'The Glenside Kid' Recalls a Bygone Childhood
Ted Taylor's latest book strings together tales of growing up in Glenside.
Abington’s Ted Taylor doesn’t have to go far to reminisce about his childhood. He grew up on the Cheltenham side of Glenside in the 1940s and '50s, and he has now preserved his memories in his book, The Glenside Kid.
“It’s basically my life for 18 years, but it could be anyone’s life who grew up in that area and time,” Taylor said.
The book is a collection of short vignettes that detail many adventures and misadventures Taylor experienced as an adolescent.
Taylor, an adjunct professor of communications at Chestnut Hill College, said he was inspired by Jean Shepherd, who hosted a radio program and wrote books in which he detailed growing up in Indiana in the 1920s and ’30s.
Taylor’s book recalls many places and facets of local life that will be familiar to longtime, and some recent, residents. He recalls taking the train to North Philadelphia to watch baseball games at Shibe Park, later known as Connie Mack Stadium. That baseball venue is gone, but trips to Ocean City and Wildwood he also describes would be familiar to locals from almost any generation.
Taylor recalls one childhood trip to Ocean City where he got a bad sunburn while fishing with his dad. His dad tried to hide a reddened Taylor from the boy’s mother, but could only do so until dinner.
“Then, ‘World War Three’ broke out,” Taylor said.
Luckily, the owner of the hotel in which they were staying took pity on Taylor and soaked him in a bath filled with tea.
“Add some lemon, and I could have been a drink,” he said.
The bath took away the sting of the sunburn, but Taylor had to serve as the go-between for his not-on-speaking-terms parents for the rest of that trip.
Taylor recalled another trip to Bath, NY, where he happened upon the Sons of the Pioneers in the hotel lobby. Meeting the cowboy-singing group made famous by Roy Rogers films was thrilling to the young Taylor.
“This was the highlight of my life, and I wasn’t even 10 yet,” he said. “I still have the placemat that they signed for me.”
Taylor was a fan of cowboys, a childhood interest that led to the title of his book. The cover of The Glenside Kid shows a 7-year-old Taylor dressed in a cowboy suit.
The book was 10 years in the making, although Taylor abandoned the book for many of those years. He wrote four other books between starting The Glenside Kid a decade ago and its recent publication. His other books focus on local history, but this one focuses on his own.
(One of the books is about an Italian restaurant in South Philly, and the other three books are about baseball.)
Taylor was spurred to return to his personal book by the February arrival of twins—a fifth granddaughter and his first grandson.
“They were kind of the impetuous to finish the book,” he said, adding that they factor into the book as a segue from story to story.
The Glenside Kid is available in the Abington Pharmacy, Bonnet Lane Restaurant, Glenside News and Sweets, and Keswick Village’s Bitter Sweet Village. The book can also be purchased on Amazon.com or through The Educational Publisher. The book also has a Facebook and Twitter feed.
“I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it,” said Taylor.