Old family row house

Old family row house

In a tiny dilapidated former steel town in Pennsylvania, stands a shadow of it’s former self……..the old family home.  My dad was not born there, but a lot of his family  were.   His older brother,  his mom and dad all passed away there.  They were “laid out” in the living room of this home.   So many people,  so many memories.  I will never be able to think of this place without remembering the stories……… imagining the coal seller dumping a load of coal in the street,  and one of the brothers opening the chute under the porch……and then all of them shoveling the coal down the chute into the basement next to the furnace.  Or the  man my dad worked for – the vegetable seller,  with his horse and wagon……my dad running ahead calling to the next houses,  “turnips  !  carrots!  apples !”  to drum up business for the fellow………Somewhere there is a photo of me standing in the backyard of this house – holding out a huge peony blossom extending from a gigantic peony plant.  The house is now out of the family for the first time in a hundred years……..it is in the midst of urban decay.  All the older family members have passed away and it is on it’s own now.  We don’t have any relatives left who could or even should reclaim the poor house.   My cousin  is on his own tangent and can’t care for himself and lost the house in the process.  But what I would do for a chance to get a slip of that peony plant……it belonged to or was loved by my dads mother many years ago.  She brought a start of it from the small town she lived in when she  first moved to this country.   At least that was the story that went along with the spectacular plant back in about 1981 or so. 

It is sad,  to lose something so ingrained in the family,  but it wasn’t up to us what happened to it.  Everything that happened to it, we discovered after the fact……and it was lost.  There was a fire and it is now condemned.  Both homes on either side are now gone as well…….All that remains truly is the memories of those who have gone before us………and such great memories I have of all of them. 

Here’s to you 424 Hopkins Street,  thank you for all the memories !

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