Escape from West Philly

Gettin’ out of Dodge

     It was 1967 when I quit DuPont, and moved to Upstate New York with my family to pursue a career with IBM. That year the first Super Bowl had been played. I remember not being as overly enthusiastic about the game as most of my running partners—especially the few who had hooked up with frat brothers due to their pursuit to obtain a college education. These guys seemed to be more addicted and hyped up about football than about college. No doubt there will be many who fail to discern my thought process and lack of hoopla with this social pastime. I must sincerely admit to myself that I’m a sorta nonconformist.
     The same agency that set me up previously with a job offer at IBM, had set me up again—this time at IBM in Endicott—a town in the Triple Cities area. I wasn’t going to reject this offer as I did the previous one to become an IBM CE (Customer Engineer). The intended job was that of a facilities operations and maintenance man, a job not as prestigious; since it wouldn’t be directly involved with computers.

Recent view of Philadelphia skyline. Most buildings were not built yet when I left.

     With the increasing trend of drug trafficking and gang activity within the inner city, I’m sure I would have moved to the out skirts or over into South Jersey as an alternative if I hadn’t taken the job. Some years later, my buddy Tate—who was still living at the time—admonished me for leaving my parents by moving out of town. I reminded him that many people have left their parents behind in order to take advantage of an opportunity to improve their lifestyle. In fact, I continued by stressing how our grandparents who migrated from the South, left their relatives behind.
     During that year, unbeknown to me and others, hippies and geeky college kids were gearing up for the technological evolution about to occur on the West Coast. Geek central was being initiated in the county of Santa Clara, California—a region of the San Francisco South Bay later to be tagged: Silicon Valley. The time was a few years prior to the heydays of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other nerds. My addiction to technology would come into play as I left Philly for advancement, not knowing I’d eventually become a California techie with the rest of them.
     Since my departure, however, like many other large cities, the downtown district was revamped with thriving businesses and skyscrapers. On the other hand, neighborhoods circumventing the business district, were becoming more dilapidated and crime infested. Crack and other illicit drugs had made an indelible mark. Moreover, the increase in drug abuse caused political baby-kissers and the boys in blue to line their pockets by making under the table deals.

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One comment on “Escape from West Philly

  1. I applaud you for stepping out and making your move when you did. For many, Gettin’ out of Dodge, is an impossible pursuit. However, you bravely made your move despite any fears or doubts.

    As far as neighborhoods go, there will always be drugs, crime, and those who seek to profit from the misery of others.

    Great post.


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