People usually think of Camden as a city of violence and crime and it is true, especially in some parts of Camden. I don’t like to read about some of the things that happen in the area where I used to teach school. However, I’m blessed that I live in a decent neighborhood with decent people who keep up their row homes, albeit with security systems and bars on windows.
However, here is a typical Saturday morning that will let you see a slice of Camden life.
My husband and I read the papers and we breakfasted on leftover hoagie slices from yesterday’s book club. Our cats begged and got a tiny bit of meat. They sniffed it and walked away to nap. What cat would want a piece of salami for breakfast?
I am forced to tell you about an unusual occurrence. A wasp arrived in our dining room and I expected my husband to do his usual. Get a glass and a piece of paper, catch the wasp (still alive) and throw it outside. Today he rolled up a piece of our newspaper and killed it. Unusually violent. I do love living creatures and wasps have a place in the world, but I was glad because I didn’t want my husband, my cats or myself to get stung. Wasp stings–yow.
This incident led to something that Carlos and I had read about self-defense. Keep a can of wasp spray around so that you can shoot it at someone who is trying to hurt you. The article said that wasp spray shoots far and accurately and it works better than pepper spray. After discussing this bit of self-defense, we decided to walk to the park down the block from our house.
Our development of row homes (Anthony Park Townhouses) was built in 1961 and my mother fell in love with the idea of a brand-new split level house so we moved from North Camden to Cramer Hill. One of the draws was Von Neida Park, right down the street. I live next door to my mom and voila! the park is still there and it is looking good. It’s clean, well-maintained and well-used. There is usually a police car parked nearby or patrolling. (I was really sad that so many veteran policemen were let go, but I have to admit that it is good to have so many more policemen out there.)
Sometimes a team of prisoners come out and pick up litter so the playground and the fields are quite clean. The County Park people cut the grass. There is a fence around the playground. That’s relatively new and my thought is that the fence is to prevent people from driving dirt bikes through the playground. I’m not sure.
I was prepared for the walk. I put on my new pedometer and slipped my cell phone in my pocket in case I wanted to take photos. We walked down the back driveway and noted that most of the neighborhood dogs must be sleeping, except for one yappy Chihuahua who let us know that we were walking by his yard.
I did snap a photo of the big city garden at 29th and River Avenue. My dad would have liked that and I’m sorry he didn’t lived to see that lovely spot of flowers and vegetables.
My husband and I strolled around the circular track on the field across the street from the playground. There are usually five or six others walking, jogging or running there, but today we had it all to ourselves. We heard a rooster crow from some blocks away and I noted to my husband that I think that it is legal to have a chicken in the city. However permissible, we aren’t getting one.
After a half hour or soon, we went back home to do some chores. I washed clothing and I sorted out drawers while watching a French movie, The Women on the Sixth Floor. The film did have subtitles, but I could understand quite a bit of it which consoled me that my long ago major in French at Rutgers Camden was not in vain.
So, there you go. A Camden Saturday morning–at least one in my neighborhood.
Did you ever live in Camden?
Written by Marguerite Ferra, Cramer Hill