Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I haven't mentioned much about Baltimore in my 2+ years of postings. Baltimore was our first stop in 42+ years of marriage. I have no photos immediately at hand.

On one of my treks from Norfolk VA to Baltimore, I finally found a rental in Ferndale, a suburb. It was a very old two story house with basement that had been converted into two "apartments." We rented the larger lower one; electricity and water/sewer were paid.

The upstairs renters varied and often were short term. They made lots of noise. The ceiling was thin; we knew when they were on the toilet or taking baths (together) from sounds inas the drain pipe from the upper floor as it descended, exposed through our kitchenette, right near our little dinette. Glad it was cast iron and never leaked! We heard some interesting conversations while dining. The drainpipe and thin ceiling were very good megaphones.

One couple was into drugs and had a lot of parties. (also a dog which was prohibited by our landlord). The drugs led to a raid and they were evicted. I understand the dog's eliminations were all within the apartment and further description is needless. The landlord had unimaginable expense in making the apartment livable again.

About a year later the city sewer backed up into our basement. The city owning the sewer plant had to evacuate all of us into motels and were responsible for cleaning up the mess. YUCK YUCK YUCK. My darkroom was in basement; I think we had sort of a den in basementwhich we did not use.

This was a very busy time of our "just married" lives. I had found employment with a pharmacy chain, READ's, as a relief pharmacist. I covered all of Baltimore.

I quickly learned it was a city, whose citizens were of varied ethnicity. There were blacks, whites, Polish and Jewish  to name a vary few. It was somewhat amusing, within the city, various ethnic groups seemed to segregate themselves into areas of the huge city.

The pharmacy chain seemed to have mainly Jewish ownership, administrators, supervisors, etc. A large number of pharmacists were Jewish of various sects. The Jewish supervisor and person in charge of hiring pharmacists, said he loved to have a few "Gentiles" come along as they worked the Jewish holidays. I obligingly and gladly worked their holidays, but strangely the same Jewish persons wanted off all the "Gentile" holidays, too.

I had to learn a bit of a new language, as Texanese was not spoken in Baltimore. A BUN and a ROLL were exactly opposite my definition of each.  A bag and a sack were different too. Nobody there knew what a gunny sack was.... A delightful older Jewish pharmacist worked along side me at one of the all-night stores. He educated me in the language of Baltimore, not to mention he thought I had an awful accent and drawl. I thought the same of his Yiddish.

My husband is not a sports addict at all, but liked baseball a bit. We went to several Baltimore Orioles games. The tickets were not too expensive, especially when compared to the Baltimore Colts who were at their pinnacle of success with Johnny Unitas.

We usually left  game early. If it were a close game, we sat in the car and listened to the finish. One midsummer night I noticed a long line forming around the stadium. There were make-shift tents and cook stoves for cofee and hot snacks. I asked a passerby why the line was forming, as it was past 10 p.m.

To my amazement, these die-hard fans were forming to buy season tickets for the Baltimore Colts. Some had been there more than one day! Obviously, I never attended a Colts game. [Nor my Dallas Cowboys, either, and guess I never will, as one ticket is terribly expensive.]

We were tourists when our schedules allowed--Like Gettysburg, Fort McHenry, Washington DC several times.  I loved the Smithsonian museums.

What amazed me was how many Baltimore citizens never visited Fort McHenry. My husband's ship was moored near Fort McHenry, inspiration for our national anthem.

We never made Pimlico, the second leg of the Triple Crown of Horse racing, but we attended some kind of buggy racing, and a lot of demolition derbies.

We bought new cars, and wardrobes, and in general, settled into marriage, as much as possible.
This house is where I discovered a certain clock from Shelly's family was haunted which will have to be a separate story.
We had good neighbors with a spoiled old German Shepherd named Felicia, of which I have previously written. She had a 4 p.m. daily gravy train over about a 4 street area.

We made one or two trips to Texas, also.
Then the military change of station and new orders changed life again.

[Apologize for not finding pictures. I recently discarded all slides and prints.]


Arkansas Patti said...

How funny that your could hear all your neighbor's conversatons. Guess that means they heard yours too.
How neat you got to go to the baseball games. I adore baseball and have only been one time when I was a kid. Thank goodness for TV.
Can't wait to hear about the haunted clock.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Ah, the joys of apartment living, especially when your accomodations are below someone else. Been there, too.

I look forward to hearing about the haunted clock.

rosaria said...

This is a slice of Americana we are losing. Thanks for sharing.

CHERI said...

What an interesting life you have led! And so many memories that you can now look back on and laugh. The apartment adventures were probably priceless!

Lisa said...

What great memories even if some of them were a little...shall I say...messy.:) 42 years of marriage! Congratulations!!! and I wonder like Arkansas Patti ~ could they hear you too.

Great Post! I love traveling down memory lane with you.

Hope you health is good.


faye said...

The one thing about apt. living
that I hated... paper thin walls..
especially when a wannabe rock
guitarist lived next door

Liz said...

Fascinating! It's odd, isn't it - or maybe not - that nationalities stick together out of choice.

Anonymous said...

Patty and I live on Dundalk Avenue in the city of Baltimore in 1956 and about half of 1957. We saw the first "submarine" sandwich advertised there. I worked at the bureau of motor vehicles at night cleaning up one floor - consisting emptying ash trays and trash cans. Tool about 4 hours to do. After that I worked at Cross and Blackwell cleaning up a huge stainless steel catchup vessel. Sometimes found a cooked clean pigeon that had fallen in the vat while it was cooking. Thinking of all that catchup that went through the pigeon on the way to bottling.

Lorna said...

I know very little of Baltimore---but I think it was the site of the tv show "Homicide in the Streets", so everything I know is dark...I like your version better

Anonymous said...

Just a clarification on the lenses...

I still own Canon Lenses. I have sent my best Canon Lens to Adorama to see what they will give me for it. It takes about 10 days for it to get there and be evaluated. It is a $1325.00 lens if I had to replace it so I am not going to give it away. If I do not agree to their offer they send it back.

The lens I bought is shorter 18mm vs 70mm on the Canon and longer 270mm vs 200mm on the Canon lens so it reaches out farther and gets up closer. I tried it out -- the Tamron -- and like what it does but there are obvious differences, I am testing it and own it and it ended up costing over $725.00 dollars.

I tested it out yesterday pretty good, in the rain at a car show and at a reunion at a vocational school where I taught 40 years ago. What a whiz bang place that is nowadays and it oozes bling. Will post some pics of the events today...

Jinksy said...

A haunted clock? Hmmm... can't wait....