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Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’


A Picture from Edna

The Baltimore Market of My Memories

This Mother’s Day weekend I visited Baltimore’s Lexington Market, in remembrance of the times I went there with my mother as a toddler. I remember that I always found it to be a most frightening place, as I only saw the legs and feet of other shoppers. I remember tightly grasping onto my mother’s skirt as my younger brother and I stayed with her as she shopped.

I don’t remember exactly what groceries she usually purchased, however seeing the market displays this weekend told me that I would have been even more frightened as a toddler if I could have seen above the legs and feet of the shoppers to the iced shelves of the fishmongers’ and butchers’ products. The food items displayed this weekend brought back long forgotten memories of the dishes my mother prepared – fried scrapple, oxtail soup, crab soup, crab cakes and shad roe. Lexington Market Displays (Slide Show)

I wonder how my mother managed to get all of her purchases back home, as she did not drive? Perhaps my father picked us all up after work. Or, perhaps she travelled by street car, which was a very usual way of getting about the city in those long ago days. Then I wondered how she would have managed the street car ride with two toddlers in tow and bags of groceries. As my memories of those days are almost vanished, I can only wonder at how she accomplished all of those things in those bygone days.

I found one provender who claimed to be an old-timer at the Lexington Market. He was the man at the Muskrat-Raccoon-Alligator counter in my pictures. He began describing the way it was in the 1970s when he first arrived on the scene. I told him that my remembrances were from much earlier – like just after World War II in the 1940s. His eyes glazed over as he told me that there was no one alive today at the market who could remember back that far. It was almost as though I was speaking of the eighteenth century days, like 1782, when the Lexington Market first opened. (The Slide Show)

The image, Lexington Market, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Memories for more of Edna’s writings.

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That is how my mother always described her stint during World War Two when she was serving her country as one of the now famous “Rosie the Riveters.” Although she never described it as service, she was obviously proud of the opportunity the war brought for her to work in a Baltimore defense plant or factory performing jobs that would have ordinarily gone to men.

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Midsummer Night in Harlem 1938

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.”

The image, Midsummer Night in Harlem 1938, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives, for more of Edna’s writings.

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