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Opinion: I Heart Moorestown

Main Street, countryside battleships, people-watching ... What's not to love about our lil' town?

There are wraiths among us that haunt my column, anxious to throw their 2 cents into the fray. I don’t have a problem with that. As a matter of fact, it is quite nice to have a following. But I have a teeny, tiny problem with the readers that don’t understand the difference between an opinion column and a fact-based, straightforward piece of reporting.

I can think the mall is a snoozefest and you can think the mall is the most exciting place since the township rebuilt the bathrooms on Memorial Field. That’s freedom of speech in action AND an abiding love of restroom facilities. What could be better?

I love our little town. Moorestown is a great place to raise children. Many folks I meet grew up here, then stayed on to raise families of their own in the same wholesome, beautiful environment. But love should never be blind, and one should be permitted to criticize without being labeled a basher, a morale killer or a half-Brazilian, leaf-loving maniac with culinary tendencies.

When we first moved to Moorestown, we rented a small split-level on Oak Avenue. It was the recently vacated home of Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams. We had been in California for a number of years and out of the Phillies loop. Imagine our surprise when tipsy young men would drive by and egg the house or shout slurred insults. It took a while to figure out they were not ridiculing the Mason family, but were passing judgment on a pitcher who had let them down.

We still loved our neighborhood and spent countless hours walking with our dog Elvis to the ”wooden playground.” I never tire of the architecture in our town that ranges from staid Victorians to neat little ranchers built off of Camden Avenue to house RCA employees back in the 1940s. 

I DO grow weary of being called a Mo’town basher. I am not against our town. I’m against the people running our town (into the ground). I am also against any who would try to silence the opinion of others simply because it does not align with popular sentiment (i.e. theirs). Do you know why I write this column? Because I have writing skills and make frequent use of spell-check, unlike some of the folks that comment on my column. Are you so rabid to get your point made you forget how unseemly bad grammar is?

So, in an attempt to appease those that don’t appreciate satire, I am going to elucidate on the many ways I love Moorestown in four-part harmony with harps playing soothingly in the background.

  • I love . Every morning my boys walked to that welcoming little school at the end of Crescent Street. Roberts was a good fit for me. The other moms were not clad in tennis garb. The teachers were great. The boys were happy. And in the winter we could go sledding behind the school. It was a little slice of Americana.
  • Main Street is adorable! What’s not to like about it? There are a gazillion realtors, banks and churches—buildings we can never get enough of. Every time I drive through town, I find I want to buy a house, deposit some money and pray, although not necessarily in that order. Main Street is very picturesque, unless it’s picaresque. Lately, with all the K.I.D.S. shenanigans and the TR4M nonsense, I am leaning towards the picaresque scenario. Look it up and get back to me.
  • I love . Where else can you combine underage drinking parties with soccer games and dog-walking? Despite the fact the township does not recycle all those half-full water bottles—detritus from many, many games—it is still a great place to meander with the doggies. One just has to look the other way or clean up after other people. It’s your call, but it’s MY field. We should institute the same policy as our national parks system: You bring it in, you carry it out. Take your bottles home for recycling, folks. I’d admonish the kids to do the same thing, but that kind of defeats the fun of hiding out and drinking.
  • I love Target! What drug do they pipe through their air vents to make shopping there so intoxicating? At any given moment, I can walk in there with two items in mind and walk out an hour later with $300 on my credit card. Oh, wait a minute! Target is in Mount Laurel. Never mind.
  • I love our A big shout-out to Pete and Julie for keeping this neighborhood tradition of a business alive AND giving out free popcorn on weekends. Just walking those plank floors is a sort of time machine trip back to a nicer, simpler time.
  • What’s not to love about a battleship in a cornfield? Years and years before we moved here, I would drive 295 or the turnpike and marvel at the ship, plunked down in the middle of nowhere. What was it? Why was it there? The reality paled in comparison to the many stories I made up for the boys as we drove along.
  • The post office! Ah … the endless lines, the chatty clerks! The people you meet! It is our own little Peyton Place. If you need to disseminate a rumor or confirm a UFO sighting, this is the place to go.
  • Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love of Main Street at 3 p.m. on a weekday. This is when you actually get to see what’s going on in town because you’re driving two miles an hour. Rather than curse your foolish forgetfulness, enjoy! You have time to observe the java drinkers. You can read the banners and reminisce, you can see women getting pedicures, kids buying pretzels AND you can choose your favorite Vera Bradley bag, all from the privacy of your front seat. Keep in mind, however, that at this speed, you are no longer invisible. Note to lady in the Audi who was flossing her teeth as she drove last week: I saw you! And while I applaud your dental hygiene, some things are best done at home!
Beth Kelleher October 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Marsia, I love your articles!! Keep them coming :)
JustWondering October 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Really well said, Marsia. It's important to constantly remind ourselves that the vitriol spewed on many of the Patch reader forums represents a statistically-insignificant sample of the Mo'town populace. Your writing is refreshing, amusing, real-life. Thank you for providing a great start to the day!
Gina Zegel October 17, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Marsia, I love the articles and thanks to Patch for giving you the forum and us the pleasure of reading your articles or "rants"! I don't have much time for the sparring that goes on at this site and yes JustWondering everyone should remember that those who are on here regularly are just a very SMALL sample of the town readers. Have a great day in a great town. Count those blessings.
Marsia Mason October 17, 2011 at 12:17 PM
And I love your beautiful house, Gina! Can I move in?
Mtown Talker October 17, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Marsia, I agree with your comments, thanks! You could of added that some or maybe most would agree that voting for liquor licenses could harm the truthful picture that you just painted. We hope that this liquor license story could go away with the majority of Moorestown residents voting No on both liquor referendum questions Nov 8th! Have a great day!
Terry October 17, 2011 at 01:25 PM
This town is absolutely amazing. What other town buys their own sled hill to keep it from becoming houses? It's a terrific place to grow up and then raise your own family.
Carla McIlmail October 17, 2011 at 01:28 PM
I love being able to leash up the dogs, walk out my front door, go down to Baker School, and head into the most peaceful wooded walk ever. There are little trails that wind around back there that you could walk for hours and have no idea you were in the middle of Moorestown. Thanks for making me sit back and think about more positive things rather than alcohol and turf fields!!!!
Rose October 17, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Wonderful column! Thank you for highlighting the positive AND making us laugh! How about the army of volunteers that keep our community, schools, churches, library,athletic programs and families in need supported despite raising families and working?!? Many people doing lots of good in our community! Thanks to all of you.
SugarBaby October 17, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Well said. Love your spunk and " taking a stand ", even at 3 p.m. on Main Street. Now, here is your next piece / assignment - write about "The Financing of TOWN HALL". Remember to tell us how much has been spent on planning, payments to the Reagon Group, and other incidentals. Then, please tell us - How much it really will costs Moorestown Tax Payers to build with interests on BONDS - and the political hands in the pot, I particularly want to know the cost for the toilet seat for Mr. Button. This should be a real good assignment for you since The Patch or The Moorestown Sun want to expose the true cost of " the transparency of our failed town hall project ".. Good luck... please get back to us before Thanksgiving. OK?
JustWondering October 17, 2011 at 05:40 PM
This is where we might want to differentiate between an opinion piece and investigative journalism.
Mrs. Chris Fisher (nee:Rauffenbart) October 17, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Well, first, here's what dictionary .com says "picaresque" means. pic·a·resque   [pik-uh-resk] Show IPA; adjective 1. pertaining to, characteristic of, or characterized by a form of prose fiction, originally developed in Spain, in which the adventures of an engagingly roguish hero are described in a series of usually humorous or satiric episodes that often depict, in realistic detail, the everyday life of the common people: picaresque novel; picaresque hero. 2. of, pertaining to, or resembling rogues. LOL!! You have such a gift in your writing, Marsia! ...And I spent 5 years at Roberts School (Mary Roberts used to teach public speaking); Memorial Field takes me back to football games originally there; and my daddy used to take us to the hardware store for lumber in which he'd buy to build something for Mom. I also remember sledding on Roberts Hill, but it was a little tough for us to walk there, because we grew up on Fairview Ave., where my mother still lives today. Whatever you want to write, Marsia, I just love it!!
Rollie. A. Nosam October 18, 2011 at 02:32 PM
YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD! You are the reason I read the "Patch" at all (the moniker "Patch" is a conundrum - does it refer to the patch that is Memorial Field or other parks in town - each a little patch in a sea of suburban homes? It refers to a patch-ed together piece of news/infotainment and vitriol every day? Or some acronym I can't get my head around: P-A-T-C-H = People Against The Canadian Heathens - a reference to your earlier BRILLIANT piece on Canadian Geese?). You are talented and worth every read. This Moorestown love-fest is good, but I bet you wish you had a house at the shore... do you?

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