Clinton Township Newsletter

October 2013 issue of the Clinton Township Newsletter

Clinton Township Newsletter, Clinton New Jersey, May 2013 Issue

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C L I N TO N TOW N S H I P N ews l e t t e r ® "The October Country … that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay."– Ray Bradbury October J u l i e F ly n n , E d i t o r 201 3 "The Fabulous Fifties" by EDITOR'S COLUMN Ruth Keesing Sometimes I wonder how folks growing up in the 1950's survived. Advertisements from that bygone era suggested that "More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette." Almost every actor in almost every movie chain-smoked throughout the film. I can't remember ever seeing Bette Davis without a cigarette, and even Fred Astaire lit up immediately before and after a dance routine. We were encouraged to have several drinks before dinner to sooth jangled nerves. Even if your nerves didn't jangle, a jigger or two of whiskey was thought to be beneficial. There were Xray machines in shoe stores to measure your foot size. Who knew that frequent exposure to Xrays was a no-no? There were no seat belts, monoxide detectors, no booster seats, no smoke, radon or carbon no bicycle helmets, no air bags in cars and, as I recall, we had no turn signals in cars. We would hand crank the window open and stick out our left arm to designate which way we planned to turn. Of course, few drivers were whizzing along at 65mph. We didn't even have a Lady Gaga! It's amazing that an entire generation wasn't wiped out. When we got a television in 1950 it was a big deal. I watched the Kefauver Hearings on a 12" black and white set in our small apartment over a deli on 66 Elm Street in Westfield (over my Father's office as well). We watched Toast of the Town, the Ed Sullivan Show, every Sunday at 8 o'clock. I actually went into labor for my son during Ed Sullivan. I remember it well because my husband wanted to finish the show and have a quick cup of coffee before driving me to Overlook Hospital to give birth. We often ate TV dinners in front of the set (heated in the oven... no microwaves). Because we concentrated on the show's plot we apparently neglected to realize how really awful the food tasted. But what a boon for the housewife who usually spent several hours putting together a tasty family meal. My family balked at chipped beef on toast, but otherwise seemed content to eat whatever I put on the table. I relied a lot on spaghettios and jello chocolate pudding. Every Saturday, after a breakfast of cornflakes and bananas, my two kids would jump on their bikes (sans helmets) and disappear until around 5:30in the afternoon. If they weren't bleeding or on fire they returned for lunch (with several friends in tow) or perhaps feasted at a friend's house. We were a one car/one garage family until the kids got their licenses and I bought them a VW Beetle Bug to share. When we occasionally made a trip from Fanwood to Hunterdon County, it was real excursion–with a picnic and everything. Little did I know that I would one day be a genuine Hunterdon County resident–but by then the kids had left the nest, my husband had died and I was remarried. The 50's were the best years of my life. It was such a simple time –  trusting a time – a time when terrorism meant the movie was scary. If the world continues on its present course, perhaps one day we'll look back at 2013 and remember how good we had it. O c t o b e r "There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch." –Robert Brault I opened my closet door and beheld before me a huge bag of Halloween candy–enough to last at least half a year–then woke up from my dream sadly realizing that Halloween was six months away. It's kind of amusing to me that this is one of my most easily remembered childhood dreams. As a kid Halloween to me was, next to Christmas, the best holiday ever. The idea of large amounts of free candy? It didn't get much better than that. This Fall, my husband and I have one child in college, one who is a senior in high school, and one in middle school. I feel like I'm watching a favorite movie... and someone keeps pushing the "forward" button on the remote control. "No, wait! Rewind!!!" I think to myself, seeing my kids (and all of your kids) growing up so fast. In October, no longer do I worry about what kind of cupcakes to bring to their Spruce Run Class Halloween Party. Nor do I worry about what costume to buy, make or pull together for my children. The last couple of Halloweens, if they did trick-or-treat at all, it was in a costume they threw together at the very last minute. My comments, "So, what are you dressed as? A teenager with a funky hat/ wig/shirt?," are always pretty much ignored. I shudder to recall the anonymous teens who showed up wicked-late (meaning after 9:00 pm) at my door the night of our first Clinton Township Halloween, dressed as the characters from "A Clockwork Orange". That was truly scary. There's something a bit daunting about trick-ortreaters who are taller than you, dressed as famous sociopaths... even if the characters are fictional. Nowadays I know most of the teens that trick-or-treat later at our house on Halloween. They greet me with a "Hi Mrs Flynn!!!" and I'm so grateful that they aren't scary, it doesn't matter that they are dressed as a teen in a funky hat/wig/shirt. I give them large amounts of candy accordingly. Halloween in our house has also now kind of evolved into "Crank out the College Applications Eve," since Early Decision Applications (or is it Early Action? I get those two mixed up) are usually due on the first of November. This is quite terrifying, in a very different sort of way, for both high school seniors and their parents. While Small princesses, goblins, and pint-sized batmen show up at our door nibbling on Twizzlers and Hershey bars, our teens are upstairs grinding away on those application essays. Of course, the simpler days, as most parents of young children will tell you, weren't so simple. I remember one year I took my youngest (decked out as Buzz Lightyear) trick-or-treating in a wagon, covered in blankets to protect him from the cold while he battled asthma. (To Infinity... or just around the block, as the case may be.) Meanwhile, our older two kids went running far ahead with their friends, crossing the street randomly in the dark, dodging rush-hour neighborhood traffic, while hopped-up on candy and adrenaline. It's funny, isn't it? We warn our children not to take candy from strangers, and then take them all over the neighborhood and/or Township... begging for candy from strangers. I think college applications, come to think of it, might be less scary. I've managed, over the last couple of years, not to dip into the kid's Halloween candy. Let them have their Kit-Kats and Snickers, I'll take the Godiva. At least, that's my plan for now... until I have to look at those college applications. Hope you all have a Happy Halloween! 2 0 1 3 –Julie Flynn 1

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