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River Memories

River Memories

A second little brother made his appearance in the world while we were living on Dunn’s Lane in Pennsville, New Jersey. Now that house, too, our second, was almost bursting at the seams, but we stayed there for two more years. Life went on with some advenutes. During the second summer there, my sister and I contracted a nasty skin fungus on our heads and faces and had to be greased up daily with a black, smelly ointment. Ringworm, yuck! Ichthamol, YUCK!
One day Dad brought home some glass-stoppered bottles and put them on a low shelf in the kitchen. Those bottles proved irresistible. I opened one of them, found some neat-looking white pellets that looked like candy, and proceeded to pop some into my own mouth and into my little sister’s mouth. It sure wasn’t candy! It was sodium hydroxide, meant by Dad for treating the inside of muskrat pelts. it burned like the dickens! My little sister never would follow my directions much after that and went her own way, shunning my company. One day my Mom’s younger sister was visiting and she put a glass bottle of soda into the freezer section of Mom’s brand new electric refrigerator. Just prior to acquiring that much desired refrigerator, Mom had repainted the kitchen and put up new curtains. Anyway, my aunt went off and forgot the soda. When Mom took it out much later she set it on the kitchen table to thaw. After awhile, one of us kids shook it and it exploded all over the ceiling and walls of the kitchen, not missing the newly curtained windows. You’ve never seen kids disappear faster or become “deaf” so quickly. The older of my two brothers, while still a toddler, would often be seen falling over things that were right in front of him. My sister and I would often put toys in his way to watch him trip over them. It seemed funny to us, bur Mom didn’t see it that way. My brother was found to have a “lazy” eye and made to wear wire-rim glasses, with a black patch covering his good eye. The patch was supposed to make his lazy eye work. When dressed in his little sailor suit he looked quite a bit like a spiffy pirate, and gained the admiration of us girls. To top off all the previous misadventures, we three older children in the family managed to get German measles, mumps and chicken-pox in sequence that winter. Poor Mom! She was about to go out of her mind. There was talk of moving again, to be closer to the elementary school in Pennsville, and house-hunting began again. Mom probably wanted to fly to the moon to get away from things, but we all ended up in a bigger house on Pittsfield Street, adjacent to the school. It’s where I would remain til I flew out of the nest to attend college in New Brunswick, New Jersey. My heart always yearned, though, to be near the river.

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