I grew up in this house.
This isn’t a particularly original thought but, boy, it sure looks a lot smaller than I remember.
It just seems too small to house all those memories, all those holidays, all those meals, all those toys and all those birthdays…and it doesn’t look big enough to contain the big family that used to call it home…one happy couple, one beatnik sister and five rambunctious boys, including one future champion tree-hunter.
It’s also missing some trees.
There used to be larger roses and more evergreen shrubs guarding the walkway to the front door. There used to be a dwarf pear tree and a rose of sharon on the driveway side of the house.
On the other side of the house, there used to be a sour cherry tree.
At the end of long summer days, I would cool down under the sour cherry tree with the Lippincott brothers and we would throw our pits over the fence into the neighbor’s in-ground pool, sorry about that.
I found an old photo of the house and that’s when I remembered another tree, now missing…
…that tall Norway spruce rubbing up against the side of my childhood home.
These are the trees of my past…the trees of yore…the phantom trees that can no longer be found except in old photographs and fading memories…happy Memorial Day, citybillies.
Contrary to popular belief, trees do go missing. I wish they wouldn’t move around so much but they do. They come and then they go.
Philadelphia, too, is haunted by its own host of missing trees, none more famous than the Great Elm of Shackamaxon.
THE PENN TREATY
Shackamaxon was the name of the Lenape village located right here along the Delaware River within the borders of the Philadelphia charter, in the neighborhoods currently called Port Richmond and Fishtown.
According to a few histories, Shackamaxon was the capital of the Lenape nation and the seat of power for the chief of the Turtle Clan.
In the village of Shackamaxon, there was a great elm.