Chester County Ramblings

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meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy
Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

when gardening, know your mail order grower

Sun, 2017-05-21 19:16


The photo above (and the next photo below this paragraph) were both  taken on a garden tour last spring. I love hostas! I really generally speaking have a hosta disease! I am always looking for interesting cultivars and growers who might have hostas I want to try but never have been able to find locally.


But I learned a valuable lesson recently about knowing your grower. And knowing your grower especially when it comes to mail order plants.

I have been ordering plants from reputable growers up and down the eastern seaboard and as far away as Washington state for years.

I was searching out particular hosta cultivars and decided to check eBay.  Believe it or not I have had wonderful luck with some small plant growers on eBay in the past. For example, I received wonderful woodland ferns from a small nursery outfit in Tennessee.

So there is this grower who is a dually listed on eBay and Amazon. I figured since they were on two sites that generally try to police their sellers I was OK ordering plants. I didn’t stop to pay attention to the reviews. I should have. If I had paid attention to the reviews I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

I ordered the plants and then I waited. And waited. When I received no tracking number to track my package from the seller after over a week I messaged the grower to ask if the plants had shipped and if I could have a tracking number.

I also at that time asked if I was getting bare root or if they were coming in pots. The seller said they always ship bare root.

I am not a novice gardener and I am fine with bare root plants. I figured all would be fine.

Boy was I mistaken.

The plants arrived Saturday. Poorly packaged in a small square box, they arrived mostly dead. I literally had thrown my money away.

For all of the plants I have ordered over the years mail order, never had I received any in such poor condition. And what was described as a “starter” plant (for example) looked like a piece of wilted micro lettuce.

The plants were shipped in dry newspaper in little sandwich baggies with the hosta cultivars scribbled illegibly on the outside of the baggies. There was no ventilation in the little square box and the plants were dried out, wilted, and mostly dead. And so small. I am used to mail order plants but these were puny, so not as described in my humble opinion.

I took a deep breath and contacted the “grower” to see what they would do. I gave them the opportunity to do the right thing. I wanted healthy plants, not a refund. And I was not seeking free plants. I would have been satisfied with an “I am so sorry.” Or even an intelligent conversation in the hopes of achieving an amicable resolution. After all, who likes wasting money?

The response from the “grower” was swift and nasty to be honest.  They accused me of “blackmail” and demanded (not requested) I mail back “their” plants (even though I had paid $70+ for “their” plants.

I will be honest, I was taken aback by the sheer nastiness of their attitude, and I said calmly that I was not going to put myself out MORE money to mail back sub par mostly dead plants.  

I have learned a valuable lesson. And if I had read the reviews posted online I probably would not have purchased a thing from them. If they need my hard earned money so badly, hey they can keep it.

Know your grower. And if you do not, check them out. (And yes, another case made for buying local.)


On a certain level I am disappointed, because people who are true nursery men and women are generally speaking some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Do not be afraid of ordering plants via mail order, just check out the grower ahead of time. Again, lesson learned for me. I broke my rule of checking them out.

Good customer service matters.  


Categories: Pennsylvania

progress?

Thu, 2017-05-18 19:45

Welcome to “Chapel Hill” on Devon Road  in Willistown….otherwise known as what Daylesford Abbey sold off a few years ago.


Categories: Pennsylvania

make a trip to dan dan in devon

Thu, 2017-05-18 19:11


Dan Dan in Devon is open in the old Ella’s Bistro spot behind where Braxton’s is. What a welcome change to the same old same old.

Taiwanese and Sichuan cuisine. And the food is delicious. Clean flavor combinations and very fresh, I will be coming back again!

Service was a little frazzled by the time we left because they just got slammed with diners.

They have a full bar, and the flora and fauna didn’t disappoint. I am thinking White Dog Cafe is missing some of their cougars. But then again if the cougars of the Main Line are migrating already, then you know Dan Dan is a hit!

Everything was delicious. Don’t pass up the signature Dan Dan noodles and the dumplings with Chili oil!

Dan Dan is located at 214 Sugartown Road Wayne, but it’s really Devon. Reservations are a good idea especially Thursday dinner service through the weekend. 484-580-8558


Categories: Pennsylvania

they found anna maciejewska’s car, but where is anna?

Tue, 2017-05-16 19:05

I woke up thinking about a woman I have never ever met and a little boy whom I have also never met but I imagine is so missing his mommy right now.  I woke up thinking about Anna Maciejewska, again.  I thought about her on Mother’s Day too.

I wrote about Anna on May 7th. A few days later (May 10th or 11th) I started hearing what a lot of folks had heard: that they had found her car in a neighboring development – Charlestown Meadows.  (People had reported some sort of police helicopter etc one day last week.)

Yesterday The Daily Local published an article that the police had indeed found her car:
Update: Pennsylvania State Police continue search for missing woman after discovering her car

By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News

POSTED: 05/15/17, 7:11 PM EDT

CHARLESTOWN >> Pennsylvania State Police are continuing to search for a missing woman after finding her car.

State police, Embreeville barracks announced on Monday that they located a dark blue 2011 Audi A4 with the license plate HTF2919 belonging to Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska, 43, of Charlestown. She was last seen leaving her Charlestown Township home on Hedgerow Lane for work around 9:45 a.m. on Monday, April 10. Maciejewska did not show up for work at Voya Financial that Monday or Tuesday, according to state police.

State police found her vehicle at Charlestown Meadows overflow parking lot on May 8. Following the recovery of her car, Embreeville Station requested search dogs and the help of the state police Cadets in Hershey who were bused in to perform a grid search of the woods and neighborhoods surrounding Charlestown Meadows.

“To date we still have not located Anna Maciejewska and continue to investigate the case as a missing person,” state police said in a news release.

(I looked for the press release on the Pennsylvania State Police website but could not find it.)

So if they found her car but not her, that seems truly nefarious does it not? Does anyone think she would take off and leave her precious child behind? I don’t know her, but I don’t believe she would.

I was talking to a friend today who said she hoped this didn’t turn into another Susan Reinert case. Susan was the Upper Merion teacher who lived in Ardmore PA who disappeared in the 1970s.  Her body was found in 1979, but her children, to this day have never been found.  Another friend said they hoped it did not end up like the Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone case, who 12 years later still seemed as if they vanished into thin air.

This saddens me.  For each day that goes by, people seem to wonder if poor Anna Maciejewska is still alive? It has been over a month, so who knows? I hope so, I truly do. Her son deserves his mama.

I have a few female friends who emigrated to the US from Poland. They have been generous in sharing their customs and traditions with me over the years.  They introduced me to Kruschiki (a kind of cookie which I have been given at Christmas and Easter), and one friend every year sends me the oplatek at Christmas (a small unleavened wafer similar to communion if you are Catholic) which is broken at Christmas on Christmas Eve before dinner “Wigilia” – family members break a little piece off and pass it around with good wishes)

I have spoken to one of my Polish friends more than once about this since we all learned of the disappearance of Anna.  She tells me that the Polish community is tight.  Philadelphia, Bucks County, and even Allentown are active communities.  I do not know if she (Anna) was active in any of those communities or not.  My friend says that the Polish community has been buzzing about this, but I don’t really know if Anna was part of it.  It’s a wonderful community with Polish schools for the little ones to learn the culture of their parents, festivals, and so on. I also know that all of my Polish friends are close to family still in Poland.  Two of my friends travel with their children every summer for visits with family.

A Polish newspaper (Polish Daily News)  printed a story on Mother’s day about Anna.

Opublikowano: Niedziela 14 maja 2017

Rodzina i przyjaciele proszą o pomoc w znalezieniu Ani (“Family and friends are asking for help to find Anna”)

Autor: AS Rodzina i przyjaciele poszukują 43-letniej Ani Maciejewskiej z powiatu Chester w Pensylwanii. Ania 10 kwietnia o 9:45 rano wyszła z domu do pracy i od tej pory nie wiadomo co się z nią stało. Na Facebooku powstała podstrona “Finding Anna Maciejewska”, gdzie rodzina i przyjaciele opisują szczegóły dotyczące zaginięcia Polki. Jak czytamy, ostatnią osobą, która ją widziała. Mówi, że wychodziła do pracy “w panice”, śpiesząc się na zebranie do pracy. Współpracownicy, z kolei mówią, że żadnego ważnego spotkania nie było tylko codzienny 15-minutowe spotkanie, który Ania mogła opuścić.

The Finding Anna Maciejewska page on Facebook posted a photo of Anna’s mom

If anyone knows anything, please, please help this family.  They need to find their beloved Anna. They are half a world away, I can’t even imagine the anguish.

Another Polish newspaper Super Express printed a story – a friend of mine provided the English translation from where it was posted:

“Here’s a translation of article from today’s Polish newspaper with more information:

‘Where are you Anna? Search for missing Polish woman from Pennsylvania continues.
Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska (43) from Malvern in Chester County PA was last seen leaving for work on April 10, 2017. She did not return home since…We will disclose new information on this story. Reporters from “Super Express” interviewed Anna’s mother, Janina, who lives in Warsaw, Poland.We would like to remind everyone, based on Associated Press, investigators determined that Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska left her home on Hedgerow Lane on April 10th at about 9:45am. She was in a hurry, however she never made it to work at Voya Financial. Anna Maciejewska did not return home either. She left her house in a navy blue Audi A4, 2011 model with Pennsylvania license plate HTF2919. The last person to see Anna was her husband Allan. He told investigators that she left for work in a “panic” and was rushing to attend a work related meeting. She did not take her cell phone with her.Anna’s co-workers say that no important meeting was held that morning, only a daily 15-minute meeting, which she was able to miss. We determined that her last day at work was March 26 and she was last seen in public in a restaurant having dinner with her husband and 4 year old son on April 2.-Anna together with her son planned a trip to Poland for her father’s 80th birthday, which were on March 30. Three days earlier on March 27th she called us with this information that she will arrive in Poland in four days. On March 28th she sent a text message which said: “Mommy, something came up at work and we will arrive on Thursday, but we will stay the weekend (returning on Monday). Kisses, Anna” and in the evening she called and stated the same. I suggested that we postpone the birthday celebrations until Easter. She said she will discuss this in the evening with her husband, Allan. On Wednesday March 29th we were not in contact with Anna the whole day and only when we sent a text message with a question if she is coming to Poland, she replied with “I’m sorry I cannot come, kisses Anna” – said Janina, Anna’s mother. She added that on March 30th, on her father’s birthday, Anna didn’t call him with birthday wishes but sent a text message. Her father was very disappointed and offended by the fact that she didn’t call. “It’s really not like her” said Janina. Her parents also add that since then none of Anna’s friends or family have spoken to her.Anna allegedly fell ill and send a text message to her work that she will take the week of April 3rd off. On April 10th she never made it in to work and she didn’t return home that evening. Her family from Poland reported her missing on April 10th to the police in Philadelphia PA.On the day she went missing Anna didn’t have her passport with her, but she probably had her wallet. On April 8th Anna’s mother spoke with her husband Allan, who told her to call back in two days. Anna’s friends describe her as very intelligent and likable. She lives in a beautiful house, which she designed herself. She is a valued and well liked co-worker. Anna’s mother, Janina, believes that Anna would never leave her four year old son, whom she loves above all. Anna Maciejewska is from Warsaw Poland and has been living in the United States for 20 years. Trooper Brian Olszewski is investigating Anna’s missing person case. Anna’s sister hired a private detective. Official searches for Anna can be organized if there are leads in regards to her whereabouts. As of now Anna’s friend plans to hang posters within the next few days.Reporters from “Super Express” tried to contact Anna’s husband Allan and Trooper Olszewski for comments, but have not heard back from either party (as of Thursday night). ‘

 

Finally, here is an excerpt of a story posted by Dateline NBC yesterday afternoon for their Missing in America segment:

MISSING IN AMERICA MISSING IN AMERICA MAY 15 2017, 4:10 PM ET

Suspicious Disappearance of Pennsylvania Mother Anna Maciejewska Alarms Family and Friends

Anna Maciejewska was always in touch.

Anna Maciejewska Finding Anna Maciejewska

Originally from Poland, the 43-year-old kept in close contact with her elderly parents who still live overseas.

A respected actuary, she is consistent and communicative at work, according to co-workers.

And as the mother of a four-year-old son, Anna appeared to be a wonderful mother who adored her little boy, family members said.

But Anna mysteriously vanished more than a month ago. And the hazy details surrounding her disappearance have shaken her family and friends.….According to police, Anna was last seen on the morning of April 10, 2017 leaving her family’s home outside Malvern, Pennsylvania…..Anna’s mother traveled to the U.S. shortly after Anna disappeared to help search for her daughter. She and Anna’s nephew Michel stayed with Anna’s husband and son for a week. But they were unable to uncover any significant leads to Anna’s whereabouts.

Anna’s mother had to head back to Poland without any answers about her daughter…..Michal told Dateline the family is concerned because they learned Anna had recently been suffering from depression. “We didn’t know how bad it was, so of course that is alarming to us,” he said.….”She’s a daughter, a mother, a friend,” Michal told Dateline. “We just need someone to help.”

 

She’s a daughter, a mother, a friend. Truer words have never been spoken.  I don’t know her, but this could be any woman any of us might know.  This is a cruel twist of fate we just can’t predict. But this woman, this Anna whom I do not know, deserves better than this. Anna had been living her American dream with a successful career, family, home of her own.  When and why did her American dream become an American nightmare?

One last thing. The page her friends put up on Facebook Finding Anna Maciejewska has put up an event people can attend this coming Thursday May 18.  The organizer says It’s a meeting to organize a search and information.  Here is a screen shot you can see if you are not on Facebook to view the event: 


Categories: Pennsylvania

what suNOco does

Sat, 2017-05-13 20:48

All of these photos were taken today from the Giant parking lot at the Giant on Boot Road in West Chester and up where the senior living community Wellington is (and Hershey’s Mill.)

Sunoco cut down a slew of the trees for their pipeline. Nothing left but jagged stumps. 

Oh and apparently Sunoco is getting sued too?

Recently there was a pipeline forum – follow these links  courtesy of Tom Casey (whom everyone should vote for on primary day in West Goshen) :

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4


Categories: Pennsylvania

why not do write-ins?

Tue, 2017-05-09 22:41

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” — US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

That wonderful quote is from a website I discovered called PA Transparency Project.
They say:

Even if your name does not appear on the ballot, you can still run for office by running a write-in campaign. Voters can write your name in for any office.

So…. next….a reminder as to exactly how Malvern Borough achieved a political coup and greater political freedom a couple of years ago.

They did a below the radar by word-of-mouth old school write in campaign. And they changed the face of who governed them for the better didn’t they?

I have seen a lot of talk all over the place about various people in Chester county municipalities from one end of Chester County to the other talking politics in municipalities large and small and every size in between. 

 A lot of people are truly just NOT satisfied with the candidates being put forward by their political parties.

The simmering political anger that exists in this country from coast to coast, also exists on the most local of levels where in a lot of cases it takes decades at times to enact political change and change the face of who governs you.

May 16 is the primary. Which means Republicans vote for Republican candidates and Democrats vote for Democrat candidates. There is no cross pollination of a “general” election. If you are a member of an “other” political party, you sit the primary out.

The only thing the primary does is establish who the Democrats are going to put forward as a formal candidate and who the Republicans are going to put forward as a formal candidate in the fall.

That being said, if you want to toss out an incumbent whom needs retirement, a write in during a primary is a true opportunity isn’t it?

Pick the candidate YOU want not who your political party says you’re SUPPOSED to want. Or the candidate you are told you are supposed to want.

You all have to be uniform with your candidate’s legal given name an ensure they are from the proper political party in a primary but it’s a great way to get rid of incumbents whom you only see when there’s an election to be run and won, isn’t that true?

Talk to the now borough council members in Malvern who did this a couple years ago. 

It was totally stealth. I think it is one of the more fabulous things I have seen in an election cycle since Lower Merion was able to dump eminent domain for private gain years ago. It’s  a simple formula: if you change the face of who governs you, you break the cycle.

Politics and government needs to belong to the people not to powerbrokers. So why not write ins to dump incumbents?

Carpe Diem- people can do this and it’s done all the time. And an off cycle primary is the ideal opportunity. Level your playing field, just don’t tell your committee people – they will just report back to party bosses won’t they?

Malvern Council president steps down as council picks 3 candidates for January vote
By Linda Stein
lstein@mainlinemedianews.com
Dec 18, 2013

After a stormy meeting two weeks ago, Malvern Council met Tuesday in what began as a much calmer meeting. By the evening’s end, however, councilman Van Sciver would step down as council president….The council chambers were crowded with Malvernites who were concerned about whether the council would seek to appoint a pro-development insider to take the place of Richard Sponenbergh, who resigned just after the election.

That election brought in three write-in candidates –David Bramwell, Todd Lexer and Matt Radano—who ousted three incumbents. The mayor’s office also changed hands….The issue that appeared to drive voters to the polls was the scope and pace of development that was changing a charming small town into a more urban environment.

Read about write-ins that occured in PA last spring by checking out this article on PennLive.

This post is just one opinion- but again- if you have the opportunity to dump the same  old same old , why not try?

Just look what tiny Malvern Borough accomplished, right?


Categories: Pennsylvania

anna maciejewska is still missing

Sun, 2017-05-07 17:06

I was asked by a friend who lives in Charlestown to post about Anna Maciejewska , who is still missing.  

According  to media and local reports she has not been seen since like April 2nd or April 10th (I have seen both dates in media reports and on social media, so I don’t know which one is correct. All I know is she has been missing for weeks at this point.)

I am guessing last person who saw her is her husband because well she is married and has a little boy named Andrew (do I have his name right?) who I think is like 4 or 5.  He must miss his mommy something fierce, so I figured I would put a post up in the hopes like all the media reports that someone somewhere has seen something.

Has anyone seen Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska?  The PA State Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen her. Call 911 or Embreeville barracks at 610-486-6280


Media reports continue to go out and the AP has picked up the story. 

It would be great if a national law and justice show like Nancy Grace could tell her story so please, if you are in the media or know media, pay it forward so Anna’s son  Andrew (?) doesn’t lose his mom.  Anna is Polish and I am also told that family in Poland is frantic.

Anna Maciejewska went missing from the Charlestown section of Malvern.  She was driving a blue Audi A4 she is 43 years old and 5′ 4″ and 150 pounds 
There is a Facebook page up for FINDING Anna Maciejewska.

She’s a mom. She’s not going to leave a little child like that. Please, if you have seen Anna Maciejewska, call the police.


Categories: Pennsylvania

saving history through salvage

Tue, 2017-05-02 20:53

Pattye Benson photo

When you love history and historic preservation, there are things that make your heart beat faster.

Preservation is a balancing act. Not everything can be saved in perpetuity. Such was the case of Fritz Lumber in Berwyn. But now I have learned from my dear friend and Preservation  Wonder Woman, Pattye Benson, that Fritz’s beautiful big old red barn as it is deconstructed, will be going to the restoration of the Jones Log Barn!  

Here is what Pattye wrote:

 

The final phase of the rebuilding of the Jones Log Barn is finally underway! With the generous help of Stacey Holmes Ballard and Eadeh Enterprises, the Trust is now able to complete the Jones Log Barn at Duportail House. Scott Walker of Axe Handle Timber is the contractor for the project. 

 The Barn Saver of Lancaster County is deconstructing the large red barn at Fritz Lumber — the materials from the red barn will help complete the Jones Log Barn. How wonderful that a part of the of the Fritz Lumberyard Development project will also include the rebuilding of the 18th century Jones Log Barn.

For all of those who support historic preservation, we are asking you to ‘like’ the Rebuilding the Jones Log Barn Facebook site and follow the progress of the project. The Living History Center at Duportail will be a win-win for the community!

This is what it is all about: all these different people coming together with true generosity of spirit to save history, salvage history, and pay it forward! Bravo!


Categories: Pennsylvania

happy may day!

Mon, 2017-05-01 12:19

Photo from St. Peter’s May Day celebration early 1970s.

When I was a little girl I went to St.Peter’s School at 4th and Pine in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.  We celebrated May Day as a school.

May Day was something all of the kids looked forward to.  Somewhere I have photos my mother took, but the first photo you see in this post and the last were given to me a few years ago by my childhood and adult friend Anthony. What you see in the photo was some of the dancing we did along with the dancing around the Maypole which weaved beautiful and bright ribbons into a lovely pattern as we went round and round.

May Day was such fun! There was the dancing around the Maypole and the other dancing which included dancing over clay pipes – a very Celtic/Gaelic dance.  

I was never coordinated enough to do any of the fancy or specialized dancing but I loved the magic of the Maypole and all of May Day.  In my minds eye I still have a little flickers of memory of these May Day events. I swear today I can hear echoes of the music and clapping!  I remember as a little girl it was the one time I wanted to have the right dress for May Day celebrations. 

Two photos are from when I went to St. Peter’s but the  other photos are old photos I have found on the Internet so people can see what the celebrations were like.

Caroline Seamans, the Headmistress of St. Peter’s when I was a girl instilled some wonderful traditions. It was a great place to be a child.  It wasn’t perfect, and like any school had issues, but was a pretty cool place.

May Day is known also as International Workers Day and today the news in our area is showing demonstrations of public school teachers in front of City Hall in Philadelphia. But that’s not the history of May Day I remember as a child.

May Day is a traditional spring holiday in many cultures, to this very day. Early May Day celebrations started with ancient Romans who celebrated the Festival of the Roman Goddess of flowers, Flora. Ancient Romans held on April 27. Germanic countires celebrated Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries and in the British Ilses was the Pagan holoday of Beltane, held around on April 30.

As time marched forward, all of these celebrations got folded into May Day celebrations. These May Day celebrations which have had increasingly waning popularity which I find so truly sad given the innocence and beauty wnd fun of May Day used to mean these May dances and Maypole.

There was also once upon a time a lovely tradition of May baskets – little baskets of spring flowers and treats left anonymously with a glad heart for neighbors. England and Ireland still maintains a lot of the May Day traditions from what my research has indicated, and there they crown May Queens as well. In Finland they keep the tradition of Vappu, their May Day street festival and carnivals.

May Day was lovely as a child. We felt so grown up and special dancing around the Maypoles. I am so glad I have those memories.

Here is a link to a video of a celebration in a village in Cornwall – CLICK HERE. And Bryn Mawr College has a big May Day celebration as part of it’s traditions – CLICK HERE. At Bryn Mawr College they also have Morris Men who dance.

Anyway, happy May Day and rabbit rabbit.

Maypole St. Peter’s School Philadelphia – early 1970s


Categories: Pennsylvania

chester county history seen through…postcards

Mon, 2017-05-01 09:15

I was hunting for a Chester County book on eBay recently and came across by accident some really cool old postcards about Chester County.

No, I did not buy any, these are just screen shots. But these little postcards are like snapshots of our county’s history! I think it’s pretty cool so I decided to post some of them. Long before a text message and selfies on social media, we had post cards.

I have a couple of friends who actually send postcards to friends and family still today when they travel. They are as still as fun to receive today as when I was a child.

Postcards and handwritten letters are almost obsolete in today’s world. I think that is a shame indeed.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at these old postcards!



Categories: Pennsylvania

prom season means prom reminders

Wed, 2017-04-26 17:59

Victoria Pan, a senior at Downingtown East High School, earned the grand prize in the Positive Prom Message contest. This is her image as published on Facebook. See https://www.facebook.com/chestercountyAVOID/  https://www.facebook.com/DowningtownAreaCTC

It’s prom season. And well, prom is a lot different then the “good old days”. This beautiful illustration was the Positive Prom Message winner and Miss Victoria Pan at Downingtown East is the artist.  I hope Victoria doesn’t mind me featuring her art in this post – it is a beautifully executed and powerful piece of art that demonstrates maturity beyond her high school years.  Plus I just like it.

A lot of these proms are not close to home.  They can be at venues quite far away.   Lots of schools have parent group sponsored after prom activities,  instead of after parties of glory days gone by.

No matter how time has passed, it is still a terrific night to be a teenager and a nail biter of an evening to be a parent.

You want your kids to have fun. But you want them home in one piece. Proms need ground rules.

Who is driving to the prom? Who is picking up from prom? When do they come home?

What is the distance between the prom venue and the after prom event and to the various domiciles of kids? How long are these after prom events that schools and parents sponsor? I know of one that runs from 11 pm to 5 am. So, if a kid has a Cinderella license in PA and drives to prom, how are they supposed to drive legally to one of these post prom events? If parents are doing the chauffeuring, when do they get to sleep that night of prom?

When did prom get so complicated?  Or was it always this complicated but when we were teenagers we just did not pay attention to other than who we were going with, who we were sitting with at a table at prom and what dress were we wearing?

Yes, my junior prom way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth….

I do remember the whole dress shopping of it all.   We didn’t show a lot of skin back then, and the heels? Well our mothers made sure we could walk in them if we wanted to wear them. And there was a lot of “no” when it came to dress choices and parental eye rolling that we even suggested wearing a dress that made us look like hoochie koochie mamas.

Today if my friends and I were teenagers and we wore what we were allowed to wear back then, we would have looked like we were sporting Morman “modest ” clothing.

I also remember my mother and her friends rotated dresses between them – so if we were going to more than one prom it was like the mom version of “rent the runway.”  We borrowed someone else’s dress so we had no prompeat dresses from school to school. Who knew it wasn’t a new dress? (we’d never tell!)

Now prom is a big business and well half the guys don’t wear tuxedos anymore.  And what is with this trend that the guy’s tie and/or cummerbund matches the girl’s dress color? Is this like prom Garanimals? Sorry it is a trend I think is dumb.  It’s like yo Barbie, Ken will match you. And a great deal of the girls’ gowns do indeed look like Barbie inspired clothing, which I do not know is a good thing. It just is.

Girls are doing wedding caliber hair and make-up and nails.  How much does prom even cost today?

And then there is the whole promposal thing.  You can’t just ask someone to prom. It has to be this whole production.  Prom bombing a kid’s car to ask them to prom is one way to do it.

I saw this in 2011 and snapped a photo

These promposals have gotten competitive…and expensive.  At Bucks County’s Pennsbury High School they have been banned during school hours.

And wow, these promposals whether you are male or female seem like big pressure to me.  And what happens if someone turns your promposal down? Then what?

But once we get past the where the proms are, where the after parties and events are, and who is wearing what and who is going with whom, it boils down to kids being safe.

State Representative Duane Milne sent around a sober reminder today via e-mail.  I close with that because well, have fun kids but stay safe.  And take pity on your dear “old” parents who now understand why our parents were glad prom season came but once a year for a brief window of time!

 

 


Categories: Pennsylvania

#freethepress washington d.c.

Wed, 2017-04-26 15:20

A friend of mine forwarded an email with the following message:

 

Friend,

Exciting news! Tomorrow is the day!

You’ve been with us since the beginning in fighting to protect the rights of a free press in the face of an administration that’s called the press “the enemy” and is bent on labelling journalists “fake news.”

Thursday, join Free The Press and The Factinista for the First Independent White House Press Briefing as a nonpartisan media coalition highlights the unprecedented anti-media climate journalists face today.

Stand in solidarity in defense of a free and transparent press corps.

We will hear from a diverse group of speakers, including Jenni Monet and Nomiki Konst.


Date: Thursday, April 27

Time: 12:30 PM

Location: Lafayette Square Park: Pennsylvania Ave NW & 16th Street NW, directly across from the White House
Thank you! (And, if you’d like to contribute to help produce this event, click here.)

– Nomiki and the #FreethePress Team

 

I know nothing about this group or the event, but a truly free press is a hallmark of the independence that this great country was founded upon. Patriotism takes many forms.

 

Here is their website: https://www.freethepress.net/home


Categories: Pennsylvania

cheer on face of america cyclists on their stop at east whiteland fire company saturday, april 29 at 7:45 a.m.

Mon, 2017-04-24 16:07

When it comes to our first responders and our military, we can put our political differences aside in this country and simply be patriots one and all.  On Saturday, April 29th, 2017 there is that opportunity at East Whiteland Fire Company (205 Conestoga Rd, Malvern, PA 19355)

I am asking you if you have the time to kindly turn out to cheer on the cyclists who are part of the Face of America Ride which has two different branches that meet at historic Gettysburg PA.

Since 1987, this Holbrook, New York-based non-profit  World Team Sports has created and directed dozens of inclusive outdoor sporting events for adaptive and able-bodied athletes. From coast to coast and around the world, our organization’s cross-country bicycle rides, challenging team competitions, high mountain climbs, water sports challenges and events for athletes of all ages have changed lives through sports.

Our Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride is their most popular event, with hundreds of riders annually. Since 2010, it has been one of the largest non-competitive charitable rides in the mid-Atlantic region.

Adaptive military veterans, along with currently active military and retired military from all service branches, will join first responders and civilian athletes for Face of America. Participating athletes can select between two distinctive routes ending in Gettysburg. This year for the very first time, here in Chester County, East Whiteland Fire Company is a pit stop for these wonderful men and women.

Yes, it’s true, East Whiteland Fire Company is for the first time a comfort station host for this national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ two-day Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride to historic Gettysburg . Not only is it cool that they are participating in this way,  it’s a real honor!

Please come out to this very special event and show your support for the riders by waving American flags (provided) as they come off the trail and ride into the East Whiteland Fire company!

This may be one of the most inspiring sporting events you’ll ever experience. The route, which culminates in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was developed to remember the exceptional sacrifices that First Respondors and Veterens and have made throughout our history in protecting our communities and our nation.

For more information please email  Ms. Debbie Abel at abeldeb88@gmail.com or click on
http://worldteamsports.org/face-of-america-gettysburg-2017-1/ .

It is also important to note that I was told East Whiteland Fire Company’s own Mike Matkovic has been a part of this race.

Look, these men and women are the living embodiment of service above self, so as a way to say “thank you for your service”  please turn out on Saturday, April 29th from 7:45 AM to 9 AM  and cheer on these riders and show your support for them and the fire company as they come off the trail and ride into the East Whiteland Fire company!

I had never heard of this organization until Debbie Abel sent me the website link.  I went to the web page and I watched this short little YouTube video:

I had tears running down my face within moments. These folks, our military and first responders are the real deal. These are our American Heroes.

Come cheer them on!

Face of America Ride 2017

Saturday, April 29th 7:45 AM – 9 AM (please arrive at 7:45 as per event page)

East Whiteland Fire Company 205 Conestoga Rd, Malvern, PA 19355

 


Categories: Pennsylvania

demolishing part of memory lane on the main line

Sun, 2017-04-23 12:07

Sometimes in those moments between waking and sleeping, memories of childhood come floating back.  This morning I awoke to memories of a pink stucco house with blueberry bushes beyond the pool, a pool where my little sister first learned to swim. The house was located at 134 Cheswold Lane in Haverford.

So, no this is not a post about Chester County. This post is about memories.

In the early 1970s, my parents were starting to think about moving from Society Hill to the Main Line. Somehow they were connected to lovely people named John and Jean Markel and they agreed to house sit for the entire summer. My sister and I were fairly little, and this was a strange idea for us because summer usually meant the beach, but this house was magical with a secret pool tucked into the back and lovely gardens to explore. Immediately adjacent to The Merion Cricket Club we could hear every day the pop pop sound of tennis balls when they hit the racquets-  and an added bonus when the tennis balls sailed over the pink stucco garden walls for us to collect.

I think the summer of ’73 because I remember it was the summer they tore down the Haverford Hotel and Mrs. Sharpe’s carriage house doors with the large heavy metal (iron?)  lion heads with rings in their mouths jutted out to the sidewalk on Haverford Station Road. I have distinct memories of walking along Haverford Station Road with my father and how large the lions heads and rings seemed, and the carriage house doors imposing.  I also remember before they demolished the Haverford Hotel they sold a lot of things off, like furniture and fixtures. At one point, the sweeping lawns of this old hotel had rows upon rows of mattresses lined up in the summer sun like corpses.

I have looked and looked for photos of the old hotel, and the only one I can find is from an old edition of the Main Line Times:

ML History: Recapping the summer of ’73 archives By Kathy O’Loughlin Aug 11, 2010

 

I also found reference to the hotel and Mrs. Sharpe on the Lower Merion Historical Society website:

Catherine H. Dixon Sharpe bequeathed her home and a 2 1/2-acre property at Montgomery Avenue and Haverford Station Road to the township for a bird sanctuary. In 1978 her house was razed, and fencing and trails for walking through the wooded area were added…..A Haverford landmark for sixty years was the Haverford Hotel, built of brick in 1913 at the corner of Grays Lane and Montgomery Avenue. Its stately white columns supported the roof over a wide and gracious porch entrance. Fifty rooms were decorated with Chippendale desks, Chinese screen paintings, mahogany china cabinets, brass sconces, and sparkling chandeliers. Many wedding receptions, including that of President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, balls, other parties, and meetings were held there, but in 1973 the hotel was demolished, and Gray’s Lane House, an apartment condominium designed by Vincent Kling, now occupies the site.

It was a lovely summer. My school friend Paula’s aunt I think it was, lived close by so I would see her and I remember visiting other people my parents knew on Elbow Lane, and other nearby roads and lanes in Haverford and Bryn Mawr.

My father’s job was in the city, so I remember a lot of the time he stayed in our house in Society Hill during the week, and took the Paoli Local to Haverford Station on the weekends.

The Markels house was a magical house, and there are details I remember to this day inside. A lovely wood paneled library with floor to ceiling books, a piano, a Butler’s Pantry loaded with the most beautiful and feminine sets of china and flatware.  I think it was that summer I fell in love with English and French porcelain. 

There were stools in the kitchen which was large and sunny. I remember watching television sitting on a stool – there was a tiny black and white television on one of the expansive kitchen counters.

Outside were what were to me at the time the best secret gardens ever. The gardens were so beautiful and there was also a  lovely pool. I remember the Markels had inside and outside staff who would come take care of things during the week.

Ironically this was the summer I also remember seeing Loch Aerie for the first time because I remember my parents exploring way past the borders of the Main Line.  I remember driving out Lancaster Avenue into Chester County for movies and antique stores.  I remember that there were also drive in movie theaters in Chester County at that time, but I digress.

The Markels house was old school Main Line beauty. The house was large and gracious, but just beautiful and subtle inside. It was also a very livable house.  I think it was because of this summer that a few years later my parents eventually settled in Haverford after a year in Gladwyne.

According to Montgomery County public property records, the people whom eventually bought this lovely house from the Markels sold it to Merion Cricket Club more than a few years ago for a little over $1.5 million:


Unless you lived back on those streets, you really weren’t paying attention to who was selling and who was buying.  I remember before I left the Main Line talks of Merion Cricket Club amassing neighboring properties so they could expand.  I just didn’t pay much attention to it. I was never a member, only ever a guest.

Recently, someone sent me a Zoning notice from Lower Merion Township:

Wow, so now we know why Merion was buying all the properties over the past years, right? They want to become a land locked Main Line Country Club? Forget that the history of the club, and the traditions of the club do not lend themselves to this, that there already are swim clubs and country clubs on the Main Line.  

But given the nouveau Main Line, I completely expect all of these lovely houses Merion Cricket has amassed in these still lovely neighborhoods will fall to the wrecking ball with hardly a whimper.

These are beautiful homes. They are also part of an increasing history of the Main Line no one cares about, or they find it is acceptable to just sacrifice these established and lovely neighborhoods.  This is a change that will impact this area.  For those of us with childhood memories it is sad and / or bittersweet.  I am guessing my own personal memories of a magical childhood summer have surfaced because of this news.

Here is a recent article on the topic:

LM Zoning: Merion Cricket Club seeks demo of club-owned historic homes Viability of club’s future addressed in plan
By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Apr 21, 2017 Updated Apr 21, 2017

Citing the need to attract additional members, officials from the Merion Cricket Club are seeking Lower Merion Township zoning approval of a plan to demolish seven historic homes in Haverford, including those built by famed architect Walter Durham, and repurpose others.

“The club has seen its membership levels drop over a significant period. In order to address the long-term, continued viability of the club, the club has, over the years, acquired the adjoining parcels and has embarked on a master planning process to develop a vision for proposed improvements to the club’s facilities. By providing for improved facilities, the club’s objective is to allow the club to stabilize membership levels, and thereafter return to and sustain its previous membership levels,” according to the application submitted to the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board…..The Cricket Club has owned many of the properties for more than a decade and under the plans will demolish houses on Elbow Lane near Cheswold Lane and ones near Grays Lane to the rear of its historic property. Four homes in the center of the Elbow Lane to the rear of the club will be retained and repurposed for other uses.

The Lower Merion Conservancy placed the Durham homes that date back to the early and mid-1900s on its Historic Preservation Watch List last year due to concerns that they would be demolished.


Sometimes things done in the name of “progress” are painful. But I no longer live there, so I write about this as an observer memorializing memories of a summer long ago.

Enjoy the lovely day.


Categories: Pennsylvania

where the wild things are

Fri, 2017-04-21 20:55

Chester County Coyote. Reader submitted photo. April 21, 2017


Categories: Pennsylvania

spring

Thu, 2017-04-20 14:28


Categories: Pennsylvania

vintage gardening books

Wed, 2017-04-19 15:00

Like the late Suzy Bales, another garden writer Chester County native garden writer David Culp inspires. 

Suzy Bales inspired me to truly make my current garden one of four seasons and to plant gardens around our home on all four sides. (I still consider it a work in progress, but it’s getting there.) The books she wrote titled Down to Earth Gardener and The Garden in Winter have truly guided me in my current garden to that end.  They are lovely books that you can find quite reasonably priced new and used on Amazon.com.  Mrs. Bales sadly passed away a year ago this time, but you can still benefit from her knowledge through her books.

David Culp is the author of The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage.  You can also find his book easily on Amazon.com. He is the one that made me see the beauty of layering your garden.  It is something that I have always sort of fidfled with, but his book took it to a whole new level.  

I love my gardening books as much as my cookbooks.

I have been collecting vintage gardening books since I was about 19. They are well loved and well used and much like my cookbooks, I do not lend them out. I totally encourage people to look for vintage gardening books, much like vintage cookbooks they often contain basic, time honored traditions that can get lost in translation in the Internet age.

Long before there was the Internet, Facebook, or Pinterest you relied on your own research. You poured through gardening books, you went on garden tours, you belonged to a local gardening club.

I have always been a rabid gardener, and I love to learn about gardens.  I discovered years ago quite by accident but every time you went to a garage sale or a rummage sale or thrift shop a lot of the books that people got rid of were gardening books and cookbooks.  And many of both kinds of books were as pretty to look at as they were practical for the information contained within them.

To an extent while I am a modern woman I am also an old fashioned woman. I love what people used to call the “home arts” – or making your house a home , creating your garden, decorating your home yourself, and cooking.

Some of the gardening books I have are quite old. And a lot of the ones I have are books of actual gardens, a lot of which no longer exist due to development and progress. Families die off, properties are sold.  It is a sad fact of life. Not every person moving into a house wants to garden. And sometimes depending on where something is located, the property and the gardens don’t survive. Often whomever acquires the property will give people permission to take plants, or buy them from them.

That’s how I ended up with really old hellebores years ago.  

There were a pair of old Victorian houses near the Rosemont, PA train station which had been run down apartments for years and years and finally when they were totally decrepit they were sold to a developer. I contacted the developer before they razed the houses for their condominium project.  For years in spite of watching these two once very cool Victorians deteriorate, I was fascinated by these lovely hellebores that I have never seen anyplace else to this day.  The developer let me take a bucketful of the hellebores. And although the gardens were quite overgrown by this point there were still some remnants of the design left and that was also valuable to check out and commit to my memory for future gardens.

I still look at the photos of these gardens in my books, captured and frozen in time, and the majority of the photos are black and white. They also inspire me.  The gardens of yesterday that only live in photos inside an old book.

These gardens that live only in photos of old books can so spark the imagination if you let them. They are to me as valuable as some people find the photos of gardens on Pinterest today.

Gardening is truly an art form. And how your garden looks is entirely personal. You literally get out of your garden what you put into it and as long as your garden make you happy that is what is important.

Look for garden books you like new and old and let them inspire you in your garden.  Good sources for gardening books, and even cookbooks are (again) locally at a garage or rummage sale, at a resale shop or used bookstore. If you want to go online, check out both Amazon and eBay.  Locally, I have also found many fabulous gardening books at Jenkins Arboretum.

I also love book swaps – if you are finished with the book swap it to a friend for another book.  A gardening book swap is also a great excuse for gardeners to get together!

Happy gardening!


Categories: Pennsylvania

the “art” of gardening

Sun, 2017-04-16 10:01

I have a gardening group that’s growing by leaps and bounds. Which makes me happy because I love to garden, and love looking at the gardens of others, and talking about gardens. 

I do not pretend to know everything. I am constantly learning. I think gardening is good for the soul and head in part because if you garden, you are always learning.

I have beds on all four sides of our house. The philosophy is simple: I want flowers everywhere. I am going for four seasons of interest and the late Suzy Bales (who was amazing gardener and garden writer who sadly passed away last spring) inspired me to that. She is not the only gardener or garden writer who has inspired me over te years, but she will always be one of my favorites because what she wrote about speaks to me still.

My current garden is pieces of every garden I have ever had, combined with elements I have admired in other gardens. I draw a lot of inspiration from English and Irish cottage gardens, truthfully.

With a few exceptions I have planted it all myself. Except for things I physically can’t do, I maintain my garden myself. Gardening makes me happy.

You get out of your garden what you put into it. A good garden is the result of trial and error, and what defines a good garden is simple: it makes YOU happy.

For me personally, given the knee injury I have been dealing with for several weeks at this point, this will be the year that tests my garden. But the up shot is I have done basically the majority of the planting, so maintenance will be the key. And hopefully I can find help for that until I am healed.

When you are putting your own garden together, it’s kind of like decorating your house – you draw inspiration from lots of places. Make a garden inspiration board on Pinterest- Pinterest is loaded with gardening stuff! I actually love using Pinterest for garden related things – it is so easy to create a virtual cork board of ideas.

In part that is why I created a gardening group and write about gardening is I believe gardeners inspire each other. And somewhere along the way when you least expect it, you develop your own gardening style.

My gardening style includes garden elements – bird baths, a stone path to dress up a hard to make look pretty area, seating areas, and so on. I also love the idea of creating “nooks”.

I love color and texture and how plants “fit” together. I love that you can plant almost anything in a pot, so it is not just about the garden beds. I love the smells and sounds of the garden and how nature rewards you when you plant.

Gardening is art, and trust me everyone has it in them to create their own artistic oasis. 

Happy gardening.


Categories: Pennsylvania

things that really matter

Sat, 2017-04-15 14:11

MBM photo/screenshot

Is this about Chester County? No, although we have our share of homeless too.

This is about the true goodness in human beings that exists in spite of mankind today.

Daily News Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky: Havertown homeless man gets a house for Easter

A chance conversation between two strangers brings a homeless man off the street

Updated: APRIL 15, 2017 — 9:00 AM EDT

Jonathan Sweet knows that Jesus loves him. But until he met Michelle McHugh, he wasn’t sure anyone else did.
“I had almost given up on humanity,” says Sweet, 52, a single, childless Havertown native who was homeless for seven years until a chance meeting with McHugh changed his fortunes. “Not every homeless person is a criminal or an addict. But people treat you like you’re a second-class citizen. It gets you down.”….Last December, he and McHugh were chatting at the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby. McHugh, who lives in Havertown, was waiting for a train to Philly, where she works as associate director of Drexel University’s television management program….Christmas was approaching. McHugh asked Sweet where he’d spend the day.
 “Over there,” he answered, pointing to a forested area within walking distance of the neighborhood where McHugh lives with her husband, Jim, and their preschool son, Nolan.
“I was shocked,” says McHugh, 43. “While my family was warm inside a nice house, Jon was living in the woods behind us. It was heart-wrenching.”…..On Holy Thursday, Sweet moved into his new home, which is fully furnished thanks to donations and the enthusiastic services of Havertown interior designer Liz MacDonald (who even managed to find a sofa in purple, Jon’s favorite color).

This is but a brief excerpt of the article.  The article is so truly beautiful and moving that I hope everyone who reads this post, will read this article.

I remember when Michelle McHugh started the GoFundMe page to help.

You see, I am lucky enough to call Michelle McHugh a friend. 

Michelle and I met many years ago through our dear mutual friend Sherry Tillman.  Sherry, the proprietoress of Ardmore, PA’s Past*Present*Future is also the founder of First Friday Main Line.

We were planning a non-profit special event to benefit First Friday Main Line called “Foodapalooza” and Sherry tossed Michelle and I and our cameras together one Saturday to photograph chefs and local restaurants. Michelle and I had been introduced, but this was what really brought us together as friends. That and Sherry’s uncanny ability to share her friends and bring more people together.  This was in 2009.

I still love the photos I took that afternoon as I felt they were inspired by the company.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Michelle (who lives with MS) was one of my cheerleaders. Her positivity was contagious and she was one of my friends who buoyed me through quite the life challenge.  She always just checked in. Totally casual, no big deal, how are you doing, you’ve got this.

In 2012 when she and her husband welcomed their miracle baby, I was one of the ones who could cheer her on.  She is an example of unwavering faith and goodness. 

So am I surprised that my friend Michelle took on this project? No, although project is the wrong word because her efforts are so indicative of her heart and soul.

 Michelle is a kind and loving and humble person and she deserves the accolades and a beautiful article by Ronnie Polaneczky.

In the world we live in, it’s easy to tear people down. What’s hard and shouldn’t be, is paying it forward just because it’s the right thing to do.

On the holy weekend that is Easter is the perfect time to hear the story of  Jon Sweet and his friend, who is also my friend, Michelle McHugh.

Sometimes it is hard to believe in the goodness of others, but this is such a reminder of why we just have to believe.  It is also a reminder that it’s the right thing to pay it forward, and that doing good and doing the right thing has rewards more precious than money.

This is also a story of love and friendship and the many forms they both take.

I am so very proud of my friend Michelle.

Happy Easter


Categories: Pennsylvania