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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2nd Outfit/ More Philadelphia Freedom


We stroll past the resting soldiers and I spot a soldier showing off his musket collection. I whisper to Chris, “We should stop here first. Rifle and musket demos are always fun!” She smiles and nods, hoping to get to play with one of the muskets, and we stop in back of the little children watching the re-enactor intently.
          “Now this right here,” as he holds up an ivory cloth, “keeps the barrel clean. Cleanliness is very important for weapons.”
          Children ooh and ah and as the soldier continues he holds up one of the muskets and the musket ball explaining, “Now, muskets weren’t all that accurate. The musket balls left damage, but most soldiers died from disease.”[6]
          “Ew,” a few children chime in and walk away, not wanting to hear more about disease. I see dice and playing cards and I assume that is what drew them in on the display in the first place, but Chris and I missed it. I remember those same cards and die from Valley Forge and just study them again and admiring how simple people of the past were. As I study all that is lying on the quilt, Chris asks the re-enactor a few questions.
          “So, that horn right there, did that hold water?” I reply breaking out of my studying trance.
          “Oh, this metallic tin right here is the canteen,” the re-enactor points to the silver canteen on the left.
          “Oh, no, I didn’t mean that. I mean that ivory or elephant trunk looking thing,” I ask again patiently.
          “That! Right! It holds gun powder.”
          “I give you a lot of credit,” I begin to say randomly, “that you still do this on really hot days like today.”
          “I sometimes wonder how I do this. My uniform is mostly wool.”
          “Yeah, I am really into the Civil War and go to those reenactments all the time and they have the same problem. But, our love for history always perseveres.”
          He smiles at us; Chris and I give him our thanks and we stroll to the gun expert located next to him.
          Two Asian boys stood at the front and watch the Irish[7] looking re-enactor hold the Kentucky Rifle. The soldier hands us a milled Spanish dollar worth five dollars that read “this bill entitles the Bearer to receive five Spanish milled dollars or the Value there-of in Gold or Silver, according to a reolution of CONGRESS pa∫∫ed at Philadelphia, July 22, 1776” with his name (Justin Blocksom) and his regiment (The “Old” 11th Pennsylvania Regiment) on the back.[8]
          “Ooooh,” the boys coo and the game of twenty ensue. Blocksom smiles and continues, “Each member was equipped with a firearm plus a bladed back-up arm, such as a short sword, belt axe or bayonet,” with Blocksom securing the bayonet atop the Rifle. After it is secured, he thrusts the rifle and scares the boys.
          “Yet, unlike the mother country’s own militia regulations—in which the authorities controlled the arms and stored them together in a secured central location between muster days—each American had to provide his own arms and keep them at home.”
Justin Blocksom of the “Old” 11th Pennsylvania Regiment showing off his rifle and bayonet.          Tiny hands shoot up and more questions ensue. You can tell Blocksom is ecstatic, Description: Description: since these kids are very interested in the history. “Let me ask you,” Blocksom cuts in, “where are you from?”
          The mother responds in her broken English, “We’re from New Jersey.”
          “Oh, you could totally visit the battlefield there!” Blocksom then looks at Chris and me to ask where we are from.
          “I am from King of Prussia,” I respond.
          “Philadelphia, Bridesburg area,” Chris responds.
2 cups milk

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

Ground cinnamon3 cups dry bread cubes (4 slices)

1 ½ cups applesauce

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

2 beaten eggsApple Bread Pudding          “You’re all very close,” Blocksom acknowledges and continues with his spiel, “Now this is how you get the musket to fire.” Blocksom rubs the metal part of the rifle to create friction and a spark, which will help the gun work. The boys, as well as Chris and I are in awe about how the soldiers used their weapons.
Above is a recipe that a Colonial Family would eat.In a buttered 8x8x2 inch baking pan layer half the dry bread cubes.  Combine applesauce, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Spread applesauce mixture over bread cubes.  Layer remaining bread cubes atop.  Dot with butter.  Combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Pour over bread mixture.  Lightly sprinkle cinnamon over top.  Bake at 350 degrees F till a knife inserted just off-center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.
Description: Description:

          We enter the Constitution Center amidst the fife music loudly playing. I suggested to Chris before we went to Infinite, we should check out the Constitution Center to see if they were having anything for people born on the Fourth of July.
          The cold winds—similar to what was on the El—of Siberia and Antarctica cheerfully greet us as we walk through the glass doors. I spot the information desk and proceed forward. Chris and I approach and the woman sitting at the desk cheerfully asks how she may be able to help us.
          “Hello. My birthday is tomorrow—July 4th—and I was wondering if you have anything for people born on the 4th because I’ve seen in past years there usually is a celebration.”
          “Uh, I’m not sure, let me call Mark.” The receptionist picks up the phone and begins to dial a number, “Hello, Mark, we have someone here who’s birthday is the 4th of July and has a question… Okay… Thank you” and hangs up the phone before saying to me, “he’ll be down in a second.”


[1] The J is one of the letter routes that Septa have. According to Septa’s website (, the letter routes only run in Philadelphia. The J bus runs from Bridesburg—where Chris lives—to Germantown.
[2] I don’t blame her though, Josef was listening to his iPod and as the story goes, an African American guy comes up and takes it from him. A chase ensues, but the burglar gets away.
[3] I almost called it Margaret-Oxford, but fortunately I looked it up on Google and found this site explaining:
Yes, Orthodox Street and Oxford Avenue sound kind of similar. Both have Os and Xs. But, uh, they’re different.
Following in the footsteps of Philadelphia Weekly, Action News over the weekend referred to Frankford’s Margaret Orthodox El stop at the Margaret Oxford Station:
“…Officers responded to the Margaret Oxford Station…”
Sounds picky of us to make the correction? Maybe. But signs with the correct name of the station are everywhere. And there is also that pleasant little voice that announces the name of every stop as a reminder.
More than likely, no one from Action News has ever been on the Market-Frankford Line. Which is probably why they also reported the east- westbound train traveled south:
“…managed to ride the El southbound…”
Can we make it some kind of policy that all employees of citywide publications be required to ride all public transit lines at least once a year? Or, you know, have a map?
North East Philadelphia. Right NEast/Wrong NEast. ( Published: 04 October 2010. Accessed: 06 July 2011.
The Margaret Orthodox Station. Originally known as the Margaret-Orthodox-Arrott Station, the Margaret Orthodox Station opened in 1988 with much controversy. As I looked up the history for this travel narrative, I came upon an archive of newspapers from 1989:
After a year of waiting, nothing much has changed for those Frankford residents angry over the new Margaret-Orthodox station and other SEPTA reconstruction projects for the worn-out El.
"The station doesn't function for anyone who is elderly or handicapped. Plus, it's horribly ugly," said Joyce Halley, a member of the Historic Preservation Committee of the Frankford United Neighbors/Community Development Corps (FUN/CDC).
Neighbors fear that future restoration of the Frankford terminal might turn out the same way. "That's scary," Halley said recently. Peter Hanlon, a SEPTA spokesman, said SEPTA planned to meet with the group next month to continue discussions. He said no final decisions had been made on renovations to the Margaret-Orthodox station or changes in the Frankford terminal plans.
Lini S. Kadaba. “The Events That Shaped '88.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. 01 January 1989. Accessed: 06 July 2011.
[5] I type “surprisingly” because I expected something underground to be cooler than above ground. From my experience, our basement is usually cold in the summer, unless it is really humid and/or the air conditioning is on. I suppose if it is humid above ground, it’ll be a bit sticky underground. I wanted to do a Google search and came upon this via Although it is dealing with New York City, I am sure Philadelphia does the same thing:
The New York City subway is ventilated by surface air. If it's hot outside, that hot air freely enters the subway through the open grates that you can see as you walk the city streets. The cars are also air conditioned, which surprisingly generates heat in the tunnels. Also, when the cars brake, they generate heat through friction. Add the fact that there is no breeze and the dampness of the subsurface and you have conditions that are often nastier than they are above ground. It isn't a wine cellar that's for sure.

[6] In history classes and through documentaries and re-enactments we always learned that the musket balls were more disease causing than an instant fatality. One could assume it was lead poisoning, which might have been a little part of the problem. However, mostly the deaths were caused by other diseases: sepsis being the most likely. A musket ball or Minnie would drive cloth and leather into the wound and the lead would splinter everywhere as soon as it hit bone otherwise it flattens out and punches a HUGE exit door. Bone splinters and shredded viscera mixed with whatever else the shot pushed inside would surely cause sepsis and gangrene within days leaving the man to die screaming in agony and delirium. If he were to survive he would certainly be scarred worse than any modern surgery. Sepsis is poisoning of the blood.  Gangrene is necrosis or tissue death when blood supply is interrupted. Gangrene could cause sepsis.
[7] He looked Irish to me with the red hair, freckles, hazel eyes and really pale skin!
[8] Check out their website at the following address:

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