This Old Kensington House
The row home I grew up in, on Wishart Street, seemed large and spacious to me when I was a kid. It was more than enough room to house my brother, me, my sister, my grandparents, and parents. It never seemed to be a big problem that we had only one bathroom, except a few times when I had “to hold it” for longer than a 5-year-old could. Thank heaven for glass milk bottles.
Our house was built in 1920, along with a lot of other homes in North Philly to give local factory workers a place to live that was close to work. Many of the homes below Lehigh Avenue were even older. It was a two-story home, not the more roomy father, son and ghost (3 stories) homes on some streets.
In my memories, the home still has an interesting image of being spacious. Considering that it was about 1044 square feet (about 16 x 33 feet), it is strange that I would think that. Weird, isn’t it. I thought so. In my previous home, before downsizing, I had a pool that large.
Thinking about the home I grew up in and all the great memories it spawned, I started to look through my thousands of photos to see what I could find. I have posted some and maybe that will help you to remember your old Kensington Home.
One photo shows my grandmother standing in front of the Wishart street house with Howard Street in the background. Another photo shows my Pop (grandfather) sitting in a swivel chair in the living room. Our old RCA to the right. Wow, this was much tighter than I remember.
There is a photo of my grandmother cooking in the shed turned into a kitchen of sorts. It had a few cabinets, a stove, and a sink. Two people could not stand behind each other in that room. There is a photo taken at Christmas that shows the little foyer we had. It helps to keep the cold out in the winter. Again you can see how tight the living room was.
Look at this photo of my mother standing up at Thanksgiving or maybe Christmas. The table just about fit in that room that also had a fridge in it. There is a photo of my sister and her husband Dave on their wedding day. Look how narrow the steps were. When I was a kid sliding down those steps, it felt like the steps to the Art Museum.
There is a photo with me sitting on our step with a cute girl and our dog, Ginger. That was before we got a rail and a storm door with an H on it.
The final photo is my brother and me at Easter. That fake mantel and fireplace was the recipient of many Easter baskets and Christmas stockings.
You know what? After looking at all those pictures and seeing how small the house really was, I still see it as BIGGER THAN LIFE.
Originally posted on The Kensington Neighborhood Alumni Group on Facebook.
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