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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: August 2023 | Where to Live

I'm Gonna Spend My Life in Philadelphia

Stanley Peter Jaskiewicz


  • Stanley expresses deep-rooted pride and affection for his hometown, Philadelphia, highlighting their strong connection to the city's culture, history, and sports teams.
  • He recounts his personal experiences and memories associated with Philadelphia, such as attending high school in the city, his college and law school years, and how these experiences shaped his sense of belonging.
  • Stanley reflects on the professional and personal connections he's built in Philadelphia, emphasizing the city's significance in his life and identity.
I'm Gonna Spend My Life in Philadelphia Pavone

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Why I chose to live here – and won’t ever leave

I am from Philadelphia – and proud of it.

Ask anyone who knows me, whether now, or when I began college in 1978.

So, I jumped at the chance to write about my hometown when it was suggested at a recent editorial board meeting.

I have always spoken with a Philadelphia accent. One college classmate from California even told me that she could not understand what I was saying.

I grew up with “Rocky.” I saw the movie when it first came out, long before running the steps became a tourist destination in its own right, and the subject of an entire book (, and included day trips from nearby cities.

I have even heard of bus drivers on the New Jersey turnpike diverting, just to let the passengers run the steps, without seeing anything else of Philadelphia.

(We do have a few notable sights apart from movie nostalgia.

I proudly wore my “Philadelphia: the Big Pretzel” t-shirt, when I watched the 1985 NCAA men’s basketball final with law school classmates.

Underdog Villanova played pretty well for Coach Mass that day against heavily favored Georgetown. (

Did you catch my Philadelphia reference there? (

I have always been an unabashed homer for our local sports teams, despite years of last place finishes. As the saying goes, metaphorically, “Be true to your school.” (

But loyalty to sports teams is just tribalism. For me, Philadelphia means a whole lot more, and has for many years.

I planned to play with my high school band at the celebration of the Bicentennial on New Year’s Eve, 1975, at the transfer of the Liberty Bell from Independence Hall to a new home, in anticipation of the crowds expected in 1976.

(Spoiler alert: the transfer was rained out, and 1976 proved to be somewhat of a tourism bust, for reasons reminiscent of the Pandemic.)

Personally, my parents did not allow me to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia that summer because of the fear of contagion from a then unknown bug. (

I remember getting excited when I won Phillies season tickets in a drawing at a local bank one year. The Phillies had just signed a big-name player I had seen lead the Tigers to the 1984 World Series championship, while I was in law school in Michigan.

Of course, Lance Parrish never came close to reproducing that year in Philadelphia. I could not give the tickets away (although I tried and tried – they were taxable income for me).

But I don’t think any of this elevated my love for Philadelphia, above typical hometown loyalty.

I was born and raised here, but that is true of many others who are not as rabid about their hometown as I am.

I attended high school in a particularly gritty part of the downtown urban area, rather than the suburban areas of the city where I was born.

I hope you caught another insider Philly reference there. (

I have often described that choice – aided by a generous work-study scholarship, and my mother’s willingness to resume work as a night nurse – as the most influential one in my life (other than my decision to ask my wife to marry me).

In fact, a sign of my love for my wife is that I proposed, even though she was not a Philadelphian. I never even considered a Philadelphia version of the Colts history test from Diner. (

But I think I had to travel really far away to appreciate my ties to Philadelphia.

While college in Connecticut was a long drive, it was still an easy train ride home.

But law school in Ann Arbor was a 600-mile, 10-hour drive for my father, in the era before airline deregulation.

Although my law school roommate was kind enough to invite me to his home for Thanksgiving one year, it was not the same as coming home for the holidays.

In law school, I thought about working in Washington, D.C., or New England. I even had call back interviews in both places.

But my summer jobs were all back home in Philadelphia, as was the full-time job I began in 1985 (with the firm where I still work).

As a result, by my last year of law school, I knew that I wanted to come home to my family.

That was a fateful choice. Both of my parents soon passed away, but not until after I had spent some meaningful time with them during their extended illnesses.

Once I was home, I got emotional every time I heard local musicians Hall and Oates’ ode to “Fall in Philadelphia.” (

Professionally, my high school alumni network has proven far more valuable than those of the Ivy League and Big Ten schools I attended. My best client sat opposite me in the lunchroom in our junior year.

Today, I have led tours of our historical area for my son’s Scout Troop and other visitors.

One such tour even led to invitations for our Scouts to play with fire at a national historical monument for several years. (

Another resulted in discovery of a connection between Philadelphia and the small town where my wife had grown up. It is named after a Revolutionary War hero I had never known about, whose grave I happened to see while we visited the historic church cemetery where he is buried. (

Could such tours be a side hustle for me in retirement?

Until then, I am glad to provide tips on my personal favorite sites to see in the city that I love to anyone who asks.

You see, Philadelphia for me is more than just the place where I live.

It is a part of my identity.

I hope to see you here soon!