Sea of Row Homes



There are things we all think about when we recall how it was when we lived in our hometowns. Especially when we live far away.  There is always something that reminds of us of our childhood.  There’s the big oak tree that sits on the front lawn, the schoolyard where we used to play. There are so many things that remind me of Philly that they’re too numerous to mention.   The one thing that stands out in my mind, however, were the sea of row homes.


I see brick row houses lined up evenly on a street, squished together, one street after another.  A sea of row homes, joined with brick and mortar.

Flat and sloping front lawns.  Grass grows high in the summer.  Gets brown in the winter.

Sitting on the front stoop, feeling connected, watching neighbors, looking at cars pass by and waiting for the kids to come outside to play.

These row homes are called “straight throughs.” Walk through the door to the living room, to the dinning and kitchen area.  Our bedrooms are upstairs–mine to the right; my parents to the left.

Downstairs mom does her  laundry.  She washes two loads at a time; never mixing whites with colors and  then hangs them up to dry.

Our basement is finished with wood panelling on the walls, grey-speckled linoleum on the floors and a little wet bar for dad.

My best friend’s basement is painted black with a day-glo peace sign, a flickering strobe light on the ceiling and a Jimi Hendrix poster on the wall.

Some row homes were updated with thick shag carpets, big glass mirrors attached to sliding closet doors–marble sinks, new storm windows and customized shower stalls.

All in all, row houses are warm and comfortable. The people who live in them are humble.  Your neighbors know you and you know them.  Everyone is the same.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be.


For more on Philadelphia row houses and other things Philly, check out my article on HubPages called, The Essence of Philadelphia in Eight Photos.

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