Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Autobiography Project

The Autobiography Project is a public program that encourages Philadelphians to submit their own memoirs using no more than 300 words. At the close of the project, selected entries will be published in bus shelters throughout the City. The goal is the get Philadelphians writing and to have these stories be visible in public areas. The project launched on April 5th and ends on May 17, but the posters will be displayed throughout the summer.

For more info, check out their website. The Autobiography Project is being presented by 2 non-profit groups - the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and One Book, One Philadelphia.


Candadai Tirumalai said...

I was a Philadelphian from 1960 to 1967, arriving on a Greyhound bus from New York in lashing rain from the aftermath of a hurricane(Donna?) on my birthday: an unintended coincidence. For the seven years, I lived within walking distance of Penn, which, apart from historic College Hall and the Furness Building, might be unrecognizable today. I taught undergraduates from the old Central High School, rode the clattering trolleys and the Frankford El, met friends under the Eagle at Wanamaker, thrilled to the famous Orchestra, saw European films on Market Street in downtown, once walked by Franklin and Whitman, spent Sundays at the Art Museum and the Free Library, going past Rodin's Thinker on that magnificent boulevard, and an afternoon among the Barnes Impressionists. I got to know Friends (Quakers), whose families are as old as the city. Society Hill was beginning to be restored, and of course the entire nation came in 1976. My first city in America, Philly is my first and last love.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

I meant to add that in Sept. 1960 I saw a campaigining John Kennedy riding past in an open car on Chestnut Street by Penn's Law School--all too poignant in retrospect.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

One more "period" detail. Leary's was a capacious, multi-floored secondhand bookshop, packed with books and strewn with strategic ladders, located, as I seem to remember, somewhere between Center City and Independence Hall. On one of the occasions I was there, a member of staff asked if I was a clergyman, for they were entitled to discounts. Alas, I could not claim them.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Since I came to Penn from India as a Rotary Fellow for International Understanding, in 1960-61 I went to numerous Rotary clubs in the Philadelphia environs and spoke for about 20 minutes at lunch meetings attended by businessmen, realtors, optometrists. Had I known Sinclair Lewis at the time, I would have thought his portrait of the Rotarian too sardonic. The old International House on Arch Street, presided over by Mr. Giles Zimmerman, hosted social occasions. My hospitable hosts were a dentist and his wife, then studying for a Master's at Bryn Mawr College, in King of Prussia.

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