Yes and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
My hometown has gotten a bad rap for many years, whether it is due to crime, obesity or (as of late) sweats, we have seen our share of media bullying. Regardless of where we stand in the poll of the week I am proud to call Philadelphia my hometown. My City of Brotherly Love is always waiting for me to visit with open arms no matter how long I’ve been away. Friends I haven’t seen in years treat me as if it has only been days since our last hurrah. We are a city that embraces our communities and celebrates its diversity.
Now, I could go down the list of many different things that make Philadelphia or if you wanna go Greek Philos Adelphos (loving brothers aka City of Brotherly Love) great, like that it was the first Capitol, the birth place of our first American flag, the gorgeous Liberty Bell, the first American zoo, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts was the first museum, birthplace of American Bandstand, Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon and one of my favorites growing up Will Smith. The list is deliciously endless.
But, what made it great for me was just being nuzzled in her embrace. I remember walking the Italian Market when I was kid with my nose wedged in a book as locals and out of towner’s mingled, yelling their produce orders and waving their money in the air as I seamlessly weaved my way through, naturally stepping into the dance that was walking the market. I imagined the characters of my stories chasing each other down Carpenter St, meeting up at Montrose Pool, battling it out at Palumbo Playground and then begging for forgiveness at Saint Paul’s Church. It was a city that helped me believe that anything was possible, a place where your neighbors and friends encouraged you to follow your dreams. Grant it, they may call you a “Crazy Bastard!” somewhere in their encouraging speech but you knew they were behind you the entire time.
When I breathe her air it’s like an electrical charge that floods my entire body, reigniting that piece of myself I left behind when I moved as a teen. The cars circling City Hall sounding like ocean waves and the Bronze Angel that is William Penn standing tall above us reminding us of where we started and where we are. My city is a beautiful place and one of my first loves which makes it a perfect place for me to release my monsters.
Every time I introduce my characters to a new part of Philly I can’t help but reminisce and then I pray I can do my city justice and help others see in her what I do.
What is your favorite hometown memory?