By: Jude Waechter Lobe

     It's sobering to see your memories of youth on display at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum! Many a day, Mom and I would take the bus downtown. I loved shopping at Hecht's. Six stories of carpeted shopping. Then around lunch time we'd head over to READ's DRUG STORE and sit in a booth and order tuna fish sandwich on toast and a coke with ammonia. Christmas time was the best. All the shop windows were decorated with winter scenes with moving parts and I swear I remember hearing music all through the air!

     I grew up in ST. BERNARDINE'S Parish. 3711 Colbourne Rd. Writing the address on my school papers gave me a secure feeling. That secure feeling was ripped from me one day in seventh grade when Sr. Servula, as stern as her name sounds, pulled me in front of the class after Pat turned around to ask me a question. Sister assumed I was the instigator talking in class and took hold of my navy blue uniform with the SBS logo on the front and scrunched it tight around my waist saying "If you talk once more in class, I will twist you into a pretzel."

     I turned a bright scarlet red. You can imagine what that did for my self-esteem.

     Old WITZKE'S FUNERAL PARLOR even holds fond memories. Linda and I would go there pretty regularly to visit the dead, such fervent, good catholic girls that we were. We'd kneel in front of the casket and say a prayer, then before leaving we picked up a holy card. I suppose I have to admit, that was our true intention. It was a great way to build our collection of cards that we usually saved to trade during Mass. But I do recall it did draw kind remarks from the bereaved. They really did appreciate it.

     Happy memories include heading to the EDGEWOOD THEATER on Baltimore National Pike to see the latest flick. Behind the theater was a small grocer that sold penny candy. What fun to take a dime and fill a brown paper bag with red & white stripped peppermints, 2 or 3 mary sue chewies, a strip of buttons, several root beer hard candies and a licorice baby. Sometimes I'd just get a chunkie and sky bar.Then we'd head for the theater. Not the front door, though. We'd slip around the side door which hung slightly ajar from being jimmied so often and slip in undetected...most of the time. Sometimes we'd inevitably be found out by a gentleman stolling the aisles with a flashlight. He'd nicely ask us to pay up or leave.

     Then there was the night my Dad was calling me to go with him to take my Mom to work at Hochild Kohn"s at EDMONSON VILLAGE. I was six at the time. I loved to hide and hid behind the bushes at the end of the block. I remember the sinking feeling as I saw the tan '53 chevy drive up the alley without me. I headed after it. First 5 blocks down Mt. Holly St. to Edmondson Ave., then about 3/4 mile up the avenue to Edmondson Village. I couldn't find my Mom, so I headed home. They were building the Public Library at the time and an old (maybe young) drunk was lying on the foundation. He asked what I was doing and I told him my sad story. He walked over to Hochchild Kohn and came back with a bunny he gave me. He fell asleep and I headed back home. IT was dark by then and I only remember praying as I felt the wind of the cars speeding by me. I finally returned home expecting my Dad to run to me and squeeze me in a hug. I found him, instead, reading the paper and looking up to me he asked, "Have you taken your bath yet?". He thought I was next door at my aunt's house. I never told him where I had been.

     I remember when they turned the huge field down the street at ALLENDALE ST. into a Recreation Center. They built concrete sandboxes, put up swings that could let you touch the clouds with your toes, and sliding boards we made speedy with wax paper. The Building housed all kinds of equipment including a ten pin we played Steal the Bacon with. It also housed wood pool tables and became the workshop during classes offered free. We made Garden placards, footstools and corner shelves.

     The kids got to work as volunteers in the equipment room. Everyone got a ID card so you could borrow equipment. The volunteers would take the ID cards and file them in the index box and give out the equipment. The greatest part of this recreation park was, you could walk to it. Parents had no fear in letting their kids take off after breakfast and perhaps they'd see them at lunch, otherwise they'd yell out the door around 5PM that dinner was ready.

     I wonder where all those SBS and Edmondson Village gang are today.

Jude Waechter Lobe

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