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Sep 25 13 3:17 PM

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​Was your neighborhood as crazy as the one I grew up in?  We were reared around Market Square, a small area between the Brickyard and Cowtown sections of Germantown.  As a child I thought our area was perfectly normal, and not too unlike surrounding neighborhoods.   I thought everyone was in the same bowl of soup, but as I grew, I started to notice that there were a lot of hard lumps in this soup.  Differences among folks began to appear: in intelligence, athletic  abilities, talents, status and eccentricities.  Boy, we had some doozies and I still smile at the footprints they have left on my receding memory cells.  They might be similar to your own eccentrics--old Germantown was full of characters.
One elderly gentleman sat rocking on his porch daily, staring blankly into space and remembering God know what.  Back and forth, back and forth, he rocked.  Between the third and fifth rock he spit large hockers into a brown, Acme bag that showed a water-line by the end of the day.  How he picked it up without it falling apart remains a mystery.  Sometimes he would pass me some change between the porch railings to buy him a soda (more ammo, I thought.).  We called him "Gorp" and the sounds that he emitted were not of this world.
 Moving a bit further down the block, there was "Gabby," a non-stop talking middle age woman, who, when it was hot, liked to walk to the corner market--in her bra and panties--and swing a large butcher knife around her head like a samurai warrior.  "Damn, it's hot" she would say. She was really a good soul and harmless and married to a fellow called "Hoppy."
​ Another on the list was a fellow whose face could stop a train: a large, red face gentleman with a nose on him like Cyrano, so bulbous even W.C. Fields would have been envious.  The brother (Bernie) aptly gave all these folks their monikers.  We knew him as "Poppa-Stop-Sign."  Everyone seemed to have some nickname.These were just a few of our memorable neighborhood characters.  Old Germantown attracted or produced so many of them...and I miss them all; they were dear friends, the likes of which we don't seem to be replacing these days.  

Last Edited By: kevin Sep 25 13 3:20 PM. Edited 1 time

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#3 [url]

Sep 27 13 7:32 AM

Hi Folks  As you can see everything is changed. I would have written sooner but for one thing I could not get into the web site. Then once I did my key board as been crazy, half the keys no working for days and now for the last 2 days they are OK. Anyway, Lefora put in new software and upgraded all their different websites. When I saw how it was I wrote them to ask if it was possible to resend the upgrade on our site as many members are older like myself and with these changes we have many people drop out. Well I was told that they changed all their different sites and with the new software they could not do anything elseSorry  Jack McHugh

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#4 [url]

Sep 27 13 8:44 AM

OK I think I got it for putting in Fotos---Go up to where it says album then hit upload and choose photo you want from your files, then drag in to this reply box. You need to write something, then hit POST on the bottom.
imageimage

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#5 [url]

Sep 29 13 3:03 PM

Memories of a man

  All of us have great past experiences that helped form us in what we are, also we have met people that have shared some of their great memories. I want to share with you the experiences of one man I knew, but what made it interesting was when he was alive I didn’t know any of the things that I am going to tell you now. His name was Harold Gruel and now I want to go back in time to before WWI. The newspaper, Germantown Gazette wrote how he spends considerable time here visiting Elizabeth Wagner of 5137 Wakefield St. He did service in WWI and this newspaper wrote up some of the things he did, when he married Elizabeth they lived in Germantown and in the early 1940’s they moved to Jenkintown, in the mid 1960’s we moved next to them, after he died his niece gave me hundreds of photos he took during the war and also other items of his from that time. Talking with him I knew he was in the war and I knew that he was active in the VFW, but he never talked about the war and I never asked. To him he was just doing a job that thousands of others were doing, but it was that job that I found so interesting. A little about the USA when the war started in 1914----When Germany invaded France, many of the well to do Americans in Paris drove their limousines out to the battle front and helped remove the wounded to hospitals, in a short time these volunteers became regular units of the armies. The first group to help became SSU 1 (Section Sanitaire Unie 1) and in a short time they grew to over 30 groups of between 30 and 40 men in each becoming the American Field Service. Besides the American Field Service, you had the Norton- Harjes Ambulance group with over 3000 men and also the Red Cross with thousands more, all of these volunteers servicing in the French or Italian armies. You have heard of a few of these men: Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, E E Cumming and even Walt Disney. In the USA, companies started raising money to buy ambulances for these groups and at the universities, some students formed their own groups, practicing for the time they may go over.   Then in 1917 when the USA entered the war, we asked the French, what is the first thing we can do for you while we get ready--the reply: Let us keep the Ambulance Services. So Camp Crane was started in Allentown at the county fair grounds. There was no problem getting men since many of the different universities had their own ambulance groups---many of the groups even had their own uniform. An interesting side line, it took many weeks to get uniforms to those that did not have one. I won’t tell you what schools had uniforms but the photos I saw of those that did, look like they bought them at Brook Bros. 5th Ave. The one school I am going to talk about did not have uniforms, that was Temple University.    Now back to Harold Gruel, he and thousands of others signed up with the US Army to be ambulance drivers. He was placed in the group with the Temple students since their number was not complete. All of these SSU’s were organized the way the French set them up:  45 men and one lieutenant, In France they had 20 ambulances, 1 French lieutenant as well as the American and  6 French soldiers, a 2 ton truck,  3/4 ton truck, a limo motor car, a motorcycle with side car and a 2 ton truck to prepare their food.   The Temple group was SSU 549, but before they went overseas the group was  broken up. When Gruel got to France he found out that he was placed in SSU 1, to fill out the number they were short. Gruel found himself with men that had been doing this for years, remember SSU 1 was the very first group of volunteers back in 1914, many different men have come and gone but now the USA  gave them a new number, SSU 625, they still used the Indian Head image on their vehicles. Some of you might have heard of the Lafayette Escadrille, an American Air Squadron fighting with the French, they were started in 1916 and adopted the same Indian Head as SSU 1. SSU 625 was assigned to the glorious 69th division of the French army and since the beginning as SSU 1, they were involved in the heaviest  fighting of the war.   The men’s basic uniform was the American soldiers uniform but the helmut and other equipment was French. They were part of the French army and had to follow the French army rules. As I said, Gruel took hundreds of photos of the battle field: tanks, guns, planes, dead, live different allies from all over the world, US soldiers in the field. U S soldiers were not permitted to take private photos of the front, since Gruel was for all purposes in the French army, French were permitted by their army rules to take photos, so it seemed common practice for the men in these SSU’s to take photos even of the American who could not.    The ambulance driver did not carry a weapon, plus they carried the wounded of any army including the German. They would go to the battle field, get the wounded and take them to a hospital station set up a few miles from the battle field. Some of these bombardments would last for days, the Germans trying to blow up the roads so that the Allies could not bring up reinforcements, the very roads used by the ambulances. When things were not as active, the drivers would take the wounded to hospitals in towns further away.    Gruel was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his coolness and devotion under fire for taking the wounded off the battlefield during a violent artillery bombardment that lasted for days.     As I said, when I was given these items I knew that the French and Italians had volunteer drivers, but I never knew that American soldiers were assigned to foreign armies. As you see I became very interested and I knew the  Ambulance Service had put up a monument to these units in Allentown but I did not know where. So I first went to the Fair Grounds, on the grandstand was a plaque stating that this was Camp Crane during the war. I knew from photos the they turned the stands into a sleeping area for the men and that they ate their meals in the bottom part of the stands. I found nothing in memory of the units themselves, so I asked the workers at the office but they could tell me nothing. I met one women that knew it was a camp from the plaque on the wall and she gave me the name of the head of the Allentown Historical Group---but I was visiting only for the day and this was the time before computers so I was on my own. There was the hospital near the grounds and I remember many of the groups had photos taken there, so I walked around there, also I checked out a cemetery but no luck. I even went into some offices and was asking does anybody know about the Ambulance Service monument---no luck, then I saw a mailman and said to myself if anybody knew about things in the area, it would have to be him---sorry no luck, so I gave up for the time and started to drive and leave town then I saw this park that look like it had monuments to different soldiers, so I decided to check and there I found it. I thought it was a nice idea to have these monuments for the different wars and groups located in one place and was also happy to find the monument to the Ambulance Service because after all about 20,000 men went thru training at Camp Crane.        Jack McHughIf anyone is interested, a man in the unit wrote a brief history of SSU 625 you can find it at http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/SSU625/ssu625.htmlimageimageimageimage

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#6 [url]

Sep 30 13 4:47 PM

Jack:  Nice job recording the story of your neighbor's experience during World War 1--"The War To End All Wars."  All that fought in that great war are gone now; your neighbor was fortunate to last longer than Ernest Hemingway.  He only lasted two months before being wounded and taken out of the action as an ambulance driver, but this brief experience and his subsequent recovery in Milan provided the personal material he wrote about in "A Farewell To Arms."  A lot of young boys went off to that war and came back much older men, despite the war's brevity.  War has always been a young man's fight but viewing your photos, these young men look so much older than your typical 18/19/20 year old volunteers.
​ 
 Germantown had many families that sent their sons and husbands to fight in France.  One family I recall lived on Lena Street.  Their house was very dark, almost Victorian in its furnishings; it was like a shrine to the son that perished on a submarine during that war.  His death froze life in that family. I don't think they ever got over that loss.  One can only wonder how many similar stories played out like this in other families...and then we had another World War and repeated this painful experience all over again.  I've heard it said that this country has had more than 51 wars/conflicts (some report more, some fewer).  There's not enough land in Washington to put up monuments to all these conflicts.  Just recently erecting a monument to the Korean War veterans took a long time.  Little wonder you had some difficulty locating that monument to the Ambulance Service.  
Thanks, Jack!  Always appreciate a personal history story.  

Last Edited By: kevin Sep 30 13 4:49 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#7 [url]

Sep 30 13 8:47 PM

Ray Dawes:  I totally agree with your assessment of the "burbs."  Compared to the lively action and characters in our old Germantown, they are a wasteland, manicured as they may be.  I still recall our old friend JBS writing about its wilting effect on him.  The closest interesting place I lived in was SanFrancisco; all other places just didn't compare to our G'town sandbox. 

​Germantown had a distinct sound, odor and sense of excitement all its own.  Its rhythm resonated with me.  Good vibs!  I wish I could have bottled it for there is no way to duplicate it.  How would you recreate a scene of folks, sitting on their porches or stoops, yelling at each other, cats fighting in the back ally, big dogs in small yards, or worst--row houses. Great music (every week), good food, movie houses. losing Philles and dancing venues.  Throw in all the interesting characters and one had the complete package.  It was fun.  You could start every day by meeting up with good friends who would invariably say: "Did you hear about..." or, "You're not going to believe this shit..."  You would start your day with a laugh and end it the same way listening to John Facenda on the nightly news.  Lights out...

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#8 [url]

Oct 1 13 10:30 AM

Germantown Boy's Club

For those that were active in the Germantown Boys Club, you may remember John Gessleman, he was the athletic director at the club after he retired from his job. He also managed the Wakefield A’s baseball team. When WWI started he was a student at Temple Univ. and a member of their ambulance corps. He went with the other students in the corps to Camp Crane. Their unit was SSU 549, not having enough men, other volunteers like Harold Gruel were put into the group to meet full strength. First given the number 49, they were billeted in the pig pens later in the sheep stalls and the number was changed to SSU 549. They were part of a contingent that was sent to Betzwood Pa. for training since the muddy hills in that area was somewhat like the trench warfare area in France. At the time, the Lubin Film Company was producing a propaganda film there entitled, “For the Freedom of the World”. SSU 549 was chosen to be in a part of the film when a raid is made on enemy lines. One man from the unit Van Tine carried a big American flag, and when he got to the top of the parapet, he turned and laughed in the camera. I would have loved to see that film.   Before they went overseas, the unit was dissolved and the men put in a larger unit called Casual Co. #2. What SSU he was put in when he got to  France I don’t know. I do know that he was very active in the Ambulance Service veterans groups: the national group, the Philadelphia chapter and his own SSU group. In fact in 1979 the national group was phased out because, from the beginning with 12,000 members they were down to 300. Gessleman and 51 others decided to keep the Philadelphia chapter going as long as they could.      Gessleman himself in 1975 at the age of 82, returned to Temple to finish his studies and in his mid eighty’s got his bachelor’s degree. He was ninety when he died. Kevin, you are right on how these men aged, these men were also the field medic, fixing wounds etc. because they saw so much pain and death I think that is one reason my neighbor did not talk about his service, although he was very proud of it. SSU 549 at Allentown Gruel marked and Temple pendent, no names on photo, so I don’t know Gessleman, maybe someone out there knows? The Lieutenant William Yorke Stevenson of SSU 625 was also in that in-charge of the group before the American got into the war. He was from Phila. and he wrote 2 books about the Unit when it was SSU 1 “At the Front in a Flivver” and “From Poilu to Yank”, both books are on the internet.          The following photos were also taken by Gruel                                                                                                         French and American units meet, with some German prisoners.                                                                          Ambulance drivers and Doughboys
SSU 549 at Allentown, Gruel marked and Temple pendent, no names on photo, so I don’t know Gessleman, maybe someone out there knows?imageimageimage

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#9 [url]

Oct 5 13 11:38 PM

I can't say that I ever closed down the government, which appears popular these days,  but I did shut down the Band Box Theatre once.  It's amazing the effects a few well placed drops of skunk perfume has on an audience, be they in a theatre, on a crowded bus or in a packed elevator.  A few whiff's of the old skunk had folks moving out smartly and accusing one and other of doing something gross.  My laughter usually betrayed me.  I can't say how much enjoyment (clean fun) we had with some of the novelty items we purchased on Market Street, Downtown.  You might recall the exploding cigars, lapel flowers that squirted water... or the infamous "Whoopi-cushion"--the butt of jokes at every party or reunion back in the day.  In contrast to what I read about the kids' pranks today, ours seem timid.

 

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#10 [url]

Oct 6 13 8:51 PM

Happy Birthday, Germantown!  As my local paper so thoughtfully reminded me:  On this date in 1683, thirteen families from Krefeld, Germany arrived in Philadelphia to begin Germantown, one of America's oldest settlements.  The rest is history... 

 

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#11 [url]

Oct 11 13 8:26 AM

newspaper article

 I want to tell something I read in the newspaper back in my days in Germantown, I don’t remember the year but it happen at Chelten Ave. and Chew. Now this is not my neck of the woods (I just remembered that expression) don’t know if it was a Penna. expression or what but my mother used it all the time---here in Texas I never heard it, in fact I haven’t heard it since Germantown. Another expression my family used, was to say something is dear when it is expensive, I always thought is was another word for costly, then when I was older I thought that my family was just using the Irish/Gaelic word daor for expensive which has the same pronunciation as dear. Then years ago when I first came to Houston I was talking to a guy, and when I said I was from Penna. he said that his uncle (German ancestry) is from western Penna. He said to me “ and he used the funnest expression when things were expensive, he said they were dear” Well maybe it is a Penna. expression.     I digressed from the newspaper article I had read. As you may know, the inter-section of Chelten & Chew was very heavy with people waiting for buses. One week day afternoon at the busy time with many people waiting for buses, a car came screeching up to where a lot of people were standing, out jump 2 or 3 teenage boys with guns and they shoot another boy standing in the front of all these people. They then opened the trunk of the car, put his body in it and drove away.     They didn’t get far as the police were soon on them, turned out it was a prank that all the boys were in on. The guns had blanks and I guess the boys heads were also blank as everyone saw their license plate.

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#12 [url]

Oct 13 13 4:01 PM

Then and now and back to then

I read with some amusement, the comments concerning how some long for the friendliness of the good old days in Germantown, and other Philly neighborhoods of the past, such as neighboring Logan, my roots.  I think it would be safe to say, that most of our parents moved out  for a better way of life. They wanted the convenience of a driveway with guaranteed parking, back patio for barbeques, two bathrooms etc.  Turn the clock ahead 35-40 years and now we have people that want to go back to those glory days.  Of course there are those of us that moved on, and found our Xanadu in the Sunshine State.

John Fleming Florida's favorite uncle Uncle Johnny

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#13 [url]

Oct 14 13 1:04 PM

As a youngster, I was slightly intimidated by old people.  I didn't know what to make of them, shriveled up and oddly dressed as they were.  Disney turned many of them into witches, which I'm sure influenced me.  And, besides, I didn't personally know that many; most of the elderly seemed to succumb to pneumonia, the flu or heart attacks, especially men of middle age.  Cancer wasn't the leading cause of death back-in-the-day; most didn't live long enough to contract it.
 I certainly don't feel that way today.  It's probably no coincidence my views changed as I aged.  In fact, I'm strongly attracted to the elderly today, counting a half dozen 80 plus among my very best friends.  There were many more but they keep dying.  It's always been one of the arguments I had against living a long time: all the people you loved leave/depart; all the places you loved (like Germantown) change...and not always for the better.  Old age, without family, friends or good health can be lonely.Parks are magnets for the elderly.  I used to stop and visit with many that spent their days keeping a bench in Vernon and Market Square Parks warm.  I always asked them their life story which excited them, after a hesitant start, they were happy to reveal old dreams and even busted hopes, happy to be asked and  acknowledged as still useful human beings.  They revealed history/memories that I had not yet read about, and expressions I was unfamiliar with at the time.  I would hear that so and so thought "She was the cat's mellow" or another was a "A sight."   Most seemed to think that their enemies had "Cut them to the quick."  Come again?, I would say.
​Little wonder so many have difficulty learning English with all its slang and nuance.  Jack McHugh's example of "Dear" illustrated this nicely.  It got me thinking of all the times and ways I've heard it used.  Consider:  Dear One (beloved); Dear John (heartbreak); Too Dear (expensive); So Dear (sweet);  Dear God, dearly departed etc., etc.  I didn't even go near Deer which adds further confusion.  This is why I think one of the most non-confusing, non-verbal gesture one can make is a simple smile...

Last Edited By: kevin Oct 14 13 1:07 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#14 [url]

Oct 18 13 7:42 AM

Old Folks

Kevin, I thought it was a great piece on the old folks. Myself having a paper route I knew most of the old people in the neighborhood and I have to say that they were all very nice plus being able to talk with them as briefly as a few minutes collecting money for the paper each week, I got to know them a little more than the rest of the kids, so I had a different prospective about old people.     There was this old man who lived at the corner of Schuyler and W. Abbottsford across from Fernhill Park, for those who knew the area after he died Jean moved in the house, this was next to Kelso’s---Jean took over the corner store on Clapier from Barney.    Anyhow, this old man used to talk to all the children when they left the park going up Schuyler to their homes. He would tell stories of his days in the old West and how he was a Marshall, a Texas Ranger and also a Canadian Mountie. He had this big wooden chest with all kinds of things in it from the past, including his guns and holster and he used to show them to us. When he was telling the stories the children would sit and listen and make sounds of Wow and OOH, but when they left, most would say that they didn’t believe him and make fun of him. A few did believe him including myself and when he died the Germantown Courier wrote up a half a page on this man and the things he did, all of which were true.

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#15 [url]

Oct 20 13 6:26 PM

The disappearing steak

This is a story about a disappearing steak sandwich.  It all happened innocently enough a long time ago on a brilliant Saturday around noon, in old Germantown.  A factory worker hailed me from a third story window and asked me to get him a steak sandwich and Coke at the nearby Band Box restaurant.  Anticipating a tip, off I went.  Now the Band Box wasn't a high revenue joint.  Orders were made to go as received.  Sitting at the counter I watched the shredded steak added and chopped on the grill until all the red was gone, caramelized onions joined the cooked steak and placed in one of those delicious Italian rolls.  Sauce was poured over everything.  The smells were killing me (had I had breakfast?).  The steak was wrapped in white butcher paper and placed into a brown paper bag along with the Coke.  So far, so good...

​ On the way back I thought the bag might be leaking, so I opened it, sure enough some of the sauce was leaking out of the butcher paper.  Did I mention that the smells were killing me?  I thought if I just licked them up, no one would know the better.  Well, one lick led to another as I circumnavigated the roll and nibbled off the ends.  All this succeeded in doing was wetting my appetite even more.  Screw it, I thought. I'll have half for my tip, hey?  Before I got close to that factory, that steak sandwich was history.  All that eating gave me a powerful thirst,  so I finished off the Coke as well.  Deeply embarrassed, I didn't go near that place for a long time, but I had learned some valuable lessons: In the face of an irresistible temptation, my willpower was nil.  And, there ought to be a law against restaurants venting out grill odors of steak and onions--it's more than some of us can handle.  

Last Edited By: kevin Oct 20 13 6:29 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#16 [url]

Oct 25 13 1:50 PM

Ode to Baloney

Yesterday, Oct. 24th, was National Bologna Day, or as we called it: plain old baloney.  I thought for a moment that I would write an Ode to this old childhood food, but, then, that really would be a stretch, considering I haven't eating any of that "mystery meat" in years.  It has been said that there are two things you don't want to witness being made: sausages and Bills in Congress.  Manufactures of baloney are pretty cagy in the parts of animals they put into their baloney--some parts would make most of us faint.  But I haven't forgotten it and still can see my dear mother, having just prepared breakfast for the six of us kids, ironed our school clothes, lay out twelve slices of buttered Wonder Bread and cover each with a slice of that baloney-- with a bit of Ketchup on each sandwich.  This wasn't my favorite method of preparation, but special requests were given "The Look" followed by an eye-roll.  Truth be told, I preferred my baloney fried up in a little butter until it swelled up in the center and resembled a mushroom.  A good friend (JB),  that introduced me to smashed bananas on peanut-butter, added a new dimension to my baloney sandwich by adding potato-chips.  These were very tradeable  for another mate's sandwich, but I was never, ever able to trade with some lucky kid whose mother sent him to St Vincent's with a Hoagie!!  I couldn't believe it possible for anyone to devour a full hoagie and not fall asleep after lunch.  This is when I realized that it was better to be full of baloney than to fall asleep from a hoagie and have the good nuns send you home with a note. 

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#17 [url]

Oct 27 13 3:26 PM

Kevin....you are right on target with your post about "the elderly"!  Amazing how, all of a sudden we have entered our golden years, when it seems like yesterday, me and you, were strolling down the front lawn of good old CD high for our Baccalaureate Mass, some 50+ years ago!  Speaking for myself, as I go through life, believe it or not, I have more friends and acquaintainces then I ever did!  Unlike those that went before us, I think our baby boomer generation have done all we can to fight getting older.  I, like many in my age group, keep myself very busy and active.  I am in the gym 5-6 days a week, trying to stay alive image  I count among my friends there a varied age group. With the older ones my age, we enjoy the camaraderie.  Being in Florida, enables me to meet people from all over the US, with different backgrounds.  I am used to the look I get when I announce that I am from Philly!image  It's amazing that when folks think of Philly, all they think of is, a city that throws snowballs at Santa Claus.  It's great that they younger ones like hearing about "how things used to be", or at least I hope thats how it is.  I hope its not just a matter of being patient with the old guy.  Unlike our ancestor, who just sat back and complained about "the kids today", I try to get inside them and understand them.  It is quite interesting.  I still don't understand the whole tattoo situation.

John Fleming Florida's favorite uncle Uncle Johnny

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#19 [url]

Oct 28 13 1:04 PM

Navymon John:  Just thinking about CD hoagies gives me a brain freeze.  Thanks!  I ate that cafeteria food as little as possible during my four years in detention. (Do you remember the lunch monitor sitting on his throne in the front of the lunch area?)  He put the damper on several good food fights and wouldn't let us peek over the partition separating us from the girls.  Thanks to a health conscious mother, operating on a tight budget, we brown-bagged our lunch and I only stayed in the cafeteria long enough to catch up on rumors/jokes until I could go outside for a smoke.   Who picked up all those butts?  It took the US Army to teach me about field-stripping cigs.  It would seem that not only can't you go home again; you only set yourself up for disappointment if you try and get food items from your old hometown.  For example, I can't tell you the many times I've been sucked in with the promise of a "Philadelphia Steak Sandwich," sold here in Southern California.  I ordered one once that had a piece of meat that resembled salisbury steak and came with lettuce and slice of tomato...and they put mayo and mustard on it!   It also came with "Philly Fries?"  These were curly fries covered in gooey Cheese Whip!  JMJ!  Laughing to myself, I decided to see if it could get any worse, so I asked them to bring me a "Philly Pretzel" to cap off this gastronomic disaster.  You may have guessed it.   They brought me a bowl of beer nuts with huge rock salt imbedded in the little jaw-breakers...without mustard.  Hang in there, sunshine and keep trucking. 

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#20 [url]

Oct 29 13 6:50 AM

Dining at CD, and other random thoughts

Who can ever get the dining at good old CD high, in the early years.  Always easy to decide to what to order, as only hot dogs and beans were available, except on Friday.  In order to maintain our standing as good Catholics, soggy tuna fish sandwiches were on the menu.

Not sure if it was sophomore or junior year, but our generation, showing a harbinger of things to come, staged a cafeteria strike.  We were hungry as hell, and didn't want hot dogs anymore!  Suprislingly the school quickly caved in, and give birth to those infamous "simulated" hoagies.  Different, but not much better.  I had the good fortune to being seated at a table with a large Italian contingency, that introduced me to the many different lunch meats available.  Up to this time, I had only been exposed to baloney and chee samwiches!

Most of the monitors at lunch were the disciplinarians.  Perched up high on their papal balcony, along with the roving guards were able to keep a close watch on the dining inmates.  In giving credit where credit is due, all the strict rules and discipline in my 12 years of being in the Catholic School system in Philadelphia, made my seafaring days in Uncle Sam's Navy a walk in the park.

I lucked out in finding a pizzeria, that not only has the best pizza on this side of Naples, where they owners are from, but they serve up true Philly Cheesesteaks.  The owners are originally from the Philly area, and know how to do it right.  The only down side is that aren't able to use the same Amoroso's bread.  Down here in the sunshine state the local favorite sandwich is the Cuban Sandwich.  Actually a little more complex then a Philly Cheese steak, plus they have the advantage of having Cuban break readily available.  Its sort of an Hispanic hoagie, and really quite good.

I think the popularity of the Philly Cheesesteak, is due to Howard Cosell and Monday Night Football.  Since it was the only game going, they had 3 1/2 hours to fill, and so they used to highlight the local attractions of the home team.  Took awhile, but eventually Philly Cheesesteaks became an National Phenonmen.  Of course this gave rise to other bastarized "Philly" treats i.e.  Philly cheese hamburgers etc.

 

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