During these difficult days, the conversation on social media and in the public square makes me weary. The name calling, the bitterness, the anger is childish. It solves nothing and helps no one. There is more that unites us than divides us. I am reminded of the words of John F. Kennedy about the Soviets, over fifty years ago, during another time of fear and mistrust, “We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
To celebrate my birthday, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. I compiled a list of 42 memories of moments from my childhood that have gone by the wayside, are gone but not forgotten.
For better or worse, relegated to the “dustbin of history.”
Editor’s note: My list is my list. It is Northeast Philadelphia, with a touch of sports and politics. It contains names, places, and faces that impacted my life or those I knew, in some way, large or small.
Don’t be offended if you live in rural Pennsylvania and your school closed and I omitted it.
Also, I’m getting older, and as I age, I am forgetting far more than I remember. In other words, I may have missed something.
Here’s my list, Gone (or just about gone), but not forgotten and may it spark memories of your own:
- Conservative Democrats
- Liberal Republicans
- St. Bernard School, St. Leo School, St. Timothy School, Our Lady of Consolation School, St. Bartholomew School, St. Joachim School, Benjamin Crispin School
- Northeast Catholic High School for Boys and Cardinal Dougherty High School
- Sears Wish Book
- Philadelphia Stars, Philadelphia Phantoms, Philadelphia Wings, Philadelphia Kixx, Philadelphia Fury, Philadelphia Fever, Philadelphia Bulldogs, Philadelphia Rage, Philadelphia Charge
- USFL, WFL, XFL
- Veterans Stadium
- JFK Stadium
- The Spectrum: America’s Showplace
- VCR, Betamax, 8Track, record players
- Atari, Sega, Colecovision, and Intelivision
- Jersey pig farmers picking up garbage pales weekly from driveways
- Heavy smoking in public areas
- Music videos on MTV
- Channel 48
- Cold War
- Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
- Pathmark, Pantry Pride, PharMor, Carrefour
- Galaxy Arcade
- NWA, WCW, and GLOW
- Liberty Bell Race Track and Garden State Park
- A Kardashian was an attorney
- John Wanamaker’s, Clover and Woolworth’s
- Poloroid Instant Camera
- Playtown and Kiddie City
- The Bulletin, The Montgomery County Record and The National
- OJ was a football player and an actor
- Billy Penn Hat Rule
- A Woody was a station wagon
- “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” actually hosted by Dick Clark
- Orleans, Mayfair, and Devon Movie Theater
- Payphones and rotary phones
- Blockbuster and Video Village
- Pennypack Circle
- The Huckster (Strrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwbbberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrieeeeeees!)
- Unorganized sports for children
- Styrofoam fast food containers
- First Pennsylvania Bank
- Electric Playground and United Skates of America
- Harry and Whitey: The Soundtrack of Summer
I meant to post this yesterday:
A few weeks ago, as we were decorating the house for the Christmas season, I placed our Nativity scene, complete with the stable and all of the figurines, from the lowly shepherds to the Christ child. The whole scene was arranged meticulously on a coffee table at a prominent place in my living room. After we finished, I took a step back and admired the scene. I imagined that this is how things may have played out over 2,000 years ago. The scene was so beautiful, so serene, right down to the very last camel and the angel watching overhead.
The tranquility was interrupted by my two year old daughter.
She too was struck by the scene, struck by how it was right at eye level and how she could reach every blessed part of it. Nothing escaped her grasp. The attention to detail was disregarded as all of the figurines were piled into the corner of the stable. During the chaos, one of her older sisters told her about the Nativity scene. Later, she ran over with excitement holding the manager in her little hands and told me, “This is baby Jesus.”
For me, this was a remarkable Advent moment. The childlike innocence of my daughter shined through when she excitedly discovered baby Jesus. The quiet anticipation of the Advent season is often overshadowed by the frenzied pace of the Christmas season. This busy time is all about balance and keeping focus.
My prayer and hope for you and all who you hold dear is that you find the baby Jesus at your own pace. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!