Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A shout-out from Hidden City

I blogged about the poor Boy in the Box a year ago, and recently got a request from a guy from the web site Hidden City Philadelphia, which "pulls back the curtain on the city’s most remarkable places and connects them to new people, functions, and resources."

He wrote an article and links back to my original post:
Beyond the soccer field’s goal, in the center of a windbreak, a small space framed by two concrete median barriers opens near the ground. The opening is not visible from midfield. The trees in the windbreak look like the beginning of the woods, but beyond the barriers is instead a mown field 500 feet deep and 200 wide. This was Philadelphia’s last potter’s field; hundreds of unclaimed people are buried here. 
“The boy’s headstone was right about in the center,” says Nancy McClernan, who grew up in nearby Bensalem. McClernan remembers riding her bike down Century Lane toward the Parkwood playground to use the pool in the summer with other kids from Bensalem. “Walking past that grave was the most unnerving aspect of going to Parkwood and back,” she writes in a blog about her experiences growing up nearby
Back then, in the 1960s, the potter’s field at Dunks Ferry and Mechanicsville contained a single headstone. The inscription read, “Heavenly Father, Bless This Unknown Boy, February 25, 1957.”
The unknown boy, like the other people buried in this city cemetery, was never claimed. He was found in a cardboard box in Fox Chase and despite an investigation that lasted decades, was never identified. In 1998, his body and headstone were moved to Ivy Hill Cemetery. Now, in the center of the field, right about where the stone stood, a pair of groundhogs peak out of a hole leading into a network of tunnels in a mound of lumpy earth.
The Boy in the Box - my first inkling of the tragedy of human existence.