South Academy Street
Glassboro, N. J.
This was the home of Jesse and Lula Bright, my grandparents. My grandmother did domestic work at one time but later limited her duties to those around her own home. She was a superb gardener, "mother" of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, member of the Eastern Star(the female branch of the Masonics), visitor to the "sick and shut-ins", unafraid of most living creatures crawling or walking, a knowledgeable herbalist, an excellent cook on wood or electric stoves, my fresh water fishing buddy, and a good listener and teacher of Christian values. I found it interesting to see her drive an automobile during a time when few women had the opportunity, prior to women's liberation. After her children were grown and independent, she made rooms in her house available to students attending Glassboro State Teachers College. In addition to their five children, my grandparents raised three of their nieces in their home. Their home was the entire family's refuge during severe New Jersey hurricanes. It was strongly constructed and had a basement filled with stored provisions and autumn harvests. We all learned so much from my grandmother. She was a mediator, our female model and mentor. We called her Mom.
At one time, my grandparents owned a small store that occupied a portion of their home. It was later replaced by the Apex Beauty(hair) Shop. The proprietors and operators were my aunt, Olive Mae Bright Tucker Eady, and my mother, Mary Lou Bright Harris. My mother and aunt later attended Glassboro State Teachers College to receive their bachelor and masters degrees in education. My grandfather served as a Justice of the Peace. At that time, such an official was not necessarily an attorney or judge. He or she had jurisdiction over limited matters such as performing weddings or resolving minor civil or criminal complaints. Many individuals in the community sought my grandfather's service. He divided his time by serving as a family mentor, helping his children build their houses, deep sea fishing, being a deacon at First Baptist Church, operating a small farm, being employed as custodian of South Glassboro schools, and performing his Masonic Lodge duties. He was our idol, mentor, and close friend. He believed in family. We called him Pop.
My aunt Olive Mae and my mother retired from teaching. My mother was a high school guidance counselor and warrior for "all" student's rights. She made sure minority students were steered into more meaningful careers. My mother is survived by her sister, Olive Mae, and brother, Leroy Bright. These three siblings built their houses adjacent to each other in the 1950s. My cousin, Rev. Ronald W. Tucker, built his home across the street from them. The land on which these houses were built was previously a pear orchard. I remember walking through the orchard to attend grammar school. I helped my father build his house, when I was in high school. Finally these houses were in sight of my grandparent's house which was several sizeable garden lots away. My sanctuary was close by. My parent's home was a magnet for music and a greeting place for friends, relatives, and young people stopping by to see my sister, Christine Harris Tilles, or my parents. It was a lovely time, everyone was positive and productive. There was lots of love.
Please see Childhood Music History and The Emergence Of The Hammond B-3 Jazz Electric Organ In New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Dr. Don Harris