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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Joyride III

By Rick Racela

My mother had a unique World War I-era dollhouse that was the central draw each year when our home was on the annual Candle Light Tour. I remember being simultaneously proud and mortified as the bus pulled up in front of my house on Jefferson Street. Ironically, both my real house and the dollhouse captured similar time periods. But the dollhouse was more of a Midwestern scene. It had an old Model-T parked in front of a sturdy garage.My dad had managed to electrify some tiny street lights, giving it an austere glow. There were clumps of cotton that played the role of a white Christmas. There was also a diminutive nuclear family that was far less dysfunctional than my real household. My mother had filled the dollhouse with furniture that looked like it had come from petite Cape May antique stores.I clearly remember the wonder that washed over my classmates’ faces as they closely examined the dollhouse. I was so enchanted by their reactions that I felt as though I was visiting the North Pole. I almost forgot that I was visiting my own living room.My mother seamlessly interacted with a sea of 8-year-old faces, patiently answering their staccato of breathless questions such as what was inside the presents under the dollhouse Christmas tree. My mother wove a tale of enchantment, complete with the tiny pitter patter of reindeer hooves on top of the pitched green shingled roof. My mother was much more benevolent than any museum docent would have beenShe had spent the previous day preparing sugar cookies that were dotted with sugar and sprinkles of the most perfect red and green hues. As my classmates devoured the cookies, I had a kind of out-of-body experience. For a split second, I was observing the whole scene as if I was watching it through my mother’s eyes. My mother passed on a few years back, and now I am still the keeper of the dollhouse. My wife and I haven’t made it part of our Christmas tradition yet because our kids are still quite small, and the dollhouse is quite fragileA few years back, the dollhouse was in need of repair, so I took it to a special shop in Pennsylvania for a makeover.The husband and wife team that owned the shop intricately restored it in a way that seemed to bring it back to how it looked during my third-grade field trip. This produced a kind of Christmas cleansing for me. As adults, we often feel cynical about the holiday season. But tapping into memories from our childhood, even if they weren’t perfectly idyllic, reconnect us to the delights of Christmas.
Keith Forrest is an assistant professor of communication at Atlantic Cape Community College.His late mother Libby Demp Forrest Moore wrote the Joyride column for this newspaper for 20 years.

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Lower Township – As a retired long time bus driver for NJT,and an even longer resident of LT : Thank you to all the school bus drivers for an accident free year. It is a monumental achievement in this day and age!

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Del Haven – I couldn't help but note that a Republican Rep likened Trump's speech to that of a drunk uncle at a dinner party, when he ranted about Milwaukee as being a terrible "city", Pelosi…

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Wildwood – I think it's only fitting wbp honors past chief cirelli with some sort of badges on their uniforms . Chief Lou lived for the summers and only wished the best for our city

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