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Mom's Story

A Narrative by Berenice H. Karaso

Growing up in the big house on Ellsworth Street was quite an experience. I call it the big house because it was the main house belonging to my grandparents. And all the other relatives lived around in the neighborhood. And all activity began and ended in that house. We lived with my grandparents. At that time there were eleven people living in the house. There were my grandparents; their daughter, Aunt Camille; their son, Alfred Swoyer we called Bubby; my grandmother's two brothers: Henry and Billy; and then there were the five of us: my parents; my sister, Dolores; my brother, Charles, we called Buster; and myself. It was a great place and we had lots of fun!

W hen my grandparents were younger, and they had a large family, my grandfather would rent a suite of rooms in a hotel in Atlantic City to take his family down there for the summer. They did that for many years. There was a picture we had, I remember, of them down in front of the hotel. And my grandparents with their large family and my mother, who was a beautiful sixteen year old, and all her brothers. And, I don't know whatever became of that picture. But they went down there every year on their vacations until my grandmother sort of tired of going to the hotels. Then one day my grandfather came home from work. My grandmother was sitting in the parlor. And he threw some papers in her lap and he said, "Here's your Atlantic City home." So from then on, my grandmother spent a lot of time at her home in Atlantic City, mostly from Easter to Halloween. And she loved having us down there with her. My sister, Dolores, would go down with her when she was a child at Easter time. I would spend the summer there, or parts of the summer, after school closed for the summer.

My grandmother, who was called "Nan", loved to sit in her favorite rocker on her sun parlor porch and reminisce about the old days. And we would sit in the dark at night. And the little light that would be coming in from the moon or the stars, whatever, the street lights were on. And I would lay on the chaise, the beautiful wicker chaise that they had there in the sun parlor, and listen to her stories. And that’s how I have memory of her family and things that occurred when she was young. Her father … I heard this story many times … came from England, Stratford-Upon-Avon in the late 1850’s. He was wealthy…he came from a wealthy English family. They owned a lace factory somewhere… I’m not sure where… and they also had a minister in the family who gave sermons using the organ. And he came over first class. And on the way over he looked down at the steerage. And he saw this beautiful red head woman there. And he was fascinated by the red hair. He was taken in by red hair. And, apparently, met her on the boat. Her name was Annie Tobin; and she came from Cashel Tipperary. So they came over on the same boat.

My grandmother’s father, George Maurice Lodge, and Annie Tobin were married and then had six children. He was thirtyfive years older than she, that was always part of the story, the great difference in age. And she died at an early age, in her early thirties. He had a bible that he recorded in his handwriting all his children’s names and birthdates. The bible was kept in a closet, second floor bedroom in the second room, in the house on Ellsworth Street. And, I remember reading or looking at these notations through the years and this beautiful handwriting that he had. The oldest child was Joseph Lodge. The next was my grandmother, Marianne Josephine Lodge. Then there was Caroline Lodge, Henry Maurice Lodge, William John Lodge and Ella Lodge. When their mother died, the father would take care of the children, until he passed away himself. He was carrying the youngest child, and he had a stroke. And he dropped the child and fell down himself. My grandmother always said he was a good man. Although he was a Protestant, after her mother died, he continued to send them to Catholic church. So that’s why they were all raised Catholic. And, that’s probably why we are all Catholics today. So it was up to my grandmother, who was around fourteen at the time, and her older brother, Joe, to raise the younger children. At that time there was no help from anywhere. No help of any kind, so she became a laundry worker … she ironed in a laundry… did ironing in a laundry. He worked for Western Union. He was one of the first telegraph operators. I understand he was an expert telegraph operator at Western Union. They wanted to put the two younger boys, Henry and Billy, in Girard College but my grandmother wouldn’t hear of it because of the fact that religion wasn’t taught there and she felt that they would lose their Catholic religion. So she decided she would take care of them herself, which she did until the end of her life.

My grandmother was born in West Chester, New York, she said, in 1863. When they came to Philadelphia, I don’t know… I don’t remember… I wish I could remember some of the stories she told me, but sometimes laying on the chaise I would doze off and miss some of the stories. Although my grandmother had said her father came from Stratford-Upon-Avon, when my son, Paul, was in England, he sat with the office, and they had no record of it. And they said he may have been born elsewhere and left for America from that point. And… of course, his wife, Annie Tobin came from Cashel Tipperary. When they came to Philadelphia they mostly lived in the area around Center City. They lived on a street called St. Mary Street.

N an had two aunts that were her mother’s sisters: Aunt Margaret and Aunt Mary. I remember her saying that Aunt Mary was a maiden lady who smoked a pipe but Aunt Margaret married an Englishman named Ganley and they had a hotel and restaurant at 15th and South. My grandmother said that below 15th and South there were only farms and woods. That was the end of the city at that time. She learned to cook there at her aunts’ restaurant. I imagine the aunt must have helped out taking care of the younger daughter, Ella. Aunt Mary eventually moved to Gloucester and opened a hotel-restaurant there and a racetrack, where they had sulkies racing.

The Ganleys were merchant marines, and they traded back and forth to Japan on merchant ships, and they brought back lots of kimonos and Japanese items that they would bring back to my grandmother. And I remember them telling my grandmother that someday we would be at war with Japan. They predicted this way back at the beginning of the century.

Uncle Joe Lodge had many interests, one of them was the opera. He loved the opera. And he would take his wife, who was then his lady friend, Aunt Em, to the opera and he would… She was a dressmaker. And she made beautiful cloths. And he would dress in his evening clothes and Aunt Em in her beautiful clothes. And he would take her in a trolly car to the opera. And my grandmother thought that was gross. So, she told him that was no way to take a lady to the opera. He should take her in a cab. But, Uncle Joe Lodge saw nothing wrong with that. So he continued to take her in a trolly to the opera in his evening clothes! Henry Lodge was also interested in the opera. And he would go to the opera in his evening clothes, but he would have a rented cab, horse-drawn or whatever was in use at that time, I don’t know.

My grandmother herself had many interests. She was interested in just about anything. I always enjoyed her interest in baseball, of all things. When we’d be down the shore, in the summer, we would have to go to the newsstand to pick up the paper as it came in from Philadelphia so she could read the scores. And see who played that day and all about the baseball from the Philadelphia Athletics or whoever was playing. She was also interested in poetry, and reading, and music. She had many interests. She was… I don’t know the level of her education, but she could read and write. My grandfather, she told me, was not able to read and write. And when they were first married she taught him how to read and write. And he was a self-made man. And he became a big businessman in Center City Philadelphia with little or no education. The family moved all around Center City, different places. I remember this story. I never read about it in the newspapers, or lives of John Wanamaker. But one of the stories my grandmother told was John Wanamaker used to come around her neighborhood with a pushcart, selling dry goods, many years ago. I don’t know what neighborhood that was then. I couldn’t say. She used to also talk about Jules Junker, who was a well known person on the Main Line, who sold bakery goods, and came around her neighborhood selling baked goods too. So she was familiar with all well-known Philadelphians at that time.

First Holy Communion
Dolores and Mom

Nan said that because her father married an Irish Catholic girl, he was disinherited from his wealthy Protestant family. And after he passed away she had no help from his family. They would come to visit her and say “How are you making out, Mary? Are you doing alright?” But never any help. So, she and her brother, Joe, were left on their own to take care of the younger people. Because her father was disinherited he became a boot maker. And, I guess, that’s the way he made a living. Her cousins were in the same business as the Duponts, I understand. And, they lived on Broad Street. They had a large house there. And there were four of them: two ladies and two men: Mary and Adelaide and Frank and John. And they were… I believe all of them were unmarried. They were in business. And my grandmother had said that they had invested another million dollars in the business. And it was gunpowder. And World War I ended. And one of them was so upset over it that he committed suicide. He was found dead at his desk. So, the cousins would visit Nan in Philadelphia through the years. I remember them coming to the house. And I remember them coming to visit in Atlantic City. They had a large house up near the inlet. We would see this house as the car turned, the trolly car turned going to the inlet, it’s a very large mansion. And they would come to visit my grandmother, during the summer when I’d be there. And they had this large limousine with a chauffeur in livery. And the chauffer would come in the house, carrying a silver tray of cookies for us and he would carry it into the kitchen, leave the tray in the kitchen. And after they were leaving, when they were ready to leave, he would come in and my grandmother would take the cookies off the tray and he would take the tray out to the car. I remember these cookies so well because they were very large sugar cookies, plain sugar cookies, and they were delicious but, as kids, we were always looking for something fancy. So that’s one of the stories about Mary and Adelaide. After my grandmother passed away I never saw Mary and Adelaide again.

Mom in St. Teresa's School
A letter from Nan
June 28, 1935  
A letter from Nan
October 13, 1935

My grandfather, who was called Pop-Pop’s, family came from Ireland in the mid-1850’s. His father’s name was James Gallen and his mother’s name was Alice McCall. Where in Ireland they came from I don’t know. I never knew. Their oldest daughter, Margaret, was born in Ireland. She was called Abby. That was her name. And the next daughter was Katherine, who was called Kitty, Aunt Kitty. And then there was Ellen and the youngest, my grandfather, was Charles. He was the youngest in the family. At one time they seemed to have lived next door to the Lodges. We found that out when reading the census of 1880… I think… or 1870… I’m not sure which… We have to look that up… Margaret, who we called Aunt Abby, was married to Cornelius Gallagher, Con Gallagher, and he had a livery stable at 15th and Federal Streets, where he rented out carriages, horses… horse and carriages, for weddings and funerals and the like. And, they had no children. But her sister Ellen had four children. And when she passed away Abby took care of them. That was: Katie Kerr, Litha Kerr, David Kerr, and George Kerr. And then, Katherine, Aunt Kitty, she married Dougherty, who they called Doc. She had the one son, and he passed away at a young age from tuberculosis. Of course, Charles, my grandfather, Charles F. Gallen, married my grandmother, Marianne Josephine Lodge, on November 15, 1880 in St. Mary’s Church in Philadelphia. St. Mary’s down in … Spruce Street… 4th and Spruce… I think it’s 4th and Spruce. They had about 10 children. Four of them died as babies and the others lived to adulthood. There was Joseph; and Charles; and my mother, Alice; and George; and Alfred Swoyer, who we called Bubby; and Camille; and Edward. Edward died when he was about two. And then there was James and Annie. And they died as infants. And Marie, who was around three or four years old when she died of diphtheria. In early days my grandfather started his business with a horse and wagon … I’ll talk about that story a little later… And there’s another story my grandmother told about the Blizzard of 1888, which is well known in the annals of weather keeping and my grandfather shoveled his way to his mother’s house to bring her food and whatever was needed. And it was quite a distance to her home. And he shoveled his way all the way there. I remember my grandfather telling me, at one time, that when he was… he was an amateur boxer himself, a bare-knuckle boxer. He was always into something physical. And when he was sixteen years old, he fought thirty rounds boxing, bare-knuckles. So he thought that was quite an achievement at sixteen years old, to fight a bare-knuckle thirty rounds. All his life Pop-Pop was interested in sports and physical things. We called him the Gayelord Hauser of his times. He was always interested in health things, things that pertained to health. I remember Pop-Pop telling me one time that he never had a headache in his life. He was only sick once in his life, too, when he had typhoid fever, which he said he got from drinking from a glass that someone else had used, and he caught that. When he passed away he had all his teeth and no fillings at the age of 89, which is a remarkable feat.

Mom in West Catholic High School
Mom in West Catholic HS

Click photos to enlarge

Mom in West Catholic High School
Mom in West Catholic HS

Pop-Pop was a well known Philadelphia sportsman. He was a promoter of boxers and he was also interested in horse racing. He was an expert at picking winners in horse races. In his early years he started his business with a horse and wagon. He borrowed the money to buy from Billy Lodge and he moved his business around to wherever he could stable his horses. He took great care of his horses. He was an expert at judging horses and all of his work horses were blue ribbon horses that he bought at auctions. He had a sled, a horse drawn sled, that he took to Fairmount Park when weather was permitting, when snow was on the ground, and he would take this sled, horse and sled, with the sleigh bells, out to the park and my mother remembers, as a little girl, going out there and Pop-Pop driving his horse-drawn sled, and the bells ringing, and the horse galloping along, and he wore his… he had a special coat and hat, fur hat and gloves, that he wore when he drove the horse and his sled… (He also had a carriage, too.) I remember the riding apparel he kept in the cedar box in the third floor front bedroom, the large cedar box was built by his son Charlie. It was a beautiful box and that fur and the other family furs were kept in this large cedar box, built by his son, Charlie.

Pop-Pop’s business was… he was called a teamster. A team meant that a team of horses pulled a wagon. Today a teamster has another meaning. In those days it involved horse and wagons only. There were no automobiles then or trucks, but later Pop-Pop had a few trucks added to his wagons and the family moved around to wherever he could stable his horses. And they lived there on Ninth Street for a while. And people say, “Well, why Ninth Street? There was a market there.” But this was long before the market came there. The Italian market wasn’t there at this time yet. My mother remembers when she was a girl they were driving a herd of cattle through the street down there on Ninth. And she was nearby in a red dress and one of the bulls got loose and chased her. And she had to run as fast as she could away from the bull. Later the family moved to Ellsworth Street above Ninth Street and the horse stable was directly across the street and that’s where he kept his horses at that time. Some years later, he moved the family up to 1325 Ellsworth Street. They were there a few years. I think… I’m not sure… but I think Aunt Camille may have been born in that house, 1325. And they were there a few years, when he built… not built… moved the family to 1307 Ellsworth Street, because his stable was behind the house. And it was the closest he ever got to his stable. The stable was behind three houses on Ellsworth Street. It was a large stable and he had many horses. He also had a pony stable. He had little ponies in there. And he had chickens in the stable, he had a chicken coop. Oh, he had as many as twenty five chickens at a time. And they had a little cart with a goat and the little cart was Aunt Camille’s. The goat pulled the little cart with Aunt Camille in it. They all told that story. That was before my time. We kids were not allowed in the stable, but when Henry was in charge of the stable, when he wasn’t looking, well, we would sneak out and sit in the wagons and watch the teams coming from work at the end of the day. And, one time, my brother and I decided we were going to climb the ladder up into the hayloft, to see what was up in the hayloft, because we were not allowed there, of course. So we climbed the ladder to the hayloft. And up there was this sled that Pop-Pop had used many years ago in his sleigh rides through the park, was up there in a corner. And, I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I had heard of it and had never seen it. And here it was up in the hayloft and it looked like a sleigh you would see in Christmas pictures of Santa. It was a beautiful thing. I don’t know whatever became of that sleigh. Of Course, we never said anything about it because we weren’t allowed in the hayloft and we had to come down. And I was never up there again. Afraid of getting caught, I guess. Anyhow, that’s another story there.

Alice Josephine Gallen
Mom Mom

Alice Josephine Gallen
Mom Mom

Henry Lodge took care of the stable. Henry, when he was young, he also worked at Western Union. He was an operator there. He was supposed to have been a good operator. And, did his job well. But he had a problem with his eyes. It seems that when he was a child, sand was thrown into his face at the beach and it damaged his eyes and he never was able to see well again. So, he had to leave his Western Union job and he started to sell newspapers. And he started that business with a loan, also, from Billy Lodge. And, eventually, he had to give that up and, then, Pop-Pop put him in charge of the stable. And Henry was very protective of the stable, and the horses, and who came in and who came out. And, children were not allowed in there but since Henry couldn’t see too well, well, we would sneak out and sit in the wagon. And he didn’t know the difference if you kept very quiet. And it was very wonderful to see the horses coming in from work, and being washed down and groomed and assigned to their stalls, and Henry would feed them all, and everything. It was very exciting. I thought.

Billy Lodge was a carpenter. He grew up to be a carpenter. And, Nan said, when the houses on Ellsworth Street were being built, the three houses: thirteen-three, five and seven, were being built, Billy was one of the workers helping to build the house, the houses. And that was some time ago. So he eventually got a job at the Navy Yard as a carpenter. There’s a story that goes, that when Billy was a little tot, there was a famous kidnapping in Philadelphia, a baby by the name of Charlie Ross was kidnapped. It was a famous kidnapping in all the newspapers at the time. And, Billy looked so much like this Charlie Ross that he was picked up by the police and they had to go to the station house to claim him, that he was not Charlie Ross, that he was Billy Lodge. He had blond curly hair, and looked exactly like the pictures that were published of the kidnapped baby.

George Lodge and son, Henry, 1870's
George Lodge

There’s a story told about someone brought home a small baby pig and brought it into the kitchen and Dolores was a little girl. She… They had it on the kitchen floor, and it was running around. Dolores thought it was a kitten. She called “Oh, little kitty cat!”. They all told that story about Dolores and the little pig. But they put the pig in the stable and the pig grew so large that they didn’t know what to do with him. So, our next door neighbors, the Crescenzos, had a relative who was a butcher. So they said that they would take him. So I remember, they brought this huge pig into the back yard and put it into some kind of hoist. And hoisted it over the fence into the Crescenzo’s yard. And it was some sight seeing a huge pig going over the fence into the next door’s yard! I remember seeing that from Mom-Mom’s bedroom window.

A lot of people thought it was strange that we had all these stories about the stable and life in the house, with the horses and all. But we did have a stable in the city. It was our life, our whole life, our business and Pop-Pop’s business. And it was a very exciting time. Everything in the house was connected to that stable or the business and we had a lot of fun there at the time.

Pop-Pop personally took care of his horses when they were sick. Pop-Pop attended to them. I remember him running through the house at night, late at night, boiling water in the kitchen and Uncle Joe coming over to give him a hand. You can hear the horse. There was a sick horse in the stable whining and kicking. There was a special stall they used called a box stall. Any horse that was sick was put into this stall, because they really kick furiously. It’s a terrible sound. And Pop-Pop would take care of the horses personally himself. And, he was an expert at horse care. It seemed like anything that was given to the horses was also given to those of us who lived in the house. For instance, they would have liniment to rub down a horse and then the liniment would be kept in the back kitchen on the shelf. And them who did hard labor work, lifting and hauling on the trucks would use this liniment to rub their muscles. So there was always the smell of liniment around too. And Pop-Pop always had cream of tartar tablets for the horses. In the summer, they were large tablets about the size of a half dollar, I guess. And they, also, were kept on the shelf in the back kitchen. And, we, as kids, had to have a cream of tartar tablet everyday. And, Pop-Pop would come from work and ask us if we had our cream of tartar tablet everyday. So, we… the horses had cream of tartar tablets and so did we! I don’t know what the reason for it was but we always had to go along with whatever the horses were having. And it also went to horse blankets. Every bed in the house had a horse blanket on it. When the blankets got too thin for the horses then they were cleaned and put on beds. And they were warm. You never were cold in those days. Because we had these warm horse blankets on every bed! Nan used to say that Pop-Pop bought the finest of blankets for the horses, better than what we had on the beds. But then we would have the hand-me-down blankets from the horses on our beds.

Pop-Pop’s entire family was into the horse business. Some relatives of his had a horse farm in Clifton Heights. My mother remembered going there as a child with her father. They would spend a couple days there at this horse farm. Their business was breaking in wild horses. Their name was McCall. He had a cousin named Charlie McCall. Apparently a relative on the mother’s side. Pop-Pop’s father, my mother remembered him being a large Irishman who sat in a rocking chair smoking a pipe all the time and his wife, Alice, who my mother was named after, was an Irish washerwoman, the same type of washerwoman that the Kelly mother was at the time. My mother said that after church on Sunday, the children, she and her brothers, would go to visit their grandparents and her grandmother would always have this special cake that she baked specially for her grandchildren when they came visiting after church on Sunday. She called it a Dutch cake. They always looked forward to having this cake at her grandmother’s home.

Besides being a well known Philadelphia sportsman, Pop-Pop was also a well- known Center City businessman. He had many large accounts. Some of them being General Electric and the Franklin Institute. They were a couple. And he had several motor trucks and just as many horse-drawn teams. He had several employees that drove the horse drawn trucks. And my father drove one of the auto trucks. And there was another driver, Hammy. And there was a third driver they called Little Tony, I think his name was. One of the jobs my grandfather had was moving the Liberty Bell from its place in Independence Hall to a flat truck, or rather to one of his trucks and onto a flat truck at the Baltimore and Ohio Station at 10th and Noble. This was quite an honor for my grandfather to move the Liberty Bell from the cradle of liberty here in Philadelphia. And my mother remembers there was a little parade through Center City taking the Liberty Bell to the freight station at 10th and Noble. And my mother helped decorate the truck which she said was filled with flowers sent by my grandfathers’ customers and friends from Center City. And she helped decorate with ostrich plums, and ribbons and silk flags and she said, it was at the time… it was a beautiful sight. I believe the Liberty Bell was to be at the exhibit the St. Louis Exposition 1907 in St. Louis. My grandfather was asked again to move the Liberty Bell when it was moved for the last time. But he turned that job down because he was afraid that the crack would widen, or get worse, and he didn’t want to be responsible to any damage to the Liberty Bell. The picture that we have of the Liberty Bell and my grandfather’s truck shows my grandfather with a group of men, the mayor of Philadelphia, and a former mayor of Philadelphia, together with Keystone cops and other well known people from Center City at the time. It’s quite a treasure to have this picture of my grandfather.

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We’d go down to Atlantic City for the spring and summer beginning at Easter. She liked to spend the Holy Week at the churches there. When she was ready to leave Philadelphia, Pop-Pop would have the house opened and taken care of by a couple that he knew. The man was a former employee of his. He drove one of his teams and they would open the house and air it out and get the lawns in shape and so on. And Pop-Pop would have one of the trucks take down Nan’s trunks and her birds and plants and whatever she wanted to take down. The truck would go down with her supplies and things. And she would spend the summer there. Sometimes she would come up to Philadelphia and do shopping or other things. But she mostly stayed at the shore for the summer until around Halloween time. She liked to knit. After the death of her second son Charlie in an auto accident… she… the doctor told her to take up knitting. It would keep her mind occupied. Her son Charlie was killed at an auto accident. He was on his way home from work and he was standing on a running board of a truck when the truck hit a bump in the road. And he fell off and hit his head on a curb and never regained consciousness. And this was a terrible blow to Nan. So she took up knitting and became quite an expert at it. And she used to go to shops on the boardwalk and receive instructions how to knit certain items or crochet things. She did beautiful work. By the time she came home in October she had knitted many sweaters and hats and things for different members of the family that she gave as Christmas gifts.

Mom Mom and Aunt Camille
MomMom and Aunt Camille
A letter from Poppy
July 8, 1932

One of the things that Nan liked to do was to take us to meet Pop-Pop at the train on Friday evenings when he came down from Philadelphia and he would take us to dinner and we would go to a restaurant, or wherever Pop-Pop selected, and enjoy a nice seafood dinner. We had some wonderful times in Atlantic City with Nan and Pop-Pop. They were wonderful grandparents. And I don’t think any… There are no words to explain how wonderful they were. So Nan would spend the summer there in Atlantic City and we would come down when it was our turn to come down. She shared the house with her family. Different members of the family were given time to stay there. Two or three weeks at a time. Whatever the arrangements were made I don’t know. But they would all share in her home. She liked to have her family there too. Pop-Pop would come down and ask us if we would want to go for a walk on the boardwalk. He called it “walking the boards” and he’d say: “Get ready now. We’re going on up in the boards.” So we would get ready and go up… walk up… oh…three miles, three and a half miles, up to the Steel Pier and walk back. He was well-liked in Atlantic City. Everyone knew him. And…

Sometimes on the weekends my father would come down and we would go to the beach with him and Sunday mornings we would go to Our Lady Star of the Sea to Mass there. And, sometimes we would come out of church and we would meet Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, who attended the Mass there at the same time. He always made a fuss over us, and my father would get a little annoyed and we would ask my mother why Poppy would be annoyed with Philadelphia Jack. And she said the reason was because he, at one time, had his eye on her and Poppy sort of was a little jealous of him because of that, but Mom-Mom didn’t marry Jack O’Brien. She married Poppy; she said. And then Bubby would come down when it was his turn. He would send word down he was coming down. And he’d say “Get Ready. I’m coming!”. And when he came things would really be stirring. We’d had a wonderful time with him. He took us everywhere: dinner, piers, movies, theaters, swimming, whatever. And those memories are really great with Bubby. It was at the Million Dollar Pier that Bubby took us one night. He wanted to see Paul Whiteman. He said Paul Whiteman had a banjo player that was one of the world’s best, name of Eddie Peabody. And, we went to the Million Dollar Pier with him. And Paul Whiteman was there. And, he played George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which was the first time that Paul Whiteman had ever played it. I believe it was at that period at the Million Dollar Pier. I also remember at there seeing Baby Rose Marie. My grandmother used to take us to see what they called “The Dancing Dolls”. And it was always a treat for us to go there in the evening. And Baby Rose Marie was featured as the star of Billy Rose’s Dancing Dolls. She was known as Baby Rose Marie. I remember very well seeing her. And today she must be about my age or maybe older, because she was popular when I was a child.

One of these times when we went to the Million Dollar Pier to see the Dancing Dolls, my grandmother took Dolores and me and she had made us satin coats. Dolores had a beautiful blue satin coat and I had a pink satin coat, with beautiful smocking on the front. And we were all dressed for the evening to go to the pier, which in those days you dressed to go anywhere. There was nothing casual there. And we were so interested in watching the show, my grandmother had Dolores’ satin coat on her lap. And, in the excitement in watching the show, someone stole Dolores’ satin coat right off her lap. That many years ago. When the show was over Nan realized the coat was gone. Dolores was heartbroken. We had to return home without a coat. So Nan immediately made Dolores the second coat, the same as the blue satin one. A beautiful blue satin coat that she made. Another time we went with Nan to the to the Million Dollar Pier to see the minstrels. We were really very fond of Emmit Welsh’s minstrels. And Nan sat downstairs in the orchestra section and we went upstairs in the balcony. And for some reason or other we started to come down to look for Nan and as we were looking for her she came out and saw us. She said there was a fire on the boardwalk! She had heard someone say in the audience that there was a fire in the boardwalk. We better get out of the pier! So we quickly went out and here there was this huge fire right opposite the pier. People were running and screaming and we had to hold onto my grandmother so she wouldn’t fall because she was kind of light on her feet. And we had to hustle up the boardwalk away from the flames. The flames kept following us. That was quite an experience.

Buster and I liked to go to the inlet to watch the aquaplanes take off. They were called “aquaplanes” then. They came out of a hangar and went down a runway. And skipped along into the ocean on up. Sightseers would be taken up. And we would go up there and spend a lot time hanging around the hangar watching the planes going up and coming back in. And the pilot saw us. I guess he got tired seeing these two kids here. And he offered to take us up. At that time I was game to go up. I wasn’t frightened at all. I was game to go up. But Buster and I talked it over. We decided Mother would be angry if we did such a thing. So we said no. Our mother wouldn’t allow us. So, that was the only time I had a chance to go in the air. And I never would go up then, again, or since. We also had a … Mother bought us a bicycle, a two wheel bicycle, and we learned to ride the bike. We had a wonderful time with that. I learned to ride a two wheel bike, which we called a “wheel” in those days. And I could ride a bike with Buster and some of our friends from Atlantic City. We had a good time with that. But we weren’t… We couldn’t ride this bike in Atlan’… Philadelphia rather, because the streets weren’t safe enough for bike riding, even in those days. And, of course, we couldn’t ride it on the sidewalk. So we had wonderful times in Atlantic City with Nan and Pop-Pop.

Charles F. Harvey, Jr.

Pop-Pop would come down on Friday nights, like I said. We would have dinner. Not always. But we’d have dinner with him. And he would give us each a dollar for spending money. A dollar was a lot of money in those days. And he would give us each a dollar for spending money. And then when he’d be returning to Philadelphia on Monday morning he would say: “Do you have any spending money left?” And we always would say no, we spent it all. And then he would give us each another dollar. So, that was not very honest. But he knew we didn’t spend it all. That’s how great Pop-Pop was! The most wonderful person in this world. There was never another person like Pop-Pop.

So Nan would return to Philadelphia around Halloween time. And, Pop-Pop would send down a truck and bring all her things back: her birds and plants and trunks and whatever she gathered during the summer season. She usually told the driver to stop and pick up autumn leaves and then she would clean up her lawn and bring back her prized dahlias which she was so proud of. These beautiful flowers would fill the house when she returned. The trunks were brought in and put in the parlor. It was always exciting. To open these trunks and see what Nan had brought back. It was like a Treasure Island thing. ‘Cause she always had goodies of all kind in these trunks. After they were emptied my father would carry the trunks upstairs and store them on the third floor. So then life would go on in the house. Pop-Pop always sent home very special things for Halloween: baskets of nuts and fruits and things. I especially remember the little barrel of cider was called a sickle. He would send this little barrel of sickle… of cider home we set up in the back kitchen with a spiket and it was one of the treats around Halloween. After the little barrel was empty, then he would send a second barrel home. And, I remember Billy Lodge and I… I think were the biggest consumers of the cider. And every time Pop-Pop would send the basket of fruit or something home for the Halloween season, he also would send the same thing to the rectory and convent of St. Teresa’s and St. Rita’s. Also, he would send the same thing to his son Charlie’s family down in South Philadelphia. He was very generous and kind to everyone. There’s a story that goes, that his favorite church in Atlantic City, was a little Italian church, where he went on Sunday. The priest at one time said that he had no bedroom furniture. He didn’t have a bed to sleep on. He invited someone or anyone who wanted to come up and see for themselves. So Pop-Pop went up to the bedroom and saw that the priest had no bed. So he told him to come up to Philadelphia and select something for himself and send the bill to him. So Pop-Pop got the bill for the furniture. It was something like five hundred dollars. He couldn’t believe it. So he went to see the furniture that he had bought and it was the best that Lits had to offer. Pop-Pop said it was better furniture than he himself had in his bedroom. That’s just a small example of his generosity.

Aunt Camille and Uncle Charlie
Aunt Camille and Uncle Charlie

A Story about Charley Harvey, the boxer
A Story about
Charley Harvey
The Boxer

When Christmas came, that was something altogether. That was really a memory that I shall never forget. There was a lot of preparation for Christmas. Nan did her Christmas shopping the year round. She would make sweaters or scarves or hats for different members of the family. And she would pick up bargains here and there in Atlantic City and Philadelphia whenever she was out shopping. So she collected her gifts through the year. And then when Christmastime arrived she would send for some cartons. And she would have the cartons brought up to her bedroom. And she’d bring out all her gifts that she had bought though… throughout the year. And put them all out on the bed. This was the extraordinary way of giving Christmas gifts. There’s no wrapping or no fouberouze (sic) about it. And she would have each carton waiting for each family of her children. And she would pick up something from the bed, maybe a sheet or some pillow cases and she’d say: “Now this would be for so and so.” And she’d throw it into the carton. And sometimes she would get Dolores and me to help her do this. And we loved it, to do this, because it was so… it was like a grab bag seeing all the things that Nan had. And, then she would fill each carton with whatever she decided each family needed. There would be shirts put in, and ties, and towels, and dish towels, and table cloths, socks for some men, some people would get knitted sweaters or embroidered things she had done through the year. The carton would be full to the top. And when she would get finished the bed would be empty. Often would be nothing left. And then she would have someone come up and take the carton down. And one of the drivers would deliver the cartons to her children’s homes, wherever they were. I remember, one year after she finished doing this… it was very fascinating… I always got a kick out of it because she would just randomly pick something off of the bed and throw it into a carton. So it was a real grab bag kind of thing. And this particular year when she was finished her distribution of these gifts, three little white boxes, little white oblong boxes, were left on the bed. And she’d picked them up and put them away in her drawer somewhere. So, Dolores said to me “Did you see those three little white boxes?” I said, “Yes”. She said “I think they’re for us. I think we’re getting watches this year!” I said, “Oh, no, we can’t be getting watches.” “Oh, yes!” she said. “It looked like they had watches in them.” Christmas came. And we were given the little white boxes, and they turned out to be toothbrush holders that you hung in the bathroom on the wall, to hold a child’s toothbrush. It’s really funny Dolores’ disappointment. The watches didn’t materialize. Anyhow that was Nan’s way of gift giving. There was nothing elaborate about it but the gifts were all practical and wonderful. And, then Pop-Pop would have boxes of candy and boxes of cigars in the hallway to give to whoever came to visit during the holiday season. The house was prepared for Christmas. My mother would clean the house from top to bottom. Sometimes painting was done. And the lace curtains were all washed. And they were hung on stretchers, these large frame affairs that were brought up from the cellar and put out in the hallway upstairs. My mother would stretch the lace curtains on these wood frames. And, at nighttime, my father would hang curtains for her on all these large windows. Well everything was in preparation for Christmas! It had to be everything had to be in perfect order. Everyone had to have a special job to do. Henry’s job was to go to the Reading Terminal and take his little bucket with a lid that they used to carry oysters. And his job was to go to the Reading Terminal and buy the oysters for the filling, the stuffing, that was made for the turkey on Christmas day. And also because Christmas Eve was a day of fast. And they always had fried oysters or oyster stew, which I never ate any of that because I didn’t like oysters. But… they… all the men loved it, and Nan would have that for dinner on the day before Christmas and then she would make filling for the turkey from the oysters. And, Henry loved that little job he had of going to the Reading Terminal for those oysters. Billy’s job was to set up the tree; trim the tree; and fix the garden under the tree. And it was all hand made by Billy. He had a beautiful little dollhouse that he had built. And the garden fence he had made out of cigar boxes. It was… a … really a nice arrangement he would have under the tree. The tree was very large. It was always very large. It took up the very back of the parlor. And, my father would bring the tree home on his truck and it was so big that the double doors of the house had to be open to bring the tree in. And it would be put on the floor in the parlor, days ahead of time to get ready to set it up. Furniture had to be moved around and everything to accommodate this huge tree. After that the house was wired for electricity. It was the first house on Ellsworth Street that was wired for electricity. I think it was because Pop-Pop did the hauling for General Electric at that time. So everything was new then. Pop-Pop made use of it. So that year the tree had lights for the first time. I forget the year now. It was probably the late teens. And then the lights on the tree were very large bulbs with reflectors behind them. And the tree was huge and gorgeous, I always thought, with the Christmas tree lights. And people on the street began to gather outside the house looking in the window at the tree. It attracted a lot of attention in the neighborhood. Someone told my grandfather about the crowd outside the house looking in, so my grandfather said, “Oh, let the people come in to see the tree.” So, the double doors were open wide and people came in, filed in. And, I remember seeing Aunt Camille standing in the hallway with a tray of chocolates offering them to people as they went by going into the parlor and admiring the tree and then leaving in a single file. It was a strange sight to see. We children were allowed to sit at the top of the stairs in the front hallway to watch the goings on. Christmas Eve was exciting for Aunt Camille and Bubby, because they were young and they would have their friends over and there would be parties downstairs, and they would roll up the rug and scatter… um… I can’t remember what it was! They scatter… wax… That’s what it was. They would scatter wax. They would scatter wax to make it slippery for dancing. And they would be dancing away and singing. Aunt Camille played the piano. They were playing music. They would be having a wonderful time. We could hear them upstairs while we were waiting for Santa Claus to come. And, we would hear noises. We would wonder what they were. We found out later the sounds were Aunt Camille’s guests playing with our toys that Santa had brought. And we’d come down in the morning we could tell they had been played with because they were sort of scattered around, but it didn’t matter. We didn’t know the difference anyway. It was a lively time there then, a very wonderful time.

On Christmas Day Uncle Joe Lodge would come with his family early in morning. He would tell my mother not to let us downstairs until he arrived so he could enjoy us seeing the tree and the toys and things. He was such a nice person; he would bring his family on Christmas morning just to see us come down stairs. Uncle Joe Gallen, Nan’s oldest son, it was his job to go to the cemetery early on Christmas morning. And he would take off at dawn and go all the way out to Holy Cross and lay wreaths on the different graves. And then he would come back and come in the house and report to Nan, what he had done and explain the whole trip to her. And it was so wonderful to see Nan with her son Joe telling her about his trip to his brother Charlie’s grave and he was part of the Christmas celebration too.

So Henry and Billy, they had their little part in Christmas too. Henry always gave us each a box of candy, with a dollar in it. And he would give that to all the grandchildren. All the grandchildren received the same thing from Henry. Christmas dinner was very large and Nan, at that time, when she was well, cooked the dinner. Of course, my mother helped her and there were people and guests coming all day long, in and out, friends of Pop-Pop’s, and the family, different members of the family. Then we were… The tree was so large that they kept putting off taking it down because it was such a chore. And they kept talking about when they should take the tree down and Henry heard all this talk and decided he was going to do something about it. So, one morning, early in the morning, my grandmother woke up hearing this loud crashing sound. So she came downstairs to see what was going on and here Henry was up on a ladder, taking the huge balls off the tree and throwing them down into the big wash basket that they used to carry the balls in, breaking them all! And that’s what the crash was, that she heard was the balls being broken. He was just throwing them down into the basket and breaking them. Nan asked him what he was doing up on that ladder in the middle of the night with those balls. And he said, “Well, you wanted the tree down, didn’t ya?” “Well,” She said, ”I didn’t want them all broken.” The balls were large balls, the last balls that they were all made in Germany before World War I, I think Nan said. But that was one of the funny stories about Christmas and Henry. It was… the thing is that Henry’s sight wasn’t that good; he couldn’t see very well, so how he was able to do that we never knew.

Angel of God
My Guardian Dear
To Whom God's Love
Commits Me Here
Ever This Day
Be At My Side
To Light And Guard
To Rule and Guide

Pop-Pop was one of the first to have a radio brought into the house. I remember the beginnings of radio. Dolores had gone over to Aunt Pauline’s and Uncle Joe’s and and she came over and said “Oh, you should see what Joseph has. It’s some kind of a little box and he wiggles a little thing around and sounds come out and you hear music.” And I said, “What is this? I’ll have to see what this is.” So I went over there to see what it was, to see what it was and Joseph had this little cigar box and a couple little gadgets. And, he had earphones and he would wiggle this little thing around on what they called crystals. And he had little batteries and things. I can’t even describe it now. And we had these… he put the earphones on us and we could hear sounds and very… a lot of static. But you could hear music and voices through these earphones. And I asked him what this was. He said it was called radio. Something new that he was fiddling around with. So, it wasn’t long after that when Pop-Pop had a radio brought into the house. It was a weird kind of thing. It was worked by the use of these huge batteries, that had to be charged. And it was a strange looking thing. It did have earphones and it had a horn. That you could hear from a horn too. And it was such a unique thing that there was a family gathering to see this new marvel… or to hear it. I remember the house at that time was full of people. People coming at night. All the lights were lit. It was sort of like a party atmosphere. All you could hear was static and a little music here and there or a voice, but to them it was a miracle, to hear this sound. It was different than a Victrola, that you had to wind it with a handle, then you could put a record on and hear some music. This was entirely different. It was done entirely with batteries. And you could use either the earphones or the horns to hear it. But the batteries had to be charged. And they were so big, they were put in front of the parlor and they were plugged into the outlet there. And I remember Bubby sort of put me in charge of dumping water into the little cells at certain times. And after they were charged enough… they were so big and heavy… They would put over where the radio was. And, I remember one of the first stations I heard was WIP. It was a children’s program from Gimbels, I think it was, in Philadelphia. This was really way back in the early twenties.

It wasn’t long after, though, when radio became electrified and Pop-Pop had an electric set brought in, in beautiful cabinets. Radios were in beautiful cabinets then. We still had the static though. But it was enjoyable and we always would think of how nice it would be if we could see these performers. Now many years later we were able to see these performers. But Nan and Pop-Pop were gone then and they didn’t know about that. We had no idea that there would be a miracle of television in our lifetime…

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