Sunday, September 14, 2014

POCOPSON: Preliminary progress report

This past Sunday we took a little detour -- not the approved one -- and explored the construction site at Route 52, Wawaset Road and Unionville-Lenape Road, where a traffic roundabout is being installed.
Frankly, it didn't look like much progress had been made, given the length of time the road has been shut down. The road surface had been removed for quite a distance, and what used to be pavement was dirt and stone. A lot of earth had been shifted around to level the area, leaving mini-Grand Canyon walls of dirt topped by utility poles. I did notice that some piping and drains had been installed.

[CAPTION: construction site of Pocopson roundabout]

[CAPTION: Route 52, looking south from Wawaset Road intersection]

I tried to get artsy and knelt down to take a photo through a metal pipe, hoping to caption it "a light at the end of the tunnel." Alas, at the end of the tunnel there was only a porta-potty.

PARKERSVILLE: New life for an old meetinghouse

Parkersville Friends Meeting House held its annual open house this past Sunday afternoon. There were representatives of three generations of Parkers, plus Elinor Thomforde, Louise Price, Mary Sproat, Karen Halstead, Dale Frens, Shirley Annand, Ellen Endslow, Director of Collections/Curator of the Chester County Historical Society, and maybe a dozen more. After an hour of silent worship we adjourned to the porch of the beautifully maintained meetinghouse, built in 1830, and enjoyed homemade chocolate-chip cookies and lemonade. We also admired the meeting's well-tended burial ground and the new National Register of Historic Places plaque.
The meeting, tucked away in a grove off Parkersville Road south of Route 926, is open for worship every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. after having been shuttered for many years. One of the senior Parkers told me he would love to see better attendance.

[CAPTION: Parkersville Friends Meeting House]

[CAPTION: National Register Plaque at Parkersville Meeting]

I learned that the house just across from the meetinghouse used to be the Parkerville schoolhouse. The new owners have done a splendid, and doubtless expensive, job renovating it up.

THE SEASONS: Autumn is upon us

Fall is upon us for sure after one of the most clement summers I can recall. The hummingbirds have abruptly headed south. I've harvested the pumpkins and the potatoes, and almost all the giant sunflowers have been blown over. Walnuts are starting to bang down on the roof, and I saw the first squished Osage orange fruit on the road the other day. Oddly, the gladioli are still in bloom; usually they flower at the beginning of August.
And of course school is back in session. When asked how things were going at Patton Middle School, the Young Relative produced only a monosyllabic response, but at least the monosyllable was "good." He was much more voluble about another autumnal ritual: his three Fantasy Football teams.

LONGWOOD: Final fireworks display of the summer

The final Longwood fireworks display of the summer took place on Saturday night, accompanied by the music of the Beatles. (I asked the Young Relative if he had heard of the Beatles. I received a withering look, and he asked with heavy sarcasm if I had heard of Martin Luther King. Fair enough!)
The pyrotechnics were tremendous, especially the ones that accompanied "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" (the grand finale). (In case you were wondering: yes, they played "Here Comes the Sun" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.)
The red and green fireworks that lingered in the sky, slowly floating to the south, impressed even the mechanical engineer in our midst. "How do they DO that!" he marveled.
As always, we loved the loud ones and are developing our own Mach scale or Richter scale to rate the noise produced, using "car alarms triggered" and "crying babies" as the criteria.
Thanks, Longwood: You provided us with several nights of excellent entertainment this summer.

Friday, September 12, 2014

THE OTHER SIDE: Open house at the Parastudy center

When I was a kid, ESP cards were the rage for a while. They were white cards with simple symbols on them: a cross, a square, a circle, a star and wavy lines. The "sender" would select a card and try to send mental vibes about the identity to the "receiver."
My older sister was always the sender and I was always the hapless recipient. I never scored better than chance at identifying the symbols; indeed, sometimes worse. (It just occurred to me, years later, that maybe it was my sister's ESP that was deficient rather than mine. That possibility was never raised at the time, doubtless for some sibling-rivalry reason. Hmmm.)
So I may or may not be "sensitive" to spirits and such, but some friends who live in old homes around here swear they have experienced peculiar, inexplicable things. One friend goes to Gettysburg frequently to check out supposedly haunted places, and another makes a regular pilgrimage to Lilydale, New York, a hotspot for psychic mediums.
Those are the ones who might be interested in attending the 55th anniversary celebration of Parastudy, a group devoted to the "paranormal." "Founder's Day" will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at the group's Victorian mansion at 354 Valleybrook Road in Chester Heights (a little southeast of the Route 1/322 intersection). According to their website:
"The day will begin at 1 p.m. with honoring volunteers and leaders, past and present.
The afternoon will continue 1:45-4 p.m. with house tours, ESP tests, Pit games (a game invented by psychic Edgar Cayce), discounted psychic readings, including palmistry, tea readings, astrology readings and chair massage. There will also be aura readings, a herbal preparation sale, mini classes and a talk on the history of Parastudy’s Victorian mansion and its ghosts. The book store will be open. Bring a dish to share for the Pot Luck supper at 5  p.m. There is no admission charge to attend this event and the talks and tours are free."
(And if you want to try those ESP cards I mentioned, there's a printable version you can download from the Internet.)


HOBBIES: Yes, I still do needlepoint

I was at a particularly heated municipal meeting the other night (the one in Newlin) and brought along my needlepoint project to keep me occupied during the stretches when I wasn't schmoozing or taking notes.
I was surprised at the reaction my half-finished canvas got. A friend sitting next to me said it reminded her of a male needlework enthusiast she knows in England, and the time a stranger at an airport made a little hat for my friend's baby during a flight delay.
The woman behind me said she used to do needlepoint regularly but hadn't seen anyone doing it in 20 years. I guess she doesn't hang out with the hip crowd that I do: at a get-together on Saturday, another lady and I were both doing needlepoint, and she was enough of an expert not only to design her own patterns but also to critique my yarn choice (she thought a variegated yarn would be more suitable than the plain coral I was using).
I took the same project to a blood drive Thursday at St. Gabriel in Avondale, expecting to wait before they poked me. The older lady volunteering at the drive came over and said she misses doing embroidery because "they" don't make canvases anymore with the pattern stamped on it. Her daughter is trying to talk her into taking up counted cross-stitch, but she has her doubts. 
I find needlepoint to be an excellent hobby, very soothing and meditative, and you get a nice-looking pillow at the end of it.

SHOPPING CART: British food close to home

For the local Anglophiles (there seem to be an inordinate number), I have good news: there's a British food section at the Giant on Route 1 east of Kennett (the one that used to be a Genuardi's). Usually the only time I'm at that store is when I need to dash in and pick up an emergency missing item, so I hadn't really checked it out until a few weeks ago.
McVities Digestive Biscuits, Hobnobs, salad cream, Ribena, baked beans, canned mushy peas, Mars bars: all there! All in metric measurements! Such culinary delights, and such happy memories of the messy little kitchen in the dorm at my British university.
And when you're there, stop in and get a bagel at Palm-a-Bagel in the same shopping center. They are the best and so incredibly fresh.

[CAPTION: The British food section at the Longwood Giant.]