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Charles Addams House

Published November 1, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_9076411 Elm Street, Westfield, New Jersey

On Halloween my neighboring towns of Westfield and Cranford really go all out with decorations, so my husband and I love to walk around the towns with our kitty, Derick (who is now 19!) This year we dressed Derick up as Count Cat-ula; he wore a long black cape. He just loves the attention from both adults and children. He even gets candy (and his “Mommy” gets to eat it!)

It wouldn’t be Halloween unless we stopped at the Addams Family house, where Charles Addams drew his inspiration from the cartoon: 411 Elm St.

And on 522 Elm St. was the modest two-family home that Addams grew up in.

SAM_9084522 Elm Street

After trick or treating with Derick, my husband and I dropped the kitty back at home and headed out again to take in more of the Halloween vibe in downtown Cranford and got a drink at the Cranford Hotel.

SAM_9105Downtown Cranford

Now my favorite holiday is done, until next year. But we’ll keep our decorations up until almost Thanksgiving! Nothing is cooler than the Halloween stuff, so I’ll soak up the black cats, pumpkins and ghosts as much as I can!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513)

Kindness From a Stranger

Published July 19, 2013 by Maryanne

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted, Aesop

We’re having a massive heatwave in New Jersey — like 101 degrees for several days now.

Yesterday I went to church and to the health food store. As I got back to my car my battery died.

Since I’m my own boss, no worries under normal circumstances, I could have just called roadside assistance, but who wants to wait in 101 degrees? If it was a gorgeous spring day, I would have went for a walk or gone shopping.

Well, luckily a Good Samaritan from the local hardware store decided to help me out.

While he was getting his car situated, idiots were blowing their horns, being impatient. I even yelled at them, “He’s trying to help me — SHUT UP!”

Finally the car got started! I offered him $10.

He declined my offer.

So I went into the hardware store and gave the money to his wife.

She declined too.

I said, “I insist!” and left the money on the counter and ran out of the store.

When I came home, I contacted several newspapers to let them know how kind this business owner was — that he stopped everything just to help me! And in this HOT WEATHER!

One of the newspapers published my letter and I’m so happy because CRANFORD PAINT & HARDWARE, Cranford, New Jersey, deserves much recognition. In this day and age you rarely hear stories like this. So if anyone from New Jersey, in the Cranford area, is reading this, please go out of your way to give this man and his wife business — they deserve it!

Here is my letter to the editor: http://www.nj.com/cranford/index.ssf/2013/07/letter_to_the_editor_thank_you_1.html

And coincidentally, the message of church yesterday was about strangers helping each other!

Thank You For the Service You Do For Our Country!

Published January 22, 2013 by Maryanne

Army truckArmy truck (found via Google search)

Last night in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I participated in some community volunteer service at a local church.

It’s amazing when you have a bunch of people together all the good you can do, and how fast you can do it! There were several stations set up for all sorts of things that could be done. In two hours, I went to two different stations.

At the first station I helped create packages of food for families. At the second station people were writing letters to those in service and coloring/drawing pictures for them. It was interesting because it made you take a minute to think about things you never think of, like what is the first color stripe of our flag?

I challenged myself and colored a picture of a soldier in an army truck, with the heading, “Thank You for the Service You Do for Our Country.”  I decided to go with several colors to create a camouflage colored truck. Everyone liked my picture and even a little girl pointed out to her father, “Look at the camouflage!”

Love is like a chain reaction. People of all ages, all colors/races, creating together, helping together in order to feed people, to brighten someone’s day. The energy was just so grand. Other tables were sewing pillow cases. There is just so much you can do, in one short evening that went by so fast!

I was sitting next to a lovely woman named Barbara who was writing a letter and was impressed by her artistic printing. My printing is like chicken scratch, I can barely read my own writing and I told her so, adding that it’s probably because of all the years on typing on a computer, I’m just not used to printing on paper anymore.

She said she avoids computers. As a retired nurse, she has no use for them. I was so impressed by this. Just as impressed as I was when I read that Stevie Nicks doesn’t have a cell phone.

A very cool lady, indeed! We had several great conversations. Had I not volunteered, I would have never met her!

After the community service, there was a worship service commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., which was held at Cranford United Methodist Church, Cranford. The church I’ve been going to that I love so much is Calvary Lutheran Church, also in Cranford. The service was sponsored by the Cranford Interfaith Human Relations Committee and the Cranford Clergy Council, so we had our Pastor Carol speak, as well as a priest and a rabbi.

The service was electrifying!

The music director of the church, Joseph Legaspi, sang a traditional spiritual song “Deep River.” He baritone voice was extremely powerful.

At the end of the night Barbara asked for my card to keep in touch and we walked out together. I made another friend and I feel terrific! I got in the car, turned on the radio and a very happy song by The Archies came on, “Sugar, Sugar.”

LIFE IS GOOD!

martin-luther-king-jr-day-L-xGOagM1

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Between last year and this year, it was my second memorable Martin Luther King Day in a row!

Martin Luther King Day is becoming another favorite holiday!

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