All three of our children married and started their own families and we never insisted that they spend all their holidays with us. They had to establish new relationships with their in laws and we tried to encourage this because they had to start their own holiday rituals within their families.
C and I were always going to dads as long as he was alive. My dad became a grandfather late in life and we taught our children their grandfather was an important part of our family. We spent many Christmas’ at dads and if we live too far away C always made sure he was off at that time so we could get home and back in time for work.
My third sister was home with dad because she worked in the restaurant and didn’t marry until dad gave the business to my brother. She had decided she needed to get out on her own. My brother’s wife could work by his side being the restaurant was part hers’ now. My sister was seven years older than her and she did not take it to lightly at her younger brothers wife being her boss. After all when she worked for dad he really did not pay her much because it was an allowance in his mind and she knew the amount probably wouldn’t change unless she just left.
She got a job in Philadelphia working for the government in the Treasury Department division. I mentioned before that CB was a Treasury agent for the government and he arranged for her to take the government test. She passed having the highest grade of all those taking the test. Of course she wasn’t married to him at the time. He was a family friend and one of our customers in the restaurant. So she got the job and rode the train to work and back. This was the first time she ever worked anywhere away from the family business. Back then the bus and train, catered to workers by having their schedules coordinating their time going to and from work between Philadelphia to Atlantic City stopping at all the little towns in between.
My oldest sister who was nine years older married an army man and moved to Boston where he was a commercial fisherman after the service. That was one of the places dad had me drive him when I got my drivers license. We surprised her and we sure did. Her husband was out fishing so we didn’t get to see him. My sister had taken a job in the factory and at night she like to party and her place looked like a hurricane hit it in the inside. After we visited a little while she offered to make us supper, her specialty was meat loaf I know she didn’t like to cook much. We left for home that evening because dad had enough traveling.
I can remember the first Miss America Pageant that was held in the convention center on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. It was a big deal and brought lots of people to N.J. from all over. Business was good for everyone because then the pageant lasted longer than it does today. People enjoyed the pageantry of competition between the states of the girl that was representing them. It was the swimsuit division that was actually held on the boardwalk. The judges were local dignitaries who supported the pageant with dollars.
One year my third sister and I got to attend the last night because CB the man she married got us tickets. He was in local politics in N.J. and was able to get favors. We never did pick the winner in all those years we lived there. I can still remember Parks singing: “There she is Miss America” and after he died the Pageant seem to go down hill because he was the only one that could sing that song with meaning and his personality was the Miss America pageant. This is a picture of Yolande Betbeze, who won the year we attended.
There was one attraction N.J. had that will never be seen again in person and that was the Diving Horse on the boardwalk. At the end of the Labor Day weekend every year people would see a horse and rider climb a large scaffold to a high diving board and jump off into a large round tub of water. It wasn’t until years later the people were told that the rider had become blind. Some years back our son and his wife gave us a video of this attraction that I still have.
N.J. is famous for its’ blueberries and we lived right in the middle of the area where they are grown. Home made blueberry pie made with fresh berries can’t be beat. My one daughter still remembers the pie her aunt made for the kids when they stayed with my sister. She learned from my mother. The other fruit that N.J. is famous for is peaches.
One year when C and I lived in Rhode Island my dad sent us a bushel of peaches. Unfortunately they arrived on the weekend and the the railroad people didn’t work on weekends in the office so we weren’t called until Monday and by the time we received them they were a bit too ripe. When C picked them up and brought them to me I had to sit outside to peel them. Of course there were quite a few we had to throw away.
As you can tell I am reminiscing and feel like the kids growing up today are missing something. We were allowed to use our imagination and today nothing is held back. The kids have the “internet” that opens up everything and anything to their eyes without ever having to leave their home.
One of the most delightful things I remember was going to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the theater that always hadcartoons and a western; The Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, Hop Along Cassidy and with a Hi Ho Silver and Away,
Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter.
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