Ed Reynolds was from Phoenixville and Marie Reynolds hailed from the Kensington section of Philadelphia. They married in the late 1940s after Ed came out of the Army. It often amazes me how people met at a time when not that many cars were around to transport them as today. Their meeting was made easy as they both worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Ed's father was an engineer for the railroad for 50 years. Marie's sister also worked for the railroad.
When they married, Marie moved to Phoenixville. They lived with the senior Reynolds for about 10 years on Second Avenue. Marie has resided in this house for 65 years. The Reynolds back yard was adjacent to my Grandmom Marton's back yard, so I have always known the Reynolds.
As we sat and chatted we recalled the other people that lived on the Second and Lincoln Avenue area. Just to mention a few, there was Jean MacFeat, the Smucks, the Drabicks, Mrs. Carey, Miss Wagoner and four or five Kennedy sisters that lived in one big house.
One day shortly after coming to Phoenixville, she made a friend with someone she met on First Avenue. She ran into Aggie Howard, who sympathized with Marie's woe of missing her Philadelphia home. That chance meeting turned into a life-long friendship. Both ladies attended St. Ann's Church, as did their families. Mrs. Howard and her family were our neighbors on Buchanan Street. For over 45 years, the Howards shared a common wall with our family. I recall that Mrs. Howard was a great pie maker. I would love to have a piece of one of her pies right now. She liked making pies because once in the oven, her work was done. A cake you had to frost.
As time passed by Marie was able to call Phoenixville home. She and Ed had two children, Edward J. Jr. and Mary Ann. Between them there is four grandchildren. The Reynolds kids always thought that their mother "cooked great." While Mrs. Reynolds Sr. was still living, she and Marie had to learn to co-exist in the kitchen for about 10 years- it seemed to work out.
For 15 years, Marie and Ed worked the polls together. Marie still works the polls even now that Ed passed on. Both were active in AARP. Ed held many offices with the group. Marie called herself the support group.
For many years, Ed, along with my Uncle Bill St. John Sr., published the "Knights of Columbus" newsletter. They had a little printing press set up in the basement. Over the years Ed was involved with various newsletters. Uncle Bill was a musical man. He played the piano, and staged minstrel shows. You know I don't remember if he sang or not. Sometimes in the evening we would stand on the corner and listen to him play.
Marie mentioned being reared as a Catholic. Marie likes to believe that Ed and Mary Ann are in heaven together. She cannot think of one without thinking of them both. Mary Ann shared many of her father's talents.
Friday night dinners were set. One week macaroni and cheese and stewed tomatoes, alternating week with fish, mashed potatoes and stewed tomatoes. You could always count on stewed tomatoes.
This soup is a favorite of the Reynolds. Marie does not use a recipe, but she wrote one out for us.
Marie's Vegetable Soup
1 to 1/2 lbs. shin meat
2 to 2 1/2 quarts water
1 soup herbs (herbs I plastic market packs)
2 ribs of celery
1 medium onion, diced
1 or 2 large carrots
1 cup cabbage (cut by hand)
1/4 cup barley
1 medium can of diced tomatoes
1 generous teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
vegetables - several cups of each: peas, corn, green beans and lima beans
Bring everything to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the bone and herbs. Cut up meat and put back in soup. Cool and refrigerate until next day. Skim off fat and bring soup to a boil. Cook vegetables separately, add vegetables and simmer until ready to eat.
Sophie's Autumn Woodland Cake
1 cup shortening (1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup Spry or Crisco)
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk
Blend shortening, salt and vanilla. Add sugar, gradually, and cream well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Sift baking powder along with cake flour. Add to cream mixture, alternating with milk. Beating well after each addition. Grease and flour baking pans. Test with toothpick or cake tester.
Tube pan, 50 to 55 minutes, 350 degree oven
3 layer pans 9-inch, 30 to 35 minutes, 375 degree oven
Makes 24 cupcakes
Just a Little Potato Salad
3 pounds potatoes, cooked until tender in skins, drain, peel and chill
2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely sliced onion
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 cup mayonnaise mixed with 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Blend the potatoes with celery, onions, parsley. Add mayonnaise mixture and blend together until mixed well.
Life is like a celebration, enjoy it!