Sunday, May 22, 2011

ECRT - Day 4: Delaware County and Philadelphia

Old Stomping Grounds - Sort Of

Last night (in blog time), we determined that we would meet Lynn (college friend/roommate) and her niece Erica at the Gallery at 8th an Market in Philadelphia.  The original plan was to drive from Glen Mills to Media and take the train to Penn Station and walk from there.  Nick did a lot of online research and he and Paula figured out there was unlikely to be any parking for either the train or the trolley (different stations).  So we drove through Upper Darby to Terminal Square. 

Personal History Tangent

While I was at Temple and Nick was working for ConRail, we lived at Barclay Square - in Upper Darby, along the trolley line.  Nick took the train from the Lansdowne station to work and I walked to Terminal Square to take the subway/elevated known as Septa (south east pennsylvania transit authority.)  You'll have to google that one for yourselves!  Technically septa also runs the trolley.  And I think that's enough of this nonsense.  One of the coolest things about Upper Darby was Issac Asimov once came and spoke at a school within walking distance.  That's when I realized just how much his writing must have influenced my thinking cause it all made total sense.  He said, among other things, that as we all live longer and more functionally, we will have multiple careers in our lives.  And here I am, switching again, in my early sixties.

Back on Track (pun intended)

When we got to the station, the main parking lot was full - which was too bad because it had a nice machine that takes credit cards.  We parked in the overflow metered lot which took only quarters.  A short walk and tokens from Paula and we were on our way into Philly.  It was interesting to see how much they've renovated the stations and actually the cars themselves.  No where near as old, dark and rattly as I remember - although the worst part was on the Broad St line which we didn't take.

When we got out at 8th and Market, there was no sign of the Gallery.  As is my custom, I bought one of the street newspapers for a dollar.  They have them in San Francisco.  It's a way for street people to make some money without actually just panhandling.  I find them mildly interesting to read.  So as he was thanking me, I asked where the Gallery was.  We walked to 9th and found Lynn and Erica.

They live in South Jersey and also drove to parking and took public transit.  Lynn comes in enough to know her way around.  The plan was to have lunch and "do something" but we'd never really nailed down either lunch place or what something was.  We checked out a couple of places that were too noisy and busy to have a good conversation.  Eventually, Nick spotted a bakery/cafe of the sort that we love.  Since the last time we saw Erica she was something like two, it was more like making a new friend.  She's another of our many young acquaintances who is involved in performing arts - she as a costumer and back-stage worker.  Didn't get to talk with Lynn as much -I think we three old folks wanted to spare Erica the whole "remember when" thing.  

We did go to Liberty Place where I found a Fire & Ice store.  The one in Baltimore is where I bought the matching necklace and earrings that I wore at Liz & James' wedding.  OK, so I bought another pair of elegant earrings there.  But this time, I resisted the BoGo!  Liberty Place is an office complex with shops on the first two floors.  In the downstairs rotunda, they had this great exhibit of structures made out of canned goods.  It was a very clever food drive.  Each entry was from a different business or company.  There was a kitchen with sink, a variation on Rodin's Thinker (I think he may have been in canned peas) and, of course The Liberty Bell.  I've got lots of pictures, but just put up on Facebook the bell with my three companions.

Somewhere in all my slides and prints and now files, there are pictures of Nick & Lynn in various places - like in front of a wooden Indian in Texas and possibly including some of the replica liberty bells around the country. I have located and photographed bells in Boston (the first I found), Honolulu, Raleigh, NC, Denver and Juneau.   We skipped the original one this trip but did tell Erica about the time they moved it on New year's eve of 1976, in the rain, and her father was there to see it.  The rest of us watched on TV.  I'm very fond of Liberty Bells.

After some more wandering around - it's just cool being back in Philly, if only for an afternoon, we all hugged and parted ways.

A Small Shopping Spree

Nick had promised me that if we had time, we could stop at the Kohl's near Granite Run Mall (either in or near Media - the county seat.)   We've been carrying an umbrella a lot on this trip, with the prime directive of "keep the camera dry."  We have our winter parkas in our suitcases for the end of this trip [where we're heading tomorrow in real, not blogging, time - more later.]  I have a gap in my wardrobe, even at home - I don't have anything resembling a warmer weather, nice looking rain coat.  So, I wanted to find something for the warmer climes.  Bizarrely, there was absolutely no outer wear at this Kohl's.  But they did have my favorite jeans on sale [and I could use a nice newer pair for last destination] and I was still carrying my special 30% off coupon.  We finally got through the checkout line and back to Paula's with about a 30min rest period.

Opera, Italian Food and Friends

While I wasn't at Temple U's math department long, I did grow close to a few people.  Every time we're back this way, my friend Bob tries to get them together.  This time several were out of town but Paula came with us to see Bob, his wife Pat and our other friend Gary.   This time Bob had made a reservation at  Fellini's Cafe Trattoria.

Monday is Opera night.  Our waitress, Jessica and a waiter took turns singing about every 25 minutes.  I know she did something from La Boheme and he sang "O Sole Mio" and they did a duet at the end.  We all chatted a lot inbetween and the food was great!  Paula took all of our leftovers and had pastas for three more meals!
And again, amidst the rain, we all hugged and parted company.   This is the hard part of this trip.  We're seeing people for the first time in a while and then having to leave again so soon!


Coming up:  Family!

© 2011 Esther A. Heller


  1. I wouldn't keep apologizing for not getting your travel blog out in time. We can barely write our Postcards on a trip and usually bring them home unwritten.

  2. My guess is she sang either "Quando M'en Vo" or "Si mi chiamano Mimi" from Boheme

  3. Marcia - not so much apologizing as literary wrestling with time and memory. If we don't preprint address labels before we leave, nobody gets postcards any more. :-)
    Ange - beats me, she said something about not being the main aria.