Survival of the Luckiest

In 1925, the Harvard physician Herman Blumgart injected a solution of a radioactive gas, radon, into the arm vein of a patient "to measure the velocity of the circulation." He measured the time it took for the tracer to pass through the heart and lungs and reach the opposite arm. His experiment was little noted at the time but is of great historic interest. It was the first time a physiological process had been measured with a radioactive tracer, making the measurements with an externally-placed radiation detector directed at a part of the body of a living human being.

On July 4, 1924, a year before Herman Blumgart's historic first study of the circulation with a radioactive tracer, my mother planned to accompany my 60-year-old grandmother on an overnight trip on a steamboat going down the Chesapeake Bay to visit her daughter, Alma, who lived in Crisfield, Maryland. Grandmother had arrived in Baltimore in 1885, emigrating from Germany on the Brandenburg, a 8,000 ton vessel which plied between Bremen and Baltimore. She was 5 feet 21/2 inches tall and weighed 125 pounds. Her maiden name was Barbara Krautblatter.

Grandmother Wagner had immigrated to Baltimore from Bavaria, Germany. Widowed soon after her arrival in Baltimore, Barbara lived with her son, my father, Henry, and his wife, Gertrude. Several times a year, she took the overnight steamer to visit her daughter, Alma, and her husband, Jim Thornton, a seafood salesman in Crisfield, Maryland, 100 miles south of Baltimore, near the mouth of the Bay.

Crisfield was founded in 1867, built on a giant mound of oyster shells, and became the seafood capital of the Bay. At its peak in the 1870s, 9,000,000 bushels of oysters were shipped every year from Crisfield. In 1884, 15,000,000 bushels were shipped. Today, the oyster and blue crab industries are in trouble because of the effect of pollution on the yields.

At the last minute, my mother decided not to join Grandmother Wagner on the boat to Crisfield, because of a head cold. This decision saved her life (and made possible mine). Grandmother boarded the tiny coal-fired steamship, the Three Rivers, at Pier 5 on Light Street in downtown Baltimore, and headed down the Bay, passing the shipyards of the Bethlehem Steel Company, the two-century old houses on Fells Point, the city-owned Recreation Pier, the Seven Foot Knoll light house, and the guns of Fort McHenry, where, in 1812, Francis Scott Key had viewed the "star spangled banner by the dawn's early light" and written the poem that became our national anthem.

On board the Three Rivers were 50 noisy, excited newsboys who delivered the Baltimore Sun. They were celebrating a successful year of steadily increasing newspaper sales.

For an hour before retiring to her cabin, she had been amused by the goings-on of the boys. As she slept, the boat proceeded quietly down the broad waters of the Bay.

As the Three Rivers steamed past Cove Point on the western shore of the Bay just across from Crisfield, a bright full moon was shining, and most of the passengers were asleep in their cabins. Suddenly, grandmother was awakened by the cries of "fire, fire!" and smelled smoke entering her cabin on the third deck. She tried to escape through the door of her cabin but was stopped by a heavy cloud of smoke in the passageway. She turned back, terrified, not knowing what to do.

Not only do the fittest survive, but also the luckiest. Grandmother's luck was that among the newsboys was a 17-year-old newsboy, William Elkins, who played the bass horn in the newsboy band. He heard grandmother's cries for help, and broke into her cabin through the single porthole facing the deck. Throwing her arms over his shoulders, he crawled back out on deck, grabbing two life jackets. He tried unsuccessfully to launch a life raft, and then, giving up, threw a rope down the side of the boat, and descended from the third deck down into the water. Grandmother was hanging on with her arms over his shoulders. With her crying but not struggling, he swam two hundred yards with her still clinging to his back. They reached a lifeboat launched by another boat, the Middlesex, which had responded to the SOS and raced to the rescue of the Three Rivers. They were hauled aboard the Middlesex to join the other survivors.

My father was waiting with the crowd of anxious relatives at the dock on Light Street in the Baltimore harbor, when the Middlesex docked in the early hours of the morning. Grandmother and William, with blankets over their shoulders, walked solemnly off the ship with the other survivors. Two passengers had drowned, and five newsboys were missing. They were subsequently found to have drowned.

Frank Morse, leader of the newsboys' band, told a Sunpaper reporter: "Many of the boys were among the last to leave the burning boat. They threw life preservers to those struggling in the water. Some manned fire hoses and fought the flames." The five newsboys who died were buried in a semi-circle in Loudon Park, Baltimore, beneath a copper and granite shaft designed by sculptor J. Maxwell Miller. The monument features a life-sized boy in three-quarters relief holding a raised flute. A tablet contains a line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha":

"They have moved a little nearer to the master of all music."

William's heroism was celebrated in an article on the front page of the Baltimore Sun. A few days later, my grandmother and parents-to-be invited William to a celebratory dinner at their 1919 W. Fayette St. home, where they presented him with a gold watch to express their gratitude for his heroism. This dinner and medal were noted in another article on the front page of the Sun, with William's photograph and the watch. A week later, a short article appeared on the inside pages of the Sun: careless smoking among the young newsboys had caused the fire.

Thirty-four years later, in the 1960s, I read an obituary in the Baltimore Sun reporting that Elkins had died, and that he had been on the Three Rivers when it burned. I immediately telephoned Elkin's wife, telling her that I was the grandson of the woman whom her late husband had saved. Shocked to receive the call, she told me that it was not her recently deceased husband, Andrew, who "was the hero," but it was Andrew's brother, William. She told me that "the hero," William Elkins, had died in the 1940s when he was struck by a passing car after he had stopped to assist a motorist whose car had become incapacitated by the side of a busy highway. The unlucky often fail to survive.

Three years after the fire on the Three Rivers, I was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in east Baltimore, one half mile north of Johns Hopkins Hospital. St. Joseph's Hospital later moved to a more prosperous Baltimore suburb, as the city of Baltimore expanded.

On May 20, 1927, eight days after I was born, my mother and I were still in St. Joseph's hospital, when Charles Lindbergh, the Lone Eagle, took off from Roosevelt Field in New York City and flew 331/2 hours non-stop to a cheering crowd of 150,000 people at LeBourget Field in Paris.

The transatlantic flight of Lindbergh's plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, marked the beginning of the "Age of Aviation." It is hard to believe that so many important events have taken place over the course of my lifetime.

Another hero was Joe Louis, an African-American who became heavyweight boxing champion when I was 12 years old. We kids rooted for Joe Louis when he defeated the German boxer, Max Schmeling. As we sat on the white marble steps outside our houses in west Baltimore, we didn't know whether we should root for Joe Louis because he was an American, or for Max Schmeling because he was white. Baltimore was racially segregated then—housing, movies, transportation, restaurants, churches, schools, even the morgue at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

After spending grades 5-8 at Calvert Hall Country School in Walbrook Oval, and four years of high school at Calvert Hall High School, I entered the College of Arts & Sciences on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University in north Baltimore in June 1944. Little did I know then that I would be associated with Hopkins for the next 60 years with

Survival of the Luckiest Figure 10 Henry Wagner.

the exception of 18 months in the U.S. Coast Guard, two years at the National Institutes of Health, and one year at Hammersmith Hospital in London.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital is in one of the poorest sections of Baltimore, several miles from the main campus of the University. The admistration of the Hospital once considered moving from its historic location in east Baltimore to the suburbs, but resisted the temptation, and remained at the site of its founding. Hopkins is now the largest employer in Baltimore, and has subsequently done a lot to transform its surroundings. Today Hopkins continues to play a major role in the revitalization of east Baltimore, as well as providing out-patient care in the suburbs.

The row house at 1919 W. Fayette Street where I grew up in Baltimore was two miles west of "downtown" Baltimore. The city had been founded in 1729, 200 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, at a location on the Patapsco River that flowed into the Chesapeake Bay. The population of Baltimore was 25,000 in 1800, and featured its port and the developing railroads. Its shipbuilding industry brought fame during the war of 1812. In 1828, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first in the country, officially opened in Baltimore. Its inland location provided a great commercial advantage because incoming freighters could land their cargo farther inland than at other ports. Johns Hopkins himself was one of the founders of the B & O Railroad, and contributed $6 million to the founding of the University and Hospital which bear his name. By 1850, Baltimore had grown to be the third largest city in the country, with a population of more than a quarter of a million.

Our house on Fayette St. was in the parish of St. Martin's Catholic Church, one of the oldest in Baltimore, founded in 1865 on the site of a Civil War military camp, by its first pastor, John S. Foley. St. Martin's was the center of the lives and social activities of many

Figure 11 The Wagner family in 1928 (l to r, Gertrude, Mother, HNW, and Herman).

German- and Irish-American Catholics who lived in the nearby row houses with white marble steps that were kept spotlessly scrubbed. Many of our neighbors worked half a mile away at the roundhouse of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, where trains were repaired, now the site of a world-class railroad museum.

H.L. Mencken, the accomplished critic and journalist of the Baltimore Sunpapers and founder of the magazine, the American Mercury, during the "Roaring" Twenties lived near us on Hollins Street in west Baltimore, near St. Martin's Church. He wrote: ". . . the Catholic clergy of Baltimore never engage in buffooneries, and make no attempt to advertise in the newspapers, but confine themselves strictly to the proper business of their office. The congregations of the Catholic Churches in this part of southwest Baltimore grow steadily, as those of the Protestants shrink. On next Sunday morning, there

Figure 12 HNW at age 7 on the occasion of his first holy communion.

Figure 12 HNW at age 7 on the occasion of his first holy communion.

will be more worshippers and particularly more adults and more men in St. Martin's Church on Fulton Avenue than in all the religious vaudeville shows west of Eutaw Street." Today, beautiful St. Martin's Church still stands majestically, but is now in the heart of the slums of Baltimore.

In those early days, the nearby parish of Fourteen Holy Martyrs occasionally was noted by headlines in the Sun reporting on a sporting event: FOURTEEN HOLY MARTYRS SLAUGHTER OUR LADY OF LOURDES.

Next to St. Martin's Church is "Foley Hall," a recreation building which in those days had a gym, pool tables, and two bowling alleys. At one of the parish dances, the order of dances included waltz, two-step, Paul Jones, Spanish Boston-Varsovienne, Rye, Lanciers, and Schottische. The St. Martin's Literary and Dramatic Association occasionally sponsored dances in Foley Hall.

Young African-Americans served as "pin boys" in the bowling alleys in Foley Hall. Those of us who couldn't knock down many pins were called "pin boys' delights." The pastor of the parish was Monsignor Louis O'Donovan, ministering to 10,000 parishioners with his three assistant priests. One was T. Austin Murphy, later to become Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore. Everyone in the parish was shocked when we heard that his brother,

Brady Murphy, an FBI agent, on his way home from work had received a telephone call telling him that a wanted criminal was in a telephone booth in the lobby of the Center Theatre in downtown Baltimore. As Agent Murphy approached the booth, the man suddenly drew a gun and killed him.

Another assistant priest at St. Martin's was Father Raymond Kelly, who was in charge of Camp St. Martin, which I attended from ages 8 to 15 with my two brothers, one older, Herman, and one younger, Albert. Every summer, we three boys spent 6 weeks at the camp, which was located at Love Point, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The camp had been opened in 1930, and was run by St. Martin's parish, with seminarians from St. Mary's Seminary serving as some of the counselors. The men of the parish built the camp "shacks," and women of the parish served as cooks, living in a rented house nearby. As campers, we avoided walking by the cottage at night lest we be hit by the contents of chamber pots being thrown out of the windows.

Every Memorial Day on May 30, 15 men of the parish would prepare the camp for its opening in June. Among the men were painters, carpenters, electrician, and handymen, together with youngsters, who would clean up the grounds. Among the non-Seminarian counselors were "Knotty" McCann, who subsequently became athletic director at St. Martin's High School, John "Oatey" O'Grady, who subsequently became a judge, "Jake" Lentz, who became an FBI agent, and Larry McCabe, who became a Court bailiff.

During those depression days, the cost per week to attend the camp was $5.00 for parishioners and $10.00 for those from outside the parish. After a six-week period for boys, there were two weeks of camp for girls, with women counselors. Once, having gotten in with some "unsavory" fellow campers, I told my parents, when they came for the weekly Sunday visit, that I wanted to come home at the end of my fourth week. My father asked: "Don't you love your mother?" It's nice to bring happiness to people, even if only by staying in camp.

We traveled to and from camp on the ferry boat, Philadelphia, which we called Smoky Joe. On arriving at Love Point, we all rushed from the pier at Love Point to the camp, half a mile away. We would choose a "shack" for about 10 boys, each of whom was assigned an army cot. There was only a single hand-operated pump to provide fresh drinking water, which tasted terrible because of its high iron content. There was no hot water. In the mornings, we would fill several buckets with water, place them in the sun all day, in order to have hot water each evening for a "bucket bath." An "outhouse" with four adjacent seats served males. Alongside was another enclosure with two seats for girls.

We would not sleep well the first night, but soon became totally adjusted to camp life. Although there were morning prayers every day, St. Martin's was not a religious camp, but was highly oriented toward sports, with three periods of softball, basketball and volleyball every day, followed by swimming twice a day. The teams were led by the best athletes who chose teammates once a week for the following week. It was embarrassing if you were the last to be picked.

Those campers who could swim were taken by pickup truck to the pier where the "Smoky Joe" docked. We dove from the tall pilings surrounding the docking slip, as well as from the gang plank 30 feet high from which the passengers boarded and exited the ferry boat. Those who couldn't swim walked twice a day about three blocks from the camp to a beach called "Rhodes," named after the owner of the property who was kind

Figure 13 Weekly boxing at Camp St. Martin.

Figure 13 Weekly boxing at Camp St. Martin.

enough to let the campers use the site. The water in the Chester River was perfectly clear in those days, with lots of seaweed and soft crabs. There was a weekly gathering of campers and counselors at a huge evening campfire, built from driftwood gathered by the campers from along the beach on the west side of the campgrounds. At each Thursday night campfire, one boy was awarded a loving cup, acknowledging that he had been selected as the "best camper" for that week. Both of my brothers, Herman and Albert, received this award, but I never did. I could never understand why. Many decades later, when we were middle-aged, having heard me tell this story of my disappointment so often, Albert awarded me a replica of the loving cup as a surprise.

One summer, when I was catcher during a softball game, the batter "threw his bat," and hit me on the forehead, resulting in a cut requiring several stitches. They took me to Dr. Sattlemeyer in nearly Stevensville, Maryland, to have my cut sewed up. This first encounter with medicine may have planted the seed of what would become my subsequent career.

Every Sunday, parents of the campers would visit the camp for a day, taking the Love Point ferry from Baltimore. Some would have lunch at Miss May's, a bed-and-breakfast near the ferryboat pier. Sunday afternoon would feature a visitor/counselor softball game, with all the campers and visitors as spectators. A high point of the game would be if the ball was hit over the cliff that lay beyond left and center fields. Once a center-fielder disappeared suddenly as he was going back for a fly ball to center field. He had fallen off the cliff. Fortunately, he was not hurt by the 20-foot drop. Erosion of the cliff was a big problem at the campsite. Ten feet of land would have eroded when we returned every summer. Today the camp no longer exists and the campsite has for all practical purposes disappeared because of erosion.

Attending Camp St. Martin every summer year after year helped prepare us for life. With the emphasis on sports three times every day, and later at Calvert Hall Country School and Calvert Hall High School, we were continually taught how important it was to always do our best, to strive constantly for excellence. We were taught that achievement would give meaning to our lives. We were imbued with a spirit of confidence and optimism, and constantly kept our eyes on our futures. Many campers went on to become star athletes in one of two Catholic High Schools in Baltimore: Calvert Hall and Mt. St. Joe's. Few went to Loyola, a third Catholic high school in north Baltimore, where the families had a higher social status. Most came from the lower-middle class of southwest Baltimore where St. Martin's was located. We were constantly taught by our elders to respect authority and count our "blessings." We always knew who was boss, and it wasn't us. We believed in government and authority figures. A camp rule was that whenever a counselor blew his whistle, we had to immediately stop what we were doing, and run to the whistle blower. We were far from being "goody-two-shoes," but I can still remember lying in bed before going to sleep, praying silently: "Dear God, make me a good boy." Raised as a Catholic through grammar and high school, we were very conscious of values and morality in our lives. A frequent discussion in high school was whether one could live a moral life without religion. We usually concluded that it would be very difficult. Selfishness would get out of hand. We were taught that there had to be the proper balance of freedom and order, that freedom is only possible when strong societal or religious values are accepted.

When my mother was dying at age 98, my wife whispered in her ear: "Mom, is there anything that you want?" Mother answered: "I want to be good."

My brother, Herman, was valedictorian of his class in the 8th grade at Calvert Hall Country School in 1937 and again in his senior year at Calvert Hall in 1941. For having the highest average for four years at Calvert Hall, he received a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University. I was valedictorian at Calvert Hall Country School in 1940, and again in the senior year at Calvert Hall in 1944. Eventually, both Herman and I had Chairs named for us at Drexel University in Philadelphia and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine: the Herman Block Wagner Chair in Chemistry and the Henry N. Wagner, Jr. Chair in Nuclear Medicine. Among Herman's many inventions were sunglasses that darkened in the sunlight, and a doll that became "sun tanned," because its paint contained a compound known as dithizone.

We knew that our parent's lives were devoted to our well-being and to our achieving success in later life. Although they themselves lived happy lives, it was clear that we were the main focus of their lives. The depression of the 1930s had a great influence on children, but throughout those difficult times, we were happy with our family, friends, classmates, and neighbors. We learned to appreciate the good things in life, an appreciation which never left us. I thought that the ultimate example of luxury in those days was when

Figure 15 The Wagner family gathered at the establishment of an endowed Chair in Nuclear Medicine at Johns Hopkins named after Henry N. Wagner, Jr.

the father of one of my girl friends gave her a nickel every night to buy an ice cream cone at our neighborhood drugstore.

Competitiveness and discipline were important in our young lives. Parents, camp counselors, or teachers never had to plead with us to do what we were told. We had to stay within clearly defined rules, or suffer the consequences. Authority figures provided feelings of security in the difficult times of the depression. We lived according to President Roosevelt's admonition: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." As Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, we often suffered feelings of guilt, but always had the Act of Contrition to fall back on: "O my God, I am heartily (at times the word was jokingly replaced by the expression 'partly') sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee my God who are all good, and deserving of all our love." Our respect of authority was accompanied by a touch of cynicism. I learned then, and believe now, that at least half of what I am told is probably not true, not because of any moral deficiency on the part of the person who was telling me something, but because of a human tendency to try to provide answers when a more appropriate response would be: "I don't know." Is this perhaps characteristic of scientists?

St. Martin's operated an elementary, junior and senior high schools, with over 1,000 students taught by the Sisters of Charity. There were 8 masses every Sunday. Pews rented for $50.00 per month. My father told me that if we didn't rent a pew, no priest would come to our house to administer the last rites of the church as we lay on our deathbed. The sacrament of the last rites was called "Extreme Unction," which we pronounced as "Extree-munction." Pew rents provided as much income for the parish as did the Sunday Offertory collections which were placed in the collection basket in envelopes designated for each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. Confessions were heard every day from 9:00 to 12:00 AM and 2:00 to 10:30 PM. None of our sins were original.

I started the first grade of school at nearby Fourteen Holy Martyrs parish, where my mother had enrolled me because I was too young (5 years old) to enter St. Martin's School, and too active to be kept at home all day. When an assistant pastor at St. Martin's, Father Manns, learned that I was attending Fourteen Holy Martyrs School, he arranged immediately for me to be transferred to St. Martin's School. My first class was music. I was given a saxophone, rather than a violin that I had hoped for. Thus ended my musical career.

An early contact with the medical profession occurred when a young intern dressed in a white coat and pants arrived at our house by ambulance to take me to Sydenham Hospital for isolation of patients with infectious diseases. I was 5 years old, and had developed scarlet fever. Visitors of patients at this infectious disease hospital had to visit with patients from a walkway outside the hospital, looking through glass windows to talk to their loved ones.

We children were very conscious of the fact that our parents were dedicated to our welfare and future success. Even though the country was in a depression, our parents managed to transfer us to Calvert Hall Country School (CHCS) after completing the fourth grade at St. Martin's. Our sister transferred to the Institute of Notre Dame, a private school up the street from where our mother was born. Two Brothers of the Christian Schools took a taxi every day from Calvert Hall in downtown Baltimore to Walbrook

Oval, where the Country School was located. Two grades, 5 and 6, and 7 and 8, were taught by one of the two brothers in the same room. Brother G. Edward taught the 5th and 6th grades in the same room, and Brother Matthew taught the 7th and 8th grades. There were about 10 boys in each grade.

Figure 16 Boys in the four grades (5-8) at Calvert Hall Country School. Henry Wagner in second row, three boys from the right; Herman Wagner, first row second from the right. Brother Matthew on the left, Brother Edward on the right. Tom Mooney, third from the right in the top row.

There were three football teams—for 80, 90, and 100 pound boys. I was eventually quarterback of all three teams. I remember one game, when as quarterback, I called for a pass at the last minute of the game, when we were ahead by a score of 7-6. The pass was intercepted; our opponents scored, and we lost by a score of 13 to 7. My father wouldn't speak to me on the ride home from the game. Television had not yet been invented, so we were always participants in sports, rather than spectators.

We looked up to the older boys who came to Walbrook Oval from downtown Calvert Hall to practice and play baseball. One of our greatest heroes was Martin Schwalenberg, who went on to become one of the most popular priests in Baltimore, and served as chaplain of the Baltimore Orioles.

On hot summer nights, we sat on the marble steps in front of our house, and talked with neighbors. Activities of the parish were the focus of the lives of most parishioners. The men and boys belonged to the Holy Name Society; the women belonged to the Sodality, Ladies of Charity, and Sewing Societies, all meeting weekly. There was a choir, a parish journal, a debating and literary club. The St. Vincent De Paul Society provided for the needs of the poor in the parish. There was the Ancient Order of Hibernians,

Figure 18 Herman Wagner (holding basketball), captain of the Calvert Hall Country School basketball team.

festivities in Foley Hall, including weekly Bingo games, as well as the Knights of Columbus, a social and beneficent organization that played a major role in the lives of my parents and their friends. My father became head of THE ALHAMBRA, for 4th degree Knights of Columbus. We children would often swim in the indoor pool of the K of C in downtown Baltimore. For hygienic reasons, we boys never wore bathing suits. I still don't know whether or not the girls wore bathing suits during their allotted times. St. Martin's also ran a Day Nursery for working women, two blocks from the church and next to the Bon Secours Hospital, operated by the Sisters of the Bon Secours, which often provided emergency medical care to us kids. One day, climbing over the fence around the playground of #48 public school, I cut my arm and had to be taken to Bon Secours to have it sewn up, still another favorable interaction with doctors. As children, showing great daring, we would occasionally sneak onto the grounds of the convent next to the hospital, and sample the delicious grapes that the sisters grew.

We would often drive to my other grandmother's row house on Aisquith Street in east Baltimore, going past a still-standing obelisk commemorating two young American boys, Wells and McComas, who were killed while they were still up in a tree from which they had shot the British Commanding General who led British troops into Baltimore during the Battle of North Point during the war of 1812. Up the street from my mother's childhood home was a pickle factory, where we bought pickles fished from huge wooden tanks. Also up the street from grandmother's house were St. John's Catholic Church attended by Irish-Americans and St. James Catholic Church, attended by German-Americans.

My Grandfather on my mother's side was an Irish-American Sergeant in the traffic division of the Baltimore City Police Department. During his entire life, he never went outside the city limits of Baltimore. Once he almost went to Washington, D.C., but at the last minute, the trip was cancelled. I inherited his red hair, but not his lack of interest in travel. My grandmother was a German-American, who met my grandfather after they arrived separately at the immigration pier at Locust Point in Baltimore, among hundreds of thousands of Irish and German Immigrants in the 19th Century. Baltimore was second only to New York as the point of entry of immigrants coming from Europe at that time.

After two years of high school, my mother went to work as a secretary at the Pennsylvania Railroad. After her marriage to my father, a salesman of wholesale woolens from England, she moved to west Baltimore to live with my father and his mother in a six room row house with white marble steps, a hallmark of Baltimore. In the summer, my mother would put up dark blue "blinds" in the windows, and replace them with white "blinds" in the winter. All along the red brick sidewalks outside our house were attractive gaslights, lit every evening by a lamplighter. Baltimore had been the first city in the U.S. to install gaslights.

Our row house on Fayette Street was a later design than the old house on Aisquith Street. There were windows to let in light for the middle rooms on both of the two floors, three bedrooms upstairs, and a kitchen, dining room and living room downstairs. My sister, Gertrude, now " Trudy," slept with my grandmother in the middle room, my parents in the back room facing the back alley, and we three boys in the front room facing the street. Every night as we lay in bed, we could hear the slow, laborious huffing and puffing of a steam engine a quarter of a mile away as a train tried to get traction to begin to pull a long line of freight cars carrying manufactured goods from Baltimore to the west. We

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