Don Len Trophies, Gambling and other Maple Street MemoriesNovember 5, 2023
Veterans Day – Remembering When West Conshohocken Unveiled their ROLL OF HONORNovember 11, 2023
Thinking of Conshohocken while listening to a Country Song
by Brian Coll
Just a heads up, I don’t always get to finish these types of articles in one sitting, so I started this on a Monday morning and it evolved over a few days.
To be honest, I don’t even know what song it was that made my ears perk up while I was cutting the grass yesterday. I had my headphones in and a lyric hit me….something like our town is getting smaller. Our town is getting smaller, not something that you would immediately think of Conshohocken, but for me, as I get older, well it made sense to me.
Currently it feels like we are at an all time high in terms of population. It only feels that way though, currently we have a little more than 8,000 folks here, however 60-70 years ago we had over 10,000 people living here and most of those folks worked here or went to school here. The mills and factories kept people working and all of their children had to go to school locally. What that means for those of us reading this, well, I guess it depends on you, the reader.
In addition to the people living here 60-70 years ago, there were more things, more shops, more places for entertainment, more corner stores for people to shop in. Conshohocken was very self contained, and if there was a day to go shopping, Norristown was just a short drive away.
Getting back to our town is getting smaller…. I guess what it means to me, is I’m starting to lose the people who were involved in my life, friends who have moved away, good folks that served our community (I was at a library meeting last night and we are still lucky to have some amazing volunteers on the board, but I did look around and thought of George Snear, John Ondik and our beloved recently deceased Miss Lorraine. In addition to them passing, I also thought of past library presidents Dolores Wood and Betsie Webber, both of whom recently retired from the board and are enjoying their retirement.)
We opened our family frame shop at 324 Fayette Street in 2001, a couple years later a friend named Dave Leflar brought us a bench and my dad and I would sit out there. 20 years ago, we’d smile and say hi to most folks walking past us, in lots of cases we’d get to chat with a friend for a few minutes before they kept walking or we’d head back in to get some work done. Now, we sit on the same bench, smile and say hi as people walk by, sometimes people will say hi or have a few simple words as they continue their walk, occasionally we’ll see an old friend and get to chat with them, in some cases people are too involved in their own mind they don’t even blink when someone says hello. If we’re sitting out there as school lets out, we do know a lot of the families that walk to and from school and we’ll see kids that I coach at the Conshohocken Baseball and Softball League or maybe they cheer or play football with one of my little ones. I will touch on something here though, when you look at the school system in Conshohocken even 30 years ago, you had 5 schools. St. Matthew’s, St Mary’s, St Cosmas and Damien, Conshohocken Elementary (formerly Hervey Walker) as well as a catholic high school Archbishop Kennedy (which closed 30 years ago) those schools combined for thousands of students at any given time who all grew up here, lived here with their families. Now we have one school as well as an excellent pre school or two. As these schools closed and the teachers moved away they took their own families. People that we went to school with moved away. These are the things I’m thinking about when I heard that line our town is getting smaller.
I wrote the above paragraph around 7:30 Tuesday morning, at 8:00 am I received word that Dave Leflar passed away last evening. I told my friend who shared the news with me that I just wrote about Dave, not 1/2 hour before I got the sad news. Dave was one of a kind and a very good friend to my family. Dave, we’ll miss you. Dave was truly an original. To your family, we’re thinking of all of you.
When I got this news I stepped away from the computer and went about my day. As I’m getting back to the computer some 12 hours later Dave’s passing makes me think even more about that song lyric and why I started writing this in the first place. Our town is getting smaller, but while you are here, while I am here, maybe we can enjoy it. Enjoy the people still with us. Reach out to a friend for wings at the Boathouse or maybe grab a table at Brunch and catch up. If you are a newer resident or reader, welcome to Conshohocken. It is in my opinion the greatest square mile borough in the world. Maybe take a minute to introduce yourself to a neighbor, they might tell you some stories about the Conshohocken they know.
I’m going to wrap this one up. While I have you… the Conshystuff Food Drive is taking place right now. Drop off non perishable items at the Colonial Neighborhood Council at 107 east 4th Ave or at Coll’s Custom Framing 324 Fayette Street. There is also a party at the Conshohocken VFW next Wednesday the 15th from 4-6, bring food, meet some neighbors, grab a snack.
Conshohocken Adult Prom has a theme and a date…. February 24th, 2024. The theme is the Fayette Gala (Philly Style) tickets coming soon!
Discover Conshohocken is encouraging people to shop local and make sure you visit some local stores on Small Business Saturday and in all reality….everyday!
Thank you. Sincerely, we have a great community and while Conshohocken is a borough, not sure a country singer could fit our borough is getting smaller into a song. Thanks for reading. If you see me or my dad, sitting on that bench, say hi, introduce yourself, maybe hear a story of the Conshohocken we know and love.