Autumn 2012


Two excerpts from FranklinStein


it has a place for me as living

Germantown is a neighborhood in the northwest section of Philadelphia about 7 miles northwest from the center of the city. The neighborhood is rich in historic sites and buildings from the colonial era, a few of which are open to the public.
                                                                        —Wikipedia

It is a place about which some has been written

and some has been not

and people have very strong feelings.

A place of good blocks and bad blocks and brick roads and boxwoods.

A place where a battle was lost and Washington lived.

Where Still wrote his records of the Underground Railroad.

Where the Irish and Italians built separate churches.

The site of America’s first gingko tree.

The birthplace of pushpins and Louisa May Alcott.

A place where addicts stole drain pipes for copper for crack.

The place someone once told me I couldn't be from.

A place of train tracks and plane trees and vacants and trolleys.

Where people make history and witness or forget

or forget or re-write and make history.
 
 
 
it is hard living down the tempers we are born with

My mother was the fourth baby. The fourth baby born in her home on Milne Street. Before
Milne Street was a street it was a parcel. A parcel of land with an abandoned mansion. A
mansion abandoned by Milne a man with a mill and a mansion the latter of which he would
abandon because a different mill near his mansion disgusted him. That was 1908.

                       the sense of beginning or of ending always being in them

In Germantown. This is part of the history of this place and its people and how some of its
people remember the history of this place and the way people talk about places changing for
people who are part of their history.

                       this will come out slowly as it is written down about them

How they were always beginning. How they were always changing. How they were always
forgetting and remembering they were beginning and changing.

In the meantime, the builder wanted to build houses on what would become Milne Street. That
was 1921. This shocked politicians who thought the land worthless. Worthless land near a steel
mill and a railway except to a builder and a buyer and my mother was born there in the house
the builder built on Milne Street.

                       one who doesn’t have it in them to feel themselves as big as any world

may begin a story with a house on Milne Street. A house called an airlite. Where the kitchen
and the dining room share a space in the back. Not a shotgun or a railroad but a rowhouse
nonetheless. 

SUSAN LANDERS





 

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"Cliveden" from WHYY's Experience