Cramer Hill Great-Grandmother Celebrates

Dear Readers,

The rain is beating on our metal patio roof here in Cramer Hill and I’m thinking about what should I write?  What’s on my mind this quiet morning in Camden?  Maybe it’s how can I believe that my mom turned ninety-one? That happened so fast.

I thought time would slow down in retirement and it has slowed down somewhat, but it didn’t stop.  It didn’t reverse and I haven’t woken up and found myself twenty-five, nor thirty-five, nor forty-five, etc.  (Sixty-five!)  Oh, boy!  It’s corny, but time marches on–although it marches a bit more slowly than the much, much brisker march when I taught school.  No slow marches in a teacher’s day.

My mom’s elder life marches much more slowly.  It took a while to persuade her to cut short her nap  to attend her party, but she got out of bed after much coaxing, left the house dressed up and looked forward to her special day.

We celebrated my mother’s birthday at Carollo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant in Pennsauken because the service is friendly, the food is good and the entrance is accessible for my mom who needs help walking.  There we were–four generations of women all together at Carollo’s–my mom, me, Kim and Nora–all strong-minded women–in the very best sense, of course—along with family and friends.

Our dear little baby loved my mother’s birthday tiara and she loved my mom’s nose, too.  She gave my mom’s nose a little squeeze as a gift that only a girl almost five months old could give a great-grandmom.

My Cousin Kathy brought a pumpkin pie to add to the birthday cake and that pie pleased my mom no end.  “I’ll have a slice of both,” said my mother calmly and she did.

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Love from Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra and wishing all of you a happy day and a happy year.

Thanks to the people who sent my mom cards and sent her electronic birthday wishes.  She enjoyed them very much.

A Camden man remembered…Happy Birthday, Dad…

Dear Readers,

I kept thinking all month, “I have to get Dad a birthday card,” but then I remembered that he was gone. He always liked cards with a boat or a fisherman or a lighthouse. He loved the Jersey shore.

Today is his birthday and he would have been ninety-five if he had lived twelve more years.

My dad, Bill Wunsch, Sr., was a Camden guy. He was born here, went to school here, married here, worked mostly here, raised three kids here and died here.

He served in the CCC’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps where he fought forest fires in Montana. Then, he again served his country in World War II, laid cable for radar in New Guinea jungle. He came back home to North Camden with his hair blond from the sun and his skin yellow from malaria, my mother told us.

Dad worked at Magnetic Metals in Cramer Hill and he retired from there. He worked in annealing and then in shipping. He left early for work, about an extra half hour, because he never wanted to be late. My mom did the same when she worked for Bell Telephone.

My mom is ninety, ninety-one in September. She’s napping in the next room of this brick split-level row house that they bought, brand-new, in Cramer Hill in 1961 How proud my dad and mom were! We left our tiny row house in North Camden for the big time.

No one here has mentioned Dad’s birthday. Maybe they forgot or they just don’t want to mention it and upset my mother. She took good care of him when he got Alzheimer’s—he called it “Old-Timers.” He used to say, “I can’t remember that—you know that I’ve got that “Old-Timers.”

Sometimes I remember the evening he was at my house next door, petting my cats who always ran to him and jumped in his lap. My Rottweiler-Shepherd, Cookie, tried to get on the sofa, too, and nudge off cats to sit on his lap. “They all love me so much, I think, that they’re jealous,” he said and grinned.

He also told me that night, out of the blue, and he was a man who didn’t say much about feelings, that he loved my mom and didn’t want her to die. He added that he didn’t want to die, either. He died three weeks later in the hospital.

Aw, Dad. I miss you. Happy Birthday! Maybe you’re fishing in heaven.

Cards for Mom’s 90th Birthday in Cramer Hill

Dear Readers,

It is hard to believe that we are preparing for Mom’s 90th birthday…   How could she be 90 years old?   Except for some forgetfulness, she is pretty darn sharp.  Just the other day, she said to me, “That outfit is slimming.”

I asked people to send her birthday cards during the month of September and she enjoyed all of them.  They came from many states and even one from Switzerland to her Cramer Hill mailbox..  Thank you so much.  Thanks a bunch.  Really.  I wish you could have seen her face while she read them.

My mother always loved cards.  When Mom went out, she often would spend hours picking out the perfect birthday card for someone.  Hallmark exists because of sentimental people like my mother.

She saves all the cards that she has received over the years,  Each card is admired again and each handwritten message is treasured.  She usually displays new cards on the buffet in the dining room, the mahogany buffet that she bought before I was born.

It’s hard to buy gifts for someone who has everything she wants and who has no more space for anything new.  Still we buy gifts and she enjoys opening the packages.  However, the thoughts and love found in her cards make her happiest.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  We love you.  You don’t like to read on the computer and so you won’t read this blog, but I bought you a fabulous card.  Happy, Happy 90th!

Written by Marguerite Ferra, Cramer Hill