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The Quarterlife Crisis: letting go, holding on, growing up, staying young

FOURTEENTH street March 2012




Caitlin Weigel adventures to Philly bars to explore her inner child.

It's like music to my ears: '90s music and what it means to us. Recess is in session, adults play at lunch time thanks to Play Philly.

We aren't growing up and it isn't our fault: The Quarterlife Crisis. Beth Beverly helps us hold on to our childhood companions. Fourteenth Street talks to Mike Maronna from Pete & Pete. Revisiting childhood: Elise Bowder, Grace Dickinson, Christine Fisher.


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udging by the size of his belt, I used to believe Orion could step out of the sky and effortlessly squash me with just his pinky toe. When I was a kid, I had a real fascination with constellations – so much so, I painted my bedroom ceiling a deep royal blue with glow-in-the-dark stars placed sporadically around, creating my own little galaxy in a tiny bedroom in Scranton, Pennsylvania. My sister and I shared a bunk bed we both pretended was a spaceship and we sailed through the night. We were grown-ups when our eyes were closed, wearing professional clothes underneath our pajamas, doing whatever our tiny minds could think of as we walked on the fluffy surface of our dreams. When I woke, lying on the top bunk, I'd reach up and run my fingers along the ceiling. They'd jump from the walls' bumpy texture to the glossy surface of the stars. Everything was close at hand. When I got older, the stars lost their magical glow, our bunk beds were disassembled, and my travels through the night were less frequent and not nearly as whimsical. Suddenly, I was grounded and everything I once thought possible seemed miles away. The reality of this daunting "real world" stands right in front of me and the thought of wearing a tweed, itchy pants suit only makes me button the collar of my birghtly colored flannel pajamas. There are those who have already grown into their hypothetical business attire and are simply waiting to hear the beginning notes of Pomp and Circumstance. They have been practicing a victory march out of their childhood for years now. And still, there's a majority of us who are holding on for dear life. We can feel the knots of our safety net loosen, so our nails just dig deeper into the palms of our hands. Our grips are only getting tighter. This issue of Fourteenth Street is for us, the ones who are desperately trying to hold on to the familiar. We are the people who are still afraid of the dark, who still call our mother's for advice, who run home to Scranton every chance we get. We look to the stars every night, we run our fingers along their glossy surface from our bunk beds and when we find Orion's belt, we think, "Please, don't step on me."

School of Communications and Theater TEMPLE UNIVERSITY


FOURTEENTH street Collected TV Guides.

Publisher Caitlin Weigel Had an imaginary Victorian grandma.

Art Director Valerie Rubinsky Spun around in circles and called it dancing.

Editor Elise Bowder

Spent long hours pretending to be a purple cat in a velour onesie.

Used to call 911 just to see if they would pick up.

Editor Becky Kerner

Editor Meghan White

Spent her time in dollar stores trying to beef up her ceramic clown collection.

Refused to eat anything but duck sauce by the bowlful at Chinese restaurants.

Contributors Nicole Doenges, Christine Fisher, Keiran McCann and Joey Pasko

Photo Editor Grace Dickinson Carried around a stuffed beaver in a Campbell's soup can.

Designer Brie DiGiovineFlorence Cut the whiskers off her cat.

Special Thanks to Steven White, Jen Merrill, Grace Wazowicz, The Cozzolinos, Kierra Bussey, Helen Summers, Colleen Daniels and Kate McCann. Fourteenth Street is sponsored by the Temple University Journalism Department. For questions or comments, please contact Professor Laurence Stains at


Editor-In-Chief Kelsey Doenges

Editor-In-Chief Dana Ricci



GAMES B Bars with nostalgic vibes are only a hop, skip, and a jump away. By Caitlin Weigel | Photos by Grace Dickinson arcade was silent, except for the beeps and whirls coming from the classic arcade games lining the perimeter of the room. Two girls across the room fished in their purses for loose quarters while a doughy man jerked his joystick. I scanned the room before choosing the game I was most familiar with – the ever nerdy Tetris – and slid my quarters into the slot. As the colored blocks fell at increasingly rapid paces, I found that I was not transported

back into a magical land of play; instead I was thrown into an organizational nightmare. The grown-up in me reared its ugly head as I focused all my energy on maximizing efficiency and space. The Tetris game suddenly became a metaphor for my planner and I dealt with it with an equally stressful demeanor. Upon losing, I felt sincere depression, softened only by the one perk of adulthood: beer. Tetris is a solo game, I reasoned to myself. Something more team-oriented will surely be a better experience, more reminiscent of

playground days and play dates. Only slightly deterred by the Tetris fiasco, I moved down the street to Frankford Hall to try my hand at ping pong.



1210 Frankford Avenue

For those interested in getting their happy hour game on. Go for the $6 beer-andhot-pretzel deal; stay for the embarrassing ping pong experience.


1114 Frankford Avenue

Weeknight happy hours are premium time to go if you want first dibs on games, but weekends are better if you’re looking for fellow gamers to reminisce with.


1509 South Street

Go on Tuesdays and be the only one to play ping pong. It’s worth hitting up this South Philly dive even if it’s just to feel comparatively young and carefree against the rest of the patrons.


225 Church Street

Along with plastic toys on the table, a hobby horse, a bumper car to sit in, and half-off happy hour specials, Sugar Mom’s Saturdays are craft days. Get your gimp on.

As an adult failing miserably at a classic pastime, I felt pretty massively embarrassed and grateful for the mood lighting that hid my ever-reddening face.


BARCADE, FRANKFORD HALL, SUGar Mom’s, and Bob and Barbara’s… They are amongst several bars touting childhood games in Philadelphia. I could appreciate the novelty of childhood games in a strictly adult environment, but I was hoping to find an experience that would leave me feeling more like an eight-year-old and less like a college student with responsibilities and deadlines. Maybe the act of playing games would help to reinstitute a carefree attitude associated with childhood play. Maybe it was the half-liter of German beer I downed before the game. Maybe it was the dim lighting. Maybe it was a falsified memory of better ping pong skills. But whatever the reason, it was quickly established that this was not my game. My partner and I were barely able to hit the small ball back and forth once without it flying off the table and across the room. I spent more time awkwardly crawling on the floor and between strangers’ legs to retrieve the ball than I did actually hitting it. My swings were all misses too – except on a few occasions when my back swing landed on the stomach of an unfortunate waiter. As an adult failing miserably at a classic pastime, I felt pretty massively embarrassed and grateful for the mood lighting that hid my ever-reddening face. I laughed while playing, though these were self-conscious, apologetic laughs and not the whimsical giggles of a child who enjoys flinging lightweight balls across a room. Bob and Barbara’s ping pong Tuesday, in a sense, spared me of the embarrassment, though it seemed to come at the cost of losing all hope for reconnecting with childhood. I didn’t have to endure any floor-crawling, but then again, no one did. In the two and half hours I sat at the bar, not a single soul played ping-pong, or even acknowledged the existence of the equipment. If there was a spectrum of childhood, the atmosphere would have swung dramatically away from all things youthful. I sat with my can of warm PBR among half a dozen downtrodden men, watching what appeared to be a John Waters Lifetime movie including a woman shooting breast milk across a room. A man in a spandex biking shirt and bags of skin under his eyes looked absently around the room, while his bar buddy, a straggly-haired man in a nubby mud-colored sweater, who I originally mistook for a homely woman, stared down at the bar and sipped on his shot of well whiskey. This was a place that childhood went to die. I tried to conjure up feelings of days when breast milk was nourishment and not something flying out of a Drag Queen’s boob on a small screen, but ultimately the evening was a bust. As if to add insult to injury, every stop along my “redeeming-childhood-fun” bar

crawl included a depressing talk about the realities of life after graduation. Inevitably at every location, the conversation turned to the stresses of finding jobs, finding roommates, and finding purpose after our life ceases to be measured in semesters. One friend complained about the anxiety of watching over 27 impressionable kids at her student teaching gig. Another mourned the fading of old friendships as she carefully stacked Jenga blocks. In search of a runaway ping pong ball, I crawled under the legs of a girl who complained about applying to 63 jobs without a single response. I left every single happy hour that week feeling far from happy. Sugar Mom’s was the last on my list and I went there with expectations lower than J.Lo’s neckline at the 2000 Grammy Awards. I half-heartedly attempted to play with a plastic heart maze on the table, but dedicated most of my focus to guzzling half-priced drafts and complaining about commute times with a real grown-up. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. Or more likely, heard it. Beads sliding around in a container, rolling over one another like anxious puppies. It was quickly followed by a flash of plastic lace, affectionately known as gimp. Something instinctual clicked in me as soon as I spotted that basket of crafts. Though I hadn’t touched gimp in years, muscle memory kicked in and I immediately got to work. Weaving the glittering cord, I thought about summers in the cul-de-sac making bracelets by day and playing capture the flag by night. I thought of my first grade birthday party when my mom taught us to use beads with the gimp to make key chains. I thought of the girls who used to ride my bus with backpacks covered in gimp, the ultimate elementary school status accessory. I was in the zone and at the end of happy hour I had two new key-chains and a bracelet. That was the experience I was looking for. I left with pleasant thoughts of my early life, and a generally happier outlook. There’s an inherent sadness in nostalgia, but it’s a sweet sentimental sadness that comes along with memories of security and familiarity. Despite the terrifying idea of becoming an adult and facing responsibilities in the real world, thinking about childhood memories and the security of the past can make the future seem more manageable. As I get into my car, to drive to a job, which will provide me with the money I need to pay my rent, I can at least smile to myself, looking down at the glittery gold gimp keychain dangling from my key ring, knowing that my younger self continues to live on in some small way. m

H 6

An ode to ‘90s music and all it meant to our generation. By Becky Kerner | Illustrations by Joey Pasko

AHAHA! Ginger Spice’s deep laugh bellowed through the four massive JBL ceiling speakers and the room instantaneously erupted. We’re talking out-of-control excitement – people positioning themselves for dance offs, some impulsively rushing the stage and others locking eyes and arms with friends, letting out shrill screams of excitement. And then it began. “Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really really wanna zigazig ha.” The lyrics, so familiar yet so distant, so energizing yet, Jesus, so repetitive. It felt allbut-too-natural to yell out each syllable in this entanglement of words and sounds, almost like reclaiming something that belonged to them once upon a time. Two hours earlier, Laura Fanciullacci and Hadar Spector threw on their plaid shirts, leggings and scrunchies and left their apartments en route to The Trocadero. After hearing about “This Is How We Do It – The Official ‘90s Party for Philadelphia” via our trusty friend, Facebook, the two thought “Why not?” It was an excuse to break out their mood rings and slap bracelets. Maybe they’d even spot a few dudes in those ever-flattering FUBU or Jenco jeans everyone of “cool status” used to wear. By 10:30 p.m., the two made their big entrance to a techno version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and tossed themselves into a muddle of twenty-somethings; for the next few hours, the group of 100+ music enthusiasts chased waterfalls, lost their religion, jumped around, got jiggy wit it and even smelled sex…and candy.

“It created cohesion among everyone because we were all belting out these songs,” Fanciullacci says. “It didn’t really matter who you were dancing with.”

According to musicologists, the feelings of interconnection experienced at ‘90smusic parties at the Troc and elsewhere are not unusual.

Researchers believe that music-making may have been used to facilitate cooperation within tribes. In this respect, communal music-making advertised one’s willingness to cooperate and ‘to be part of the team’…Therefore, music may have originated as an adaptation for social bonding, a way of synchronizing the mood of many individuals in a larger group, defining a sense of identity and common purpose.

IT’S ENAMORING HOW ONE SONG, even one word in a song, can salvage the most distant of memories. One moment you’re enjoying a Brooklyn from the bar on the balcony and the next you’re violently tossed into a frenzy of thoughts and feelings about another time in your life, maybe better, maybe worse. Really it doesn’t matter because inescapably, you feel that slight twinge in your gut, butterflies but not wholly euphoric, reminding you of a time that no longer is. Events like this wistful ‘90s party don’t seem to be uncommon in Philly. In early December, Center City’s Wok, a Chinese restaurant, hosted an ‘80s versus ‘90s party, while every third Thursday of the month, Old City’s Drinker’s Tavern holds a ‘90s-themed quizzo night. “If you’re at an event and going there for the specific purpose of hearing this stuff you haven’t heard since you were in high school or college, there’s this heightened level of excitement,” explains XPN2 host John Vettese. “And it’s just a really good vibe when you recognize it and lots of other people in the room recognize it as well.” Not that ‘90’s music has gone away, really. In some ways, it’s coming back. “A lot of the Indie artists I listen to now are referencing ‘90s music,” Spector says. “There’s a band called Yuck that I’ve been listening to who are very ‘90s-esque.” The sounds of Yuck, an indie rock band from London, remind Spector of basement/ garage bands from her younger years. “They are pretty raw to me, and they reference the alternative rock sound of the ‘90s like Third Eye Blind or Dinosaur Jr…it’s kind of cool

now to find music that has that appeal,” she says. “I think that’s when the whole nostalgia thing creeps in,” Vettese says. “When people who grew up in an era are old enough to make change down the road and they want to bring things back from when they were younger.” But, admittedly, as the decades continue to roll by, some things irreversibly change. What happened to the days when we ran home from the bus stop only to plop down for our afternoon date with Carson Daly and his Top 10 pop, rock, R&B and hip hop music videos? From STP to Mandy Moore, Rage to Ja Rule, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to Daft Punk and Sublime to Fiona Apple, Carson had it all. And he gave it to us. “There’s maybe one channel now that plays music videos,” says Fanciullacci. “You basically have to go on the Internet to watch a video. But in the ‘90s they were always on so you became more obsessed with bands like the Backstreet Boys because you could see them performing on the TV and they made cool, funny videos.” IT’S HARD TO SAY WHAT ‘90S MUSIC was. It was underground and mainstream, broken and optimistic, vulgar and chaste. It was a vision of love, a sabotage, a man in the box and a genie in a bottle. “With hip hop, pop and even alt rock there was this social consciousness,” Vettese recalls. “There are certain examples of stuff that was just pissed off, especially with ‘90s punk. But broadly speaking, in every genre there was this element of wanting to be able to better the world around us.” Really, ‘90s music can’t be defined. But it defined us, a generation of conformity yet gushing with individuality and inventiveness. m

-Dr. Michael Simmons, adjunct professor of music history, guitar and aural theory at Montgomery County Community College and fine arts department chair at The Woodlynde School






If adults set up play dates on lunch breaks, they’d be a lot happier. By Kelsey Doenges | Photos Courtesy Kristen Freese our peanut butter and jelly sandwich is squashed at the bottom of your briefcase. Thanks to the heavy file folders filled with the work you had to bring home with you last evening, the guts of your lunch are now being smeared all over the plastic bag it lives in. You find enough energy to swing the briefcase onto your desk as you simultaneously plop in the faux leather swivel chair taking up the most space in your tiny cubicle. Your eyes instantly find their way to your computer screen, where they stay for the majority of the day. In an elementary school, not too far away… your six-year-old former self sits at his desk, his feet barely touching the ground but the untied shoelaces of his light up Power Ranger sneakers do, dancing around thanks to his unsteady, anxious legs. Resting his head on his hand, he taps the No. 2 pencil on his cheek, looking at the clock while his teacher rambles in incoherent Charlie Brown chatter. All he can think of is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the brown paper bag at the bottom of his knapsack. He wants it stuck to his insides. As you loosen the grip of your tie and count the minutes until lunchtime, he drags the eraser along the top of his desk, and you both dream of recess. TWENTY STORIES DOWN, THE CONCrete flatlands are busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday Philadelphia life. Traditionally, the city is a monochromatic painting of various shades of gray, but today, Penn Plaza is bursting with color. A collection of huge chalk crayons are scattered around the plaza and people dressed in boring business suits are picking up these tools from their childhood, drawing all over a space that would normally be used as a pathway to get from one destination to the next. “We were trying to give the people a voice. We wanted to create a dialogue between the user and the city,” says Kristen Freese, the lady responsible for this Big Chalkers installation.

with the help of the community. “We wanted to focus on the temporary actions that people do in public spaces,” says Freese. “What we learned by researching public spaces and what makes them good and bad is typically just the people. You really don’t need these permanent staples, as much as you need to have an activity or do something creative.” This project wasn’t the only thing that had adults reminiscing on their good old carefree days. Freese and Ciminello also created the PlayCam, which is essentially like a kite, using a giant balloon with a camera attached to the end. Originally it was meant for research, a mechanism for grassroots mapping that would help them see where communities were gathering. However, there was a revelation from up above. “We had people running down from their offices saying, ‘Oh my God! You’re the balloon people! We’ve been making up stories about who that person was, we’ve been casually watching that balloon all day from our cubicles’.” says Freese. “That just hit a soft spot. We were only thinking of the actual, physical space on the ground, but there’s all this space up between the buildings, where all the people who are working, going through the mundane, monotonous work over and over again, need some sort of stimulation.” YOUR BROWN LEATHER OXFORDS stomp on concrete and his light-up Power Ranger sneakers bounce in the grass. There’s good news for the both of you: recess is now in session. m

Play is good for us; it helps to solve problems, expand our lines of thinking and relax the body.


She, along with Giacomo Ciminello, cofounded Play Philly, an organization whose mission is to re-energize the spaces that connect buildings throughout Philadelphia through creativity with play. One of their projects was this installation outside of Penn Plaza. They had this theory: A child often has trouble communicating their feelings. Happiness, fear, sadness, all come out on paper when a crayon is in hand. So, going along with that idea, they proportionally scaled crayons from a child’s hand to an adult’s. “Because the crayons were a childlike image, and because they were an obscure-sized object, they made adults and kids alike want to speak their mind,” says Freese. “And for the most part, their messages were really positive. I think we only had one penis drawn.” Play Philly is a culmination of several observations Freese had when moving to Philadelphia from the-middle-of-nowhere Missouri. As a grad student at the University of the Arts, she began working with the Mural Arts Program only to realize that the young kids did not have a space to play, to be creative, to be imaginative. Every place they have, they have to share. Then she thought about Philadelphia’s Center City, which is so business-driven and powered by the idea of getting a person from point A to point B. She wanted to push the idea of recreation on these busy, professional men and women, because it is her firm belief that play is good for us; it helps to solve problems, expand our lines of thinking and relax the body. Freese was introduced to numerous wasted spaces throughout the city. She hoped to revitalize these areas


growing up I guess this isn't

aurie Wade is pulling all-nighters studying for exams. She is having movie nights with her friends where movie-watching is paired with taking rounds of shots. She is trying to figure out if there is a house party tonight; it would be cheaper than the bar. It wouldn’t be unusual if tonight involved a late-night diner trip or a 6 a.m. walk to Wawa. Laurie is living the life of an undergraduate student in pharmacy school at Rutgers University. She is 30 years old. Laurie calls herself the expert on stalling adulthood. She’s living at home with her mother in Union, New Jersey while she finishes school – for the second time. While now she is content with pharmacy school, Laurie used to be another degree-holding twentysomething in the throes of a Quarterlife Crisis. The Quarterlife Crisis refers to a period in life that is marked by anxiety, inner questioning, and perhaps financial instability that comes with early adulthood. It is a time when the myriad of opportunities twenty-somethings first saw for themselves in their late teens begins to diminish. Realizations of the incoming stresses of adult life begin to dawn on them and make them question who they are in this world and how are they going to get by. Many times it has to do with receiving the long-sought college degree, then taking that awkward step backward and moving in

with parents. The road to adulthood becomes a longer one than many originally thought, leaving the crisis’ victims confused over their identity and suspended between childhood and adulthood. It’s almost like adolescence all over again. “Twenty-somethings are so used to looking for the next step,” says Liz Esplin, a California life coach for people in their twenties seeking direction. And it makes sense: That’s what you’ve been doing all your life. You went through schooling, graduated high school, possibly started college… These steps have guided you, and now nothing tells you where to go next. And, certainly, everyone you know has asked you about this next step. As soon as you utter the words, “Oh, I’m going to X College and I’m studying Y,” the follow-up question is likely some version of “Super! So what do you want to do after that?” College becomes the black box with the expected outcome of a career, independence, and financial stability. There’s an economic factor involved as well, and it goes a little further than “Sorry folks, there are NO jobs!” Between the years 1960 and 2000 the number of young people enrolled in college more than doubled, as did the amount of career-seeking degree holders. In addition, the digital revolution and economic expansion of the last decades make the labor market a much more complex jungle. Now the creative, galvanizing jobs that attract



The Quarterlife Crisis: Is 20 the new 10? By Dana Ricci | Illustrations by Brie DiGiovine-Florence

It's kind of interesting how you always want to grow up, you always want to be older when you're a kid. Then these new stresses set in and all you really want is to be hanging out in the sandbox again.


young people require years of experience at other jobs and internships. Instead of hopping into a set career, recent grads find themselves moving more or less horizontally between positions, building up their resumes so they can get that satisfying “career” where their talents and passions can be put to work. LAURIE COMPLETED HER FIRST UNdergraduate career after high school at Drew University in New Jersey. She got degrees in both biology and English, hoping to either become a veterinarian or obtain a writingrelated career. “I thought I was being smart by having two plans, but then it turned out that neither one worked out,” she says. After a job at a veterinarian’s office following college, Laurie realized she hated the work. She also found herself unprepared when applying for jobs in the publishing industry, leaving her scrambling for new ideas. She took German in high school; perhaps she’d go to Germany, become fluent and become a translator – anything to avoid falling into a droning, grown-up life. She saw so many of her friends settling and getting stuck in jobs that they hated. Laurie didn’t want it to happen to her. “When you think of adulthood it’s people who go to their job, they hate their job, they go home, they make dinner--it’s living monotonously and I think when I was 25 that’s what I was trying to put off,” she says. Around this time Laurie struggled with a severe migraine problem that required her to go on anti-depressants. The telltale, zombie-like side effects of the drugs left Laurie frustrated; she would stay awake into the wee hours of the morning researching the origins of the side effects. One day a friend joked with her, saying that if she’s that interested in learning about drugs, maybe she should become a pharmacist. Laurie laughed, but it sparked an idea in her. When she initially applied to Rutgers as a senior in high school, she was accepted to the pharmacy school but was completely uninterested. She had merely checked the box on the application. After looking into the different things she could do with a pharmacy degree, at age 27 she found herself applying to a fouryear program. THE WIND WHIPS THROUGH JOE HYer’s short, black hair as he comes up to his first

red light on Route 37, a strip-mall-packed, perfect image of a suburban New-Jersey highway. Joe is seated in a 2010 Mustang convertible. It’s an unseasonably warm January day; he’s chosen to enjoy it with a few sporadic joyrides. If he keeps heading in the direction he’s going, the highway will take him straight to the Atlantic Ocean. But he can’t do that because this car does not belong to him. In fact, it belongs nicely parked with a neon price tag on the windshield in front of a dealership up the road. It belongs with more of its kind, positioned between models at varying price points, for people driving by in their not-so-convertiblelike cars to contemplate. Joe graduated from Emerson College in December 2011 and earned a degree in broadcast journalism. Like a Mid-life Crisis sufferer may consider purchasing a convertible a result of his anguish, Joe describes his usedconvertible cruises as part of his behavior associated with his own Quarterlife Crisis. The second Joe tore open his diploma after receiving it in the mail, he considered himself a grown-up. It was a bit of an anti-climactic welcome into the Adult Club. “I think actually graduating college is the first day of adulthood…I did not expect it to be a cold, hard, slap in the face,” he says. Like many others, 22-year-old Joe had been on a stressful job search in the weeks leading up to his graduation. His parents were unimpressed with his two freelancing jobs – one as a wedding DJ, the other as a reporter for Patch, a community-based news website. He was under pressure from his girlfriend to move from his hometown in New Jersey to Florida, where she would be attending graduate school. Joe was teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown. “It’s kind of interesting how you always want to grow up, you always want to be older when you’re a kid,” Joe says. “Then these new stresses set in and all you really want is to be hanging out in the sandbox again.” After his day of telling the car salesman that his parents are buying him a car for his graduation present (they aren’t) and test-driving slightly-used convertibles (because the fib wouldn’t be believable if he asked to drive new ones), Joe returned home that evening and received a phone call. It was a job offer from a company he had interviewed with earlier in the week. Although he didn’t get the job he initially applied for, Townsquare Me-

cause life has gotten much more complicated,” Hantula says. We no longer live in a society based solely on surviving, reproducing, and keeping your family alive, so we can no longer learn everything we’ll ever need to know by age 14, like we could in the days of our history books. LAURIE FINDS HERSELF, FINALLY, EXcited about what the future may hold. “I think that making adult decisions isn’t

scary if you make the right ones,” she says. After her apprehension about going to veterinarian school, backing out of an engagement with her boyfriend of four years at 23, and then finally discovering that pharmacy was what made her tick, she knows what it means to be worried about decisions. And sure, Laurie wants to settle down and have kids…one day. But after she graduates pharmacy school in May, she wants to try living in new places, like California and maybe Philadelphia, and even wants to spend some time in Spain. She’s not done doing things that you’re “supposed” to do when you’re “young.”

And perhaps she shouldn’t be. When do you become an adult? Is it when you stop refilling your acne prescriptions and start taking fertility drugs? Is it when you stop sleeping on a lone mattress on the floor and start buying those shoes that are more comfortable than stylish? Is it when you finally tear down all of your Sailor Moon posters and start worrying about mortgage payments? Liz Esplin says that the twenty-something years are all about trying new things, sort of like how teenagers are encouraged to join every club and team in high school. Except now we’re not in high school, we don’t have much tying us down, so we can – and many of us will – try almost anything in these years of extended adolescence. So take a stab at a job, volunteer work, teaching abroad, writing novels, playing the harp, developing a start-up company. Now seems to be the time. Putting adulthood on the back burner opens up the opportunity to dabble, which is OK. Esplin also says that this idea many of us have that our lives must be completely figured out at 21 is a huge fallacy. During the twenty-something years we’re supposed to be finding those things that make us happy – that make the days worthwhile – a passion, if you will. No, it doesn’t have to be a career; a career can merely fund it. If you don’t end up loving your career, it really isn’t the end of the world. It’s called “work” for a reason, and these days people go through a crap-ton of jobs anyway. We’re supposed to take time in these years to test out the waters in new settings and see how we do. As hippie-dippie as it sounds, we’re supposed to take these years to “find” ourselves. So for now, if you hold off on growing up for awhile, you’ll likely be OK. You may be better off steering away from living your life as scripted and finding what it is that keeps you wanting to wake up every morning. And if that fails, you can always test drive a few used convertibles. m


dia offered him the position of digital content manager, requiring him to work on the corporate level, out of New York City, creating media content templates for media outlets all over the country. It wasn’t what he imagined he would do with a journalism degree; it was quite off the mark from a reporting job. But to avoid taking his skills to California Pizza Kitchen or Modell’s, he accepted. And in that moment, Joe decided that his days of test-driving convertibles would be forever over. “I know it’s a good opportunity,” he says, “but part of me is like, ugh, I started adulthood a little too soon.” He says that this gave him a bit of a Peter-Pan Complex, causing him to long for the easier days of college life, where a safety net often protects you from making too many big mistakes. As soon as the college days fade into Facebook-tagged memories, adulthood arrives and immature antics end – at least, in Joe’s eyes. But it’s possible that it’s not just Joe who has a bit of a Peter-Pan Complex – it may be society as a whole. The term “extended adolescence” has been thrown around to describe the state of many twenty-somethings who are in limbo between childhood and adulthood. “Age is really a very arbitrary concept,” says Dr. Donald Hantula, an associate professor of psychology at Temple University. With people living much longer than they did decades ago, keeping careers into their 70s and even starting new careers in their 50s, it’s not that strange for twenty-somethings, even thirty-somethings, to seem a bit younger than they may have seemed 50 years ago. With advances in healthcare and jobs no longer requiring much physical labor, why not work into your 80s? “You’re not limited by your age like you used to be,” Hantula says. Without the movement of the older folks from the workforce, young people are having more difficulty breaking in. So they’re pushing milestones back. If “40 is the new 30,” should the twenty-something years follow suit and seem younger – perhaps not the new age ten - but something like it? “We have an extended adolescence be-

iSpy 14

With my grown-up eye. By Caitlin Weigel | Photo by Grace Dickinson

Oh say can you spot the bevy of glorious treasures hidden amongst childhood toys and more grown-up pleasures? Six baby-blocking devices and the instrument you played in third grade, plus seven bottles of liquid courage to blame for the mistakes that you made. One outer space resident and a place to lose your index phalanges, plus the dude who crooned “When a Man Loves a Woman� to make you weak at your knees. Enough money to treat 60 friends to dollar taco night, plus two fire-making devices to help shed some light. One pretty pink weapon and the man who could not tell a lie, and four colored letters spelling out a part of the anatomy of a guy. The Scrabble letters combine forming a word to describe lady bits, how swell! Plus six candy dispensing apparatuses including our favorite hero in a half-shell. We hope this game takes you back to childhood and you play it just because, and maybe along the way you realize how fucking frustrating this always was.


of death and the mounted

hamster 16

Beth Beverly can stop time; all it takes is some glass eyeballs. By Meghan White | Illustrations by Valerie Rubinsky


he hall of the Natural History Museum in London is a step back into the Victorian era, back when science museums were oversized curio cabinets. Where there is an expectation of mustiness and old leather, there is instead the sterile smell of recycled air. Cabinets line the walls of the main hallway, where most people are quickly moving on to the animatronic T-Rex exhibit. The cabinets that hold mounted animals, once great scientific specimens, are now decorative space fillers. The animals look faded and a bit dodgy. And their glass eyes don’t even hint at the life the animals once held. Taxidermy is still being practiced today, of course, with many taxidermists specializing in trophy mounts from hunting rather than scientific specimens for museums. While trophy mounts scream of retro kitsch, interest in taxidermy is on the upswing. There is also an increased interest in pet preservation, a way of ensuring an eternal monument to the pet that really was part of the family. While one of the first rules taxidermists learn is to never, ever mount pets, some taxidermists break this

actually “stuffed” when taxidermied. Instead, the skin is mounted onto a posed mannequin of the animal. Because of this, the entire process becomes time consuming: Each pet’s form must be hand-crafted by the taxidermist. “There’s also the added stress of knowing that your client stared at the face of this creature for many hours, knowing it intimately, whereas a hunter most likely has met their game after dispatching it,” says Beverly. Most of her clients who ask for custom work immediately distinguish themselves from the rest of society as people with a quirky approach to mortality. She considers many who appreciate alternative taxidermy as people with “unconventional mindsets when dealing with death.” When pouring over Beverly’s portfolio, it is apparent what she means. Though she recently vowed to stop mounting small critters such as rodents, there is a picture of Snowball, a custom piece of a hamster sitting upright and flashing a peace sign. The personality of the animal is visible in each one of her mounts, even in death. Beverly often adds her own twist with dreamy and fantastical elements that she imagines the creature to be enjoying in the afterlife. Fellow Philadelphian Jennifer Lea Cohan brought her family’s rat terrier Elke to Beverly. Cohan describes Elke as “the supermodel of the trio of rescue dogs, as she was leggy and pretty and neurotic. Because she was so beautiful, even after dying, I decided that eternal preservation was the perfect denouement. Or, rather, beginning, because she’s taken on a new life.” “When I gave Elke to Beth, I did so with the clear understanding that I was donating Elke

to an artist. Our mutual friend told me that she might end up as a Christmas tree topper,” says Cohan. Beverly ultimately decided to mount Elke with a veil and dripping with jewels. Her hard work paid off, as Elke won Best in Show at 2010’s Carnivorous Nights, a taxidermy competition in New York City, an experience that Cohan said made her feel “as proud as a pageant mom.” Cohan said her son, who was only four when Elke passed, still speaks fondly of Elke, puts her in his drawings, and wants to see her again. However, the rest of her family and friends were more conflicted about Elke being mounted. According to Cohan, they reacted “mostly with humor and acceptance or horror and confusion, depending on the person… but it was also thought provoking for some – like, hey, I want to do that for my companion animal.” When asked about her own pets – two cats and a puppy – Beverly seems unsure about their future, though mounting them is something she has thought about. “I feel a connection with these two cats that runs deeper than any animal relationship I’ve ever had. They have such distinct personalities and exhibit affection to the point of making my stomach flop. I can’t bear to think of the day they leave me, and I know that just burying their corpses won’t feel right. However, the thought of putting them through the mounting process seems too visceral,” says Beverly. “Honestly though, the day I lose any of my babies, I will block out a week of my schedule, take to my bed and commence a proper English mourning.” m

It’s funny – one of the first things I was taught is that one never mounts pets. It’s tacky and only perpetuates the stereotype that us taxidermists are bonkers.


rule. Beth Beverly is one of them. “It’s not often that I do pets, but the interest seems to be gaining traction,” says Beverly. “It's funny – one of the first things I was taught is that one never mounts pets. It's tacky and only perpetuates the stereotype that us taxidermists are bonkers.” A Tyler School of Art alumna, Beverly is an urban taxidermist operating out of her in-home studio in South Philadelphia. She majored in jewelry design and practiced taxidermy as a hobby for almost 10 years before pursuing a formal education at Bill Allen’s School of Taxidermy in 2010. Any notions of all taxidermists being big, burly, bearded mountain men sharply contrast with Beverly. She’s pretty with high cheekbones and is more fashionable than anyone handling anything dead should be. And she is definitely not bearded. Her workspace looks similar to any artist’s studio, with the exception of a few odd solvents, and of course her work. Her mounts range from the more traditional trophy mounts to novelty mounts and even wearable taxidermy, such as hair combs with birds' wings and mink tail bracelets. “My love for animals is the main thrust behind all I do creatively, and it was my disdain for seeing beautiful specimens go to waste in the rubbish bin that motivated me to pursue taxidermy. I stress to my clients that I can, in no way, recreate the life essence of their beloved pet, but what I can do is rise to the occasion and create the most lifelike custom mount that my skills will allow.” One of the main differences between trophy mounting and pet mounting is the lack of ready-made forms for cats and dogs like there are for pheasants and foxes. Contrary to what many believe, animal skins aren’t

& LADDERS CHUTES By Grace Dickinson | Photos by Grace Dickinson

The closer we finally near the top of the ladder to adulthood, it seems the more ready we are to slide right back down the chute. Ready to slip back to the carefree days of our childhood, where walking the dog was always an adventure and playing dress up meant Batman, not business suits. But who says we can't still boomerang through time? The focus of our wants and desires might change, but the concept's still the same.

Audrey Leen


Josh Indenbaum Grace Wazowicz Charlie Cozzolino

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BEAudrey, WHEN YOU GROW UP? 2: A teacher because I grow up. I Grace, 20: Employed. Josh, 22: An account exec at an advertising agency (stable job) or an actor/musician (dream job).

grow up every time. Charlie, 5: I'd love to be a rock star. I'm actually already a rock star.

Grace: Scorpio. Josh: Free.

Audrey: Audrey. Charlie: A Cozzolino!


Grace: Finland. Josh: Barcelona, Spain.

Audrey: Philadelphia. Charlie: The playground.


Grace:Â Health, happiness and an endless supply of Goldfish. Josh: The ability to control time (forward, backward, anything), enough money to never have to think about it and good health for my current and future family.

Charlie: I wish I was Batman. The other one is, I wish my Jumpstart game was really happening. I wish I was king of the woods, so then I had every little animal, even the snakes, and the poisonous ones, like rattlesnakes, everything in the woods. And they would all be nice to me because I am the king of them.





QA &

with Mike Maronna FROM PETE & PETE

Revisiting adventures with our favorite older brother. By Elise Bowder | Illustration by Nicole Doenges WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP ON SET OF A TELEVISION SHOW?

Awesome. I got to learn a lot, meet a lot of cool people, get paid, eat free food, work with talented people, skip school for weeks at a time.


Probably being hung upside down soaking wet like a caught fish in the fishing episode. Or being pelted with golf balls while wearing a bear costume. Those stick out in my mind.


I grew up in the city whereas he is a creature of the suburbs. We are both redheads. I think I speak pretty monotone at times, like the character. Not sure we have the same outlook on life but we are definitely both blends of realist and idealist. I really don’t tend to narrate my own life as much though.




I just appeared along with Danny Tamberelli (Little Pete) on a talk show called “Night of the Living” hosted by Kurt Braunohler that was a lot of fun. I work as an electrician on films and TV, this year I have worked on Pan Am, The Good Wife, Unforgettable, Boardwalk Empire, and I’m about to start a pilot. If I’m not working, I’m sleeping, or riding my bike or playing soccer or eating noodles or watching movies...


I’m still lucky enough to see people I worked with everywhere in the course of doing my job, I feel I just got hooked on the idea of being on a set, and I was always interested in the technical aspects from a young age, and like I said, I pinched my foot in the dolly, so it was only natural I became an electrician.



Mostly adventures on set. On the set of a Robotech (old anime/toys) commercial, I was waiting for my turn to shoot and was sitting on an unused camera dolly which I messed with, bringing it down on my foot. I screamed in the middle of a take, they cut, and one of the grips ran over and freed me from the dolly.


My friend asked him if he brushed his teeth that morning. Apparently he had, but I wasn’t convinced. “Was that before or after you ate the plaque?” I quipped – OK, I may actually just be a horrible person.

The Mean Girl This Halloween parade was more than just a costume crisis. By Christine Fisher | Illustration by Keiran McCann


The problem was that the rest of my “cat” costume was actually just a full-body fur suit. Being as worldly as I was (this was the ‘90s and Animal Planet had only been around for a year), I had seen the suit of black fur and assumed it was a cat. What else could it be? I stepped into the thick, dark fur and pulled it over my red jeans and striped cotton shirt. Transformation! I was a cat! At least that’s how I envisioned it. But without my cat mask, I lost all hope of appearing like anything except a big ol’ ape. “I like your gorilla costume!” a first grader (a first grader!) said as I stood in line for the parade. “I’m a cat!” I barked back. I was furious. Did everyone think I looked like a gorilla!? I stomped my way through the parade like an angry hippo marching between princesses and bags of jelly beans, outraged that a trash bag and some balloons could pass for candy but no one “got” my costume. It didn’t help that even at seven I towered a head above most of my classmates. My height read “imposing gorilla” more than “sweet, cuddly cat.” Any parents or elderly townspeople who attempted to take photos at that year’s parade probably have at least one photo of children in frilly, pink dresses and cowboy costumes being chased by an angry Sasquatch. The saddest part is that I was mean to the boy who called me a gorilla for the rest of our school days. Seriously, even at 13, I was a total bitch to him – the reject-him-at-middleschool-dances kind of bitch. Once, in a line for some gym class game, my friend asked him if he brushed his teeth that morning. Apparently he had, but I wasn’t convinced. “Was that before or after you ate the plaque?” I quipped – OK, I may actually just be a horrible person. Anyway, now I realize this animosity stems from the fact that he innocently complimented what probably actually was a gorilla costume. Fifteen years later, I Facebook-stalked him to see if I could detect any signs of gorillarage induced trauma. His kissing-with-girlfriend profile picture suggests he and his once questionable oral hygiene habits are doing just fine. m


ven before LiLo’s (Lindsay Lohan’s) Mean Girls’ character redefined Halloween for our generation as the one time of year girls can dress as slutty as they want and no other girls can say anything, the holiday has been giving me trouble. I love it in theory, but this joyous holiday meant to spark and showcase creativity and imagination in children – and OK maybe to boost candy and corset sales – has always been a trickster. I have dealt with everything from being unwillingly “dressed up” as a brown paper bag to whacking people in the face with my two-foot, homemade Pippi Longstocking wig that stuck straight out from either side of my head thanks to a little bent coat-hanger reinforcement. Another year I cut a too-small mouth hole in my ghost costume and had to choose between a. not eating any of my candy in route or b. forcing bite-sized Snickers through a tiny slit in a white sheet. I’ll let you guess which I chose but offer a hint: I ended the night a ghost with a brown smear across my face. One year I thought things might turn around. I was seven and inherited a bag of hand-me-down costumes from my cousins. It was full of their old dress up clothes – lederhosen, ‘70s-style, floor-length floral dresses, a leotard, some army fatigues. I automatically knew these were the best costumes ever since my cousins were older and therefore wicked cool, so I was pumped when Halloween finally rolled around. Looking back on it all now, I should have second-guessed the situation given the fact that one of the cousins these costumes came from had famously dressed as an impressively realistic pile of shit a couple of years prior. Anyway, Halloween was BIG that year. I was in second grade and that meant I got to be part of the school’s annual costume parade. There were fewer than 100 kids in my K-8 elementary school, but every year they would round us up and let us march around the town common as a cute photo op for our parents and the school’s elderly neighbors. The day of the parade my mom came to school to help me transform from my normal, everyday kid-wear to the crazy, cool handme-down cat costume I decided to wear. I was kind of shy and definitely a bitch in second grade. So when my mom got there I decided I didn’t want to wear the cat mask, just the rest of the costume.

At the Kids Table I


Parents are supposed to be wise, mature and responsible. Right? Right? By Grace Dickinson | Illustration by Valerie Rubinsky

t’s as if, for one night, we went back in time. As if my dad never had an affair. As if I never grew up and moved out. As if playing Skip-Bo on a Friday night was still my favorite activity. And my parents, my foolproof companions. My mom laid down a green two from her hand in between chews of steamed broccoli. “You should see my hand right now. All I have is twos, twos, twos.” I smiled as I reached for another piece of bread. Playing cards at the dinner table wasn’t a childhood ritual. But playing Skip-Bo certainly was. I couldn’t tell you how many hours as a kid I spent sprawled out on the floor, wrapped up in that goofy card game of chance and numbers. Here I was again, sitting at the table with my parents, waiting for directions to the next part of my life. Here I was again, at the insistence of my mom, passing time and cards around the table. Like the never-ending complaints that come from feeding children broccoli, I could always bank on hearing one from my mom when she was my competitor. Each time she’d toss out a card to end her turn, she’d toss out a complaint too. Normally I found it annoying, but tonight it seemed endearing. I enjoyed how much interest she was taking in the game. “How many cards do I pick up?” my dad

asked through wine-stained teeth, grinning boyishly from cheek to cheek. After all these years, he still didn’t know the rules. Cards were drawn, passed, shuffled. Our attention united, the conversation kept away from a bit of unspoken tension previously looming in the kitchen. There we were. All seated at the table eating dinner, together. For a moment our lives were cohesive, a cold edge dulled slightly by the numbing of red grapes and fireside heat. “Ted, you’re cheating,” my mom yelled to my dad as he went to reach for more cards from the pick-up pile. I cringed upon hearing the sentence. Before finishing his turn, my dad spilled his hand, face-side-up, and reached for his chopsticks, preoccupied with the next bite of sweet potato he’d scoop into his mouth. As always, he acted innocent and clueless. “Ted, it’s still your turn!” My mom’s hair, twisted into two long braids, shifted ever so slightly as she reprimanded my dad for not paying attention. I glanced at my parents and then at the mess of cards scattered between our unfinished plates. It was my first night home in months, and my first night with them together in months and months. As I looked at the situation, all I could do was laugh. Just a bunch of kids living in grown up bodies. We all are. “Ted! Your turn!” m


Don't Act Your Age Should I say something? I asked myself. “We’ve received two calls from this number,” the voice stated. “What is your emergency?” Click. AS I SAT HUDDLED IN THE BACK OF the closet underneath the staircase, I bit my nails nervously. How much trouble am I in? I wondered. Will the police arrest me and haul me off to jail? Ding, dong. The police are here! I panicked even though I was confident that my dad would not be able to find me in such a great hiding spot. But as muffled voices and footsteps grew louder, I wasn’t so sure. I heard my dad’s familiar voice becoming clearer and clearer until the closet door swung open. Light poured into the darkness so I crouched lower behind the boxes of clothes and toys, but it was too late; my dad spotted my platinum blond locks. “Elise, come out of the closet,” my dad said calmly, trying not to startle me. “The officer is here to speak with you.” Slowly, I crawled over the boxes and emerged from the closet. Standing in front of me was a tall, burly man with a red mustache in a black police uniform and a wide-brimmed hat. My eyes immediately drifted to all the gadgets attached to his belt – handcuffs, a radio, a gun. “Let’s take a seat,” he instructed me. Turns out, calling 911 multiple times was not an acceptable experiment, so a police officer was sent to my house to make sure that there was in fact no emergency and to explain to me that 911 should only be dialed when there is one. BY THE AGE OF FIVE, I WAS A FULLblown skeptic and I spent most of my early childhood pretending to be an adult. I wanted

to work, I wanted to pay bills and I wanted to be “independent.” I wanted nothing more than to be a grown-up. I had this fantasy that being an adult equaled freedom. Freedom to drive anywhere you want, freedom to go anywhere without having to get permission, freedom to never eat peas ever again. This was the freedom I so coveted, I longed for. Little did I know, the most free you’ll ever be is as a kid. I played “paperwork” during my elementary years gathering all my so-called “important” documents, which was really just junk mail my dad didn’t want, and sat on the floor next to his big, mahogany desk. I would watch my dad attentively and mimic his actions – filling out forms, scribbling my barely legible signature at the bottom of pages, filing papers into a matching accordion folder he gave me. I even went so far as to create my own personal checks so I could “pay the bills.” My dad showed me what one of his checks looked like, I drew my own and then he took me to the post office to make copies. So by the time I was eight years old, I knew how to write a check. Pretty impressive, I’d say…and slightly embarrassing. Now don’t get me wrong, I did normal kid stuff too. I played freeze tag outside with the neighbor kids, dressed up my American Girl dolls in fancy outfits, built huge houses made of LEGOs, but I still just couldn’t wait to grow up. Yet my skewed, kiddy vision of adulthood only focused on the freedom, not all the responsibility that goes along with being an adult. Now that I’m 21 years old, a little piece of me wishes I could go back in time. Back to the days of running around barefoot outside, watching cheesy shows on the Disney Channel, rotting my teeth with endless Pixie Sticks and Blow Pops…back to when I was truly free to do whatever without a care in the world. m


ello 911, what’s your emergency?” a lady asked gravely. She answered! I thought to myself as I sat downstairs in the living room playing with my Lincoln Logs. “Hello?” she repeated with an air of concern. “Can you hear me?” Of course I can hear you, I thought to myself once again while fiddling with the phone cord. Click. I gently set the phone back down on the receiver. In kindergarten, I recently learned three little digits to call in case of an emergency and was told that the police would show up in minutes. I didn’t buy it. What if it’s 2 a.m.? What if it’s dinner time? No one is going to be there to answer the phone at all times. So like any rational adult, I decided to conduct an experiment. I continued stacking my little wooden logs on top of one another, but I was still suspicious. I dropped the log out of my hand onto the beige carpet and waddled back over to the side table on my knees. As I reached for the phone, I glanced at the staircase. The coast was clear, giving me the go-ahead to press the glowing lime green buttons. Ring, ring. “911, what’s your emergency?” Click. I quickly pressed the disconnect button. Was it the same lady who answered before? I wondered. Regardless, someone answered, which was all that really mattered to me. As I sat, staring at my half-built log cabin, my eyes wandered back to the phone still in my tiny hands. Once more, I reasoned as I began to dial. Ring. “911, what’s your emergency?” the familiar phrase echoed through the static.

She was three going on 30, and when she's 30 she'll be going on three. By Elise Bowder | Illustration by Valerie Rubinsky


CHILDREN'S BOOKS THAT MADE YOU THAT WAY THE FROG AND THE TOAD You like to think you have a diverse friend group, but really you're all just the same with different hair colors.

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE Nothing is ever good enough for you. You just always want more, don't you?

LOVE YOU FOREVER You have mommy issues.

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT You are a downer. And you live in the woods.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE You're a compulsive liar. And you're one of those tools who wears pajamas to class.

GOOD NIGHT MOON You cope with your insomnia by developing extreme OCD.

THE LORAX You are a tree hugger. Most likely to be found wearing Birkenstocks.

HAROLD & THE PURPLE CRAYON You are an artist with alopecia.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS You are a doomsday prophet.


CURIOUS GEORGE You have a lot of tall, jaundiced friends and you're always trashing places.

THE GIVING TREE You let people walk all over you.

ALEXANDRA AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY You are dramatic and your stories go on forever. Stop complaining!

Fourteenth Street March 2012  
Fourteenth Street March 2012  

The March 2012 edition of Fourteenth Street, a magazine created by Temple University journalism students.