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Jun 21 14 11:08 AM

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Like a lot of our viewers I waived goodbye to old Germantown/Philly many, many years ago, but that didn't mean I escaped its influence.  Recently, I had a serendipitous moment: I ran into a mechanic eating his lunch here in Santa Barbara that turned out to be from Philly (South Philly).  Almost immediately we fell into Philadelphia jive talk.  Inspite of the difference in ages, we quickly got down to the nitty-gritty of Philly food in general, and Hoagies in particular--none of which his Mexican co-workers understood.  He got me when he said:  "Your not going to believe this shit.  My aunt was the 'Hoagie Queen.'" Get out, I said!   He told me she went and pulled out her High School Year Book (1972) to prove her point.  "There it was" in all its black and white glory, inscribed under her picture "Hoagie Queen!" No, there's no escaping our past.  We carry it around like a bottle of water and a backpack...for better or worse. 
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Jul 24 14 2:25 PM

My Own Serendipity

 In all my years living in Houston Texas I’ve never met anyone from Philadelphia let alone Germantown. Although I did meet 4 different people that ignited memories of my growing up in Germantown. My father worked for Cities Service Oil Co./Citgo, he got a monthly magazine with stories about the company. I remember reading about their fleet of tankers that sailed from Lake Charles La to NY/NJ.      First person I met was the son of the Captain of one of these ships and the guy told me how in the summer his father took him with him on these trips on the ship.                                                                                             Second person I met lived in NY and his dad was an accountant for Hudson Oil--- now I remembered these stations when we took trips to NY---they were big and had more pumps than the regular stations. I think Philly had one or two of these gas stations. Because of the name I always thought they were from NY but the guy told me they were out of Kanas City. His father moved to Houston to run the 14 stations they were building in Tx. Interesting that neither of these 2 guys were in the petroleum industry themselves.     Third person was Tim Schenk’s, his father Ken & grandfather John had Schenk’s Bakery on Wayne Ave. & Clapier St., Tim didn’t know Germantown because he grew up in Mechanicsburg Pa. After the family had read the Germantown Blog they emailed me and I went up to Conroe Tx. to visit their shop just a few months ago. Guess one of the things I had---that’s right a George Washington cake. They even had a display of things from the Germantown Bakery which included some old molds and many of the original receipts, many in German. To see some nice pictures of the bakery go tho their web site Montgomery Bakehouse and check out the old video.                                                                                                             Fourth person was the grandson of a person that had a plush job with the American Stores. Now I recalled the American Stores very well, at one time they were on corners all over Philly. At one point they started opening bigger stores and calling them ACME Markets. Chelten Ave. had one near Germantown Ave. and the other at Chelten & Morris, but at the same time there still were many American Stores throughout Germantown for those of us without cars. At Wayne & Manheim was an American Store butcher shop on the NW corner, The sign said ASCO, I remember asking my Dad what it stood for and he said American Store Co. When you entered you walked down a short ramp, in the center on the Manheim side was a big wood panel walk in freezer, Down at Wayne and Seymour was the American Store Grocery on the SW corner and it’s sign said AMERICAN STORES (all the American Stores at this time were painted an orange yellow color.    My mother used to send me with my wagon and a list of things to get. I would give the man the list and he would get the items and load my wagon. On the counter was a huge roll of brown paper and string hanging down from a big spool, they didn’t have bags at that time they just wrapped your items. They had a rolling ladder that was attached to the shelves, plus 2 of the pole type grabbers---a short one and a long one. On the very top shelve behind the counter were 2 new wagons for sale-----a red and green one. I had a red one myself but I loved the green one (I think because it was different and most people had the red one)     About 1953/1954 a bigger ACME Market was build on Germantown Ave. near Ashmead Pl., by the time they opened this supermarket they closed all  the American Stores in Germantown. I believe a boy in my class at SFA by the name of Arthur McKeon, his father was the manager of the store.     I worked part-time at the ACME at 7100 Ogontz Ave. from 1963-1967, I went downtown to apply for a job at the headquarters, a big building with a large sign on the roof that read AMERICAN STORES, some years later it was changed to read ACME MARKETS. When I worked at Ogontz our pay envelope was marked American Stores Co. and around 1966 they started saying Acme. There was an old lady that worked in the store by the name of Alice and she had told me that in her youth she was a manager of one of the old American Stores in Germantown. 

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