October 13, 2005 |
The American small town at the turn of the 20th century is frequently viewed with nostalgia as a happy, optimistic place, populated by folks content with their constricted lives. On the musical stage, the River City of The Music Man is a prime example of such a community. There is also a contrary view of small-town America. Edwin Arlington Robinson's Spoon River Anthology poems are filled with melancholic people, and in Thornton Wilder's classic play Our Town, the intimacy of Grover's Corners does little to shield its residents from the cruel impositions of an indifferent universe.
January 31, 1989 |
The Pulitzers are back from India," my mother announced. "How do you know?" I asked. "I just saw their blinds go up. " Amazingly enough, this small-town conversation took place in New York City. Not so amazingly, really, since the year was 1938, and New York was a very different place from today's Big Apple; it still retained the coziness and many other aspects of a small town. I recall that I was amused, but not at all surprised, when I learned that Henry Luce, who was having an affair with a beautiful blond journalist, used a window blind to signal from his apartment in the Waldorf Towers to hers directly across Park Avenue.
June 11, 1990 |
Somebody else had to ring the church bell to summon the mourners to the Blooming Rose Church, because this time, Robert Friend couldn't do it. And from now on, somebody else will have to mow the grass at the Gospel Center parsonage. Somebody else will have to serve on the Teen Action board. Somebody else will have to be the president of the Markleysburg Borough. For Robert Friend, the quiet construction superintendent who always seemed to be where his neighbors needed him, is suddenly gone.
July 23, 1989 |
Whatever you do, please, please, PLEASE don't write about the rabbit, begs Charles "Cuzzy" Rowles. And if you write about it, he adds, "you aren't going to use names, are you?" OK, so we won't use the name of the rabbit. But the story goes like this: In November, a pet rabbit was minding its own business in the back of Ruth Rowles' yard in Eddystone Borough - a nice small yard, with a 3-foot-high cyclone fence. The rabbit was there all alone when - POW! - a neighborhood dog leapt the fence and ripped the rabbit and its metal cage to shreds.
August 27, 1990 |
Two groups of outsiders regularly invade Williamsport. One is predominantly white, middle class and welcome. The other is mostly black, poor and decidedly unwelcome. The welcome guests are fans of the Little League World Series, which opened here last week. The unwelcome visitors are recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, many of them escaping inner-city Philadelphia for treatment, fellowship and small-town tranquillity in Williamsport. The baseball fans leave after a few days.
August 30, 2008 |
Sen. John McCain's surprise pick for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has some wondering if she has the experience to handle the job. Until Palin became governor two years ago, the bulk of her political experience was as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town similar in population to Lansdowne, Delaware County. Lansdowne has about 11,000 residents, according to census data, a few thousand more than Wasilla, population 8,000. While "small-town mayor" may not be a wow factor on a political resume, the mayors of these two communities say Palin gained valuable experience governing in a place where political foes need to get along with their neighbors.
October 15, 2010 |
Will (Josh Hopkins) is 35, a boyish man with a high-powered ad job and a good Philadelphia address who comes to Lebanon, Pa., for his father's funeral. CJ (Rachel Kitson) is 18, a womanly girl impatient to shake off the dust of Lebanon and move to Philadelphia for college. Their paths cross in Ben Hickernell's sophomore feature, Lebanon, Pa ., a poignant portrait of an unlikely friendship and a pungent contrast of urban clamor and small-town murmur. Where Will has lost his estranged dad, CJ can't get any distance from hers.
January 9, 2002 |
When I first heard the name of the South Jersey town where my newly minted lawyer husband-to-be would begin his practice, it meant absolutely nothing to me. I was, after all, a city girl from Philadelphia who regarded the Ben Franklin Bridge as a thoroughfare across a border I seldom crossed. But after our summer wedding and move to Levittown (now Willingboro), where we settled into a little Cape Cod house, I realized that my frame of reference was forever altered. I was a bona fide resident of New Jersey.
July 4, 2011
He is 50, father of a son and two daughters. He has a mild, intelligent face and wears rimless glasses. His hair, not long, runs wild in gray-white tufts. Tom Grady, the mayor of Narberth (population: 4,300), looks more like a professor than a pol. But he fits the mold in what he calls "the heart of the Main Line. " His half-square-mile borough, once a working man's town, has evolved into a bastion of "architects, lawyers, professionals," as he puts it. Mapes 5&10 has been joined by a Japanese market and French bakeries.
February 3, 2011 |
TAMPA - There are two living hockey legends from the unbelievably small Canadian town of Hearst - the furthest drivable town in northern Ontario. And both of them were in the St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday night. One of them, Claude Larose, put French-speaking Hearst on the hockey map by winning five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens from 1965-1973. Flyers forward Claude Giroux, who grew up skating in the town's only hockey arena, which bears Larose's name, keeps the flame alive.