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Dec 26 13 8:55 PM

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Jack, in your last note you mentioned "the time before your dad owned a car."  I remember those times-- back during the 50's-- when only a few drove cars, and fewer still owned a TV.  While some of our parents were slow to adapt and were sticking with what they knew: the PTC, we youngsters were taking notes.  Gathering on our front porch, we carefully watched every passing auto, easily identifying it's distinctive year and model.  We saw very few Cadillacs but a number of Nash Ramblers.  Extra points were given for special features, such as, skirts, running boards, curb-feelers and trucks that had naked silhouette's of woman screwed to their rear mud-guards.  That always got a wow!  But the coolest car in the neighborhood had to belong to the irrepressible Whitey Harkins, mentioned on this site in the past.  He owned a powder-blue and white 55 Chevy, Bel- Air, and along with his straw hat, he was a dashing figure to the single and widow ladies in our neighborhood.  One time I recall a friend and I were leaving a local party, held at the home of our neighboring beer distributor, when we encountered Whitey who had not been invited to this free beer feast.  So, naturally, we invited him.  Told him he would be very welcomed.  Down the alley he went to enter via the backyard when an errantly thrown beer bottle landed on his head, dented his straw hat and drew a fierce amount of blood from his head.  Talk about making a grand entrance.  When we saw him later, being ministered to by some pretty young thing, he informed us, with a wink, "That we shouldn't invite him to these shindigs because they gave him splitting headaches." That's how it went...back in the day, in our small section of Germantown.[url]
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Jan 6 14 11:15 AM

I know that Germantown had a police station and that the kids said that it was district 14,but I don’t recall the station either because I never saw it or that it was not a rememberable building that stood out in my mind. Living in lower Germantown we were patrolled by the 39 district police who had their headquarters on W. Hunting Park Ave. Now they had a great looking complex, I passed it each day taking the trolley to North Catholic HS. They had one or two patrol wagons, painted red with a large black sun visor over the  front windows. I never saw it on patrol but at least one was parked there each day. We moved to W. Clapier St. in 1950 and the police were doing walking patrol then. About a year or so after, they were using cars. Down the street from us was Dodge’s Mason, Kern Dodge was a consulting engineer and also from a very well todo family. At some point in his career he was the Director of Public Safety for the City of Philadelphia. I guess many of the older police never forgot him since he was forever having police cars drive up the hill to his place and stopping in. Below in not a patrol wagon but it shows the kind of visor that I am talking aboutimage

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Jan 7 14 9:24 PM

14th Police District Patty Wagons

A long time ago, when God was a younger being and some of us Germantowners were younger still, I made the aquaintance of members of the 14th District Police Station.  They were located behind our Town Hall, near Germantown Ave. and Haines St.  I was about seven year old.  My older brother, Bernie, (hereafter called the instigator)  and I were collared by railway dicks while lighting pages from the Bulletin and dropping them from the Armat St. bridge, like little flaming parachutes--just what you expect from two future paratroopers-- on to trash that the wind had blown under the bridge.  We were taken to the 14th in "The Patty Wagon," or, as we called it back then: the "Meat Wagon." Placed in a holding cell and informed that the instigator and I were being charged with "Attempting to burn down the city of Germantown."  Say what..."

 We quickly made friends with the assorted wino's and other miscreants who wondered what kind of desperate desperados we were.  Obviously, they were trying to "scare us straight" before we ended up in the "Big House."  We were told by a nice cop about little boys, playing with fire had burned down the great cities of London, Chicago, San Francisco and even ancient Alexandria.  Our policemen evidently had some history background  But it wasn't them that I feared; it was our Mother who was on her way to get us that we feared.  Anytime a policeman, nun or priest complained about our behavior, we were in for it.  She had a mean "cat-of-nine-tails" that she welded well.  And that, Jack, was my first and last introduction to the men of the 14th Police District.  Consider it Karma that you never encountered one of their holding cells.   

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