Sunday, June 01, 2014

Our Philadelphia Home

2409 Naudain Street (house with red door) - our home for eleven years in Philadelphia, PA


From 1969 to 1980, Bill and I lived in a center city town house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Prior to that we lived in an apartment in Roxborough, which was also in Philadelphia.  

When our rent was raised significantly in our Roxborough apartment we decided to buy a house and put our monthly housing expense into equity. 

I always wanted to live in Center City Philadelphia so I could walk to work and…..walk to the bars.  Hey, it is what it is.  I didn't have a car (Bill drove) and parking was always a bitch anyway when we went to the bars, so why not move to Center City?


Our home with the roof deck (see green cinder blocks at the top of the roof

So we went from paying $165 a month rental for a two bedroom apartment to paying $127 a month mortgage on a house that we bought for $27,000, which at the time I thought was outrageously expensive.  However, just to put the prices in context, our Center City Philadelphia house last sold in June of 2009 for $592,000.  




We loved that home.  There was an entranceway on the first floor as you walked in.  To the right was a garage (barely large enough for Bill's car but he never parked it in the garage because someone would park in front of the house and block him so he always parked outside).  

Further on down the hallway was a coat closet (something I don't have in this monster of a house we live in now).  Then a full bathroom and in the back a laundry room leading to the walled in back yard.

Me on the grill in the back yard - a hibachi - whatever happened to them?
To the left was a den with a fireplace. 

On the second floor (I have photos of all these but I'm not posting them because I don't want to overload this post with photos) there was a dining room, kitchen (albeit very small, a "Pullman" type kitchen) and a large living room with TWO Mussolini balconies overlooking the walled in back yard.

The view of our backyard from one of the living room balconies on the second floor - Bill built that swing


On the third floor were two bedrooms; one in the front and the other in the back separated by a full bathroom.  Bill had the front bedroom and I had the back bedroom.  Yes, we sleep apart, have for years…..I sleep alone having grown up sharing a communal bed with my two younger brothers until I was 14 years old.

We surely did love that house but there came a time when I tired of going to the bars, got tired of the noise of living in center city Philly (police sirens almost continuously and still to this day, when Pat and I visited last November the sirens were still going reminding me of why I left).  I also yearned for openness and fresh air.  The downside was that I would now have to commute to work by train.  

Bill built a rooftop deck to satisfy my need for privacy, space and sun.  

Me working on my base for skin cancer - 1974

I also like to plant and grow things.  Bill built window boxes for me on the roof and I had a small garden in our back yard which I assiduously maintained. 


My tomato plant, such as it is.  Believe it or not I have a few tomato plants growing in the back yard now in a compost pile.  Somethings never change.

These days we live in beautiful southern Delaware.  I have my space, sun and privacy.  A bit older these days though folks, 40 years old to be precise because the pictures featured on this blog posting were all taken in 1974.  Some things never change though.  This Bhudda, which one of our Naudain Street neighbors gave us, is now in the oval planter in our backyard here.  I can see it from my bedroom window.  When I look at it every morning as I do when I get up and open the curtains I am reminded of that very same Bhudda that used to sit on our rooftop garden at our lovely home in Center City Philadelphia.  Memories, how sweet they are.





14 comments:

  1. Your post reminds me of the reason Norma and I bought our 1st house in 1974. We were paying $140 per mo. rent on half a duplex but she found a house for sale a few blocks away with only $80 per mo. payments. It needed some work, which we did --and could afford. Was that just a more humane economy or what? I mean, there were a lot of things I disliked about the '70s, shirts for one --especially those binding sleeves-- but the economy clicked pretty good.

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    1. Geo.,
      The apartment that we left because the rent went from $145 to $165 is now $1,100 a month and not as nice as it was then back in the late 60's. Yes, back in the 70's it was more "humane." Bill and I had an advantage because we both worked and could afford the mortgage which doesn't sound like a lot now but back then I was only making about $80 a week before taxes. Of course the economy didn't take long to figure out two income households and the cost of rents and mortgages eventually adjusted to two income households. I don't know how folks starting out today get by.
      Ron

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  2. It captures the essence of one of my favorite poems ""The Lost Hotels of Paris'. It is lovely to recall our past magical memories of places now gone.

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    1. Dr. Spo,
      We really did have the best of times at our Philadelphia town house. It was perfect for the time we were there. But eventually I had to move on, it was time. But the good memories will always stay with us.
      Ron

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  3. Looks like a great place. I don't know Philadelphia at all, so I can't picture it in context. Maybe I'll look it up on google maps!

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    1. Walt,
      Philadelphia is a wonderful city. William Penn planned it all out, from the center of City Hall to the rest of Philadelphia. I think you would enjoy visiting it now, especially since it has become very cosmopolitan. For many years Philly was a "wanna be" city, now they have arrived. We love visiting there. No wonder the price of our former home has gone up so much.
      Ron

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  4. Ron,
    Keep the pictures coming. 1974 must have been a good year for buying. My first house in NJ was also my favorite, paid $22,000. for it and the mortgage payment was $200.00 per month including taxes and insurance. When I sold it in 1986 the mortgage had risen to $236.00 per month. I hadn't lived in the house for about 6 years instead renting it out to a friend to cover the mortgage and was renting an apartment for almost $600.00 per month but much closer to work. Lost my tenant and paid mortgage and rent for 6 months before moving back into the house. I finally sold the house and bought another twice the size and twice the cost per month. I still miss the first house. and it would have been paid for 10 years ago. Fortunately I don't have a mortgage payment now but I'm sorry I didn't buy something other than the condo that I'm in now. Still good to have a roof over my head in any event.
    Jack

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    1. Thank you Jack. I'm always concerned that I risk boring my readers with all my old photos but I do want to get them out there for posterity for when I am no longer around. I just know the original photos will be put out with the trash once I'm gone. No one in my family is interested in them. I hope my present home is my last residence. A condo is definitely in consideration for the future but I prefer a stand alone house with a backyard…..and birds.
      Ron

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  5. Lovely nostalgia, Ron. My youth was in the eighties and I love the way you lay everything out. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you Brian. My youth was the Sixties and Seventies, twenty year's worth!

      Ron

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  6. yikes, what a price increase!

    and I think you have written before about what a PITA it was for bill to haul the cement blocks up 3 flights to build the rooftop garden.

    my parents bought their ranch-style home in paoli for $18,750 in 1958. they still live there. the last appraised price was $350,000 (3 BR, 1.5 BA, 2 acres).

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    1. Location, location, location Anne Marie. Our former home was right in Center City, walking distance to all the "attractions."

      Ron

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  7. Wow - Ron - I would be totally content to live in that house and in that part of the city. I love Philadelphia.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      You would have loved that home. The "house" itself was perfectly laid out and the best part was the location, perfect! Not far from all the delights that center city Philly has to offer. Maybe I shouldn't have moved!
      Ron

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