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My parents separated early in my life, I was two to three years old at the time. Japan, Germany and Italy came between those two young marrieds. My mother would have a small apartment over my maternal great-grandparents home in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. My maternal grandparents would live but a block away. I was loved, dotted upon and for accounts and purposes, spoiled. My grandparents would always cart me along with them on any trip or outing.
I’m not sure which was my first trip, in the summer summer or winter,. I will write on both, these were trips with my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. That would be Harry and Emma Wittman from Audubon, NJ. A trip to New York City prior to November 5th 1951 comes to mind. So, perhaps eight years old. I know prior to that date as the NJ turnpike was not open to Exit 10 from the Delaware Memorial Bridge as yet. We got on our bus in Camden, NJ and traveled old route 130 and crossed into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel onto W. 36th st. I remember as a youngster, I would often hold my breath in a Tunnel.
We would stay in the Victoria Hotel, 160 Central Park South. It is now a Landmark, Marriott house. We would make this trip several times, always staying in the Victoria. It was quite nice back in the day and continues to remain so.
This particular trip was during cold weather and obviously close to Christmas. I know this as we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw their Christmas production. I shall forever remember the Rockettes.
We also saw some ice skating, it was so long ago I remember not where. Here is a little history on Ice Skating in NYC, should you be interested.
I remember walking about the city, going into Gimbels department store and being awestruck on the toy floor. I remember the elevator and the operator, announcing the floors. Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator level with each floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department stores later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers. I would always get a special gift on one of these trips. I remember also getting jostled a bit as the operator lined up the lift so as one would not trip exiting.
On the same trip, 6 months prior or 6 months later, warmer weather, anyway, we would have a boat trip. That trip would either be the Circle line around Manhattan or a trip from the Battery out to the Statue of Liberty. I got to do both back in the day.
The Circle Line Trip was a cruise all the way around Manhattan Island on a guided boat tour that takes in every angle of New York City’s iconic waterfront. Traveling by boat means unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty—ideal for snapping memorable photographs. With live narration throughout the cruise, learn about the Big Apple while passing all five of New York’s boroughs.
The trip out to the statute of Liberty was special also. Visits to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are musts in the Big Apple. On this guided tour, you get boarding on the ferry from Manhattan to visit the two important historical sites. Visit the grounds of Liberty Island and go inside the Statue of Liberty Museum. Then hop the ferry to Ellis Island and learn about the millions of people who arrived here between 1892 and 1954 in hope of living the American dream.
The highlight of my first trip was the ability to spit out of the window and to watch it travel down however many floors we were up. I also remember hanging out the window to see if I hit anyone down below. My leaning out the window and my grandmother going bezerk is still implanted in my head today. Three steps up a ladder with my vertigo is a high climb today.
We would take several trips to NYC prior to age 13, the age my grandfather died. Those trips were always special. Oh to be able to recall such details. Now, to what do I attribute that gift?
It’s been a crappy past ten days, spotty internet reception is the reason why. This all began about a week ago. I’m thinking it was due to a pretty good summer thunder-storm with lots of lightning last week. Our IT comes off a tower 5-6 miles away in the town of Princess Anne. What will be this Saturday’s task will be to use my computer’s word processor to get the basics for a blog done and then head off to our eldest daughter’s house for dinner and use her real world internet to get this posted.
On Thursday of last week our grandson Kevin, a recent graduate from high school and two buddies, Rob and Justin came through from CT. They got to spend the night in the newly decorated Annex/Guest House. On their way the boys took a side trip into NYC and found themselves in China Town. Their arrival here was at 10:00 PM and Mother Hen/Granny quickly got them tucked away.
Kevin asked what time we arise in the AM. When I said around five – five thirty, he quickly said how about seven for breakfast, fine we said. Shortly after eight the next morning the boys emerged from their quarters, Granny was ready. A Frittata of major proportions accompanied by bowls of fresh fruit, Strawberries and Blue Berries and toast were awaiting them. This venture kind of took Granny back to our Bed & breakfast days feeding travelers as they came through Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Frittata by the way consisted of eggs, potatoes, ham, cheese and tomatoes. I got to eat with the boys, a real treat since I’m not usually spoiled in this way.
We had some nice chit-chat time with the boys over breakfast, learning that Rob was heading to the University of Rhode Island and Justin the University of Connecticut. FYI, Kevin, has decided to put his acceptance to the University of Connecticut on hold for a year.
Not wanting to enter the rigors of life post college deep in debt, Kevin has enlisted in the CT National Guard. He will head off to Basic Training in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, in September. After basic, Kevin will travel west to Arizona’s Ft. Huachuca for Intelligence School. There are some great monetary rewards for those who serve and Kevin has researched them all.
At approximately 9:30 AM the boys were off to Pickens, SC where they would visit Rob’s grandparents.
So we’re moving up in time and it is now Monday, 7 August, 2017. Torrential rains are falling on the Eastern Shore of MD. This morning I took a trip to the offices of BlooSurf, my internet provider to check on the lack of viable service for the past ten days. I spoke with their operations guru and learned the problem had just been solved and service had been restored. His explanation, some rouge electrical interference. Must be the Russians I thought.
Tuesday, 8 August – Awoke, no internet. Has to be the Gremlins from the Kremlin.
I was up @ 0400 with the mother hen as she was getting ready to go off to her 0530 gym class. God love the little women, such dedication. I do the gym also but do not leave the house until 0810.
I gave a call to my service provider and was told they were aware of the issue and were working on it. I’m guessing they had a long distance call into Moscow and the bare-chested guy. At approximately 1000 hrs a viable signal returned and I was able to get some banking done. Just as I was preparing to send out this blog, SNIP, the signal was gone again.
So here I am at the eldest daughter’s home 3.5 miles away to attempt to once again finalize this blog.
Just a picture or two to capture yesterdays weather is all I wanted to get out. We had 4.3 inches of rain and a Tornado just up the road in Salisbury. The excitement just never ends on the Eastern Shore. We even made the national news.
Nope, no Russians here. Publish it quick!
How do I not post something for a month, busyness is the answer. Graduations, confirmations and obligations filled the bill. Passing miles beneath our tires as we make multiple trips to Connecticut sharing time with family and friends is part of the equation.
On the slim occasion I’d haul out the Mac to check email, blogs, weather and news, I’d get that look. I’m sure there’s a few of you out there that know what that look is, right? The look is usually accompanied with that one word, “really.” Just amazing how one word can say it all. Back goes the computer into the bag and it’s social interaction time. Not time for a Blog Rooster.
Speaking of Rooster, not me mind you, but the faithful protector of our flock for the past nine years. Casper was his name and he has passed to that great chicken coop in the sky. Casper was the most gentle of all our roosters over the years. He would alert the girls when trouble circled in the sky or lurched outside the fence line. He was pampered and lived the good life here on God’s little acre. Old age finally caught up with the old guy.
We have a grandson entering the National Guard, delaying college for a year and earning the education incentive$. Another grandson graduated from College. He is now a Creative Media graduate working in NYC. We have a set of twins going in diverse directions, Oregon and Delaware for higher learning. The twins are adopted grandchildren. They have a brother whom I’ve mentioned in the past and he will be a senior at the Air Force Academy this year. Another road trip coming up in May of 2018. I have a brother who got engaged, congratulations Rick. A granddaughter busy with a traveling softball team and another who is a gymnast who does gourmet baking, that’s just in Connecticut.
Back in Maryland we have a granddaughter who returns to Mississippi for her senior year @ MSU, a grandson entering Salisbury University and a granddaughter who just finished her first year of teaching.
Although we have not spent time with them of late, we have our eldest granddaughter, the USAF Captain and her Captain husband and four great grandchildren out in OKC. Time with them gets spent Face Timing via electronic media.
As any parent and grandparent knows, we swell with pride for those who grow after us. In all we’ve been blessed with three children, nine grands and four greats. We are so fortunate.
Once back home in May from VT and planted on the sand of the Eastern Shore we had the great Irish wedding of our good friends Ed and Alexis O’Leary as they married off their daughter Maddie to John Vilkus. I previously put out a post on this event. That was two weeks of the entire clan here on the shore visiting from such places as Kilkenny and Galway in Ireland and the Queens own London. They are a wonderful lot, an entertaining group full of song, fun and frolic. It’s never all about you, it’s always all about all of you. The Mrs and I have been fortunate in the past to share their family home in Kilkenney in years gone by. It was nice we could offer up a bed or two for this grand occasion. They and some tag along’s even spent an afternoon with us picking crabs and partying late into the night while being entertained with song by the one and only Famous Seamus. Our extended family is loved by us all.
Then there was the 4th of July, which in our little community is a large event with a parade, food, fun and games. HOT is the normal weather occurrence. The event has been taking place in the village for over thirty years. When the organizers say “You all come,” they all do. The local Boy Scout Troop color guard leads it off, followed by all those politicians leading our county and state representatives, sheriffs & troopers, Those running in local elections always make an appearance to garner votes in upcoming elections.
We have kids on bikes and every other mode of transportation, 4x4s, mopeds, getting pulled in wagons and just walking and looking patriotic in their Red, White and Blue. The Buffalo Soldiers always make their appearance and this year a local car club entertained us with a host of tricked up cars. Farmers and their equipment, so vital to this economy, roll out to show their stuff. Some of the tractors were from generations past. Horses and pets also grace the parade route.
And no parade would be without the local Fire Company showing off their pride. As the blare of the sirens echoed and those watching were greeted with tossed candy and Tootsy Roll lollipops, pride swelled in us all. This was America, and this is Allen and it’s our birthday. Thanks to the Lions, the Allen Asbury Methodist Church our Fire Company and all who volunteer from our community for a another great Birthday celebration.
After the parade everyone gathers at the Community Hall for hot dogs, burgers, home-made ice cream and good old down home eating and socializing. A baseball game usually occurs across the street. The wee ones will enjoy the bouncy house and someone is always selling one thing or another. Eventually the crowd will dwindle, folks will head off to other celebrations and perhaps go into the big town of Salisbury for Fireworks.
When the sun sets, and the lights are turned down low, the far off sound of sky rockets at night bursting in the air reminds us all that we are one.
Oh, I totally forgot to mention that the garage, turned into a workshop, which became the Annex and hosted many gatherings is now a guest house and has a new porch which was finished last week. Been busy, please excuse the absence. We even have indoor plumbing.