Tuesday, December 06, 2011

120 Washington Avenue - A Trip Down Memory Lane

120 Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA
Our apartment was the two windows on the right, 2nd floor

Yesterday, while going through my Mom's papers I discovered another old photo which I never saw before.  It was taken probably about 1948, shortly after we moved to Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  It was the one below of my (with my fat ass) running up the steps to our apartment.  Oh did I ever climb the stairs in those days, unlike today!

Me scrambling up the steps by my Mother and father - 1948

We moved to a second floor apartment at 120 Washington Avenue in 1947 because my father lost his driver's license.  Prior to our move, we had always lived in the country.  Because my father couldn't drive a car, he had to move to a place close to where he worked.  He worked as a welder at Waste Motor Haulage in Downingtown, only a few blocks from the $22 a apartment he had rented at Washington Avenue.  The apartment building was owned by the man he worked for, David Ginsburg.

Me and my brothers sitting on the fire escape at 120 Washington Avenue - believe it or not I remember when I punched in the tip of my brother's hat (just to aggravate him) .  I was always doing something like that.  It was my job as Big Brother.

Me (on the far right) and my brothers John (far left) and Isaac, Jr. (in the middle...as always)  on the second floor roof landing outside our apartment at 120 Washington Avenue - 1950

Looking back over the years I see now where because my father had to make this change in his life because he lost his driver's license, changed the course of my life...for the good.  Because we lived in town I was able to walk to school and stay in the same school system for the next twelve years.  Back then in the Fifties you were either a "townie" (a kid who lived in town) or a "farmer" (a kid who lived outside of town usually on a farm but not necessarily so).  To be called a "farmer" back in those days (The Fifties) was a derogatory term.  Funny how times change, today it wouldn't mean anything.

My brothers John and Isaac, Jr. with my Mother and father on the steps at 120 Washington Ave., check out the hood ornament of the car - 1951

My two younger brothers (Isaac, Jr. and John) grew up on Washington Avenue.  We were poor but we had a wonderful childhood.  I would not have had it any other way.  We always had something to do.  Maybe we didn't have toys or parents arranging schedules for us but we had plenty of friends.  Mom always let us out of the apartment at daylight and we didn't come back until it was dark, and sometimes not then (for which we usually got a beating).

Isaac, Jr. and John playing on Washington Avenue - 1947

Fun times and summertime was the best playing "Hide and Seek" in the hot summer evenings.  Air conditioning?  What was that?  We didn't miss it at all.

Me (center) with my brother John (next to me) and Isaac, Jr. (in front) with some of our neighborhood friends (Patty Robinson and Johnny Johnson) at 120 Washington Avenue - 1952

I'll have to write a small novel about our years on Washington Avenue (from 1947 to 1953) just because I don't want those wonderful memories to be gone forever when I'm no longer around.

But for now here are some photos of that magical time.

120 Washington Avenue today - we lived int he second floor apartment - the steps we used to sit on are still there - 60 years later!


  1. Ron,

    Interesting isn't it, you moved into town in 1947, the year I moved out the first time. Different reasons, although both had to do with our dad's situations. My dad finally mustered out of the Navy after his service in the South Pacific during the war. Whereas your dad lost his privilege to drive, my dad got his first job as a truck driver for Hines in Glenloch. Because he was a returning vet, Hines gave him that house out in the swamp to live in and so we moved from Washington Avenue out to the middle of nowhere.

    He changed jobs two years later and we moved back to Washington Avenue and that was when you and I met.


  2. anne marie in philly6:41 PM

    interesting story!

    the pix at the top of the blog - is that taken in your current house?

  3. Anne Marie,
    The picture at the top of my blog was taken at the hotel where I work in Lewes. The tree is located in the lobby. In fact that is where I am right now typing this reply to you.

  4. Call me nosey but why did your father lose his driver's license?
    Did he have a medical condition that prevented him from driving?

    Funny how kids use to have such freedom running around the neighborhood in 'the old days'.
    Not like it is now. Nowadays the police would be at your door taking you to jail for being a bad parent.lol

  5. Kimberly (Slugmama),

    I don't mind telling you why my father lost his license. I did find out to about a year before my Mother died and she started to spill the beans. "Pop" , as we called him, lost his license for speeding then bad mouthing the police officer and then not showing up in court. So he had a choice, lose his license or go to jail. He opted for losing his license. As it turnedoutmthat was probably the best thing for us kids because we got to live in town even though it was an apartment. My life would have been a whole lot different if he hadn't had to move in town. I have friends to this day that I made back then. I do believe in fate.

  6. in a world of flux, it is nice to see something constant.

  7. I just love looking through old photographs.

  8. Rick,

    I love old photographs too! That is my Mission in LIfe now...to accumulate and post as many of these old photographs as I can to share with family and those friends who are interested. The older the better!


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