Maddie called to let me know that he and Curt would be by to pick me up in front of the hotel. I kept watching for his car when he walked up and smiled! What a total cutie! We hugged and greeted each other like the good friends we are! We knew we wouldn't behave when we got together and of course didn't!
I got to ride in the front seat beside the excellent tour guide, Curt, who told stories about the Curse of Billy Penn, where no buildings were supposed to be taller than William Penn's hat on the City Hall statue according to an ordinance when the city was planned by Benjamin Franklin. This site explains it, too:
For nearly a century, William Penn stood atop the city, one hand extended over the thriving society that had sprouted from the seeds of freedom which he had planted so long ago. For all those years, the wishes of the commissioners of his statue were upheld by a simple gentlemen's agreement - a handshake.You gotta love that!
However, in 1984, that agreement was broken. Plans to build Philadelphia's first skyscraper - One Liberty Place - had commenced. The 945 foot glass skyscraper, to be located only three blocks west of City Hall, would exceed Penn's hat by a whopping 397 feet.
Philadelphia sports teams had, up until that point, enjoyed a wealth of success - back to back Stanley Cups for the Flyers in 1974 and 1975, an NBA title for the Sixers in 1983, and the appearance of all four major sports teams in their respective finals in 1980, concluding in a World Series Title for the Phillies. The Golden Age of Sports in the City of Brotherly Love was brought to a halt in 1985, only a few months after discussions to build Liberty One had commenced, when Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers hoisted the Stanley Cup following a win over the Flyers in game five.
Since then, the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers, have gone 0 for 7 in Championship finals, accumulating in an 88-season drought - the longest of any city with four professional sports teams. Meanwhile, the City of Brotherly Love now sports seven skyscrapers that rise above the ever mysterious statue of William Penn. Interestingly enough, all of the offending buildings stand to the west of City Hall as the city's founder faces northeast, conceivably giving Penn an unobstructed view of the Delaware River (where he and the Quaker settlers originally landed in the late 1600s). Whether the buildings were constructed keeping Penn's view in mind or not, the fact still remains that Philadelphia pro sports fans had been deprived of a championship until October 29, 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series, a year and four months after a statuette of the William Penn figure atop City Hall was affixed to the final beam during the June 2007 topping-off of the Comcast Center, currently the tallest building in the city.
Curt drove us around to various neighborhoods and gave fascinating commentaries. In South Philly we saw Geno's and Pat's Steak Houses. Each claims to be the first and the best. Curt said Geno's is like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld where you have to order correctly or get put at the end of the line. He said John Kerry messed up when he was there during his campaign because he ordered one with Swiss cheese. I recall hearing about that on the news after he mentioned it. I probably should have gotten one but will do it next time I go there. Nutwood Beth said it was delicious, so Tina and I should have ordered one at the Market.
We drove over to the train station to pick up David, who was on the phone with his Mama Bunny when I first saw him. We hugged and pantomimed until he was off the phone. It was so funny because he said he rarely gets phone calls and got two as soon as we met. It was wonderful to get to be with our fearless leader, who dragged himself out of his sick bed and rode the train to be with us. I felt so honored and appreciated it so much! He's wonderful like that and still lots of fun even when sick.
We went back to downtown, parked the car, and walked about 20 blocks to the Franklin Museum. OK, I'm sure it was closer to 20 than to 15. We had so much fun talking along the way and commenting on everything. Then we walked back! Did I mention how young all of them are? I did it, and the walking was good for me, but my feet and knees complained.
I think I offended Curt only about three times, which was pretty good for me. He's not used to me the way David and Maddie are and at one time glared at us and asked, "What are all of you - 12!!!" Yeah, probably. He reminded me the most of my son Brian, who rolls his eyes and tolerates me at times but mostly thinks I'm pretty funny. I couldn't believe Curt and Maddie hadn't seen 1776 since I've seen it almost a hundred times because of actually seeing the play three times and the movie 5 times a day for years when I showed it to my American Lit classes. I wasn't trying to be stereotypical that time. Yes, I know I said "that time" - I'm bad.
The Franklin Institute Science Museum has exhibits about all kinds of wonderful things - the Earth, electricity, sports, space, the heart, the sea. Tina, Frogponder, and many others would love it there. I want to go back and take Brian, Melissa, and Brendan. Check it out HERE. We went to the Planetarium to see a show about the Sun. David and Curt were sleeping bookends while Maddie and I learned all kinds of things.
Foucault's Pendulum INFO
We walked back to the hotel where Tina joined us and ate at a sub place in the gayborhood. It really is - there are rainbow strips on the street signs. We laughed and had more fun there and then made our pilgrimage to the Naked Chocolate Cafe. David doesn't like chocolate and ordered a cupcake and iced tea, but the rest of us indulged - especially Maddie and me! I ordered a frozen mocha blend, which I thought would probably be a normal size, but no! See the comparison! I drank most of it - delicious! - and bought a few things to take with me for later.
It was a wonderful day with my nephews! David gave up his Saturday to be with me when he needed to recuperate and was as much fun as I knew he'd be! Maddie presented me with a thoughtful gift bag filled with a box of delicious buttery sand tarts he baked himself, a print of the Philadelphia Museum of Art created by a friend of his, and a knitlace made of eyelash and other novelty yarn. As if giving his time was not generous enough, that was so sweet of him!
I was treated so well and felt like royalty! Thank you Maddie, David, and Curt!!! I miss you and want to get together again soon.
Why don't I have more photos of David, you might ask. The answer is that he asked me not to, so I didn't - even though he is totally cute!
Coming next - Sunday at Independence Hall!