Friday, January 14, 2011

LOFT LIFE: Waxing nostalgic

I miss Philadelphia. I used to call it Philly until I heard someone on Internet radio announce that people from Philadelphia don’t call it Philly. Hmm. Well I, did. Far be it from me, me who lived there from six years old till about thirty, to stray from the crowd. I also used to say S.L.O., for San Luis Obispo, which is now referred to as SLO, apparently because the college kids say it that way. It’s a trend that the under 30 crowd is now defining things, and we over 30s seem reluctant to challenge that. Maybe we fear earlier retirement, “rest homes,” and such. 
But, I digress.
I miss, so I listen to Philadelphia stations on the Internet just to reconnect. Hearing Dom Giordano mention hometown names, and frankly, just hearing the accent, brings a smile.
People from Philadelphia have a lot of things to connect on: Philly (hey, there it is) steaks, Lebanon bologna, shoo-fly pie--well those last two are really a bit of a stretch if you’re talking the City of Philadelphia, which none of us from the suburban areas ever are--scrapple (which I hate, but is still a memory), hoagies, and Tastykakes. Tastykakes, as we speak are endangered--financial woes so bad, and Tandy cakes, butterscotch krimpets and the like are so loved, that Philly talk show hosts have challenged listeners to buy up the yummy treats, deliver them to the station so they can be sent to the troops. I mean the governor wants to lend $1M to prolong the life of the Tasty Baking Company. There’s a call to action Facebook page...well, you get it. Philly Phans are stockpiling the little cakes, militant about this like all their favorite foods and the companies who produce them. Philadelphians connect on a level unlike many other places. 
I applied for a job in California in the ‘80s and I know I was hired because the manager was from Philly and we bonded immediately on that basis. I bought my Jaguar on EBay from a Massachusetts resident from Philadelphia, who upon hearing of our common ground was determined I should own his beloved racing green sedan. We still see him, and he runs out to greet me just to tell me another incident he has experienced in New England that “would never happen in Philadelphia.” Like the other day, someone on public transportation didn't offer a seat to an older lady. I had to chuckle. No amount of logic that maybe it’s just the new generation could convince him. "Philadelphians just wouldn’t do that," he insisted.
Prolly most of us Americans like connecting with people from our hometowns after we move away. But I have lived in a lot of towns, and none so far has shown me this kind of  strong family-like common bond.
It’s one of those cities that creates a small town atmosphere in a big city, which garners loyalty formed in small  groups, a device most organizations know produces strong bonds.
So even being away from Philly for the past few decades, and even though it is not the city of my birth, and though I only lived there for less than a quarter of my life--and counting, I love the place, miss it, and find it curious that the mere sound of a fellow Philadelphian pronouncing words like probably as prolly, and granted as granite, still makes me wax nostalgic for the City of Brotherly Love.