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!

malvern area family needs christmas miracle

It’s Christmas- let us show this family the true meaning and help – I do not know them- it doesn’t matter because this could happen to any of us – saw this on Malvern Community Forum and decided to share.

Let us show the Zografakis family the miracle of Christmas 🎄❤

Here is their story off of the GoFundMe page:


Again, this could be any of us so please pay it forward.  

Thanks so much!

https://www.gofundme.com/zografakis-family-fund

And The Daily Local wrote about this so people know this is real.

Dog rescued from two-alarm house fire
By: Pete Bannan (pbannan@21st-centurymedia.com)

POSTED: Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 – 5:16 p.m. 

WILLISTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Goshen firefighters rescued a dog from a house fire on Ridings Way in the Hunters Run development of Williston Township Thursday.


Nobody was injured in the fire, which seriously damaged the home.


First arriving police reported fire from the raised deck and rear of the home.

Goshen Fire Chief Grant Everhart said the fire went to two alarms.

dear thanksgiving night drunk driver,


Dear Drunk Driver,

Thanks for the added tension on the roads this evening.  Like many others we were just driving home from a family Thanksgiving dinner and encountered YOU on 76 West (Schuylkill Expressway).
When you sober up in the morning  and you wonder HOW all that driver’s side damage occurred, I can tell you. You bounced off the center concrete barrier on the westbound side of the Schuylkill. MORE THAN ONCE.  We played dodge ball with what we believe was your driver’s side mirror as it flew by our car, narrowly missing our windshield.
If you look at the above drunk driver, that fuzzy bright ball in the center is YOU.  At different points of time, until we lost track of you, whether you were in front of us or behind us, or next to us (and we had to drive on the shoulder at one point  so you didn’t hit us), you were not just weaving a little, but sailing left and right as well as riding the center line like a slot car.
I did something I have never done before drunk driver because it had been so long since I had seen such a horrific drunk driver – I called the PA State Police. 
It was a busy night for PA State Troopers on the Schuylkill Expressway. Once past City Line Avenue, we passed several accidents east and westbound. So dear drunk driver, I don’t know if they caught you but I sure hope they did.
More than anything else, I hope you did not hurt yourself or anyone else.