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A little walk down memory lane with Mom…

December 31, 2013, 4:07 PM

I certainly had a fun time this past weekend.  Mom came up to visit for a few days, and on Saturday the 28th, we went up to New Jersey for the day, where we wandered around an old stomping ground: Glassboro.  This is where my parents met while in college, and this is also the first place where I lived, from birth to age three.

The first stop was Rowan University, which was Glassboro State College back in Mom and Dad’s day.  First stop was at the Barnes and Noble, which is now the university bookstore.  I had never been in a Barnes and Noble on a college campus before.  It’s something of a cross between a college bookstore and a normal Barnes and Noble, in that it’s styled like a regular store, it has the cafe, it has a section for books and other stuff that they normally sell, but then it also has a section for school-specific merchandise, a school supply section (smaller than I expected), and a textbook section.  Mom got this:

Mom poses with a Glassboro State hoodie

Then from there, we headed over to Little Beef’s for lunch.  Little Beef’s (formerly Joe’s Sub Shop) is a little independent sub shop that existed when my parents were in school.  It looks straight out of the mid 20th century, too:

Little Beef's in Glassboro, New Jersey

It is very believable that, save for the name, some paint, and the television, the place looks exactly like it did in 1969.  The food was good, though it was a bit greasy.  The employees appeared to be college students, and the service was top notch.

From there, we headed to campus, and wandered around the campus a bit.  We first went by Mom’s old dorm, Mimosa Hall, and got a pic of her with the sign:

Mom and the Mimosa Hall sign

Near Mimosa were a few buildings that I remembered from my earliest years.  I had attended a preschool on the campus, and also got to go around a bit.  I specifically remember this building:

South entrance to Robinson Hall

This is Robinson Hall.  I believe that it now houses the education department.  Note the two bridges, though.  As a toddler, I was all over and into everything.  And I have very distinct memories of running around and around on those bridges (they are connected next to the buinding).  Mom briefly had difficulty finding me in all of this, because I was shorter than the sides of the bridges.

I also remember running down this ramp:

Ramp to the basement of Esbjornsen Hall

I remember running down this ramp, looking through the window on the door down there, and seeing a Pepsi vending machine.  It had a 1970s-era logo on it, and said PEPSI-COLA on it.  No idea why I remember this, but that memory of the Pepsi machine has lingered for a long time.

We also explored the older part of campus, on the other side of Route 322.  There, we went past Bozorth Hall, which housed an experimental school in the 1980s:

Entrance to Bozorth Hall

I have vague memories of attending preschool here with “Teacher Kathy” and later with “Teacher Betty”.  Don’t ask me anything else about it, because I don’t remember.  Too young.  The building now houses the college’s communications programs.

Then we also got photos of Bunce Hall:

Bunce Hall

Bunce Hall is the equivalent of JMU’s Wilson Hall, i.e. the landmark building on campus.  Like Wilson Hall, it houses a large auditorium.  I have vague memories of running around in that auditorium, and in the hallway that leads to the auditorium.  Mom says I used to like to play with the lights in that hallway.

Then once we finished on campus, we headed back to the car and checked out a few places where my parents used to live.  We first looked for a place on Poplar Street where Mom lived during her sophomore year.  We soon discovered that the house no longer existed, likely razed as part of the clearing of several blocks to make way for an expansion of the campus (which includes that Barnes and Noble store that we visited).  After that, we headed down to 313 Ellis Street, which is a duplex where Mom lived with eleven(!) other people during her last two years in college:

313 Ellis Street, Glassboro, New Jersey

I could not imagine living in a house with that many people.  The house is a duplex, with three bedrooms on each side.  Each bedroom had two occupants.  I’d bet that privacy was a nonexistent thing with that many people living under one roof.  Mom also has said that, since they were the first tenants of the house, that parts of it weren’t even finished yet when they moved in, including the bathrooms (I’d say that calling it “livable” would have been something of a stretch).  I’d bet that the living arrangement was probably illegal from a zoning perspective, with that many unrelated people renting a single house, but that’s what they did.

After that, we headed to 304 Cornell Road, which is where my parents lived when I was born.  That looked the same as it did in 2009:

Our old house at 304 Cornell Road in Glassboro

Then, much to my surprise, Mom went over and knocked on the door.  She was greeted by a woman who was similar in age to her.  The discussion went on about the layout of the house, and the house’s history after we left.  The woman we spoke to was the second wife of the person who had owned the house for a number of years.  The person’s previous wife had died inside the house, as it turns out.  Wonder whose room she died in?  Mine?  Mom and Dad’s?  The upstairs “TV room”?  I don’t know.  We also showed the woman a few photos taken inside the house that are on Schumin Web using my phone (from the Childhood Days pages).  I guess it has to be strange to see photos of the inside of your own house taken decades before you lived in it.

After we left there, we went over to the corner, where the “falling down stop sign” was located.  Recall that the sign got that name because in the 1980s, it appeared to have been struck – hence the name, coming from an off-kilter appearance.  When I got there, I also learned that when I covered this area in 2009, I made a mistake.  The sign that I showed is not the right sign.  It’s at the same intersection, but a different part of it.  Three streets come together there: Cornell Road, Yale Road, and Pennsylvania Road (which runs diagonally).  The “falling down” sign governs traffic traveling southbound on Yale Road turning onto Pennsylvania Road.  The sign that I showed in 2009 governs traffic between Cornell Road and Pennsylvania Road.  It’s only a stone’s throw from the “falling down” sign, but it’s still wrong.

While we were there, though, we took a photo.  I pulled up the photo of me with the sign from 1983, and we duplicated the picture in 2013.  And here they are, side by side:

Posing with the "falling down stop sign" in 1983  Posing with the "falling down stop sign" in 2013

There you go.  Same spot, same pose, taken thirty years apart.  It’s worth noting that the original sign was replaced in the 1990s, and the original sign was much taller than the current one.

From there, we found Delsea Drive, and went out to Runnemede.  Mom worked for Mister Softee for three summers while in college, and so we drove by the main depot:

Mister Softee in Runnemede

And then from there, we went over to Deptford Mall, where we met my cousin Mike and his wife Tara for dinner.  And then from there, it was back to Maryland for us.  I’d say we had a fun time.  I love taking these day trips to New Jersey.  I definitely need to do these more often.

Postscript: This is the last Journal entry for 2013. Hope everyone has a wonderful new year!

Categories: Family, Glassboro