When I stumbled upon this picture on the Internet of “Midsummer Night in Harlem 1938” by Virginia-born artist Palmer Hayden, it brought back a flood of memories from my growing-up days in Baltimore. The “colored” (as we said in those days) row house neighborhoods of my 1950s looked exactly like the place portrayed in this painting, with the exception of the fine white church in the background. Yes, the Baltimore black neighborhoods had at least one church for every block or two, but it was usually a store-front church as opposed to a stand-alone.
I remember riding the bus from school through these types of neighborhoods in the hot, sultry days of June, when virtually no homes were air conditioned. It seemed then that everyone in creation was outside trying to cool off. Those not on the street could be seen hanging out of open windows. What a sight it was in those days! What a sense of community it portrayed. There must have been much more of it before televisions, air conditioning, computer games and automobiles in those long-forgotten times of yore, and I suppose that is why they are referred to as “the good old days.”
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