1st: Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
(I read King of Torts by John Grisham and Left for Dead by Beck Weathers on this trip)
WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
24 August 2004
It is 3:30 a.m. my body's time and I'm finally home. Thankfully, it was an uneventful travel day. I even managed to sleep about 2 hours on the leg from Dallas to Sacramento.
The morning started with driving to the train station in New Jersey with Phyllis for the brief (15 min.) trip into Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the escalator was out, so carrying all of my stuff up the stairs wasn't fun, but once we got to the platform, and then onto the street in Philadelphia itself, it was OK.
We walked from the train station to Phyllis' office. She works for Lippencott Publishers, whose office overlooks Independence Square, Independence Hall, and the site of the Liberty Bell.
On the way we passed a street with a familiar name!
I dropped my luggage off in Phyllis' cubicle, made arrangements to meet her back at the office at noon and then I took off to explore a tiny portion of Philadelphia. I thought about hopping on a tour bus, which promised a 90 minute tour of the city, but decided I'd rather just walk around the area surrounding Lippencott and I think in the long run, I'm glad I did.
The first stop, of course, was the Liberty Bell. I wanted to go in and see it before the crowds got too big. As it was, the groups of Japanese tourists were already assembling, but I managed to get in, snap my photos and get out before things got overwhelming.
The Liberty Bell, of course, once hung in Independence Hall and was used to call the citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. It also was rung when Benjamin Franklin was sent to England to address Colonial grievances, when King George ascended the throne in 1761, and to call people together to discuss the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act.
Showing that there have always been cranky people in this country, in 1772 a petition was sent to the Assembly stating that the people in the vicinity of the State House were "incommoded and distressed" by the constant "ringing of the great Bell in the steeple."
But it continued ringing--for the first Continental Congress in 1774, and then for the reading of the Declaration. In 1777, when the British occupied the city, all bells, including the Liberty Bell, were removed from the city to avoid their being melted down and used to make cannons.
The idea of the bell was adopted as a symbol of freedom by abolitionists in 1837. William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery publication The Liberator reprinted a Boston abolitionist pamphlet containing a poem about the Bell, entitled, The Liberty Bell, which represents the first documented use of the name, "Liberty Bell."
It is felt that the expansion of the crack (which had been noticed the day it was first hung) which made the bell unringable, occurred on the occasion of George Washington's birthday in 1846.
So my knowledge about this symbol that I've known all my life was increased today and it was nice to actually see the bell up close and personal, to sit in Independence Square (even if it is all torn up in a project to rehabilitate the square) and to imagine what things were like 200+ years ago, when Philadelphia was the military, economic and political center of the new colonies.
I wandered around Washington Square and looked at the old Georgian buildings which abound in the area.
I stopped for coffee at a coffee shop and then wandered around the jewelry district, and finally found a junk souvenir shop, where I resisted the temptation to buy a George Bush jack-in-the-box.
Instead I walked back along "signers walk" (with plaques commemorating each of the 56 members of the Continental Congress who "risked their lives, reputations and fortunes by signing the Declaration of Independnece") to Independence Plaza and sat there watching a squirrel, and then sauntered over to Phyllis' building again, where I met her in the lobby at noon.
We went to a nearby cafe for lunch--I treated her, since it was her birthday--and then back to her office to collect all of my stuff, get down to the street and hail a cab for the ride to the airport.
I lucked out on weather today, since the humidity had gone and the temperatures weren't oppressive, but I decided that Philadelphia is probably too hot in summer, too cold in winter--a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. However, I think I'd like to go back again some day, with more time to spend wandering around and seeing more of the historic places.
The plane was about 5 minutes late arriving in Sacramento and my luggage was the last off, so Walt had to make 4 rings of the airport before I finally got out to the sidewalk. He'd brought Sheila with him, and she was VERY excited to see me again.
I had a great weekend, but it's good to be home...