My wife and I live in a two-story row house in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market district, about 200 feet from Ninth Street, which is where the market is.
That happens to be only a few miles due south of where I spent the first eight years of my life, when my family lived in North Philadelphia, in a two-story row house at the corner of Sixth Street and Sedgley Avenue.
Across the street from that house was a scrap yard, and behind that the railroad (one of the less tony stretches of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s vaunted main line). It was a neighborhood of row houses and corner stores, factories, warehouses, and vacant lots. Our house boasted a tiny garden, and I can still remember helping my mother plant flowers there when I was about four. The flowers, I learned later on, were French marigolds and blue ageratum, and I always plant some in the tiny city garden I now have.
Sometimes my family would take the trolley that ran down Sixth Street to the very market I now live near, and recently I wondered just what trolley line that might have been.
Today, of course, it’s a bus route. When I looked it up, I found that it was the 47, the very bus that runs up Ninth Street now. Only that, to be precise, is the 47M, a supplement to the real Route 47, which still comes down Eighth and goes up Seventh, coming down Sixth on its way back, right past where our house in North Philadelphia still stands.
Silly as it must sound, I find it fascinating that the house I am likely to end my days in is just a block from the same public transportation route that the house I started life in was. [Read more →]