Had a long day on December 11th, 2013, venturing to Philadelphia. Took Greyhound down, because we were mainly heading to the Chemical Heritage Foundation at 315 Chestnut Street.
I was going down with my mother. My father’s older chemistry books were donated to the Chemical Heritage Foundation. We were attending a workshop there that evening.
I hadn’t been to Philadelphia since 1997. You can buy the bus tickets online, so I took care of that. It was great. $49 for two people round trip on Greyhound. The Greyhound terminal is in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, not far from Chestnut Street.
Living in Tucson, I am no longer used to the cold and damp in New York. Oh, was it damp, walking to the High Street Station on the A train.
Already having the tickets helped. Presented them, got on the bus and got ready.
Having to go from the frigid cold to heavily heated buildings can be tough as you are stripping layers or putting them on.
The bus was that hot for starters. For bus seats they were comfortable, the bus had Wi-Fi and the individual lights, like an airplane.
Nothing to really look @ on the trip, so I went to sleep. I know the roads anyway. Slept until we got off the New Jersey Turnpike in Mount Holly.
Crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge, welcome to Philadelphia. It’s still cold. Mom and I were meeting my friend Tereza Eliasz-Solomon at a restaurant at 1500 Walnut Street, called Butcher and Singer. Finally had a chance to meet. Then she drove us to the Barnes Collection.
I will let you read the website for the history. The collection is full of Cezanne and Renoir. When you enter the rooms, along the floors there is a brown line. It reminds me of the floor of the TD Banknorth Arena and the old Boston Garden, when the Celtics played there. I suspect the only thing a Barnes Collection security guard is taught is “Please step back from the line!” No need to know anything about the collection. Just order people to stay back from the line. I felt as though I was constantly dribbling the ball out of bounds. If the sport had been hockey, I wonder if the Barnes Collection would have had a penalty box. Michael Charton, five minutes in the penalty box, for repeatedly stepping over our lines. Or are you banned forever? They take your picture like a mug shot and if you ever return, face recognition software raises an alarm. Banned person! Do not admit! It sounds like the Daleks in the BBC Series Doctor Who. If the guards start sounding off with “Exterminate!” Yeah, that is a bad thing.
When we were done, Mom and I walked over to Market Street, to get on SEPTA. I learned wearing cowboy boots in an Eastern City with hills and icy pavement is a bad idea. A gentlemen had to grab my hand and pull me up the hill, while my seventy-seven year old mother had no issues. Some Marlboro Man I turned out to be. I’ve met Craig Johnson, the author of the Longmire Mystery series (one of which takes place in Philadelphia). He gets away with the rancher look. Ah, but has he tried to climb an icy paved, Philadelphia hill, with cowboy boots and not his Wyoming ranch.
We got to 19th Street and boarded the trolley, then the Market-Frankford train. Got off at 2nd Street, which is the neighborhood called Society Hill. The neighborhood has improved over the years.
I was told the building the Chemical Heritage Foundation is in was a boarded up bank. It has only been in it’s present location for five years.
I was never a chemist, but was lucky enough to know many of my Dad’s colleagues. I enjoyed meeting people who knew him. My mother and my Dad were mentioned in the opening remarks for donating books. I enjoyed the small museum at Chemical Heritage and was amazed to see all the equipment and the rare books. Professor Principe, from Baltimore, gave a talk about Alchemy. I looked at the book and my mother brought the book with us for him to sign.
I met some great people and it was great to have that connection. Made me think of my Dad.
A long but fun trip to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.