My Own Four Walls

A Philadelphia Newspaper Columnist as Homesteader Between the Wars


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About the Book

Don Rose came to the U.S. from England in 1908, when he was 18, entering through Ellis Island like countless other immigrants. By 1941 he was one of Philadelphia’s best-known newspaper columnists. That year he published his gentle, funny memoir My Own Four Walls, the story of the ramshackle farmhouse he and Marjorie, his wife, bought in 1918 for themselves and their 12 children. One of his grandsons, Neil Genzlinger, himself a journalist at the New York Times, here brings that book back to life, with the original illustrations, a century after his grandfather had signed the deed. Part diary, part DIY manual, Rose’s unsung classic is a tale of smoky fireplaces, leaky ceilings and unruly gardens, at a time when refrigerators were newfangled and suburban homes were furnished at country auctions. Most of all it is a story of how one man, with persistence, slowly put down roots in his adopted country.

About the Author(s)

Don Rose was a leading American newspaper columnist in the middle of the last century, first for Philadelphia Ledger and then for The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. His daily column “Stuff and Nonsense” took a lighthearted look at a wide range of topics.

Neil Genzlinger has been a writer and editor at The Central Maine Morning Sentinel, The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Plainsboro, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Don Rose

Edited by Neil Genzlinger

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 183
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7593-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3457-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface by Neil Genzlinger 1
My Own Four Walls by Don Rose 7
I. Of the Landed Gentry 9
II. Where’s the Fire? 15
III. O Rare Ben Yerkes! 22
IV. In the Pennypack Valley 29
V. On Armistice Day, 1918 36
VI. Be the Same More or Less 42
VII. Stretching a Shoestring 49
VIII. My House Is Haunted 57
IX. Hands Are for Handicrafts 64
X. Curing the Smoking Habit 71
XI. Cobwebs on the Classics 78
XII. What Am I Bid? 85
XIII. Why Wives Leave Home 92
XIV. Handy Man Around the House 99
XV. Bricks Are So Plentiful 107
XVI. Are You a Mason? 115
XVII. Laid on with a Trowel 123
XVIII. A Garden of Good Intentions 129
XIX. The Care and Feeding of Carrots 137
XX. The Gentleman Farmer 144
XXI. Confessions of a Fundamentalist 151
XXII. I Shall Miss My Debts 159
XXIII. Est Mihi Rus Minimum 168
Index 175