Havertown

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"Havertown"

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Havertown Single Final.jpg
HavertownBill Sammon
00:00 / 05:13

Bill Sammon: Vocal, Acoustic Guitars, Bass

J. Scott Gaeta: Drums, Piano, Mandolin, Accordion, Acoustic Guitar Solo, Harmony Vocal

 

“This song is a rose-colored walking tour of my hometown, circa 1963 and forward. It is my nostalgic gift to the residents, past & present, of Havertown, Pennsylvania 19083. Thank you for preserving your history as best you can. I truly respect that. Every name and place in the song is or was real. My life there was far from idyllic, but I feel we tend to forgive much when reminiscing about our youth. We like to make it better in memory than in reality, but that's ok. I suppose that in adulthood, we find ways to create our own safe places.

 

One of the concepts that inspired the song was the meaning of the Welsh word Hiraeth (Heer-eye-th). It has no direct English translation, but common references include a yearning or nostalgia for a home-like place, or a time long gone that you can never return to, and which perhaps never was as we wish it had been. A link of the soul with the distant past, or a call from the inner self. A pull on the heart that conveys a distinct feeling of missing something that is irretrievably lost with only fragments vaguely remembered. The Havertown I wrote about fits all of those descriptors."

Our house was number 4, west end of Strathmore, by the corner of Darby Road

Two stone pillars stood their guard, I could see them from my yard

They're still on duty to this day

and the old library lady knew my name, in Havertown

 

Max Factor's pharmacy, the hobby shop and the bakery

The Brookline Theater's matinees

Martel's grocery store, none of them are there no more

I guess there came a time to close 'em down

But you can feel their ghosts all around, walkin' in Havertown

 

The history remains, like stained glass window panes

Even though the years keep rollin' on

The Firehouse and Irish bar, on Brookline Boulevard
Any other town would have torn 'em down, but not Havertown

Sister Marie Germaine made me walk home in the rain

from Annunciation School.

And the Mother Superior cried on the day John Kennedy died

as we prayed for hours in the vestibule

That's the day I learned that nuns were human too.

 

In the public schools, my friends were Jews, Irish and Italians too

and far too few were brown

But those years became like jail, I could not wait to bail,

to find my feet, and get 'em on the ground

I remember takin' one last look around, on a late bus out of Havertown

 

Petrella's record store, Terry's Deli right next door

All those crazy kids now grown and gone

The Red Arrow trolley trains, no trace of them remains

and any time these folks get pushed around

They stand again, instead of stayin' down, that's Havertown

 

This town's a lot like me, straddling the centuries.

Mostly then, and partly now

My old house still stands, and I'd sure like to shake the hand

of whoever owns it now

 

And I would thank them for opening up their door to the boy I left behind

Life was simpler then, and yes I remember when

an evening paper only cost a dime

But I guess there ain't no goin' back in time

So maybe someday if I'm heaven bound

it might look a lot like Havertown

 

Our house was number 4, the west end of Strathmore

by the corner of Darby Road