David a snow mobile race set, with a track molded into snow mounds. It was a really neat thing, and we all played with it. Harold's auction was an exciting place on Christmas Eve with bargains galore. It still exists today as Dave's Family Auction, http://www.davesauction.com. I am not positive but I do believe that Dave had been related to Harold, and was a partner with him back in the day.

Once the malls became a popular place to shop, downtown Easton and Phillipsburg, slowly began to fail, and one store after another closed their doors. It was a sad day for all of us. We started shopping at Woolworth's in the Hillcrest Mall, Fashion Bug, Thrift Drug, and the Orrs Dept. Store. My girls have fond memories of eating at the Hillcrest Mall Woolworth's lunch counter. One thing was for sure we always had this huge box of Ann Page Chocolates, our mother bought at the Hillcrest Mall A&P every Christmas. Sooner or later Mom would open the box only to be angry that many of the chocolates were smashed in on top, by our prying little fingers trying to discover what flavor it was before placing a yucky maple cream in our mouths. Today, I love maple cream chocolates, but back then chocolate covered cherries were my favorite.

I for one really miss the experience of shopping in a downtown atmosphere. The last time I did have the experience was in 1998 when Jamiann and I went shopping on a bus trip to NYC with former fellow employees of the Warren County Welfare Board. Now that is a really fun way to go shopping in a downtown atmosphere. We walked from one end of Fifth Avenue to the other. I had to buy Jamiann a pair of sneakers while there, as she opted to wear fashionable boots against my warnings. The window decorations are fabulous, and it is really easy to get into the spirit on this kind of shopping adventure. I would recommend it to anyone who can handle the walking, or in a motorized chair.

I have seen that the "Shopping Mall" trend has now switched from the indoor malls to the new huge "Strip Malls" with the big anchor stores like Walmart, Target, and Lowes. The Sear's Catalog Wish Book is now online, and the Salvation Army no longer wear uniforms, and play instruments while ringing their bell by the kettle.

Life marches on while we adapt to the changes, but I for one am thankful for my memories of a really wonderful childhood.