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From Golden Gate to Red Rose Gate

February 25, 2016 5:19 pm0 commentsViews: 37
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The Chez Vous Skating Rink at 69th and Market Streets in Philadelphia was a popular meeting place for many couples during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. This was no different for Mary Johnson and Kenneth Goodrow. Mary, a native of North Philadelphia, and Ken, a native of Hartford, Connecticut met while he was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy yard as a member of the Marine Corps, a Machine Gun Unit Leader on the USS Huntingdon. She couldn’t resist a Marine in uniform. They committed to one another, but their initial time together was very limited.

Ken was sent to battle in Korea, which included the Battle of the Chosin Resevoir, a decisive battle in the Korean War. The war ended in December 1950 and he was discharged on October 31, 1951. Mary and Ken married on November 3rd, three days after his return.

They moved to Hartford, where Ken skipped around from job to job until he landed a position at General Elevators. Their son Wayne was born in July 1952. After two years and the downsizing of General Elevators, they moved back to Pennsylvania.

With one child in tow and Mary pregnant with their second child they stayed with her mom until Ken found a job at the U.S. Steel Fairless Works Plant. In May 1954, they stood in the Levittown Exhibit line to pick out their future Levittown home ($8900 final cost with a $100 deposit). Their son Ken was born in July of ’54 and they moved into their Golden Gate Road home on August 1st, Goldenridge section.

They made a lot of friends in their new neighborhood and became members of Emilie Christian Methodist Church on New Falls Road. They watched Levitt’s builders turn the farm field across Emilie Road into the Indian Creek section. Ken coached Little League baseball at the Indian Creek fields for nine years. They were the first couple in Levittown to have a portable dishwasher (on wheels with a cutting board top, hooked up to the faucet by hose), a Christmas gift from Mary’s mother. They also had a swing set and above-ground pool in their yard.

Grocery shopping was done at Food Fair at the Levittown Shop-A-Rama. But food stores were scarce, so they were thankful for the daily deliveries from the bread man and the milk man.

Brian, their youngest son, joined the family in May 1962. Mary’s motto was “education and sports” and she stayed busy toting the boys from school and sporting events. Swing shifts at the steel mill meant Ken was unable to attend many of these events.

It was after Brian graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1980 that Mary and Ken upgraded to the “Gates” and bought a home in Red Rose Gate. Ken retired from the mill in 1987 after 33 years of employment. They traveled both stateside and abroad and have especially fond memories of their trips to Spain and the Bahamas.

Life is much quieter now, but they remain as active as possible. They are proud parents and even prouder grandparents, quick to show off pictures of their grandson and granddaughter! Mary, known to bake a cake or two or five, is graciously given accolades from her husband of 65 years for raising their three boys. A cup of coffee, a piece of cake and a warm welcome is their way of life. ■

—Debra Metz

Photos: Ken and Mary today; on their wedding day, 1951.

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