Remember when? We had asked each other all day long. Last Sunday, we hung up our beach towels and bathing suits and headed to old stomping grounds in the city of Philadelphia. Merely twenty minutes away yet we never find the time to go. And when we do, we never want to leave.

It’s where we lived as twenty-something parents and feared nothing; where my second and heaviest (9.6 lbs) child was born; where my husband completed his BA in Medieval History; where we lived in an apartment that housed the world’s largest cockroach; where we lived in an apartment that was once a brothel but wasn’t told of this fact until after we moved in; where we walked and walked and walked and never got tired; where we consumed modest amounts of beer at the corner Locust Bar; where we befriended the photographer from the old 100.3 FM radio station and got invited to see and meet Michael Hutchence of INXS in a cozy recording studio one month before he died; where we declined to see and meet Squirrel, Nuts, Zippers in a cozy recording studio and regretted it; where we played with our daughters X amount of times at the 10th and Lombard playground; where I made local news by nervously but intelligently answering the question, How do you feel about the safety of the city’s playground equipment?; where the best falafel sandwich can be found; where the best kugel can be found; where the best video store, TLA, can be found; and where we last talked, laughed and cried with my beloved brother, Jonathan Scott Mendoza (1977-1998), who will survive forever in our memories.

On this occasion we strolled through U of Penn’s Museum of Anthropology and Archeology which my six year old son described as looking much like a haunted house; but plentiful with interesting artifacts and palatial Egyptian doorways, nonetheless. Then we headed towards the irresistible Button statue where kids go to be kids. We sat

and chatted with Ben and ended our day in Chinatown where we emptied our wallets to shrimp chips, Pocky treats and Hello Kitty paraphernalia. (see pics)

We love Philadelphia, but would we ever move back? Our thirty something (and forty something) urges aren’t quite so versatile, although we like to think so. With safety, schools and overall quality of life a constant concern, moving back to the city is but a notion we like to toy with. So we will take what she offers, eighteen miles away in the comfort of our home in the sweet valleys of Brandywine and visit her every so often to relive pastimes, create new ones and to be cultured, taught and inspired in ways we can’t find here in our pretty, little suburbia.

Chinatown goodies

Great movie, just not for kids

Great movie, just not for kids

Yes, we took our children, ages 6 to 13 to see the movie two days after it opened. In hindsight, we regret it. The more we think about it, the more we regret it (at least for our two younger children). My husband and I have mastered parental control of the tv, computer, video games, and, well, really anything the kids can get their hands on. So why did we take them? Big blunder on our part for not doing the research. We were expecting something totally different. It really sank in after my mother-in-law let my husband know that the Dark Knight is not something you take your precious babies to go see.

So even if we did bury our young children’s heads deep in the trenches of our motherly and fatherly embrace, I have a feeling, they knew what was going on. Let me put it this way, remember the scene with the Joker and the pencil disappearing act? Yeah, pretty gruesome. But as the adult crowd bellowed in laughter at the “magic trick”, my 11 year old daughter, after lifting her head from hiding, asked with a sort of wishful uncertainty “Did the pencil roll under the table?”. She knew.

A flurry of parental recommendations stormed throughout the internet immediately after the movie opened. It was just too late for us. So take heed parents, if you haven’t already done so. Even weeks after the opening, the movie managed to break records at the box office. Keep the young ones at home, or you could end up with a lingering afterthought much like ours.