Mister Grocer’s

Philadelphia, PA – 1970

One chilly night I was in the VW minibus with my dad and my older sister. He decided to stop at a local convenience store on the way home on Rising Sun Avenue.

The shop was called Mister Grocers and it was an early convenience store. These types of stores would giveaway to later giants like 7-Eleven and Wawa. (Back then Wawa was a dairy farm. Incidentally, Wawa is the native American word for goose.)

I don’t remember why we stopped there but maybe he needed to pick up some cold cuts. My sister and I wandered around the store while he did what he had to do.

I came upon a rotating display rack full of little toys. The ones that caught my eye were these toy cars on little cards. I was checking them all out and they were really cute little cars. So for some reason unknown to me to this day, I stuck one in the pocket of my red baseball jacket.

It was the first time I had ever stolen anything. I don’t even know why I did it. I had plenty of little cars at home. It was almost as if this other power took over and compelled me to shoplift. It was definitely a compulsion. I think this may be a common thing in children that they eventually grow out of.

I remember sitting in the car on the way home and saying how I felt cold so I kept my hands stuffed in the pockets of my jacket. There was no reason for me to say that but I obviously wasn’t a good thief.

We made it home and I went up to my room to get ready for bed. I closed my bedroom door and took out the little car. I ripped open the package and looked at the toy. It was yellow, and not a color car I would have ever wanted, so maybe it was just the thrill of nicking it from the store. I have no idea. I placed the little car in a box among some other stuff in my room that sat on my radiator.

Gama Toys - Wikipedia

I went into the bathroom and got cleaned up for bed, and then headed back to my room. My mother was standing there holding the car and the ripped open package. Did I simply throw the package into the wicker wastebasket in my room? That’s very sloppy. I don’t remember. My room was full of all sorts of toys. How did my mom find this one thing that I just clipped tonight? ESP? I’ve never been able to solve this mystery.

The next thing I know, I’m sitting on the toilet seat and both of my parents are grilling me about where I got this little car. I lied and told them my friend Dave Archut gave it to me. Was this some kind of go-to lie I would use going forward? Probably not if it didn’t work.

It didn’t.

After a few minutes of intense interrogation, I cracked and told them that the package was already ripped in the store and I just took the little car from Mister Grocers.

It would have been awesome had it ended there with a stern scolding. But no… that would not be the order of the day. My mother and father left the room for a moment while I sat there having an anxiety attack on the toilet in my pajamas like a prisoner in the Gulag.

My mother returns with my jacket and slippers. It’s bedtime. We’re going in the wrong direction, mom. But apparently, we were going in the right direction. My father marched me downstairs and took me back out to the minibus and put me in it. I’m shivering as he proceeded to drive us back to Mister Grocers.

I’m terrified and nearly go into paralysis as we pull into the parking lot and there are two police cars parked there.

philadelphia police vehicles from 1969 | Police cars, Old police cars, Philadelphia

I see that, and I’m practically filling my pants in fear. My father tells me to go in with him and what I need to say to the clerk. We get out of the van and head into the store. I can’t believe the cops are on the case of the stolen car already! This is a serious offense. I’m in deep trouble. Grand theft auto? Juvenile Hall? Hard time?

My dad places the car in the ripped-open package in my hands. We walk up to the counter to the clerk behind the counter.

“Go ahead, son.”

“Sir, I took this. It doesn’t belong to me, and I’m sorry.”

Then my father tells me to go stand over there. Of course, I complied because there was no alternative but to obey. I was caught. Nabbed. No longer on the lam. My days of thievery were officially over.

He spoke with the man for a few minutes, and then we left. I don’t remember the conversation in the car on the way home, but I felt really bad but relieved I didn’t have to go with the police.

We never really spoke of it again, but it was a lesson well learned. My days of shoplifting and thinking I could get away with it had begun and ended on the same day.

Philadelphia, PA – 1978

I was 16 years old and shooting pool in my basement with a few of my buddies one evening. I’m sure my buddy Michael Mitchell was there, but I can’t remember who else. Maybe my friend from school Hugh Deissinger. (Yea, we had a pool table) I remember by then, my dad was working at a bank at the shore now and only came home on the weekends. Life was good, and it was a typical Friday night. My dad was cool with us listening to our records on his stereo, and the sounds of Aerosmith, Boston, Kansas, Foreigner, The Cars, ELO, and Peter Frampton filled the air.

My pop had an old wooden desk in the corner where he used to write out the bills and do his thing. That desk and its contents were completely off-limits to us kids because it was all dad/work stuff inside. We had no business touching anything in that desk. I remember going over to it to look for a pen or pencil to write something down that we were talking about.

I pulled open one of the drawers and there was the little toy car from my childhood crimewave days. I pulled it out and held it in my hands for the first time since the night I stole it. Did I have a moment of nostalgic wonder? No, I felt only revulsion for the object because of what it represented.

I told my friends the whole story that I just told you, and they all laughed. I felt better about the whole thing. My dad had paid for it that night back in 1970 to make things right. He righted my wrong with Mister Grocers but never let me have the stolen toy as part of my punishment. I get that, and it was the right thing to do. I didn’t deserve the spoils of my wicked handiwork.

He later told me that when we pulled up to the convenience store that night to return the stolen property, the police cars were there by pure chance. Just a couple of Philly’s finest grabbing a donut and a cup of coffee on the night shift. But he never said anything about it to me to further drive home his point. You steal stuff, the cops can come and haul you off to jail.

Well played, dad. Well played.

But what became of the little toy car?

That night that I accidentally found it and told the guys about it, was to be its final appearance. I took it from its package and placed it on the pool table. We then proceeded to blast billiard balls into it until it was smashed to bits.

I never said anything else about it and my dad never asked. I’m sure by then he’d forgotten about the little car in the drawer, but I’m sure not the incident.

Don’t take things that don’t belong to you!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Back The Tracks – Part 1 – Forts

Philadelphia, PA – Early 1970s

As a kid, we all loved our toys. Toys were our stuff. Toys were exclusively for kids. Parents had no use for them. When I misbehaved my dad would take things away from me. No TV, or take away certain toys. To me, this made no sense. I loved TV and toys, but without either of them, I always found something else to do. I had just as much fun with found items or making stuff. I could be just as happy with nothing as long as I could go out and play in the big lot at the end of our street. It was full of rocks, weeds, and bushes.

At the far end of the lot was a solitary tree that we fashioned into somewhat of a treehouse. It was really just a few long two by fours we found and stretched across a few of the limbs to make the ledger boards. We drove a bunch of nails into the limbs and then placed any boards we could find for the floor. It didn’t have any sides. It was simply a platform about 20 feet off the ground. We found some shorter bits of wood and nailed them into the trunk so you had something to grab onto and put your feet on to climb up and down to the platform above. It stood at the edge of the lot at the top of an embankment that led down to the railroad tracks.

Sitting in the treehouse just felt good. You were with your friends and safe from anything approaching on the ground. It’s an ancient feeling that washes over you. I’m sure primitive man did the same thing to escape ground-dwelling predators. It also gave you an advantage over your enemies. We always kept a box of rocks up there in case we were ever invaded. No one’s going to attempt to take your fortress if you have potentially lethal projectiles. We never needed them, but it was comforting to know you had them, just in case.

In Carl Sagan’s book, The Dragons of Eden, he stated that there was a theory that when you’re in your bed at night and just about fall asleep, you sometimes feel that sudden jump. He thought that it was a primitive mechanism that was in place to stop us from falling out of the trees as early hominids. When you’re a kid, it seems to occur with greater frequency but could be a long lost survival safeguard. But as children, we just loved to climb up on things. Old instinct? Maybe.

We’d built many forts over the years when we were kids. We kind of liked having several places we could go to hang out whenever we were wandering in the woods across the railroad tracks. Numerous little campsites that were exclusively ours.

One day, we were back in the lot. There was a fence that went all the way around the Peerless Steel factory back there. There was the fence, and along it was a dirt path. If you walked about thirty feet along the fence, at the edge of a hill was suddenly a small fort built there. It had almost appeared that it had gone up overnight. We were a bunch of 9 and 10-year-old kids. It had four walls and a roof. On the ground were pieces of old carpet so you could sit down. It was better than anything we’d ever seen. We figured some bigger kids had constructed it. We knew that older boys would go back the tracks at night and drink beer and smoke weed. It was really the only place to hide in my neighborhood. It was a really nice community, but full of watchful eyes. So they must have constructed it at night. Of course, being the curious boys we were, we went inside and hung out.

Such a primitive thing. A small tribe finds shelter in a place made by bigger more advanced beings. Empty beer cans and bottles littered the area. We would collect the bottles and cans and take them down the embankment to the railroad tracks below so we could set them up and play target practice with them. The trackbed was full of grey stones. So there was an endless supply of ammo to throw at the bottles and break them.

One afternoon we were sitting in the fort and a big kid appeared at the door. It startled us all and we were a bit intimidated by this formidable figure. He told us the fort belonged to him and his friends. We immediately told him we meant no harm and would vacate the premises immediately, but he sensed our fear and respect and told us to keep an eye on it for them. Of course, we accepted the job. We told him we’d clear all of the trash out so if there were any cops or railroad detectives around they wouldn’t find anything. When I think about it now, the older guy seemed like a man, but when you’re 10, a 16-year-old looks like an adult to you.

We played back in the lot and on the railroad tracks all the time. It was our place. No parents ever went back there. Think about how different things were back then. Today most children have organized play in sporting events and teams. They have video games that would have seemed like science fiction to us in the 70s. They wear all sorts of protective gear just to ride their bicycles. We had none of that. It was just your young hide against the elements. There were plenty of injuries back then. Who would let their kids today go play back in a vacant lot, wander through the woods, and play on railroad tracks? You’d be labeled a neglectful parent. But we loved it back there.

About a mile south, there was a church at the top of the hill where Levick Street crossed over the railroad tracks into Cheltenham. Behind its parking lot was a vacant lot. Sort of a landfill. It was just tons of broken rocks and cement that created a cliff on the edge of the woods. We moved some of the rocks and cleared a small enclosure we could get inside to call a fort. It was fun to dislodge giant stones that probably weighed 800 lbs. with our feet, and push them down the side of the hill. There was a certain triumph in being able to collectively move and object of such weight as kids. The joy of watching the boulder roll down the hill like it was all happening in a Road Runner cartoon. Once a space was cleared, we’d claim it as one of our many forts. The Rock Fort was born. We had found some boards and covered the small shelter so it had a roof. Of course, we’d carve out a hole in the dirt wall for the fireplace. My friend Michael had found an old rack from an oven in the trash and we shoved it in the wall over the fire pit. One morning my friend RJ, showed up with an open box of frozen Canadian bacon. I had never heard of that but I was willing to try it. We stuck the patties onto whittled sticks of wood and held them over the fire in our little fort until they sizzled. They were quite good actually, and we really felt like true mountain men that day. I wondered if RJ’s mother ever noticed them missing from her freezer.

Another style of fort we had back then was to dig a hole in the middle of the woods. We would carve out a space about eight feet square and maybe three feet deep. We’d take pieces of the roof from a broken dugout from the ballfields above the woods to make our roof. I liked the idea of the corrugated fiberglass. It was sturdy enough to stand on and any rain could be channeled and runoff during inclement weather. We’d find bits of old carpet from people’s trash and line the floor of the fort. As I said, it was only three feet deep, so you had to lie down in there. I used to love the idea of being in my little Bomb Shelter Fort. It felt safe in there. You could smell the soil in the air of the place. That rich dark clay smell of the earth around you. I would lie on my back in there with my friend and we’d read digest editions of the old EC Mad comics. These were in paperback and black and white reprints of the old comics before there was a Mad magazine.

We’d cover the corrugated roof with soil, rocks, and leaves so the fort was completely camouflaged. No one could see or find the place unless you knew where it was in the woods. It was actually comforting to have my back on the carpet knowing the only thing below me was the Earth itself. No wooden floor. No basement or foundation of a house. Just dirt. If I lifted the old bit of carpet under me and kept digging long enough, I’d hit China.

We had a bunch of forts back them. We always had the treehouse, that was ours, but sometimes we’d venture away down the path past the big kid’s fort, and just hang out behind a big mound of dirt on the side of the railroad tracks. There were plenty of trees and it was just a chill hiding spot.

We called that hangout spot The Dirt Fort. Beyond that about thirty feet away was a lower area that was a nice flat piece of land under a single big tree. We called it The Flat Fort, and let the girls have that space. Of course, they always want to do the cool stuff that boys came up with, so we sublet that bit of real estate to my sister and her friends.

These weren’t really forts per se, they were just little spots by the tracks we liked to hang out in.

One day there was a group of us down in the Flat Fort. I think it was me, my sister Janice, Margie, her brother Michael and my friend RJ. (I think!) We were all just hanging out chatting when this man wandered up. He looked like he was maybe in his twenties. He was skinny and had a t-shirt on and a pair of shorts and sneakers. We greeted the stranger, and he asked us if we had seen anyone else around the area. We told him we hadn’t. The first thing I noticed about him was how his eyes darted about when he spoke. Nobody I knew did that when they spoke. He stated that he was looking for his friends with whom he was out jogging. I was thinking who would go jogging back here by the railroad tracks? Bad place to twist an ankle on all of the irregular ground. He asked again if we had seen any of his friends because they were wearing shorts like his. Then he proceeded to pull down his pants. He had what appeared to be underwear on, but left his shorts down around his thighs and kept talking. We were all getting pretty weirded out at this point and told him again we hadn’t seen anybody else back here. We had him terribly outnumbered, so he pulled up his shorts and moved on.

We all immediately left the area and went straight home and told our parents. I’m glad the incident didn’t go any further and the guy just seemed odd and maybe just what he did in front of us was enough to satisfy his whatever. But after that, the mothers forbade the girls from going down there anymore. Just the boys. Kinda sucked because we didn’t mind having them around that much. But it’s funny how just the girls had to stay away. Like young boys couldn’t get molested too? I’m just glad nothing happened.

There was one other similar incident once when my friend Michael and I were just hanging out on the corner of Magee and Hasbrook Aves. I don’t remember how old we were but we were pretty young. We were both sitting in a wagon. It was right on the corner near our houses. Some guy rolled up on a motorcycle and stopped to chat with us. He seemed cool and we liked his bike. I don’t remember what we were all chatting about but at one point he asked us if we wanted him to pull down his pants. We immediately knew that was weird and got the heck out of there. He rode off but we went and told Michael’s dad about it. We never saw that perv again either.

Can’t be too careful out there, kids.

Part 2 of Back the Tracks will publish next Thursday.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

One Slip…

Philadelphia, PA – 1969

I was 7 years old and in 2nd grade at Lawndale school. My teacher was Mrs. Koffler. She was like any other lady. When you’re really young anyone older than 12 years old looks like an adult. But I suspect Mrs. Koffler was in her mid to late twenties. A plain girl. Cat glasses with her straight blonde hair pulled straight back in a ponytail. Neatly dressed in the style of the day. Conservative sweaters and blouses, and always a nice skirt. She preferred patterns to solids. Always wore nude colored pantyhose. Comfortable shoes adorned her feet. Flats on most days. I suppose being on your feet much of the day dealing with a roomful of kids would tire any person out.

I remember Mrs. Koffler would sit at the front of the class and read to us sometimes. I remember she would sit cross-legged. I would be listening to the story with the other students and admire her legs. She was a young lady and I’m paying attention to the story, but her legs were distracting me.

I remember on occasion I would sometimes drop my crayon or pencil on the floor so I could bend down under my desk to pick it up, all the while stealing a glance at her well-turned gams.

Funny how you like certain things even as a young boy. You’re too young to even have any thoughts or actions in regard to sex. I know I didn’t find Mrs. Koffler attractive and didn’t even really like her. But I would still check out her legs. Odd, how things fire in the mind even when you’re very young. It doesn’t mean anything, but it’s still a vision you find pleasing.

I was a bright kid but found school in general an enormous bore. It felt more like a prison to me.

It was the time of day for us to do art. Which meant all sorts of supplies appear and an assignment given. I was always surprised that even art was structured in school. You got assignments. I get it. Draw a nice picture and give it to your parents to hang on the fridge. It’s Thanksgiving. Trace your hand and we’ll make it a turkey.

The one thing they never teach in school is creativity. Because they can’t. They can only give you exercises to develop it. Because they can’t do it and don’t even know what it really is. They’re just the hired help. You either have creativity or you don’t.

So, we’re all making something at our little desks with cloth felt and construction paper and Elmers glue. I always like Elmer’s glue. My favorite thing to do with it was to pour a small amount into my hand and spread it out across my palm. I would wait for it to dry and it became like an extra epidermis on my palm. I would slowly peel it off, and I felt like a snake molting its skin. I noticed that the glue made a beautiful impression on my tiny hand. I could see every detail of my palm on the sheet of dried glue. It even felt like skin when dry. I could see the fingerprints and everything perfectly. I used to wonder if this type of glue would ever have any practical applications for law enforcement or forensics. But what did I know? I was just playing with something I should have been slathering on the back of a piece of colored paper so I could affix it to something else. It was non-toxic so no one would die if they ate it. (Which I have done. It’s quite good and not nearly as salty a delicacy as Play-Doh)

I was nearly finished with my little mandatory art project and got up from my desk to throw away some scraps of paper. Maybe I was distracted by the ethereal beauty of my classmate, the lovely Donna McHugh with her blonde wavy hair and ice-blue eyes. But somehow as I rounded a desk I slipped on a piece of felt that had fallen to the floor along with other artistic detritus.

My head struck the edge of one of the desks, just between the suborbital foramen and the margin. (My left eyebrow)

I don’t remember actually striking the desk or any pain. I just remember someone getting me to my feet and walking me out of the class. (I think it was room 6) I was with this person, (Maybe Mrs. Koffler?) and I saw something I never saw before. As we walked down the hallway along the polished light hardwood floor, I watched as drops of bright red blood dripped away from my face and struck the floor. Big drops. Just every few feet as we quickly moved along. Drip….drip….drip.

We got to the school nurse’s office and whoever brought me in left. I simply obeyed the nurse’s orders. I wasn’t frightened. I wasn’t in any pain really. I just laid down on the little cot. I felt the white butcher paper crunch under me. I just wondered why would someone put paper on a bed.

She went to work on me with bandages and compression. My brow was apparently split open in a nasty gash. I never saw it and I suppose that’s a good thing. I’ve seen blood before. No big deal. Boys are always getting banged up in everyday life. It’s part of having wild fun. I suppose it’s a good thing I didn’t see it because maybe that’s when the fear may have crept in.

I’m assuming they called my mother first. She didn’t drive so I’m sure she then called my father who worked at the Provident National Bank over on Cottman street.

I remember lying on the little cot when my father walked into the nurse’s office. He was wearing his overcoat and of course his hat. My father always wore a hat. He wore a hat beyond when it was no longer fashionable. He stayed right in the late sixties with his style. He told me that if he wore his style long enough it would come back again. (It later did!)

It was weird to see my father at school. Only moms haunted the school. Not dads. They were all at work every day.

The nurse had stopped the bleeding and had me bandaged up pretty good. My father lifted me up into his arms and carried me out of the school. I liked being carried by my dad. You feel safe in your dad’s arms. His cold coat. His rough face. His aftershave. All safe and familiar. Strong. He’s going to take care of this.

He carried me outside and put me in the back seat of the VW minibus. He asked that I lie down and be still, but hold on. I don’t know how long the ride was. Everything seems long when you’re little. Time is a crazy thing when you’re young. But time is relative. If you’re 50 years old and something’s going to happen in 6 months, that’s no time at all based on how long you’ve been on Earth. But if you were 5 years old and someone told you that Christmas was 6 months away, that’s 1/10 of your entire life. That feels like forever!

Anyway, we get to the hospital. I don’t remember going in or anything about the place. Just that everything was bright white. They laid me down on a bigger bed. (More butcher paper) The doctor came in and looked at my head. I remember him saying he was going to give me a few stitches. I’d never seen stitches except on the Frankenstein monster in the movies. Would it be a long black line, with shorter lines going across it like in a cartoon? Is that what they really looked like?

I know my dad stayed in the room the whole time. I remember looking up while the doctor went to work on me. He had a curved needle and thread. I guess my head had been hurting and the tiny little pricks really didn’t bother me at all for some reason. You’d think with my anxiety I’d have been freaking out, but anxiety is the fear of what might happen. This already happened. The doctor was just patching me up. I felt totally calm.

The doctor told me that he had put 12 stitches in my head.

It didn’t take long, and within no time my dad was taking me out of there. I don’t remember if I sat up or laid down on the way home.

Whenever any of the kids in the family had a cold they obviously stayed home from school. Sure you were coughing and sneezing and were just generally uncomfortable. But the cool thing was, we had a convertible sofa in our living room. We never used it for guests. We only used it when the kids were sick. My mom would open it up, prop up the head, and grab some pillows and a blanket. It was right in front of the TV. So getting sick wasn’t really that bad. getting your temperature taken and eating gross medicine was a bit unpleasant, but you got to watch TV all day and not go to school. Oh, and your mom waits on you hand and foot. Brilliant day.

Soup. Toast. All the fixings!

So, dad gets me home and my mom already has the sickbed ready. I got in my pajamas and hopped right in. I had a bandage on my head so my sisters couldn’t see my injury or my stitches. I remember it being described as a little black eyebrow above my real one.

Everyone was making a fuss over me and I was happy to be home. I just relaxed on the bed with my two sisters around me in the room as we watched TV.

I guess my dad had left for a short while because for about a half-hour I didn’t see him. But he soon returned and handed me a big bag. I opened it and inside it was a box full of little plastic spacemen! They were red white and blue and in all different positions. (Just like army men) I was very grateful to receive such a bounty. It wasn’t Christmas. I had simply slipped and busted my head open.

“Charles was so brave today. He never cried and laid perfectly still during the entire process. I’m really proud of him.”

I’ll never forget that.

Physical pain isn’t so bad. It’s mental cruelty and wickedness at the hands of others that make me cry. That’s an enduring pain.

A week or so later they took me to our local doctor. Dr. Alexander removed the stitches once the wound had completely healed. “The other doctor said he gave you 12 stitches, well  I just took out 13,” he said.

Seems like a more appropriate number in regard to what had happened to me that day. The doctor did a terrific job on my injury that day. The scar is so light you’d never know I had one. I’d have to bring up the story and show it to you.

And if we ever meet, I will.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Happy New Year – 2021 – Part 1

2020…The Year That Was… Or Wasn’t!

 

I’ve been writing Phicklephilly for over 5 years now, and it’s been an incredible journey of dating, love, relationships, and discoveries.

I’d like to first express my incredible gratitude to everyone who’s chosen to read, like, comment, and most of all, follow my blog. I appreciate every one of you and will always try to respond to any of your comments on any of my stories.

This year’s been one of many challenges. I’m not here to talk about the number of cases or deaths from this virus. We all hear enough about that every day. We’ve all lost loved ones during this dark time. I hope we’ve all learned some things through this.

I’m just going to mention a few people here. I lost my childhood friend Michael back in March and that was a shock. To lose one from your generation at such a young age is jarring.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/michael-mitchell-obituary?pid=195833715

We also lost our former bass player Mark, from the band, Union Jacks this year. Another devastating loss.

https://ingersollgreenwoodfh.com/tribute/details/606/Mark-Piro/obituary.html?fbclid=IwAR1-G6x6IxivL2Bw7M3JVvoE7yn_Vneodj-It7uOC-Fu0FFfM_34OD2-OmU

Rest in power, gentlemen. You will be missed.

I’ve realized something very important during this pandemic. You really find out who your real friends are. I’ve reconnected with some wonderful people from my past and it’s been glorious. My current lineup of friends is going strong and I love every damn one of you! Also, I have to mention my three wonderful sisters. I love you all and I’m proud to be a part of this family!

But, I’ve also had to release some toxic people from my life. I realized through this I have nothing in common with any of them and simply acquired them through my jobs. I had to let them go. Some I wanted to cut off 2 years ago but didn’t have the heart. I knew they’d only stalk me at work. But in 2020 they made the decision simple. They just don’t fit into my life anymore. I’m not going to mention any names. I have no malice and hope they all find their way in life.

Anyway, let’s move on to brighter subjects.

Here’s where my life’s been in 2020.

I remember working 55 to 60 hours a week at my job earlier in the year. One day I came home feeling tired. I looked in the mirror and said, “I wish this would all just stop.”

And it did.

My daughter and I were both laid off from our jobs in March. We waited a week, and then both filed for unemployment.

The first week or so it was just strange. Then we sort of settled into the fact that we couldn’t go to our jobs anymore.

What would we do with this sudden, paid free time?

We had some ideas. I decided to make phicklephilly.wordpress.com into my own domain. I bought Phicklephilly.com four years ago and own it. So I called the nice folks over at GoDaddy and had that integrated into my site. Now it’s more searchable on Google and has brought so much more traffic to the site. If you google phicklephilly now, it’s the first thing that comes up.

With that came WordPress ads. They run ads on your site, and that generates revenue. You have to complete a bunch of forms for that and give them all of your tax info. Because it’s real income.

But here’s the thing… the revenue for the ads run is minimal. They’ll serve thousands of ads on your site. But the return is tiny. Phicklephilly’s been around for over five years and I have tons of content. (Over 2,000 posts)  I figured more content, more page views. It worked, but I’d probably need millions of page views to make any money from these free ads thrown to me by WordPress.

I’m not complaining, but I felt I needed to do more. So I signed up for Google Analytics. That opens up the world of Adsense. Once that processed it generated ads on my site which will equal more revenue. The site’s really coming into its own.  So, we’re growing.

I have all of this free time. I’ve never had this much paid time off in my whole life. What to do?

Write and publish some books!

They’re all right here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

(If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow and read the digital versions of my books for free!) Everybody else has to pay.

Thanks to the amazing team at Amazon Kindle. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of technology. I can write the words, but you guys help me turn them into books.

Thanks to everyone at Amazon. I became a member over 20 years ago when you were just a giant bookstore. After crawling on my hands and knees to agents and publishing houses for years, Amazon finally gave me the biggest platform on Earth to bring my literary work to the world!

A special thanks to everyone at WordPress. Without you, I couldn’t publish Phicklephilly every day for the last five years! Now we’re a dot com and I’ve monetized the site with ads! You gave me a home to bring my work to everyone! Thank you!

Thanks to all the folks over at GoDaddy. You made the transition from just another blogger to a dotcom look easy. Thanks for always being there when I needed you. You’re the best!

While writing my first work of fiction, Angel with a Broken Wing, there was something nagging at me. The itch I had to create was being satiated by writing the book, but I felt there was something more I could do for Phicklephilly. The little blog that started me on this journey shortly after the death of my father in 2016.

I started to think… I’m putting all of these pieces together, is there something else I could do?

While creating Angel with a Broken Wing I would listen to music on Youtube. I’ve been listening to everything! It’s been great, but sometimes between songs, they run these commercials. I don’t really mind it if it doesn’t go on too long. I grew up in a world where radio and TV were supported by commercials.

I worked in advertising for 10 years when I returned to Philadelphia from New York back in 2007. So I understand the importance of ad revenue to support these sites.

I remember as I was typing one day, this ad came on for a company called, Dr. Squatch. I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Normally, when people are enjoying a show or listening to music, all they want to do is skip the ads. But Dr. Squatch’s ads were so good, I was captivated by their brand. It was a brilliant, fun campaign to promote their male hygiene products. You know an ad is good when you WANT to watch it because it’s so engaging.

Here’s an example of a tremendous, creative ad. Its incredible imagery and music make it unforgettable. However… the ad was so fun and engaging most people didn’t realize that the ad was for the new Nissan Maxima.

It got me thinking… all I did for 10 years in Philly was sell advertising. Digital advertising for Philly.com. Then for a happy hour website, and later, Philly Weekly. I started with nothing at all three of those companies and made it work. Most people don’t like to sell, or can’t sell. Either you have it or you don’t. No one likes rejection, and that’s 95% of sales. You need mad game to sell. It’s a ruthless, thankless business. But perfect for me. An overachiever, and a track record of closing impossible deals. In banking, as a broker, I was a million-dollar producer every year. At Philly.com I was billing $40k a month. It all comes down to who will relentlessly make calls on clients, meet with them, close them, cross-sell them, and get referrals. Then repeat that over and over again. That’s sales. Just run down the game and kill it every day. Like a lion on the savanna, you hunt every day to feed your cubs. Most days you go hungry. But you keep at it. Most don’t have the will to keep at it. But if you do, like anything else, eventually you’ll make a kill.

So, here I am creating content for my dating and relationship blog here in Philly during the quarantine. How can I write a blog like this in quarantine? I feel like I’ve been grounded by my parents and I can’t go out and do what I do socially.

But, while I’m waiting for WordPress and google analytics and AdSense to all come together for me, I should maybe try to do what I’m good at.

Sell digital advertising while I’m waiting for them to get their act together. It’s what I’m good at. Selling stuff. Any job I’ve ever worked where I don’t get to create or sell stuff I usually fail. Because we have plenty of people that are built to take orders and work hard to build somebody else’s dream. Business leaders love cheap labor.

Don’t get me wrong… Phicklephilly and writing books isn’t my dream. The only dream I ever had died 40 years ago in Los Angeles as a failed rockstar. Now the only dreams I have come to me during slumber and that’s just my brain dumping thoughts, feelings, and images.

Phicklephilly’s been a glorious hobby. Yea, it’s a hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, you should think about maybe getting one. It’s a lovely release from all of the things you HAVE to do every day to survive. It’s a sweet little pleasure that you get to create.

It’s kind of cool to watch something that started as a passion or a hobby become something bigger. It’s like a garden. You tend the seeds and the plants and vegetables, with water, care, and sunlight. It starts to grow. Because you care about it. You like it. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s not a job to pay the bills. It’s your thing. It belongs to you. 

I don’t know why I never thought about this back in March, but I guess I was busy writing my book. But it started to work on me about six months ago. Back in May, I decided that part of my day would be dedicated to going through all of my leads and contacts. I have hundreds from New Jersey, New York, and obviously Philly.

I would spend only one hour a day for 60 days going through all of my contacts, corporate contacts, business cards, Linkedin, old sales files from the last 20 years, and see what that would yield. I called on every advertising agency in my old book of business. I knew if I dug into all of my New York contacts, I could mine some gold. Sometimes the one-hour goal would stretch beyond that, but I wanted to do it every day consistently. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, in case it never came to fruition.

Which brings me to this.

The sight obviously looks different. Especially the sidebar. I wanted to fit them all in where I could.

At least for now.

What’s weird is… I remember being contacted years ago by acquaintances that had attached themselves to me like sea lampreys in the industry. They had their websites about Philly, or food, or music. They always wanted me to sell ads for them on their sites. I have no idea what their business plan was for their sites, but I can guess. Write a blog with some relevant content about something they were passionate about. But somewhere they thought they’d like to run ads on their site and make money. Sadly, they didn’t possess the ability to execute that part. So they approach some schlub to do it for them. They have no revenue to pay the individual. Sadly, all of those sites have failed, and hopefully, those folks found jobs somewhere. I get it. Great idea. Poorly executed.

But don’t be nice to me thinking I’m going to do your job for you. That’s just fiction, man.

Most writers can write, But there aren’t really any writers out there that can sell.

So, I’ve been digging in hard every day for the last few months to maybe monetize Phicklephilly. There’s no way I’d do this for free for someone else’s little dream, but for my little hobby…sure.

I haven’t sold advertising since 2018. But I still have all of my contacts from my corporate life. I haven’t had a platform worth selling anything on. But the cool thing is, Phicklephilly just sort of grew like a weed over the last 5 years. It grew because I gave it a lot of love. (Along with all of you reading this!)

So here we are.

Funny what you can accomplish when you don’t have a job to go to.

I know for the moment the site’s looking a bit cluttered, but I wanted to show everybody that decided to run on my site. I’ll clean it up, and WordPress and Google will help me out.

I’m blown away by the support that all of these brands have brought to Phicklephilly. 

I want to take a moment and thank everybody!

ALYAKA, AQUATALIA, BERETTA, BERRYLOOK, HARD TAIL, TRETORN, BUXTON, EVERLAST (You guy have been great! I appreciate all of the rapid responses!) FREDRICKS OF HOLLYWOOD (I have a story for you guys from my youth when I first saw your ads in a Hollywood gossip mag!) GRAND SLAM – NEW YORK, JACH’S – NEW YORK, KATY PERRY (Katy… your agency is a delight to work with!) LANCER, LIFELINE, LUVYLE   (I love you guys! Thanks for Berrylook!), MADDA FELLA, MADISON STYLE, PURLISSE, ROYAL DOULTON (Thank you guys in London for being first!), SLEEPSTAR, SMOKO (Beautiful ads, guys!), WATERFORD, WEDGWOOD, YOUNGBLOOD, and MINERAL COSMETICS.

You guys rock! You’ve all been so kind and patient with me. I can write, but I suck at all of the technical stuff. I just love that I was able to pitch you guys and you got it. I can’t run all of your stuff all of the time, but I’ll do my best to promote your brands on the site to the best of my ability.

Thank you!

My daughter’s had the opportunity and time to create new music! A lifelong singer and musician, (like her dad!) she’s started composing her own original songs! (And videos!)

I’m so proud of her! She wrote all the lyrics and music for these songs!

Check it out:

And on Sound Cloud:

I’m super proud and happy about what my daughter’s creating. We both agree that if you had something you always wanted to do, then this was your opportunity to do it!

She’s currently in the process of producing an EP of all NEW music due out in early 2021.

Even I got into the act and dug out some of my old recordings and got them online!

Check out this old rock ‘n roll geezer!

 

And… while visiting my sisters at Christmas, my little sister converted an old VHS recording of me attempting to do stand up comedy at Stockton State College back in 2003!

In reference to new beginnings, a dear friend of 20 years recently got married! After a few delays due to the pandemic, they finally got it done. My daughter and I had a great time, and it was nice to reconnect with some dear old friends. My daughter even did a reading at the reception.

Despite all of the bad things that are happening, we’ve managed to make a lot of good things happen! so, to us, 2020 has been a fantastic year!

More tomorrow!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

 

Zoolon Forever!

Tales of Rock: 20 Young, Beautiful, And Successful Daughters Of Rockstars

Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson admits she “can’t sing a note.” 
Vivien Killilea/Getty

Some of the sweetest rock ballads were inspired by daddy’s girls: Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel),” Bruce Springsteen’s “When You Need Me,” Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be In My Heart,” and other emotional tracks you’d find on a father-daughter dance compilation album.Even Bono — who came under fire recently when Apple installed the new U2 album on iTunes users’ devices without asking — covered Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” at his daughter Eve’s 21st birthday party.

From models and DJs to actors and musicians, meet the new crop of muses of the most celebrated rock stars.

Alexa Ray Joel, 28, is the singer-daughter of Billy Joel.

alexa ray joel billy

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Alexa Ray released an EP, “Sketches,” in 2006 and was the face of Prell hair care, which previously employed her supermodel mother, Christie Brinkley, as its spokeswoman. Earlier this year, after her first sold-out performance at the Carlyle in New York, rumors swirled that Alexa Ray had undergone plastic surgery (again).

Jemima Kirke, 29, and Lola Kirke, 23, are the actress-daughters of Free and Bad Company’s Simon Kirke.

jemima kirke lola kirke

Getty

British-born Jemima was an artist before close friend Lena Dunham persuaded her to audition for the role of free-spirit Jessa in HBO’s “Girls.” She is the older sister of Lola, who is having a breakout moment of her own after landing a New York Times profile and a small role in “Gone Girl.”

Jessica Rae Springsteen, 22, is the horseback-riding daughter of Bruce Springsteen.

jessica rae springsteen bruce

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Jessica Rae is a senior at Duke University and a champion horseback rider, placing first in her jumping division at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Two years ago, she just narrowly missed out on joining the USA Olympic team.

Georgia May Jagger, 22, is the model daughter of The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger.

georgia may jagger

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Georgia May flashed her father’s famous toothy grin as a brand ambassador for Rimmel London and Sunglass Hut and in the pages of international “Vogue.” She recently revealed in an interview with the British magazine Grazia that her model-mother, Jerry Hall, after a couple glasses of wine, would teach her children how to work the catwalk.

Lily Collins, 25, is the actress-daughter of Phil Collins.

lily phil collins mirror mirror

Todd Williamson/Getty Images

This red-lipped beauty splashed onto the big screen as Snow White in “Mirror Mirror” and in “The Blind Side.” Her father composed “You’ll Be In My Heart” on the “Tarzan” soundtrack just for his little girl.

Zoë Kravitz, 25, is the actress-daughter of Lenny Kravitz.

zoe lenny kravitz

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Zoë appeared in “After Earth” and “X Men: First Class.” Last year, she added Swarovski jewelry designer to her résumé, and she will appear in the star-studded “Mad Max: Fury Road” reboot next year.

Eve Hewson, 23, is the actress-daughter of U2’s Bono.

eve hewson bono

Vivien Killilea/Getty

This Dubliner currently stars in the TV show “The Knick,” a period drama set in a turn-of-the-century New York City hospital. You won’t hear her singing anytime soon though; she told the Toronto Sun in an interview that she “can’t hit a note.”

Daisy Lowe, 25, is the model-daughter of Bush’s Gavin Rossdale.

daisy lowe

John Phillips/Getty

London socialite and model Daisy is the product of a one-night stand between Pearl Lowe and Gwen Stefani’s husband, Rossdale, who didn’t know he was Daisy’s father until she was 14.

Chelsea Tyler, 24, is the daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

chelsea steven tyler

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Chelsea sports her dad’s lippy pout in modeling campaigns for Andy Hilfiger and Alice + Olivia, and formed a bluesy band badbad, with her newly minted fiance Jon Foster in 2011.

Kat Wiedenmann, 24 is the singer, composer and producer – Daughter of Union Jacks guitarist, Chaz.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kat+wiedenmann

Kelly Osbourne, 29, is the TV personality-daughter of Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne.

kelly osbourne ozzy

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Kelly prosecutes the worst-dressed as a co-host on E!’s “Fashion Police” and recently launched her debut clothing line Chapter One. She and her family starred in MTV’s reality show “The Osbournes” from 2002 to 2005.

Coco Sumner, 24, is the singer-daughter of The Police’s Sting.

coco sumner sting i blame coco

Francois Durand/Getty Images

Eliot Paulina Sumner, who goes by her stage name “Coco,” is the lead singer of the indie-rock band I Blame Coco. After touring the UK with La Roux, Coco retreated from the spotlight to work on her sophomore album.

Riley Keough, 24, is the model-actress granddaughter of Elvis Presley and daughter of Lisa Marie Presley.

riley keough lisa marie presley

Katy Winn/AP

She appeared in the male stripper film “Magic Mike” as the cotton-candy-haired drug addict with a pet teacup pig. Next up, she appears in the star-studded film “Yellow” and the “Mad Max” reboot alongside Mel Gibson, Charlize Theron, and Tom Hardy. Get to know more about her famous history here.

Erin Lucas, 29, is the model daughter of AC/DC’s Cliff Williams.

Erin appeared in MTV’s “Hills” reality spinoff “The City,” posed for “Maxim,” and owns a dog from the same litter as friend Miley Cyrus‘ pooch.

Lara Johnston, 23, is the singer daughter of The Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston.

Lara was a competitor on MTV’s “Rock the Cradle,” a singing competition for rock star offspring, and made her first public performance at the age of 2, singing dad’s “Listen to the Music.”

Amber Le Bon, 25, is the model-daughter of Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.

amber simon le bon 2

Luke MacGregor/Reuters

After starring in Forever 21 fashion campaigns, Amber began dividing her time between the runway and DJ booth. She spins for exclusive fashion parties and product launches.

Frances Bean Cobain, 22, is the daughter of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

Frances Bean Cobain inherited her wild streak from parents Cobain and Courtney Love: slamming Kendall Kardashian on Twitter, hosting a suicide-themed 16th birthday party, and creating provocative and crude art.

Sophie Simmons, 22, is the model-daughter of Kiss’ Gene Simmons.

sophie gene simmons

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sophie starred in the A&E reality show centered on her family, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” The aspiring singer recently modeled in her underwear for Galore magazine, sans make-up and sans retouching.

Theodora, 29, and Alexandra Richards, 28, are the model-daughters of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards.

alexandra theodora richards keith

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Alexandra DJs at tons of lavish fashion and press events, while her older sis, Theodora, has modeled on many magazine covers, for Tommy Hilfiger and other high-fashion brands.

Minka Kelly, 34, is the actress-daughter of Aerosmith’s Rick Dufay.

minka kelly

Robin Marchant/Getty

Minka starred in ABC’s short-lived “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, and she won over hearts in recurring roles on “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood,” and “Almost Human.”

For the record, Rick Dufay played on one Aerosmith album, Rock In A Hard Place.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!