ebenzer a.m.e. on bacton hill road is in the news!

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second from left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

For over three years, I felt like a lone voice in the proverbial wilderness. It also felt crazy to me that no one really cared about the ruins of 184 years of history known as Ebenezer A.M.E. and her old souls buried on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, East Whiteland.

But it ends up, people do care, and day by day she is further released from her green prison of weeds, giant poison ivy vines, overgrowth. Every day we see a little more.

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

The tide turned shortly after Kristin Holmes wrote her first article on Ebenezer. This gentleman named Al Terrell told me he was going to get Ebenezer cleaned up.  He will tell you, and I will admit at that point my faith in this happening and being able to keep my promise to Ann Christie that we wouldn’t give up… was waning to say the least.

But Al came along with this remarkable teenager and Eagle Scout from Willistown 78, Luke Phayre.  And little by little, it’s happening.  It is actually happening.

Al is amazing.  He is one of the nicest men I have ever met, and he has this quiet and unassuming determination about him.  He has a deeply rooted faith in God and humankind that has kind of made me have faith again.

And Luke. Luke is an amazing boy, with an equally amazing mom, Kathy.  This boy is hard-working, smart, and articulate.  And yesterday, even as most of his buddies and fellow scouts were off on a camping trip, Luke was at Ebenezer, cleaning up debris.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Luke and happy to meet his mother who is also just one of those people you know from the first introduction are “good people”.

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Yesterday at Ebenezer, I also met a man named Doug.  He grew up in East Whiteland and told me about how he and his friends played in the graveyard and church.  He said when they were kids (60’s and 70’s) there was still the roof and the floor. And even part of the old altar and a couple of pews.  That now gives us a better timeline as to when the roof caved in taking everything and the floor with it. My guesstimate on that is late 1970s or 1980s.

So today, Kristin Holmes has another article in the Inquirer.  I had contacted her after the clean up began and had sent her photos.  I connected her to Al Terrell for a follow-up article.  One of the most remarkable things in the article is a quote from an A.M.E. Bishop who would not respond to me when I contacted him:

Duffy’s son, Luke Phayre, 15, and Terrell researched the property and talked with township officials. They also sought permission for the cleanup from the First District of the A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, and got it. Phayre said he talked to Bishop Gregory Ingram, who sent a letter approving the project and commending Phayre for his initiative.

“I think it’s so noble,” Bishop Ingram said in an interview Friday. “. . . I feel somewhat embarrassed that I haven’t been out there. But I will.

“For anyone to make themselves available to champion a cause like this,” he said, “it shows that in the midst of all the negativity in the world, wonderful things are happening.”


This also means to me that the A.M.E. Church is acknowledging Ebenezer’s existence and importance in history. It also gives me hope and the ability to start to forgive the A.M.E. Church  for not responding, not acknowledging.  A boy with a scout project helped them see what we see. That is what is important. Will I ever forget that men and women of the cloth like Rev. Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler, senior pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia who had an earlier calling in West Chester could never take the time to speak to me when I reached out? Probably not, but that is past and it’s time to look forward.

Bishop Ingram makes a hopeful difference in my mind, so it’s time to forgive them and look forward.

Every time I am at Ebenezer now I get all filled up with tears.  Happy tears that people young and old and in between still care about things like this.  Now I am hopeful she will be preserved and along with her some of the history of the people of Bacton, which was once a very important black community around here.

Meet Luke's mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

Meet Luke’s mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

The people buried in this cemetery bore witness to so much  history.  And they lived it like ordinary people raising their families, working hard towards a better tomorrow.  We owe these people a great debt, I think.

This article which I am about to post is why I do what I do.  And some days it is hard. People love to criticize and castigate from behind their keyboards, semi-anonymous in their vitriol.

This is a strange world we live in where at times you are punished for not essentially being like everyone else, not thinking like everyone else, not being all the exact same homogeneous lump of humanity. And then after a lot of these people criticize they actually go out and mimic what you do, anyway. Imitation is after all, the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that.)

My journey through Chester County thus far has been an amazing one.  And it is home.  So I am happy, so truly happy about Ebenezer.  I have hope for her future and was able to keep my word to a new friend.

Enjoy the article and I will have new photos soon.

Thank you Kristin Holmes for getting it. She is the ONLY reporter from any paper who has taken the time to write about this.

Thank you Al and Luke for your hard work and unwavering faith.

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

leveling the playing field over lights.



I am prefacing ALL comments with I have NOTHING against baseball or any local little league organizations. That is NOT what this is about. What this is about is LIGHT POLLUTION. And the right residents have to not have where they live lit up at night like noontime sun for extended periods of time.

In August, the Great Valley Little League was coming before East Whiteland Zoning for a variance:

****Appeal No. 2016-17 Application of Great Valley Little League for a variance from the 35-foot height limitation for all outdoor illumination fixtures for recreational and sports lighting, in order to construct and utilize four illumination fixtures (two poles at 70 feet in height, and two poles at 60 feet in height) in order to illuminate a little league baseball field on its property located at 1300 West King Road (UPI 42-6-40.1-E) in an R- 1 Residential Zoning District of the Township.*****

I will admit I found it distinctly ODD at the time that the neighbors around there said nothing.  And well they got their variance but under not institutional lighting, not residential lighting, but I was told under commercial lighting like they are on Route 30 or Rout 100 in a business district and NOT where they actually are….a residential area.

So, given the zoning hearing was in the dead of summer, and the notice was kind of posted last minute on the actual field, it doesn’t surprise me that the Zoning Hearing Board just approved the poles with not much of a thought to residents within the legal notice zone and those who are not but are still affected by BIG LIGHTS that cause that thing called LIGHT POLLUTION.

So the Little League strategy obviously was to go first to Zoning for the relief they sought and then to go to Planning for conditional approval, do I have that right? They thought no one would be bothered?

Some neighbors showed up at the East Whiteland September Planning Meeting and Planning delayed any action on the conditional use because they (GVLL/Great Valley Little League) apparently had not engaged the immediate neighbors.  It was reported to me that neighbors said they followed the advice of the Township? What does that mean and who advised them in particular? Zoning? Supervisor? Staff? Apparently, then the guy in charge of the GVLL (or whomever was at the meeting) stated that he can build lights in the parking lot by right or something to that affect. (Of course, he was granted a sweetheart variance, correct?)

Ok regardless of whether or not it is BY RIGHT or NOT, they have neighbors, including people RIGHT across King who also get inconvenienced by their storm water runoff at times, or I am told. And given the runoff I have driven through over there, I believe it.

Also notable: some East Whiteland ordinance I am told allows lights like this to be on 40 nights over 365 nights (1 year), which has people concerned that GVLL might try to say they are entitled to use the lights 40 Nights over their 90 Day Season, or essentially continually Memorial Day to Labor Day?? Ummm shouldn’t the interpretation be based upon a pro-rated or perhaps 9.86 nights? If they go for a broad interpretation is that FAIR to those of us who live within the light area that basically there will basically be a Northern Lights effect ALL summer long?

How can we trust the Great Valley Little League will buy lights with the best possible shielding and so on? The answer is you can’t. Who will babysit them for compliance in operating the lights and address the non-compliance? I can tell you from past experience municipalities push that off on residents (just ask the Radnor Township residents who deal with Villanova stadium and field lights.)

No one living near that field moved there so they could live next door to the little league version of Citizen’s Bank Park.

AGAIN, I am NOT anti-Little League. What I object to is residents NOT really being part of the process FAIRLY. We live here and like it or not, the Little League folks come and go. I doubt they would want bright lights shining in their windows at night. Acting in good faith is a big deal, kind of like good sportsmanship.

So that being said OCTOBER 19th at East Whiteland’s Township Building at 7 PM  located at 209 Conestoga Rd, Frazer, PA 19355 there will be a meeting with neighbors.  GVLL has apparently sent out a mass e-mail to their membership instructing parents to show up with kids in uniform.  It is their right, but they are trying to unduly influence East Whiteland and discourage neighbors from speaking up.

That is not right.  And this is not an issue of health of the young, this is a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment issue that is a tangible right of homeowners. And the issues caused by light pollution are real and well documented.


I will add to the e-mails on this flyer, the Chair of the Supervisors Bill Holmes bholmes@eastwhiteland.org and the Township Manager John Nagel jnagel@eastwhiteland.org .

The issues with the little league where the lights are concerned include:

  • The number of nights per week that games can be played (currently not limited)
  • The hours of operation (Currently 10 pm weeknights and 11 pm weekends)
  • The use of the PA system including the VOLUME level and how late into the evening it can be used (currently 8 pm)
  • Light spillage
  • The future need to light the parking lot
  • Extended season, tournament play, increased traffic and non-league use of playing fields (OR RENTING OUT THE FIELDS TO WHOMEVER FOR WHATEVER)

This October 19th meeting is really important so if you can show up to support the neighbors that would be awesome.

NO ONE IS ANTI-CHILD SPORTS or ANTI-LITTLE LEAGUE.  These neighbors got dealt a poor hand and no one is sticking up for them and they have rights TOO.  These people leave the little league fields on King Road and go home. They won’t be having stadium lights shining in their windows at night.   Truthfully, they do not care. They just want their lights.

Interestingly I was told but can’t prove the numbers are down on little league membership with Great Valley Little League? If this is true, is this a wise financial decision?

Now as the GVLL/Great Valley Little League is asking for things, how will they address pre-existing issues? These issues include:

  • Traffic.  The way people pull in and out of that field can be a problem, so why is it they do not have police being paid to direct traffic, or are out there safely directing people in and out? It is King Road, it’s BUSY.
  • Storm water runoff. Even a small cloud burst causes GIANT puddles. A normal rain event causes flooding on King Road in front of their fields.  When it is a heavy rain event, the water accumulation can be significant.

Anyway, that is the scoop.  Not anti-baseball. Not anti-kids. Not anti-little league.  But what on earth did Great Valley Little League think was going to happen if they tried to sneak/shove this through? These people are supposed to be teaching kids good sportsmanship and fair play among other things, right?


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the last ring home

I am constantly in awe of what some of my childhood friends have accomplished. A book arrived today, have started it and I am hooked.

It is called The Last Ring Home.

It is amazing and emotional and so darn well written.  This book, written by my friend Minter Dial is simply blowing me away.  It is a very personal greatest generation story, the story of his paternal grandfather. Bravo, Minter.

Allow me to quote from the book and documentary’s website:

The Last Ring Home is the story of Lt Minter Dial’s Annapolis Naval Academy ring, that miraculously made its way home 17 years after he was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII. The Last Ring Home is a tribute to Lt Dial, the producer’s grandfather, and all members of the Greatest Generation. It is also a journey of self-discovery, having an impact on the filmmaker, his wider family and many other people in its wake. This story, which took over 25 years of research, illustrates the importance of serendipity and the role of good and bad luck in piecing together a personal history of someone who died 70 years ago.The Last Ring Home is to inspire everyone to uncover their own personal history, to keep a foot in their past and the other in the future, and to be thankful for the tremendous present in which we live, thanks to the sacrifices of the those who fought in WWII.

I can’t wait to see the documentary premiere at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in November.

14572226_1307359442610337_1560703277793001576_nNow this story was  featured in Smithsonian Magazine in 2011:

Minter’s Ring: The Story of One World War II POW

When excavators in Inchon, Korea discovered a U.S. naval officer’s ring, they had no knowledge of the pain and suffering associated with its former owner, Minter Dial

August 2, 2011

In the spring of 1962, the United States Navy was excavating a site in Inchon, Korea, when the discovery of human remains led officers to believe they had come across the site of a prisoner-of-war camp. More than a decade earlier, during the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur commanded some 75,000 United Nations ground forces and more than 250 ships into the Battle of Inchon—a surprise assault that led, just two weeks later, to the recapture of Seoul from the North Korean People’s Army. But the 1962 Inchon excavation led to an unexpected find….the vehicle was speeding through the crowded streets of Inchon as the two men visited one pawnshop after another until they found the guilty laborer. The ring was in the process of being smelted. The admiral demanded that it be recovered. It had been partially melted down, but once it cooled and he was able to wipe away the grime, Pressey recognized that it was indeed an Annapolis class ring. Class of 1932. Pressey had been at the U.S. Naval Academy at the same time. His heart began to pound as he tilted the blue stone ring toward the light. Engraved on the inside was a name he knew: Dial.

Nathaniel Minter Dial had been one of Pressey’s best friends at Annapolis. They were teammates on the lacrosse squad, and Pressey and his wife had been members of the wedding party when Dial married his longtime sweetheart, Lisa Porter, in 1934. Pressey had just one thought—to get the ring back to Lisa.

Memories and sadness came flooding over the 51-year-old admiral. Minter Dial, the son of U.S. Senator Nathaniel B. Dial of South Carolina, was the quintessential all-American boy. He was affable, educated, terrifically athletic and married to a beautiful young woman who had given up her theatrical ambitions to start a home and raise a family. He was going places, and in the summer of 1941, he headed for the Pacific.

I have not finished the book yet.  I think I am going to need a box of tissues to get through it.

You can purchase the book on :

I purchased my copy on a pre-release via Amazon.

I have friends in Charleston, South Carolina, and I hope they see the documentary film at the upcoming  Charleston International Film Festival, November 2-6, 2016.

After that, the film is coming to the Philadelphia area, to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute for a screening in advance of it’s PBS small screen debut.

This will be an exclusive screening of the The Last Ring Home, presented by the filmmaker and author of the eponymous book. The event will consist of the screening, a talk and a Q&A, plus book signing.

Tue, November 8, 2016 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Buy your tickets on Eventbrite for $18 adults and $6 students.

This really is something quite extraordinary.

And yes, the screening is election day. So what. You will be out by nine as the returns start to come in and you will miss two hours of the ugliest campaign season in American History, for something worthwhile.  Actual American History about a member of the Greatest Generation.  A true American Hero.


progress at ebenezer 

Al Terrell photo

Look…that is Ebenzer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, yesterday.

Now look at this photo from when they were first starting. This photo is Al and Luke the Willistown scout doing his Eagle Scout project when they started this journey (and the way it was when we took the Philadelphia Inquirer out to the site this summer):

Al Terrell photo

And even better is this next photo.  It is Al’s son Andrew showing Luke the Eagle Scout project he did at Ebenezer 16 years ago!!! How cool is that? 

Al Terrell photo

It got me to thinking. Not only of the generations of the same family interested in preserving Ebenezer for future generations, but how many scouts have actually done service projects here?

It is so obvious the love so many have had for this site. And every day we see more progress.  This is what community is about, people.  From East Whiteland’s township building to the local Boy Scouts from multiple troops over the years, to all the others interested in Ebenezer in the past and present, this is the good community can do simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Here is hoping the AME Church is watching. And anyone else wondering about trying to save history wherever they live.

This is awesome.

Al Terrell photo. This is our soldier , Joshua

the important things, visiting an old friend, and every day heroes

dsc_8277Yesterday while many were posting photos of their interrupted Opening Night Gala (the Philadelphia Orchestra went on strike again) I was taking photos of something that I think matters a little more: 184 years of history unearthed from the weeds, overgrowth and underbrush. Ebenezer AME and her graveyard on Bacton Hill Road.

dsc_8252When Al Terrell posted on the Save the Ruins and Cemetery of Ebenezer AME Church Frazer PA Facebook page and said he was going to get the weeds cleared I was so grateful to hear of his interest and the interest of Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78 I was truly happy.  But at the same time I wasn’t sure if it would happen.


dsc_8168My personal dealings with regional and national folks in the AME Church were mostly negative and had made me a little dejected.  Kristin Holmes had written such a beautiful article on Ebenezer this past July, and then….nothing. Heck I even sent Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr an email to his office at Harvard. Even he didn’t respond. Neither did Lonnie Bunch from the brand new Smithsonian African-American History Museum.

dsc_8159For the past few years, I have been writing about this.  I see the importance of this site intertwined with its 184 years of individual history combined with the 200-year-old history of the AME Church founded by freed slave Benjamin Richard Allen.  (The AME Church as all know celebrated its 200th anniversary this year in Philadelphia.)

Allow me to quote from Kristin Holmes’ article from July:

The parcel’s 1832 deed of trust transfers ownership of the land from James Malin, a prominent Quaker farmer involved in the Underground Railroad, to three African Americans – “Samuel Davis, Ishmael Ells, and Charles Kimbul” – for the purpose of constructing a church with a burial ground in East Whiteland.

Ebenezer’s floor was a raised platform on stone piers, according to research by archival consultant Jonathan L. Hoppe, for the Chester County Historical Society. Its single room had a door facing the road; opposite was the raised pulpit. The interior walls were covered in wainscoting.


(See deed of trust by clicking on it.)

I first photographed Ebenezer in 2013. Then June 2016 when the Inquirer article was in process. Then yesterday, October 1, 2016.

dsc_8184So Al and I have been messaging back and forth.  He and the scouts from Willistown have been clearing brush.  Trust me, you remember the photos from June.  It was a horrible mess with 10 and 12 foot weeds and more. A complete sea of poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Brambles, wild weed trees.  Completely sad and crazy.

As we drove up yesterday to meet with Al Terrell for a little bit, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I almost couldn’t focus my eyes from the tears that kept welling up.

dsc_8198These aren’t my people, this isn’t my religion or church, yet those souls buried there mean something to me. It all started with a soldier named Joshua.  Al Terrell visits Joshua too.

To see the weeds disappearing and to see graves I had not even seen three years ago was almost overwhelming it made me so happy.

dsc_8241Think, just think, of what the people buried here saw. The history they lived through.  Slavery. Becoming free.   How can we as a society which values our freedoms and ancestors let these people disappear without trying?

We can’t.

Before me, the poet Ann Christie also tried to save this graveyard.  She and I met and became new friends because of Ebenezer.  Then cancer took her from her daughter and family this past spring.

I promised Ann in her last months of life I wouldn’t give up.  And I almost did. Until Al Terrell, Joe Rubino and scouts from Willistown came along with volunteers from Al’s bible study, a wonderful lawn service gentleman and more.

I walked around taking it in. I visited the Reasons, who still to this day have family in Malvern and East Whiteland and elsewhere local.  Al says to me that our friend was waiting.  Joshua Johnson.dsc_8229

When I saw Joshua’s grave unearthed from all the weeds and debris once again my eyes were so filled with tears I really couldn’t speak for a couple of minutes. My friends will tell you that is a rare occasion.

dsc_8146I also saw graves that we have never seen before.

The whole time I was there with Al Saturday morning, cat birds sat on the fence and nagged and scolded us. To me it was a good omen. And I have to tell you when you visit this graveyard you will notice an extraordinary thing – it’s not a sad or creepy place — it’s a very peaceful place that felt somehow inexplicably  happy that people cared about it once more.

The history these people lived was remarkable.  I can’t imagine being born a slave, and some of the people buried here were freed slaves.  Like one gentleman in particular whose grave was discovered by boy scouts today, Hiram Woodyard.  Hiram was also our other USCT member – a black Civil War soldier.

Willistown Troop 78 scouts discovered Hiram today. ~Al Terrell photo

Willistown Troop 78 scouts discovered Hiram today.
~Al Terrell photo

Hiram was discussed in boy scout  Eagle Scout project papers in 2010 (Malvern Troop 7 Matthew Nehring) and 1989 (Exton Troop 65 Daniel Baker).

….Only none of us have seen his grave for a very long time. So I was tremendously excited when Al texted me from the graveyard.


Willistown Scouts cleaning up Ebenezer October 2, 2016 ~Al Terrell photo

Al and these boys and the other volunteers who have taken on the Herculean task of unearthing the graveyard and church from their green prison are my every day heroes.

They have restored my faith in people just doing the right thing.

In a day and age when every day when you pick up a newspaper or turn on the television all you see is the ugliness of humanity and political battles tearing people apart, this is what brings it all back around and takes you home to what is important. Home, hearth, faith, history, humanity.

dsc_8264I bet most people do not even know what happened in Philadelphia in 1830 right before Malin gave the AME Church this land do you?

On September 15, 1830 the first National Negro Convention was held in Philadelphia. It was the idea of a young guy from Baltimore named Hezekiel Grice.  He was a free man who was not satisfied with life due to the   “hopelessness of contending against oppression in the United States.” 

dsc_8343This first convention, which occurred before the Civil War hosted about 40 people, including Bishop Richard Allen of Mother Bethel AME Church, and founder of the AME Church. (He died in 1831 a few short months before the land to Ebenezer was deeded to Mother Bethel and/or the AME  Church.)

During the first ten years of this organization’s existence white abolitionists worked with the black members to try to come up with ways to deal with oppression and racism in this country.  The last convention of this very important yet short-lived movement which was ahead of its time was in Syracuse, NY in 1864.

(Read more at ColoredConventions.org .)

Ebenezer AME when it was first built was built within the midst of a thriving and historically important black community of which very few traces actually remain.  As people died and moved, like many other communities, it shifted, rearranged, disappeared. Which of course is yet another reason WHY Ebenezer’s preservation is so important.

There is a house that I am not sure if it still sits on Conestoga Road that freed slave and former soldier Hiram Woodyard actually built.  418 Conestoga Road.  Family members whose grandmother lived there many, many years ago when they were growing up, used to go to the graveyard and leave Hiram flowers on his grave.

The people buried here saw so many things.  All ordinary people who lived in some cases during extraordinary times.(Which makes them somewhat extraordinary to me.)  And many of these souls still have ancestors in this area today in many cases.

Ebenezer is living to see another day.  I hope as time progresses now a more permanent solution to her upkeep and preservation is found.  I would love to figure out when exactly Pennsylvania might have a year where a historical roadside marker might become a possibility.  I would like to see the Chester County Historical Society to become a little more proactive here.

I would also love it if that  Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture would take an interest.  And the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We can’t make people care about Ebenezer even if they should care. But we should encourage them to care.  It’s worth saving, and the work has just begun.

Come on now. If you can help out Al and the scouts, contact the troop. Or post on the Facebook page Save the Ruins and Cemetery of Ebenezer AME Church Frazer PA.  Sometimes it does take a village.  In this case maybe several.

But don’t you think these souls are worth it?

I do.

(Check out all the photos taken October 1st HERE.)


my heart is happy. ebenezer is getting help.

Ebenezer AME graveyard October 1,2016

Ever since my last go round with those fine folk at the AME Church (national and Mother Bethel in Philadelphia), I will admit I had somewhat lost faith in yet another organized religion.  After all, every time I or most have contacted them about the 184 year old ruin of Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road and her graveyard the AME people have either blown people off or been generally speaking, impolite.

So when this nice man contacted me through Save the Ruins and Cemetery of Ebenezer AME Church Frazer PA and said he was going to get Boy Scouts and volunteers in there to clean up AND would get the AME Church to say OK, I was so glad to hear it, but didn’t hold out much hope given how the church had been treating myself and others.

His name is Al Terrell. The Boy Scouts are from the Willistown Troop.  And there are others. Bible study folks from Al’s bible study and Lee’s Lawn Service. And more. And this is just the beginning.

Look at the photo above. Taken this morning. October 1, 2016. I have tears in my eyes writing this. 

Ann Christie are you watching from heaven?

I learned a lesson here to have more faith in humanity. The good guys do exist and do prevail.

Mr. Terrell wants to get this place saved in perpetuity. And get the church restored. 

My faith is renewed. Going to visit today. I have to say hello to my soldier, Joshua.

184 years of history. It does mean something to people.

I will post updates as I have them.

Ebenezer in June , 2016 the day we were there with Kristin Holmes from the Philadelphia Inquirer

old friends

29732668866_c470dbcae2_oLife is sometimes this windy path that takes you away from people, and then leads you back to them.

From the time we are little children, people are in and out of our lives for any multitude of reasons. Life takes us in different directions, quite literally.  People move, start families in other places, and get busy with the every day of their lives.

All of a sudden, years have past, and you still think of those people, but then you are busy too, so you don’t reconnect even if you think of these people.

And then, just like that, something happens, and you are back in each other’s lives and that is such a neat thing when it happens.

It happened to me today.  A four hour conversation with one of my oldest friends from high school.  Yes, those Shipley connections and friends I have written about before. That school gave me a wonderful foundation and the best relationships in my life, truly. This woman and I were thick as proverbial thieves for years, and then life just took us in diffferent directions, on different paths.

I will tell you how it came to be, this phone call today….

Recently the younger brother of a friend died of leukemia.  I have now lost several people I knew, admired, and cared about to virulent forms of leukemia.  This man was the brother of my friend I spoke with today.  He fought this disease so valiantly and was so positive.

He passed away and the first thing I thought of was my friend, one of his siblings.  So I looked up her address and sent her a note. We had not spoken in a few years, but how could I not? She was the one who introduced me to all her siblings, and well I have these memories of her brother as a little kid because of her.  He was this funny, very bright burning ball of energy with a very funny sense of humor.  And a very messy bedroom. Truthfully, all of her siblings were truly nice and interesting, even as kids.

When he got older he went to boarding school and then off to college, so I did not really know him for many years, and was just getting to know him as an adult with his own family when he got sick. In the intervening years, his one sister who was my friend and I grew apart. And it was for no other reason than time and distance.  She was in another state far enough away starting a family that we just lost touch, and became disconnected.

Yesterday in the mail, was a note for me.  Handwriting I had not seen in so many, many years. It was from my friend.  I opened it, read it, and wept, It was so good to hear from her and she is so sad about her brother.

So today she called.  And it was like high school again. It was such a marathon phone call that in the back of my mind I was waiting for one of our parents to pick up another phone in the respective houses and yell at us to get off the phone and do our homework.

Speaking with her, the years melted away like no time had past even if so many years actually had.  But that in and of itself is the value of real friendship – it is O.K. the time has passed, and now it is time to catch up.

This is my friend who introduced me to Chester County more than any other person had when I was a young adult.  She went to West Chester University and for a few years she lived in Malvern Borough too.   So speaking with her today after all this time, made me so happy, because when I moved out here I started to think about her a lot.  Every time I drive by Raintree in Malvern Borough I remember when she and another friend shared a condo there.  Or when I drive way down King until it almost meets Lancaster Ave and remember the places she was a hostess and waitress while in school.

Back in the day we would go to the restaurant festival in West Chester, the “Gobble Off” that used to be at what was the Bar and Restaurant the night before Thanksgiving with other friends, hanging out at WCU’s the Rat before she graduated, hanging out with people at the Marshalton Triathalon, dancing at Lionshare and Main Lion and more.

We were also roommates at the beach in the summer for a while.  We had a lot of fun together.

And then she moved and the years passed and we lived kind of separate lives, connecting here or there with a random phone call or letter.

When you meet people who are so disappointing, you remember the friends like this. I am a fortunate women to have so many of my old friends still in my life.  Thanks to her brothers we are reconnected.  That makes me happy. I wish her one brother was still with us to know, but somehow I  would like to think he does.

Life is short. Don’t waste it.

Thanks for stopping by.