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Peyton and Me Meandering Through Gloucester City, Bellmawr and Brooklawn (Chapter 16))



William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

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SUCH A PEACEFUL SCENE--The Gloucester City Municipal Building; in the background is St. Marys Church. The photo was taken on Christmas Eve. How many remember going to Christmas Eve mass at St. Mary's Church which was held at midnight. I am talking about a time when a person who was Catholic had to be tough. For example in those days, you couldn't eat meat on Fridays. Something to do with the Pope's brother-in-law owning a fish market. I am just kidding about the fish market but that was the time period you didn't eat meat on Fridays. Over the years you got used to eating salmon from a can, sardines, and the best crab cakes from Gloucester Seafood Market. Mass was said in Latin, and the mass lasted much longer. There was also a communion railing that you knelt at to receive the host. Below the church in the basement, the floor was all dirt, the altar wine was kept in racks. 

I was an altar boy from Grade 3 up until my senior year. I remember one year, in the mid-1950s when I was assigned to be one of the altar boys for that Christmas Eve mass.  The church was filled and there was standing room only.

I think that was the same year I caught my mom kissing Santa.  

Such great memories.  

photos by Precious

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AT FIRST, WE THOUGHT IT WAS THE Easter Bunny--We did a double-take when we drove by this image on Anderson Avenue, Bellmawr. 

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A further look and we recognized the kid right away it was Ralphie who appeared in the movie The Christmas Story. His aunt sent him the pajamas he is wearing for his Christmas present.  Staring at that image for a while on the front lawn of that house I swear the eyes and the head moved. 

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SOMEWHERE ON LANE AVENUE--Don't ask, I don't know why anyone would have a 10-foot high skeleton with spooky eyes standing next to their house decorated for Christmas. Only in Gloucester City. 

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 The Minnie Hole on Johnson Blvd. Doesn't it look pretty? 

Above and below

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THE NATIVITY SCENE on Highland Blvd., Gloucester City

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CHARLIE BROWN'S CHRISTMAS TREE--East Brown Street, Gloucester City. The house is where my Grandma Jessie Tucker lived for many years. In her 90's she would still crawl under the house to turn the water off to the hose in the winter and turn it back on in the spring. Summertime she could always be found in her garden despite the temperature. Her yard had an array of beautiful flowers. When she purchased the property there was an outhouse on the grounds. After it was torn down that was where the prettiest flowers would grow; Go figure.  

Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 21.52.42Sparks Avenue, Gloucester City

Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 22.15.35200 unit block of Bergen  Street, Gloucester City

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IN LOVING MEMORY--Family and friends have erected a memorial to Christopher L. Kuhnel Jr., age, 17, of Gloucester City who died from his injuries after being struck by a vehicle at Johnson Blvd., and Somerset Street walking to Gloucester High School. 


STRIKE A POSE PEYTON!--Lastly some photos of my best canine friend and companion Peyton. Like the rest of us, she too can't wait until 2021 is over.

This past summer she had a mast cell tumor removed from her hindquarter. The biopsy revealed it was a low-grade malignancy. The veterinary who performed the surgery said he believed he got all of it.  Two months later another lump appeared along with an open wound at the incision. This time we took her to the Mount Laurel  Animal Hospital for evaluation. Once there we were offered several treatment plans ranging in price from $412 for a pathology test of the open wound, up to $3,000 for exploratory surgery to see if cancer had spread to any vital organs. If the surgery revealed cancer returned she would have to undergo chemo.

Following her operation, in the summer Peyton pulled out several stitches despite wearing an E-collar, which limits the animal's head movement. She will be eight in February. Unfortunately, Labrador retrievers have a life span of 10 to 15 years. We had one Labrador, Nikki, who lived until she was 15 years old. Lacey and Erica, our black and yellow Labradors both died at age 11. Three months have passed since we were at the Mount Laurel Animal Hospital and so far the lump hasn't gotten any bigger. Our plan for Peyton is to keep an eye on that lump. We left our previous vet of 20 some years and we are now at Haddon Vet, in Haddon Heights. We also changed her food and as a result, her coat is thick and bright, no more GI problems, and she is no longer scratching her skin.

A Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory report revealed Canine cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCTs) are one of the most commonly diagnosed cutaneous malignant neoplasms in dogs. Approximately 90% of all canine MCTs are low grades according to the recent 2-tier grading system. Surgical excision remains the treatment of choice for low-grade MCTs.

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The Brooklawn Memorial Park is decorated for Christmas. Peyton, who never misses a chance to get her picture taken waits patiently for me to snap the camera, top, and bottom

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Bill, Connie, and Peyton Cleary