stardust 2015 is on the horizon!



I would be remiss if I didn’t put in a serious plug for this wonderful summer event from the Natural Lands Trust.  For sixty years they have been preserving land for future generations. They are true stewards of natural resources and they connect us to nature. This is a non-profit that lives their mission statement and they do such good!


They have their big summer friend and fundraiser coming up – Stardust 2015 and it is at Stroud Preserve in West Chester.  Tickets start at $200. It is a wonderful summer celebration in a most idyllic setting. Please consider supporting their cause!

Here is their press release:

On Friday, June 12th—as the constellation Bootes (the “Celestial Farmer”), an ever-amazing Saturn, and a brightly-shining Jupiter grace the night sky—guests will gather at Natural Lands Trust’s Stroud Preserve for Stardust!, the organization’s annual summer fundraiser. Proceeds from the event advance Natural Lands Trust efforts to save land, steward natural resources, and connect people to nature throughout the region.

“There is something very special about this event, which we host each June at either a Natural Lands Trust preserve or a conservation easement-protected property,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “The sweeping landscapes, summer solstice evening light, cocktails, local farm to table edibles, and shared merriment combine—regardless of setting—to magical effect.” Held this year at the 571-acre Stroud Preserve just outside the Borough of West Chester, Stardust! includes wine provided by Moore Brothers Delaware, local farm-inspired edibles from Jeffrey Miller Catering, and an enchanting view of Stroud’s rolling landscape. The event runs from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

Natural Lands Trust established Stroud Preserve in 1990 after Dr. Morris Stroud bequeathed his estate—then known as Georgia Farm—to the regional land conservation organization. Prior to Dr. Stroud’s ownership, the land was part of a cattle farm that stretched from the city of West Chester to Wawaset Road. But the preserve’s history reaches as far back as the founding of the colony of Pennsylvania. The stone farmhouse, built by Thomas Worth in 1740, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The farmhouse lawn and circa-1890 barnyard are the setting for the Stardust! celebration.

Tickets begin at $200 per person. Tickets and additional sponsorship opportunities are available online at or by calling 610-353-5587 ext. 224

Event photo as featured in August 2014 Main Line Today Magazine


who owns local history? 


Michael Morrison was supposed to give a talk at the Easttown Library April 29 on the history of the horse show, right? (It was scheduled everywhere and even had a nice sized blurb in the Daily Local.)

If you follow the Easttown Library, a note went up on their Facebook page was that the event was suddenly cancelled.

Why was a program about a huge part of local history cancelled?

Is it true he had to cancel because someone told them the historical society cannot speak for the horse show and isn’t that kooky? Seriously???? Why are people saying this??? It’s viable local history isn’t it? 

Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t the horse show and TEHS establish a partnership to write a BOOK not so long ago??? To chronicle a fascinating history and tradition and preserve documents and artifacts that had been moldering in a musty barn or attic somewhere? As in they wrote a book with a tag line on the cover that says “Working Together to Preserve History” with both the logo of the horse show AND the historical society on it? As in this book can be purchased off the Devon website

So is the pretzel logic here that they wrote the book, but aren’t qualified to give a talk on the history? They did all this research and got all this stuff together to preserve and they can’t talk about it? Are we all Illuminati on this horse or what LOL?

Devon Horse Show on their own website describes the book like this:

And here is the book being promoted on the historical society website:

What’s next? We out here in Everyday People Land are not allowed to mention the Devon Horse Show without express written permission of the board? Will they be coming after elderly ladies who try to replicate the recipe for Devon Fudge next? Or little kids who try to make their own lemon sticks (you know the lemon with the candy straw in it) will be spoken to?

Is this new Devon Horse Show like those Las Vegas ads? Everything that happens at Devon Stays at Devon? Wonder if they will do a glossy series of ads featuring people in Low Brow Lily for Target LOL? (Sorry just had this whole visual and it made me giggle)

It’s so odd that an organization which formerly used to herald and celebrate its history now doesn’t want to isn’t it? It is like they seem to want over a century of history and tradition to disappear, isn’t it?

They seem afraid of a historical marker and talks on the history? Are the trying to re-write history? Create a new history? Or maybe they really don’t want the horse show to survive do they?

It poses an interesting local conundrum doesn’t it? Who does our collective local history belong to?

The thing is this ladies and gentlemen, the Devon Horse Show has been part of our lives collectively for over a century. Generations of families have competed and contributed and supported this show. This show is part of Chester County and Main Line and Philadelphia history.

If you live around here what is it you grew up doing around Memorial Day ? Even if you went to the beach you always made time for Devon didn’t you? So if we have these memories that are part of our personal history as well as our local history of going to the horse show are we now no longer allowed to talk about those things?

So seriously, who owns our history? And if experts from a historical society become so hogtied that they can’t speak about local history, how do we preserve our local history going forward?

I realize full well the new board of the Devon Horse Show doesn’t like my opinions or questions but are we not allowed both in this great country? Don’t they get that they are but temporary stewards of a piece of local and regional history and tradition? Are they trying to obliterate the history and tradition?

Devon Horse Show in the end can’t exist without all of us so how do we ensure it survives so our children can some day take their children?

who turns down the honor of a pennsylvania historical marker? devon horse show (apparently)


Just when you think stupid can’t happen again at Devon Horse Show, up crops the news that much like Britney Spears oops they did it again (at Devon Horse Show). According to published media reports Devon Horse Show has committed the astoundingly unbelievable and ignorant gaffe of thus far (there is always hope they will come to their senses, right?)  turning down an amazingly approved  historical marker commemorating the history of the horse show!

Seriously???  It is an honor to be chosen for a historical marker in Pennsylvania. They do not just give them out like gold sticker stars to kindergarteners.  They are hard work, and it is super competitive.

How do I know? Because it takes a lot to get one approved and I have done that. (Wayne Natatorium, Wayne PA approval 2009, sign erected 2010)

When I read the press release in March from the state I was very excited (see excerpt):

The new markers, selected from 50 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.

Since 1946 PHMC’s historical markers have chronicled the people, places and events that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. The signs feature subjects such as Native Americans and settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses and a multitude of noteworthy topics.

Nominations for historical markers may be submitted by any individual or organization and are evaluated by a panel of independent experts from throughout the state and approved by the agency’s commissioners.

More information on the Historical Marker Program, including application information, is available online at…..Devon Horse Show, Devon, Chester County
Begun in 1896 and designated a Heritage Competition by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF), the Devon Horse show is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the nation.  It was a founding member of the American Horse Show Association, which became the USEF.

This awesome news came out just a little before the news of which Chester County historic sites were receiving grants.

And of course this latest news arrives on the heels of the article which was obviously placed in the Inquirer recently which heralded the new era at Devon Horse Show after a “year of tumult” which appeared March 30th:

Two months before thousands should stream into its grandstands, the Devon Horse Show has been on the receiving end of an unlikely question for an event in its 119th year:
Will the show go on?

Such inquiries stem from more than a year of turmoil at the storied Main Line institution, including the departures of staffers and board members, whiffs of scandal, and a regime change.

The nonprofit’s new leaders – who came to power just before Christmas – say the upheaval is behind them.

“At this point, there is no time or effort looking backwards,” chairman Wayne Grafton said. “All the effort and focus is looking forward.”

The Inquirer article discussed the booting out of Wade McDevitt and his relationship to the Devon Yard/Waterloo development site – which just had an unpopular seeming unveiling April 27th. The Daily Local covered this:

In a public meeting on April 27, Waterloo Devon L.P., Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Anthropologie, Inc., presented the proposed Devon Yard development to a standing-room only crowd at the Hilltop House in Devon….During the meeting Monday, the principals on the project repeatedly noted that no part of this application for development is on Devon Horse Show land, and that they are not addressing how it will impact parking or traffic during the show. Sarah Coxe Lange, who identified herself as a “life-long exhibitor at the Devon Horse Show and former president of the show,” encouraged the planning board to consider how it could impact the Devon Horse Show, ‘preserving a cultural phenomenon’ and the history of the location.

(It’s a really long article in The Daily Local so go read the whole thing and it still sounds ghastly doesn’t it?)

Anyway….apparently last year Michael Morrison the esteemed president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society was asked by then Devon Horse Show President Sarah Coxe Lange to help the Devon Horse Show get a historical marker.  Apparently others no longer part of the horse show also knew about this marker application.

And I believe that because I went through the process personally.  You need a sponsor, there is an in-depth application and so on. Basically, you can’t just wake up one morning and say “I am going to apply for a historical marker”  like it’s a manicure or hair appointment.   It is a long process and the sign itself if approved costs a couple thousand dollars.

Did I mention what an honor and BIG deal it is to be chosen? It is.

Now when I read the article in which TEHS Michael Morrison was quoted it piqued my interest.  He said (and I quote briefly from the article by Linda Stein in Main Line Media News):

“Once it was announced there was great joy at the horse show,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal to get these markers. They are not easy to obtain.”…. “Somewhere between that week and a half and our meeting, things started to turn sour,” said Morrison. He said he learned that the new leadership, which took over after the board voted Lange out in January, didn’t want the historical marker.

Really? Good news and good publicity  is not wanted at Devon? They would rather continue the bad publicity (and this latest article already has over 40 mostly negative comments). They would rather continue air their dirty scandal ridden laundry?

How can the Devon nouveau be so blasted ignorant? Don’t they get this is not a punishment or impediment, but an honor? Getting a historic marker is a GOOD thing. It is also FREE GOOD publicity that money cannot buy (and by the way Devon Horse Show sure must be flush if they are paying for Phelps Media Group these days, right?)

Now according to this article apparently Devon nouveau are claiming they did not know. I find that extraordinarily hard to believe…again based upon my personal experience in obtaining a historical marker.

I called my contact at the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program Karen Galle today to ask her basically why a group would want to turn down such an honor. She is one of the people who shepherded me through the marker process. She is the nicest lady. She said she had received a call from from a local reporter and she really did not know the situation but  had responded to the  questions of basically whether a historical marker places restrictions upon a property. The answer of course is there are no restrictions  as the signs are informational and educational in nature. Often these signs are erected where something historic once was and no longer is – you know along the lines of “George Washington slept here.”

It’s not restrictive to the property and wow who else is fascinated that Devon nouveau would not know this? And be worried about it like they are getting ready to put a sale sign on Devon Horse Show?

These historical markers enhance an area. Goodness.  A marker is  CACHÉ….bragging rights. It enhances not detracts. I get that not everyone loves historic commemoration or preservation but one of the hallmarks of Devon Horse Show has always been its very history. Look at their own and published mission statement:

In 1896, the Devon Horse Show started as a one-day show. Now, years later, it has become the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. It is internationally recognized…..and one of the most exciting events to happen in our area. While it draws top competitors from around the world, the show continues to reflect the local traditions and lifestyles of the Philadelphia Main Line.

Can we say D’Oh  Devon? Wow if they were smart they would be planning an awesome ceremony centered around the sign dedication.  It’s a no brainer…. but these people continue to make a mess out of all things horse show, don’t they?

I will be skipping Devon Horse Show this year I think. I am but one person so it really doesn’t matter,   it’s just a personal decision.  What they did to Sarah Coxe Lange was distasteful enough, but to make this big, giant fuss in a negative way over something as positive as the honor of being approved for a historical marker?  Ehhh no thanks. Maybe next year…….

I really hope this horse show survives these people. I really do.

letters never sent


Sometimes I think social media fascinates me so much because I am of one of the last generations of letter writers.  I still have and use stationary.  It’s not always all about the instant message, text message, Facebook “private message”.

I save dribs and drabs of letters. Occasionally they fall out of books, which is where I have stashed some of them.  Usually the letter marks importance of some point in my life. Letters from a friend when they were in boarding school in England. Birthday cards sent to me when I was too little to read them. A random letter from someone in college who said I had owl eyes way back when.  Letters from a college friend after she went back to her native Sweden. Little notes with clippings of various things my father would send me, all addressed in his strong and sure handwriting.  Memories and history. Like old photographs.

I like to sent thank you and other notes. Real, honest to God, stick them in the mail handwritten notes. Now when I send them they age on the way thanks to the United States Postal Service and how they sort mail, but I send them. I have an ongoing battle with the teenager in my house and his father  about thank you notes.  Mostly I lose the battle and that makes me sad.

I think writing a thank you note is a really nice thing to do, but is becoming a lost art form. It shows (in my opinion) that you cared and is polite and gracious. It never hurts to say thank you. It is also a communication skill.

And letters. Don’t you remember the feeling of getting a letter? When I was in grade school I had a pen pal from Blackpool, England.  Her name was Peta. We were penpals for many years.  I remember buying special air mail envelopes just for my letters. I remember the anticipation of seeing a letter with a stamp from England in my mailbox.

Also  used to rush to the mailbox for my dear friend Marie Claude. I stay in touch with her still…we met as young teenagers when her family was my host family in Alsace one summer through the Valley Forge Historical Society. We were voracious letter writers for years and years. And now we are more e-mail correspondents.

Technology has allowed us to stay in touch in a more expedient manner, but somehow it doesn’t hold a candle to the old school lure and romance of letters. And so few people send actual thank you notes any longer that when I receive one I hang onto them for a while because it just makes you feel special that someone took that time just for you.

Social media like Facebook makes us all voyeurs on this bus.  You have a random thought of someone you haven’t thought of in years.  Sometimes it is a pleasant walk down memory lane, other times it is a good reminder as to why certain people are no longer in your life.

I had that happen today.  Someone I used to know whom I had “unfriended” on  Facebook years ago sent me a friend request. I literally laughed out loud. At one time, we were fairly close friends, but they are one of these people who basically are in your life when convenient for them.  After a couple decades of that I decided to quietly let this person go years ago.  The final impetus for my decision was when they were flat out rude and utterly inappropriate one time too many. Yet this morning, there they were with their friend request like nothing had ever happened.

This person once upon a time was a prolific letter writer. They actually made me think about letter writing.

The stages of life can still be followed in letters.  Only no one writes them any longer much at all. I am not the only blogger who thinks about letters oddly enough. Then Internet is peppered with posts about letter writing. People even write about letter writing being an essential skill for kids to still continue to learn today.

I read this blog post this morning called The Art of Letter Writing. Here is an excerpt:

In the days of cell phones, email, and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest.

I called this post letters never sent because there are letters I have written in my head over the years and never mailed.  They were a healing exercise for whatever reason at the time. But there are also letters I mailed and sent that captured the very essence of me in that moment. Kind of a neat little time capsule.

Anyway, not trying to go all Emily Post on everyone, but when is the last time you wrote a letter or a thank you note?

Thanks for stopping by today.