lost in transition


“Change is the only constant in life.”    
―     Heraclitus

The past year plus has been a wondrous and explorative journey into Chester County and my new life.  I am finally living the life I wanted all along, but it has not been without adjustments.

For example, where many of you have been a parent for years, I have been only doing it a short while by comparison.  It is a wonderful and terrifying journey and I am on the hunt for the Cliff Notes to help me through what doesn’t compute!

I have had a lot of change in the past few years, and moving to Chester County and off the Main Line was a big step for me.  Mind you it has truthfully been the best thing I have done for myself and my life save beating breast cancer two years ago. I always wanted to live in Chester County,  and now here I am!

But change while an amazing and a necessary part of life, is also scary.  For the first time in like three decades I am completely out of my original comfort zone and am making a new comfort zone.

I love being here in Chester County.  It is such a cool place, full of rich beauty and history….and antiques and collectibles barns to be picked LOL. garden cart

I will note that making friends as a child and making friends as a middle-aged woman are two entirely different propositions.  But I have been plodding my course and have met some really terrific people I hope to have in my life for many years. I have also rediscovered some really cool people who I knew from before who moved out here years ago.

But then there are some people who have been in my life for many years that I am at a slight loss about. And I will be honest, some of them have left me feeling a bit hurt.

Everyone is busy and life takes us all on unexpected paths, I get that, but there are some people who have not even seen where I am living. There are some who seem to think I have moved to Iowa.  They don’t even call if I don’t call them first.  And some of these people I saw almost every day for years and years and years.  When a lot of these people moved into new homes and whatnot, I was there for them. Sadly, I keep looking out as if some of them will drive up any second, but it is like I have moved to Iowa.  And who has time for a brief jaunt to Iowa, right?

I wish I could say I did not have slightly hurt feelings, but I do.  When you are the single person or person without children in the life equation of your family and friends it is like the unspoken rule that you go to them.  After all, you aren’t the one with kids and all that, you are more mobile.  And yes, at times, it is a slightly Bridget Jones life experience.

But now, when that role is changed you think things will be different.  Only it isn’t, it is just me who is different: different location, different life roles, different things I want to do. (But never fear I still like listening to Carly Simon and Mary Chapin Carpenter )

I now have an even greater admiration for my friends who have moved clear across the country and sometimes even overseas.  You don’t realize with all the joy in a new part of your life blossoming there are also a whole host of other feelings that can leave you feeling a tad conflicted.  When you become the out of sight-out of mind person it can also be difficult emotionally at times.

Don’t misunderstand me, it is really awesome meeting and getting to know new people, but sometimes you just miss the people who have been in your life for decades that you can hang out with in ratty old sweatpants and the worst band t-shirt ever.

This life experience surrounding my move has been wonderful but it does make me realize for example how we do have to encourage our children to go out of their comfort levels and expand their horizons.  When you are changing things about your life including location, part of your subconscious thinks a lot of things will be the same including the same people.  The reality of it is that is not possible.  Sadly we just don’t probably have enough emotional room to drag our old lives around into new ones.  Even if the new life is an awesome happy thing with a fabulous location included.

So now I am learning the art of letting go.  I am here in Chester County and this is my life.  It is an amazing journey which is but now getting underway.  My life blessings are many. I am grateful to the people who I have met who have welcomed me into their lives.

Life is good here in Iowa.  Hopefully some of those people who are M.I.A. in my life will check it out someday.

something new…

woodpeckerPeople have been asking me to start a dedicated website for my photos…well here it is…it is but infancy stage as I have been a little busy. But it will grow.

Simple Shots Photography: The Magic of Ordinary Days

A note to my blog readers:

I blog when the spirit moves me. So if you don’t see anything for a few days or so, no worries, I am still around….just have nothing of import to impart !




playing “chicken” in west vincent

cluckThere has been a lot of discussion about “things” in West Vincent again, and once again the knee jerk reaction of someone is to post things which are tantamount to bullying at a minimum in a building that functions as a United States Post Office.

Posting harassing things to bully private citizens in a building designated a United States Post Office is like mailing the same things through the mail – it is not quite legal and that is why things like this are given to United States Postal inspectors, isn’t it?  Maybe it is past time to bump this up a notch?

west vincent harassment

So supporters, followers, politicians, township employees, whomever here is the 411: David Monteith is not and never has been “Chickenman”.  And Chickenman is not the one who started the inquiry into the problematic West Vincent Farmers Market.  Ordinary people did.  I have looked into it, does that make me Chickenman too?  Do the inconvenient facts that the Township Manager of Upper Uwchlan is following his zoning and the law make him , Cary Vargos , Chickenman?

I don’t know who Chickenman is and as an Auslander I stand a better chance of finding out than Ken Miller, Dave Brown, Claire Quinn and so on and so forth. Maybe Chickenman is Sam Cantrell and he is all organic? Maybe Ted Otteni or Gabe Pilotti is Chickenman?  What about West Vincent’s Township Manager and Township Solicitor? Are they in fact Chickenman?

I know David Monteith.  He runs a good business.  And because he stood up once upon a time in West Vincent he is harassed by supporters of “good government” as it currently stands in West Vincent.   These people stand in the shadows like vampires  afraid to be seen in daylight, don’t they?  And doesn’t this stuff oddly seem to happen to every other resident and taxpayer of West Vincent who stands up for the right things?  I figure it is only a matter of time before  John Jacobs and Maria Holderness will be targeted, right?  Maybe their residency will be challenged? How they tie their shoes? Maybe a case can be used against civilized, incorruptible, honest people some more in West Vincent?  Why does good = bad?

So are you going to attack me because I am sick of what you “good people” have been trying to do to an innocent man the past couple of years?  I get you are all working on mob mentality and like to hide in the shadows as bullies are wont to do, but sooner or later, probably sooner, you will be caught won’t you?  After all you never know where surveillance cameras lurk (other than in woods during private barbeques) do you?

The irony of this dumb as dirt thing posted today is the proposed farmers market for West Vincent is actually located in Upper Uwchlan .  So maybe Cary Vargo REALLY is Chickenman?  Hell maybe Jim Gerlach is Chickenman! Or what about that nasty Larry guy who left comments on this blog?  Is he Chickenman?

Lots of media follow this blog and eventually someone will say it is very odd the way West Vincent officials turn a seemingly blind eye while residents are bullied by government supporters.  And I bet that might include The Daily Local which some flannel mouth woman in West Vincent whose name begins with an “S” seems to think she controls, right? (I find that to be quite the accomplishment given she is neither editor, owner, nor publisher is she?)

If you people do not have the balls to come out of the shadows and man and woman up and have a conversation the right way maybe you should all just shut it?

But this bullying and harassing of private citizens who love where they live and want the best for residents IS going to stop. People get tired of it more and more every time. And the fact that May primary turned out the way it did and the fact that the placards in the United States Post Office are back says that someone or several someones are running scared and dare we say they are BIG CHICKENS?  Are they Chickenman????

Cluck, cluck, cluck.  This blog is my opinion as guaranteed by the founding fathers of this country via the First Amendment.  Guess they are Chickenmen too?

can you help identify graves and families in this very old cemetery?

1468805883_df564a5cce_bYes a little far afield if you live in Chester County, but I love old graveyards and church yards and this one has its place in history and needs help because the buildings and church associated with what is actually two graveyards in one is going through a development plan/proposed development plan.

Truthfully if it is the right kind of plan, I have no issue with adaptive reuses of churches.  But I have a big problem with developers all across the country not respecting the dead and buried.  Abandoned and disregarded graveyards are so sad, and people are working feverishly to see that fate does not fall to these graves. I have long wondered if this land parcel was developed if some or all of the graves would be at risk, and I think they are.  And how do you do that knowing veterans of many wars who fought for our freedoms are buried there?  Are the graves of our ancestors and soldiers and others so disposable?

1468796263_ea168356cd_bI am talking about the Odd Fellows and United Methodist Church of Gladwyne cemetery on Righters Mill Road in Gladwyne, PA.  (Although I have blogged about the abandoned crumbling ruin that is Ebenezer AME in Frazer.) Many familiar area names are

buried there – even beloved Philadelphia


Phillie Richie Asburn is buried there.  This is where a childhood friend’s family is buried.  I photographed the cemetery a few years ago and it needs love. 1469783630_3d389c57e8_b

The long and short of it is some really wonderful people are trying to ensure this cemetery land is preserved along with the graves and family plots that are still viable (which I am sure is not many).


Here is the e-mail I was sent today and if you can help in ANY way, please contact the sender of the e-mail, not me:

From: “christine mcguire” <cmpointe@hotmail.com>
Sent: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:31:18 AM
Subject: Cemetery Info

1468847689_d85fc9a5e6_bHello All,

This is the most recent information regarding the Merion Square Cemetery and Gladwyne Methodist Church. Thank you for reading this long email, we really need your help.

The Church, cemetery and parsonage twin 1468852087_7bc386929b_bhouses (2) are all under an agreement of sale with a developer (Main line realty investors) who are Evelyn “Mac” Brand, Craig Brand, and Scott Brehman. The 1468854015_4bbbc8da64_bsale will not go through if they do not get all of their various zoning, HARB, Planning Commission and township approvals to change set backs, zoning, impervious surface areas, etc. The plan is to 1468879067_cb74ce44db_bconvert the church into 3 condos with garages and to put 2 new construction houses on either side of the Odd Fellows hall next door – which they already own. They will reconfigure the driveway that allows people to drive into the cemetery, and combine the church and odd fellows cemetery into 1 larger cemetery.1468879951_860c465331_b

The Church is not sold yet, and they will not go to closing if they do not get everything they want and need to make this project. If it is all approved, the condos will be 1468915657_da3d8828f9_b20 feet to the first grave, and on one end that is the grave of Richie Ashburn. Beyond the Ashburn grave is another sold plot, owned by a family now living in Ohio and they want their plot. It will have a driveway over it if this project goes forward.

The church cemetery has graves from the 1469717634_ae8cc3e84a_b1850s that are clearly marked with headstones. Running along the side of the church cemetery is a long strip of land approximately 20-30 feet wide and over 100 feet long. There are no headstones in this strip of land, and there is no clear separation of this land from the cemetery. We do not know if there are graves, 1469719386_e2690c3fc9_bvery very old graves, in this strip of land and perhaps that is why the church began burials in what is now the main cemetery part. There are 2 flags planted in this seemingly empty strip of land every 1469765244_278a8a6774_oMemorial Day, and this year we asked why. The response was that there are 2 Revolutionary Soldiers there, and I got their names from the SAR cemetery website, Miller and DeWees, and Drummer and a Fifer. Their names are also on the DAR Plaque 1469766090_ea388ceefb_bat the Baptist Church on Old Gulph Road, though that plaque says John DeWees and Unk Miller (Fifer).

So the questions we must answer are: 

  • Why are the flags placed in that open part of the cemetery every year? 
  • Does anyone know or can prove that the location of the soldiers is actually in that spot where the flags are? 
  • Does anyone have any paper record of why or how we got their names, and why we think they are in that cemetery? I have confirmed that there are NO OTHER revolutionary soldiers in that cemetery. 
  • Does anyone know anything about that long strip of land and why it was not used by the Methodist church for more burials post 1850? I know there was discussion about using it for more burials in the 2000’s, but that may have been by people who did not understand that there were bodies there already.

Please note that I have cross checked DeWees and Miller with the names of everyone who is in the church cemetery, with a headstone or not. To be clear,  I have the names of the person who owns the plots and the names of who is buried in the plots, and Miller and Dewees are not there.

So by default, if Dewees and Miller are there at Merion Square cemetery, then they have to be in the strip of land that appears empty, because the main cemetery is completely sold out, though there is room for more burials in different family plots, and the developers will have to allow these funerals and burials to continue.

The same for Off Fellows cemetery right next to Merion Square, though Odd Fellows has 361 plots that could be sold, the developer does not want more funerals and has stated that she will not sell those plots, but will allow people to be buried in the plots they currently own.

We know that the land was given to the Methodist Church in 1840 by Dr. John Anderson for the sum of $2.00
It is possible that this was because that land was already a cemetery and this made it the perfect place to put a church? Maybe this is why the church began its burials slightly apart from where the original cemetery was??

The developers have conducted their ground penetrating radar and found nothing anywhere. We have done ours and found anomalies in the ground, but nothing definitive. Shifts and changes in the dirt could be tree roots, pipes, old pieces of structures, etc.

Our radar man is coming back next week with a different machine to try again. He told us that without a coffin and with the bodies possibly being 230 years old, we may not ever find them using any type of radar. In fact we had him run a control and try to see a known 1857 grave, and it did not come up on the radar at all and we know that there was a body there. Our ground is full of clay, and this is the worst soil to use radar with. So clearly, we can now dispute the claim of the developer because it is unlikely that any radar company would find a 230 year old body buried without a coffin in clay soil. Add to that the information that many drummers and fifers were very young teens, in some cases children, and so the bodies would be smaller to begin with, and they were buried in sacks, not in coffins.

We just need any type of record to prove that Dewees and Miller are there. The Planning commission has stated that the developer must not find any bodies in that strip of land, or it will have to all be considered cemetery – and then their parking lot plan is finished. We should have as many groups as possible involved in this to prevent paving over the graves of these young heroes……

Please note that the church is not falling down or in disrepair. The John Neumann fellowship is currently renting it and wants to stay. The church has a ballroom and offices that could be rented out so to generate income to continue to maintain the cemetery, and there is also the possibility of another church group or community group buying the church, and allowing it to continue on as it was intended.

Thanks so very much.

Dr. Christine McGuire



To see more photos of graves of Odd Fellows and Gladwyne United Methodist Church please see this photo set HERE.