History Lesson

So after Thursdays adventure to Ringing Rocks Park I was happy to have logged some major mileage n my shoes!  Two days in a row of some major miles and I was ready for more so Thursday night I sat down to dinner with Mom and Dad and tried to lay out a battle plan for Friday.  I had some things I wanted to do on my own but they wanted to take advantage of every moment I was there.  I get it, they don’t see me very often so it’s all good! So a plan was enacted for me to get some time with just my dad. 

Both of my parents grew up in the city of brotherly love.  So the idea of going into Philadelphia for them is no big deal.  I live in a city now, which boggles their mind.  They can’t fathom the fact that this former country girl craves big city living.  However to me Minneapolis is not big city.  When I was asked what I like about city living I can list off SO MANY things about where I live.  I almost feel bad about how much I love my city.  The energy, the noise, the convenience of the shopping.  The opportunities for culture like museums and the opera the people, it is just wonderful.  I have a T-shirt that says I ❤ MN and I mean it!

So Friday My dad and I headed into the  city.  Our first stop was his old neighborhood!  We were making a stop off at Swiacki Meats.  If there is one thing that a good Polish girl knows it is good kielbasa… and they make AWESOME kielbasa! I however don’t eat it anymore… I try to avoid processed meats as much as possible.  So we headed up Salmon Street and found a spot to park.  Dad and I headed into the small shop and proceeded to order 10 pounds of smoked kielbasa.  Time to refill the freezer! He also snagged some rye bread babka and pierogis.  None of these things hold any deep routed ties for me. 

We next headed around the rest of the Port Richmond neighborhood where my dad grew up and he showed me much of his old stomping grounds.  I saw lots of what would now be called townhouses but were once rowhomes.  Philly has a much different feel than Minneapolis… I almost want to call it dirtier feeling… or cramped but maybe claustrophobic?  I got to see a lot of the places my godfather lived then I got to see where

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My Grandparents Bar in Port Richmond Philadelphia

my grandparents used to have their bar. I hopped out of the car snapped a photo looked around a little bit.  The garage door on the left side of the photo my dad tells me he used to throw a ball at as a kid.  Dad like me was heavy as a kid, and seems to not recall much of his childhood.  I was happy to once again get to see some of where he grew up. 

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My dads childhood home in Port Richmond Philadelphia

We headed off from the bar and around the corner to just a few blocks away, or it seemed a few blocks away, maybe two or so to the house where he grew up.  It wasn’t much to see but it was his home.

So we finished touring around his neighborhood, dad told me a few stories about how they used his aunts address to get him into a different school and then he didn’t go to school for an entire month leading to the truant officer showing up at his Aunts house looking for him.  Then it was off to another part of the city!

I couldn’t recall the last time I went into Philadelphia to see our nations historical stuff.  I have been to the Franklin Institute since elementary school, and the Academy of Natural Sciences, and perhaps even the US Mint, but it had been a long time since I visited all the other things there. 

We found parking several blocks from the historical attractions, paid the new-fangled meter put the slip on the windshield and hoofed it from there! My dad was so impressed with the ease of which I moved!  He remarked that I should join him on his hunting trips because I could keep up better than some other people who have joined him recently!

We headed over to Independence Hall, the line was INSANE!!! We opted to skip heading to the secondary location for tickets to get in there and instead headed over to see the Liberty Bell.  We waited in line, observing all the school children and I strained my mind trying to remember the last time I was there.  So much had changed.  There is security all over the place now… things don’t really look the same.  We wandered through the exhibit, but only after security went through my bag.  I get it you need to make sure no one has weapons and such, my epi-pen and inhaler are such a threat! We made it back to the area where the bell was.  There were SO MANY PEOPLE!!!

I waited and examined where it take a photo not full of random people.  I kinda wanted my photo with the bell, but I knew that wasnt likely to happen.  I waited for just the right moment, and snapped my photo… Success! Not full of strangers!
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After we left the Liberty Bell we headed over past the Visitors Center and up to the National Constitution Center! Inside there they have all kinds of neat things, you can sign the constitution, take photos with statues of our founding fathers in theoretical positions that they were in.  There was a whole exhibit about Abe Lincoln that was kinda cool, we read some of the panels but not all of them.  (We really would need all day there!) We wandered through the “core exhibit” that they have which is “We the People” it was really cool, you could take interactive tests that would tell you when in history you would have the right to vote.  They have artifacts on display like social security cards of former presidents and other things.  It was really cool!  There was also a live one woman show that we saw that rocked too!

After that our parking meter was sue to expire so we hoofed it back to the car and decided it was soon time to head out of the city to beat the Friday night traffic!  We were going to be meeting my mom for dinner and a movie anyway and didn’t want to be late.  We made it back to the car with a few minutes left on our parking slip.  Philadelphia parking enforcement is no joke! As we got closer to the car I saw no less than 6 parking citations on the street we were on!

So out of the city we ventured, traffic was picking up but wasn’t too bad.  We took the turnpike, which I hadn’t taken in a long time.  I think it was possibly 2005 when I moved when I last actually saw the rates for the turnpike.  It had jumped in price by an amazing amount.  The fare that used to be $.50 was now $1.10.  Crazy! We headed to the diner where my grandparents used to eat dinner every night.  (My dad’s parents)  They would drive the 45 minutes to this diner every night of the week for dinner, the food is good, but to me, not worth the insane drive!  It is across the street from Willow Grove Naval Air Station.  When I was in college I used to hang out at this diner and study between classes. 

My mom was about 15 minutes late to dinner, but Dad an I ordered our dinner anyway and ordered for her too.  I loaded up a plate full of salad and relaxed while I waited for my chicken breast to come.  We enjoyed dinner and talked about our day full of adventure and then it was off to the movies!  We saw Bridesmaids.  It was okay, not as good as I had hoped it would be.  They missed an opportunity to go a different direction with the movie, but my parents thought it was hilarious. 

After we left the theater we headed off to a bar on the way home to hear some friends play some music.  This was a HUGE step for me.  I would have NEVER gone out to a bar at 400 pounds, let alone a bar in Pennsylvania where I could have potentially run into people who I might have known!  Luckily my friends here in Minnesota have shown me that it is okay to step out of my former self and have fun!
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I was a bit nervous when I first got there.  I didn’t know anyone other than the guys in the band and well my dad.  How lame is that.  After a few songs I went up and said hi to Brendan (the guy on the right in the photo) He didn’t even recognize me anymore.  He was happy that I showed up.  I had relaxed into my element, the music was awesome! Although I did feel a little bit like I was cheating on my own bar, I thought of my friends, the regulars at my bar and how much fun we would be having here. 

We stayed until the band was done playing at just after 10:30.  I chatted with some of my dad’s former co-workers and current colleagues.  It was a great time.  It was nice to have spent the day getting to hang out with my dad.  We were never close when I was younger but we are working on our relationship now. So I got a dose of both the history of our country and his history as we looked into our own futures!

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My Dad and I

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