Monday, August 23, 2021

Philadelphia 2021 Day 2a


Ye Olde College Try
May 27, 2021
Rested and ready for a self-guided Villanova tour, we got up in time to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast.  The hotel had a nice little spread.  Anabelle maintained her tradition of getting overly excited about apple juice, and mixing hot chocolate with coffee cream, both things she picked up in Disney World.  I continued a tradition I picked up there as well, along with carrying it on in Sweden.  I missed an entire section of the main offerings of the breakfast layout, and had to ask my family, “Where was that?”
Good thing we stayed two nights.
As we drove to the college, Anabelle saw a sign referencing one of the Revolutionary War items she obsessed about in grammar school. It was the Valley Forge Memorial Garden.

At Villanova, we parked and started our self-tour on South Campus where most freshman housing is. (And it's taken long enough to write and edit this that I can say that's where she ended up.)   Anabelle remained consistent by stopping every six feet to take artsy fartsy close up photos of flowers.
No, this is not why she picked this school, but it will help her feel at home.
After that area, we crossed the bridge to the main section of campus that goes directly to the HUGE chapel.  Given I have a large amount of  Disney World related material on my social media feeds, every time I saw a photo of a new student in front of this thing on the Villanova Parents Page, I thought, “YAY, people in front of Cinderella’s Castle!”
It was one of the few buildings open both due to the plague conditions and time having passed the end of classes.  We peeked in and looked around the gorgeous church for a bit

Then it hit me that my daughter was attending a Catholic Liberal Arts college.  I’m positive we are genetically linked, but those were two immediate “no”s for me.  It goes to show everyone has different reasons for the feeling that a college fits.
Right nearby (across the road the bridge went over) was the Holy Grounds coffee shop, and the Refrectory wine bar and grill, making me relax a little that the tour guides’ lines about religion not being overwhelming at the school were accurate.
As we entered campus proper, the first thing we passed is the cemetery or former Villanova Brothers. Nice.  The tour guide on our last visit also referenced a rumor that they Poltergeist-ed the stones and left the bodies wherever they were.  Also nice.
We looked around campus; covering many of the same areas we saw on the tour several months prior. However, now that she knew she was attending, it felt vastly different.  Her excitement at the statue of Mendel, “The pea pod guy!!” in the Science Quad was undimmed.

In a small shady spot were life size statues of Saint Augustine teaching several students.  For the pictures, we had to keep reminding Anabelle, “Stop giving the Saint rabbit ears.”
My concerns about the effect of the school’s religious sponsorship on my daughter relaxed further.
Up in campus center, we hung around to get the required pictures by the “Oreo.” Yes, I know it’s called “Awakenings” but look at it.
It’s either an Oreo, or a cubist interpretation of the Death Star.
The bookstore was interesting in that it was filled with Basketball and other branding swag, but no books. I pointed this out as we left and learned that there was a whole second level for books. 
How about that?
I guess everything isn’t online after all. 
We loaded up on some Villanova stuff and souvenirs before heading out.
Sadly (plague and year-end) all the cafeterias on campus were closed. Even more sadly, we had forgotten to bring any snack bags figuring between a college and a major city, we’d be sure to eat. 
We really should be better at factoring in…"it’s us."
I thought I went into the same cafeteria building near the Oreo I did on the previous visit’s guided tour to find a bathroom, but I goofed and picked a gym. This was a happy mistake as I could get Anabelle a photo of the Dance Company billboard.
With only half the day gone, we decided to drive to Philadelphia proper to do what we originally planned to do the next morning. Sometimes we really should have Grids for non-Disney excursions.
After over fifty years having spent time sitting in or driving in New York traffic, I can say with some authority that Philly traffic is stupid. 
At least in New York there’s an accident, or a collapsed overpass, or some nut wearing mismatched sports equipment wandering the highway causing the slow down issues I’m used to.  Philadelphia traffic slows down randomly for no identifiable reason (therefore providing no entertainment) on any and all entrances to the city making it take forty-five minutes when it should be fifteen no matter what.
The information we looked up about parking listed multiple sites, therefore we drove completely around the giant visitor center with the massive parking garage under it one and a half times before figuring it out.
Once parked, we headed directly to the Liberty Bell, and ignored everything we said about what we were planning to do in a dazzling display of us-ness.
Research before we went indicated there was usually a ninety-minute wait due to limited capacity of the museum. However, there was a way to walk around back and see the Bell through a window without waiting.  We all talked about not intending to wait that long, allowing us to get to other sites.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as we got there, we hopped on the line that ended a little ways in from on the “Ninety minutes from this point” sign.  Since it wasn’t all the way to the sign, we surmised the wait would be shorter.
Since we didn’t have any method of converting linear feet to access rate, we had no idea how much shorter.  We did get to see several “colonists” in appropriate garb leading tour groups around.
Ideally, if we understood how our family inevitably works, we would have eaten lunch before we got on this line. Although then we would have ended up behind the giant school tour.

Except for the later decent into Crazy Hungryland, jumping on was a good idea.
Independence Hall was behind us. We demonstrated the down side of modern technology quite conclusively. Rosa asked who the statue was in the distance, and we all immediately looked it up on our phones.  If we had instead taken a step to the left and stared a bit, we would have determined it was George Washington much more quickly.
Rosa walked back to get a picture of Independence Hall…
And also the Liberty Bell because the “through the window” opportunity was right there. 
However, you couldn’t see the crack that way, and the line was moving well. 
It was a fine decision overall since the small museum was quite cool and informative. The guards also were, explaining a few bits about repair attempts and anniversary celebrations they heard us asking each other about.  This meant I had to call Rosa back from the next room as she has been conditioned over the years to ignore me when I start talking to strangers in museums. This time, though, they were answering her questions.  We looked at the Bell a bit, got our photos, and foolishly didn’t have time to eat yet again.

Outside on the wall were images of the first two presidents and their wives who served when the nation’s capital was in Philadelphia. Seeing Abigail Adams, whom she dressed as in a “wax museum,” was the second one we ran into of Anabelle’s grammar school revolutionary war obsessions.
We passed a pizzeria on the way to our next destination, but my New York blood vetoed the idea of trying that with all the other options around. Forgetting my daughter no longer liked cheesesteak sandwiches was another notch in my “we really should have eaten” belt.
In celebration of Ben Franklin, outside the cemetery he resides at, was a large statue of his head.  The cemetery had a gift shop at the entrance…like ya do.

It was next to a fire station also dedicated to him. The statue was made entirely out of keys donated by schoolchildren.  Since this is something I’m reporting on, that wasn’t the weirdest part.  The key bust was a replacement for an older, similar one made entirely of pennies, which was damaged beyond repair.
Our destination was the third and greatest on Anabelle’s grammar school Revolutionary War obsession list, Betsy Ross’s house. Anabelle had dressed as her for another project as well as writing a report and making a diorama.

She insisted on taking a picture of the Eleventh Doctor action figure in it to show time travel.
That's my Girl!


Dina Roberts said...

I love so much about this post but especially the fact that you turned Poltergeist into a verb.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you very much.
Its nice to hear someone enjoys my horrendous grasp of how language should work.

longbow said...

So that's what happened to all the house keys I lost as a kid

Jeff McGinley said...

Ha! I'm guessing there were a lot of Philly houses suddenly missing keys that year when kids forgot "extra" ones when requested.

Thanx for reading.