Last day here in Philly. Now I remember what hot and muggy do to one's brain, digestive system and general sense of being. Especially when that comes with 109 Air Quality Index, which means "Unhealthy for Sensitive People" according to the EPA. See that orange band in Eastern Pennsylvania?--that's me. And here I am in a hotel, air conditioner running full blast.
Air conditioning in Philly hotels, hmmmm. For those of you old enough to remember Philadelphia in 1976, that's where Legionnaire's disease broke out in a downtown hotel, killing 34. This was part of the totally uncool seventies, during which time I hid out the summer at my Uncle Wally's family farm in rural Indiana driving pies around to faraway neighbors, though I was well below driving age. Wait, now it comes back to me: I was trading rutabaga and rhubarb for pies! Anyway, the mysterious deaths at an American Legion Convention brought national attention for the first time to unhealthy, no deadly, indoor air quality. Yep, the "disease" came from ooze in the air conditioning system that spread through the air shafts into legionnaire's lungs. The Mutter Museum has a great display showing articles on the initial panic across town and eventual discovery of the culprit's biological profile, along with the museum's requisite skulls and petrified body parts.
More Philly, all for now, I promise:
After a Quaker service in the second-oldest Freinds Meeting House in the nation, I had some soup and coffee in the lovely Friends kitchen.
Went with architect Bob and two of his friends trying to create a green village in town, similar to Danaher & Co's Global Citizen Center being planned for San Francisco. We drove together along with these two women, forgot their names, to Fishtown, quickly toured the Greensgrow urban farm, then climbed up with Michael into the bowels of his abandoned yarn factory. Up through five storeys of decades of industrial/ homeless/ squatter detritus, being careful not to fall through holes in the rotton wood floor. To the roof, a view of smog and the Fishtown neighborhood. Perhaps one day a green roof and green city collaborative surrounded by neighborhood patrons?
Plenty to choose from: some 40,000 such vacant lots and buildings in town.
The evening ended at the National Liberty Museum where I held hands with my brothers and sisters and gently swayed singing acapella and renditions of "this Little Light of Mine" and "We Shall Overcome," which was a fitting way to feel truly connected to the City of Brotherly Love.
Juneteenth exhibit today at Philadelphia History museum, with four or five guides showing us four visitors the historic records of the abolitionist and undergound railroad movements, providing private and heartfelt commentary on the old diaries, dueggerotypes and books.
Cause to say it--let freedom ring!