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  • November 2009
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Phillie Fusion


Children playing in Swann Memorial Fountain, w...

Logan Circle, my favorite place in Phillie

As soon as I set foot in Center City in November, I smell the rotting Plane Tree leaves and plumpy fruit being squished under my feet, and I know I’m back in Phillie.

Cora gives me a hug and says it, “Welcome home”.  I never can remember people’s names, as they approach me, beginning conversations we left off last year. Leaning over the back of a chair, a woman in a checkered scarf shares intimate secrets with me, and I vaguely associate with her something about Maine, or reindeer? What is her name?

More people gather around, asking about our children, and I ask vague questions about their families, hoping to strike a balance between complete ignorance, and idiocy. Hoping no one experienced a terrible tragedy that I forgot, or that they were single without children!

We are lost each day and night as we drive through city and suburbs finding our way back to suitcase and bed until the last morning we arrive at our destination without a hitch.

Why do I have this brain freeze each year?

I realize that I don’t make such a tremendous effort to memorize Philadelphia because I believe it will always be here for me to return to.

I believe our friends will always be here to welcome me home with open arms, forgiving me my initial blank look as they approach me eager to overlook my forgetfulness.  One woman told me that she remembers me from thirty years ago…still! I met her in her parents’ home when she was in a different city (Bethlehem, Pa), and she just “happened” to meet me here again this year!

We turned around in church today, and Jon met friends he hadn’t seen in fiftyears! They were just visiting ! I met several of my college friends’ husbands for the first time!

We drove through Center City (I always will capitalize it!) down Eighteenth past Arch Street Methodist towards Ben Franklin Parkway. I can hardly bear to look across the street where the parking lot is now filled with cars instead of my beloved old school building, where I lived, and learned and experienced so much of my young life.

I see a cement impression outlining one of the buildings down the street. It is all that remains of the building where I was an RA for the most raucous girls in our school, who needed a place of their own.

I most want to see the little hospital where I worked as an LPN, but as we approach the Vine Street Expressway, I remember that it’s gone too. Doctor’s Hospital had been demolished years ago, but I can’t actually remember that,  as we drive past St. Peter and Paul‘s Cathedral, and the two tiny churches, the Friend’s School all memories on my walk to work each night.

But, sure enough, the little hospital was no more! Almost every memory except Logan Circle, and the larger, older buildings are gone, but it doesn’t matter in the least any more! Philadelphia is no longer a distant memory that I have to cling to. Even Logan Circle doesn’t warm my heart like it always used to as I remembered romantic evenings spent there.

Now, Phillie means walks with my young friend, Abby,  talking about her future possibilities. Friends who remember us and care about us through difficult and distant times. Delancey street where trees will always shed their stinky fruit in Fall, tea shops with exotic names, the best Tiramisu in the world, Indonesian Restaurants, Phillie cheese steaks, Donovan McNab (originally from Syracuse).

Phillie has sunshine and not much rain or snow! I’ll always hum the Rockie Theme when I approach the Art Museum from the Parkway and always the last thing I see in Phillie is the gazebo where I got one of my first kisses from Jon in the back garden of the Art Museum.

I used to be very sentimental about Phillie; Where I worked in America‘s First ever Hospital; where I graduated from College; where I had my first apartment with friend Chris; where I fell in love; where my husband proposed to me; where I was married in Overbrook!

But I look back at those distant memories and just see them as that, distant. Phillie is vibrant and present to me! I’m still forming memories with Jon and my friends today!

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