I’m A Brick – Part Two

Philadelphia was built by innovators and blue collar immigrants. Though we’ve housed our fair share of wealthy folk, it has never been an upscale or rich city; rich in culture and history, yes, but not in money. Like other old East Coast cities, Philadelphia was built by people like my ancestors. They mixed the mortar, carried the bricks, polished the marble and bend the heated iron.

The city has beautiful areas that are captured of Philadelphia based movie and TV sets. It also has beautiful materials left in rundown neighborhoods that share marble steps amongst trash and crumbling concrete. It may not all be polished, but it’s ours.

To coincide with my last post, here is Philadelphia and its brick.

 

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How Do I Become A Girlfriend?

Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, I only played with Barbies in private, unless they were invited to a GI Joe game and they needed a nurse doll present.  I was an only child till I was eight and I was fascinated with so many things.  My parents never led me to understand what was meant for boys or girls because I think they wanted me to experience childhood the way they both had.

I didn’t really have girlfriends until I started grade school.  Still, I played ballerina or Paula Abdul (don’t ask) with the girls and then army or Pogs with the boys.  As I got older, I found girls like me.  My best friends in high school were not girlie.  They could play rough with the boys but dress pretty for prom too.  We were a perfect fit.  We still are, except out of the group of girls I cherish the most, we are scattered amongst four states in separate geographically regions of the United States.

I’ve been hopelessly awkward since I began college.  I left home and found myself having to start from scratch.  Southern California does not give an East Coast girl the same kind of welcome a surfer girl gets, particularly Continue reading

Atlantic City: The Original Vegas

Atlantic City Boardwalk

Saturday was so beautiful in the Northeast. It was the perfect kind of day to spend in the garden, or divert the car towards Atlantic City.

So that’s what we did.

Eighty degrees, cloudless sky and a nice sea breeze. Add that to the smell of funnel cake, sunscreen and slurp down the experience with fresh lemonade, while strolling the boardwalk and recognizing street names you normally see on your Monopoly board.

Steel Pier, Atlantic City

Atlantic City is a diverse mix of people, but it has most everything that Vegas touts, except there’s an ocean and expansive boardwalk. No, Celine Dion isn’t playing Atlantic City every night and I’m ok with that, but there are shows to be seen. There are glitzy and glamorous nightclubs, casinos and hotels. The amusement rides may not be as sparkly and the exterior decor may be a little more worn, but there’s something to be said for the city by the sea.

I grew up being fascinated by films of ladies jumping their horses off diving boards next to Steel Pier and photos of the old timers who wore their Sunday best as they wandered the boards in the early 20th century. I’ve also watched a lot of Boardwalk Empire on HBO, and though I know its primarily fictional stories written for entertainment, I have no doubt that Prohibition brought waves of crime and corruption that still linger today. Feeling that way does take away from the nostalgia of flapper girls and their shiny cigarette cases and replaces it with heroin chic society types that rival fashion models of the 90’s.

Atlantic City is an accessible city. It is a little less sparkly but nice equivalent to a five hour plane right to Nevada from the East Coast. But just like Vegas, don’t wander too far off the “strip” in Atlantic City; unless you’re looking for some non-fiction CSI type experiences. Also, get some saltwater taffy; it’s so good and the remnants of it can be tasted for days since it’ll be stuck in your molars. That might be an exaggeration, but in all honesty, stop at James’.  If taffy isn’t your thing, drop by the Whiskey Tavern in the new Revel casino, order an Old Fashioned and slip into shiny 1925 subway tile heaven.

James’ Salt Water Taffy

You lived where?

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I recently read a fellow blogger’s account of San Diego. We lived there for seven years, but relocated three years ago to the Philadelphia tri-state area. I thought of all the great experiences my husband and I had there, from Legoland to Los Angeles daytrips. I realized that all my life, I’ve lived in places that people pay good money to visit.

We heard Sea World’s fireworks every summer night from our apartment and viewed the San Diego Harbor from the top of our street. We were within minutes of the Gaslamp Quarter and the famed beaches. We enjoyed each special place lesleycarter noted in her blog but San Diego simply never felt like home to us. I guess we weren’t California people.  As beautiful as it is, it is expensive as well. We often worked so hard to live, that we actually rarely lived at all.  Sure, we hit all the main highlights over the years, but we probably have seen the beach more by visiting now, then we ever did living there.  Yes, it’s regrettable, but there is no going back now.  We will always remember what we did do instead.

There was one place missing on Lesley’s list.  Sunset Cliffs was a special place that I miss the most. The eroding cliffs stand tall over jagged rocks with, you guessed it, gorgeous sunsets as the backdrop each evening. The regulars were so varied; the occasional homeless but harmless wanderer, the rich jogger, stoned surfer and eclectic photographer. The weekends brought pale tourists and couples taking their pups for a long stroll. It was free and beautiful, while expanding just long enough to find an escape from the crowded San Diego freeways and neighborhoods.

We are now lucky enough to live within a short drive of every historical and prominent city on the East Coast.  The amount of cultural and geographical points of interest is simply astounding.  Still, there’s no doubt that when the snow starts to fall, people will ask, “You moved from San Diego?  Are you crazy?”

Now, we make an effort to incorporate ourselves in as much of the culture as we can here, without taking it for granted.  So one day, when we’ve worn out our welcome or find a new destination, we can look back and say that we really lived.

Check out the referenced blog:  Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #5 San Diego, United States of America. By LesleyCarter

*Sunset Cliffs photo courtesy of www.toomuchwinetoolittletime.com