Thank goodness for television. My son, Doug, and I have been watching what’s been happening in the East where we were both born. We still have friends living there who are being inundated with those terrible storms covering the eastern coast. I’m smiling ... like Doug and I don’t know all about snow.
Sorry, weathercasters, we’ve seen it all, many times over. First came a picture of a pile of 18-wheelers on a highway in Willow Grove, Pa. My maternal grandparents met on a Ferris wheel at Willow Grove Park before it was torn down. That little town is only a few miles from Roslyn where the boy’s dad and I owned our first home, a sweet, little brand new just after world War II abode that cost all of $9,050.
Many days my friend Bertha and I would push our baby carriages the few miles to Willow Grove to have Philly steak sandwiches at Luigi’s. I still remember Bertha calling me to say we had to try something new other than what they served at that restaurant situated half way between Roslyn and Willow Grove. She kept talking about something called “a pizza pie.” “Who wants pie for lunch?” I wondered, but I found out quickly.
We did a lot of shopping in Willow Grove, a town a lot bigger than Roslyn. My husband Don was an Air Force reserve officer, and we sometimes went for dinner at the former Naval Air Station Willow Grove station’s officers club or to the ten-cent movies. Our sons got a thrill out of seeing the Blue Angels when they performed at the base. Our older boys spent a lot of their early years in that location.
Whenever I see the problems they’re having with weather I have to look back and remember how we handled the snow and ice and the problems it entailed. You lived with it, you shoveled the sidewalks, pushed the snow off of the car — we never had a garage back then — and fought with the men that came by with plows and pushed the snow right back on the hood of your car.
I remember going to work at the Blue Bell Inn when we lived in Ambler, a town about 20 miles from Willow Grove, and coming out of the back door of the inn to find our car covered with a foot of snow and traffic at a standstill everywhere. The boys, who also worked there, would stand and wonder how we were going to get home. On would go the chains and off we would go heading home. We always made it.
Again, looking at television, there appeared a scene of New York City from the side of one of the rivers that surrounds that particular area. They, like people from Philly, are used to bad weather. It’s something you simply live with. There they were with bridges and highways and cars and snow and people and plows and wow, what a mess. Whenever I see a scene of New York, I remember the many times I traveled there.
It was 90 miles from Roslyn to do something different in the “city that never sleeps.” New York has a charm like no other place. It just is wonderful. A few of my girl friend neighbors and I headed from home for an overnight stay in the big city to buy Christmas presents for our families. We had heard of a place in “the village” called the “Doll House” or something like that, and it was there that I found Josephine.
Josephine was a cow about two feet long whose head, tail and utters moved and made noises when you wound her up. She was the hit on Christmas morning at our house. It was that trip when the girls and I stayed at the Americana Hotel. Mary went to the window and opened the drapes to find that the entire wall of that place was made of glass. I am terrified of high places.
Guess who slept the closes to the inside of the hotel. What else can you say about New York? The shopping is unbelievable, the restaurants fantastic, and over the years I’ve eaten at a ton of great places, seen the shows, and once my husband Don and I took them there for a day. We had fun on Coney Island and had a fabulous meal in Chinatown
But on that day, it didn’t look anything like it does right now. Wow, the snow!
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer