The Golden Age
For many of us, the golden age was when we were kids carefree and happy running around the streets of Kensington in Philadelphia with little or nothing of which to worry. We bathed under the fireplug, slept on the front steps, or under a fan with an ice bucket on hot summer nights. In the winter, we snuggled under the covers as the cold air seeped through the windows, shoveled snow to make a dime or two, and built forts with snow or cardboard boxes.
If it rained, we found a dry spot under an eve or awning and played card games like Hearts, Pinochle, Fish, or Old Maid. When the rain stopped, we would stomp on the puddles to see how far the water would go. If we hit a friend with a splash, we were elated.
One of our greatest pleasures was going to the movies, and it didn’t matter much if it was the Wishart, Kent, Iris, Midway, or the Howard. Well, it didn’t matter until we were old enough to date. Then the Midway with its often empty balcony seats were in demand.
On any given day, you could walk down the street and see the girls playing Jacks or skipping rope, while the boys played handball, half ball, stickball, or street football, depending on the season. The day school left out for the summer, you would see many pairs of sneakers hanging from the high wires.
On school-day mornings both boys and girls walked to their elementary school carrying their books covered in paper bags. At lunch, they walked home to eat with mom and the other kids, then trudged back for the afternoon class. In the fall, they might stock to pick up some colorful fallen leaves, which were scarce because there weren't many trees. Later they would paste them on craft paper that was either put on the home refrigerator or the school wall.
It took a pretty good snowstorm to get a day off from school, but when we did, we spend the day sledding at McPherson Park or a street with a hill nearby. A few snowball fights were the norm, and when we got so wet and cold, we had to go home, which was rare, we could always sneak a sip out of good old dad’s bottle of Jameson. Just kidding 😊
I don’t think about the golden days often, but when I do, it’s always about growing up in Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Originally posted on The Kensington Neighborhood Alumni Group on Facebook.