Synchronicity is a term I have come to cherish since being introduced to it by my favorite psychologist, Carl Jung. It refers to deeply meaningful coincidences that mysteriously occur in one’s life. Jung proved by the law of probability that they were not mere coincidences but insights into our rich and worthwhile lives.
My most recent one occured when I published a photograph of two of my grandchildren at the Glendinning Rock Garden in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia. The garden was a favorite spot for kids and grown-ups to visit and enjoy the spring waters and streams that flowed near the current Kelly Drive. Brewerytown was famous for beer production and much of the brew was shipped along the Schuylkill River and transported on land up Brewery Hill Drive, some two blocks away from the Philadelphia Zoo.
I published the photo – taken last summer – on Facebook with a group named “Brewerytown, St. Ludwig’s School” which mentioned my elementary school and our old neighborhood. It got 36 comments and 17 likes within just a few days.
One of the comments was from a fellow who road horses near the garden and across the railroad tracks close to my home on 31st Street near Girard Avenue. It jarred a memory I had as a kid of seeing horses beng ridden by black cowboys over the rough land and concrete grounds near one of the old breweries.
Black cowboys? Yes, Philadelphia had a slew of ’em, but I didn’t know that until I had recalled the filming of an independent movie with Idris Elba that was released just a month earlier in April, 2021. The movie is called Concrete Cowboys and was filmed in and around Fletcher Street, some 12 blocks away from Girard Avenue.
It told the story of how many blacks from the South made their way to Philadelphia in the early 1900s and road horses and wagons while esablishing stables near their homes just north of the Streawberry Mansion section as well as other Philly sites. It also mentions the famous jazz musician John Coltrane, the great saxophonist who once lived at 1511 N. 33rd Street in Philadelphia.
After reading the Facebook comment, I watched the movie on Netflix. This is where the synchronicity flourished and made me smile!
Elba meets up with many of the cowboys who recall the stables and horse riding locations throughout the city and he mentions 31st Street. My home street that my father purchsed a house for just $5,000 many years ago. Thirty-First Street where cops had arrested me for pitching pennies and later for sneaking into the ACME warehouse to get half-balls from the roof.
What a glorious feeling to cherish my old hometown and the street where I grew as a teenager, sang Doo Wop on street corers and was later drafted into the army.
Thank you, Carl Jung for showing me how such connections are inspired by mystical occurences and joyful reflections . . .
(For a closer look at neighborhood stories, click on the colored highlighted words)