March 8th, 2007

Our new window

Geoff DiMasi

Last friday, our master carpenter, Justin, installed one of our new windows in the studio. This one faces Federal Street and runs practically floor to ceiling when you are inside the studio.

We have a really cool view that unfolds throughout the day.

Yesterday around noon, a fire truck pulled up on E. Passyunk and stopped so that it was framed perfectly in the window.

It ended up staying there for awhile and was quickly joined with ambulances, news trucks, police and the fire commisioner.

It almost felt like we put the window in just in time to frame this scene. In the end it turned out that our neighbors directly behind us on Darien Street were overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning. It made me feel helpless when I found out that they had been suffering for days but waited until their son came down from New York since they don’t speak english before doing anything.

I see these neighbors almost every day since I live next store to the studio. They are a very very sweet elderly Chinese couple. They love touching my infant son’s face and smiling and waving to my 4 year old daughter every time they see them. And my daughter enjoys seeing them, as well.

If they had been able to talk to us, we would have helped them. I know we could have made a difference. However, our language barrier separates us.

I still don’t know how they are doing, and even now I don’t know how to contact them to say that I care about them and would like to help.

When you live and work close together in a city like Philadelphia, you watch life and death unfold in ways that are hidden from a sanitized suburban view. It reminds me of all of the skulls that you see on buildings in London to remind people that death might not be far away – memento mori.

In those times, people lived much shorter (and more brutal) lives and so these reminders actually served as encouragements to live...not fear.

Today we tend to close ourselves off from the world and pretend that we are not going to die. We try to remove these reminders from our view.

I really hope that our sweet elderly neighbors pull through so that I can give them a big hug next time I see them. I am sure that my daughter will want to do the same.

But, no matter what, I appreciate the opportunity to live in a place where life unfolds.

Geoff DiMasi

Check out another article
September 11th, 2006
The Window: some fabric?