Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vacation in New Jersey and Philadelphia, August, 1995

Remember this vacation?
We went to Philadelphia for a couple of day to see the sights and visit my brothers. We went to the Ben Franklin Insitute, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell. We saw recreaters who dressed as Ben Franklin, Minutemen, and signers of the Declaration of Indpendence. We went to the room where the Declaration was signed. We stayed at a Holiday Inn near Nashaminy Mall and drove into the city. The ride down US95 had some bumps that we all enjoyed.We took the subway downtown, and walked up JFK Boulevard. We saw the tall ships moored by Front St. on the Delaware River.
We had dinner with my brothers, Jim and Ed and Ed's wife, Sue and her son (whose name I forget) at a resturant in Old Town and then walked around a bit to see that historic section of the city. We saw the old brownstones that have been there since the 18th century.
We went to the neighborhood where I grew up, Juaniata Park and saw the school and church that I went to and walked around the Carl Mackley. I wanted to visit my Aunt Agnes, but she was not well. She died a year later. Eddie brought me Aunt Mary's writing desk and we took it home with us.
Then we went to New Jersey to visit Dad's family. We stayed with Tommy in Edison. We visited Grandma at the house in Cranford where Dad grew up. Dad gave us a tour of his town: where he went to school and church. All of us, Jimmy, and his kids, Chris and Carolyn, and Tommy and Janet, and Grandma went to Liberty Park in Jersey City and took the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue Liberty.
On Ellis Island, we saw where the immigrants came in, and how they were treated, and where they stayed. There was a granite monument with the imigrant's names engraved on it. We found my grandfather's name, John McGarrity, on it and took a rubbing of it. On Liberty Island, some went up the statue and other remained in the park and looked at lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers dominated the skyline. We took the ferry back to Liberty Park and then drove into Chinatown in New York City. We were able to find a parking spot on the street, but the garbage was piled so high that the kids had to be lifted out of the van. Everyone was totally grossed out by the smell despite the fact that the boxes were wrapped as presents. We walked a bit to Chinatown and had dinner at Hung Fat's. There were 13 of us. The man at the restuarant shooed us back outside and said, "you wait outside!" We were finally seated, and had a great meal.
Another day we drove to Fairhaven to visit Jim and Marion. We loaded eveyone in the van and went to the shore at Sandy Hook. We met Tommy and Janet and Jimmy at the shore. Tommy brought a kite. He, Dad, Jimmy, and the kids took turns flying it on the beach. Then we all hung out on the beach and watched the boats on the horizon and went for swims in the ocean. Bethany had a terrible time with sand in her bathing suit. We went back to Jimmy's house and Grandma met us there for dinner. Jimmy had just finished an addition to his house. Sara Christine played the piano for us, as did Rebecca.
Music was great way to pass the time. Lauren helped us out by writing on the fly:
The first is sung as a round to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Ride, Ride, Ride in the car
Down Route 1.
We're going to New Jersey to see family,
My butt just fell asleep.

The second is sung to the tune of One Hundred Bottles of Pop on the Wall:

A hundred miles to Uncle Tommy's house,
A hundred miles to Uncle Tommy's house.
There goes a mile that we just rode,
Ninety nine more miles to Uncle Tommy's house.

The last song is sung to Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer:

Sarah Christine, a girl that I know,
Uncle Jimmy, Sarah's dad,
Christopher and Caroline, they are her siblings.
Aunt Marion is their mom.
Uncle Tommy is real cool,
Aunt Janet is very funny.
Grandma is at the top of the family,
And that brings us back to Sarah, Oh! Oh! Oh!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Remembering the Early Days

Ran across this photo some time ago, and decided to scan it. This was taken under the Sycamore tree in front of the Westminister house around Halloween in 1983. It must have been a Sunday, judging from the dresses. That house was 900 square feet, 4 bedroom, 1 bath, and no basement. We paid about $30,000 for that house, and after living in it for 9 years, we sold it for just a bit more.

I remember baking a lot, making jam, and canning. The girls and I would do all sorts of crafts. But baking was probably the favorite activity because it could be eaten when done.

One year at Halloween, Annie was a princess. Her costume was an old prom dress that I found at a garage sale and modified to fit a 5-year-old, with a crown and scepter that Dad made from cardboard and tin foil. Nina was a kitty. Lauren was a mouse. These costumes were made from the same pattern. They were all so cute when we went out!