The Grands

The Grands
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children".
--- from the writings of Roots author Alex Haley

Saturday, September 24, 2016

In My Life: We Move to Seabrook Village

I think one of the most important jobs a grandparent can do is provide links for their grandchildren to the past, both the past of their family and the historical past of their world.
Another vital task is to help their grandchildren grow to become contented, successful people who want to make their community, their country, and their world a better place.
         That's two of the main reasons I started this blog in 2016.
While I hope any reader will find something of interest in what I write here, I actually have 2 readers foremost in my mind. One is named Audrey. She was 8 when I started this blog. The other is her brother, Owen, who was 6 then.
This new ongoing series, which I am calling It's My Life, is primarily for my grandchildren. It will be able to still speak for me when I am gone. 
Since I will be writing about me, it may appear to be an exercise in vanity. But that is not my intent. I want to tell Audrey and Owen about my life so they can have a better understanding of their own lives. Maybe it might help some of you in your lives, too. 

After a short stay in Carlls Corner, we moved to Seabrook Village, a truly international community started by frozen food magnate C. F. Seabrook.

The village consisted of Japanese internees brought from the West Coast during World II and refugees from Estonia, Poland, Russia, and others from Europe driven from their homes by the war, who were termed DPs (displaced perrsons) in local terms.

We lived on 4th Street and my family was the only family on our part of the block who spoke English at home.

You can learn more about the unique Seabrook community of the 50s and 60s here, here, and here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

It's My Life: We Move to Carrls Corner

I think one of the most important jobs a grandparent can do is provide links for their grandchildren to the past, both the past of their family and the historical past of their world.
Another vital task is to help their grandchildren grow to become contented, successful people who want to make their community, their country, and their world a better place.
         That's two of the main reasons I started this blog in 2016.
While I hope any reader will find something of interest in what I write here, I actually have 2 readers foremost in my mind. One is named Audrey. She was 8 when I started this blog. The other is her brother, Owen, who was 6 then.
This new ongoing series, which I am calling It's My Life, is primarily for my grandchildren. It will be able to still speak for me when I am gone. 
Since I will be writing about me, it may appear to be an exercise in vanity. But that is not my intent. I want to tell Audrey and Owen about my life so they can have a better understanding of their own lives. Maybe it might help some of you in your lives, too. 

When I was about one, my family moved out of Bridgeton and into Carlls Corner, a small village of homes in neighboring Upper Deerfield Township.

It was here that I have the first real memory of my childhood. In October of 1954, Hurricane Hazel stormed up the East Coast and rammed into New Jersey.

I was at home with my mother when the first strong rains began to fall and winds howled through the community.

I remember the electric power went off and I began to cry because I was watching TV and wanted to keep watching cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy. I was also upset because my Dad wasn't home yet. But soon he did make it safely back to our house.

When the destructive winds finally subsided, we learned of Hazel's deadly power. The storm had killed 400 people in Haiti, 95 in the United States, and 81 more in Canada.

I believe the hurricane implanted a respect for the awesome power of nature in my subconscious and I know I never liked Hazel as a name for a real person or a cartoon character (and later a TV maid). In fact, I wasn't even fond of Witch Hazel, which my mother would use when I got bug bites or scrapes.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Labyrinth: Finding Your Way in Life with Help from Jim Henson and a Host of His Creations



It has been said that every life is simply the story of a long journey that begins with birth and ends in death.

With that view in mind, it isn't surprising that many of our greatest  tales, stories, novels, plays, TV shows, and movies follow a main character on a part of their personal journey to understanding, wisdom, and success.

Labyrinth, the fantasical 1986 Jim Henson movie starring David Bowie as the Goblin King, Jennifer Connelly as the young traveler Sarah, and an imaginary world populated by a host of Henson puppet-like creations, is one example of such a journey-themed story.

In the tale, Jareth, the Goblin King, kidnaps a baby and whisks him to his castle in Goblin City. Sarah, the child's initially self-absorbed sister, discovers a new concern for others and her own strength as she and a small group of new-found friends follow a winding labyrinth in a search for her brother.

In the film, Henson's imaginative creatures serve both as wonderous fairies and hideous comical goblins, representations of the good and evil we all encounter in the world as we make our own personal journeys.

Those creatures serve as the centerpieces for the exhibit Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Journey to Goblin City now at the Center for Puppetry and Arts in Atlanta.

We took our grandchildren to see the mesmerizing, engaging exhibition. As you might expect from a 7 and an 8-year-old both with vivid imaginations, they loved it. Our visit gave us much to discuss about life and its meanings as portrayed in the exhibit and the film.

If you get a chance to take the young ones in your life to the center, here is some of what you will find in the exhibit, which is itself staged in a sort of labyrinth: