Summer Lovin’

Our family spent the past week in my and my husband’s hometowns and it made me consider how vastly different our childhood environs were from what N’s is in Philadelphia.  With the help of Wikipedia, I made these comparisons between my childhood home in the “fertile land sloping toward the sea” and N’s “city of brotherly love.”

My hometown

N’s hometown


54.8 square miles

(15% water)

142.6 square miles

(5% water)


22,532 people

(23.8% < 18y)

1.5 million people

(22.5% < 18y)


96% White, 0.74% Black, 0.96% Asian, 2% Hispanic

41% White, 43% Black, 6% Asian, 12% Hispanic

Median Income



Philadelphia obviously has many advantages, as it is the 5th largest U.S. city, known for its arts and culture.  However, what my hometown lacked in culture and diversity, it made up for in nature, specifically the Pine Barrens and beaches.  I grew up in a vacation destination, but was oblivious to its pearls until I had some distance from it.

When I first left home to live in New York City, I wondered how city kids would have the childhood experiences I treasured: riding bikes, swimming, and playing in the woods.  I doubted that they could have these “normal” experiences in a big city.  After babysitting for two different NYC families, I quickly learned that not only did these kids have those experiences, but they had so many other amazing opportunities.  I would take them to gymnastics, karate, ballet, and piano lessons and they rode bikes and played in the park—all things I could have done in my hometown.  However, easily accessible to them were the ballet, opera, and museums.  When I told one of the girls that I was taking an Anthropology course, she told me that her 6th grade class just toured the Natural History Museum and taught me about Margaret Mead, who I didn’t know anything about until I reached college.   These young girls, now amazing women, changed the way I think about city kids and are why I am now excited to raise one.

Seeing N crunching sand beneath his feet and splashing in the ocean made me sad that these wouldn’t be everyday experiences for him, like they were for my childhood summers.  There were so many fun things about growing up at the beach.  Fortunately, he has two grandmas who still live there though, who he can visit anytime.  Now that we are back at home in the city, we are looking forward to swimming at the Y, splashing in the public fountain, and going to the Farmer’s Market—just a few of our favorite weekend activities that aren’t so far off from what I grew up doing.  However, this Philly kid also has options like the Please Touch Museum, Smith Playhouse, Longwood Gardens, and Franklin Square in his backyard.   Between these and his weekend escapes to the shore, I think he has some fun summers ahead of him.

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  1. So true Katie. Although it’s hard for me to imagine living in the city full time, there are amazing opportunities there that can’t be found in the burbs. You’re a great Mom.

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