In 1969, my son and I moved to Pennsylvania. I had taken a job – teaching sixth grade at Ithan Elementary. While house-hunting during the summer, we house-sat for friends on Newtown Road, in the area earlier known as Banjo Town. Some years later, as a first grade teadher, I met one of my students in that same house.
The house on the triangle of land, bounded by Conestoga, Newtown, and Radnor-Chester Roads was available for rent for nine months and that’s where we lived. Underneath the modernizations, the sky-lights, and additions there is a mid-19th-century one-room schoolhouse. On my son’s sixth birthday, the lambchops caught fire in the broiler. I shooed the kids outside, turned off the gas, and called the fire department. They sent ALL the equipment! The kids were thrilled but my sister was upset when she arrived to see all the trucks. Everything turned out well and we ate the lambchops.
When the lease was up, we moved to Malvern. The house was on Route 352, right at the top of the hill and across from Immaculata. I got my teaching certificate from there, attending classes at night. There were no kids in the neighborhood so Chouteau amused himself in the backyard. Years later, I asked him if he had ever gone through the woods and down the hill to the railroad tracks (just the sort of thing he was apt to do). He told me that he had, but “I didn’t like it there. I thought there was a hazardous dump or something and I never went back.” A while later, the work at Duffy’s Cut began and we found out about its history. When I met the men directing the project, I told them about my son’s expereince. One said that he wasn’t surprised and that birds did not sing there. When going west on the train, I did see the little stone monument on the site.
In 1972, I was able to buy a house in Haverford, on Buck Lane. In
my research into the history of the house, I found that it was here when Lincoln’s funeral train went by. Having grown up in Chicago, playing in Lincoln Park, I was delighted. Another Ithan teacher lived across the road–Marva Patrick. And a Radnor school bus driver lived down the road. A little Radnor outpost! Although I don’t live in Radnor Township, I still feel very much a part of it.
Contributed by Clarissa F. Dillon