On Loving Philadelphia

 

on loving philadelphia ramona mead while i was reading
Me and my husband in LOVE Park

 

Growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, many of my school field trips were to local dairy farms and apple orchards. For bigger trips, we visited the regional cities, New York City, Washington DC, and with so much history close to home, I’d been to Valley Forge and Gettysburg on trips as well.  My favorite trips were when we’d load onto buses for the forty-some mile trip to Philadelphia. Granted, I was most excited about the zoo back then, but as I got older I grew to appreciate all the other fantastic things Philly had to offer in its history, plus concert venues, professional sports, and cultural spots.

It wasn’t til adulthood that I learned of the city’s bad reputation (crime and rude behavior, to put it mildly) I’d never experienced any of that and  had moved to a different part of the country, so Philly has always had a little space in my heart, and that region has always been “back home,” regardless of where I’m living.

I visited Philadelphia on the 4th of July almost a decade ago, it’s something all Americans should experience. There’s a special energy in the air, a sense of pride that is absent most days, as if it’s an annual reminder of Oh yeah, this is why we’re all here.

on loving philadelphia

 

My last trip to Philly was five years ago, in May. It was important to finally show my other half where I grew up. He’s a history buff and this was his first time to the City of Brotherly Love. It meant a lot to me to share this place with him.

on loving philadelphia
My husband in front of Independence Hall

 

I haven’t lived in Pennsylvania in over 20 years and it’s been over a decade since I’ve lived in a big city  (and that was in the south so it’s not quite the same). We’d barely been in Philly 12 hours by the time I realized I don’t enjoy the atmosphere as I once had. It hit me on the first morning, when I was nearly brought to tears by the rudeness of a Dunkin Donuts employee. As we wandered around the city that day, it was if I’d never been there before;  “What stinks? What is that noise? Why isn’t anyone following traffic laws?” I guess I’m just not a city person anymore and I’m okay with that…

 

on loving philadelphia while i was reading
Grumpiest Patriot ever

 

Despite my complaints, as soon as we entered the historic district I felt uplifted. I looked around and remembered why we were there. It was a beautiful spring afternoon, sunny but not hot. Tourists wandered around, though it wasn’t crowded. There were tour guides in historic costumes leading groups of school children and shouting out facts about the landmarks. It was clear why I’d been so excited to come back to see these sights again as an adult. While standing inside Independence Hall, I felt a little overwhelmed by the knowledge that our country started here. I doubt I ever fully realized that as a kid.

on loving philadelphia while i was reading

 

At this point in my life, I love loving Philadelphia from afar. Having grown up in that area automatically gives me street credit I probably don’t deserve, but I’ll certainly take it! It also gives me a lot of room to be incredibly obnoxious in support of my sports teams (E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!)

Most of all, I appreciate having roots in a place very different from where I make my home now. It keeps me well rounded, and makes me who I am: The Liberty Bell, Tasty Kakes, The Philly Phanatic – are all a part of my foundation. Just like when I lived in Raleigh, NC for eight years and developed a taste for Hush Puppies and a tendency to say y’all.

When I go back to visit those cities, I return home fully appreciating the lifestyle I have in Montana. Those reminders of my “previous lives” keep me grounded in the life I live here, and helps me remain open minded and compassionate in regard to teh regional differences across our country.

 

on loving philadelphia ramona mead while i was reading

 

I cherish all things related to Philly’s history, and have a small collection of Bicentennial souvenirs I’ve found at thrift shops. I defend Philly’s negative reputation while at the same time acknowledging it. You know how you can talk shit about your own family, but if someone else does you get pissed? It’s like that.

on loving philadelphia

 

So Happy Independence Day from my patriotic little heart and my Liberty Bell collection!

 

5 Comments

  1. Paul Taubman

    July 4, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Historic Philly is a completely different place than the City.
    The last time I was in Philly, I contributed to the City of Brotherly Love by donating my bone marrow to someone that needed it.
    It has been years before that when I was last actually in the city. I loved the historic area and found it easy to get taken back by the history and the meaning of what transpired there.
    Thanks for sharing and thanks for the memories.

  2. Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA

    July 4, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I’ve never lived in Philly- but I’ve been a Phanatic (long before it was born) for more than 5 decades! So, I am in Philly almost every other weekend in the summer. And, I also love the museums.

  3. peppylady (Dora)

    July 4, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I don’t know what it is but I like a roll of trees. Not sure what it is but I find peace among a roll of trees.
    I’m taking part in UBC challenge stop by for a cup of coffee if you have time

  4. Martha

    July 4, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Things change immensely from when we visit a city from years past. Glad you got to revisit in, I love your Liberty Bell collection! Happy 4th to you.

  5. Kim

    July 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    I really loved reading this. As you know, I grew up in Honey Brook so all my school field trips were to Philly too. I loved going to the art museum the most though. I couldn’t wait to go when the teacher would say we were going. I took my children before they were kindergarten age and could not understand why they did not like the wonderful art exhibits! When i go back to Pennsylvania, i love visiting Philadelphia. I love the rich history. I had to take my husband to see all the attractions a few years ago. He really enjoyed it. He also loved how i always turned up Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” when it came on the radio too. I really enjoyed reading your blog. It made me smile and feel so proud of how i defend Philadelphia as well when i hear people bad mouth it.

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