How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Monday, January 31, 2011

Road Rage- 1898 Tuckerton Style

A couple of times most weeks, I see an article in the daily newspaper or an item on local TV news about road rage on today's crowded highways. Tempers flare, arguments ensue, fights break out, and sometimes a shooting occurs. Often, I think to myself that I wish I lived in a simpler, more civilized time around the turn of the 19th century. Bet there was no road rage then!

Well, I couldn't be more wrong. While reading through some old editions of the Tuckerton Beacon, I spotted a road rage related article that appeared in the June 2, 1898 edition of the Beacon. It involved bicycles rather than cars, but it proves that human nature hasn't changed much. Seems like we are always in a hurry and end up doing some pretty stupid things.

The incident didn't end in a fist fight or shooting, but some heavy duty damage was done to both men and equipment in the excitement of the moment. Caution and care clearly went out the window as hurrying, impatience, and excessive speed clearly impaired good judgment and ruled the day. It may not be road rage by today's standards, but it was fueled by the same human tendencies and would qualify back in the "good old days."

Pete S

PS- Two of my Men's Breakfast buddies, Rickie "White Shoes" Steele, and Tom Doherty have been known to ride their bikes on North Maple Avenue in New Gretna. They should learn from the 1898 incident. It is often said that if we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Take heed, fellows!

Note: Atkinson's farm was in the area of JT's, formerly Penny's Restaurant, on Route 9 in Parkertown.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interesting History Trivia

I got the following in an email from Elaine Mathis. Thanks, Elaine! I can't vouch for it's accuracy, but it is interesting and probably true.

Pete S

Some Interesting History

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.' (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.


In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'


Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'


Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced', wore a tightly tied lace.


Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'


Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some ale' and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the term minding your 'P's and 'Q's

One more and betting you didn't know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen.. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.

However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.

Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bass River School Days- Some 1970 's Memories

I received the following email from Bart VanderGaag regarding his memories at the New Gretna Elementary School in the 1970's and thought others may be interested in reading it. Hopefully, It will bring back some fond memories for those of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere who attended the school back then. If so, let's here from you.

Pete S

What a pleasant surprise to find this website. My family moved to Bass River township in 1971 at the beginning of a rapid population growth phase of the township. The 5 of us kids (Kurt, Mark, Bart, Vanessa and Marie) spread across the grades (6th ,5th ,3rd, 2nd, 1st ) so I know many of the kids here and more not shown. I was enrolled in the third grade and immediately I fell in love with Melinda Allen. I don’t believe the feeling was as strong in the other direction but I am glad I got that off my chest. J

2nd Grade Yearbook Photo - 1970

I became close friends with Ron Voorhis and Walter Kalinolfski. I knew Keith Wilson, Mark Wetmore, Herman Wunch, Pam Adams, Genie Cryton, David Burgenon, Grace Steinhauer, Debbie Forgach, Randy Brunt, Mike Patterson and more.

My brothers and I showed up for the first day at New Gretna school, just the single building then, with very long hair that our parents allowed. We started a long hair trend amongst the boys (see the 1973 and 74 yearbook) that in hind sight looked a bit silly at that age but from our perspective we were the stuff (was it groovy or hip?). I am thankful that my parents gave us that degree of freedom.

Mr. Crawford, my 4th and 5th grade teacher, was simply the most amazing teacher who not only prepared students academically but also build our character and self esteem. I will always be thankful to him for that. I am also thankful that he snatched my love note intended for Melinda from Ronny’s hands before Ron showed it to the whole class! Crawford ended it by saying simply that it was a plain piece of paper. Yeah I had it bad for Melinda and thank you for sparing me further embarrassment Mr. Crawford. Oh, to get even with Ronny …check out his picture in the 1974 year book. Now that is some groovy hair J

2nd Grade Yearbook Photo - 1970

I want to acknowledge that Ron Voorhis broke every school record in every sport, many previously held by his older brother’s Paul and Pat. I am certain no one has ever equaled him since. He was phenomenal at kickball. He kicked hundreds of home runs. (Somewhere is Mr. Crawford’s statistics for each kid across years) Ronny was fast, coordinated and agile and could kick that ball farther than anyone. I have a picture in my mind when he was stealing second base jumping in mid air 4 feet over the ball that Mr.Crawford threw at him. He not only got second but took home as well. Genie came in a distant but respectable second place. When you pitched the ball to her everyone backed way up. I will say for my own prowess that I could not use kickball to impress Melinda.

I did become the captain of the Safety Patrol and yes I still remember the pledge. I had a short stint as editor of the school newspaper. These didn’t impress anyone but it was never intended to. It was fun.

It is actually amazing how vivid these memories are and the sheer volume of them from that age. Time was much longer. Summers lasted forever. Jackson 5 on the radio, riding and jumping with our bicycles and eventually motorcycles in the fields and woods, jumping from underneath the turnpike bridge and swimming in Bass River, playing football in the fields getting ice cream at the creamy freeze across from Viking Yachts, building forts, sledding down the side of the Parkway ramp, ice skating on the pond, some of us without the benefit of skates, roller skating at the Manahawkin Rink. These are just a few snapshots of a very rich childhood.

Well we graduated from grade school and shed a small bit of our innocence as life got more complicated. Southern regional middle school and then high school were overwhelming in the volume of kids and numbers of teachers. What mattered changed. A different phase of life’s journey began as we continued to slowly shed our youth and the pace of time began to accelerate.

I apologize to the majority of my classmates for not writing a glimpse into your stories from my memories. Know that I am glad that each of you were in my life in some way. I simply have to get some sleep before getting up for work in the morning.

Good night Melinda. I hope you are having an amazing life.


Monday, January 24, 2011

A Romantic Tuckerton Honeymoon- 1920's Style

As I glance at the Marriage Announcements in today's newspapers, I see many references to extravagant wedding receptions and honeymoons. It's no wonder that many of today's marriages are short lived as debt, piled up by expensive wedding and honeymoon costs, places a great deal of pressure on young marriages.

Reading old marriage notices from back issues of the Tuckerton Beacon shows a distinct difference in marriage receptions and subsequent honeymoon trips. They clearly were much simpler and cheaper in the "good old days", with receptions often held in the home of the bride's parents and honeymoons limited to automobile trips to the Delaware Water Gap, Niagra Falls, and other short trip destinations.

The other day I came across a 1920 Marriage Announcement that I couldn't help chuckling over. The honeymoon destination really took the cake. The happy couple honeymooned at the home of the groom's parents on Clay Street in Tuckerton - not exactly a honeymoon paradise. It clearly was a frugal approach but, somehow, it doesn't seem very romantic. I hope the bride got along well with her in laws.

Maybe the Blackman newlyweds will set an example and start a trend in today's perilous economy. After all, stranger things have happened.

Pete S

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuckerton - the 3rd Port of Entry NOT

A week or so ago, I bumped into an acquaintance in the Tuckerton WaWa. We got to talking about some historical aspects of Tuckerton and he mentioned that Tuckerton was the third Port of Entry into the United States. Immediately, my hackles were raised and a spirited discussion followed, as I told him that it was not true. Tuckerton was not the third Port of Entry into the United States as commonly thought by many local residents.

A few years ago I wrote an article on the subject which appeared in the newsletter of the Tuckerton Seaport. For those of you who didn't read the article I am reproducing it below. I hope you find it enjoyable and informative.

The Port of Tuckerton

by Peter H. Stemmer

Anyone who has done any work on their family genealogy has come across an interesting story or two about a relative. Usually appealing, if not totally truthful, these stories are not documented but somehow are accepted as fact. Great-great granddad Andrew told great grandma Sarah who told Aunt Ethel, so it must be true that we are related to George Washington. Genealogists call these verbally transmitted stories family tradition. They usually are rooted in some truth that inevitably gets embellished and romanticized.

We should know better. After all, didn’t we all play a game called telephone when we were kids where a simple sentence whispered from ear to ear became so twisted that by the time it reached the end of the line we couldn’t help laughing? What’s the harm if we embellish the story a little? It sure makes life more interesting.

Ever since I moved to this area twenty five years ago I have heard that Tuckerton was the third port of entry into the United States. I’ve even read it in some books written by respected historians. Pretty impressive, I thought - a little town like Tuckerton being so nationally prominent. Wow! Well, I should have known better.

A Route 9 sign on the southern approach to Tuckerton proudly proclaims Tuckerton as America's "Third Port of Entry."

(Photo by Pete Stemmer.)

While surfing the net the other day, I came across some interesting documents relating to Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton as federal ports. I couldn’t help smiling and remembering that amusing game of telephone as I read through them. It seems Aunt Ethel and Tuckerton have something in common, that old bug-a-boo, family tradition.

A reading of the Laws of the United States and Acts of Congress as they deal with the regulation and collection of duties on ships, goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States reveals the truth about Tuckerton and it’s role as a federal port.

The First Congress of the United States met in New York from March 4th through September 29th, 1789, and on July 31, 1789, established districts and ports for the new country. New Jersey was assigned three districts: Perth Amboy, Burlington, and Bridgetown with Little Egg Harbour being particularly singled out as a port of delivery in the Burlington district.

. . . The district of Burlington shall comprehend that part of the said State [New Jersey] known by the name of West Jersey, which lies to the eastward and northward of the county of Gloucester, with all the waters thereof, heretofore within the jurisdiction of the said State, including the river and inlet of Little Egg Harbour, with the waters emptying into the same, and the sea coast, sound, inlets and harbours thereof, from Barnegat to Brigantine inlets, in which district the landing places of Lamberton and Little Egg Harbour shall be ports of delivery only; and a collector shall be appointed for the district, to reside at Burlington, and a surveyor at Little Egg Harbour. . . [Acts of the First Congress, Statue I, Chapter 5, Section 1, page 32]

George Washington, in an August 18, 1789 letter to the Senate, nominated Ebenezer Tucker as Surveyor for the port of Little Egg Harbor. [Senate Executive Journal, August 18, 1789, page 18] His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on August 20, 1789. [Senate Executive Journal, August 20, 1789, page 18]

The second session of the First Congress (January-August, 1790) saw no change in the status of Little Egg Harbor as a port; however, an additional district, Great Egg Harbor, was created on August 4, 1790.

. . . The district of Great Egg Harbor shall comprehend the river of Great Egg Harbor, together with all the inlets, bays, sound, rivers and creeks, along the sea coast, from Brigintine Inlet to Cape May; and a collector shall be appointed, to reside at Somer’s Point, on said river of Great Egg Harbor. [Acts of the First Congress, Statue II, Chapter 35, Section 1, page 148]

On February 16, 1796 Ebenezer Tucker requested that the House of Representatives establish a separate district of Little Egg Harbor and that a collector be appointed to reside at Tuckerton.

. . . Also, a memorial of Ebenezer Tucker, surveyor of the port of Little Egg-harbor, in the State of New Jersey, in behalf of himself and other citizens of the said State, praying that the waters, bays, rivers, and creeks, from Barnegat inlet to Brigantine inlet, inclusive, may be established as a separate District, and a Collector appointed for the same, to reside at the town of Tuckerton. . . [Journal of the House, February 16, 1796, page 414]

Evidently Tucker had some influence in such matters as the House adopted a resolution establishing Little Egg Harbor as the fifth district in New Jersey and officially classifying it as a port of entry. [Journal of the House, May 2, 1796, page 534] The House Resolution was quickly followed by a statute enacted by Congress on May 27, 1796:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the last day of June next, there shall be established, the following new districts . . . In the State of New Jersey, a district, to be called the district of Little Egg Harbor, which shall comprehend all the shores, waters, bays, rivers and creeks from Barnegat inlet to Brigantine inlet, both inclusively; and the town of Tuckerton shall be the sole port of entry for the said district; And a collector for the same shall be appointed, to reside at the said town of Tuckerton; and thenceforward, the office of surveyor for the port of Little Egg Harbor shall cease. [Acts of the Fourth Congress, Statue I, Chapter 35, Section 1, page 476]

George Washington nominated Ebenezer Tucker as the first Collector and Inspector of Revenue for the newly created District of Little Egg Harbor on May 28, 1796 [Senate Executive Journal, May 28, 1796, page 212] with the nomination being confirmed by the Senate on May 30, 1796. [Senate Executive Journal, May 30, 1796, page 213] Tuckerton was finally an official federal port of entry with Ebenezer Tucker it’s first Collector and Inspector!

So, what did my journey on the Internet accomplish? It showed me that the notion that Tuckerton was the third port of entry into the United States is, like most traditions, only partially true. It was, in fact, a port of entry but only one of many in the country and one of five in the State of New Jersey. Do these facts diminish the importance of Tuckerton and it’s namesake, Ebenezer Tucker? Certainly not. We can all still be proud to be Tuckertonians or “honorary Tuckertonians,” as the town looks forward to a renewal of it’s maritime history thanks to the Seaport Project and its many supporters.

So, the next time you are at the WaWa and hear someone say that Tuckerton was America's third Port of Entry, turn to them and say, "Excuse me, but . . ."

Pete S

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's Do Lunch! Woolworths or Soroccos?

I stopped by McDonalds in Tuckerton the other day. As I was standing in line, I glanced up at the price board on the wall. Suddenly, I was struck with a case of food prices sticker shock. I could't believe it. A McDonald's meal item was listed for $5.95! What happened to the cheap prices of fast food restaurants? The food service may still be fast, but the prices have been jumping up faster.

My memory flashed back to my elementary school days in the mid 1950's when I used to occasionally eat at Woolworth's lunch counter located on George Street in New Brunswick. It was the fast food place of that decade. I could get a bacon and tomato club sandwich and Super Jumbo banana split for 89 cents. What a bargain! No sticker shock back then.

1957 Woolworth's Lunch Counter Menu

Anyone remember eating at the Woolworth Lunch Counter in the 1950's and early 1960's? If so, where and what were your favorite menu items?

Prices here in New Gretna were also cheaper back then. I came across a 1963 photo of Sorocco's lunch counter which was located on the south-east corner of Rt. 9 and Maple Avenue about where Munchies is located today.

1963 New Gretna Ministrel Program Ad
The name of the establishment is misspelled in the ad.
It should be spelled "Sorocco" Home Cooking.
(See PPS below.)

Mary Surocca (center) and Charlie Sorocco with waitress, Dot Cramer, in 1963, at the Sorroco's Lunch counter. Food prices were listed on a board on the back wall.

Below is a close up photo of the Sorocco's price board which was much like McDonalds of today; however, the prices are noticeably more modest: Roast Beef- $1.25; Jumbo Shrimp- $1.00; Fried Oysters- $1.00; Hamburger- $0.90; Steak Platter- $1.50; Ham Platter- $1.25; Cheese Omelette- $0.70; Bacon & Eggs- $0.70; French Toast- $0.40; Ham & Eggs- $0.80; and Pancakes- $0.40.

The Soroccos employed many local girls as waitresses in their luncheonette.

Mary Sorocco (left) with local waitress, Louise Hickman.

Now that I've got my taste buds flowing, we'll have to do lunch sometime. I'll treat! The question is "Where do we go for those late 1950's to early 1960's prices?"

Pete S

PS- Does anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere remember other local New Gretna girls who waitressed at Sorocco's Luncheonette?

PPS- I got the following email from Carole Sorocco Ruff, Mary and Charles' daughter, regarding the spelling of the family surname. I've made the appropriate changes from my original posting.

Hi Pete,

My parents spelled our surname “Sorocco.” I’ve seen it spelled with every conceivable vowel manipulation. My father was a New York City native. His grandparents came to Manhattan ab 1873/76 from Genoa, Italy, where the surname was originally spelled either Saracco or Soracco.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Doggie Blogs

Jackie emailed the following to me. I got a good chuckle out of it and thought I would pass it along here at the Blog. It's not history, but it is Blog related.

Pete S

PS- Linda, Perhaps Harry can start his own Blog.

Bootleggers and Rum Runners Revisited

The Wednesday, December 22nd Blog featured a 1929 New York Times news article about a skirmish in the Mullica River involving the Coast Guard and some local rumrunners, preportedly from Atlantic City. You can read that Blog entry by clicking on the link below.

At the end of the article I invited anyone with ancestors in bootlegging and the rum running trade to email me their stories. I was pleasantly surprised when my history buddy, John Yates, emailed me three stories with a map and accompanying photos. It is my pleasure to share them with you.

John sent the following email.

Your blog entry on rum running has jogged my memory. I have three rum runner stories that were passed down in my family. I think the statute of limitations is up as well as any political ramifications. :-)
Story #1

I remember my grandfather, Harry W. Yates, telling a story about finding their shanty stuffed with liquor during prohibition.

The Egg Island Shanty was South-East of Great Bay. This chart hung on John Yates' bedroom wall in the 1960s when he treaded clams as a summer job

It wasn't long before a boat came with some armed fellows who asked their help in navigating the waterways to take it away. It seems they needed to ditch it for a while until the heat was off, and the duck hunting shanty was an ideal place for temporary storage. They were very cordial fellows, just armed and in an illegal business, as I recall from the story. I heard this at family gatherings around the dinner table when I was in elementary school. So I don't recall or never found out more details. I do remember my grandfather's Egg Island Shanty in my youth. The Shack on Egg Island was one-third owned by my grandfather. He was a carpenter by trade. I remember being there a number of times, but after Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge bought the land, hunting was no longer permitted. They did "grandfather" in the shanty until all of the three original owners passed away. My grandfather was last, and sure enough, they burned it down some months after he died. It still appears on many nautical charts, even though it hasn't been there since the early 1970s. This however, was not likely the shanty involved in the rum running story above. Hurricanes had a habit of taking them, and I remember hearing about probably half a dozen shanties that the hunters in several families had out along the inland waterway over the hunting years.

Story #2

I remember one of my Uncles, who shall remain nameless (but he started life living in one of the Sears residences in New Gretna ;-) ) who was a Teamster truck driver by trade. He made extra money by driving a truck for the rum runners. He told me the story that they would pull a loaded truck onto the ferry (I am not clear at this date which ferry) and leave the truck, but watch it from the passenger area. A number of times the Feds would approach the truck and discover its contents. The driver then would exit the ferry with the passengers, leaving the truck behind, and call Harry L… (oops! ;-) ) to tell him he'd have to go and pay to claim his truck back! It seemed to be an established cat and mouse game that they played! I remember the smile and gleam in my Uncle's eyes as he told the story.

John Yates' Uncle Sear's house on Hammonton Road in New Gretna

Story #3

The third story is from the side of the law. Harry W.'s father, Harry E. Yates, joined the Atlantic City Police force and became a Detective.

He was called on a number of times to investigate tips of gangsters like Dillinger holding up in Atlantic City, but they always somehow "just" got away. He was in on a raid of the Karpis-Barker gang, and the gangsters got away, but barely. The odd thing though was he almost lost his job because of it, so the family story goes. The story I heard was that he was supposed to tell his superiors before conducting the raid, and after being unsuccessful with that previously, he decided to quietly hold the raid. Why would telling his superiors compromise the raid? Well, Atlantic City corruption back then is well known, and gangster payoffs for police protection would come under that. Nothing I can prove, dinner table stories are dinner table stories. And I never knew my great grandfather. I just discovered a year or so ago that his participation in this gang raid is documented in the book "J. Edgar Hoover and his G-Men" by William B. Breuer, pp. 149-151. He gives the date as January 20, 1935. Two fellows, "Creepy" Karpis and Harry Campbell, escaped guns blazing, but their two girlfriends were captured, one of them slightly wounded. One of them was the younger sister of a member of the John Dillinger gang. Only one detective was also slightly wounded, a bullet grazing his cheek. The shoot out in Atlantic City is also mentioned at:

I remember seeing and handling my great grandfather's revolver at my grandfather's house. I believe my Dad and Uncle turned it over to the police rather than keep it in the family. This would be the revolver my great grandfather accidentally shot himself in the foot with. In Atlantic City's City Hall restroom, the gun fell to the floor, went off, and luckily only hit him in the foot. My grandfather was on the AC life guards at the time, and he ran from the lifeguard tent (not sure which one, but possibly States Ave) to the Hospital. This too was a story I heard around the dinner table as a youth. But a few years ago, I found a November 23, 1936 Time Magazine article on line that confirmed it!

Clipping from 11/23/1936 Time Magazine

PS- As I was writing about the Karpis raid, I discovered the date was 1935, and Prohibition was over in 1933, so it doesn't exactly fit under the rum running gangster umbrella, but why waste a good gangster story! Especially after I wrote it down! :-) .

I hope you enjoyed John's stories as much as I have. They show that many local people were involved, in one way or another, in bootlegging and rum running operations in the area.

Pete S

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Blog's 2010 Christmas Tree Award

Today, Jackie and I took down this year's Christmas tree. As I was unwinding the strings of lights, half of which managed to blow out shortly after I put them on the tree, I got to thinking about which of my friends had the best Christmas tree this year.

Judging the best tree is not an easy task as people decorate in many styles and themes, each of which have merits in their own categories. Mentally going through the trees that I saw this year, I finally decided that the Blog's 2010 Christmas tree award goes to Joyce and Harry DeVerter who live in the old Captain William French house on North Maple Avenue.

The old William French house decorated for Christmas.
(December 14, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

The DeVerter's tree was painstakingly decorated with many antique hand blown glass Christmas ornaments that they had been lovingly collecting over the years. The old fashioned ornaments blended in with the atmosphere of the old house. Looking at the antique ornaments, I almost felt that old Captain William French was admiringly looking over my shoulder at the brightly decorated tree.

The DeVerter Christmas Tree is brightly decorated with a variety of hand blown antique ornaments. (January 1, 2011 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

So, it is with great pleasure that I bestow upon the DeVerter family the Blog's 2010 Christmas Tree Award. It is doubly deserved as Harry grew and harvested the tree from his backyard, as the old time New Gretna-ites probably did in the mid 1800's when the William French house was built.

May everyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere have a happy and healthy New Year!

Pete S