Wednesday, July 07, 2010
The news today of the barge hitting the tour boat on the Delaware River between Philadelphia and south Jersey combined with my reminiscing about the Riverton Independence Day celebrations reminded me of the exploring I used to along the river.
And makes me wonder how in heck I survived.
I lived on the top floor of a wonderful Victorian House just a few blocks from the Delaware River. The whole town is on the National Historic Register and there were very few rentals in the town. Somehow, I soon had half of the Houlihan's management staff moving to the town whenever something opened up.
A couple of us went in on a used fiberglass canoe, the thing was as heavy as could be. That wouldn't stop us from dragging it to the river to go exploring. We'd row across the river and walk though the abandoned factories.
Occasionally I'd go by myself. One day I spent hours walking through the fallen down buildings and climbing stairs and poking around where I'm sure I wasn't supposed to be.
I found the giant wooden tongs (pictured above) on that trip. I think they are for changing fuses and electrical stuff. The name Schweitzer and Conrad is on the metal label. It looks like the company is going strong, although they call themselves S&C now. There is also a patent number and guidelines as to what amperes and volts it can handle.
I shudder when I think of all of the not-so-smart stuff I used to do there. I thought nothing of rowing across the river, hanging on tightly to the sides of the canoe when the trash barges would go by, without telling anyone where I was going. I took a walk almost every night after work, be it in my town or in Philadelphia.
Middle of the night rollerblading with friends and a twelve-pack of beer, iced down in a pickle bucket were a regular occurrence. We're lucky we didn't crack our heads or get arrested.
On my days off, I'd go to NYC or down the shore or wander Philly by myself. Pre-cell phone, of course.
Those were the days before three jobs and obligations. I bet I could have been missing for a few days before anyone would notice. Of course, I was in my late 20s, early 30s then and as invincible as could be.
Man, I used to be a lot more fun.