'Main Street Boy' recalls life memories of growing up in Annapolis

The Baltimore Sun
Author Ralph Crosby will discuss "Memoirs of a Main Street Boy," 7:30 p.m. March 14 at St. John's College.

Author Ralph Crosby will appear at St. John's College  to discuss his book "Memoirs of a Main Street Boy," about growing up in Annapolis during the 1930s through the 1950s.

The discussion, part of the college's 2017 Maryland History Lecture series, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Francis Scott Key auditorium at the college, 60 College Ave. in Annapolis.

NOTE: Due to the impending weather, the talk Tuesday at St. John’s College has been postponed and will be rescheduled. 

Crosby, who still lives in the state capital, has worked as a journalist, businessman, marketer and writer. He is currently chairman of Crosby Marketing, a local advertising and public relations firm.

"Main Street Boy," published last year by Anaphona Literary Press, is his third book. It describes what it was like to come of age in Annapolis during a time of historic challenges and social change.

In the book's preface, Crosby describes "Memoirs of a Main Street Boy" not as a biography but as a memoir "about growing up in one of the most disruptive yet dynamic eras of our nation's history — from the end of the Great Depression, through World War II to the Cold War — and how that impacted my generation on Main Streets across America."

The book discusses many changes that have occurred in Annapolis. Crosby quotes 19th-century printer and historian Elihu Riley, noting how the capital city, over time, evolved into a community of great "national character."

The book discusses places and events that shaped Crosby's life, including the third-floor apartment where he lived, Main Street stores where he worked, City Dock during an era of a bustling fishing industry and West Street Little Tavern — where a burger could be had for a nickel.

In a recent interview on WNAV radio, Crosby said growing up in Annapolis was a wonderful experience, even during difficult times.

"I slept and played where George Washington made history," he said in the interview. "But at the same time it was changing, from the smelly City Dock to Ego Alley. So that span of years was quite a difference in Annapolis."

The book includes tidbits and discussions of local lore: how Annapolis became the first capital of the United States, why the Revolutionary War officially ended here, how the Naval Academy almost left the city, and how Annapolis today is a "museum without walls."

Tuesday's discussion is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Friends of St. John's College and the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation.

Additional talks scheduled in the series are:

•April 11— "Brothers in Arms: The Revolutionary Service of James and Edmund Brice," about the 250th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the James Brice House. With Glenn Campbell, senior historian with Historic Annapolis.

•May 9 — "Life in a Black Community: Striving for Equal Citizenship in Annapolis, Maryland, 1902-1952," with Hannah Jopling, a professor of sociology at Fordham University.

For more information about the 2017 Maryland History Lecture series at St. John's College, go to sjc.edu/history-lectures or call 410-263-2371.

NOTE: Due to the impending weather, the talk Tuesday night at St. John’s College has been postponed and will be rescheduled. 

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