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The Vintage, Peach Sweater

June 12, 2019


The Vintage, Peach Sweater


memoir by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



During the summer of 1969–amazingly fifty years ago–my family and I traveled by Ford from the farthest west-central point of Indiana (our hometown of Blanford), through the expanse of our Hoosier state and straight through Ohio, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike (which gratefully was dotted with Howard Johnson Motor Lodges and their wonderful variety of flavors of ice cream (yes, peppermint!) to our relatives’ new home in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.  The fourteen-hour drive was divided into a two-day trip so that we could spend one night in Washington, Pennsylvania, at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge–because of its swimming pool, location atop a hill, and peppermint ice cream.  Additionally, we always attended Mass at a nearby church.


In the area of our relatives’ home, the New Jersey traffic, with its jughandles, was quite different from traffic patterns in our Hoosier state.  On one of our first outings, only my youngest cousin accompanied us.  After having arrived at our destination and ready to return to Beechwood Drive, we wondered how we would find our way back (during the pre-GPS days).  The precocious, little Gina advised her Indiana relatives, “Just un-turn the turns.”  We did.  Of course, my dad, who had superior mapping skills, managed to find the way back to Beechwood Drive.


Although we traveled to Cinnaminson each summer that my relatives lived there, the 1969 trip was when we first visited a very large mall.  For this shopping experience, we, for the first time, went to Bresler’s 33 Flavors, an ice cream shop in the large mall.  Since we were treating my three young cousins to ice cream, my older sister read aloud all of the thirty-three flavors.  If I were not selecting peppermint, I selected what became my favorite flavor at Bresler’s–licorice voodoo.  Surprisingly, after hearing all thirty-three flavors, my younger cousin Lisa firmly stated that she wanted “vanilla.”


During that same shopping trip of fifty years ago, we went to Gimbel’s Department Store because my aunt had been working there.  In the massive department store, I found one item that I really wanted to purchase–a peach, summer cardigan sweater with cable knitting and buttons covered with peach yarn.  This previous weekend of 2019, fifty summers later, I was sitting at my kitchen table with a friend and my sister (who is visiting from Colorado).  In the midst of our conversation, I announced that I was wearing my fifty-year-old sweater.  With all the rain and gray days that we have had during this cool Milwaukee spring, I like to occasionally wear this bright and cheery peach sweater which reminds me of long-ago summers and family reunions.  Nevertheless, my older sister said that I should not refer to the sweater as “old,” but as “vintage.”  All of these fifty years after 1969, I guess I myself am feeling “vintage.”


Enjoy a peachy summer!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


June 12, 2019, Wednesday




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  1. Katherine Binole permalink

    Alice, so enjoyed your blog about your vintage sweater. I can’t believe you still have that peach sweater! I enjoyed your detailed memories of visits to our house in Cinnaminson, NJ. It brought back memories for me. It was quite a change for all of us from our quiet location in Tecumseh, Indiana with very little traffic and NO jughandles!

    Beechtree Drive was all new, identical, white two story, 4 bedroom houses. Differentiated only by shutter colors and front landscaping. It was unique in that adults and children all the same ages. Our sidewalk was abuzz with hot wheels, tricycles and squeals of laughter. The older kids played street games or rode bikes to nearby park for summer recreation programs. Only a few women worked part-time, most stay at home moms. Kids were never without supervision.

    It was a sad day for all when Bill was again transferred. This time to, at that time, the largest food manufacturing plant under one roof in the world in Horseheads, New York. We lived in Elmira and all adjusted once again.
    Thanks for your detailed, enjoyable blog. Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Good afternoon, Aunt Kathy–Special thanks for your long and detailed comment which is such a great addition to my post.  Those Cinnaminson years bring forth many memories.  I also fondly recall our taking the train from Philadelphia to New York City to experience the Big Apple and to see ZORBA, THE GREEK at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway.  What an overwhelming experience for someone from a rural town of only 400 residents!  Visiting your house always brought forth a lot of good conversation and delicious food for all, also.

      Talk with you soon!  Love, Alice and Willow

  2. Dear Alice,
    What is truly amazing in this story is not that you still have the vintage peach sweater, but that it still fits you—fifty years later! Thank you for all the wonderful memories of our trips to Cinnaminson. We certainly treasured the times spent with Aunt Kathy and Bill and our cute little cousins!
    Love, Mary

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