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Katherine Baker's Autobiography (submitted 5/8/06)
"Born in Philadelphia" by Kitty Baker
What a life full of wonder! I was born in Philadelphia. I will die in Philadelphia, fifteen, twenty years from now when I am perhaps a hundred or more. In the meantime, I have traveled much of this spectacular world. I sat among thousands of penguins at Antarctica, walked from Asia to Europe on the bridge across the Bosporus. I looked for signs that Genghis Khan had passed on the Gobi. I rode a camel sunup to sundown on the Sahara from the pyramids at Giza to the oasis at Fayoum.
Since I've moved back to Philadelphia, I explore this city riding or walking its streets--but not as fast as during my younger days. Sometimes I get lost in Manayunk, Northern Liberties and Bucks County. When I grow tired, I hop on a train or bus and frequently find a friendly native to pass the time of day.
What dilutes the delight I feel for living the good life now is a gnawing worry that in the future my five grandchildren may not have as much freedom and security as I have had. Will they live in a troubled country and a world in turmoil?
I teach memoir writing so that later generations will know how it was to live during the 20th century. In my memoir I wrote about my best days exploring other cities and these later years exploring Philadelphia and surrounding counties. I've written about my regrets for not doing more to find a way to make our world a more secure place for my children, all children, in their neighborhoods, cities, and our country.