crebilly in the snow

Sigh….isn’t this just beautiful? A friend of mine was kind enough to snap this today and send it to me. I thought I would post it along with a link to a letter another friend of mine wrote to Toll Brothers recently.

No developer can replicate this pastoral beauty or view. They can only steal it for development. And will the future residents of a McMansion Farm even appreciate a view like this? Doubtful. Those people aren’t even allowed to garden the way they want (if they were gardening types to begin with.)

This is what the Robinsons are sacrificing on the altar of soulless development. I still don’t get it. If my legacy was land like this with amazing views, purpose AND history, I would fight to preserve it. But I am guessing these folks are sadly different? They seem to be missing the gene that allows them to do great things – you know like Frolic Weymouth did his whole life and the recent generosity of the Haas family with regard to their estate in Villanova?

#NoMoreTollberhoods

#SaveCrebilly

another unexpected loss. good-bye tom murray.

Tom at the Harriton House annual Plantation Fair in 2008 with reporter and photographer Ryan Richards.

Tom at the Harriton House annual Plantation Fair (Bryn Mawr, PA) in 2008 with then reporter and photographer Ryan Richards . Tom supported local events and he would pop up at many personally, not just send a reporter.

Yesterday I went to say good-bye to my friend Al Terrell.  This morning I am writing about saying good-bye to someone else I called friend.  Tom Murray, Managing Editor/Lead Content Manager of The Daily Local, our Chester County daily newspaper.

Yes Tom, yes Sam, I know…I just buried the lede. But it is like I have to get my head all wrapped around this. And this one is tough.

It was not quite a year ago that I wrote my blog post about Tom Murray coming on as managing editor of The Daily Local .

We had a joke he and I from way back when he took over for Warren Patton at then Main Line Life (eventually Tom’s job grew and he helped create the whole thing known as Main Line Media News and bring multiple papers together.) When he had come on board to Main Line Life, I had as a local blogger and community activist with the then fledgling Save Ardmore Coalition (back in the days of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore) sent him an email welcoming the “new sheriff in town.”  He laughed and we became friends.  

Just like that.

These photos I am sharing are my favorites that I took of him. September 2008 at the Harriton House Fair in Bryn Mawr. And one he sent me when I said I wanted to write about him assuming the editorial helm at The Daily Local. The other is a newspaper box from Saturday. And a photo shared by whom he first referred to as “his lady” when he first told me about her, Terry Hardin.

Terry sent me this photo this morning. She loved him so much.

Terry sent me this photo. She loved him so much.

Tom gave a lot of us voices back in the day and today, and all my reader’s editorials were published under him. His “As I see it” columns for readers to have a voice.

But he also then became a friend.

I loved talking to Tom. He was a real daily newspaper guy. He was also a modern media guy and not afraid to try new things, new media platforms. He also was with Patch early on – when they were actually micro news sites and not just regurgitations and shameless re-publishers of the work of others that they are today.

When I was stiffed on fees for some freelance writing last year, he was someone whose wise counsel I sought.  What he told me left me better prepared to take on writing assignments after that.  And I loved the few choice words he had for the person who reneged on payment and said I was a lousy writer. “You know you can write, ” he told me “How many years did I edit what you wrote?”

Tom and Diane - photo taken at Harriton Fair 2008.

Tom and Diane – photo taken at Harriton Fair 2008.

I watched him support his late wife Diane through cancer and we all learned the hashtag #distrong . Like everyone else who knew him our hearts all broke a little when he lost Diane. And then when he met his Terry, we smiled and our hearts were happy.  He and Terry were to be married.

One of Tom’s photos from his Main Line Life Days when he also has a local access TV show.

I was at a dinner party Saturday night with my sweet man n Philadelphia when I checked my phone around 10:00 pm. At 9:47 pm my childhood friend Bob Robinson had messaged me to tell me he had heard from Tom’s son Ian that he had suffered a fatal heart attack around 7 pm. Bob and I shared Tom as a friend.

Behind me I heard the chatter of a happy dinner party as I stared at my phone re-reading Bob’s message. A surreal moment. There I am having a conversation with myself in my head “No, no, no. This can’t be true, it must be a mistake” and around me the cheerful banter of friends.

Because of Tom I got to know so many great people who I am lucky to call friends today. One of them, Cheryl Allison (who was a reporter at Main Line Media News for years) said to me

“I’ve never known anyone who was more passionate about the process of gathering and reporting the news. What many may not have known, but what I had the opportunity to witness, was how Tom delighted in finding, encouraging and mentoring talented young journalists starting their careers.”

Another friend, Caroline Mangan O’Halloran, who wrote for him when he was with Main Line Life and Main Line Media News and now pens the fabulous Savvy said to me

“I am terribly saddened by his loss. Tom was my boss at Main Line Life after Warren Patton. Tom and I bantered about (and disagreed) over many things, but he always played fair and shot straight. He respected everyone and was a kind and generous man. An old-fashioned newsman, he was a a truth teller. I too plan to pay him tribute in SAVVY.”

Truer words were never spoken.  He encouraged the inner writer in both professional writers and citizen journalists.   (And yes, perfectionists of the craft of writing I have done these two quotes like this on purpose.  They are beautiful and I want them to stand out.)

I started blogging before it was quite fashionable, and when I started it was often perceived as a bit scandalous and definitely controversial. He was an early champion, yet would call me out if he felt I could do better.

As I had mentioned earlier, during his many year tenure at Main Line Life/Main Line Media News I wrote a lot of reader’s editorials. I wasn’t the only one – Tom was a big believer in the vox populi or the voice of the people.  Tom is one the many traditional journalists I know that has helped me become a better writer. More importantly, this guy does good newspaper. He did the First Amendment and “sunshine” right.

And so I am writing about Tom for my blog. As I write I remember a really great guy and friend. And a man who was a true newspaperman, a dying breed indeed. True newspapermen are to journalism as cowboys were to founding the west. Mavericks, yet good and true. And so darn American if you want to distill it down.

I thought of Tom Saturday morning when we went over to the D.K. Diner in West Chester for a bite to eat in the afternoon. The first thing that greeted us before we went inside was a Daily News newspaper box.  Way back when in the days of Main Line Life I would always tell him if a box emptied out fast.  He liked to know which issues were selling big time.

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Life is fleeting.

RIP Tom Murray. So many of us will miss you. I had no idea when we spoke last week it would be for the last time. The future of true journalism just dimmed a little.

Updated: JANUARY 25, 2017 — 3:21 PM EST by Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer @cookb

The Heron’s Nest: RIP, Tom Murray – an ‘old school’ newspaperman

  • By Phil Heron editor@21st-centurymedia.com @philheron on Twitter
  • Jan 23, 2017

Tom Murray, old-school editor with love of the future, dies
By Michael Rellahan, Daily Local News
POSTED: 01/23/17, 5:00 PM EST

Tom Murray had sent me this photo a little over a year ago. Tom at work. He loved the newspaper business even when it frustrated him.

Tom Murray had sent me this photo a little over a year ago. Tom at work. He loved the newspaper business even when it frustrated him.

unexpected loss: r.i.p. al terrell

I took this photo of Al Terrell this fall

I took this photo of Al Terrell this fall

I do not even really know how to begin this post.  I am so sad, I am in shock.  Al Terrell my friend who made the clean up of Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer possible has died quite suddenly.

I knew in November when we were getting ready for the special ceremony at Ebenezer that Al was not feeling well.  We talked about it.  When I saw him at the ceremony he was so happy it was happening but I saw this stillness about him . And I could tell he felt poorly and it bothered me.

Al at the ceremony this past fall right next to our soldier Joshua's grave

Al at the ceremony this past fall right next to our soldier Joshua’s grave

After the ceremony we swapped emails, text messages and one or two phone calls.  Christmas and beyond it was just text messages.  He still did not feel well and wasn’t sleeping.  At that point he made me promise to not give up on Ebenezer in case something was really wrong with him.  I promised.

And oddly he had been on my mind because a couple of people had asked me if I heard from him.

One of the things we last spoke of was his disappointment in the AME Church not responding to him further about what he wanted to see happen at Ebenezer.  I had a licensed structural engineer look at Ebenezer.  The long story short on that is the long walls are showing signs of bowing and need to be shored up to save what is left of the church ruin.  In order to do a more comprehensive engineering report, the walls would have to be shored up and the center of the ruin hand cleared of debris.  If properly stabilized, the church could be saved as a ruin, and possibly restored if money was no option.   But for that the AME Church as landowner would have to give permission for any of this.  They never replied to him. SHame on them for doing that to him. He never asked them for a cent.

We were also trying to get someone with special radar equipment into the graveyard to properly map the graves once and for all.  I won’t give up on that and I hope Dr. Watson at Immaculata will help me with that.

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Clean up this fall

I won’t give up on Ebenezer but I am so sad that this is the second friend I have made because of this sacred place who has gone home to God.  Maybe somewhere in heaven Al will meet up with Ann Christie and they will talk about Ebenezer.

Al and I became friends only in 2016.  He had contacted me initially  to tell me he would get Ebenezer cleaned up.  AT first I was like “yeah, ok” because I was so disappointed in mankind and AME church professionals and leaders in particular who had led me on a merry chase about saving and cleaning up Ebenezer for a few years at that point.

But Al just stayed in touch and slowly things began to happen.  Throughout the summer and into the fall of 2016, Al was often my first message in the morning or before I went to sleep about Ebenezer.

Al and I used to visit the same soldier before Ebenezer got too overgrown.  We shared Joshua Johnson.

Al had this quiet doing about him, he just persisted until things happened.  Every new grave uncovered, or progress made by the Willistown Scouts he texted me about. Al restored my faith in humankind.  Sounds kind of silly or even trite to my ears, but it is true. He was just a decent, nice, and caring man.  He had a deep faith about him.

Myself and the other ladies of Ebenezer as I call them will miss him terribly.  They do not make people with such honor and godliness and human kindness like Al anymore.

After Luke Phayre the Eagle Scout’s mom Kathy called me this afternoon it was like someone had punched me in the stomach.  Al was someone I knew such a short time. But he made an impact.  He mattered.

To Al Terrell’s widow and family, my deepest condolences.  Heaven truly has another angel.  Selfishly, I wished  heaven did not.  Al and I had clean up plans for the spring already.

Al Terrell with reporter Adam Farence of the Daily Local in November.

Al Terrell with reporter Adam Farence of the Daily Local in November.

Kathy Phayre and I would like to keep this going for Al Terrell.  There is the page on Facebook Save the Ruins and Cemetery of Ebenezer AME Church Frazer PA   @saveebenezeramefrazerpa – when winter turns to spring we will need volunteers.

Al Terrell you were one of a kind.  I feel blessed having known you even a short while. You were a good man.  Whenever I visit Joshua I will think of you. You will be missed. I will miss your text messages with photos of what was uncovered at Ebenezer and even your unabashed joy when people in the area just stopped by Ebenezer to pay their respects.

Everyone, I wish I could write more or be more eloquent.  I am just so truly sad at this moment.

Here is Al’s death notice and the service is this coming Saturday, January 21 at Saints Philip and James in Exton. The viewing starts at 9:30 am:

Al Terrell  May 2, 1945 – January 15, 2017 (Age 71)

 TERRELL Al, age 71, of Malvern and Cape May Point, NJ, died on January 15, 2017. Survived by his wife, Darryl (Waller); his children; Lana, Andrew (Jessica) and Joseph Terrell and his grandchildren; Ella and Sophia. Relatives and friends are invited to his Visitation on Saturday, 9:30-10:45 AM followed by his Funeral Mass at 11 AM at Sts. Philip and James Church, 723 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton, PA 19341. Interment Private. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78, 2 Mill Rd., Malvern, PA 19355 or Triangle Park, P.O. Box 74, Cape May Point, NJ 08212 would be appreciated.

 Here is a tribute that came in from Kimberly Boddy a friend of mine (and grand daughter of the late and beloved Chester County Artist, Lee Carter):

There are no words that can possible alleviate the shock and heartache that Mr. Terrell’s family, friends and associates are feeling at this moment in time. 

We know God has spoken and we are left to say Amen, while simultaneously asking ourselves, WHY. You are right Mr. Terrell was a special soul who touched the hearts of those who were blessed to meet him. I agree that we must carry one the Restoration of Ebenezer in honor of Mr. Terrell.

We can take solace in the fact that he did indeed honor the Civil War Colored Troops buried at Ebenezer in spite of the run around he received from the A.M.E Church, District and Local Leaders.

Mr. Terrell did not have historical amnesia or seek notoriety or financial gains. His only desire was to honored those that came before him in the most respectful way and even when he received no response, support or acknowledgement from the landowners he still honored those souls interred at Ebenezer. 

And here are the articles about Ebenezer:

Updated: OCTOBER 16, 2016 — 5:34 AM EDT

By Adam Farence, Daily Local News

POSTED: 11/19/16, 7:11 PM EST

EAST WHITELAND >> During a humble autumn afternoon, a small ceremony paid homage to a long since abandoned graveyard housing African-American Civil War veterans, and others whose names have been lost to time and erosion.

For Bruce Reason and Al Terrell, the sight of the cleaned up Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church cemetery on Saturday was a welcome one…

The person who came along and led the clean-up effort was Henderson High School sophomore Luke Phayre.

Phayre, a member of the Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78, had been looking for a project to complete so he could become an Eagle Scout.

And Terrell, himself a former assistant scoutmaster working on rejoining the troop, suggested to Phayre that he clean up the graveyard as his own son, Andrew did almost two decades earlier.

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hello pravda?

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~ Thomas Jefferson

You will note I have not said much politically as in national- elections-politically in a very long time. Except for mentioning that after the most recent US presidential primary I went from being a life long Republican to a registered Independent.

I haven’t mentioned anything because on both sides of the aisle the ranting and raving especially on social media has been upsetting.  We are officially a country of extremism politically at this point and I find that terrifying.

Our President Elect  seems incapable of getting out of his own way. He attained the highest office in the land, literally. So why is it at this point so close to the inauguration that he can’t behave in a more shall we say “Presidential” manner?

 He likes to criticize people like bloggers and the media and celebrities and basically anyone who disagrees with him in any way.   OK so it’s fine to be a cranky person who reacts to everything on Twitter, but this guy is going to be our president officially as in sworn in officially in a matter of days and the only thing he can do is attack Meryl Streep for exercising her right of free speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony?

It’s not like it’s anything new is it? Award ceremonies are used by celebrities all the time to voice their political opinions and platforms.

  
Meryl Streep is eloquent and thoughtful. And once again our now President Elect has vilified yet another woman. Why does he have issues with women so often? 

Apparently no one else is allowed to say anything he might find upsetting, distressing, personally distasteful. But in that double standard world in which he lives, he can say whatever he wants it’s just everyone else who has to keep their mouths shut.

Newsflash Mr. President elect this isn’t Mother Russia. Pravda need not apply.  You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but our forefathers fought for our freedom’s including freedom of speech.

I actually wonder in addition to trying to completely dismantle our healthcare system if he will try to well rollback freedom of speech a couple hundred years. I am waiting for laws that will hurt bloggers and reporters and anyone at all who has an opinion that differs from the party line that the incoming administration wants out there.

Washington Post: Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump at the Golden Globes. He responded by calling her ‘over-rated

By Elahe Izadi and Amy B Wang Arts and Entertainment. January  9 at 8:32 am

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Okay. Go on with that thing.

You do not have to share Meryl Streep’s politics to know she speaks the truth. And this country was founded by people who fought so we could speak our truths and not live under the thumb of tyranny. They died for this.

As Americans are we going to allow the clock to be turned back to a more oppresive form of our country? you know a country where women were barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and didn’t open their mouths?

I could go on but I won’t. I just felt like I had to write about this. Every day I fear more and more that the next four years will be so ugly. We should not be ruled by political extremism and reactionary politics. We should not be ruled.

happy new year!


Yes January 1 definitely means winter things, so today I have been applying new patches to an old quilt.

How do I make an American quilt? Well truthfully I do not because I am not truly a quilter.  Quilting is an amazing folk art form. I have taught myself how to patch and restore old and vintage quilts. 

I have written before about my love of old and vintage quilts and that I use them in my home. Quilts are a happy thing to me. 

Very cheery.

That is a lot of what I have been doing this weekend. Not very exciting to New Year’s Eve party enthusiasts, but I have never been a big New Year’s Eve person. So yesterday, I patched a really cool depression era lap quilt that was made out of old wool suits.  It will be a quilt to snuggle up with and watch TV.

You could say finishing the three quilts I have come across in various stages of now  last year is my first New Year’s resolution and one I can keep!

It’s 2017. Let’s make the best of it. Make it your year to be better. We can’t control what others do, we can only control our own actions.

Pay it forward. Do something nice – you know like helping the family made homeless by the Frazer Christmas fire next to the WaWa?

Or attend municipal meetings where you live and stand up and be counted. Tell officials how you want your community to look and stop allowing developers to do the dictating.  Pick a township and pick a developer. In January I am told Bishop Tube in East Whiteland will go to zoning. 

If you live in East Whiteland bear in mind what has now happened in Lower Merion with the Rockhill Road site. Basically Lower Merion Township officials spent years jumping through hoops at the expense of residents to benefit the developer and many years later a shovel has never hit the ground and a decrepit site is still decrepit and now for sale. Same developer as for Bishop Tube site – O’Neill.  

Bishop Tube is a toxic site. Not to be crass, but it’s a flipper baby site and they want more zoning relief. Steep slopes and such.  East Whiteland had said in late November, 2015 that the meeting was postponed until January 23. Zoning means the people with true standing who can make an impact are people who reside in the shadow of Bishop Tube.  Also they haven’t finished site remediation yet have they? 

Other items up in January would be yes more meetings in Westtown over Crebilly. Meetings are subject to change so if you live in Westtown, keep an eye on township agendas and thus far please mark your calendars for the upcoming January Planning Commission meeting dates:

Tuesday, 1/10, 6:30 Rustin High School Auditorium

Tuesday, 1/24, 6:30 Rustin High School Auditorium

There is a chance locations may be changed. Mindy Rhodes and others will keep you posted or (which I wholeheartedly suggest) you can sign up for direct notifications from Westtown Township by clicking on ‘Get Email Alerts’ at the top of the website: westtownpa.org.  

Also, Chris Patriarca, Township Planning and Zoning Officer of Westtown Township, encourages people to reach out to him directly with questions: (610)692-1930 or cpatriarca@westtown.org.
 

And remember there are all sorts of communities suffering from Toll Brothers  plans. Take a drive down Little Conestoga Road in Upper Uwchlan. Google the debacle down on Jewelers Row in Philadelphia.

Politics as in national politics? Not going there. Look we need to change the tone in this country, so yes we need to be more active, but the ugliness has gotten us all what? Nothing but more ugliness.

This New Year’s I am grateful. Grateful for my friends and family and to still be in the breast cancer survivor category.

2017 marks my third year with a gratitude jar. It is a simple thing.

The gratitude jar is a private reminder to you. It’s a sweet and simple thing. I read my year of thoughts and have already added to my jar for 2017.

Creating the jar isn’t rocket science, but the home craftiness of creating the jar isn’t really what the jar is about. If you hang with the jar throughout the year you will find it is not just a bit of ribbon, lace, a jar, labels and itty bitty bits of paper.

Yes, something so simple can teach life lessons.

You don’t have to be perfect. Don’t write something for your jar just to fill it up with little slips of paper. Every once in a while (and how frequent is up to you), sit down for a moment and pause. Let the words come to you. They will. On good days and not such good days.

Some empty their jar each New Year’s Eve. I don’t. I let the little thoughts accumulate.  I don’t put something in my jar daily, so it’s fine.

Happy 2017!  Wishing all my readers a happy and healthy 2017.

things that really aren’t so invisible 

By now most of my readers probably know about a story I have been following since Christmas. It is the story of the mom and two sons who live next-door to the Wawa in Frazer.

While there were at church for Christmas, their apartment burned. NBC10 Philadelphia and reporter Deanna Durante covered it yesterday (CLICK HERE) and the Daily Local has covered it and I am told other media outlets are in the process of covering this story as well.

If you live in the Malvern area it was the second such fire in a little more than 24 hours. But where this fire was different is that most people do not realize people live back there where the fire occurred.

In East Whiteland along Lancaster Avevue starting on just the other side of the Wawa at the corner on Planebrook, and stretching up a piece on Lancaster Avenue there are a combination of small houses and apartments above commercial structures and so on.  I mean no disrespect to the people who call these places home, but they are rentals and a lot of these landlords for years should have probably been taking a good hard look at the rough shape some of their rental properties were in and not just collected the rent.

But for the grace of God go all of us when it comes to house fires. The Rodriguez family could have all perished had they been home and not at church worshiping for Christmas. 

 I am told their landlord owns other structures right around there. I am not making any disparaging comments about said landlord because I have no personal experience with them. What I will say is I hope he does right by this family and I hope he takes a look at everything else he owns to make sure something like this won’t happen again. 

But it was sad for me to watch contretemps occur on a page on Facebook where people we’re arguing over which family who lost their home at Christmas was the most important.

The simple answer is each family in Chester county that lost their home to fire a Christmas is important.   But the not so simple answer and one that most don’t want to hear anything about is the fact that sometimes some of the families that experience these losses are generally speaking invisible to most people on a day-to-day basis. So they may need more support than others.

The people that live in the slightly ramshackle community along route 30 starting just on the other side of the Wawa aren’t living there because they have any other choice. It’s what they can afford, and in fact it’s probably the only actual “affordable housing” supply right there in East Whiteland.

Lots of communities don’t want actual affordable housing within their boundaries because people see section 8 tenement housing in their mind’s eye and are terrified. (Does anyone remember way back when the late Willard Rouse threatened to put in a trailer park and basically then got what he wanted?)

And every time some developer goes in front of the local municipality talking about how if you let them build X number of hundreds of houses and they will give you a couple affordable housing units, demand that they define “affordable.” Because I don’t think this family that lived next-door to the Wawa is the kind of family you’re going to see renting a $2000 a month one bedroom condo apartment do you?  
People talk about referring people over to the William Henry apartments on King. All I ever read about are horror stories of tenants who live in those apartments.  And are they really affordable to all?

Every community has a small segment of residents who are literally invisible to the majority of other residents. And it takes a tragedy like a total house fire for people to get it.

These people aren’t invisible and where they live is not invisible either.  But it behooves us as a community when we can come together to help our neighbors.

This family of three who lost their home and all their belongings in the Christmas fire need a new place to live. The two sons are in the Great Valley School District. If you can pay it forward for this family please do. They don’t just need donations they need a place to live.

Here is the link to the Go Fund Me Page:

https://www.gofundme.com/frazer-house-fire

please help bring christmas to local family

Tragically, yet another local Chester County family has lost everything, literally everything in an overnight Christmas fire.

https://www.gofundme.com/frazer-house-fire

The person who has started the GOFundMe is also collecting clothing in the short term to help these folks – they were not home when the fire started but all that is left for them are the clothes on their backs.

This was a horrible fire and a lot of folks lent a hand to East Whiteland Fire Company. You can read and see photos of the fire here.

Merry Christmas Chester County and thank you to those who can help these folks!