One block, two homes

Molly Fischman
Favorite Spot: The 2100 Block of Mt. Vernon Street
Neighborhood: Fairmount
Address: 21st and Mt. Vernon

I Am: A nanny, wanderer, and future grad student/ speech pathologist
Years in Philly: ~21
Current Home: Fairmount


My Love Note

Dear 2100 Block of Mt. Vernon,

There are so many places in Philadelphia that I love – places that make me feel at home, places that cure my incessant wanderlust and ground me in the present. I often have an epiphany while walking the streets of Philly – a voice inside my head that says to me, “this is where I’m meant to be.” Here is where my home is.

Sure, I could have written to Albert Laessle’s 1914 Billy goat statue in Rittenhouse square, where I’ve spent countless hours babysitting small children, watching nervously as three-year-olds brave the climb to the top of the goat’s back. Or to the Azalea Garden, where I spent a whole summer on the grass, drinking tea and watching the clouds float by. Or the Lombard Swim Club or Wissakhickon or Taney Park– Philly spaces all near and dear to my heart. My bond with these, however, will never compare to my love for you, Mt. Vernon Street, where I spent the first 18 years of my life, and where, through happenstance, I live again today.

My living situation in Philadelphia is unusual, to say the least. My parents are my landlords and they live two houses away. What’s more, I live in the bottom apartment of a duplex and my sister lives above me. I’ve never been one to lean on my family for material support – not since I was old enough to work, anyway – but when I moved back home from California in 2012 with little money of my own, my mom wanted me out of her house and this property became vacant just in time. I used to be embarrassed by how lucky I was. Now I’ve come to appreciate how ideal my situation is: I get my own space for discounted rent, but I can pop home whenever I run out of toilet paper or food. It is an impressive space, too. Whenever people come over, I feel the need to explain and justify how I have such an amazing apartment on a nanny’s salary. (As a side note, I will be moving to Boston in August and this arrangement will be no more, a difficult but seemingly necessary change.)

My dear Mount Vernon, your wide, tree-lined sidewalks and historic residential facade give you a personality unlike any other street I have known. You’re charming, gentle, and wise. I love you in the way that one can love another only after having invested years of time in each other. Our relationship is long-term and the passion never fades. Although the neighborhood has undergone an extreme makeover, and neighbors have put on additions and improvements to their houses, you haven’t changed much since the day I was born. You look and feel the same as the day I first learned to ride a bike in the church parking lot on the corner. Now, when I bike home, I breathe a sigh of relief every time I round the corner. The hill going north on 22nd Street ends, and I am about to be as home as I ever will be. It’s a rare sensation to know that I have two homes on one street, a sense of security that makes me so grateful to you and everything I have in Philadelphia.

Love you forever,


Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 5 Comments

5 Responses to One block, two homes

  1. Hannah

    Such a nice tribute!! I <3 Molly!!!

  2. Marsha Weinraub

    What a lovely tribute, and terrific pictures. I can feel your love for this street coming through the screen.

  3. Jaime Margolies

    Love this Molly!!! Great writer, just like your Dad! I too, love Mt. Vernon Street!!!

  4. Bob PAtey

    Bravo. Very well written and with just the right touch of emotional attachment. I now know who to come to as your dad starts losing it from self inflicted starvation.

  5. Michael Shannon


    You are a fabulous writer! I loved what you had to say about your blessed Mt. Vernon Street! XXOO!!!


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