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9 Peabody Estates MAG
When I was ten I became fascinated with London, England. It was where mygreat-great-great-grandfather Joseph Price was born and raised, which I learnedfrom the family Bible handed down over the generations. The Bible listed hisaddress and the birth dates of each of his eight children, along with the day hemarried my great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Price. I was finally going toLondon! Our passports arrived just in time. Bags packed, cameras ready, copies ofthe addresses and plane tickets in hand - my London adventure was about tobegin.
We landed at Heathrow Airport after a seven-hour flight. Customstook over an hour and then we hailed a cab to take us into London. Driving on theopposite side of the road was quite an adventure. England looked grand - thegreen pastures and old brick buildings made me feel like I had stepped back intime.
Our deluxe hotel was in downtown London. Our room was quite smalland had old-style plumbing - very different from American deluxe accommodations.We quickly headed for the Underground, or the Tube, as it's called, and were offto Southwalk in search of 9 Peabody Estates.
Southwalk is old-styleLondon, with many of the buildings built in the 18th century. We walked aroundfor several hours, searching street by street, but there was no sign of PeabodyEstates. I began to think maybe the streets had been renamed or possiblydestroyed. Then we came to an auto body repair shop, where the folks werefriendly and asked if we needed help. We explained that we were searching forPeabody Estates. The repairmen didn't seem to know where to direct us, but askedus to wait. They went to the elderly owner, who gave us exact directions andfacts about Peabody Estates.
The Peabody Estates were built by a wealthyAmerican businessman for his factory workers in the mid-19th century. The flats(apartments) were luxurious compared to other housing; Mr. Peabody providedbetter housing for his workers, and in turn asked them to work harder in hisfactories.
We were directed to walk a few more blocks and make a right andthen another right. Between two buildings was a small sign: "Peabody Estates- 1855." Other buildings had been built around the flats. We soon realizedwe would never have found the address if it were not for that gentleman at therepair shop.
The Peabody Estates were all brick buildings with roundeddoorways. Nine buildings, each with three stories, bordered a common area; manyof the apartments were still occupied. We peeked in a few windows and saw largerooms with old-style moldings and hardwood floors. We found buildings six, seven,eight and nine - 9 Peabody Estates, the address in my family Bible! The buildingwas falling apart and the windows and doors were boarded up; a lad told us it wasscheduled to be torn down. We walked around and took pictures. We were happy tohave found the it, but sad it was condemned. We longed to take a peek inside. Asthe sun began to set we took one last look, imagining what it was like for JosephPrice and his family in the late 1800s living at 9 Peabody Estates.
It wasa thrill to find the very place my family called home almost 100 years ago. Ournext adventure, we all agreed, was to trace their voyage from 9 Peabody Estatesto Brooklyn, New York where they arrived in 1898. The last entry in the Bible is"England is our nation, 9 Peabody Estates is our home, Christ is our Savior- heading to America to find the American Dream."
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Published by The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. - A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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