Snowy Day Thoughts
by Brian Coll
Let me start by saying, I celebrated my birthday yesterday, I’ve seen my share of winters here in the Conshohocken community. I still love watching the snow, I simply don’t like shoveling it anymore…..
Here are a bunch of random thoughts, agree with me, don’t agree with me.. laugh with me, laugh at me if my punctuation is bad or a typo sneaks through…. tell me what you remember in the comment section.
As a kid/teenanger I remember Pizza Bob from Pizza Time Saloon driving through any weather to deliver a pizza and maybe a six pack of beer. I’m not confirming or denying that he may have been tricked by two kids (one on top of the others shoulders in a trench coat) acting like an adult to buy said six pack.
Snow days were fun because you’d be out shoveling and getting to know your neighbors. (now this might be the only time you get to see your neighbors with everyone having air conditioning in the summer, you no longer gather on the stoops)
As a kid I’d make a few bucks shoveling snow and then would buy baseball cards at Josie’s or Conshy Cards. You might have done the same thing with your corner store. The cool part about this is Conshy had lots of corner stores. It simply depends on your age and location as to which corner store was yours.
Sticking with corner stores… Jem’s was the closest deli to me, Bolero’s was the closet pizza place with Pizza Time Saloon being a close second when it opened in 1984.
I lost my lunch money at Jem’s one time. I walked home, my mom called Jem’s a few minutes after I told her what happened. Someone turned my money in (thank you all these years later)I was able to get my special sandwich that day. I wonder if someone would turn that money in today? Maybe, maybe not.
I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page a few days ago. So many thoughts and questions come to my mind: How many kids today are allowed to just go over to the older lady in the neighborhood and chill on her back porch? Do people still keep the balls that end up in their yard when kids are playing on the street? Growing up I thought Mrs. White had a huge house, turns out she just had a single house and the twin I grew up in was actually bigger.
You know….. people always say kids don’t do this anymore, they don’t do that anymore… and those people are half right. If you grew up in Conshy and are 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, 60 years old and so on, think about the size of your school, think about the other schools in the borough… If you went to school here in the 80’s or before you had Hervey Walker, you had Saint Matthew’s, you had Saint Cosmas and Damian, you had Saint Mary’s. There was at least one high school associated with Conshohocken up until 1993 when Archbishop Kennedy closed. If you were around in the 60’s you had Conshohohocken High School or Saint Matthew’s before it became Kennedy. Now, now you have one school in the borough. So, part of it is there just aren’t as many kids growing up here today.
On my street, Forrest Street in the 80’s we had a combo of the Coll’s, the Dean’s, the Bielanko’s, the Turksma’s, the Wotten’s, the Lilick’s, turn the corner at 8th Ave and you had Bobby Pfanders, Tim and Kevin Donovan, Rachel and Dougie Lowery, Tammy Fletcher and her brothers and so many more….. I probably named 20 kids in about 8 houses and that was on every block in the borough. It was easy to go outside and play when other kids were in the same boat.
Kids still want to be kids, my kids can’t wait to go sledding today, half for the thrill and joy of speeding down the hill at Sutcliffe Park, half for seeing friends or making new ones.
Speaking of Sutcliffe Park, in 2030, the park will be 100 years old, maybe by then this Covid situation will have gotten better and we can have a giant party. I actually have a plan for the whole year of celebrations at Sutcliffe park, I should post it in an article here and maybe the powers that be will check it out and do some of them.
Another food thing here… I recently had little fried shrimp. My mind raced to when I had enough money to buy a shrimp in a basket combo at Pizza Time Saloon, it was like a beach meal but at 7th and Maple.
Staying at 7th and Maple, I remember one snow storm when I was over the age of 21 and a bunch of the neighborhood gang found ourselves at the Old Time Saloon. We could all walk home. I remember meeting some new people because of the snow, it kept everyone close to home. Sometimes the snow makes you enjoy the neighborhood haunts.
I know I’ve just jumped around a bit here. In keeping with that theme… I had broken my left arm when I was younger, right as football season was starting. I got a cast and one day I’m playing some football on Forrest Street with some friends and I got hit by a car or you could say, I ran into a moving car. And you know what, as a child of the 70’s and 80’s I had to apologize to the older lady driving the car. My arm was already in a cast and we’re pretty sure my arm got rebroke in the cast. I’m not sure that would be the case today. It was a different time.
I’m going to go play in the snow with my kids. Hope you get to enjoy the snow, if you can check on your older neighbors, that would be really cool. Maybe you’ll find out you have more in common than you realized.
One more thing actually, if you want to read stuff from a much more talented writer than I am check out my old friend and neighbor Serge Bielanko. He has written over the years for various outlets and has launched his own creative space. He grew up two doors away from me, he has traveled the world with his band Marah, he has shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen and he lovingly writes about his childhood in Conshohocken from time to time. Here’s his link, check it out and subscribe if you want to. https://sergebielanko.substack.com/p/coming-soon?r=4olvt&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0QYASzkC8H_d_IjBpDAansHhAd7F9ABEyfi9Xt-h5vBWCh4OFTz0YfxYU
Thank you .