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Robert Burgess's Autobiography (submitted 5/9/06)
I was born of neither humble nor affluent status. My earliest recollection of my neighborhood in Collingdale, circa 1950, is looking down the street of rowhouses that were newly constructed. There were no fences, and trees and shrubbery were young, so playing various ballgames on peoples front lawns was unimpeded. These houses were called Werner West Homes, and developments like mine peppered neighborhoods throughout the region. Out back was an untapped wilderness to me. In the summer, some type of shrubbery would grow that dwarfed my size. I would tunnel through these "Giant Redwoods," cutting paths, as any explorer would do, all within earshot of my mom telling me to come in. There was also a creek that ran through it. I discovered salamanders and crayfish under rocks, that filled me with a wonderment that has yet to be surpassed in adulthood.
High school, in my memory, was the most exciting time in my life, experiencing the joys of maturity without the responsibility. The big thing amongst the guys at Monsignor Bonner in Drexel Hill, was what corner you were from. "Where do you hang?" was a question usually asked following an introduction. I prided myself on the fact that I simultaneously had ties to three corners; The Bridge on MacDade Boulevard in Darby, North Street at Walts in Collingdale, and the Cedarwood stores in Briarcliffe. I comfortably moved from corner to corner, all done by walking many solitary miles. Weekends were for going to the dances. Hy Lit at St Alice's, The Geator at Chez-Vous, and Saturday night at Holy Cross in Springfield.
Then came college at LaSalle, where I majored in avoiding Vietnam. I was succesful, graduated and started 'hangin' at the Broomall, which was a nightclub that wecomed us under-agers. It was there that I met Christine, who spent the last 33 years with and produced three more male hangers.