Sunday, November 16, 2008

Six Degrees of the Jersey Shore

As I mentioned before on my other blog, I've just kicked off round two of my goal to read a book a week for a year. Sound impossible? I finished Round 1 in seven months -- this is what happens when you don't have cable.

Right now, I'm on book 2 of 52, which will be Lost in the Museum: Buried Treasures and the Stories They Tellby Nancy Moses unless something attached to an assignment comes along. It's about odd things in museum storage that rarely sees the light of day. Chapter 5 looks at pressaries at Philadelphia's Mutter Museum. Since this is a family blog, I won't explain what pressaries are. You can read that for yourself if you're curious.

In discussing the Mutter and Philadelphia as a historic medical history spot, Moses writes, "An array of medical giants conducted their seminal work here; their possessions can still be found, scattered throughout the city. The elegant home of Philip Syng Physick of pressary fame is a historic house museum in the Society Hill neighborhood, open to the public."

Wait a second...I know that name.

Philip Syng Physick is the grandfather to Emlen Physick, whose Cape May estate is now a tourist attraction (one I highly recommend) and kicked off the effort to preserve Cape May's historic homes.

I had all this written down somewhere in my book research notes, and they tell you about it on the tour, but I forgot about it until today.

Philip Syng Physick was quite an important guy -- he's even called the "father of American surgery." He's responsible for stomach pumps, cataract surgery, designed needle forceps, and started using autopsies for education and research.

Emlen Physick? Not so much. He got his MD then high tailed it to Cape May, built a beautiful home where he spent his final days, and because of this, his name is forever stamped on Cape May's identity.

Just goes to show: I think my entire life can be connected to the Jersey Shore. It's like six degrees of separation except with a location. A friend said "bye Jersey Shore Jen" to me today. Why? Because I put on an Avalon sweatshirt after my four mile run. I do these things unconsciously. Really.

Anyway, I hope to visit the Philadelphia Physick House soon. Goodness knows I've visited the Cape May one many times over. I even brought Emily there for last year's tree lighting and opened the Cape May Chapter of "Down the Shore with Jen" on the front lawn:

Small, crazy, Jersey Shore world.

In other news, Terry O'Brien tells me that Terry-Oke is debuting at Ballyhoo's on Saturday night in Cape May. In looking up the post about Emily in Cape May, I checked about the tree lighting, too -- it's on Saturday night. Throw in the screening of New Jersey: The Movie AND off season prices, I might just wind up there this weekend.

And why do I care so much about karaoke right now? Because of this thing.

Really -- small, crazy, Jersey Shore world.

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Anonymous said...

Of all the South Jersey bloggers I know, Jen Miller is one of them.

---Terry O'Brien (Terry O'ke)

localocean said...

Jen's blog is number 5... right above the Alcoholics Anonymous blog. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Jen, I am 3x great grandson of Philadelphia's Dr. Physick. I live in and serve as site manager of Physick House. Dr. Physick is also "Soda's Pop".. He made the first soda in Amwerica in 1807. I hope you will visit the house museum soon and pick up a Dr. Physick, sweetened with pure sugar cane. It is a great tour if I do say so myself.

J. Del Conner

Mitchell said...

I stopped by Dr. Physick's house today on my way to South Street in Philly. The ad on the wall for his soda is what drew me in. Being a beverage enthusiast (I tried Yerba Mate at The Random Tea Room earlier), I had to try it. $2 for a bottle was a far price and the old fellow running the place was friendly as well (I think posted here). The soda was great (Mmde with just three ingredients) and its worth visiting the house just for that. Didn't bother to go on the tour though.