Roots

Echos of a distant past

I just found a letter with my grandparents old address on it. Here’s the Google Earth view as it looks today.

The left side, with the door, is all stairway — up to the second floor and down to the basement. The right hand side is (from front to back) a small sun room, a parlour and dining room, and then, when the stairs leave off, a kitchen the width of the house. Most of our meals were taken at the big kitchen table. Back in the day, there was a small balcony on the second floor. It looks like that has been replaced by an extension of the front bedroom. They didn’t have window (or any kind of) air conditioning back then, and I can remember sitting at that window on a hot, muggy, Philadelphia summer night, unable to sleep.

The front steps are now wheelchair-capable, but originally all the stoops on the street were white stone, possibly marble, that everyone kept scrupulously clean. I have a picture of me, taken in the first half of the previous century, sitting on a pony in front of that stonework.

They moved into that house almost eighty years ago. It’s an incredibly small house (<1200sqft) in which to raise six kids, but then, they didn’t have cable, so there was nothing to keep the kids inside the house, and they could go out and play Red Rover.

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