Days of Yore
 
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


A town character
A standpipe once stood on the side of the hill adjoining the Methodist Cemetery up on east Kings highway.  It was torn down when it had become obsolete and its foundation was uncovered when The Mews were recently developed.

A member of the crew of men who came to town to erect this water pipe years ago was a little, toothless individual called Tom Murphy.

He was an orphanage product and in those days records were sparsely kept so Tom was not sure of his real name, age, or actual origin.

When the pipe work was completed, Tom adopted Haddonfield for his own and he stayed in town when the crew moved on.  He as a weak, small man who could not read or write.  No one could ever remember when Tom did not look to be anything but seventy-five years old.  He became a town character who did odd jobs along the main street and was the dishwasher in any restaurant that was in business.

His abode was any furnished room n town whenever he could find one.

As Tom wandered along the main street with his perpetual cigarette hanging from the single upper and single lower front teeth that he possessed, he was constantly being kidded by everyone.

His unique opinions were priceless, especially when the topic was baseball, as he was an ardent New York Yankees fan and Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Company were his world.  He could not read but his memory retained every detail so that an argument with Tom was always enjoyable.  Any street corner on the highway might find Murphy and his audience engrossed in a heated, informative discussion.

Assistant Postmaster Karl Tule once took "Murph" over to Shibe Park to see the Yankees play the A's.  The little guy was thrilled and when he came home from the game he told everybody that he had a good seat in the stands right back of home plate along the third base line.  His recount of the game was a thing of beauty.

Tom passed away at an age that it would have been interesting to know.  If memory serves correctly, Jim Streatch handled the funeral with charity.

Another Haddonfield character became a fond memory.


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