A few weeks ago I mentioned that we are looking for contributors of all kinds. Since then, I have received several submissions and all of them are interesting. The following story was submitted by Peter Dawson who grew up in Northwood and has a wealth of stories to tell. We’ll feature more of his in the weeks to come.
About 50 years, probably around 1962, when we were little kids in the Northwood section of Frankford, our friend Nicky Macko went to the Jersey shore on a fishing trip with his dad. When he returned a week-or-so later, he invited us over to his house, and, lo and behold, in his bathtub upstairs he had a large live sand shark. “My dad says that we shouldn’t be taking baths with a shark. So, he ordered me to ‘do something with it, today.'”
We resolved to get a galvanized steel cleaning tub. We loaded the tub onto our Radio Flyer wagon, and used the garden hose to fill it with about 30 gallons of cold water. We picked up the live shark from the bathtub and wrapped it with a small blanket, and we carried the struggling, angry animal in the blanket downstairs and out the back door, and then dumped it into the tub. Then we carefully pulled our “emergency shark aquarium” in the wagon down Castor Avenue to Adams, up Adams to Ramona, and down Ramona to Fishers Lane, to the old stone bridge over Frankford Creek.
Even back in those days, in the early 1960s, Frankford Creek was environmentally challenged. We worried about how our friend the shark would fair in the foamy depths of the creek. We picked it up on the blanket, and carried it down the slope, as in a stretcher, and plopped the shark into the water.
The shocked shark swam in one place for a moment — and then it shot through the water in the direction of Friend’s Hospital.
I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder what the staff at Friend’s Hospital will think if a psychiatric patient strolling along the creek comes running back to his ward, in a panic, reporting that he has just seen a shark!”
Peter J. Dawson