...Continued from 11/27/2018, 11/28/2018 and 11/29/2018:
After spending the morning in Mayfair in Lower Northeast Philly, visiting the environs of my family's old house on Barnett Street,
...Tom and I then drove north on the Roosevelt Boulevard toward the Far Northeast neighborhood of Somerton to have a look at the New House on Byberry Road between Roosevelt Boulevard and Bustleton Avenue that we moved into when I was nine years old.
I hadn't seen the house in almost 25 years, but I know that it looked like this when we lived in it:
...and like this decades later after it had been trashed and abandoned by subsequent owners and homeless
...at which point I asked Tom, who was doing the driving while I did the reminiscing, to turn left off the Boulevard onto Rhawn Street.
I had him do this because much of the action in my novel,
...takes place in a run-down condo complex that I set at the intersection of the Roosevelt Boulevard and Rhawn Street, and so I wanted to see if perchance there actually was a condo complex set at the corner of Rhawn and the Boulevard.
Turned out there wasn't a condo complex where I imagined the one in my book to be. Just a whole lot of row houses. Still, this would have been a good location for a condo complex. If not for all the row houses.
We then continued on to Somerton via the Bustleton Avenue route, passing along the way the McDonald's at Red Lion Road where I worked one summer while in college,
...and the Leo Mall a couple of blocks from my street where there used to be a movie theater at which I spent most Friday nights of my teen-aged years.
My girl friends and I could go to the movies together only on Friday nights, as, according to the social norms of the times, Saturday nights at the movies were reserved for couples. Thus us single girls used to spend Saturday nights at each other's houses, playing board games, listening to records, or watching TV.
We reached the corner of Byberry and Bustleton, where Pavio's restaurant used to be,
...But which is now Pavio's Galleria of Shops.
...then parked on Lewis Street,
The building, which has been in this location since we moved next to it in 1961, and likely years before, has had a number of purposes over the years.
I believe it originally belonged to the local Catholic parish, St. Christopher's, and for a while was used as over-flow class rooms for the parish school located around the corner. The building was used for the sixth grade classes when I was in sixth grade at St. Christopher's. That was the best year of my elementary career, as all I had to do was cut across the back yard to get to and from school.
Years later it was the United Hebrew Happy Daze daycare center.
Here's the sign currently in front of the building:
... but the House,
All right, so mayhaps the landscaping and setting left a weence to be desired, but the house itself looked great.
These were the best steps the house had had since the wooden steps that my hubby Tom built for the house back in 1994,
We walked all around the house,
...trying to get a peek through the windows, which were papered over.
Tom was able to see over the top of the paper in one of the front windows. He said he could see that the wall between the kitchen and dining room had been knocked out and that the plaster had been stripped to the studs and was being replaced by new plasterboard.
We also saw two heat pump and air-conditioning units, which meant that vents would have to be installed throughout the house to accommodate the new heating and air-conditioning systems.
I, in the meantime, was busy snapping shots of the houses across the street that used to be the houses of of our old neighbors and playmates,
...and the house of our friends next door, who lived in an even bigger domicile than ours,
...though the first floor had been a doctor's office while the doctor's family resided on the second and third floors.
"Hi," called a voice from across the street.
I turned around and immediately recognized one of my childhood playmates, the youngest daughter of the seven children of the big, friendly Italian family who lived in the house directly across the street from ours.
"I knew it was you," she said as we hugged. "I called my brother to tell him somebody was looking all around the house across the street and taking pictures, but when I saw you taking pictures of my house, too, I knew it was you."
She invited us into her house. In truth when I was young and used to be in and out of that house, just as all the neighborhood kids were in and out of each other's houses, I never appreciated what a neat house it was: Lots of dark wood, wood floors, big wood banister, marble in the bathroom.
She updated us on our old house, told us about the non-grata hippy family who moved in after my parents moved out (see previous post), how one of the children set a fire in the attic (I'd heard about the fire before, but had forgotten about it), how the parents moved out and left the teenagers to live there alone.
"Who leaves a bunch of teen-agers alone living in a house?" she asked.
She told us about how the house was eventually abandoned and for a while was lived in by homeless people.
"I didn't say nothing about it," she said. "They didn't cause any trouble, and a person needs a roof over their head, I'm not gonna begrudge them."
The house was bought, she told me, by a man who was in the process of fixing up the house to sell it. "A Hispanic guy, nice guy, lives down the street." She told us that the man had recently invited her into the house to show her how the work was progressing. She said he was completely gutting the inside, renovating it top to bottom.
Just as my mother dreamed of doing.
I asked her about the cinder block structure built onto our old next-door neighbors' house.
She told me that the house had been bought by a Hasidic organization, and that soon after the group moved in she and several other neighbors went over to welcome them to the neighborhood.
"The guy who answered the door said he wasn't interested," she said. "I told him, 'Look, we're all neighbors and in this neighborhood everybody knows each other and looks out for each other and keeps an eye out for each other.'"
The man repeated that he wasn't interested and shut the door.
I thought it was too bad that those new neighbors had so carelessly brushed off the good fortune of landing in this neighborhood.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTPN7NYY
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.