Latrobe outings, old Waverly -- memories perk

March 31, 1994|By JACQUES KELLY

Votta's Band. The Stadium Bowling Lanes. Rock-and-Rye whiskey.

These are all part of the memories that a lot of Baltimoreans possess and cherish. Here are some that deserve recognition.

* John Pente, of High Street in Little Italy, fills in some missing musical notes of an outing on the F.C. Latrobe, the municipal ice-breaking boat that took children on the Thursday trips sponsored by the Free Summer Excursion Society:

"As a youngster I would carry my father's trumpet case and board the Latrobe at a small pier about where the World Trade Building stands today. The trip to Chesterwood [a waterfront grove near Dundalk] also included Votta's Band -- Joseph, Frank, Bruno, Sam and Anthony, who played trumpet, violin, viola, harp and drums. Often the sons of the musicians went along.

"The band played dance music at the pavilion. Each person received a ticket for sandwiches and a small piece of pound cake.

"The trip on the Latrobe was always fun and we anticipated the bumping of the bridge sides as the blunt-nosed Latrobe passed through the Bear Creek drawbridge.

"After discharging the passengers, the musicians remained on board and continued [playing] until the boat docked by the fire boat pier off President Street, where the musicians lived. I have pictures of one of the last remnants of the Latrobe -- a life boat in an old boat yard on Boston Street," Pente writes.

* Old Waverly residents are a loyal group. Robert "Bobby" Thompson, a retiree who now lives in Bengies, describes his Waverly of the 1930s and 1940s:

"We mostly hung out at the Little Tavern and the Stone Tavern [still open] at 25th and Greenmount. The big thing in the 1940s was the Lakewood pool at Charles and 26th, the Waverly and Boulevard theaters and Orye's drive-in at 25th and Kirk. Hot beef and fries were 60 cents.

"There was a saying in the 1950s that if you started at Greenmount and North and had one beer in each bar on both sides of Greenmount Avenue, you would never make it to 33rd Street. Two of the toughest bars were Harvey's Oriole Tavern and Tatersall's.

"My great-grandfather Francis Haber arrived in Baltimore from Hanover, Germany, in 1845. He rented the old Patterson mansion until his own home was completed. It stood on the site of Kirk Field at Exeter Hall Avenue and Loch Raven Road. When we were kids, we crossed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad tracks and climbed the high walls of the Patterson family's graveyard," Thompson says.

That ancient family cemetery still stands near the present-day Waverly post office off the 3000 block of Homestead St. The Pattersons were Baltimore merchants with a fleet of sailing ships. Their best known family member was Betsy Patterson, who married Napoleon's brother Jerome, who is not interred here. She rests not far away in Green Mount Cemetery. Bonaparte Avenue takes its name from this marriage.

* Monna Sekyra, of Lutherville, is also a fan of Waverly. She recalls its two dime stores (Woolworth and Crown), bowling alleys (Stadium and Boulevard), a Read's drug store and Dr. Vinson's animal hospital, which survives.

* A few weeks ago I described my family's routine when someone was confined to bed with illness. Virginia G. Johnson, of Baldwin, writes about her family's way of dealing with a sick child: "Our sick tray was a slightly dented Coca-Cola tray with a picture of a blond-haired lady swilling from a bottle. Covered with a clean linen napkin, it served the purpose. . . .

"For the chest cold, goose-grease, redolent with camphor and menthol, was spread on one's chest and covered with several thicknesses of soft flannel. The flannel was saved from worn blankets, washed and put away just for this purpose. We hated to have this treatment because that flannel had to stay pinned to our undershirts long after the cough disappeared. It was believed that to remove it too soon would cause one to be vulnerable to the return of the cold."

"Our father, a strict teetotaler, kept a bottle of Rock-and-Rye whiskey in the china closet. This was only brought out for serious cases of croup. The patient would sip a tiny glass of warmed whiskey, lemon juice, sugar and water, whereupon he or she would enter a comatose state lasting most of the night, allowing the rest of the family to get some sleep."

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