Looking into the past... the courtyard at 4506 Walnut Street



 

Zeyda Yale says:

Did you look at the photos of 4506 Walnut?
http://www.yalesafe.com/photos/index.htm

Esther says:

Yes, neat but also sad

Zeyda Yale says:

Looking at the back porch was ... I can't even find a word for it.

Esther says:

I understand.  I felt the same.

Zeyda Yale says:

Memories just flooded back.

Esther says:

We were out there a lot.  Mom has a picture of us all with our feet in that little plastic pool out back.

Zeyda Yale says:

The washing machine in the kitchen with a roller for a dryer. 

Zeyda Yale says:

The bathroom tub that smelled of dial soap.

Esther says:

I used to love wet mopping the kitchen floor (!!!!)

Esther says:

And JB's artificial leg propped up in his room.

Zeyda Yale says:

I think the water entered the tub on the side.

Zeyda Yale says:

oh yes, and the mysterious wheel chair.

Esther says:

And the safety pins we put on cards

Zeyda Yale says:

...and snaps.

Esther says:

And Uncle Eli saying, "Put a ticket on her and send her back home."

Zeyda Yale says:

Small pins were strung on one large pin .

Esther says:

And the horrendous black dining room furniture with the huge legs on the table.

Zeyda Yale says:

And everybody eating the fried egg sandwich Uncle Eli made for himself.

Zeyda Yale says:

And eating egg rolls.

Esther says:

Or the salads, while we watched the little TV in the dark living room.

Esther says:

Or going out through the long windows to the roof full of stones

Zeyda Yale says:

It only dawned on me recently... that JB must have been the baker in Becker's West Hazleton bakery.

Esther says:

yes

Zeyda Yale says:

the TV had rabbit ears.

Esther says:

I bet Alan remembers a lot about sharing his bedroom with JB.

Zeyda Yale says:

The screen was 5 inches and looked like a brown tweed suitcase laying on its side.

Esther says:

I remember Sandra's bedroom walls were painted sandalwood and I adored her and that color.

Zeyda Yale says:

There was a quarter moon decoration on her wall and satin comforter on her bed.

Zeyda Yale says:

And her closet with mirrors on the doors.

Esther says:

And she had toe shoes and ice skates I used to try on.

Esther says:

And she played classical music.

Esther says:

She was my absolute idol.

Zeyda Yale says:

Remember the fake fireplace in the living room?

Esther says:

yes

Zeyda Yale says:

...with the green rug and red/maroon sofa.

Esther says:

Our family was never much for style

Zeyda Yale says:

the coals in the fireplace were translucent amber color

Esther says:

I remember

Esther says:

And they used to tell us Mrs. Haugh next door lived with her "brother."

Esther says:

Maybe she did; maybe she didn't.

Zeyda Yale says:

And how scary it was to go out the back ... down the stairwell that was dark even when all the lightbulbs worked. ..

Zeyda Yale says:

The wood in that stairwell smell of dust and urine.

Zeyda Yale says:

And the heavy metal door at the bottom...

Esther says:

And we wrote with chalk on the bricks.

Zeyda Yale says:

it creaked when you opened it.

Esther says:

And Aunt Alice hung clothes out there on the line that she pulled.

Esther says:

And Dougie lived in the next building and his little sister was missing fingers.

Zeyda Yale says:

The clothes line that was shared with the Bruschanski's in the next building.

Esther says:

Dougie Childers.

Zeyda Yale says:

He was a cute kid.

Esther says:

blond

Zeyda Yale says:

Yea, reminded me of Dennis the Menace.

Esther says:

Remember the variety store Nancy Rosenbluth's father ran around the corner?

Zeyda Yale says:

Bud's

Esther says:

And those delicious strawberry 7-cent ice cream cones at the drugstore on the corner.

Zeyda Yale says:

You had to walk from the back courtyard through the narrow passageway between the buildings to get there.

Zeyda Yale says:

Which corner?

Zeyda Yale says:

Not on Walnut...

Esther says:

And Horn and Hardart used to be on Walnut Street.

Zeyda Yale says:

no

Esther says:

The drugstore was on the corner of 45th & Walnut across from the front of 4506.

Zeyda Yale says:

I remember lemon or orange sherbert from Powers and Reynolds.

Esther says:

It was a retail store.

Esther says:

P&R was farther away, which direction?

Esther says:

H&H was a retail store.

Zeyda Yale says:

Powers and Reynolds was on Spruce.

Zeyda Yale says:

First you walked out back thru the passage and went past Bud's...

Esther says:

There was a hardware store somewhere.

Zeyda Yale says:

...past the first corner where they sold comic books and newspapers outside...

Esther says:

Was it below the apartment?

Esther says:

No that was a grocery/produce store.

Zeyda Yale says:

...till you got to Spruce, then cross the street to your left. There was P&R.

Zeyda Yale says:

The hardware store was...

Zeyda Yale says:

...come out the front door, and turn to your right.

Zeyda Yale says:

It was right there.

Esther says:

I remember garbage smells coming through Sandy's bedroom window from the dumpster in the alleyway.

Zeyda Yale says:

Did you ever go to the library from Alice's?

Esther says:

And she had those great windows that opened out when you turned the knobs.

Zeyda Yale says:

I loved that smell - I always associated it with Philly. To me, that's what Philly smelled like. But I loved it.

Esther says:

Probably yes, but I can't remember where the library was.

Esther says:

Oh, yes, down 45th street a few blocks.

Esther says:

Was that still there when you were there recently?

Zeyda Yale says:

There was a supermarket down that way too. Alan and I would take his wagon there and make money helping ladies carry their packages home.

Zeyda Yale says:

I didn't look for the library when I was there recently.

Esther says:

I wonder why kids don't do that today.

Zeyda Yale says:

Because no one walks to the market any more.

Esther says:

And no one trusts anyone today.

Zeyda Yale says:

hollow pink rubber ball, and white ball with bumps

Zeyda Yale says:

spraying the hose

Esther says:

We used to be able to go to the grocery store near Aunt Shirley's Sansom St. apartment and buy stuff and say charge it to my aunt.

Zeyda Yale says:

the step down from the courtyard

Esther says:

To this day, I always pick up one of those pink balls in any store and bounce it.

Zeyda Yale says:

walking on the coping holding on to Bud's fence... and shimmying around the clothes poles.

Esther says:

And we played red rover and baseball

Esther says:

and may I

Zeyda Yale says:

In baseball, we'd run from clothes pole to clothes pole for bases.

Esther says:

And we could eat tons of food...and we were SKINNY.

Zeyda Yale says:

And catch fireflies every evening.

Esther says:

And did we roller skate there?

Zeyda Yale says:

I always figured if I caught enough and kept them in a jar, I'd be able to read Alan's comic books under the covers at night.

Zeyda Yale says:

How come he had comic books, but we never did?

Zeyda Yale says:

I don't remember roller skating in Philly.

Esther says:

I remember giggling so much in bed with Sandy at night that Uncle Eli would call from his bedroom, "Which chicken laid an egg?"

Zeyda Yale says:

The wallpaper in the dining room was green with a repeating picture of a home in the country...

Zeyda Yale says:

...and the cowboy on horseback clock.

Esther says:

And the dishes looked like the kind you eat on in a Chinese restaurant.

Esther says:

And a radio always playing music or a ballgame.

Esther says:

And Aunt Alice and Uncle Eli did dishes together.

Zeyda Yale says:

Alan even had a crystal radio... it didn't use batteries. You just connected it with a wire to a radiator.

Esther says:

Were there bunk beds that you and Alan slept on in JBs room?

Zeyda Yale says:

That "dishes" thing just did it for me. I'm bawling like a baby.

Esther says:

And the bathroom that had two doors.

Esther says:

It was touching.

Esther says:

Now you have me tearing up.

Esther says:

Cut it out

Zeyda Yale says:

I'm going to send a copy of this transcript to Alan.

Esther says:

Nice. He will appreciate this conversation.

Zeyda Yale says:

OK - let's end it here.

Esther says:

Good idea. Love you, good night.

Zeyda Yale says:

bye


=== Alan:
I do remember that well. Many games of stick ball we played. We chalked a box on the wall for calling strikes. You climbing over the fence behind Bud's store to get the ball because I couldn't climb fences. Mrs Davis throwing dishes because of the ball hitting the wall. The obnoxious shed behind the vegetable/fruit store. The famous picture of having the hose between my legs like I was peeing. I must have lived there from 1947 until 1961.

=== a bit more from Yale:
Rose, Herman, Sherman, Janice Broschanski
Janice had black curly hair
Janice always traveled with her a girl friend; she had dirty blond hairI think her name was Rhonda
Herman had a wooden leg
Wow! I just realized JB and Herman both had a wooden leg

The Beckers phone number was Evergreen 6-9638. The phone was on a small piece of furniture in the dining room to the right of the doorway leading into the kitchen.
There was a manual typewriter in Sandra's bedroom on a small metal table against the wall just to the right of the closets. I think the table had wheels. I taught myself touch typing and I typed a copy of The Highwayman, the world greatest love poem.

"The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding-
Riding-riding
The highway came riding up to the old inn door."

It was quite a long poem ... 1,010 words, nearly three full pages.


=== WORK FOR THE HANDICAPPED
safety pins and snaps (work for handicapped, JB)
the whole family sat around the DR table and did the work

open one large silver safety pin,
thread 10 small, gold-colored pins onto the pointy side of the large pin then close it

But snaps were my favorite.
The snaps were black
there was a male and a female for each snap
there was a blue and white plastic card with 10 holes in it
the holes were arrange in a triangle, like bowling pins
there was a wooden template the size and shape of the plastic card
the wooden template had 10 indentations in the same shape as the card
place 10 male snaps in the indentations, shaft side up
place the plastic card over the 10 shafts
push the female snap onto the male snap.
As the male and female sides of the snap connected,
you'd hear and feel the SNAP
it gave you the same thrill as popping packing bubbles
it was addictive
the cards sold for 10 cents, and JB was paid 1 cent for every 10 cards

everyone sat at the table doing SNAPs
the adults talked about adult things
we kids got to listen to what adults talked about
I don't remember a single thing the adults talked about...
I just remember feeling good about being in their company.

=== a bit more from Alan:
Yale I did read your conversation with Esther. It brought many smiles to my face.

The snaps were great fun

The dining room furniture my father bought for $40. They had thick but ugly legs.

Fried egg sandwiches with salami and ketchup were great.

I remember we got pizza from Pagano's every Friday night and watched 77 Sunset Strip.

I remember the game we played on the front roof- where you could jump from our roof to the next one. But because it was lower, it looked you jumped off the roof.

Sharing bedroom with JB- don't remember

Sandra played classical music, broadway plays and Eddie Fisher and Perry Como

i remember Dougie and his sister

I remember taking balls from buds store

the drugstore on the corner across Walnut Street- don't remember the name.
Do remember the liquor store across street which was always crowded on holidays

Pow and Reynolds was at 45th and Spruce

I remember the bar at 45th and sansom, where they got the daily news first, so I would get there when it was first delivered

On 45th Street between sansom and Spruce there was a candy store where I bought chocolate turtles

the library was at 40th and Walnut.

I remember a painting in my house of a house on a lake that had many steps-
i'd love to see that again.

I can't believe the details you remember about snaps. What were their ultimate purpose?

That is my additional comments to your conversation.

Alan