The  Beat: True Stories From the Streets

Page 13  Story and Poems by Harry Martin Polis
                Artwork by Jaynee Levy-Polis

 They say you can’t go home again, and they’re right.  Recently, my brother and I got together for lunch and a trip to our old fishing pond name “Seventeeny” by our father.  The pond was in South Philly near the Navy Yard along the railroad tracks.  When I was a kid, my dad, my brother, and I used to go fishing there.  Later, my dad taught me how to drive at Seventeeny.  It was out of the way and there was no traffic.  There were wild blackberries growing at the edge of the pond, and swimming in the pond, were gold and regular carp.  We would fish from the shore near the lily pads, and sometimes we sat on the old railroad tracks and fish from there.  They had been abandoned years before. 
 So on a hot July day, Bernie and I got into his truck.  As soon as we arrived near our old fishing ground, we started searching for the pond.  We got lost because after 40 years, the topography was a little different.  We made wrong turns, but eventually we saw the old railroad house.  The house and the railroad were actually the origin of the name Seventeeny.  I believe seventeen was the number of the train that cut through our backwoods fishing area. 
 When we finally found Seventeeny, we parked and started to investigate.  I was disappointed because the old pond was grown over with giant weeds.  The weeds were where the pond had been.  It was now a kind of swamp area with very little water.  We couldn’t go back to the original pond because the weeds were so dense plus we were worried about ticks, or being caught in the swamp.  I would have loved to see what was left of the pond, but it was too dangerous to approach.  I guess another dream is lost into the past, and now it’s just a memory in my minds eye. 
Copyright 2000 by Harry Martin Polis
Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.  Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.


 I started thinking about how things got their names. What came first?  For instance, how did the color green get the name “green”?  A turkey is both a nation and a bird.   Cauliflower is a person’s name and a vegetable.  Stern describes an attitude and a person’s name.  Crow describes behavior, a bird, and it can be a name too.  Chuck describes throwing and it’s a name.  A holder is a name and a helpful implement.  Other double-duty words include:  May, White, Black, Young, Old, Field, Rose, tall, teacher, learner, Gold, Silver, right, weaver, summer, winter, sunny, king, Kane, Herring, gross, Mann, oil, carry, corn, and klink.  I could go on and on with names that are also people, thing, places, ideas, and professions.  Language is amazing.  People have strange names.  Some of them need to be changed.  One is Schmuckler, no offence intended.   Really, a handle like that is embarrassing.  Our name, Polis, means City and police in Greek.  Some names are totally “way out”.  I like to invent names for characters.  One of mine is chicken fiddler, another is Schmeckeldorf.   Ever since we have learned to talk and read (reed), we have used names to describe everything in life.    We carry our ability and our need to name everything wherever we travel and we share it with the people we meet.  Women’s names like April, May, June, and Sunday are picked up from the days of the weeks and months.  Words are how we express our ideas and reach other people.  Words fascinate me.  I will always be looking for a special name for a new story I’m waiting to tell. 
Copyright 2000 by Harry Martin Polis
Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.  Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.



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