Saturday, May 8, 2010

Philadelphia Freedom

SPOILER ALERT: Dinna read unless you have read the first 4 pages of Chapter 87 in AN ECHO IN THE BONE.

Dearest Claire,

I beg you to pipe down about Philadelphia, my friend. As my mother Patsy says: "Better than you has lived in Philadelphia." Let me tell you a little something about this city (which is really just a big town full of neighborhoods) that you call "grubby and unwelcoming".  I had the pleasure of visiting most major cities in the great United States of America when I was working before I had my children... and Philadelphia is at the top of the "welcoming" list. The people are friendly; but not fake. They'll help you out if you need directions to the best cheesesteak place (Mama's in Bala Cynwyd, just outside the city, shhhh that's a really well-kept secret) and give you a smile while doing it. They will be nice as pie to you (unless you're wearing a New York sports jersey) no matter where you are: the Northeast... South Philly... the Western burbs... Rittenhouse square.. Kensington... Society Hill... doesna matter; Philadelphians are good people and do not all live in row homes with "yards full of rubbish". 
Next time you're there in the 20th century, please do stop into the Dickens Inn (which is now actually called "The Dark Horse Pub") whose building was erected in 1788. You will get a tremendous feel for the true magic and wonder of Philly - and a lovely plate of bangers and mash to warm your wame. Also make sure to visit Boathouse Row... or visit the truly beautiful works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art... or the dinosaur bones at the Academy of Natural Sciences... or the truly amazing inventions at the Franklin Institute.

I thank ye... your humble servant,
Purgatory Carol

PS: Please dinna rank on New Jersey either, as my spiel is even worse for that lovely state... which has been made into a laughing stock by the likes of The Situation and Carmella Soprano.

11 comments:

Tracey R. said...

Carol, you DO realize Claire is in Philly circa 1778, do you no? ;-)

Oh, give her a break. I'm betting that in 1778, every major metropolitan area was grubby and unwelcoming...

Purgatory Carol said...

Tracey, you DO realize Claire said "I HAD BEEN in Philadelphia once or twice in the twentieth century, for medical conferences. I hadn't liked the place then, finding it grubby and unwelcoming" and said the 18th century streets "would eventually be lined with run-down row houses with yards full of rubbish, broken plastic toys, and motorcycle parts".

Tracey R. said...

OH SNAP!!

Well, that was 1968, after all....wonder what neighborhood she was in?

Terry said...

I have to mention 2 weird coincidences. My mom is also named Patsy, and even tho I live in OH, I went to Valley Forge High School. Go Patriots!
I have skipped rereading the main body of the book to catch up to you and finish wih you. I can't believe how much I have forgotten in just those few months.
Yer jaw will be droppin' soon. Can't wait to get your reaction to all that's still to come.

Tracey R. said...

Terry: And here's yet another coincidence--the nickname of Carol's and my high school (Archbishop Carroll in Radnor, PA) is ALSO Patriots!! Truly a small world... :-)

Erin said...

Love the homage to Philly. As a northeast Philly girl myself, I was a bit offended at this part....but it was the late 60's and things may have been a bit different then; and to be fair, there are certainly still some grubby parts. But overall, I'm a proud Philly girl! I think I might have to do a little field trip and visit the sites that Clair mentions.

Purgatory Carol said...

Terry how funny is that?! And we were the Patriots too! Excellent!

Erin - I've said it before, I'll say it again, PHILLY REPRESENT! I love Philly so much it's wrong. I could have left the state for college, but instead I stayed and went to school in Philadelphia. And last year for my 40th, my husband planned my birthday around Philly because he knows how much I love it. He hired a car and wouldn't tell me where we were going... and as we came up over the horizon and I saw the city, he said "I know you love Philadelphia, honey" and gave me a gorgeous ring... and then we went to dinner at The Palm and two of my best girlfriends were there waiting for us. It was truly magical. :)

Jennifer said...

Carol, when I read the unflattering description of Philly I immediately thought of you and could almost see the steam bursting from your ears!

Purgatory Carol said...

Oh Jennifer... I was SO NOT HAPPY. Not that I hold it against Diana or anything. I'm assuming those were Claire's thoughts and not hers. And even if the were hers, it's OK. She's so high up on a pedestal in my mind, there's really not much that could bring her down. :)

Unknown said...

To each her own(DG)...but I'm so happy to see you defend my home town of Philadelphia! I have also traveled extensively, and Philadelphia is one fantastic city!..and it was fantastic in the'60's and'70's when I was growing up! Every city has it's run down parts and Philadelphia has always had a problem keeping itself clean, but it has so much to offer! It's well laid out, easy to navigate, has wonderful neighborhoods and attractions...Just fantastic!

Unknown said...

To each her own(DG)...but I'm so happy to see you defend my home town of Philadelphia! I have also traveled extensively, and Philadelphia is one fantastic city!..and it was fantastic in the'60's and'70's when I was growing up! Every city has it's run down parts and Philadelphia has always had a problem keeping itself clean, but it has so much to offer! It's well laid out, easy to navigate, has wonderful neighborhoods and attractions...Just fantastic!