• Donna Brown

Frost’s Winter Welcome, antique shops and more



You are all invited to the first annual, “Frost’s Winter Welcome.” The event will consist of a group recitation of Robert Frost poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. A line in the poem states, “The darkest evening of the year.” That would be the date of the winter solstice and the date of our event, Tuesday, December 21. Frost’s Winter Welcome will begin at 7 p.m. in the park in front of the Hammonton Historical Society Museum. The reading will take approximately five minutes, so no fretting about standing out in the cold. If you don’t recall the words, even though English teacher, Bill Heston, had his student memorize the poem for over three decades, all participants will be given a copy to read.


Following the group reading, the museum will be open so that you may enjoy some complimentary cookies and cocoa while you view the museum’s displays. We are hoping Frost’s Winter Welcome, will be the catalyst for a continuing literary program in the park. So, bundle up, grab your loved ones of all ages and let’s ring in winter with a tribute to one of Hammonton’s great educators, Bill Heston, and support our town museum with a poem that touched so many of us. See you at the museum on December 21 at 7 p.m.!


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Yesterday my granddaughter had a half day of school and when I asked her what she’d like to do, she said, “Go to an antique shop.” Ellie just turned 7 and has been accompanying me to antique shops for years. She loves to point out things from the old days such as dial phones, turquoise Pyrex bowls and record albums, but her favorite is vintage dolls. We spent several hours leisurely going from shop to shop picking out treasures.


When we began our shopping and first stepped out of the car on Bellevue Avenue, we heard Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” cascading over the sidewalks from the new speakers. Ellie began to dance and on her third spin she cried, “I love Hammonton!”


Ellie is a choice student in Hammonton this year and she has relayed many times how much she loves her first grade teacher, loves all her teachers, thinks the lunches are delicious and her friends are the best. I don’t know what the staff is doing at the Early Childhood Education Center building, but whatever it is they are extraordinary and our family thanks them from the bottom of our hearts.


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I have been pondering long term husbands and the little things they do that endear them to us. Our spouses do unseen acts of kindness that are frequently taken for granted. Al, my husband of almost 42 years, is an early riser often waiting outside for his newspapers at 5 a.m. He loves his first cup of coffee and is usually wrapping up the pot when he hears me stirring upstairs. That is when he turns on my tea kettle and places the papers by my chair at the kitchen table. He also always keeps my car clean, eats my burned cookies and shares his martini olives. Small things that can easily be overlooked.


Perhaps at Christmas, a time when many people are stressed, we should look for smalls ways to help others. Last week I was standing in a long line in a drug store when the elderly woman in front of me had difficulty emptying her over filled cart. When she took longer than acceptable to count out her money and find her coupons, and the young woman behind me began grumbling loudly. I had been impatiently tapping my foot, but as she kept apologizing it was placed on my heart to help her in her embarrassment.


First, I joked that we all fumble at times and no worries. As she exited the store the cashier commented, “Oh no, she left behind her detergent.” I grabbed it and said I’d catch her as my items were being rung up. When I returned the cashier said, “She also forgot her receipt and coupons.” I grabbed them and ran out the door again to the grateful lady who whispered, “Bless you.” When I rushed back into the store for the second time the people in line were laughing at my antics and the grouchy woman behind me smiled and said, “That was very nice of you.”


Truth be told, I am not always warm and fuzzy. I am not always the person I aspire to be and on occasion I am downright horrible to the people I love the most. Fortunately, that afternoon I chose my attitude and in turn changed the attitude of the woman behind me. Just imagine what would happen if we all chose to show small acts of kindness to strangers this holiday season.



Donna Brown is a former Hammonton Middle School librarian and a columnist for The Gazette. To reach Donna Brown, send an email to wescoat@comcast.net.