Former resident shares his memories of growing up in Kensington

bob horn kensington
Bob Horn on Birch Street, where his childhood home used to be, in Kensington. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Bob Horn, a Port Richmond resident, grew up in Kensington during the 60s and 70s and lived there for 25 years. What makes “If I could make a wish” different from Horn’s other poems/song lyrics is that he wouldn’t mind being reincarnated and raised in Kensington again. Growing up in Kensington was a wonderful experience for him. In 1968, Horn was 10 years old, and he likes to think he caught the tail end of the good old days. So, here he was with the best of both worlds, living in the greatest city in America and the greatest neighborhood in the world.

If I could make a wish

If I could make a wish

To do this all again,

Oh please, God, with your little magic wand,

Put me right back in Kensington.


The same old house in the middle of the block,

Four crooked windows and a door we never locked.


Friday night’s wardrobe, hanging in the yard.

A softball jersey from Ye Olde Bell bar.


High white Chucks with that shiny blue star.


Oh please, God, put me back into my palace

And grant me open hydrant solace

In the dog days of August.


Put a nickel in my pocket for when his bell rings,

Old man Gonzalez selling ice-cold Piragua.

Kensington ambrosia, food fit for a king.


Now I know when I get there, all my friends will be gone.

I’m hoping they’ll come back when they hear my song.

One last game of halfies, one last case of Smitty’s,

And one last dance with Shirley, Marybeth, and Dawn.


bob horn kensington
Bob Horn on Birch Street, where his childhood home used to be in Kensington. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Acknowledgement

Thank you to Jasmine Debose for naming her cat “Solace” and expanding my vocabulary by one. Thank you to Nancy Ortiz for the spelling of “Piragua.” 


Editors: Zari Tarazona, Siani Colón, Claire Wolters / Designer: Henry Savage

What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

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