Monday, April 27, 2015

ROUNDABOUT: The traffic in the circle has the right of way!

A woman who lives in East Marlborough came up to me at the Y this morning and asked me to put out the word about correct traffic etiquette at the Route 82 roundabout in Unionville. Motorists who are actually circling the roundabout have the right of way, NOT those entering the circle. That's why there are prominent "Yield" signs at each entrance.
My friend said she saw an accident there that occurred because one driver assumed that the car in the circle would stop for her. Nope, that's not the way it works. The same rules apply to the Route 52 roundabout, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

ON THE DECK: Welcoming the hummers back to Unionville

The hummingbirds are back!
I saw the first one of the season, a female, Sunday afternoon in my backyard, followed shortly by a male. Thank goodness I took the advice of the folks at Wild Birds Unlimited in Hockessin and hung my hummingbird feeder out early.
For such tiny birds, the hummingbirds are very bold: the female kept harassing a nonplussed female cardinal.
It was a great bird-watching afternoon. I saw a pair of chickadees making a nest in the birdhouse I have hanging out back. One would fly into the house carrying a beakful of twigs and fluff while the other kept guard on a nearby branch. Soon I'll be able to hear the squeals of the hungry babies!
To add to the fun, a squawking crow was circling with the buzzards, rowdy red-winged blackbirds were making regular feeder visits, a red-bellied woodpecker was jumping around on the still-bare branches of the walnut tree, swallows were darting over the meadow, where the yellow mustard is just starting to bloom, and the mourning doves kept up a steady cooing from the ground.

WILLOWDALE: A new Star-Spangled Banner would be welcome

A faithful reader reports that the American flag flying over the Willowdale Town Center shopping center needs to be replaced, and the sooner the better.
"Truly, it's in shreds. Shameful," she wrote.
I drove by to check it out on Sunday, and she's right: the edges are fringed, the colors are faded and it has definitely seen better days. Here's hoping this little item will help remedy the situation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

MOTORCYCLES: "Oley Rollers" at a national meet near Reading

Over the years, you've gotten used to reading about Tilda's adventures at equestrian events, posh fundraising galas, and concerts and lectures of all stripes, but I can guarantee you that this is a new one. Bright and early on Saturday morning my favorite traveling buddy and I headed to Oley, northeast of Reading, to an antique motorcycle show and flea market: formally, the Perkiomen Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America's national meet.

I know very little about motorcycles, but I enjoyed the day immensely anyway. There were dozens of wonderful vintage motorcycles on display, in all states of repair, starting with some Indian motorcycles from the early 20th century.

We rendezvous-ed with a friend who restores old motorcycle magnetos (talk about a sub-specialty!) and he showed us his very handsome 1952 Moto Guzzi Falcone. Another pal said en route to the meet he was getting nostalgic while driving past all the places where his bikes had broken down over the years.
 I enjoyed seeing the evolution of the "Harley-Davidson" logos over the years.

The vendors at the flea market offered up an amazing assortment of parts, from coveted "new old stock" nuts and bolts and cotter pins, to rows of carburetors, to a yellow gas tank with the Welsh dragon painted on it, to an old gas pump that dispensed in pints. As the end of the show approached, the prices dropped accordingly. We saw one vendor who was asking $45 for a chromed piece. "Will you take $20?" asked the hopeful customer. "Yeah, OK," replied the dealer.

My favorite bike was a delivery motorcycle from the 1920s, with the garage's name (Allen Auto Service) and phone number still legible on the back of the cart. The owner told me that a buddy of his, a plumber, found it while working in a woman's basement on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and when he expressed curiosity she kept bringing out more parts for it. On display at the meet the owner had an old black-and-white photograph of the garage, with a similar bike sitting out front.
I also liked a 1946 police motorcycle, complete with siren. It would be just the thing for newly promoted East Marlborough Township Chief Robert Clarke, don't you think?

 The judges carefully scrutinized every fraction of an inch on the bikes that were entered in the competition, looking for authenticity.

The people-watching was top-notch, too. Almost everyone was wearing black leather of some sort, many with heavy-duty motorcycle pants. I heard several people speaking what I think was German. Naturally enough, the "locals" in the Reading Motorcycle Club showed up in force.

WILLISTOWN: A night out and an online auction

On Friday night I went to a splendid fundraiser for the local chapter of a national healthcare nonprofit that was held at the Radnor Hunt Club in Willistown.
I got to catch up with lots of friends and neighbors. I asked one friend what he is doing now that he has retired and found out that he has an unusual hobby: he creates those fiendishly difficult cryptic word puzzles. Who knew!
During the social hour I spotted one Kennett Square woman I particularly wanted to talk to, but being a popular, well-informed and delightful person she was constantly engaged in conversation, and unfortunately she slipped out right after dinner. "They should have stopped her at the door!" said another dismayed friend who was also looking for her.
The buffet dinner was wonderful: tomatoes with mozzarella and basil; hummus; couscous; chicken salad; pasta; and seafood risotto, with a lavish coffee bar and desserts afterward (including fancy chocolates from Éclat in West Chester). The servers and bartenders were pleasant and efficient, and the Radnor Hunt setting was charming, with all kinds of foxhunting memorabilia and prints and decades' worth of photos of Meets and former Masters.
As is routine as these galas, there was a silent auction, but this time with a twist that was a first for me: you entered your bids via your cellphone rather than on a piece of paper on a clipboard. (They had helpers to place your bids if you didn't have a phone.) While the president and CEO was giving her opening remarks, she was keeping an eye on her phone and made a point of publicly increasing her bids over her rivals a few times. One of my dinner companions had donated a selection of wines to the auction and had fun keeping track of how high the bidding was going.
I entered a raffle for, but did not win, a fabulous display of orchids in full, glorious bloom. I'm not sure I would have had room in my house for it, but they had a wonderful raffle salesperson, a charming high-school girl who came up to me and asked sweetly, "Do you like orchids?" Really, who is going to say no!
The highest seller of the night was a week's vacation at a five-star resort in Costa Rica, which sold for $4,500. The man who bought the trip at last year's auction gave it a glowing review before the bidding started, which may well have driven up the price.
Two VIP tickets to Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" in New York went for $3,300.

Friday, April 24, 2015

WEST GROVE: Heightening awareness through movements

This past Wednesday evening we learned a little bit about the philosophy of G. I. Gurdjieff as part of West Grove Quaker Meeting's series of lectures on different faith traditions.
The three speakers, all longtime students of Gurdjieff's teachings, explained different aspects of his beliefs, one of which is that we humans tend to operate on automatic pilot and need to become more conscious of our existence. (How ironic that I was knitting during the presentation -- talk about a "mindless" action!)
One of the ways Gurdjieff suggested waking ourselves up is by engaging in a series of dance-like movements.
Would we like to try one? the speaker asked.
We all stood up, and he demonstrated some simple arm movements, done while the feet are tapping out a sort of shuffle. Another one of speakers went to the piano and started playing a slow, cadence-like tune to accompany the movements, which we all performed in unison.
It was definitely my kind of lecture format.

KENNETT Y: What an inspiring sight

Today at the YMCA I saw an older gentleman working out on an exercise bike while hooked up to one of those little portable oxygen tanks. Talk about dedication! I was seriously impressed.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

MEMORIAL DAY: The Grand Marshals of the Kennett Memorial Day Parade

The Grand Marshals for this year's Kennett Square Memorial Day parade have been named, and they are World War II veterans Michael B. Pratola, Jr., Fred Patrola, Sr., and Robert Hopkins, Sr.
The parade will be held on Monday, May 25, starting at 10 a.m. It kicks off at Kennett High School, travels up South Union Street, turns right at Cypress Street, then left on Broad Street, right on East State Street, turns right onto North Union Street, and ends at Union Cemetery with a special memorial ceremony. (It's a truly great parade.)
Bill Taylor, the parade's organizer, was kind enough to send me the following biographies and photos of the grand marshals:
Michael Pratola, Jr. was drafted in July 1944 and sent to Alabama for basic training. As part of the Fifth Army Infantry, he was shipped to Italy. Patrola, Jr. moved to the Special MP to guard Naples Harbor. At Naples Harbor he operated a 75-ton floating crane at the Harbor Craft Company, where he supervised the work of 12 Army veterans and 14 Italian civilians. He was discharged in August 1946.


In 1947, Fred Patrola, Sr. served with the Central HQ group in Tokyo, Japan. He served as a custodian during the War Crime Trials in a building referred to as the “West Point of Japan.” At that time, General MacArthur was in Tokyo, as well as lawyers from around the world.

Robert Hopkins, Sr. joined the US Marine Corps in 1944, completing his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He was stationed in Guam, then sent to Chichi-jima to guard Japanese war crime criminals. Hopkins escorted the war criminals by ship to Guam and continued to guard them as they faced trial for their crimes. He was honorably discharged in 1946.


ON THE ROAD: As always, consider the source

On this gorgeous Saturday morning I checked my Facebook page before getting started with my editing work and saw that a friend just posted: "It's time to ride!" I had to think which of my categories of friends she is in: Did she mean riding a bike? a horse? an indoor bike at the gym? Ah, no, none of the above: she's one of my motorcycle-enthusiast pals. She and her husband are probably miles away on their Harleys by now.

IN THE CHAIR: Not your everyday oral surgery story

Perhaps you read the sad story of the Berwyn dentist who was arrested and charged with lots of narcotics violations last week. One woman commented online that her son had been at the office to get his wisdom teeth removed when the DEA raided the place. My thought was: What a great story that wisdom-tooth youth is going to have! All his peers will have the same old routine stories about ice packs and stitches, blah blah blah, and he has the DEA bursting in.

Friday, April 17, 2015

SPRING: Warming to the benefits of a yoga practice

Spring means different things to people. I had lunch at the Country Butcher today with a friend who relies largely on a woodstove to heat her large house; she and her husband keep the thermostat on the central heating dialed down to a Spartan 59 degrees. She said all winter her prime motivation for attending her yoga class was the fact that the instructor jacked up the studio temperature to 85 degrees and she got to thaw out for a blissful hour. Now that it's warmer outside, she still goes to class, but now just because she enjoys the yoga.

FIRE SALE: Get 'em while they're hot!

One of my well-trained spies spotted this amusing spelling error at a shop along Route 1 and immediately phoned to tell me about it. I hustled over there to get a photo of it before they had a chance to fix it. What's funny is that the spelling was correct on the other side of the sign. Go figure! A friend sagely commented, "Too bad they don't pay you for drive-by editing."

SPRING: The magic of the spring peepers

A reader named Brian wrote me a lovely paean to spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), those wonderful, life-affirming harbingers of spring. He told me how distressed he was to discover, upon visiting his favorite peeper territory off Wollaston Road, some trees marked with X's. He feared that a housing development was coming that would eliminate their habitat.
His second email was more upbeat, though: "Oh good news. Although the lumber in the area is being harvested, there is no development going in. So with hope the area will still support the peepers for our future generations. And song-filled springs."
He's right about the full-throated Wollaston Road peepers: I heard them tonight as I was driving by there at sundown, even with the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" playing at the only appropriate volume.

WEST GROVE: Talk on the traditions of the Lenape Nation

On April 15, Shelley DePaul gave an interesting talk at West Grove Friends Meeting about the traditional culture of the Lenape Indians. She opened the lecture by playing a melody on her recorder, which immediately grabbed the attention of the still-chatting audience, and then gave a blessing in the native Lenape tongue.
Most of the other speakers in this lecture series have focused on the specific facets of their religion, but Shelley said that beliefs and religious rituals were so much a part of the Indians' way of life that it was difficult to separate the two. The opening prayer reflected that unity, as it referred not only to us "two-leggeds" but also "four-leggeds," "the fish people," "the winged ones" and "the plant people," all as equals. She said that traditionally the tribal chiefs ate last, only after everyone else did, and suggested that we'd be better off if today's political leaders did the same. She also stressed how important respect for elders was in the Native American tradition.
The next talk in the series is April 22 at 7 p.m., when Jim Hammerman and Richard Beck will discuss "The Fourth Way" (G.I. Gurdjieff).

DOWNTOWN: Plant sale to fund Kennett container gardens

JoAnn Donlick wrote to me about the annual plant sale sponsored by the Kennett Square Beautification Committee, to be held on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in the Genesis Walkway in downtown Kennett Square.
On sale will be "locally grown top-quality annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and dahlias as well as Mothers Day arrangements, new mixed arrangements, hanging baskets, raffle, silent auction and plants donated from local gardeners."
"This will be most special since it marks 50 years of annual plant sales," she writes. " As you know proceeds go to beautifying Kennett Square with trees and container plantings. . . . The success of this endeavor has been dependent upon cooperation between the shop-keeping merchants, council and the committee.  Since no funding is received, all revenue is generated by the annual plant sale."
The volunteer Beautification Committee was formed 50 years ago under the direction of Everitt Miller, then Director of Longwood Gardens.

I for one am impressed year after year with how beautiful these container-gardens are throughout the downtown.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

BUDDY'S: Burgers that are recommended by a gym teacher!

When my lithe, strong, bursting-with-health yoga and Pilates teacher gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the burgers and fries at Buddy's Burgers Breasts and Fries, I thought it wise to take her advice at the earliest opportunity (much to the astonishment and delight of the Dining Companion, who is used to seeing me eating salads). Buddy's is in the Liberty Place shops at State and Center Streets in downtown Kennett.
It was excellent advice. The burgers and fries were really good. You get to pick from a whole list of options as to the number of patties, the type of meat, cheeses, and toppings. Even though the place was doing a good dinnertime business with families, we got our meal quickly. And while we were eating we got to watch people trying to parallel-park on State Street, always a good spectator sport.
As we left I told the cheerful young guys behind the counter that it was our first visit, and they all grinned and very kindly said they hoped we'd return. We will, I assured them!
After running errands involving shoes, groceries, pansies and canine joint supplement, we returned to Kennett for dessert: ice cream from La Michoacana, which is now open for the season.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ETHICS: The "Rolling Stone" story is a black eye for journalism

This isn't Unionville-related, but would you indulge me and let me express my disgust, as a reporter, with the whole disgraceful "Rolling Stone" magazine debacle?
My question is this: Why has no one has been fired?
I started my career at a 16,000-circulation small-town daily. It had its faults, sure: when the editor's service club put on a play, we reporters (most unwillingly) were assigned to write stories about the auditions, the rehearsals, the opening night and then a follow-up about how much money was raised.
But you know what? For all its goofy stories and corny mascot (a newspaper with a tricorn hat and a bell), the paper had ethics. One reporter, trying to be funny, inserted into the Births column of the Saturday paper that the sports editor had had octuplets. On Monday morning we started getting phone calls; I remember taking one from an excited elderly lady who felt the story deserved to be on page 1. The reporter was fired immediately for risking the paper's credibility. He was out of the newsroom by noon.
"Rolling Stone" did far worse damage to people's reputations, to UVA, to journalism, to the credibility of sexual assault victims. Where are the consequences?

CLOSING: Rubinstein's is closing the Kennett branch

The Kennett Square branch of Rubinstein's office-supply store is closing, much to the dismay of many locals who rely heavily on the store's photocopying services and excellent selection of art supplies. I know at least one local who even e-mailed Marc Rubinstein, asking him to reconsider the decision. Also coming in for praise were the store's helpful staff members.
Rubinstein's, now on West Cypress Street, was formerly located "in town" in the little West State Street shopping center where El Ranchero Mexican restaurant is. (Going back even farther, remember when the Papier card shop and Molly's ice-cream parlor were in that shopping center?)
The West Chester Rubinstein's will remain open.

Friday, April 10, 2015

REELING: David Power plays Irish music in Coatesville

On Wednesday night my best concert-going pal and I headed north to the Coatesville Cultural Society to see David Power, who plays the tin whistle and the uillean pipes (pronounced "illin"). The show, part of the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series, was great, and it was amazing to watch David play the complicated instrument: he had to pump the bellows with his elbows, play the keys on the drones with the edge of his left hand, and use the extraordinarily long fingers on both hands to play the rapid notes on the vertical flute-like part, called the chanter. It's no wonder he plays with his eyes closed.
The story of David's chanter, known  as the "Eighteen Moloney," was fascinating: it was made in 1835 and has been passed down through a series of famed Irish musicians.
I had never been to the Coatesville Cultural Society, which is at 143 East Lincoln Highway. The theater space where David played is essentially a black cavernous box that has that marvelous heady smell of theaters worldwide, a combination of paint and lumber.
In the audience were Mal Whyte, who gave David the Eighteen Moloney back in 2003; Frank Dalton and Emily Fine of Embreeville, who for the past ten years have been producing the Irish music series; and local high-school student Keegan Loesel, half of the Irish music duo the Ladeens, whom we saw performing at West Grove Meeting in January (Keegan also plays the uilleann pipes).

THEATER: "Sunrise, Sunset" and Wilbur

A couple of youth theater events are coming up.
Church of the Advent's Children and Youth Music program is presenting "Fiddler on the Roof Jr." from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 24, at the church at 401 North Union Street in Kennett Square. Admission is free and playgoers are asked to bring canned goods for the food bank.
And the Unionville High School Drama Guild is presenting "Charlotte's Web" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 25. Director is Betsy Ballard. Tickets are available at the door ($7 for adults, $5 for students).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SMALL WORLD: One UHS grad may be heading to the Midwest

Regular readers of this column know that my older sister teaches English at a prestigious Minnesota college (a career that surprised none of us, given that she would give me required reading lists throughout our childhood). She told me that a family visiting the campus over spring break asked her for directions to the cafeteria. She offered to take them there, and while chatting learned that the prospective freshman was from the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. Excellent!

SPRINGDELL: A yellow card for these rugger fans

Parking problems at The Whip are back in the news. It seems a large group of rugby fans recently gathered at the Springdell tavern to watch the Six Nations tournament on TV and parked willy-nilly on private property throughout the village.
The West Marlborough supervisors said at their April meeting that they will be exploring with the township solicitor options for better regulating overflow parking at the tavern, including possibly towing or "booting" illegally parked cars.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: The saga of Sisyphus, the road grader

The fate of Sisyphus, West Marlborough Township's venerable road grader, was discussed at the township's April 7 meeting.

Supervisor Bill Wylie said the early 1970s Caterpillar grader needs $10,000 to $20,000 worth of work and wondered whether the township should look into trading it in or selling it (it could fetch $20,000 or $25,000) and buying a second-hand one from another municipality.
Township road crew member Hugh Lofting Jr. said he uses the grader to remove snow and to repair gravel roads damaged by heavy rainstorms.
"It had a rough year this year," he said. "I haven't given up on it, but it might be that the end is near."
He said making repairs is complicated by the fact that spare parts and expertise for such an old piece of equipment are difficult to track down.
Mr. Wylie quipped that perhaps the Smithsonian Institution might be willing to purchase the grader for a display of vintage machinery.
I found out that Rob Mastrippolito of Embreeville was the one who named the grader: "I always felt like when I graded it was some sort of cruel punishment, like a modern-day Sisyphus," Rob said, referring to the never-ending task of pushing stone uphill only to have water wash it back down.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Monthly reports and a police promotion

Three monthly reports were presented at the April 7 meeting of the West Marlborough supervisors:
1. Zoning officer Al Giannantonio said he received a zoning application to install a generator at a property in the 500 block of Upland Road. The application is under review. No subdivision or land-development requests were submitted.
2. Building inspector Eddie Caudill said he approved a building permit to add to the communications tower next to Vince Dugan's horse-training facility on Street Road. An application to construct a deck at a house in the 500 block of Street Road in under review.
3. Police officer Bob Clarke worked 40 hours in March and handled one criminal investigation and 18 incidents (including issuing 10 speeding tickets and two parking tickets). The Pennsylvania State Police handled 21 incidents in the township, including a burglary and a drunken-driving arrest. The supervisors also congratulated "Clarkie" on his promotion to Chief of Police in East Marlborough Township.

Monday, April 6, 2015

GOOD AND BAD: Heard around the dinner table

At our Easter dinner much praise was heard about last week's repaving of the Route 52 bridge over the Brandywine Creek. Less praise was heard about PennDOT's progress in filling in giant potholes like the one on Route 82 near Apple Grove Road that resembles an archaeological dig. And no praise at all was heard for the opening-day lineup of the Phillies. I didn't realize sports fans could be so Machiavellian: When seeing the lineup on the evening news, one fan said he was glad the Phils were not starting a particular pitcher. His logic went thusly: if he played, he might suffer an injury, and that would seriously reduce his value in any upcoming trade.

OVERHEAD: Talk about drones is this Saturday

Last week I wrote about an upcoming event but included the wrong date, so here is the correct information. The talk about the use of drones both in warfare and for humanitarian purposes at London Grove Friends Meeting at 7 p.m. next Saturday, April 18. Speakers will be Jessie Mooberry, vice director of Uplift Aeronautics, and Elizabeth Beavers, who is with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Q&A time and refreshments will follow the presentations. Free admission and all are welcome.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

LOST PETS: A creative use for GPS tracking

Every day on my Facebook feed, inevitably I see photos of several lost pets, with frantic pleas from their panicking owners. So the person who came up with the TAGG GPS Pet Tracker should by rights be a very wealthy individual by now. I saw this device on sale at the Verizon store the other day and was fascinated. It attaches to your pet's collar and allows you to track his or her whereabouts, sending you a text message when the pet leaves the zones you've defined.
On Tagg's website is a testimonial from a Landenberg woman: "Last weekend I went out to dinner with friends. Upon leaving the restaurant I turned my phone on to check my messages, and there it was a text from Annabelle telling me she'd "left home" at 7:00pm. Current time was 9:30pm. I raced home and managed to track her down thanks to Tagg. I live in a rural area, so it entailed much running through fields but in 1/2 an hour I had her in my arms. I should add that Anna is 12 and somewhat deaf. Not sure what lead her to leap off the deck and head out for a moonlit adventure but THANK YOU TAGG for enabling me to find my girl and bring her home safe and sound."

TRACK & FIELD: Nike brings its swoosh to UHS athletic event

Well, this is impressive: Nike has signed on as a sponsor of the UHS Track and Field Invitational on Saturday, April 25. The 12th annual event, held at the high school, will host close to 50 teams this year. Admission is $5, free for seniors and students. The competition starts at 9:30 a.m.
Martha Young, who co-chairs the UHS Track and Field boosters, wrote that "This sponsorship is, in large part, due to head coach Mark Lacianca's success with both the cross country and track programs. Coach Lacianca's cross country coaching has gained national attention and was  highlighted last year in Running Times magazine for his unique take on training."
(Check out the article online at It's quite interesting.)
Ms. Young pointed out  that "the track and cross country teams at Unionville are the only no-cut co-ed sports at the high school. For track and field, that is close to 150 athletes that get to participate in a sport after school, be part of team, improve their fitness and try to earn their own personal best each week."
I don't need to tell my frequent readers how much I love seeing young people getting involved in athletics and starting on a healthy lifestyle.

JUST SAYIN': How another library managed to do it

This announcement shows how the Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford has updated its image without ditching its namesake ("Helen Kate Cozen O'Connor"). Note also that the library has attracted a major national law firm as a sponsor for its reading program while keeping its historic name (the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library board said one of the reasons it changed its name to the Kennett Public Library was that they felt the "modern" name would appeal to big donors).
According to the Helen Kate Furness library's website, the library was founded in October 1902 by a group of Nether Providence citizens as the Horace Howard Furness Free Library, named in honor of one of the founders, a renowned Shakespearean scholar. Dr. Furness died in 1912, bequeathing $5,000 to the library on the condition that its name be changed to The Helen Kate Furness Free Library to honor his wife, also a Shakespearean scholar.
In the "small world" department: Kennett Square historian Lynn Sinclair points out that Horace Howard Furness was the brother of architect Frank Furness, the designer of the Chalfant house on N. Union Street in Kennett Square (now sadly damaged by fire). And Frank and Horace Furness' father was the Rev. William Henry Furness, who spoke at Bayard Taylor's funeral.

OPEN SPACE: A conversation about conservation

The "Community Conversation on Conservation," postponed because of a snowstorm, has been rescheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Stroud Water Research Center, 970 Spencer Road, Avondale. The presentation on the conservation movement, land easements and open space preservation is sponsored by the Buck & Doe Trust along with the Cheshire Hunt Conservancy. For more information contact

NORTHWARD: The Underground Railroad in Kennett Township

My friend Fredda Pennock wrote to tell me about two upcoming events that the Kennett Township Historical Commission is sponsoring. On Thursday, May 14, at 7 p.m. there will be an Underground Railroad program entitled “Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd.” Chester County Historic Preservation Officer Karen Marshall will discuss the Harriet Tubman Freedom Trail (Harriet Tubman was a famed conductor on the Underground Railroad). And Chris Densmore, curator of the Friends historical library at Swarthmore College, will talk about Kennett Township and the Underground Railroad. The talk will be at the Kennett Township building. The logo that the group created for the event shows the Big Dipper, which helped guide those brave fleeing slaves as they made their way North from captivity.
In June 25 the Kennett Township Historical Commission will be hosting one of Chester County’s Town Tours and Village Walks.  The walk will set off from the Longwood Progressive Meeting and will include a visit to the Longwood Cemetery across the street. Many abolitionist families lie in the cemetery as well as Civil War veterans (and Bayard Taylor). 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

MEMORY: So much for a paperless society

When I am in the middle of an editing project and see something I need to check or fix (hmm, did I already abbreviate ACC/AHA in this chapter?), I must jot it down that very instant, or it's completely gone from my brain. Fearing that this was a sign of encroaching age, I was glad to see that this happens in much younger people, too.
The other day at a store I was about to ask a clerk at her computer to print out a receipt for me. In fact, my vocal cords had already shaped the syllables and my exhalation was about to push out the words -- when she said, "Hang on just one sec." My request stopped at my teeth, a fraction of a second before it came out of my mouth -- I could actually feel it.
When she was finished, she apologized and said she had to type in some data before she forgot it. I told her I completely understood.

MOVIN' OUT: Just burning off the carbon, Officer!

I was behind a gleaming Porsche 911 Carrera (it's superfluous to mention its color) on Conservatory Road on one of the first warm days this spring. In front of the Porsche was a white work truck abiding by the speed limit. I could just tell that the Porsche driver, a retirement-age fellow, was itching to go faster, and he got his chance when the work truck went straight at Red Lion. The Porsche driver turned left onto Route 926 and peeled out. I'll bet he was at the Willowdale crossroads before the work truck and I hit Northbrook Road.