Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks Giving

Today is Thanksgiving. This is not a Greek word meaning "sales tomorrow, football tonight". It is two words run together and should be a time of reflection as well as of family and/or friends.
Mr. Turkey is probably not so thankful that an oven will warm him today. We, ourselves, are thankful with the temperature going up to only 36 degrees today that our heater is on its job, because our heater went out the day before Thanksgiving a couple years ago and the repairperson couldn't come for several days. But then we were grateful we owned a lot of blankets.
(It is 31 right now as I prepare for my morning walk, but be grateful it'll get above freezing after all yesterday's rain).
My wife and I and daughters are going out for dinner this year. My wife's reached a point she can't do two big dinners so close together. We use to have my parents here for Thanksgiving. When they got elderly,  they didn't want to make the car trip here, especially since they would be going home after dark. They use to take us out to a restaurant on this day, but since my daughters generally worked at the shelters on Thanksgiving (they volunteer so others could spend the day with their families and they still do) it mades it hard to schedule a reservation.
My parents passed away last year, but we are thankful they had a long and happy life together. (She was 92 and he was 94.)

We talk about the First Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims and the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln in 1863. (For a thorough history of Thanksgiving in America, go to Jeff Jenkins'  "Thoughts and Theology" Website) 
But giving thanks to God for our blessings goes back far before there was an United States. For instance, read these instructions for thanksgiving in the Law (Leviticus 7: 11-15)

" 'These are the regulations for the fellowship offering a person may present to the LORD :
" 'If he offers it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering he is to offer cakes of bread made without yeast and mixed with oil, wafers made without yeast and spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour well-kneaded and mixed with oil. Along with his fellowship offering of thanksgiving he is to present an offering with cakes of bread made with yeast. He is to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the LORD; it belongs to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the fellowship offerings. The meat of his fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; he must leave none of it till morning."

Now as to our meat today, since we will be eating at a restaurant, I will miss the leftovers for the morrow, for my son and I love cold turkey sandwiches.
In all seriousness, here are some passages to ponder today:
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95: 1-3
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-3

The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. Psalm 147: 6-8
"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD." Jonah 2:8-9
(See, you can even give thanks in the stomach of a fish.)

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-15

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men –the testimony given in its proper time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6

They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 1 Timothy 4:3-6

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. 
   Amen!" Revelation 7:11-12


And may you all have a great Thanksgiving Day basking in the glow of all you have to be thankful for.  Amen?

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years Ago Today: Reflections on a Friday

November 22, 2013, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. This piece was written the evening of November 22, 1963. It describes that afternoon when we learned of this. John Kennedy had been President for less than three years at that time and was concerned about the election year coming up. When you read the article keep in mind that JFK was not liked by everyone, in fact, it was not at all certain he would win re-election in 1964. Don't be shocked that there was joking and even expressions by some of being glad this happened. This is not a fiction, but simply a recording of what occurred when the news came in to the office here I worked and the reactions of those around me.

REFLECTIONS ON A FRIDAY
November 22, 1963, Malvern, Pa.

         Lunchtime, I sat at my desk with the Philadelphia Daily News across its top. The headline read
“Baker’s Pal’s Widow Denies Suicide Link.” A picture of a woman was on the left.  On the right was one of Jackie Kennedy, with the President standing just behind her. She was speaking in Houston, Texas.
One o’clock, and I was supposed to be back on the job, but I went out to cash my paycheck and do a little shopping with my friend, Dave Claypoole, and was late to eat. I skipped the news and turned to the editorial page to read the letters. Even the usual crackpot letters were dull. I flipped further back and read the comics. My lunch was finished so I stuffed the paper into a drawer, put my empty soda bottle in the wastebasket and returned to sorting the index cards I had been working on before lunch.
As I sorted, a simple matter of putting them in numerical order, I planned for the coming weekend.  First, we would get groceries. Then I would get a haircut while my wife, Lois Jean, shopped. Saturday I would get up early to change a bad tire on our car and then I would take Lois Jean bowling. In the evening we would go to a drive-in movie. Sunday I hoped to get my studies finished and work on a story I was writing.
As I outlined my weekend, time was flying on its way through the afternoon. I was tired of looking at numbers and glanced at the wall clock. It was eleven minutes until two o’clock. At almost the same moment, Bob Keifer, a fellow worker, came by my desk. We had become good friends during the year and he often stopped at my desk with a new joke.
“Did you hear? They shot Kennedy.”
I waved away his joke with my hand. “Aw, come on, Bob.”
But he circled around to the side of my desk. “I’m not kidding.” He had a strange smile on his face
 So I still didn’t believe him.
“They’ve shot Kennedy. If you don’t believe me, ask Bill.”
I decided to take him up on this dare. Bill Mayberry was fanatical about John F. Kennedy. He had worked as a volunteer for Kennedy during the election and he never ceased praising the President. He had a large picture of Kennedy taped to his desk and a habit of whistling, “Hail to the Chief”.
“That’s Jack’s favorite song,” he would tell us.
I walked briskly, although not with urgency, toward the front of the mailroom where Bill had his desk. Before I reached him, I overheard a conversation between two mail boys. I did not catch the actual words, but I did hear something about the President and a shooting.
Now I could see Mayberry. He was sitting still with an expression as if his brain had short-circuited. I wanted to know what had happened, but I could not approach Bill after seeing his face. I went over to the mail boys. I did not notice who was saying what.  It was a jumbled, boiling conversation. Much of the afternoon was that way.
Sometime in this same general period, covering three minutes perhaps, the mail truck returned from a trip around the company offices. It passed by me.
“Is he dead?” somebody asked.
“I heard he was in serious condition,” said a voice behind the truck.
Bill stood and moved into the open area of the room. He was shaking his head slowly. He might have said something. I don’t recall if he did.
Someone else was speaking.
“I hear he’s dead. And his wife and some governor are in critical condition.”
I turned toward the sound, never seeing who was speaking. I asked, “They got his wife?” I felt a quick shiver in my backbone.
“That’s what I heard,” said a voice.
“I heard they missed him,” said another unseen. Voices were in the air, like spirits come to confuse mortal men.
A new mail boy named Jim Curtain entered the room, chattering like a small boy announcing information he isn’t supposed to have, saying over and over, “They got him with machine guns. I heard he was sprayed with bullets.”
Mayberry confirmed the rumor in a low murmur.  “He was shot.”
Curtain was flitting about an older boy named John Pal, asking John about a certain caliber of Browning rifle. “That’s a machine gun, isn’t it? It’s an automatic. Don’t you have to use a tripod to shoot it?”
Still at this point, no one really believed it had happened. At least, no one believed the worse. We were beginning to accept the rumor the President had been fired at, but we doubted the rumors of his death or injury was true.
It couldn’t have been more than ten or fifteen minutes since Bob Keifer had first stopped at my desk when it crossed my mind to call my wife. She might have the TV on and know more than we did. I got the company operator on Mayberry’s telephone.
 “Is this a personal call or…”.
“Personal, yes.”
“I’m sorry,” she seemed angry, “we can hardly get business calls out under the circumstances let alone personal.”
I hung up and walked to my own section. I could not work without knowing more about the rumors. The deaf man, who ran a stuffing machine, George Taylor, asked me what had happened.
“They shot the President,” I told him.
“Is he dead?”
“I don’t know.”
I returned to the front of the mailroom and Bill Mayberry had left for lunch.  The latest rumor was the President and his wife were alive and all right, as well as some Senator who had been wounded. There was a knot of mail boys talking at the front of the room. I saw Bob Keifer and, I believe, John Pal. George Johl was working not too far away. George was another close friend. He was a family man, holding down two jobs and going to night school, and a Negro with strong loyalty to Kennedy.
I went to the group and said to Bob, “I wonder if Bill will be heading out for revenge?”
“He went home to get his gun,” said Bob, then he turned to George Johl.  “See what you caused, see what your people caused?”
Suddenly bad taste had taken a hold of the room. It was strange, people telling cruel jokes at such a time, but I think it was because we wouldn’t accept the idea such a thing could happen. It must  just be a bad-taste joke as well.
A Federal Mailman came through the supply room from outside dragging a dirty gray bag of mail. He was grinning.  He dropped the bag and pointed at Bob Keifer.
“Why’d you do it?”
Bob kind of laughed, eyes wide, throwing up  his palms. “I didn’t do it.”
“Sure,” said the mailman. He looked at the rest of us. “He did it,” he said. “You did it.” No one spoke. he looked around. “I’m kidding. But I know who did it.”
“Who?” asked one of the girls.
“His wife was going to,” said the mailman, looking at her, “she would have.”
I was stunned by the broad grin on the mailman’s face as he explained how Jackie hated Jack and had plotted his death. “I’m glad it happened, the mailman said.”
I stood and listened. I wanted to slug the man, but one doesn’t do that in real life, do they? The mailman left.
I murmured to Bob, adding my own prejudice to the rumors, “And you wondered what Johnson was doing?”
Bob had asked only the other day what the vice-president was doing these days.  Johnson’s invisibility was a common joke. Now I was hinting that he had been plotting this crime. But perhaps, considering the rivalry and the location, it wasn’t so uncommon to say such a horrible thing.
Now speculation about the motives and who might have done it multiplied. Somebody thought it was a Cuban plot. Bob felt it had been a Negro group in Brooklyn.
“The Black Muslins?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“They’re not just in Brooklyn,” I told him.
“I know,” he said.  “They’re everywhere.”
An idea came to me. “Hey,” I said, “Edwin Walker! Isn’t he down there in Dallas?”
“Yeah, that’s his territory,” said Bob.
“Could be those nuts. Look at what happened with Stevenson.” [Note: On October 24, 1963 U. N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson arrived at the Dallas Memorial Auditorium to make a speech and was attacked by a large mob of General Edwin Walker's followers.]
Speculation was beginning to repeat itself. I decided to visit my friend Dave Claypoole in the payroll department to see if he had heard anything. It seemed an eternity until an elevator arrived in the lobby.
I took the elevator, which was crowded. There were three women and at least as many men in it. As we ascended everybody was silent until we reached the fourth or fifth floor and then one of the women mentioned something about the President being wounded in Dallas.
“He’s dead,” said a man.
“Uoh!” gasped the woman. “He’s dead?”
“That’s what I heard outside,” said the man.
Another man nodded his head. “I understand he was shot three times in the head.”
I got off and found Dave in his office. We both went down to the cafeteria and had a cup of coffee. I leaned against the machine that dispensed the coffee.
“Bad news. This is bad news,” I said.
All of a sudden I was shaking. I could feel it in my legs and stomach. It was a quivering, as if I was outside on a cold day.
A woman walked toward us, as if seeking news.
Dave tossed his arms up and open, speaking in a louder than normal voice. “Well, is this our chance to take over?”
The woman gave him a look of distaste. She hurried away. His words panicked me. I spun toward him. I began pacing with my hands in my pockets, trying to get rid of the cold I felt. I was shaking my head, sucking in on my lower lip. “What a sense of humor,” I said.
“I’m surprised it got you so shook up,” he said. “You didn’t agree with Kennedy’s policies.”
“But he is the President.”
We went back upstairs. I was still shaking. A woman passed us. “It’s true,” she said, “that was my mother. She said she heard he’s dead.”
The girl just inside the payroll room spoke, “I have a friend who use to work on the Inquirer. She knows someone there. Somehow she got through to them. They say he’s dead.” She told us somebody else was critical and we thought she said Jackie.
I left Dave and caught a down elevator. People got on and off. Two men were talking, smiling, joking. Other people were calm and normal. One carried coffee. Everybody hadn’t heard yet.
Back in the mailroom, I found Bob. “Let’s see what Russ says?” We found Russ Weeks, who just returned from lunch.  He had a radio and most of the mailroom was grouped around him.
Russ was just breaking away from the group when we got there.  His radio was not working. “He died, I understand,” he said.
It seemed certain by this time that the President had been shot and was probably dead.  It was confused whether anyone else had been shot.
Someone told Russ that Mayberry had left.
“Did he? Has anyone checked to see if he chartered a plane to Dallas?”
“No, but he went home to get his gun.”
Russ shrugged. “It’s a shame he got shot on a Friday,” he said over his shoulder, “otherwise, we might have least got a day off out of it.”
It was useless to try to work, but equally as useless to stand around. I started back to my desk again and was stopped by George Taylor.
“Ya know,” he said, “they were goin’ ta have steak. Somehow the Pope had made it a special Friday so they’d have meat. I don’t know what was the reason, but the Pope made it so they could eat meat.”
“I’ve heard they have certain Friday’s they can eat meat.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not Catholic so’s I don’t know what they called it, but the Pope said they could have meat today.”
“I’m not either,” I told him.  “I don’t know myself.”
“Well, ya know,” George lowered his voice; “the chef down there at the place in Dallas wanted to put this large special steak aside for Kennedy. The Secret Service wouldn’t let him. They told him to put it with the others. You cook up 3,000 steaks and we’ll pick one out.”
I kept nodding.
George went on. “Ya know, it’s funny. Just two days ago this turkey farmer wanted to give him a forty-pound turkey. Kennedy told ‘em to give it back to the man who raised it.”
Russ Weeks came in the back door. He stopped between us.
“They got the radio on out there,” he said. “One of the priests they called to perform the Last Rites said he’s dead. It’s still unofficial, though. But why would a priest lie?” He went up front.
George leaned toward me. “What he say?”
I told him. George shook his head. I followed Russ to the front. The mail girls were chatting to one side.
“I think if he was dead, Bill’s wife would have called,” said one.
"Not necessarily,” I told her, “you can’t get through. I tried to call my wife and they wouldn’t let me through.”
Jim nodded. “That’s likely.”
Somebody else, "You can’t even get a dial tone,”
Jim and I went over to Russ, who began talking right away.
"It used to be when something like this would happen, the newspaper would get out extra editions. I remember when you used to hear boys calling ‘extra, extra’ up and down the street. But now…”
I said the papers put out so many editions they didn’t need extras. But Russ had his own explanation.
“TV and radio get it so fast that the papers aren’t necessary to inform the people anymore. We were at the Cathey Teahouse when we heard. The waiters came around to each table and said the President had been shot. They said they would turn on the TV for news. It was something. The whole place went silent. The waitresses moved slowly, trying to be very quiet. Everybody just sat and listened.”
“I wish we’d get the story clear,” I mumbled.
“I don’t know how they feel upstairs,” said Russ, “but I think we should be allowed to go home.”
Mayberry’s wife called, getting through somehow, and after Russ told her Bill had left and hung up, he, Jim and I began talking about whom might have done it.
“I don’t think it was a Cuban," Russ said. “I think the anti-Castro Cubans hated Kennedy more that the pro-Castro.”
“I hope it’s a nut,” I said, “I hope it’s just some nut.”
They agreed. Russ spoke. “If the guy was with some group it would be bad. If it was a colored guy, they’ll be a lot of colored people killed. If it was a white guy doing it for the Negroes it’ll be just as bad. If it’s a Cuban, a lot of people’ll want to wipe out Cuba. I don’t think we would invade Cuba, but a lot of people would want us to.”
“That’s why I hope a nut did it on his own.”
“But if this is a group, I’m afraid there will be a lot of violence,” said Russ.
A new report reached us. It said the President was dead, the Governor of Texas was critical, Johnson was having a heart attack and was probably wounded. It was also reported that a German Musser rifle had been found on the sixth floor of some building. Three shell casings were nearby and one unfired bullet was in the rifle. It was believed this meant the assassin meant to get Johnson too.
Bill Mayberry returned and reported they had caught the assassin.
“He’s twenty-five and white,” he said.
More and more people knew. It was about three o’clock. There was anger and joy, rumor and speculation. I asked to go home and was allowed. I caught the train and the entire trip I read and reread the headline on the Evening Bulletin:
SNIPER KILLS KENNEDY

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My History and Connection to Downingtown, Pennsylvania

My first homes weren't in Downingtown, but I consider the borough my home town nonetheless. It is where I spend most of my youth and where much of what I would be as a person was formed.  I hold a great fondness for the place.

My family history goes far back to the town and the surrounding environs of Chester County and the memories of living along the Brandywine flow through my veins as much as blood does.

That history goes back further even than the 1870 photograph of Downingtown's then main street. My family is married into the very name. My Grand
Uncles Herford and Ellsworth Downing (Uncle Ellsworth is pictured on the right.) were direct descendants of Thomas Downing, for whom the town was named.

The two Downing brothers, the 4-Great Grandsons of Thomas, married my Grandmothers two older sisters, Helen and Clara. My Grandmother named Easter was the youngest child of William Frederick and Anna Dunlap Wilson. My Grand Aunt Helen and My Grandmother Esther were named for my Great-Great Grandmother, Esther Helen Bicking Wilson.

Esther Helen Bicking's father was Frederick Bicking and he was the Manager
of his father's paper mill in Downingtown.  The last remains of that mill, long after its usefulness and prior to it disappearing from this world is pictured on the left.

Esther Helen Bicking married William Frederick Wilson, who was a farmer and auctioneer. His son and namesake, known as Fred owned a large dairy farm that stretched along Route 100 from around where Ship Road crosses up to Lionville. He called his farm, "Marchwood".  Today his old lands are covered by housing developments and a shopping center.


The lead rider on the right is my Great Grandfather, William Frederick Wilson, Jr., engaging in what was a popular Chester County activity, riding to the hounds on a fox hunt.

As a boy my grandfather took me along on several such hunts through the farmland of Chester County. We usually ended up in a bar somewhere.

One of William, Jr.'s sisters was Emma Bicking Wilson. She married Benjamin Franklin Meredith. This fact freaks my kids out, "Our family tree doesn't branch," they yell. Yep, my mother and dad are cousins. I have a Great Great Grandmother who is also an Aunt and a Great Great Grandfather that is also an Uncle.

The Meredith's go back in Chester County a ways. David Meredith came here in 1683 with a group of Welsh Quakers. They settled in Chester County with a land grant from William Penn on what was called the Welsh Tract. This is why we have places with names like Llanerch, Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Bala Cynwyd, Berwyn and Uwchlan. Davis Meredith married a Philadelphia girl named Sarah Rush, who was the Great Great Aunt of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

David and Sarah settled about twenty-eight miles from Philadelphia, which Sarah described as "Six miles beyond neighbors, except Indians…" Another man who came over with the Welsh at that time was Richard Thomas, he was the namesake of Dick Thomas, who had the Brick Oven restaurant I loved as a boy. The families settled around a Lemi-Lenape village called Katamoonchick, meaning "hazelnut grove". The Lenapes had dogs and this afforded some protection. If strangers came into the area the dogs would bark a warning. Katamoonchick is better known today as Exton. (On the left is an early West Whiteland settler's cabin built in 1707.)

The Thomas Family became leaders in the community and established an estate off of what would
become Route 30. They named their estate, Whitford. The Meredith's eventually established farmland along what is now Route 100/202 and they called their homestead, Whiteland. (On the right is the home build by my 5-Great Grandfather Daniel Meredith in 1815 as it looks today. It sits off of Route 100 on Echo Hollow Road.)

So having established some long buried roots in this area, lets move up to more recent times and my coming to Downingtown. But first lets deal with my own arrival on the scene.

As I said at the beginning, my original home wasn't in D-town.  I was born at the Chester County Hospital in West Chester in the middle of 1941.

My parents at that time lived in Modena, sometimes known as Paperville and originally named Modeville.  This suburb of Coatesville was my father's hometown and a good bit of it was owned by his Grandfather, for whom he had been named, William Wilson Meredith. My father's family lived on Meredith Row (now called Meredith Court) in
one of the row houses owned by his Grandfather. Although his mother and brothers occupied some of these houses at the time, my parents were living in an apartment in this building by the railroad
tracks (pictured left) , also owned by my Great Grandfather.

All these structures still exist pretty much as they were those seventy-plus years ago, as does the family General Store (owned by my Great Grandfather, of course), which sits on the corner of Meredith Row/Court. (Pictured right.)  On the left are my father's family in 1930, when my dad was 12. From left to right are my Grandmother Florence Townsley Meredith with her arm around my father. The blond boy was the youngest of the three boys, Uncle Francis. Next is my Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Meredith III and finally, Uncle Ben (yes, Benjamin Franklin IV) My Grandfather was the manager of the family store and that is the delivery truck behind the family.

I did not live in Modena long, only a few weeks, and then we moved to Whitford, to the George Thomas III Estate and in with my maternal Grandparents. This is where my mother lived her childhood. The area was known as Whitford Station.




This is me standing in front of the house as it looks today (photo taken 2004).














Whitford Station as it looked in 1908.











My mother in front of the Whitford Home in 1930. She is the girl in the middle. The others are Bill, Bob and Irene Yarnell.

Although this was to be my second home, I didn't live there long either. I do not know the reason, but in December of 1941, when I was six months old, the whole kit and caboodle of us, Grandparents, Parents and I, moved to 424 Washington Avenue in Downingtown, right across the street from the East Ward School.

The house looked pretty much as it does in this photo then, except it had different siding and a wooden rail around the front porch. There was a green glider where that bicycle sits.

The United States had entered World War II at the time we moved here and my father went off to serve aboard the Destroyer Escort USS Jaccard in the South Pacific Theater, taking part in the retaking of Bataan and the Philippines in 1944.

This is my dad with me in 1944 during a leave. The house across the street was where the Buckley's lived. It sat right at the corner of the East Ward playground and I don't think that house is there anymore on Washington Avenue.

My father came home from the Navy in January of 1946, three months before his term was up due to the illness and death of his mother. (His father had died in 1937, when my dad was in his late teens.

On the right I am sitting on the front steps of 424 Washington in 1944.

We remained at 424 Washington for the most of the next two years, but my dad got a job as a trucker at Hines Trucking in Glen Loch. With the job came a house down in a swamp across the highway from the trucking company. Hines owned the property and let us live there rent free because dad was a returning veteran. This meant I moved again. In December, halfway through First grade at east Ward, my parents and I moved.

Glen Loch had once been a large estate and where we now located was at a far corner of it. The main house, called Loch Aerie (pictured right) sat along the Lincoln Highway more toward Frazer. It still is there today,

Our house was not so grand. It sat surrounded by a swamp on two sides, a cow pasture on another and a hill covered with corn behind.
Someone had started to cover the brick with whitewash and never finished, but the scaffolding still stood along one wall.

We lived there in isolation from the world, with no children my age anywhere around. I went to West Whiteland Elementary on the bus and then came home to make up games with my two dogs, Peppy and Topper.

But another December rolled around and my father changed trucking companies, going to drive for Atkinson in Philadelphia. This meant we lost the house and me moved back to 424 Washington Avenue in Downingtown. I was halfway through Third Grade.

I continued in Third Grade at East Ward with Miss Ezrah as my teacher. I am the dark haired boy standing directly in front of her in this class picture, 1950. On the far right of that same row, half hidden by Stuart Meisel, is Ronald Tipton.  Those two would become my best friends and remain so even today, although Stuart is in Florida and Ronald lives in Sussex County Delaware and I live in New Castle County.



Downingtown was small in those days and relatively quiet. (Pictured left, the center of Downingtown in the 1940s. On the right you can see the towers of the Swan Hotel and the side of the Downingtown national bank.) I walked downtown a lot or to the Roosevelt Theater (right) for Saturday matinees or to the library.

We lived with my Grandparents for a couple more years and then my parents were able to rent the
house at 417 Washington Avenue, on the opposite side about the center of the block. We lived directly across from Iva Darlington.

It was a double house. We lived in the side nearest the camera in this photo (right). The lot next door was owned by a farm equipment dealer. It was full of tractors and combines and such equipment. On Sundays when the place was closed I would go play on these vehicles. That is how that dealership looks today, except the farm equipment is gone and the lot is filled with pickup trucks.

I lived at 417 until the spring of 1956. (On right, the 400 Block of Washington Avenue from Chestnut Street.) The Landlord told my parents they would have to move because he wanted the house for his daughter, who was getting married. My parents bought a house near Pottstown, just above the Village of Bucktown and moved there by the end of April. I moved back to 424 Washington and lived with my Grandparents until the school year ended and I finished Ninth grade at Downingtown Jr. High School, then I moved out of town for good, although it will always remain my hometown in mind and heart.