let’s talk mt. pleasant in tredyffrin.

Mt. Pleasant is in Tredyffrin’s panhandle, adjacent to Radnor Township. Yes, it is part of Chester County.

I have written about Mt. Pleasant off and on for years. Even when I lived on the Main Line.

Historic Mount Pleasant.

Mt. Pleasant is truly a historically important part of Tredyffrin. And so undervalued it’s horrible.

Because Tredyffrin did not deal with student rentals for so long, this is also where student housing slumlords have set up quite the slumlord student rental shop going back years and years. Suffice it to say, the college students who rent there have historically treated an entire historic area like animal house.

I would like Tredyffrin to take a look at the historic value of Mount Pleasant. They never really have.

The Carr House on the corner of Upper Gulph and Radnor Street Road was built c. 1774. The Carr School was built in 1833. Another house close by according to the deed was built around 1789. 961 Mt. Pleasant Avenue was built around 1810. 941 Mt. Pleasant was built around 1860.

Mazie B Hall house 2010
– Photo courtesy http://www.ttdems.com

And what about the significance of Mount Pleasant over the past 100 years plus as a historic black neighborhood? Let alone a community which survives to this day? Generational residents? I think that’s pretty freaking cool.

You notice a house in a photo above. I don’t even know if it’s still standing, because it was targeted for demolition years ago. It was the home of revered community leader and civil rights activist, Mazie B. Hall.

Now this where I have always been puzzled about Tredyffrin. They have bragging rights to Mazie Hall since she lived in Mt. Pleasant. I think they even named a park after her. So why not honor her 103 years on this earth by trying to preserve the community she fought for and called home? Every time I hear anything about Mt. Pleasant I feel like they are trying to erase what it is, or just deny it’s existence.

Who was Mazie Hall? Read this:

Civil-rights activist and educator Mazie Hall dies at 103
Ryan Richards
PUBLISHED: January 4, 2006 at 10:00 p.m. | UPDATED: September 23, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.

Mazie B. Hall – educator, mentor, civil-rights activist, community leader and friend to many – passed away Sunday evening at age 103.

She was affectionately known simply as “Miss Mazie,” and until only recently she called the Mt. Pleasant section of Tredyffrin her home since her birth in 1902. According to those who knew her, Miss Hall left a legacy of caring and compassion….she was humble, not “stuffy,” and modestly talked about her life. She fondly recalled her luncheon visits to her Mt. Pleasant home, where Miss Hall was a genteel host. She baked a special dessert, Sally Lunn cake, a slightly sweetened teacake, reminisced Rector, serving it with the proper silverware and glasses. The gracious host also took her guest on a tour of the grounds.

“She showed me trees that her father had planted,” she remembered.

Miss Hall graduated from the former Tredyffrin-Easttown High School and then graduated from West Chester Normal School (West Chester University). Until her death, she was the university’s oldest graduate. The school maintains a scholarship fund in her honor…..Her career as an educator also included serving one year as principal at the former Mt. Pleasant School in Tredyffrin in the 1930s. When schools in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District became segregated, she was involved in the movement for desegregation.

She teamed up with long-time friend Margaret Collins to crusade for fair-housing practices on the Main Line during the 1950s. Their efforts influenced the formation of the Pennsylvania Fair Housing Act, the basis for federal fair-housing laws.

Now I knew Miss Collins as I called her. I used to wait on her when I worked at Bryn Mawr Feed & Seed a million years ago. She loved to garden.  She would show up in her crazy beat up old station wagon and I was the one who would wait on her.  I worked there at that nursery after I stopped working in New York. I was totally disenchanted at that time by the financial services industry and decided to explore my passion for gardening professionally. (Suffice it to say working for the widow who inherited and eventually shuttered the business almost killed my joy of gardening for a while, but that is a story for another day.)

Miss Collins, by the time I met her was a very old lady like her friend Mazie Hall.  But what a career they had.   Read about some of what they did on the website Housing Equality Center of PA.  Also the papers of Mazie Hall are curated and archived by Temple University, while her friend Margaret Collins’ papers are at Swarthmore College.

So sorry for going off on a tangent, but when I think of Mazie Hall and all that she accomplished, I think of Miss Collins. And when I think of Mt. Pleasant, I think of Mazie Hall. And that’s part of the historical context of Mt. Pleasant. The history matters.

Back to Mt. Pleasant. It still suffers from off campus student housing woes and 2022 is no exception. Now depending on the year there are some houses that aren’t so bad, and then there are other years where all the off-campus houses in Mt. Pleasant are bad. This year I’m going to start with one house in particular.

This house is a real party palace. and if they were smart college students and just didn’t throw ragers seemingly every Friday afternoon, maybe they wouldn’t bother their neighbors so much? The house is the student rental at 985 Mt. Pleasant.

I am told the Tredyffrin Police were there around 5 PM. And then I think a bit after that. And apparently again at some point after 8 PM. I am told the first two visits were just one officer, but the third visit around eight was at least two officers.

The kids put up blue tarps so neighbors can’t see in the back, but you can hear them just fine. Super loud.

And the thing is this, there are some college students who coexist in residential neighborhoods with absolutely not a problem. They do their thing, their neighbors do their own thing and it’s fine. But then you have the ones who do the animal house. And the sad thing is Mt. Pleasant is one of those areas that is victimized by the student houses every year.

Like I said before, some years are better than others. This year I’m only hearing about this house so far . I actually heard that there were a couple of other rentals that the landlords stopped renting to students and started renting to regular people, and residents in Mt. Pleasant think it is so nice to see flowers outside instead of old beer cans.

It’s time for Tredyffrin Township to show Mt. Pleasant some respect. They also need to actually pay attention to off-campus student housing, not just pay it lipservice.

And the kids that live off campus? Do we really think the majority of them would behave this way where they grew up? I mean there’s no knowing for sure, we know they want freedom and they want to have fun, but they just need to remember they’re living and co-existing with people who have real jobs, have families, and are entitled to a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment where they live.

And to off campus student housing landlords? Just because you don’t live there, it should still be a little bit more than an income investment. You have also invested in another community. Try to give a damn once in a while, eh?

hey tredyfrrin dodo hamilton neighbors, are you ready for rue dégueulasse in radnor township?

Today Radnor Township is being visited because THEIR planning commission meeting Tuesday September 6th has a big old bomb of a plan which will affect Tredyffrin Township residents in Chester County. The pretentious A.F. name is “St. Honoré” for the development and there is an as equally pretentious A.F. street name proposed of “Rue St. Honoré” .

Zut alors! Mais oui, très prétentieux for a developer whose late father was born in Chester, n’est-ce pas? Which is why I found a better name to propose: Dégueulasse (disgusting, revolting, sh*tty, swinish, putrid) and Rue Dégueulasse or perhaps even Rue Dégoûtant? (And yes, dear developer, I can have these opinions.)

The location of this plan is DoDo Land in Wayne on Strafford Avenue, first mentioned on this blog in 2020. I had written about it then because of Tredyffrin Township residents and Radnor residents, because it just seemed like a shall we say, greedy development prospect?

What is even more concerning is if you look at the planning packet in it’s entirety, it looks like two more properties are folded in? 211 Strafford Avenue and 227 Strafford Avenue?

Here is the packet below. I don’t trust things to not disappear on agendas, so have fun wading through. It also has things on yesterday post concerning Garrett Hill:

Look, this is a lot to digest with VERY little time to do it. I know that Tredyffrin residents were VERY, VERY concerned the last time plans for DoDo Hamilton’s property came up in Radnor. Then I remember the strip the house sale.

And I wouldn’t say DoDo wouldn’t do this, because it was a fact she sold other properties for development when she was alive, correct? Including further out in Chester County? What I also seem to recall were neighbors being super concerned even while DoDo Hamilton was alive about stormwater management issues as a result of this property. And people were super concerned about stormwater management last time this property came up in Radnor, so, what now that it seems two additional properties are part of this?

In 2021, Main Line Today Magazine talked about this project and make sure you look at leadership team page of Haverford Properties:

Without strong preservation ordinances, things like “vinyl windows with short lifespans replace historic wood windows that could be made energy-efficient,” Prichard says. “In the end, all of thesesmall changes lead to a drastic overall change in the appearance of historic neighborhoods, even when no buildings are lost in the process.”

“Unfortunately, I think it’s gone.”

Radnor Township commissioner Jack Larkin is referring to the mansion at the corner of Strafford and Eagle roads once occupied by the late Campbell Soup heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. The township is powerless to stop the razing of the Victorian-era home for a residential development. As written, its preservation ordinance “is very vague,” says Larkin. “We don’t have the authority to preserve private property, [and its location] would make it very difficult to build around it.”

The developer, Haverford Properties Inc., didn’t respond to several requests for comment, and it seems residents are mainly concerned about the density of the development. “There hasn’t been an attempt to save [the mansion], nor any significant community outcry over its impending demise,” says Prichard, a Radnor resident and member of the township‘s historical commission.

~main line today magazine Paul Jablow January 6, 2021

Now I don’t know if Haverford Properties is involved in the development at this point, do you? What I see from the documents in the planning packet, it’s C.F. Holloway. Yessss people, Cas Holloway, and is it fair that some refer to him as a neighborhood killer? Look what he did in Ardmore. The houses he took down were gorgeous old stone Main Line houses, and he pushed people out that I knew who were renters in one address, so IF 211 Strafford Avenue is being folded into this plan, what happens to the Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn?

The Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn is a historic home. I remember when the original B & B owners were looking for approval a bunch of years ago, and you would have thought they wanted to add rapists and murderers to Radnor Township. Ha, those residents should be careful what they wish for, right? In 2016 The Radnor Historical Society honored the Wayne Bed & Breakfast.

Also note this from a Radnor Historical Society 2012 event listing:

Local Garden Tour
Friday, June 7, 2013, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nominal fee of $10 and reservation required. Tour four unique gardens surrounding wonderful homes in Radnor and Tredyffrin Townships. The tour begins at the garden and greenhouses of Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton (only open from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.). on Strafford Avenue. Then visit the Victorian garden across the street at Traudi and Bob Thomason’s Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn. The Thomason’s property features a 110 foot copper beech, thought to be the second largest in the state, wonderful outdoor spaces for sitting and relaxing, including a large pool and spa surrounded by gardens, and an inviting porch that wraps around the circa 1890 inn. Myrna and Paul Paluba will host at their creatively executed, multilevel garden with raised beds, water features, and a peace garden for contemplation. Maud Walker will host at her garden which is highlighted by an unusual collection of trees and shrubs, including a magnificent weeping beech, whimsical garden decorations, and a replica of an Irish garden shed. Directions to all of the gardens will be provided at the Hamilton property. Further information, including how to make reservations, will be sent to you in March. This event is cosponsored by RHS and the Radnor Conservancy.

~ radnor historical society 2012

Ha! With this development when it comes to plantings and trees, wonder what will be left? Don’t answer that, it’s a we shudder to think conversation, mais oui?

Another old thing I found on Developing DoDo land was

LIFE IN THE BURBS |MAR 03, 2021HAVERFORD PROPERTIES DEVELOPING THE CURRENT HAMILTON PROPERTIES ON STRAFFORD AVE AND EAGLE ROADS IN RADNOR WITH 41-3 STORY TOWNHOMES, AND 9 SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

And then there was an Inquirer article:

Developer to share plans for part of Radnor estate of late Campbell Soup heiress

by Katie Park
Updated Jan 28, 2020

A development company is considering building houses or townhouses on part of the Main Line estate of the late Dorrance H. Hamilton, heir to the multibillion-dollar Campbell Soup fortune.

Representatives of Haverford Properties are scheduled to meet with Radnor Township residents for the first time Thursday.

The company has not formally submitted plans to the township, but some residents, already disgruntled over development in the sought-after area, say they feel a sense of inevitability. Under what’s known as “by-right” development, Haverford Properties can legally build housing on the parcel.

“They have, without question, the right to develop that property. We have no discretion,” said Jack Larkin, a township commissioner who represents the section of Radnor where the development would be built. “We can never say we don’t want a particular industry in our town because we don’t like what it is.”

Then this:

Delco Today: Developer Eyes Houses at Former Wayne Estate of Campbell Soup Heiress Dorrance Hamilton

By David Bjorkgren
Published: 5:14 am EST January 17, 2020
Updated: 7:50 am EST January 17, 2020

A developer has plans for an estate property in Wayne where prominent philanthropist and Campbell Soup Co. heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton lived, writes Linda Stein for Main Line Media News.

Hamilton died in 2017 at the age of 88.  She moved to Wayne with her husband, Samuel M.V. Hamilton, in 1950. He died in 1997.

Radnor Township Board of Commissioners President Jack Larkin reviewed two plans for the property  at Eagle and Strafford roads.

“The first is purportedly a by-right plan, and includes approximately 40 homes,” Larkin wrote in his newsletter.

Larkin felt that plan was unattractive because it meant cramming 40 single family homes on to the two lots.

He was more enthusiastic about a second plan putting 41 town homes on the western lot and nine single-family homes on the eastern lot.

Forty nearby neighbors also weighed in, stating they wanted to “mitigate any negative changes to the neighborhood and keep its current character.”

They asked for no more than 30 town homes on the west lot and no more than seven single-family homes on the east lot.

A meeting between residents and the proposed developer is planned Jan. 30.

Read more about plans for the Hamilton estate here.

~delco today 2020


Main Line Media News did something to their website, so I found one their articles on Delco Times website:

New housing in works for Wayne estate of Campbell Soup heiress Dodo Hamilton

By LINDA STEIN |
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2020 at 11:30 p.m. | UPDATED: August 23, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.

RADNOR – Although no plans have been filed with the township, word is getting around that a developer has set his sights on the Wayne property of the late Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton, who was one of the Main Line’s iconic grande dames.

“The developer has shown me two concept sketches for the lots; the first is purportedly a by-right plan, and includes approximately 40 homes,” Larkin wrote in his newsletter. “This is, to me, an unattractive plan: Because the units are, by right, single family dwellings, cramming 40 homes onto the two lots means filling them with houses without space for buffers, open space, or stormwater recharge areas.”

Larkin continued, “The second plan would require a conditional use approval by the township, and would put approximately 50 homes into the two lots -41 town homes on the western lot, and nine single-family dwellings onto the eastern lot. Because the homes on the western lot are town homes, they leave a lot of space for the things that are absent in the by-right plan: Stormwater management, sidewalks, buffers, and open space. The density is problematic for me, but with that in mind, it is a good plan.”

“When we first discussed the property, they took my stormwater concerns seriously and the concept sketch they presented had already incorporated stormwater management facilities above and beyond what was required by the ordinance,” Larkin wrote. “Second, when they met with the township engineer for feedback, they promptly incorporated his feedback into their design. Third, they’ve already asked for a meeting with residents to discuss their plans and get your feedback.”

Meanwhile, about 40 nearby neighbors sent this statement to Larkin: “We understand and appreciate the developer’s rights to develop the property, and our goal as a neighborhood is not to squash any development, but to mitigate any negative changes to the neighborhood and keep its current character. For those of us who have lived here many years, we have seen the negative effects of cutting down trees on the Hamilton’s property and the building of just four homes on the corner of Strafford and Eagle Road. Despite the assurances of the engineers, developers, and other experts, our neighborhood has been substantially damaged and our lives negatively affected by ‘tiny’ changes to the Hamilton’s property. There are approximately 40 neighbors on Strafford, Hedgerow, Grant, Forrest, Fairfield, and Old Eagle School who will attest to being harmed financially by the improper regulation of storm water runoff in the past.

“The character of the neighborhood will be drastically changed by the proposed development. Haverford Properties is seeking to double the number of homes within our small community. Our current neighborhood contains 35 acres and 64 homes, approximately two homes per acre. The developers plan to build 50 homes will result in 114 homes, for over three homes per acre. We already have a traffic problem, exacerbated by the fact that our community straddles two townships and counties. The Strafford train station is a delightful anchor to our neighborhood, but it too increases motor and foot traffic. Residents are already fearful to walk on Strafford Avenue. It is a death trap (with) no sidewalks, insufficient lighting, and a dangerous curve in the road. As a community we deserve better from both Radnor and Tredyffrin townships.”

~ delco times 2020

I looked on Commisisoner Jack Larkin’s website and couldn’t find anything about DoDo Land. Perhaps he doesn’t want the general public to see his commissioner musings or has he just checked out as a commissioner?

So here is some other stuff on screenshots to make it easy:

Look, Radnor Township doesn’t care if this gets developed, that has always been my opinion. But it is also my opinion that they make have tarted up the proverbial pig here with a new developer, but this is a plan that is still too dense. And now given the meeting agenda states this meeting is slated for NEXT WEEK AS IN THE DAY AFTER LABOR DAY, residents in Radnor and Tredyffrin do not have much time to rally.

THIS IS AN IN PERSON MEETING – Tuesday, September 6, 2022 – 6:30 PM – Radnorshire Room – 301 Iven Avenue Wayne PA 19087-5297

I think this is being put out in the hopes no residents show up after the last holiday weekend of the summer. I think this is deliberate. So residents in Radnor and Tredyffrin, it’s up to you. Below is the link to where you can find the email addresses for Radnor’s Board of Commissioners. Remember in particular that Lisa Borowski is running for State Rep in the 168th. HOLD HER FEET TO THE FIRE.

https://www.radnor.com/government/boards-and-commissions/board-of-commissioners

That is all I have got on this. Residents, you rose up before, just like the residents in Garrett Hill over unwelcome development and more there. Get yourselves to the meeting, but when you storm this Bastille don’t act all cuckoo like Willistown Residents over the sewer sale. Show decorum, make your points, be heard.

Good luck. You will need it here, especially Tredyffrin residents because you are neighbors and affected, but Chester County as well as another municipality. Tredyffrin needs to get their township to take a stand and attend the meeting too. And if zoning variances are sought, Tredyffrin Township needs to be a party to this so their residents can preserve their rights, correct?

what are the responsibilities of community options inc and their group home at 118 spring road, malvern, pa?

Once upon a time at 118 Spring Road in Malvern, PA in East Whiteland Township, Chester County was lovely family home in General Warren Village. They celebrated Christmas, Halloween, births, deaths, graduations, weddings and other celebrations. They were part of a tight knit community. And General Warren Village is multi-generational which is also why I find it so special.

But eventually, everyone was gone and the family who were left and all had their own homes and whatnot, sold the property. I think they probably thought they were selling to a good company, but I remain jaded about these companies….who run group houses for disadvantaged adults.

No one, myself included, has any negative feelings towards the heirs of 118 Spring Road. They only did what their sad duty and responsibility to surviving family and deceased family had them do. We all wish some of the homes our families have known could stay captured in time and in our families. But we live in a rather expensive world and just often, well can’t.

118 Spring Road was purchased by a non-profit out of New Jersey. Called Community Options, Inc. Like a HUGE Devereaux or KenCrest. Only because they are nationwide, I have to wonder what is altruistic in their business model and what is profit-centric?

These non-profits who house people and own properties are entities, and right or wrong, I am skeptical of them. Not for what they SAY they do, but for what they sometimes DON’T do and they are privately owned, so if there wasn’t profit somewhere would their calling to help still exist? And because of the nature of who they house, they enjoy some Federal protections, don’t they? And their non-profit status means they escape the taxes the rest of us pay, correct? So these group homes should be close to perfect, correct? Perfect for the families entrusting them with their loved ones, the residents, and their neighbors, except they often are NOT terrific, correct?

My neighborhood lives with a KenCrest house. The relationship has been bumpy over the years. Their have been issues from time to time, but not EVER issues like I am hearing about concerning 118 Spring Road Malvern. My neighborhood and KenCrest have worked to build a better relationship, and if we see a problem, we have people in their organization we can call, and things get taken care of. But this Community Options is giving me a whiff of all of the problems with Devereux housing in the area, ok? Sadly, the Devereaux houses and Devereaux make the news way too often in Chester County, don’t they? Horrible stories.

But back to Community Options Inc. which now own 118 Spring Road, Malvern. Community Options has no Chester County office per se, so who knows who regionally is responsible? Delaware County, Allentown, or King of Prussia? See screenshots below in case anyone, media included wish to contact them.

So this morning as in today, I get a message from a friend whose elderly mother is a neighbor:

Great ….they just had 3 police cars at the group house next to my mother’s home. A patient beat up a female worker and ripped off her blouse. Then there was fighting– the police now in the neighbors yard on the other side of their house. Cops were took him to the ground several times until the third car got there and they got him under control.

~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22

I asked my friend a few more questions about this house which is fairly new in my opinion/estimation to have so many issues. I am told police have responded to this address several times so is that the job of our local police to babysit a non-profit’s property where they don’t pay taxes that support things like first responders and infrastructure? Why do neighbors and police have the added burden of dealing with this? I also heard that East Whiteland had to contact them about maintaining the property with things as basic as cutting the lawn and weeds?

My friend further said to me:

Don’t they have to run an orderly business and have control of their patients when they are permitted to be placed into neighborhoods ? As it sure looks like they have a pattern of showing they are unable to control safely the patients they are housing there. No less the safety of senior citizens and young children living around them. What recourse do we have to protect our elderly relatives that live by them ?

~~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22

And that is thing of it: there are elderly residents who have lived there and raised families there, as well as young families who are currently raising families who are starting to feel unsafe. So maybe this house gets special Federal Government love, but what about the rights of EVERYONE ELSE?

Now I found a disturbing New York report or article on homes like this and they specifically referenced an “early action letter” being sent to Community Options NY.

And I have been checking out reviews and such on the Internet about Community Options Inc. Take Indeed which is a job website do NOT have glowing reviews from employees. (“A terrible place to work.” ; “Horrible”; “Poor work environment”, etc) The Google reviews are not much better.

So has anyone seen their licenses with the Commonwealth of PA? Did they have to go in front of any boards or commissions in East Whiteland Township to move into a residential neighborhood and does a group home like this require licensing or a change in zoning?

I pulled the deed transfer and the mortgage on 118 Spring Road. I am embedding them here. I also noted something kind of weird on a signature page where the notary public also signed on someone else’s signature line. A very long time ago, for a few years, I was a notary public. I never signed on someone else’s signature line, but maybe some rule somewhere has changed?

I also pulled the mortgage Community Options Inc in case any of the neighbors are interested. It looks like there are stipulations? I also pulled the IRS form 990 for 2020. Remember about what I said about making money? Well…ummm…and oh yeah nice salaries.

I am NOT against special needs houses in neighborhoods. I have even seen them in fancy Gladwyne, PA neighborhoods. But there are good group houses and not so fabulous group houses.

And as per some perusing on the Internet:

“All personal care homes are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Personal care homes also meet state and local health, fire and safety laws and regulations. The personal care home regulations are available at the following link: 55 Pa. “

So Community Options Inc, ball is in your court. Talk to neighbors, apologize to neighbors (and township), check on the safety of your employees. Robert T Stack is the CEO or something. He signed the mortgage. You can find him on Twitter at @RobertStackCOI . You can find THEM on Twitter @COINATIONAL. According to ProPublica Stack makes something like $948,380.00 so maybe he can reassure us in Chester County and inspect the house personally?

To conclude: YES those group houses for adults with various disabilities have a legal right to exist in our communities. HOWEVER, neighborhood residents of group house locations have the right to not be upset by houses with problems like 118 Spring Road Malvern is thus far. In that vein, people entrust their relatives to these companies with these group houses and expect the residents to be safe and well cared for. And the employees of these group homes should also be safe. Was what happened today something that would make anyone feel safe?

What are the licenses and permits involved (state, local, etc) for this Community Options Inc. location at 118 Spring Road Malvern PA 19355?

What are the rights of the neighbors who live near this home who have been there in some cases decades?

These group homes are everywhere. As I said I have one owned by someone else in my neighborhood. In my neighborhood, the group home’s owners have worked really hard to create an environment that everyone can live with. It’s not always perfect, but as residents we know exactly whom to contact in the event of a problem.

Zoning for Spring Road:

Zoning for a pre-existing special needs home in East Whiteland:

It would be nice if this new place at 118 Spring Road owned by Community Options Inc. made an effort with neighbors and the company which owns this location took ownership of the issues like the police activity today and addressed and dealt with it. The community is watching and the community has rights, too, correct? I mean how does a house like this just move into a regular residential neighborhood anyway? Isn’t it an institutional usage?

Thanks for stopping by.

pay it forward: contribute to the love thy neighbor fund

When a friend texts you a photo like this holding THEIR wedding photo, you feel like the room is spinning. And in my world, we have been so caught up in a very sick dog in ICU at VRC, I had no idea my friend’s barn caught fire Saturday morning.

Thankfully, none of the animals or humans living on the farm were killed or injured. And no, the house didn’t catch fire. But they had just moved to the farm and were painting the farmhouse and fixing her floors….so all of their possessions: furniture, clothes, pictures, kid’s toys, books, shoes, etc, etc WERE IN THE BARN. Along with farm equipment.

The barn and contents are a total loss. Thanks to the marvelous firefighters in Chester County, the house was saved and so were all humans and animals. Kimberton Fire Company took the lead here, and they were so amazing.

It is a daunting loss. But we love our friend Ashley May Brenner and we are paying it forward for her, like she does for everyone else, every single day. It’s who she is. A hard working, pretty, intelligent woman who is also a young widow. She has the biggest heart. And she needs not only a barn raising right now, she needs a life raising.

So some of us who are her friends, along with some of our friends have banded together to give Ashley and her family a hand up. We have started a Go Fund Me and truly hope to surpass our posted goal because fundraising platforms charge a percentage. We are hoping you can help us out? Any amount you can spare?

Please?

Here is what we said in the Go Fund Me:

Love They Neighbor❤️

This past weekend an amazing local family lost just about everything in an early morning barn fire. Having just moved in two weeks ago all of their furniture, clothes, toys, and household items were being stored in the barn while they did some painting and renovating. While the true blessing is that no one was hurt and the animals were all rescued safely by our amazing local fire companies the reality is that a home needs furniture, and lamps and stuff, closets need filled, kids need toys, and so on. I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing this family for several years now and while I agree with her that all that was lost were just things and things can be replaced I also believe when a friend, a neighbor, when anyone needs help you simply help in any small way you can. This woman is truly an amazing, strong, and beautiful soul.. having lost her husband unexpectedly one month ago, to moving her family and animals to their new farm two weeks ago, to now this she has been nothing short of courageous and strong through it all. Always finding the silver lining in anything and everything she can… she is amazing, her kids are amazing, her animals bring smiles to so many, and it’s time to show them some good old local love in the form of a “house raising”. While the barn raising will happen in the future it’s the house we are focused on filling now… so…the barn is joining together with several other amazing local community members to reach out far and wide for help…

Help comes in all ways and forms… it comes in donating gift cards to the family for supplies, food, and more…. in contributing to a go fund me that will be going live later today, and most importantly through kind words, love, and support from the community around you. It takes a village and this village is going to show up for this family.. so if you can help rebuild dreams, help fill the house, help create new memories and smiles thank you. Thank you for showing this amazing family what a village can do when led by neighborly love…❤️

And… always, always, always remember your local fire departments.. always there when you need them and always going above and beyond.

❤️Love what…. and who…are local ❤️

If you want to help with this “house raising” gift cards can be dropped off at the barn (425 Little Conestoga Rd Downingtown). If you have furniture or other items to donate off the wish list please send me a private message to coordinate. 

If you’d like to send a card or note or something else to show your neighborly love that too can be dropped off here at the barn. If you’d like to help delivering furniture and other things let me know! First load is headed over today!! And if you’d like to help in any other way please just reach out….

Let’s join together to show this amazing family what a community can do when we all lend a helping hand❤️

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you❤️❤️❤️

~LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️

Hunting for anything that might have survived among the ashes.

But for the Grace of God go any of us here. This could be any of us. So we are asking for the community to rally for one of our own.

Here is the story told by Kimberton Fire Company (CLICK HERE.)

I really hope that people in Chester County can put aside their differences that seem to grow by the day to help this family.

At the end of this post will be a slideshow of photos. This next photo is what the barn looked like before the fire. It was a magnificent 18th century barn and they also want to rebuild.

Shortly after they moved into Cloverleaf farm just outside the village of Kimberton.

Please help if you can. Even sharing to someone who can help if you can’t is a help. Yes this is personal for me, because Ashley is my friend. And she did not ask us to do this, because she is so self-reliant and independent. But she is our friend and we want to help. So please consider helping us help her.

Here is the link to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️ or https://gofund.me/55805ac1

Thank you for stopping by and thanks for reading.

But for the Grace of God go any of us. Also, please support your local fire department wherever you live.

a memory trigger: long ago and far away

Weird post title, right? Well it’s just the way it popped into my head today.

Yesterday one of my besties from growing up (and today) got in touch to let me know she had found a place up near here for when she is in town to see family and to be able to spend time. She had married and ended up in Florida, but now that her kids are in college, she wants to be able to split her time between two states. She’s mostly a sun person but not quite a snow bird.

So she tells me where she found a place, and I remembered she was going to be near where someone a lot of us knew many years ago once lived. It is trite but true that you have people in your life who are in the following categories: reason, season, lifetime. But it’s true, isn’t it? People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This was someone in a season category.

This guy was someone many of us were friends with when we were younger. He was an awesome person, but somewhat of a Peter Pan so when we all started to settle down into marriages or even more serious relationships and jobs/careers, he is one of those people we remembered always fondly, but faded away over time. He was just simply put, living a different life than we were eventually living. The pieces no longer fit.

So my friend’s new home triggered a memory of this guy we all knew. He was just about out of college when we all started college, and by the time we met him, he was at first job stage and we were all still in school. I remember exactly where some of us met him: at one of those outdoor summer keg parties that probably don’t really exist the way we knew them back in the proverbial day. It was at one of those parties we met him and his roommate at the time. The roommate was a tall good-looking slightly arrogant guy with dark hair with essentially no time for college girls working for the summer in Avalon, NJ. The guy we came to know was a lot of fun to be around.

Well that was the first memory that surfaced for me, when we both said “wonder what ever happened to him?” and then found his obituary on Google. He had died of cancer right before COVID. He had also moved out of the area some years prior, so I actually don’t know who knew he had passed away. I think the random memory of summers in Avalon those years also surfaced first because today would literally be the day many of us were moving into summer rentals for jobs that started Memorial Day Weekend.

This guy we knew was someone we would see here and there after the beach summers. We would meet up for drinks. I had friends who would see him more, because like him, they like the Delaware Avenue clubs back then…I didn’t.

We then didn’t see him for a few years. He got married and wasn’t out and about. Then one random time that another guy friend had me and two of his sisters go to some club on Delaware Avenue called the 8th Floor, we ran into him with another friend. For this club, you had to dress up and you went up a freight elevator and there this club had quite honestly amazing views of the city. It was a great adaptive reuse. I remember when we went. We took old school photos that night. I still actually have a couple of them. It was during my black velvet headband phase. (I will note for the record my mother liked this phase much more that the early to mid 80’s purple sparkly eyeshadow phase.)

Anyway, I ran into this friend there with another friend that night, and kind of blurted out “What are you doing out clubbing? I thought you got married?” Well them my one friend he was with doubles over laughing because apparently he had just gotten divorced. (Foot in mouth. Yup.)

Then it was back to him joining all of us remaining singletons out once in a while. He also made a perfectly acceptable friend escort to things when my mother would have a fit that I couldn’t possibly go to wherever by myself, I needed an escort. That was always a battle with my mother until I learned to put my foot down and tell her no, it was fine for me to go by myself, it just made HER uncomfortable. (But I digress.)

The last time I saw this male friend was another friend’s wedding in November, 1998. I was a bridesmaid and there was a head table. The bride’s mother was adamant we had to essentially make all look perfect and there were a few of us many bridesmaids who weren’t dating anyone, engaged, or in a committed relationship. Therefore, that meant dragging out the male friend dates and dusting them off. This guy was my escort. He ticked all of the boxes. Grew up going to Main Line school, had normal dress suits, had been to clubs like Merion Cricket, my mother wouldn’t scream “not him.”

Another guy friend of another bridesmaid at this wedding was her escort (and this “friend boy” ended up marrying yet another bridesmaid a couple of years later because I introduced them at the rehearsal dinner, but that’s another story for another day.) Then there was another guy we were all friends with who was a fill in at the head table for yet another unattached bridesmaid.

Now this was one of my favorite weddings, although no longer connected to the bride and groom a couple of decades later. But it was a special wedding, although honestly incredibly stressful to be a part of at times. We didn’t have a “bridezilla” per se, but a Mother of the Bride-zilla. From how much weight she expected us to lose onward. And the dresses were baby’s bottom pink slipper satin in November and the actual wedding photographer was a male diva that almost caused a mutiny of bridesmaids on the wedding day.

This was also the wedding that when I went to the ladies room before they served the appetizer of shrimp cocktail, some of us in the bridesmaid category went to the ladies room and when I came back, the guy on the OTHER side of me (as in not my friend escort) ate his shrimp cocktail….and mine. In like 5 minutes flat when I went to the ladies room. My escort laughed and laughed…so did I.

Now the way this wedding ended was this guy whom was my escort picked up a wedding guest and went out somewhere with whoever it was. I laughed because it was just the way this guy was, and he wasn’t an actual date date so, I really didn’t care. But oh my did it cause chatter at the end of the wedding and after.

After this wedding, I think I remember running into this guy a couple of more times, but then that was it. None of us saw him much after that. He was the nicest of guys, but he kind of stayed Peter Pan and we all kind of grew up more. Jobs, families, other things. But he was someone I will always remember fondly because he was a good guy, and fun in a season of our lives. He was never destined to be a lifetimer, and I think we all knew that even back then.

That’s the funny thing about these discoveries. You can be a little bit sad this person you once knew departed the earth, but the older you get it’s a finality and often if you mourn, you are mourning a closing a door in certain chapters of our lives more so than mourning the person. I am not being callous, it’s just the way I think it can be. Am I mourning any of this? Honestly? No. But I did enjoy the memories that will fade away once more.

And this one real estate purchase and discovery of this obituary just let loose a whole slew of memories from over many, many years.

Memories are a process of association within our brains. Memories also have different contexts, and some contexts will associate memories with other memories. In my case, a friend saying where she bought a place and was moving reminded me (and us) of someone we once knew now long ago, and longer ago for her because she moved out of the area so many years ago.

People often say I have this huge memory database going on in my head. I think it’s just context. Things you see, read, talk about just remind you of other things.

Older memories aren’t necessarily ever forgotten, you just need triggers that remind you of other times, places, people.

There are so many things that trigger memories. Even being happy or sad in a moment can remind you of other happy or sad moments. And we remember things at different times. Have you ever had someone say “Do you remember….?” and you don’t remember a thing, and then later at some point in time you actually DO remember?

Anyway, just a ramble down memory lane. I am sure my armchair critics will have something to say, but you know what? So what? It was nice to remember a few happy and often funny memories of long ago. There is enough tragedy in the current world that I don’t mind the memories that remind you that life is not all bad.

Carry on and thanks for stopping by.

the new feminism or revisiting old issues?

I don’t know if any of you are watching the HBO/MAX series on the life of Julia Child called “Julia”. I have always been a fan of the French Chef, and I love to cook and I have a bunch of her cookbooks so I really enjoy the show, which began before I was even born. I also enjoy the show and the way that it has blended the era in which she started in TV with the world around them.

In one of the episodes Julia Child has an encounter with Betty Friedan. My research indicates this encounter never actually happened. But another article I read said that the show was perhaps exploring Julia’s brand of feminism versus Betty’s. And that made me think of how do we define feminists and feminism today? The show makes valid points, it also makes you ponder sometimes why as women we are our own sex’s worst enemies.

When I look back on life, you naturally start when we were growing up. Especially if you grew up in an area like the Main Line, which isn’t necessarily the real world. Graduating high school in 1981 meant sure we were being groomed to have the big female careers, but conversely we were also still being groomed to be lovely hostesses in our husbands’ homes. And no one told us or showed which choice was the right choice for us as individuals.

My career was not some giant six-figure career with fancy cars and penthouse apartments. I think that was harder on my mother for a lot of years as opposed to me. Just like it was hard on her when I was single, and sometimes she made me feel like that was a huge flaw in me as a human being. I liked what I did. Never wanted to just be with a partner or date, or even marry just so I could say I did that. I wanted it to be right.

But what I discovered when I got what should have been a career dream job is I didn’t really like it as much as the other things I had done all the other years. But it was an accomplishment. I will note that I was definitely deserving of a six-figure salary for a lot of those years, and I honestly never attained it. However, you know what? That was fine. I wasn’t a millionaire but I had enough money to take care of myself most of the time, and sometimes it was tight and I managed. And the truth of the matter is, employers are cheap. The key to their particular brand of success is not making you wealthy, but making them wealthy. Just another version of plantation mentality.

I have also always been opinionated. Sometimes that’s welcome in a corporate setting, sometimes not. as I entered into my 30s I began to realize there were other things out there. There wasn’t just being on socially correct junior committees and going to the right parties and being seen with the right people. There were the things in life that you took a look at and made you realize that all the people you were on committees with would always need you more than you needed them.

Gradually I became active in my community. I became kind of a community/grassroots activist of sorts. But sometimes who I was clashed with some of the people I was a community activist with, as well as people I grew up with . And sometimes these two sides of me clashed within myself. It took me until I was well into my 40s to understand that I could be both of those people.

And then there is the whole me as I have gotten older. I married later than a lot of people, and when I was marrying for the first time a lot of people I know were not only divorcing but onto subsequent spouses. Sometimes in that part of my world I felt judged. And I don’t really know why I think it’s just because I kind of did me all of these years. Not always easily because as we grow we learn more about ourselves. Especially as women.

Sometimes now, I feel myself judged by an entirely different generation of women. I am a stepparent and I never had my own children, somehow that goes against you and I don’t quite know how. It would’ve been nice if I had been able to bear my own children, but medically that was never possible for me, and it just never would’ve presented itself as an opportunity in the more traditional “childbearing years.”

And there’s the whole idea of feminism and having it all. But at on the eve of 58 I still wonder if you can have it all? Or is what makes you happy in fact actually having it all? I think it’s that. I think having it all, is being content with your life. And maybe that runs counter to feminism. Maybe I personally run counter to feminism because I like to do things like garden and cook and keep my house. I don’t think for years you were supposed to admit that out loud.

I look around me and we all spend a lot of our time as women in general, telling everyone else what they should do with their lives. And now once again we are coming full circle to wondering if a bunch of folks in judicial robes are going to be telling women what they should do, and more importantly what they should do with their bodies?

Oh yes, readers, I am going there. No matter what my personal choices are vis-à-vis my own body, I have never believed it was my place to tell another woman what she should do with hers. And I have always resented it when those in clerical robes and judicial robes have tried to tell us what it meant to be a woman. And I resent most of all the politicians who take this issue on on both sides and pander.

Feminism in the 60s and 70s gave women the power to be whom they felt they should be. We have in a sense, enjoyed that since then. But we’ve all gotten lackadaisical and somewhat complacent. And that’s men and women, and look where it’s gotten us in this country? Politically, we are a cesspool.

I also get tired of those who go around proselytizing in political campaigns and even within our own communities telling us what our families are supposed to look like, and what our family values according to them are supposed to be. They also want to tell us what our sexual preferences and gender identity are supposed to be, and there’s no room for anything else because it makes all of those people uncomfortable.

All of this behavior has extended itself into our schools, our libraries, our daily lives. The ultimate echo chamber is social media and certain social media groups. And what they don’t understand is they are free to have their opinions but rights are not subjective and they don’t get to foist their opinions on us and tell us that is what we are supposed to do.

All of these people want to tell you that their First Amendment rights are of more value than ours. They also want to tell you how the life during the last political administration and president was so wonderful, and today is a mess. I am wondering if they will ever be able to pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize everything they are bemoaning as a mess today is a result of what we went through with the last administration? Do I think that the current administration is doing a particularly fabulous job? To be honest no not all of the time, but then you look at realistically what they were left to deal with. Also politics has gotten ridiculously reactive and over-reactive. Being a moderate is like a four letter word.

Then you look at what we are dealing with today. You have the people who are saying that they are so against socialism and totalitarianism and they are true conservatives yet they don’t know the basics of the United States Constitution, our history as a country, and what it is to be a true conservative. Truthfully, a lot of those people don’t even realize that they are closer to socialism, communism, and totalitarianism than anyone. Sometimes I wonder if what the U.S. is experiencing today is actually closer to what Great Britain saw in post WWII England? That was some truly ugly stuff for a while. And it seems to be here today.

What we are living today is what it’s like trying to exist in a country full of political extremism. And as women in this country, I think we are feeling that acutely. And I think as women we are looking at a horrible future for future generations of American women, if we all don’t speak up.

And we as women all need to stop thinking that there’s always something wrong with who we are because of how other people see us. I realized that again this weekend when a lot of high school reunions took place. Ladies, we are who we are, and just because the “it girls“ from back in the day still think they are “it girls” it doesn’t mean they are ….it just means perhaps they are stuck in a time warp. Interestingly enough, most of them still do not know how to behave, which is something I find very amusing personally.

When it comes to women there will always be strivers. There are strivers in the personal sense of those who have amazing career goals and attain them. Then there are the strivers who are perhaps not as appealing. Like social strivers.

The social strivers are often the women who are trying to run as fast as possible from what they’re from. Instead of embracing what they’re from, they only wish to project essentially a fake persona and are often label conscious, trendy Wendy types.

Where women always will fall short in this world is not embracing that part of who you are based on what you’re from. And maybe what you’re from isn’t what you feel is socially acceptable, but it’s stupid to try to deny it because everybody knows it anyway.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman who doesn’t color her hair, doesn’t have plastic surgery, and doesn’t get Botox and other fillers every few weeks from not even their dermatologist half of the time, but a spa or salon somewhere.

Women as a species will always be competitive on some level with other women. It’s human nature. But the thing is it’s how you use that competitive nature, and ironically some of the most hyper competitive women I’ve ever met in my entire life I’ve also been among the most insecure.

I’m not saying we’re supposed to all stop shaving our legs and armpits and we’re supposed to sing Kumbaya around the campfire, what I’m saying is maybe as part of the brand of the new feminism we need to actually be real.

So what is the new feminism? I’m still not really sure. But I do think part of it is being able to speak our peace. And I think part of being real is actually acknowledging you don’t want to lift up every woman. Because sometimes there are just some women who piss you off, or irritate you, or you question their inherent value as human beings and just do not like. And that’s OK as a woman to actually say that out loud. You can be your authentic self without worrying about having to be perfect every five minutes.

Obviously I don’t have the answers, and these are just some of my rambling thoughts. I’m sure not everyone will like what I have written today, but these are things I’m thinking about.

Thanks for stopping by.

just call me hester prynne…only b for blogger.

Hester Prynne. I bet most don’t know what I am referring to. Some will recognize the reference to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And before I get into the crux of this post, allow me to reflect on why many wouldn’t understand the Nathaniel Hawthorne reference. The Scarlet Letter as a novel is about shaming and social stigmatizing of Hester Prynne. But do students even read it any longer? Are they allowed to?

I wear my scarlet letter as B for blogger.

The Scarlet Letter is about 17th century New England. Today one could say the similar behaviors portrayed in this novel (written in the 19th century about life in the 17th century) is sort of life imitates art and art imitates life…and today it plays out nearly every day on social media somewhere. The masses used to whisper behind their hands to their pals in the market square, now they just vomit their word salad thoughts all over social media.

This novel by Nathanial Hawthorne also can be distilled down to a society punishing a woman for refusing to conform to what they determined the acceptable standards to be. Judgement of women. Nothing new there. It takes different forms as time progresses, but it comes back to Different = Bad and one of the Sheeple = Good.

You see these parents who don’t want masks, vaccines, and whatever else the flavor of that particular week is, they are also busy, busy, busy trying to ban books. The dumbing down of their children and turning public education into a circus side show act. So this book might no longer be taught, which is of course rather ironic because if you look at fiction today, even television and movies, where and what are the roots? No new breaking of ground, unless based upon fact, they take their cues from classic literature and plays. Just like current events take their cues from history, another thing they don’t want their kids subjected to — actual history.

At the bottom are screenshots from some of the Downingtown Area School District people. I call them crazies because in my opinion what else can you call them? Rational, normal human beings? They hate everyone who is not in their limited world view, they judge everyone and everything the least bit different from them. They are brainwashed and led around by groups outside the area who simply manipulate them. These are people who as individuals are afraid to have opinions that differ from the next mom in the car rider line.

I am their sworn enemy (as in all of this ilk) most probably because I am at the most simple of trying to understand pretzel logic, just different from them. And I dare think and process differently from them. I don’t speak in emojis and weird text abbreviations so I don’t have to write the actual words, and form actual sentences. With these people, no matter who and where they are, they are the kind of people that Different = Bad.

The theory of Different = Bad is why someone else whom I don’t know (or care to know) posted a photo of me in a hospital gown from over a decade ago when I was about to start treatment for breast cancer after having one half of my left breast lobbed off during surgery. I still think that was supposed to ultimately shame me, and it did not. But it sure did piss off a lot of people I did not even know who either knew someone currently being treated for breast cancer or had been, along with breast cancer survivors themselves.

Of course, slightly different topic, but undoubtedly why they have such a hard time with sexual preference and gender identity. And I do not pretend to be an expert on either topic, or even understand all of the gender identity terminology (there is a lot of it and it is simply just new to me and I admit I am learning) , but I do know that these people deserve love, understanding, and respect. And I have quite a few friends whom are with same sex spouses and partners, always have had. They are just my friends and I love them. People like this are also giving someone whom I don’t know in West Chester the business because she must find their views on same sex relationships and gender identity lacking. That screenshot is included with the ones I am referring to. Also interesting to note is one of the commenters is the wife of a big builder in Chester County, so it makes you wonder how will their customers react to her perspective? And is it just me or does it feel exceptionally distasteful?

The bottom line is I can’t control their behavior, I can only control my own behavior, but they don’t seem to grasp that in reverse. I thought I left this petty behavior behind with the days of eminent domain in Ardmore. I mean do these people from their beige, beige worlds really think this is the first time anybody’s called me out by name? Or that people don’t know my name?

Heck, I had two business owners in Ardmore once upon a time write a letter to the editor of the Main Line times that was published. It was literally a pre-cancel culture letter talking about how horrible I was… and naming me, just another community member, by name.

This is their big “Aha” moment. Only I haven’t been hiding. If I was hiding, I would not be signing my name to each post.

These people and people like them are doing this to others all over our communities. They do it everywhere. They think that their behavior is justifiable and decreed by God in the heavens above. Their God must be different from mine as theirs is rather hateful. Oh and on the topic of God, I do indeed mock faux Christians. You see, when you know the real deal actual Christians, you know the difference between them and the ones who perform exorcisms at school board meetings in bad pearls.

And then there are those who harass small businesses about their mask policies as a privately owned company and they video them as they are harassing them. Neat trick when one of the people who makes videos of these things has a mother who owns a very popular business in Downingtown. A business I might add that suffered catastrophic damage during Ida and we all (myself included) supported them when they reopened. Sadly, some of my friends and I will no longer feel comfortable patronizing that business at least for the time being. No that isn’t a boycott, it’s personal choice for the time being. That business was not judged for their masking policies were they?

These people like to essentially project their behaviors onto everyone else. And again I ask you how they don’t understand how their kids learn bullying and other bad behavior they blame school districts and everyone else for?

It’s time to take back our communities from these people. Stand up for yourselves, they only have the power we allow them to have, don’t they? They are mean, they say mean things, they do mean things. They live little lives they try to project upon all of us, every day. It is O.K. to say you think they are wrong. No one needs any of these people as friends, and the fact I say that is yet another thing they don’t like…..bless their hearts.

Well, I must Hester Prynne along now and wear my scarlet letter B, so below here are the screenshots and have a wonderful sunshine-y day. Don’t let the little bitches get you down.

oh look mom, it’s freedom to be a jackass day in exton

Moms Against Suffocating Kids. You just can’t make this stuff up.

How about Kids Against Suffocating Moms?

First of all, personally I am too damn old to protest in the rain. Secondly it’s SUNDAY, don’t they have anything else to do? Thirdly what do they think will happen because they stood in the rain outside a mall on Route 100 at Route 30? Literally no one blink their lights or beeped the horns in support. The people in the car next to us were laughing hysterically.

Also there is that whole thing about respecting our beautiful United States flag and not flying it in inclement weather? So Captain America, do you not respect our flag enough? The flag, our flag, should not be subject to weather damage. Maybe that is an all weather flag, but still? There are actually federal guidelines. How is this even a flag-bearing occasion?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. I would say they should volunteer on a pediatric ward for kids with COVID but who knows if they even have shots?

Shaking my head….just shaking my head….

the dysfunctional states of america.

Storm clouds have arrived again on all of our horizons.

What is this world today in which we live? I actually ask myself that question because in spite of my friends and family, the world outside is ugly and out of control so much of the time.

At the bottom of this post is the UN-school board meeting in Great Valley from last evening. It was not the scheduled meeting of the Great Valley School District, these people stormed the meeting, disinformation in hand, were nasty and angry and took over a meeting of a large school board. The recording missed a lot of the angry and pejorative comments, and some even wrote to me how this was just a “community discussion.” Oh hell to the no. No business of the Great Valley School Board was conducted, just air time for the ill informed.

Among the ill informed, nurses. That blows my mind. One of the ill informed nurses is a Republican candidate for Great Valley School District, Sallie Campbell. She read a Psalm (Psalm 27) at a public school meeting. Separation of church and state much? She also tried to use that phrase “color blind”, and if she really understood what racism was, she wouldn’t use that phrase, would she? (See 1:12:36) She is a complete nut. She also doesn’t seem to understand she is running for political office and people can indeed comment on her demeanor as a candidate. She is mock worthy to a level that Saturday Night Live could make a skit about her.

Unionville Chaddsford School District also apparently had a similarly disruptive school board meeting. Other people elsewhere are reporting similar behavior at school board meetings everywhere. West Chester Area School District is also having issues.

This behavior is not acceptable and these adults are not misbehaving on behalf of the welfare of the children. This is all about them.

What happened last night was completely abhorrent and unacceptable. Given the angry and disrespectful people except I wondered why theycould not have had some of those people removed for being disruptive at a public meeting?

The behavior, expletives, and pejorative comments directed at the school board were a bit much (“pussies” “little bitches” whatever all grossly inappropriate.) As were the comments directed at those attending from the public who were wearing masks, some of whom were friends of mine. Some yelled at these people saying they were “retarded” (yes that word was used) and were wearing “face diapers”. Also other comments that had unpleasant racist connotations. None of that is OK.

I am not naïve and I have seen many a heated school board meeting but none where in essence people operating with disinformation in hand exhibiting mob mentality literally took over a school board meeting and had a non-sanctioned meeting. Some described it as a “community conversation” or other such drivel. It was not. And it prevented the business of a large school district from progressing. As a taxpayer, I object to that. If they want to have a “community conversation” they can go rent a hall or meeting space.

Do I like wearing a mask? Honestly no, but it is a small inconvenience in the bigger picture.

And the bigger picture is simple: if we suffer from large enough COVID resurgences, the reality is we go back to lock-down, and kids are deprived of the normalcy of everyday school they were deprived of in 2020.

The ugliness in this country as a whole right now again, is staggering. The behavior of some, simply appalling. Its like social mores no longer exist. I realized that even after lockdowns lifted I personally started going out less and less because I don’t wish to deal with the anger and vitriol that permeates everyday life. And I have to ask, how do our kids view all of this?

Today I feel world weary. And sad. And I am not a depressant. It’s watching how human beings are treating each other. I mean I am a realist and don’t expect world peace by the end of the summer, but I really wish for less ugliness in our communities. Next week the anti maskers anti vaxxers are taking their road show to a Tredyffrin Eattown School Board meeting and is any of this about the kids or just the egos of the parents?

And I am tired, so tired of the politics of political bullshit. Yes I cursed, but it is beyond ridiculous. I realized the other day I never hear anymore from some I used to speak with quite frequently. And I think it is because politically we have moved apart, and I am not exactly super liberal. But I don’t subscribe to the cult of fake news and 45 was Jesus with a bad rug. And it breaks my heart that intelligent people literally take fake news as the Gospel. (And I have to ask is it wrong to feel slightly gleeful that nasty Texas Governor Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID? Asking for a friend.)

Also I have something for you all to read:

Philadelphia Magazine: The Return of COVID Restrictions Proves That Unvaccinated Lives Matter. Those complaining about personal freedom being suppressed by new COVID rules are ignoring one thing: These very restrictions they loathe are here to keep them alive. By ERNEST OWENS· 8/12/2021

At 57 I find myself yearning for simpler days, or maybe some of the innocence of childhood where we didn’t notice the ugliness of the overall world permeating our day to day existence. But I guess that isn’t possible and I will just keep on keeping on… and gardening. Yes gardening. It’s a happy thing devoid of craziness except what is found in nature.

Yes I know we can only control our own behavior, but it is hard to swallow some days how the behavior of others affects us. Common sense and most aspects of a sense of decorum no longer exists at all.

Be safe and be peaceful out there. And garden more.