Nancy Barch was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently lives in Delaware County, PA
The smell of wet sidewalks after a summer rain, roofing tar, playing under the water of a fireplug, walking to the library and the movies, playing hopscotch and red rover in the street, these are all memories of growing up in the city.
I was born and raised in a rowhome, you may know it as a townhouse depending upon your age, there were forty to a street, twenty on each side. I would wake up in the morning to see William Penn atop City Hall from my bedroom window everyday. I dressed and walked to public school with my friends. It was a comforting routine. Good citizenship was mandatory and everyone knew everyone else on your street, so you always behaved (until you got out of sight.)
Then, as you got older, you ‘hung out’ at the hoagie shop, went to dances and out for pizza. You many even walk to the drug store for a milkshake with friends after school. Yep, that was home to me then and, to my mind, it still is.
Karen Muldoon was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently resides in Hampton, VA
When I was young, home was always where my mother was. I took a long cross country trip in my 20s and when people asked me where home was I said “New Jersey” even though I had never lived there. My family had moved there while I was away. Later, when I married home was wherever my husband and I were together. We had a sailboat and sailed to many different places. Wherever we were together was home. So to me home is not so much a place as it is where I am with people I love. Hence, the sailboat and the couple in a heart.
Off and on we enjoy visiting Salisbury, NC, a small city/town approximately 40 miles from where we currently live. Salisbury is place rich in history and home to a wonderful main street and fabulous cultural facility called the Waterworks Visual Arts Center.
On a fairly recent visit, I heard two sounds that, not to be corny, resonated with me. Both sounds took me back years in time.
The first sound was church bells. When I was a child growing up in Philadelphia, the church bells rang a few times a day and the melody that played around dinner time is especially memorable to me, not just because it meant “get home” but because it was a lovely tune. I have since learned most church bells are now generated via computer, often several states away from the actual church. Quasimodo would have to be retrained or find himself unemployed.
The second sound was something that I completely forgot about: people in a wedding party beeping their horns. I asked some people younger than myself if this is something they ever heard or heard of and it was not familiar to them. The main reason probably stems from the more recent tradition of holding the wedding and reception at the same location.
Another source of sound that, for me, conjures up feelings of familiarity and comfort is the radio. Where I grew up, there is a 24 hour news station on the radio. Their slogan is “you give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world”. Aside from their slogan and very catchy jingle, the sound that was always sort of comforting to me was this strange typewriter like sound that was a constant “taptaptaptap” in the background of the anchorperson’s voice. I am including a live link below (you may have to sit through a commercial) but if you listen to the actual newscaster, you will hear that sound in the background. KYW Newsradio link
Out of habit, and possibly a bit of nostalgia, the last time I was in that area, I put on KYW waiting for that “taptaptap” and the comfort it was to bring. Oddly, after two plus years away, I did not find it at all comforting but rather irritating. When tuning into other stations I had listened to, DJ’s voices that once were like family seemed strange. On my way home, when I approached an area where I was able to get my current stations and heard the voices that are now part of my everyday life, I found myself thinking “home at last”.