sleazy, alarming, scamming postcards for the circular file

Got this postcard in the mail yesterday. Didn’t look at it until today. Today, when I looked at it, I thought to myself “what is this about?”

And they of the anonymous, could be interpreted as alarming postcard, want to send crap through the mail in not even an envelope “would appreciate you keeping this matter private”?

Say what? How about oh hell no?

So I called the number 267-279-9003 and it was illegitimate “Dan” (no last name given) and “Dan” wants to buy my house says the message.

The message is long and folksy but sleazy at the same time. He tells you how he will cover all your costs etc. but nowhere in the message does he say what his company name is who is affiliated with or what his last name is. So I hit “0” and left a message worthy of George Carlin.

Obviously a scam and not accredited with the better business bureau or even a real office. Some kind of virtual mail drop.

So if you look at the front of the postcard the postage permit is actually out of Tampa, FL. So I am going with scammers. I can’t really find much out online but I did find someone on Twitter who got one a while back.

Oh! And also amusing? Postcard says THIRD NOTICE so I have to ask where are the other two notices? You see dear scammer, I am super annoying in the fact that I would have remembered receiving this fake alarming postcard more than once.

Feel free to call up “Dan” and leave him a message. I can think of no better punishment than whomever having to weed through tons of unnecessary messages. Just call 267-279–9003 and when “Dan’s” message starts to play hit 0# and leave him a message 🤣 but don’t sell him your house 🤣

Talk to the hand scammer, talk to the hand.

blips on the radar of life

Our COVID19 existence in 2020 and now 2021 has been odd, strange, and different on so many levels. Interpersonal relationships especially.

We as human beings for the most part are social creatures , unless we were already self-avowed loners and hermits, or had taken a vow of silence. COVID19 has limited and removed and changed our ability to socialize. And redefined it strangely and some people have very odd boundary definitions too.

I am more of a homebody than not. So the staying home most of the time has only gotten to me intermittently. Or has it? I keep finding house projects. This week for example, I decided I had to oil and wax polish all the old wooden chairs. I like old wood chairs, so that was a bunch…before 8:30 AM one morning.

But one thing I have noticed is I have retreated in the communication of it all. I do miss seeing people and I get tired of talking on the phone. Video chatting helps, because it provides that visual connection humans need I think in interaction. We all texted a lot before COVID19, aren’t you tired of it now some days?

Another thing I have noticed is something I first noticed after 9/11: people looking up people they hadn’t been connected to for years and in some cases, never really were connected to – they were just blips on the radar of life. I had that happen to me a couple of times just after 9/11 happened, and I even looked a couple of people up I hadn’t talked to since way before I was no longer working in NYC. I figure there must be some human psychological response to either tragedy or widespread hardship or something- that literal need to check in.

That same thing seems to be happening now during the COVID19 of it all.

I was talking to one of my essentially life long besties last night. She called to tell me about someone who had reached out to her. Literally a name I had not heard since we were 19 years old. The older guy that tested a friendship decades ago, decided to message my friend.

A long rambling message about his life, family, what his wife did for a living. And he literally lives thousands of miles away. And no one has been in touch with him since he called her in college to say he was moving and leaving that day. At the time it was kind of like “Ok bye” and no one thought of him again.

I had to laugh. As a teenager, he was one of the first older guys that I met. Again, we were 19, and he wasn’t just older he was like almost out of his 20s. So in retrospect his attention was creepy, only I don’t think this guy made the radar of our mothers because he was such a short term blip.

I met him, thought he was cute. Like any other teenage girl time in memoriam, I wanted a good friend to check him out.

I introduced them at an outside summer event. It was a club lacrosse game. There used to be lots of those back then. College age and older. Kind of like league ice hockey which still went on, at least until COVID19 hit.

I could tell this guy thought my friend was cute. I didn’t think much of it. He used to call once in a while and we would hang out, but it wasn’t so much a “summer romance”. But while he was cultivating me as a mostly occasional hang out buddy, he was also cultivating my friend. I don’t think either of us knew at first because there was no social media and well, he wasn’t that important. He was more like a cute curiosity.

Then one day I went over to the house he was renting with a bunch of guys. To hang out. It was literally the afternoon, and I had been invited. When I got there, my girlfriend was there too. And the body language was unmistakable. I remember that I pretty much had nothing to say. I literally just left the house.

That feeling from that day I never forgot, although eventually we did forget about him. It was awful, like a punch in the stomach. The adult me knows he was a random sleazy older guy who shouldn’t have been hanging out with teenage girls. The adult me knows he was just playing us both, he probably thought he was something to be doing this at the time. My friend and I got past it because well, he wasn’t important and our friendship was. But it was not a pleasant teenage experience at the time.

So we had forgotten about him until he essentially went Facebook trolling to seek out my friend. I will admit that although I am certainly no beauty queen we checked him out, laughed, and said “ewww” and put him back in the tales of teenage years past where he belongs.

But these things are happening all over. People connecting or trying to connect with people from other lifetimes, who weren’t important back then, so other than way too idle curiosity, why?

I will also note that the time of COVID19 has in general made me reflect some on who I actually want on my Facebook and Instagram. I have quietly jettisoned some people. Mostly people who I realized were drowning in the deep end of the angry crazy posting of drivel and fake news. It’s not that their opinions were different than mine, it was truthfully the anger and vitriol of what they were posting had reached the point that it was stressful and uncomfortable. So it was buh byes time.

Perhaps when we look back on these years many years hence we will laugh at these people who were blips on the radar of life. At the end of the day it’s the whole reason, season, and lifetime as far as who is in our lives. Sometimes it makes for great stories, however.

Thanks for stopping by.

file under bad things could happen in upper merion?

Now I had heard billboards wanted to come to Upper Merion (township in Montgomery County adjacent to places like Lower Merion and Radnor Township in spots best known for the King of Prussia sprawl of malls) as in those giant things they call “monuments” that are on 202 in Chester County, Quakertown, attempted on Route 100 with a “farmer’s market”, and disposition unknown in East Whiteland on Route 30, and other places.

What I didn’t know in the Upper Merion situation until this morning when somebody pointed it out is that these billboards put a park at risk. Bob White Park to be precise. Who knew?

Apparently no one reads the papers because there was an article in Main Line Media News a while back:

Upper Merion supervisors delay hearing on signs
By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-centurymedia.com @MustangMan48 on Twitter Oct 16, 2020 Updated Oct 16, 2020 Comments

📌📝UPPER MERION — Some call them signs, some call them digital billboards.

Catalyst Experiential, the company that creates mergers of “art, architecture and advertising” calls them monuments that integrate “visual communication technology with local landmarks, infrastructure, and community experience, which encompasses the display as well as the ambient light sensor and other technology.📌📝

Whether or not Upper Merion Township will welcome the monuments in parks and underutilized parcels will not be decided until Nov. 12 when Upper Merion supervisors will again consider the concept after tabling the matter at Tuesday’s meeting….📝📌

The company was proposing installations at four locations, including Bob White Park, Betzwood Bridge, 795 W. DeKalb Pike and 216 Allendale Road.📌🎂

The proposed amendment to zoning ordinances to amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance would permit and “encourage the innovative commercial use of certain lands within the Township” while establishing a township-wide communication platform.📝📌

The monument lease agreements would allow, among other things, a “proposed 30-year lease agreement with Croton Road Upper Merion Land Holdings, LLC for the lease of a portion of the property known as Bob White Park for the exclusive right to construct and maintain an off-premises advertising display subject to the terms and conditions outlined in said lease.”📝📌

Following a detailed presentation by Thaddeus Bartkowski, CEO of Catalyst Experiential, several residents voiced their concern about not having been informed about the hearing.📌📝

“All of these changes at Bob White Park are being made without any input from the residents,” said one resident. “None of us really knew until tonight what was going on. There’s lots of places to let us know … there’s social media. You could have shared the presentations with us. The workshop meetings used to be televised but they are no longer.📌📝

Interesting name cropped up if you click on article link and read the whole thing. Upper Merion has the same solicitor as East Whiteland Township, Chester County—Joe McGrory.

So again, I think the billboards are hideous and most locations in Upper Merion being proposed are locations already kind of hideous, but this whole plan for Bob White Park? Why has it gotten this far? Have Upper Merion officials lost their tiny minds?

So if I have this straight, billboard company wants to lease a portion of this park to erect a “monument” in a heavily wooded portion of park that faces the expressway? As in the Schyulkill Expressway? So maybe houses near the park wouldn’t have full on sign blast of light, merely an unhealthy glow potentially but that is not the real problem with this location is it? Isn’t the real horror of this location the potential RE-ZONING of park land to COMMERCIAL?

So OMG let me understand this: if Upper Merion re-zoned a public park to commercial land zoning wouldn’t that mean a park might not have legal protection if Jim Bob Shiny Bright Developer showed up down the road and tried to do something? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that is a dumb ass plan isn’t it?.

And apparently in return Upper Merion would get “park improvements”? Talk about sell your souls to the devil right?

So look, not my county, not my people, not my township. But fascinating in its proposed vulgarity, none the less. Upper Merion residents, I feel for you. No one likes these billboards, well except for the company who likes to build them.

guess what? politicians can’t block constituents on social media. just ask joe gale.

Oh Joe Gale. Once I thought he showed promise. But it sadly has become apparent over time that he is nuttier than a fruitcake and so divisive. He seems hell bent on his personal agenda, which also seems as clear as mud some days, doesn’t it? And I find it fascinating that he does all this while living with his mommy, and what happens when he brings a girl home? For those wondering why I write about a Montgomery County Commissioner, it’s because I spent most of my life living in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and when he was first running people I know and respect told me how wonderful he was blah, blah, blah and how he would be terrific for Montgomery County.

Wrong.

In Italy they call men like Joe Gale a mammone which literally translates to “mommy’s boy”. There have been a lot of articles written about mammoni (plural of mammone) and I find it all fascinating. Some of the articles ruminate about these guys having Peter Pan complexes. And CBS 60 Minutes even did a piece on mammoni years ago and maybe we should suggest Joe Gale for an updated piece?

Now I am not saying I have a problem with Joe because he’s young. One of our Chester County Commissioners, Josh Maxwell, is not much older than Joe Gale and somehow he manages to live on his own and is married and is an adult (and a heck of a nice guy too.) Josh became Mayor of Downingtown at 26. Sadly, Joe Gale is no Josh Maxwell.

Joe Gale doesn’t have emotional maturity, he seems instead somewhat stunted, and isn’t that sad?

Now I am not saying that the other two Montgomery County Commissioners are prizes, because oh hell to the no they are not. Montgomery County is a political swamp in need of a good draining and cleaning. And Montgomery County has surpassed the dysfunctional prizes once held by Delaware County ( see the chronicles of Delco Tom Paine before they disappear. Peter Porcupine is still a genius.)

Now if Joe Gale actually did anything for Montgomery County residents, well I probably would shut my mouth. But all he does is push his own somewhat clear as mud agenda from the comfort of mommy and daddy’s house. In June he released a very offensive statement concerning rioting, looting, and Black Lives Matter by any standards conservative or liberal in my humble opinion:

If you objected to his words, you were blocked on social media. He blocked me, which I realized on June 2, 2020 but I can’t say definitively it occured in June or before because I don’t follow him THAT closely. He’s not the first politician who has blocked me. I found myself blocked (for example) by our PA Lieutenant Governor, the Lurch-Like John Fetterman in July, 2019. Amusingly enough, I am still blocked. I just took this screenshot:

Now I don’t really care if John Fetterman blocks me. Or Joe Gale for that matter. But it is damn amusing that hater of everything non-Trumpian, Joe Gale would want to be like John Fetterman.

Anyway, constituents and others including my pal Caroline from Savvy Main Line took baby Joe to Federal Court and I applaud them:

It made for some interesting media and the Montgomery County Solicitor declined to defend Joe. Here are some of the articles I have read in the past few months:

WHYY/NPR: Hundreds rally in Montco to demand Commissioner Joe Gale’s resignation
By Zachariah Hughes June 4, 2020

Inquirer: A Montco Republican commissioner called Black Lives Matter a ‘hate group.’ Now he’s more isolated than ever.
by Allison Steele and Vinny Vella, Updated: June 18, 2020

Inquirer: Courts said President Trump can’t block constituents on Twitter. What about Montgomery County Commissioner Gale?
by Anna Orso, Posted: July 2, 2020

Pottstown Mercury: Montgomery County solicitor moves to not represent Commissioner Joe Gale in federal lawsuit
By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter Aug 19, 2020

Glenside Local: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 3rd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More Than The Curve: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale accuses fellow commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh of only social distancing for the camera May 20th, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More than the Curve: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 2nd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

North Penn Now: Local Elected Officials Sign Statement Condemning ‘Racist Remarks’ Made By Commissioner Joe Gale Keith Heffintrayer•Tue, Jun 09, 2020, 9:01 AM

WHYY/NPR: Montco commissioner faces federal lawsuit for blocking constituents on social media
By Zachariah Hughes June 30, 2020

Inquirer: In federal court settlement, Montgomery County commissioner agrees to unblock constituents on social media
by Vinny Vella, Posted: September 1, 2020

Oh one thing from 2019:

This Is Lower Merion And Narberth: Joe Gale Is Given 72 Hours To Retract And Apologize
October 13, 2019 by Gerry

Here is the court order (renamed by moi for brevity and wit):

Yes I got into PACER. First Amendment victories thrill me.

So hey this is what Joe Gale thinks of all of us:

My gosh Joe Gale, isn’t the First Amendment marvelous? I mean I know you think it should be subjective and all that but it gives you the right to literally call a divine Main Line lady, Caroline O’Halloran and the rest of us who simply do not agree with you the “Marxist Mob”. My gosh my golly I have not been referred to as anything so delightful since a white sneaker wearing tea partier spat in my face and called me a Socialist years ago (while I was a card carrying Republican, no less.)

So Joe Gale started out like a true Alex P. Keaton at 20 running for Plymouth Township Council I think it was. He lost. Ran for something again there in 2013 and withdrew. He ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2015. He has more political experience if you want to call it that, than actual work and life experience. He worked for about a year at a clerk position at Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. He then had job for three years at some developer. Briefly in 2018 he ran for Lieutenant Governor. So the job he has held the longest is Montgomery County Commissioner, but what has he actually done?

Back when he first wanted to be a Montgomery County Commissioner I found his Alex P. Keaton-ish self meh but palatable. After all considering the legions of skunks who had been Montgomery County Commissioners how bad he could be?

Well….

Let’s look at how he has approached COVID-19? Is it just me or does he act like it’s not real? And look at all the photos he poses for, including with old people which makes you wonder is he doing contact tracing? Or is anyone doing contact tracing on him?

Joe Gale’s website is a marvel of spin and oh the giggles. However, he marches all over social media angrier than Trump and that is saying something. Do they tweet to each other from the potty? Oh and his Twitter account @VoteJoeGalePA says “Joe Gale’s Personal Twitter Account. This is Not a Public Platform or Official Government Page.” Oh alrighty Joe and I have a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn….but I digress….

A First Amendment victory against petty political tyrants like Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is to be celebrated. However, I have zero sympathy for anyone in Montgomery County if you let this mammone get re-elected.

This post is brought to you by my First Amendment rights. If you live in Montgomery County, do yourself a favor and DON’T vote Joe Gale whenever he’s up again or for whatever he tries to run for next. Mail him some new binkies and call it a day. Or demand he gets recalled. There has to be a process for that somewhere right?

And all you loverly politicians out there who like to block constituents in Chester County? This ruling against Joe Gale is a very much more local not so distant legal precedent.

Peace out.

#saveeasttown

I love old maps, don’t you? This is an 1870s map above and at bottom of the post, is one from around 1912. Both maps are of Easttown Township. I have several good friends who live there and many others who used to live there who are concerned about the pace of development and things in the Easttown Township, Chester County. Everything seems shall we say, developer driver and hey is term limits something they should consider for certain boards and elected positions?

Anyway, there is a renewed effort to save Easttown from itself…err I mean the township and connected parties, if I am being delicate enough? I am just posting this and interested parties can draw their own conclusions. It’s a shame that all of the investigative reporters seem to have evaporated because at a minimum Easttown’s government and boards make good theater. They also don’t seem to like recorded meetings, sunshine, or any resident who disagrees with them or doesn’t suck up.

Easttown seems to be a township governed by petty tyranny and those with limited imagination. Oh and they won’t like this opinion but thank you Baby Jesus and the First Amendment for allowing me to be bitchy when the spirit moves me. (The spirit is moving me.)

If you would like to join these concerned residents to #SaveEasttown, please do.

Here are pertinent emails for Easttown: joram@easttown.org, mheppe@easttown.org, bfadem@easttown.org, mwacey@easttown.org, bdantonio@easttown.org, easttown@easttown.org

I don’t know who the township manager is right now, website says ebriggs@easttown.org

Here are the names of the members of the planning commission and when their terms expire:

Term Expires 
Mary Hashemi, Chair2022
Ann Rothmann, Vice Chair2023
Mark Stanish2022
Nik Kharva2021
Paul Salvaggio2020

Here are the members of the Zoning Hearing Board:

Members

NameTerm Expires
William F. Connor, III, Esq., Chair2020
William H. Howard, Esq.2021
Michael J. Tierney, Esq.2022
Roman J Koropey, Esq.2020
Larry “Buzz” Wood, Esq.2020

All of this lovely information can be found on Easttown’s pokey pony website.

facebook and censorship…. as in is facebook practicing censorship?

Yes (and unbelievably), Facebook is removing my gardening blog posts.

As my readers know I also write a gardening blog called the nightgown gardener. I started that blog because my readers asked me to have a blog just about gardening. I don’t make money off of it, I don’t get special favors because of it, it’s just writing about gardening. Like this blog I pay for it to be ad free.

As my readers know gardening is a passion of mine. So I share my knowledge and my tips and my sources and my resources and photos of my actual garden on this blog.

The times we live in gardening is a happy thing. It brings you closer to the earth, it brings you peace of mind , it lets you express yourself artistically and even grow your own food. and I have been sharing my garden rating since I started doing it both on this blog and my gardening specific blog.

Writing about gardening is not controversial it’s nice. And we need more nice in this world. So why on earth is Facebook censoring me? I don’t have the answer to that question but they are censoring me. For some unknown reason, starting yesterday, they started REMOVING and BANNING anything I had written about GARDENING.

Meanwhile Facebook allows cybercrimes to occur daily like cyber stalking and cyber harassment and fake news and heck even porn to pollute it. They allow racist propaganda and all sorts of other nasty things that you can think of yet they ban happy things like writing about gardening?

It makes NO sense. I am not a monetized blogger I don’t even promote my blog post with Facebook ads. I just share what I’m doing in my garden on my garden blog . And somehow that is a bad thing?

Facebook and their algorithms are all sorts of screwed up. And there is no one you can contact or talk to about this. Well I’m not taking this line down.

Their algorithms are actually in fact practicing censorship, then they need a serious makeover.

Mark Zuckerberg I know you won’t be reading my blog because you don’t care about anything other than all the money you are making, but you should you say you wanna make the world a better place and gardening is one of those things that accomplishes that.

Facebook is wrong here. They had this issue in March.

Yes, in Facebook’s fakakta wisdom, sharing about gardening is bad. Maybe they should fix their algorithms and “weed” out the bugs.

#EpicFail #FacebookHatesGardening #FacebookHatesGardeners

Below are posts Facebook removed. Please give them a read and I’m curious if you all think they go against “community standards“?

this and that

facebook hates gardeners now?

frost report

wandering the garden

welcome to my homeless plant encampment

Of course part of me wonders if Facebook has a problem with WordPress all of a sudden? At the end of the day I don’t really care why it’s happening I only know it shouldn’t be happening. Gardening and cooking are happy things in a world that is filled with COVID-19 nastiness right now.

Here’s hoping Facebook gets their act together.

sometimes people should just stop picking at other people. this is one of those times.

I swear there is a meme for everything and this one is pretty much perfect. Why am I posting this? Because some people just floor me on social media. Facebook especially.

Backstory: a few years ago when I had my first knee surgery, I was literally just home from the hospital and practically still drooling from the anesthesia. Sitting in a daze in bed, I was mindlessly looking through social media on my tablet. I noticed this one woman posting comments on my Facebook timeline that I just didn’t want to deal with. So I didn’t say anything, I just deleted the comments. After all, your personal Facebook page is like your virtual house, right?

So the woman whose comment I had removed posted another comment in the same vein. There I was practically drooling like you can do after surgery and anesthesia and I wondered what alternate reality I was living in that this woman wouldn’t just get I probably didn’t want to deal with this? I made a decision. I deleted the new comment and quietly unfriended the woman and went to sleep.

Unfriending this person was not something I wanted to do. But when I was still sitting in bed the next day scrolling through Facebook still somewhat dazed post surgery, I knew it was the right decision. Why? Because she took the argument of the deleted comments and moved them essentially to another woman’s Facebook page (whom I also knew – ironically I introduced them to one and other) and sat there talking about me like I couldn’t see it. Kind of like they were talking on the phone only it was all playing out on Facebook. It was crazy and I decided, sanity and maturity should prevail, and I just blocked both of them so I wouldn’t have to see their online brand of crazy in the future.

Still part of me felt bad. I had known the one woman for many years. But knowing her was sometimes exhausting. The other woman was always just kind of sad always striving to belong. Also exhausting. I sent both women a note explaining why I had decided to distance. I figured I’d make one last attempt at salvaging the relationships. I explained to them I just had surgery and I didn’t want to deal with any of this right now. But if they wanted to talk about it, explain what they didn’t understand, and I would try to listen. Need list to say, that didn’t happen never heard from either, and I went on about my life. I wish I could say I missed either woman, but I don’t.

I especially don’t miss people who act like this while experiencing a global pandemic. Life is kind of stressful enough right now. What I didn’t expect was that they would do this again to someone else. I sadly thought this behavior was because of me. But it’s just them.

A very nice woman who is a very close friend has literally just had a similar experience with these two over the past couple of days. My friend had posted on HER Facebook timeline that it really bothered her that people including the President keep referring to COVID19 as the “Chinese Virus.” She said she found it offensive. In my opinion she’s not wrong.

No matter what your opinion is, my friend said it on her timeline. It’s kind of like when a lot of us don’t judge the women in menopause posting the Nametest things all of the time that says they wish they were pregnant again or what movie star they think they look like. Their thing, not ours.

To be clear, viruses do not know borders and even the CDC Director Robert Redfield agrees with this point. To keep saying that over and over puts Chinese Americans and other Asians in Jeopardy much like what happened with the Italians and Japanese during World War II and the internment camps in this country. Or the Irish need not apply campaigns and signs you would see in shop windows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s kind of like referring to the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century as the “Spanish flu”. The virus didn’t actually originate in Spain that might’ve been one of the first places that documented it in newspapers. The COVID19 virus exploded in China, but there is no absolute that it is the true country of origin for the virus.

Well the woman I removed from my timeline a few years ago, of course had to argue with my friend. My friend politely asked her to kind of stop, and sadly that didn’t happen. So my friend just quietly unfriended her and blocked her and removed the comments. Below is the comment that finally made my friend have enough.

Now you would think that would have been the end of it. But sadly no, the other woman I had removed from my circle of friends a few years ago for chiming in where it wasn’t her concern did so again. Seriously:

So my friend unfriended and blocked the other one too. I truly am stunned at how pig ignorant people can be. It’s like these women have this whole tag team of nastiness, which is truly sad.  I wonder if either one of them gets it yet that more and more people distance themselves from these two all of the time. They are having social distancing practiced on them as a matter of keeping one’s sanity.

My friend wasn’t “slamming” the President. She was specifically referring to a term in this whole coronavirus world we live in that she found offensive.

Given the times we currently live in and everything that everyone is going through, wouldn’t you think that these two women would have better things to do than to argue and spread vitriol? What do they gain with these little Facebook games?

I am really sorry that this happened to my friend too. I remember how upsetting I found it briefly at the time. It’s like this whole sense of betrayal when people are so nasty. Then you realize no one is worth that crap.

Look, OK, we probably all have a more than small dose of cabin fever at this point. We are living our lives in a way we’ve never had to live them before. But when I look at what those who live through World War II have to say it just sort of gives you a whole new perspective.

 I can’t make people be kinder to one another. And I’m sure some will have comments about what I have written today. It’s just one of the many things I am thinking about because face it, we all have so much time to think right now. And perhaps that is part of the problem. I don’t think some people are comfortable with their thoughts.

But I don’t understand with all that we have to deal with why these two women persist in doing this? All they are doing is isolating themselves further from people within their community and showing the world how unhappy they are. And that’s the thing that we are also discovering through all of this staying at home and self isolation: we are not islands unto ourselves after all. Humans need human contact and community, and it takes a global pandemic to realize it. So try being nicer, right?

I have always maintained that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It would be nice if right now with our every day lives up-ended indefinitely if we could try to make it more of a blessing than a curse.

If something annoys you or you don’t agree with it, you don’t have to leave a comment every time. Sometimes you can just scroll past it. That way people don’t fight and friendships remain intact during a very difficult time.

Try to be kind today.

ex-supervisors in west vincent be like….seeing dead people

When there is an election coming in West Vincent you can always rest assured that the same old political bullsheit will surface. Oh yes, bad words…please alert the potty mouth police. (Yes, sarcasm, we are talking about West Vincent, after all.)

Take the letter above. Written by Vomitorious Ralph err…that suave Country Squire former Lower Merion Township resident and political operative , former West Vincent Supervisor…David Brown.

Hence, elections in West Vincent are like seeing dead people…err former politicians desperately seeking relevance.

(Yessss people…..Buckle up West Vincent between now and Election Day it will be CRAY CRAY…..)

Time to resurrect Chickenman archives?

The largest irony about reading this letter? Wondering if it’s autobiographical to the author’s cronies and their days gone by?

I mean come on now really Mr. Brown? My goodness. If you were Pinocchio 🤥 would you be able to hold your head up now?

You can always count on West Vincent to be super nasty at election time. I have experienced it personally and have saved the screen shots to prove it. Cyber bullying, cyber harassing, the dickitude factor runs high.

I fully expect they will attack me again because oh my gosh my golly I don’t like the crap that spews out of West Vincent every single election season.

If you want the tea and scones administration to return, by all means be of the sheeple and for the sheeple and vote sheeple. Sara Shirk is your gal.

But if you want a nice man who is thoughtful and caring and honest, then vote for George Dulchinos.

Otherwise it’s the Handmaids Tale….

the main line…..where it is…and where people think it should because

bhyy5444212734578990986

File under things that drive me crazy. Not everything some developer’s marketing team labels as “Main Line” today is actually the Main Line…nor does it have to be.

One of my favorite quotes about this appeared on Facebook recently:

Die hards stick to the Original Main Line. Realtors and blow in’s want everything within 40 miles called the Main Line.

The Main Line refers to the towns between Overbrook and Paoli as per the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Malvern and Frazer are Chester County (for example) and should be delighted to be that. Realtors peddling new development are baptizing Malvern as Main Line the way they have already done with Chester Springs where they call what is actually Downingtown Chester Springs because they don’t think anyone would like living in Downingtown. Or saying Newtown Square is the Main Line also isn’t technically true. Newtown Square is Newtown Square and lovely in it’s own right.

Sad but true.  Some even try to say Exton, Blue Bell, and Chester Springs are also the Main Line. Now hell, we know Chester Springs proper isn’t the Main Line every time when the nouveau Main Line heads west for Chester County Day and Chester Springs homes are on the tour (like last year) and folks don’t know how to drive (or park) on our roads or how to be polite in the houses…but I digress…

People. Learn your railroad history.  It is how these towns were built.

The Philadelphia Main Line, known simply as the Main Line, is an informally delineated historical and socially pretentious and ridiculous region of suburban Philadelphia, as freaking created by old railroad lines. These towns became more cohesive along the Pennsylvania Railroad’s once prestigious “Main Line”, which ran northwest from Center City Philadelphia parallel to Route 30 (Lancaster Ave to some Lancaster Pike to some Lincoln Highway to others.)

The railroad first connected Philadelphia to the Main Line towns in the 19th century.

They became home to sprawling country estates and hotels belonging to Philadelphia’s wealthiest families, and over the decades became a bastion of “old money”.  People built their summer homes out here at that point.  In the 18th century wealthy Philadelphians summered in places like Fairmount Park.  In the 19th century the railroads moved them further west.

Seriously, don’t forget there were grand hotels too.  One is what is now the Baldwin School was once the Bryn Mawr Hotel. As per Baldwin:

Baldwin School, Former Historic Bryn Mawr HotelAfter the Civil War, Bryn Mawr was a popular spot for Philadelphians to come to escape the summer heat.  Of  the many hotels and boarding houses in Bryn Mawr, the one that aided most in its development was the Bryn Mawr Hotel or Keystone Hotel, as it was also known, built in 1871. This grand summer resort was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was located in the countryside just north of the station. The four-story masonry building was designed by Joseph Miller Wilson. The hotel had 350 rooms, a fashionable polychromatic slate mansard roof, and an enormous veranda. The hotel’s amenities included: gas lights, bath tubs, the first elevator on the main line, a “ten-pin alley”, first quality mattresses and one bathroom on every floor. This splendor was destroyed by a disastrous fire which broke out in October 11, 1887 at 6:30 a.m. Most of the building was destroyed by the time Philadelphia fire engines arrived by railroad gondola car.

A second Bryn Mawr Hotel was built on the site in 1890 by a neighborhood syndicate. This new, four-story, granite structure was designed by acclaimed architect Frank Furness, of Furness, Evans & Co. The Hotel was inspired by the Chateau de Pierrefonds, a 16th century French chateau, and contained the latest technologies, including steam heat and electric light. From 1896 to 1913 the hotel hosted its own annual horse show that drew high society Philadelphians. The new Furness designed building cost the promoters half a million dollars.  Half of this amount was obtained by sale of stock and half through the sales of bonds.  The stock never paid a cent of dividend, and when the bonds finally came due, the group could not pay the interest.  The mortgage was foreclosed and with this, the hotel stopped operations.  Later the building was bought by the Baldwin School for Girls.

Read the 1891 article from The Illustrated American about the Bryn Mawr Hotel

The Main Line has this fabled history. I lived there until a few years ago.  My parents moved us there when I was about 12.  So yeah, I know the history.  In some regards I think I lived there in the sunset of it’s greatness.   The Main Line as it exists today I find distasteful and gauche sometimes because well, the nouveau Main Line neither gets nor appreciates nor really cares about the actual history.

Until the railroads, the Main Line was a lot of country. Farms, quarries, mills, even factories.  It became genteel versus rural/copuntry living by it’s very history.  The Pennsylvania Railroad and 19th century real estate developers and speculators truthfully get the credit here.

Like Wayne, PA which was essentially a developer planned community of it’s day.  Don’t believe me? Visit the Radnor Historical Society Website.  Here is a photo of a real estate brochure they have on their website from when Wayne was being developed:

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Courtesy Radnor Historical Society

People just don’t know the history any longer. Like this ad also courtesy of the Radnor Historical Society:

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Another real estate advertisement courtesy of Radnor Historical Society

There were SO many hotels up and down the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Like the Bellevue Hotel which burned to the ground in 1900:

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The Bellevue Hotel circa 1895 courtesy of Radnor Historical Society.

Or…

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Waynewood Hotel courtesy of the Radnor Historical Society

One of my favorites which no longer exists? The Devon Inn.

The Devon Inn is (I think) where part of Valley Forge Military Academy now exists.
Your Town and My Town Archives Courtesy of Radnor Historical Society
Devon Inn, Bryn Mawr Hotel, Valley Forge Military Academy
SEPTEMBER 10, 1954 / EMMA C. PATTERSON

….So it was with Devon Inn, a brief history of which was given in the series on large fires which have occurred in this vicinity in past years. In the early morning hours of January 18, 1929, this famous Main Line hostelry burned to the ground. The pictures illustrating today’s column show two views of the Inn as it appeared in its heyday. They were sent to your columnist by James L. Kercher, of Conestoga road, soon after the story of the fire appeared in “Your Town and My Town” in the spring of 1952. The reverse side of this picture postcard of the Devon Inn describes it as the “social center or the Main Line,” located in “beautiful Chester Valley” and “open from May to December.”

….Among its attractions they list the Devon Horse Show, polo matches, kennel show, Rose Tree Horse Show, Belmont trotting event, Chesterbrook races, Bryn Mawr Horse Show and Devon fancy cattle show. And these are not all, for the list continues with the Horse Show Ball, Spring flower show, golf and tennis, private theatricals, Bal Masque, Autumn flower show, auto exhibition, the County Ball and Devon Inn’s beautiful Japanese Floral Cafe. This cafe was evidently located on one of the Inn’s wide porches…The history of this old inn is an interesting one. The original structure, called the Devon Park Hotel, had been built in 1876 to house the overflow of visitors to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Three years later, fire destroyed the first building, but it was replaced soon after by a larger and more ornate structure, erected on the same site. This is the one shown in today’s picture.

For some years there was great rivalry between the Devon Inn and the Bryn Mawr Hotel for the patronage of fashionable Philadelphia summer boarders. Located on the site of what is now the Baldwin School, the Bryn Mawr Hotel was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. This rivalry ended in a complete victory for the Devon Inn, when the Devon Horse Show made its initial bow. The show immediately became a nationally famous event, with entries and visitors from all over the United States. The socially elite from New York and the Long Island Colony, from Boston, Chicago and many other cities throughout the country filled the Devon hostelry to capacity each horse show season.

When the Bryn Mawr Hotel burned to the ground, the Devon Inn lost its only serious rival….

Most people don’t even remember there was ever a Devon Inn, which is why my friend Michael Morrison’s lecture at Jenkins Arboretum a couple of years ago was so popular.

Devon Inn circa 1900 postcard

Image from Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society

When this topic of what the Main Line actually is and what the actual historical boundaries are crops up on social media, someone always leaves a conversation feeling offended.

Sorry not sorry but Malvern isn’t and never will be the Main Line.  As I have said before, it’s Chester County and everyone in the Malvern area should be ok with it as Malvern already has a wonderful identity and history.

There is this booklet called Plan The Keystone which has a lot of great history in it (05.30.19 – Booklet – History of Paoli Station):

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But marketing being the illusion maker that it is creeps in even in the 1963 Franklin Survey Company publication:

Duffy Real Estate actually has a quirky but fairly accurate Main Line History page:

In 1828, the Pennsylvania legislature authorized the construction of the railroad between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. This was known as the “Main Line” of the Public Works system. This, in turn, caused the development of the surrounding area.

After the Civil War, track improvements were sought and new station houses were erected to include more stops along the line. In recognition of the heritage of the areas along the rail line, many stations were given English and Welsh names, such as Narberth, Ardmore and Bryn Mawr.

Many changes were made to the rail route and so the Commonwealth purchased lots surrounding the rail line with stipulations on setbacks and improvements to the land next to the station houses. In Bryn Mawr, it stated that the building of “hotels, taverns, drinking saloons, blacksmiths, carpenter or wheelwright shops, steam mills, tanneries, slaughterhouses, skindressing establishments, livery stables, glue, candle or starch manufactories, or other buildings of offensive occupation” was prohibited.

The result was “a complete picture of suburban comfort and elegance with wide avenues and roomy and open ornamental grounds, spacious lots for building and homes of more than ordinary architectural tastes.” These new homes served as the summer residences for many affluent families. The Main Line was now established.

The Pennsylvania Railroad promoted this area in brochures describing the “opportunities provided by the railroad for ‘summer sojourns’ away from the city and the desirability and convenience of suburban living.”

When we were growing up there was this little thing we did to remember the order of the train stations.  Old Maids Never Wed And Have Babies. Overbrook, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr.  You can find this mentioned here on this blog which I find amusing because they say they think the ditty ends with Bryn Mawr Station because it was thought of possibly by a Bryn Mawr College girl. This blog is called Philadelphia Reflections and I love it because they write about the most interesting stuff!

One of my dear friend’s grandfathers was an executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad.  He moved his family from the city to Haverford near Merion Cricket Club.  The road they settled on had several homes built as a direct result of the railroad.  Like many of the homes in Wayne, it was desirable because one could walk to the train station.

Growing up, we never thought the Main Line was one centimeter past Paoli…because we knew the history.  Today it’s like saying you are from Greenwich, Connecticut or similarly affluent and storied suburbs.  Or even what defines Manhattan, versus living in the other boroughs of New York City but saying you live in Manhattan.

Pennsylvania Center for the Book: Philadelphia’s Main Line: It’s Not Just a Place – It’s a Lifestyle  By Casey Murray, Spring 2014

The mansion stood at the end of a half-mile long drive, in the midst of 750 acres. The estate was magnificent, to say the least. It had been erected in 1911, in the style of the Georgian Revival, and was crafted by the prolific architect Horace Trumbauer – designer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Duke University Chapel, and the main Harvard University Library, to name just a few. The façade of the manor was classic “old money” – adorned with brick, accented with ornate cream molding, and finished with large traditional sash windows….Too good to be true? A fairytale perhaps? Surely, a scene from a movie? Well, yes… and no. Because not even MGM, the esteemed motion picture conglomerate, would believe it. The mansion, Villanova’s Ardrossan estate, was the inspiration for 1940s The Philadelphia Story, and has since been dubbed by the Philadelphia Inquirer a “house so grand, even Tinseltown had to tone it down.” The house in question, however, is very much real, as is the lifestyle that comes with it.

But Ardrossan is only one small portion of the prestigious and affluent area known as the Main Line. Situated just west of Philadelphia, it is comprised of the seventeen different towns in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties – each of which is connected by the railroad, and the area’s namesake, the Main Line…..These estates and their residents have come to define the Main Line. But what does that mean? With the birth of the Main Line in the late 1800s, there also came “an extreme type of class-consciousness. The flood of wealth that created American family fortunes in the late 19th century settled around a handful of cities and was expressed in different forms of conspicuous consumption and elaborate social behaviour,” writes Ian Irvine in the Sunday Telegraph. Irvine compares Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Philadelphia’s Main Line to call attention to the grandeur associated with the area; but that’s where the similarities end. “In more traditional… Philadelphia, however, society turned almost feudal, almost English in its attitudes – ‘old’ money and ‘old’ families counted for everything. The very term WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) was coined to describe members of Philadelphia society,” a term popularized by University of Pennsylvania professor E. Digby Baltzell. And an appropriate term it was….Nowadays not every Main Liner may live like a Scott, but the expectation to act like one endures. As Betty Feeney and Julia Lorenz Gaskill noted in 1955: “the Main Line is a way of life which both its natives and newcomers tend to view as the best this side of Paradise.”

The lure of the Main Line as well as the lore of the Main Line. I still find it crazy.  And I for all intents and purposes grew up there. It’s only the Magic Kingdom if you can really afford it and I often wonder how many can actually afford it versus the great pretenders? I lived there for so long because it was where I called home from the age of 12 into my 40s.  And yes, I always knew I would probably eventually leave not for anything else than it keeps getting more expensive and if you are realistic you have to ask is the Main Line really worth it?  

Back to history, this time courtesy of the Lower Merion Historical Society:

The Philadelphia & Columbia Railway

A Ride on The Main Line. The War of 1812 had ended and the country was expanding by extending its borders westward. New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia were the major seaports which stood to benefit the most in trade to the west. The road system could not handle the increased traffic so we entered into the age of canals, which offered faster service and were cheaper to operate.

New York built the Erie Canal which joined the Hudson River with Lake Erie, thus providing a through waterway from New York City to the Great Lakes. The Erie Canal opened in 1825.

Maryland, replacing their National Road, began the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which connected Baltimore with the Ohio River.

As a counter measure, Pennsylvania decided that it wanted to develop its own canal system linking Philadelphia to the frontier city of Pittsburgh and authorized its construction. But when the survey was made, it was found that there was not enough water in the right places for a canal between the Delaware and the Susquehanna Rivers.

In March 1823, the Pennsylvania State Legislature issued a charter for the first railroad in the state. It authorized the construction of an 82 mile railway, from Philadelphia through Lancaster, terminating at Columbia (on the Susquehanna River), as part of the “Main Line of Public Works of the State of Pennsylvania.” The nickname, “The Main Line,” derived from this early Pennsylvania railroad…A Government Venture. The Philadelphia & Columbia Railway was one of the earliest railroads in America and the first in the world to be built by a government rather than by private enterprise. The contracts for the work were granted by the Canal Commission, under whose supervision the line was operated. Considered a public toll road, individuals and companies paid tolls to the Commission for use of the rails. They also supplied their own horses, rolling stock and passenger or freight facilities.

The Philadelphia & Columbia Railway finally became operational on September 1832, with carts and wagons dragged by horse power on a 20-mile section which began in Philadelphia (at Broad and Vine Streets) and ended at Green Tree Inn, west of Paoli….More than any other person or entity, it was the Pennsylvania Railroad that built the Main Line. For 111 years, its trains linked Lower Merion with Philadelphia and the nation. Even today, three decades after the railroad merged with a rival, the Pennsylvania’s legacy continues to shape life in the township.

The Pennsylvania Railroad began its long association with the Main Line when it purchased the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad from the state in 1857. At that time, there were only three stops in Lower Merion: Libertyville (serving modern Narberth and Wynnewood), Athensville (now Ardmore) and White Hall (Bryn Mawr). For a little over a decade, the Pennsylvania concentrated on rebuilding the line and developing long distance traffic. As late as 1869, the railroad operated only a handful of local trains along the Main Line.

So…look at the dates referenced by The Lower Merion Historical Society.  1832. Duffy’s Cut anyone? (Duffy’s Cut is the name given to a stretch of railroad tracks about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, United States, originally built for the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in the summer and fall of 1832. The line later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line. Railroad contractor Philip Duffy hired 57 Irish immigrants to lay this line through the area’s densely wooded hills and ravines. The workers came to Philadelphia from the Ulster counties of Donegal, Tyrone and Derry to work in Pennsylvania’s nascent railroad industry. They were murdered.)

And just so we are clear, I am not some old Main Line trust fund baby.  We lived there because my parents decided to move us there as we got older for access to better schools and a way of life that included being able to play outside whenever we wanted.  However, where I grew up was close to where one of my great-grandmothers was in service.  Rebecca Nesbitt Gallen.  She was a summer housekeeper for the Cassatt family (think Merion Cricket Club) at their Cheswold Estate.   Of course Alexander Cassatt was also famous for his Chesterbrook Farm in Berwyn.  We of course know Chesterbrook today as the giant development that popped the cherry of suburban density development.  It’s hard to believe that Chesterbrook today was once a glorious 600+ acre farm, right?

Photo source: Pinterest

And yes, Chesterbrook Farm was in Berwyn…yet Chesterbrook the development today has a Wayne post office zip code. Yup even Chesterbrook wasn’t o.k. where it really was, was it?

Technically Chesterbrook although it has a Wayne post office zip code isn’t Main Line. In my opinion, it probably got the Wayne zip code to make it marketable as Main Line when the development was built.  The fight over the Chesterbrook Development went all the way to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. Chesterbrook is I think actually over 800 acres if you count the other land parcels that went into it.  I still view it as planned development at it’s worst.  My late mother in law was one of the many, many residents who fought it for years.
(From Lower Merion Historical Society) Chesterbrook retells the story of Wayne for the 20th century
Finding homes for people drawn here by technology isn’t anything new

By David Schmidt
Special to Main Line Life

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That could apply directly to two very dissimilar areas of Radnor today. But each was a result of technology creating a need and ambitious men filling it. Although they don’t look the same at all, each was its century’s response to changes caused by technology.

In the late 19th century, the railroad had opened up the western suburbs for white-collar workers who wanted to escape the filth and disease of the city. It’s almost impossible today to imaging just how dangerous it was living in a large city and that didn’t even include crime.

Infant mortality was rife, and often mothers died in childbirth or from infections afterwards. Influenza today dreaded mostly for its discomfort killed tens of thousands each year. Men died young, maimed and broken in brutal factories. Everything was dirty, both from the coal smoke that permeated every space and from the animals which were ubiquitous.

But the trains made it possible for people to live and work in different places. After the railroad barons moved themselves along the Main Line, building monstrous estates, it was time for the middle class. The first development in Radnor designed to bring folks from the city was a 300-acre estate belonging to J. Henry Askins. Called Louella Farms, it was named after his two daughters, Louise and Ella.

In 1869 he began building houses some of which remain on Bloomingdale Ave. in Wayne clearly designed for middle-class families. But he was really too early, although he did create a community of sorts. The farm lay alongside the Main Line tracks. His mansion, also called Louella is now the Louella Apartments.

This was the center for further development in what would become Wayne. Askins liked the feudal nature of his “community” and encouraged development of other facilities south of Louella and the train tracks. This resulted in the Presbyterian Church, the Opera House and the Post Office, all built between 1870 and 1874….

A century later, transportation technology did it all over again. In the mid-1960s the state announced that it was turning Rt. 202, a two-lane highway running south from King of Prussia into a limited access four-lane highway. Radnor officials knew that meant urban sprawl was coming to Philadelphia’s far suburbs….The Fox Companies didn’t build everything, but they developed and controlled it. “The scale was large enough for two or more companies for construction and retailing,” he says. “Part of what we wanted to do was create a community with a physical and social sense, and landscaping is very important for that…..The original idea was to have a mix of housings. “We wanted teachers and cops to be able to afford to live here, for instance,” he says. “Unfortunately the economic realities of what happened to housing prices in the 1970s defeated that.” There are still different styles and price ranges grouped together, so that the 2700 units seems more to be clumps of housing.

As part of a plan to help control the tide of growth Radnor created a unified development area on a 1000-acre plot alongside the highway. This meant that the rules as to density of population and other zoning and regulatory issues would be worked to encourage controlled development. The Fox Companies, headed by Dick Fox, bought up most of the land and although there were several parcels of land, by far the largest was Alexander Cassatt’s “country place,”Chesterbrook. Farm” He named the development for Cassatt’s farm.

Chesterbrook is a mixed development, with office buildings, several types and styles of houses and townhouses and open spaces.”Issues such as schools, open space, traffic and roads were defined to help counter urban sprawl,” according to Jim Hovey, president of The Fox Companies. “Cassatt’s farm was owned by a company owned by Bill Levitt, Jr. son of the creator of Levittown. The Fox Companies were able to acquire three of the four packages of land.

Yeah, I know this has been quite the ramble. But I just don’t think Chester County needs to be completely annexed to the freaking Main Line. It’s preposterous.  Stick to the history. It tells you the boundaries.  And yes, there are several towns (and townships) that have parts of themselves which are part of the Main Line historically, although not in their entirety. Like parts of Chester County.  Chester County has a rich history that is far more interesting than the mere history of the Main Line which was created by the railroads.

I will close with this funny as hell map of the Main Line I found on Pinterest.  It is by a local artist and graphic designer named Barb Chotiner. She lives in Narberth…which is another place with it’s own unique and lovely history, yet it is part of the Main Line by history.

Thanks for stopping by….writing today as always from beautiful Chester County, PA. (NOT the Main Line.)

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The Main Line as envisioned by Barbara Chotiner of Narberth PA