tales of bacton hill: elwood michael

Elwood’s greenhouse and tool shed. (1970s?)
Claude Bernardin photo

Today I received an e-mail from former East Whiteland/Bacton Hill resident, Mark Lanser. Today he has generously shared his recollections of Elwood Michael who was one of the local and beloved characters once upon a time.

These oral histories of everyday, ordinary folks are just as important to the fabric of the history of an area as our Revolutionary war heroes and the famous who passed through. The photos are from artist and former resident Claude Bernardin.

Enjoy!

🔏📍As I have a few moments I’ll share with you a bit about Elwood Michael. You have a picture that Claude supplied of his cabin on one of your past blogs.

Elwood told me he came to Bacton with his brother from Phoenixville along with his brother in a covered wagon in 1910.

All I know of Elwood was that he was basically a tenant farmer.

When I first met him as a little kid he was employed by Mary Cain to take care of the farm at the corner of Spring Valley & Bacton Hill Rd. I think he may have lived on the farm for a while. He also was farming a piece of ground at the top of Bacton Hill where Valley Hill Rd. intersects. That was on the left side as you went up the hill.

Elwood had a old Fordson tractor one of the gray & red ones. He had a sister who gave him a few cars over the years. A black 1941 Ford 2 door sedan (my dad bought it from him) a black Plymouth 4 door (1950 I think) and a light blue 1955 Ford 2 door sedan. Elwood would end up ruining them by driving them through the fields he plowed.

His cabin had two rooms. One had a large cook stove which was a wood burner. Besides cooking it was his only source of heat.

The other room was his bedroom/living room. It had one light bulb in the ceiling. No other lights in the place. He had 3 dressers stacked on top of each other. You needed a ladder to get to the top one.

He had a rooster named Pete who was an ornery cuss. You always had to be on the look out as he would come after you on your blind side.

He had two dogs. One was an Airedale named Jackie. Another smaller one was a black & white dog. I don’t remember it’s name. Elwood would tell us he kept a rattlesnake there but it got out of its cage so we better keep a look out.

Elwood had half his teeth missing, a few days of beard and smelled like smoke. At times he would show up at our house and others conveniently at dinner time. We knew he needed a meal and always asked him to stay. Often he would end up falling asleep. We would go to bed and he would be gone in the morning.

The next evening we would find a gallon of apple cider on the porch as a thank you. Sometimes when he needed a ride he would get on our school bus and he would get dropped off along out bus route. Can you imagine doing that now?

To help our neighbors he once drug old logs out of the woods from alongside the field he plowed at Valley Hill road. He drug them down Bacton Hill with his tractor and lined the one side of Kirby’s driveway as it had a steep bank on the one side.

Another time he took an old wood stove from the now abandoned green house on the Mary Cain farm and took it over to the Mannigsmith’s who lived just below Bacton Hill Rd. On Rt.401. He installed it in their spring house complete with a stove pipe chimney which of course he cut a hole in the roof to install it. Mr Manningsmith while appreciative of his thoughtfulness would have rather been asked first.

My brothers and I had gotten rides with Elwood over to a Baptist church in Charlestown Twp. He would stop along Rt. 29 at Mrs. Markley’s (KD Markley Elementary School) to get his water from her spring along side the road.

Sunday morning Elwood would put on his top hat and blow his bugle to get everyone up on the hill to go to church. He continued to farm and died on his old Fordson tractor while plowing the field along Valley Hill Road. He had a heart attack. I think he was 76 years old. I don’t know the exact date. My brother at some point is going to check into that. It was around 1966.

He was quite a character and helped make our childhood growing up on Bacton Hill unique and memorable. Hope you enjoy some of my memories.

~Mark Lanser🔏📍

Elwood’s two room shack. Claude Bernardin submitted photo. All of these old photos in this post are from his personal collection.

more tales of bacton hill

The farmhouse demolished a couple of years ago on Bacton Hill Road for development of houses yet to be built.

One of my favorite bits of Chester County, which is in my opinion completely under recorded and insufficiently remembered for what it represents is the area in Frazer, East Whiteland, Chester County known as Bacton Hill. That is where my favorite ruin, Ebenezer AME is located on Bacton Hill Road. Ebenezer was a very early AME church, and Bishop Richard Allen was still alive when the Quaker, James Malin, deeded the land to the AME Church so Ebenezer could be built. The origins of the AME Church go back to the Free African Society which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. Richard Allen was born a slave in 1760. He was owned and then freed by Benjamin Chew.

Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (East Whiteland) is a sacred and historic place. It’s no secret I have written about this place for years.

As referenced above, the AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816. So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia. Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.

Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.

Without active preservation there will come a time that all which will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also what will survive will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.

Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened. Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place. (See Juneteenth post for more.)

Bacton Hill was an early freed black settlement and not just important in Frazer, East Whiteland, but Chester County. It has always been of historic import, yet it never made it to a historic district.

Today I am sharing some memories of Bacton Hill from former resident, Mark Lanser. He grew up with artist Claude Bernadin, whose memories and photos I shared before.

Here is Mark in his own words:

📌Just wanted to share a bit of my memories growing up on Bacton Hill. I am not sure of what be of interest. I have memories which some may be bit fuzzy but I believe they are mostly intact.

We : my parents Richard & Norma and my 4 brothers Rick, Chris, Scott & Elliott. I was number two son between Rick & Chris. The area before Rt. 202 was built was relatively quiet. I traveled around the area with Claude Bernardin collecting bottles.

I also had a paper route for the daily local news when I was 12 (1967). One of my customers was Mary Cain. Their original home was their farm at the intersection of Bacton Hill & Spring Valley roads. I remember when Mrs. Cain turned 100. She eventually lived to be 108. I think her son was named John (?) Don’t remember her daughter in law’s name. Her son died in his 80’s before his mom. They told me that she was the last proprietor of the Bacton General Store. That was the residence of Barry & Judy Love at the time. It is located on Bacton Hill (401) almost directly across from Bacton Hill Rd. It is literally just several feet off the road. They told me of a time in the late 1920’s when 5 people froze to death in a blizzard out side the farm in a snow drift. At the time they were telling me this they were living on Spring Valley Road a few hundred yards west of Bacton Hill Rd.

I think that the town itself lasted until the Second World War and then lost the post office. My recollection was the general store was built in 1810. Our house midway up the hill was supposedly built in 1732 but the date stone had been removed from the second floor so I never confirmed that.

I was told by Miss Hopper who lived in the log cabin next to us to our west that it was built in 1704. Then was the tavern the next house up just above Spring Valley Road. My recollection was the date stone there was 1765. In regards to the tavern Mr. Cain said the “colored folk” (Mr. Cain’s description back then no offense meant) had some gatherings that went late into the night and were quite lively.

Please let me know if this is of any interest. I am obviously not a writer but I could share some more details about Elwood that Claude wrote about , Miss Hopper, & the cave among others as I can recall them.📌

The oral histories of an area are as important as the historical facts and recorded historical activities. For example, I heard at one time it was rumored adjacent to the trail where there are office suites at Swedesford Road and Bacton Hill Road there were possibly remains of Revolutionary War Soldiers at one time. But there is nothing documented that I can find so it might not be true. But given the age of the area and the documented historical sites all around, could it be possible? Sure. And that’s another thing where I wonder if people have memories of finding arrowheads, or other little relics?

Bacton Hill today is nothing like people remember even only back to the 1960s and 1970s. Because it’s not a preservation area, structures come down. Like what I knew as the old green farmhouse which will be the last photo here on this post today, as well as the first photo. A lot of the road feels industrial today, which were not the origins, it’s just how it evolved .

There are a smattering of homes on and off Bacton Hill Road up near the intersection with Conestoga Road or Route 401 which still exist. Most of the truly old homes that have stood since the 18th and 19th century are on Conestoga Road. And they are lovely. I love that they endure in spite of all that is torn down around them.

As a blogger, if there is something I can give to this area, it’s bits of the history of individuals who lived there. I am also interested in the history of the black settlement which once existed because that’s so historically important vis a vis Ebenezer AME. If you have anything to add, or tales to tell, historical photos, old area photos, either on Bacton Hill, what was once the village (general store, post office, etc), or close by on 401/Conestoga Road, I am happy to listen and view the photos.

Thanks for rambling with me today.

the old hershey’s mill continues to come back to life!

In June of 2020 much to my delight, I discovered the old Hershey’s Mill at Hershey’s Mill Road and Green Hill Road was getting a new lease on life.

We passed by today and the restoration continues! This is so refreshing and lovely to see!

Restoration is possible with unique old buildings. We can’t wait to see it completely restored!

there is a big difference between peaceful protesting and what happened 1.6.21 in washington d.c.

I love stick people because often they can explain what most people can’t comprehend. It’s very basic and very elementary school, and I think now we need to go back to basics in this country.

We need more stick man explanations as given how politicians former and present wish to define protests. As in comparing peaceful protests to suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. If you want to increase your relevance (well Ryan Costello it has been a few years, right?), and a reporter gives you a sound byte, maybe this was ummm really coloring outside the lines??? See:

Area political leaders react with shock to attack of U.S. Capitol
Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-centurymedia.com @PottstownNews on Twitter Jan 7, 2021

📌”Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌

Say what?

And then a couple of days later you announce to other reporters/news outlets you are exploring becoming Pat Tooomey Jr in the United States Senate? Gee, that whole sound byte post Assault on the Capitol wasn’t too obvious was it now? Even Captain Obvious is shaking his head at that one, right?

(And look, if dude wants to run, he can run. However, if he wants to run as the type of politician he used to kinda sorta criticize ummm????)

Let’s talk about the sit in which occurred in Former Congressman Costello’s former West Chester Office once upon a time, OK? Start with this video [click here]. Below is a photo array that are public photos I found posted on the Internet and social media. Please explain the violent fringe intent?

Sorry not sorry, I do not get it. So does that mean these protests had bad people:

Or the Womens’ Marches? Pink hats are super threatening I suppose?

And this past summer? The Black Lives Matter marches? Some protests were peaceful. Like around suburban Philadelphia. In the city, not so much. And I found the violence and destruction in major cities including Philadelphia abhorrent, but were those really the people who organized protests? I still don’t think so. And with those protests, yes I wasn’t in favor of them especially after the destruction of center city Philadelphia which did things like terrorize lots of elderly city dwellers like my own parents. You don’t know from fear when you can’t get your parents out of a city because it’s locked down yet crap is still happening. So after that point I was yes, in favor of getting the word out other than by protest. But people continued to protest and along the Main Line it looked like:

Was it a sea of humanity during a global pandemic? Yes. Would I have been in that crowd, even with a mask on? No. But these were neighbors, friends, kids of people I know, and local police to keep them safe. So are they to be mischaracterized by a broad politically motivated brush as well? I did not agree, but these were peaceful and powerful.

So now we come to this past week. A date that will literally live in infamy: 1/6/2021. Not since the British stormed the Capitol in 1814 had such violence been seen. This was an angry mob. And violent. And destructive. Suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. We all watched it unfold. There was zero peaceful intent. You had a crowd whipped up to a fever pitch by a sore loser malignant narcissist (Donald Trump) and his attorney Rudy Giuliani using an incendiary phrase “trial by combat“.

Embedded are two videos from the U.K. and two from US — Watch them.

I have had people write to me saying how wrong I am to be so disgusted, appalled, terrified by what took place in the US Capitol. They told me it was “no different” than the Black Lives Matter Marches or Women’s Marches. That I was smarter than that and being taken in by political hype.

Ummm oh hell to the no. See these images from Washington from the Internet (random sampling):

That is not peaceful. That is not peaceful intent. That is wrong.

It’s time for all of this to stop. It’s time for us to stop being a country ruled by extremism from either side. The majority of Americans, who are never heard, lie in the middle. They can’t be heard over the din of extremism.

It’s also time for people seeking political relevance and various and assorted politicians to stop trying to compare peaceful demonstrations outside local places like the old West Chester Courthouse and elsewhere to what happened in Washington DC as a direct result of the culmination of years of Donald Trump’s abominable and unPresidential behavior.

Give peace a chance. Now more than ever. Be safe out there and pray for our country.

Image found on Pinterest

yesterday, was not o.k.

Yesterday was not O.K. Yesterday was a study in horror. Yesterday we could have lost democracy and what makes America well….America. Every American regardless of creed, color, political affiliation, and so on should NOT be O.K. with January 6, 2021.

Watch the ITV video. I can’t post it here because of the raw violence it shows. [CLICK HERE ITV VIDEO] Also check out this photo array from Vanity Fair. Here is an excerpt of the article that goes with it:

VANITY FAIR: POLITICS
THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF STORMING THE CAPITOL
If the Trump-incited rioters had been people of color, troops would have been out in force. And yet, there are positive lessons in the events of 1/6/21.

BY JIMMIE BRIGGS

JANUARY 7, 2021

Watching the mob scene on Capitol Hill over the last several hours, I was numbed by the whiteness that blanketed the screen.

As I get older, and possibly wiser, I find myself increasingly thinking about whiteness and of the mind-boggling degree to which my life as a Black American man has been impacted by it lately. Some 400 years since my ancestors were forcibly brought to these shores, and more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed them and their immediate descendants from enslavement, whiteness has dominated their (and now my) imagination, dreams of their/my future, and alas, even their/my joy.

To be clear, when I refer to whiteness, I mean the privileges, expectations, and elevated humanity afforded those in American society whose skin happens to be white; who exist daily in varying degrees of proximity to white people; who actively seek the affirmation of and their raison d’être from white people—and/or those whose aspirations for themselves, their families, and their communities are modeled on some kind of reflection of whiteness.

Today, this theme struck me with massive force. Televised scenes showed thousands of Donald Trump–supporting rioters and criminals, largely white and typically mask-less, descending on the nation’s largely Black capital.

I know according to Trump I am just a lowly suburban housewife, but my thoughts?

This is not America. And the last time the Capitol was stormed by invaders? 1814. Yes, sit with that a while. The last time was 1814 during the War of 1812 when British forces set fire to the Capitol. (You know when Dolly Madison was trying to save things in the White House?) These folks muscled by law enforcement and I am fascinated by what I saw on TV including when officers moved barricades to let the marauders in. I don’t know if that was tactical because they were being overwhelmed but it begs the question of why there wasn’t more of a law enforcement presence from jump?

One of those at risk yesterday was my friends’ daughter. She is young, and a Senate Page. I can’t imagine what her parents were feeling as this unfolded. I know I kept wondering how my own Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan was. And friends who just live in Washington D.C.


A special note to the one on Facebook a lot of my friends and I know who thinks we didn’t see her post “1.6.21” as a standalone post on her timeline. We saw. And she can delete what she posted and try to back peddle with people, but it will not change the ugliness she has deliberately been projecting with her posting for quite a long time. I still wonder if her little plastic housing development will secede from the union? And this woman was full of fake indignation and moral outrage at anyone suggesting those who stormed the Capitol were Trump supporters. Yes, seriously. I think she even had her virtual smelling salts out.


And for another woman who posted it must have been Antifa dressed as Trump supporters? Then honey, I must be the tooth fairy, and that must have been a Trump impersonator with Rudy Giuliani.


I will also note I know people that I believe are true patriots and they don’t behave like what you saw yesterday. And it wasn’t just some small percentage who were at fault because they got into the Capitol building. As we saw it unfold live before our eyes on television screens, computers, and smart phones from coast to coast, and around the world, that was the intent of the entire crowd. And was that the actual intent of Trump who really isn’t fit to be president even if he only has what? Two weeks left?


Yesterday was a crap show and that was 100% orchestrated by Trump and he is responsible and knew exactly what he was doing, so I hope you all who have gone unmasked for him at all those events are proud, because that all played a part in events leading up to this. You all have a degree of culpability. I watched everything yesterday unfold I couldn’t believe I was once proud for decades to be a Republican.

Yesterday was not democracy in action. This is not the constitutional right to express yourself and protest. This was ugliness, suborning anarchy, and basically acting like domestic terrorists.

I thought Joe Biden was marvelous when he spoke yesterday. My Congresswoman, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan said in a release to her constituents:

“The attack on our Capitol yesterday was unconscionable, but it was not inevitable,” said Houlahan. “It was a direct product of four years of division and dissent that has emanated from the very highest office in this country and a horrifying culmination of months-long baseless and unsubstantiated attacks on the very heart of our democracy. Those who carried out this attack and those who inspired it, implicitly and explicitly, must be held accountable.

My colleagues and I owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked to secure the Capitol, allowing the business of the people to continue. I was unequivocal last night and remain steadfast today that the work of this body, the work of the American people, cannot nor will not be halted, no matter the attacks levied against it.

We gathered yesterday in the tradition of the joint session of Congress to count the results of the Electoral College and to certify the victory of President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris. And despite the efforts of insurrectionists, we carried out our oath-bound duty.

I’ve heard many references recently to the War of 1812 and the attack on the U.S. Capitol but, as a Pennsylvanian, I am reminded of a particular different piece of our community’s history.

Many Americans have visited Philadelphia and the historic sites that are the cradle of our nation. Fewer people make it out to my community, which is home to Valley Forge. Here, General George Washington led the Continental Army to winter quarters. The Revolutionary War had not been going well for our young soldiers, and the winter of 1777-1778 was harder still. It was bitterly cold, there were food shortages and a smallpox outbreak. Many brave patriots died.

We remember what happened there because it was a test of endurance, a demonstration of devotion to mission and to country over self. Coming out of that awful winter and experience, our troops emerged better trained, united and ultimately victorious. In harsh, dark times, they found their common ground and their fortitude. The success was not by chance, General Washington led by putting service above self.

Just like then, it is in these trying moments where we learn who our leaders are. They are the ones who don’t just ‘represent’ or give orders, or ready us for a fight. They are the ones who also educate. Who speak the truth. They inspire confidence and unity rather than sowing division and strife.

There is a striking parallel between what our nascent country endured then in Valley Forge and what we are enduring now. A hard winter of division, with illness running rampant. And an uncertain future after yesterday’s attack.

Our country’s resolve is being tested. I believe we will pass this test together and we will be made stronger.

We owe it to the people of this country to move forward from this election with a focus on healing the divisions that have been created and on ensuring our communities build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be a government that works for all people, a body politic that stands on the side of truth and justice.

We must move forward with a servant heart and a common resolve to preserve this great experiment that is the United States of America.”

These people yesterday are the ones who have listened to Trump since the election. Since he lost the election. They listened to his his repeated lies of election fraud. (Guess they all missed the part where he disemboweled the United States Postal Service so no one could vote successfully by mail?) Trump has undermined this country’s confidence in itself, and ourselves as Americans. It has been unconscionable and yesterday it turned violent. And yesterday they vandalized our Capitol. OUR Capitol. As a lover of history, I just do not get it.

And what else don’t I get is the double standard of treatment. If yesterday had been a women’s march, or a Black Lives Matter march, or anything else than what it was, how would the response have been? Hell they arrested Jane Fonda now a senior citizen again in December, 2020 at a climate change demonstration. The response disparity of yesterday is truly quite remarkable.

I have said it before, and will say it again, protesting is an American right by our very United States Constitution. I have done it. But not like that display of yesterday. But yesterday? That was destruction. That was an attempt to overthrow the government. Elections are won and lost, we don’t need to die over it. If these patriots would kindly remember this is why our forefathers fought so hard for us to have our lives today, it would be helpful.

It’s time for Trump to go away. Is their a straightjacket somewhere in his size? He does not get to destroy this country any longer like he has destroyed his businesses over the years. The true “art of the deal” is knowing when to fold ’em and leave…and please take your lovely family along with you, Donnie.

We have had four years of a nightmare reality TV show come to life. Trump, you’re fired. Now run along.

Thank you Twitter and Facebook for giving him a mute.

America the Beautiful? Let’s get back to that shall we? Thanks for stopping by and oh my oh my how many COVID19 cases will result in yesterday?.

on thanksgiving will we be thankful or grateful?

Thanksgiving is only a matter of days away. What will it look like? What will people act like? We are now well into November, 2020 in he year of COVID19. Never in any of our wildest imaginations would we think that as an area, a region, and even a nation, we would be facing additional shut down times and continued surges of a deadly virus.

Yet here we are. Here we are.

Someone in Pennsylvania the other day how COVID19 is surging in Pennsylvania compared to other states. Why is that? Did all those election rallies and events across the state in the days preceding the election have anything to do with the recent surge? No I’m not a public health expert and I don’t pretend to be, but common sense would dictate perhaps these events had a hand in this surge?

Look for history to be your guide. Look no further than the last global pandemic, the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was one of the hardest hit cities. Why? Because the virus surged after the Liberty Loan/Liberty Bond parade that was not canceled although it should have been. So it’s not being politically negative to wonder how many people attending events that were political not social distancing and in many cases not wearing masks helped spread this new global pandemic of our time COVID-19? National Geographic has a fascinating article about the 1918 global pandemic.

While we were talking about politics, I will mention how I was treated recently because I correctly reported that a local and well known political figure who held a political office long term until this year had contracted and been hospitalized with COVID19.

I did not “virus shame” this person, I did not wish this person ill. I did comment accurately that this is why people should pay close attention to this virus because even those who don’t necessarily believe in the strength of this virus could contract it. I did not personally speculate on whether or not they may have contracted the virus at a specific time at a specific activity. And I wished this person well and meant it and still mean it because I wouldn’t wish COVID19 on anyone. And I say that even as people occasionally literally wish me dead because I am a blogger.

But because this person is a supporter of the man baby currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who has an almost cult-like following, some came out of the woodwork to purportedly defend the honor of the public figure and former elected office holder who was hospitalized due to COVID19, calling me despicable among other things. I did not impugn their honor. I did not virus shame. Hell, I was virus shamed personally when the virus first broke out and I didn’t have COVID19 nor did any of my family.

We were asked to voluntarily quarantine just as the virus was breaking out because I personally happened to be at an event where one of the first victims of COVID19 in Chester County (a stranger I did not actually meet) was also in attendance. The event was held before anyone even knew the virus was breaking out in Pennsylvania. So it was the final time of no masks and no social distancing.

We reported as we were asked to to the county. We followed the instructions we were given by Penn Medicine and when we came off of the voluntary quarantine, my husband was followed around while he was picking up my breast cancer meds and then as he stopped at other stores running errands. I was not with him. This person then decided to post this on social media. They had to comment how if we had been exposed he shouldn’t have been out. If we were inside the self quarantine time we were asked to keep they would’ve been correct. But the quarantine time we were asked to keep was over. It is my belief they chose to follow my husband around and try to virus shame me because I am a blogger. And vocal on issues at times. This person seemingly disappeared from social media after this.

I have been very honest all along about how I feel about COVID19 and how it has affected me and people I know. Way back when we were on self quarantine it was just before lockdown. So we came out of self quarantine to go into lockdown formally. I have also had Covid testing done. Why? Because I had surgical procedures in 2020 that were not exactly voluntary. They were due to squamous cell skin cancer which is in between basal cell and melanoma. It’s a very anxious process to have any kind of procedure or be in hospital settings in 2020, which is why I haven’t virus shamed anyone.

However, here we are with this damn virus and almost the end of the year. And this virus is intertwined in the political life of this country as well. And the reason that is can be laid directly at the feet of the current president. All along he has downplayed the virus, and he also maligned with his nicknames for the virus. Then he contracted the virus, and it’s still like he didn’t take it seriously.

Then we had the election, which he has lost. But he has yet to concede. And while he doesn’t concede and move on that causes the entire country to be stuck in this cycle. And that is wrong. These are the acts of a very selfish person at a minimum, and other things to consider which are very dark to contemplate indeed. And while all of this is happening it is sadly destroying the party of Abraham Lincoln which I find sad.

Maybe it’s time we leave the politicians and those who play them on television and twitter to their own devices? Maybe it’s time to remember we were once neighbors, friends, and even in some cases family? I mention family because I actually know people whose families are torn apart by both Covid and politics.

Maybe it’s time to remember what Thanksgiving is all about.

The American Thanksgiving – and I say American because there’s a Canadian Thanksgiving as well – was first held in October 1621 after the Pilgrims’ first harvest in their new world. Thanksgiving as we know it finally evolved after Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an act of Congress making the date of Thanksgiving a little more concrete of a thing. And I bet a lot of people don’t realize that the first Thanksgiving had lobsters not turkey on the menu. So were swans. They aren’t actually sure about turkey. My brother-in-law likes to celebrate Thanksgiving with lobsters in keeping with the first Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgivings are going to look very different this year. Because of COVID19 there won’t really be huge family gatherings, it will be more like little family pods. That’s how my family will be doing it. I imagine that is how Christmas will be.

Yes, it’s going to be different but we should still be giving thanks that we can have holidays with loved ones, even if we will mostly be doing it in our own homes in small pods. There are many people in this country who won’t be sharing Thanksgiving with family this year. A lot of people have lost friends and family to COVID19 and other conditions in 2020. There are so many people in this country who have lost jobs and businesses and more because of this year. And it’s not just because of COVID19- also what comes into play is the wanton destruction and looting of property that had absolutely nothing to do with protesting to address and end the specter of racial injustice and flat out racism in this country.

I just hope when Thanksgiving day actually arrives people can pause and remember what Thanksgiving is about. I hope people can use Thanksgiving as a re-set to focus on home and family and what is really important. And put politics into perspective: yes who governs us is of paramount importance, but the reality is for most of us is they don’t care we exist, they don’t know we exist, it doesn’t matter that we exist. So cult-like devotion is pretty disproportionate in the big picture of life as we know it.

Come together for Thanksgiving, people. Our future as a country depends upon it. And we need to come together to deal with COVID19 as much as anything else.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Love me or hate me these are just my thoughts. I will close with wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

wow. just wow. what a day!

Thank you Twitterverse for this giggle.

Wow.

It has been a long week in this country. And an even longer election season.

I am a realist and I know that the anger and vitriol is going to continue for a while longer. I really wish it wouldn’t, but I don’t think people know how to be anything different right now.

To Joe Biden and Kamala Harris I say well I sure picked the year to go blue, didn’t I? I have to admit I am feeling surprisingly emotional right now over your win, that and massive relief. Thank you for not giving up on us out here. (No, I don’t expect them to respond to me I’m not anybody special I’m just an every day American.)

I know I am not a true Democrat in the sense of the true Democrats that I know because I am late to this party. As I have maintained all along, I am more of a situational Democrat because I knew in 2016 when you-know-who became the nominee I was no longer a Republican because he didn’t represent my values or what I felt the values of the Republican Party were. I felt then like America was being punked.

In my heart I still believe that to be true.

I remember plenty of great Republicans and the party that was thoughtful and of Lincoln and of moderation. I have been told by friends of mine for years that I am more like a New England Democrat because I am more socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I still feel like I am more of an Independent than anything else so I don’t know that being an actual Democrat will stick long-term.

For this country to heal and swing back towards the center where it belongs, it has to swing a little in the other direction now. That does not mean that the United States of America is becoming a socialist country. And anyone who projects that is just wrong. Just like saying all Republicans are bad or all Democrats are bad or all Libertarians are bad or all Green Party people are bad is ridiculous.

We all know that the lawsuits are going to continue to be filed for a while. Rudy Giuliani needs a retirement project, after all. And let’s talk about him for a minute shall we? What a disappointment he ended up morphing into!

I believe it’s still going to be a bit of a process to get to inauguration day 2021. And I wonder with COVID-19 what this coming Inauguration Day 2021 will look like?

My reaction to Biden going over the top was somewhat delayed. I first I wasn’t sure if it was true or not. Then I yelled “yippee” in the garden, and I am not sure who heard me. Then I most unexpectedly felt slightly teary as well as overwhelmingly relieved. I had deliberately not been focusing on the news 24 hours a day much like when the Eagles won the Super Bowl I applied the same philosophy- I didn’t watch.

But this isn’t the end of “Crisis America”, it’s just a new chapter starting. Are we capable of putting all the nastiness aside and coming together as a country? We have to do that to survive as a nation.

To my friends that are true patriots and the real Republicans in the original sense of the word, I am sorry. I know this is going to be an adjustment for all of you. But Trump was never really a Republican and never will be. He’s like a one-man circus under the big top. Showman and charlatan, malignant narcissist and borderline sociopath. But he’s not and never has been a true Republican. He is a reality show in the White House that just got canceled.

To those whom I feel are total political hypocrites, please give it up. Your fake moral outrage and utter pretense of pretending to be genteel are as tired as Donnie on Twitter. Just stop. You will survive Biden in the White House much better without the fake palpitations.

It’s a beautiful day and a somewhat historic one. Here’s hoping America can come together for a brighter tomorrow.

Here is what Dan Rather had to say this afternoon:

Anyway what a day, right? And no I am not gloating. Like many people I am simply so tired after the past four years and especially this election season and 2020 with COVID-19 in general.

Even if your candidate is not the winner this time around, democracy is to be celebrated or maybe just respected. Look what happens when every day Americans throw off their cloaks of apathy and vote.

Enjoy the day. Be happy. Live your life.

Hugs and kisses from just another Suburban Housewife.

always love for loch aerie

My friend Catherine Quillman, who is a Chester County artist, author, and historian sent me a note the other day. Yes , she is one of those people like myself who occasionally sends real notes. (Only hers are always so much better because they usually involve a little piece of her art or a cartoon she has drawn.)

Anyway she sent me this old art advertisement she came across and it’s about Loch Aerie. It was done for Chester County artist Christopher Schultz in 1994 when he was selling a print he made of Loch Aerie that was slightly fanciful.

What makes this old advertisement so special is I don’t think Catherine knew I used to own one of these prints! I had bought it off a yard sale group and it lived on my guestroom wall until I found a C. Phillip Wikoff print I liked better. (I also found that print on a yard sale group.)

So when I heard the current owners of Loch Aerie (the Poiriers ) had rescued her, I decided I would give the Loch Aerie print to them as a housewarming/welcome to the neighborhood kind of thing. And I did just that. But this advertisement is part of the provenance of the print so I will give them this too!

Local history and local artists are always intertwined and this is just a cool thing! Thanks Catherine for always thinking of me!

chester county landmarks and a chester county artist

A while ago, in between people cursing me out on my blog’s facebook page for daring to discuss things rationally out of their comfort zone, I had posted something and a relative of the Chester County artist Henry T. MacNeill told me about his pen-and-ink sketches. So I hunted down a copy of this super cool little book that was full of his sketches, done by his family printers owned by his son, Stephen Moylan, for Chester County Day in 1956.

Ok so how cool is that to stumble across thanks to one of my readers? I am also including an article about the Stephen Moylan Press.

We are nothing without our history.

I am also including links embedded here because sometimes people have a hard time with Scribd.

What I realized as I got into this was I often see Henry MacNeill drawings as vintage postcards! A website Postcard History wrote about Mr. MacNeill this summer. I also found an old blog post by one of Mr. MacNeill’s great granddaughters Jennifer MacNeill (who is also a brilliant artist and photographer.)

Now a plug for Chester County Day. This is a beloved Chester County Tradition. COVID-19 forced them off their normal routine and they have done virtual tours (CLICK HERE TO TAKE THEM.) They also need our donations to keep the tradition alive. CLICK HERE TO MAKE A CHESTER COUNTY DAY DONATION. I will be doing so before year end.

Happy Sunday!