Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick or Treat for UNICEF?

Back when I was about 4 and 5 years old, when we kids went out on Halloween, many of us also held up a donation box while asking, "Trick or treat for UNICEF"? The idea originated with the wife of a Presbyterian minister from nearby Philadelphia.  Mary Emma Allison had seen a UNICEF booth collecting funds to send powdered milk to children in need around the world. WWII had been over for 5 years when she started with her own children and little Presbyterian Sunday School kids from her hubby's congregation. At the time , children were starving in Europe. They remained so until I was at least 8 years old. But by that time, I'd long stopped raising coin for my fellow less fortunate children. After all, it turned out that UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) was a Communist front. Oh, the shame of my earlier wicked ways.

It was a year or two after the UNICEF fiasco that I was warned by Aunt Lorraine to go through my trick or treat haul carefully. There had been a story on the news that someone had put razor blades into an apple. You just couldn't trust people anymore. What was this world coming to?

One year, after Dad had the house on Lakeview Drive built, it was my turn to host the Halloween Party. I have a little bit of it on 8mm film. I really must try to get that stuff digitized... In the home movie, you can see us marching around (musical chairs, maybe?), bobbing for apples, drinking cider,. Oh, my God, cider. I just loved apple cider. One of the villages north of Swedesboro (which was the "big" town where the farmers market - a commercial enterprise - was located). Swedesboro had had the post war population boom and finally made it to 2,000 people - which officially put us on the map as a 'town'. Anyway, just north of Swedesboro on Kings Highway (the King of Sweden actually had marched down Main Street - but that's another story) was Mickleton. In the center of the village was a blinking yellow light at the only intersection around. If you turned right and drove about 100 feet, you'd be right at Mrs. McCaffrey's cider mill. Attached to the main house was a side barn area. Inside was a giant round wooden cider press. You could smell fermenting apples as you marched up to a spigot, held your glass gallon bottle to the tap, and let it go. Ahhh, the pleasure of it all. By local standards of the time, it was practically a hedonistic experience. And this was real cider. Take it home, put in a cool place, and if you don't get to it within a couple of days, "mother" would start rising. It was becoming hard cider, on its way to vinegar. You don't see gallon glass jugs much anymore. But on the rare occasion I do, I'm right back at McCaffrey's usually on the days I got to see them turn the mill press, powered by a configuration of rope attached to a small horse, walking in circles around the vat.  It's all gone now. I think the apple orchard was plowed over for housing. I heard that the mill itself was sold and has been rebuilt elsewhere. Ah, well.


1 comment:

Austan said...

I remember TrT for UNICEF. And TrT for the March of Dimes. And TrT for Catholic Missions (though I wasn't part of that). Ah, the good old days, trying to hit as many houses as possible before the streetlights came on and we had to go home, running in whatever clumsy costume up and down stoops, then pigging out...
Why can't adults TrT? We're the ones that need it!