smokers alley

This completely normal looking street dead-end is a piece of my past, literally. It’s a little wooded corner at the far end of the athletic fields behind Haverford Township Senior High School in Havertown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Part of my high school years was spent at this school. When smoking was banned at Haverford High sometime in the late 1980s, the “burnouts” used to go here to smoke–as soon as you passed that chain-link gate you were technically off school property. This place went by many names, “Smoker’s Alley” being one of them, though I don’t recall if that was the most common one; “Smoker’s Corner” may also have been used.

I came here one day in the fall of 1988 with a boy I had a crush on. Nothing happened and he had no idea I liked him, but I remember the afternoon vividly. When I found this view on Google Street View I was astonished at how similar it looks today compared to more than a quarter century ago. In fact, Haverford High School, which was built in 1956, looks at least on the outside much the same as it did in the 1980s, though I’m told it was extensively renovated about 1998 and the interior is very different than it was in my time. Browsing around on Google Earth, I notice the smokestack that I remember from my time there has been removed.

Haverford High has some semi-famous alumni, particularly professors and football players. The only one I knew during my time there was Ross Katz, Academy Award-winning film producer. He was an acquaintance but I didn’t know him very well, but one of the movies he produced, Lost in Translation, is a favorite of mine.

Sorry for this silly self-indulgent post, but I couldn’t resist sharing this little bit of my past!