Family Story #1

Around 1900 my mother’s father, James Ritter, was treasurer of a Philadelphia hardware store on Market Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city. One day when all the other managers were out to lunch, someone tried to steal a bicycle for sale in front of store.

Grandfather James, being the only administrator left, said he would accompany the policemen to press charges at the station and sat in the open horse-drawn “paddy wagon” with the thief.

As the vehicle progressed along the street James doffed his hat, as was proper in those days, to all the people he recognized on the sidewalk.

After the van passed, one gentlemen turned to his companion and commented, “Do you realize we just tipped our hats to James Ritter ridding in a police wagon without thinking he had done anything wrong; he must have an honorable reason for sitting in a “paddy wagon.”


A story my mother told me.

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