Monday, September 21, 2009

A Room With A View

So far on this trip I've had dinner with my parents and walked 8 miles with my dad but I hadn't stayed the night with a family member. 23 nights, 0 relatives. I was glad to end that drought in Philadelphia. According to my dad, who can talk about correct family designations until the cows come home, Julie is my cousin, once-removed. She and her husband Robert were my hosts for the night.

In layman's terms, her mother was my grandfather's older sister. Julie grew up as an only child which meant that she and my father played together a lot at my grandparent's house in Ardmore. That house is still owned by the Poormans but for the first time since 1945 no family members are living there. Christine Poorman, my Nonnie and Julie's Aunt Chris, died in the spring of last year after living there for 63 years. With her death went the passing of an era. It was there at 107 East Montgomery Ave that we would all gather for Christmases, Easters and often Thanksgivings as well. Her house and her love was the glue that kept bringing us all together to enjoy shared meals and celebrations.

Julie lives in Society Hill with her husband Robert which put them right in the eye of my path through downtown Philadelphia. Their condo definitely wins the competition for most amazing view from a bedroom I have slept in so far. I doubt there will be any serious contenders. My guest bedroom looked east across the Delaware River from 21 floors up. They also have full southern and western views looking out over Philadelphia, making quite a breathtaking 180 degree vista.

In the course of our conversation Julie told me that NPR's Fresh Air host Terry Gross lives in her building. I was temporarily star struck in the nerdiest way possible. It gave me a surreal feeling to know that a voice who is such a constant companion to me on this journey through the magic of podcasting was simply a few floors down. In my fantasy I would run into her in the elevator, we would strike up a conversation about what I am doing and next thing I know I would be booked on her show. When she welcomed me to Fresh Air I would know not to say "Thanks Terry" because that is just a rhetorical welcome which is immediately followed by a question. Good friends like me know that. Unfortunately I don't think my story is Fresh Air caliber ... yet. The last program of hers I listened to she was interviewing Ted Danson. I mean Sammy Malone ... now there is a legend. But a guy can dream, right?

I did not run into Terry on our way to dinner. But the three of us did run into some seriously good food. Across the street from their condo is Positano Coast and we put a serious hurting on the mussels, octopus, rabbit, filet mignon, veal and lobster that was put in front of us. As you can see, I'm not a vegetarian and have no plans on becoming one anytime soon.

It was wonderful to be around family and have the ease which comes with that. They showed me pictures from their recent trip to Italy and then to Germany for Robert's birthday (a birthday we share by the way). Venice beckoned me with its festive gondolas and vibrant colors. I immediately starting thinking, "maybe a walk across Europe would be fun ... now there is a book that Terry could put her weight behind."

In the morning, as if to encourage me on my quest, Robert gave me three CDs to download onto my iPod of conversations Terry Gross has had with famous authors over the years. I rode the elevator down with Julie but again, no Terry Gross sighting. I gave Julie a big hug goodbye before setting off south in the direction of Delaware.

As for Terry, I'm content to keep walking in love, fantasizing that our meeting is yet to come.


  1. This is so very inspiring. I came across your profile somewhere else (wink) and googled you as you suggested there. I have always wanted to do something like this, a walking tour of the United States. I've had to settle for my own city but one day, hopefully, I'll get to branch out.

    Be well and safe on your walk. I am bookmarking this blog!!


  2. So Garth where will you be spending Thanksgiving this year?