jeepers creepers, merion cricket club…really?????

Seriously? Did you think I was going to leave this alone?

Hat tip to Victor Fiorello of Philadelphia Magazine!

Philadelphia Magazine: Main Line Woman Says She Was Sexually Harassed at Merion Cricket Club

She claims a manager told her “it isn’t harassment if he likes you.”


The Merion Cricket Club is a gated private social club along Montgomery Avenue in the Haverford section of the Main Line. There, the well-heeled and impeccably coiffed go to mix, mingle and play tennis. The club has been around in one form or another since 1865 and describes itself as “family oriented.” But according to one Main Line woman’s allegations, what was going on behind the scenes at Merion Cricket Club wasn’t exactly family-friendly.

Twenty-four-year-old Wynnewood resident Maura Owens began working as a server at Merion Cricket Club’s restaurant in 2018. According to a lawsuit Owens just filed in Philadelphia’s federal court, a man named Kyle Ross became her direct supervisor in June 2019 when he was named assistant food and beverage manager of Merion Cricket Club. Owens alleges that immediately after Ross took on that role, he told her he was physically attracted to her. She says she told him she wasn’t interested but that he persisted and made repeated unwanted sexual advances.

According to the allegations in her suit, Ross frequently told Owens that he was sexually aroused and once specifically said that he had an erection. She goes on to allege that Ross once tried to touch her breasts through her shirt and that she had to push his hand away. She says he continued his harassment and that her refusals led to more sexual harassment, “hostile behavior,” and threats to her job for close to two years.Owens says that after she complained to another woman who worked there about Ross, Ross came to her and screamed at her. Later, in July 2021, Owens complained to management about Ross, and according to the suit, the manager told her that he’d have a follow-up meeting with her in one week. Ross says the manager in question did nothing to separate her from Ross in the interim.

When the week was up, Owens claims, the manager she reported Ross to told her that Ross hadn’t harassed her, allegedly explaining that “it isn’t harassment if he likes you.” After that conversation, Owens says, she felt “unsafe and unprotected,” and she resigned….The lawsuit accuses Merion Cricket Club of sexual harassment and retaliation and seeks unspecified damages. Despite multiple attempts, we were unable to reach Merion Cricket Club or Ross for comment.

Well gosh! I haven’t been so tickled since that blue blood and not so blue blood cat fight in the ballroom at the Christmas Ball years ago! (Yes, that did happen.)

There is nothing more ick as a woman than a touchy feely male co-worker. Even worse if said male is in a supervisory situation.

How many of you ladies out there have experienced the touchy feelies of it all in the work place? I did years ago. (It was circa late 1980’s as in when Working Girl with Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith came out.) Fortunately it was a “please do not do that again” and it never happened again in my personal experience. Way before Y2K in the financial services industry. It was a regular occurrence in that industry back then in my opinion. I remember one place where a friend worked that female employees (no matter if they were professional or support staff) were told on the down low to stay out of the copy room if a certain handsy male employee was present.

What I observed over the years was problem men really weren’t dealt with. The women learned to support each other. At least in my former industry…..If you complained it was no bueno and we will leave it at that. Definitely a perverse form of don’t ask/don’t tell.

It is REALLY hard for a woman to come forward in ANY industry and accuse a co-worker of sexual harassment. Soo…to hear this…good for this woman. Because NO woman is going to come forward and file a Federal Lawsuit if there is nothing to this. That is my opinion, of course, but litigation is expensive. And she is willing to put it on the line.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describes sexual harassment as:

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? But if he LIKES you it isn’t HARASSMENT, right?

Good lord.

Here is the filing:

Did a little social media noodling. Merion Cricket is not so good at scrubbing their social media. Hard to say if guy accused still is employed by Merion Cricket, but still floored, yes floored that this is well THIS. And THERE. One would hope that an esteemed club like Merion Cricket at least used to be would have properly TRAINED employees so that they KNEW what sexual harassment was? I wonder if anyone has asked what the reporting procedure is? And if reported who OFF of staff is told or knows?

Sexual harassment is a brutal thing for any woman to take to court and she runs the risk of being re-victimized. That being said whomever Maura Owens is, she is BRAVE. I hope if there are other victims, even from within the ranks of membership, come forward. Sadly, they will go all Main Line here, probably.

Main Line #MeToo Drama here we come. Merion Cricket will you have clean hands at the end of the day here? Time will tell.

happy anniversary devon horse show!

Devon Horse Show is celebrating their 125th birthday! It’s a great milestone considering all the hoopla the past few years, right? (You still have to imagine what we didn’t hear about and continue to not hear about, don’t you?)

And yes, technically it is year 126. COVID19 etc. caused the actual anniversary year to get canceled.

But oh my gosh and by golly, those platinum ticket prices are extraordinary, aren’t they? It’s being held at Merion Cricket Club? Better be some gold plated filet mignon, eh? Can they pay in bitcoin?

But there is limited availability, so best snap up those tickets. $450 for the big kids and $400 for young friends under 35 ? Young Friends tickets are usually more reasonable in price with more of a price gap between them and regular tickets, traditionally. Guess the Molly Mark-up who set the price gouging here is hoping for lots of corporate tables at $10,000?

Who would have thunk it: Academy Ball prices for a horse show gala and it’s not even white tie. It’s just plain old black tie. And as of now, we all know what happened to the Academy Ball, remember? Sadly went the way of the dinosaurs for now, didn’t it ?

And Wayne G? Buddy, Merion Cricket always offers valet for events.

For these prices, here’s hoping Devon Horse Show & Country Flailing has planned a nice matching platinum sponsored forensic audit covering the last couple of decades of finances and spending, eh?

If I were on the committee for this gala event, I would not hold it at Merion Cricket Club. For an event like this, it is out of the element of the actual horse show and horse. And rather pedestrian, even if lovely for a party.

If I were on the committee, my first choice would to put up tents in the oval and have this gala AT the horse show. That provides so many more options, like bringing the extra special VIP guests to the party via carriages, which would meet them slightly away from where valet would be (so as to not spook the horses since people seem to have forgotten how to act around horses when in a vehicle). Or I would hold such an event at The Radnor Hunt, which is the perfect setting as well for such a gala. And in that case, it would also benefit another beloved equestrian location/tradition. That is win-win.

I would also adjust the ticket prices. It might be a gala, but better to adjust down so not to offend supporters in a time where the economy has been up and down.

Have a swanky party Devon, and one last question: are horse show boxes for the upcoming season the party favors?


demolishing part of memory lane on the main line

Sometimes in those moments between waking and sleeping, memories of childhood come floating back.  This morning I awoke to memories of a pink stucco house with blueberry bushes beyond the pool, a pool where my little sister first learned to swim. The house was located at 134 Cheswold Lane in Haverford.

So, no this is not a post about Chester County. This post is about memories.

In the early 1970s, my parents were starting to think about moving from Society Hill to the Main Line. Somehow they were connected to lovely people named John and Jean Markel and they agreed to house sit for the entire summer. My sister and I were fairly little, and this was a strange idea for us because summer usually meant the beach, but this house was magical with a secret pool tucked into the back and lovely gardens to explore. Immediately adjacent to The Merion Cricket Club we could hear every day the pop pop sound of tennis balls when they hit the racquets-  and an added bonus when the tennis balls sailed over the pink stucco garden walls for us to collect.

I think the summer of ’73 because I remember it was the summer they tore down the Haverford Hotel and Mrs. Sharpe’s carriage house doors with the large heavy metal (iron?)  lion heads with rings in their mouths jutted out to the sidewalk on Haverford Station Road. I have distinct memories of walking along Haverford Station Road with my father and how large the lions heads and rings seemed, and the carriage house doors imposing.  I also remember before they demolished the Haverford Hotel they sold a lot of things off, like furniture and fixtures. At one point, the sweeping lawns of this old hotel had rows upon rows of mattresses lined up in the summer sun like corpses.

I have looked and looked for photos of the old hotel, and the only one I can find is from an old edition of the Main Line Times:

ML History: Recapping the summer of ’73 archives By Kathy O’Loughlin Aug 11, 2010


I also found reference to the hotel and Mrs. Sharpe on the Lower Merion Historical Society website:

Catherine H. Dixon Sharpe bequeathed her home and a 2 1/2-acre property at Montgomery Avenue and Haverford Station Road to the township for a bird sanctuary. In 1978 her house was razed, and fencing and trails for walking through the wooded area were added…..A Haverford landmark for sixty years was the Haverford Hotel, built of brick in 1913 at the corner of Grays Lane and Montgomery Avenue. Its stately white columns supported the roof over a wide and gracious porch entrance. Fifty rooms were decorated with Chippendale desks, Chinese screen paintings, mahogany china cabinets, brass sconces, and sparkling chandeliers. Many wedding receptions, including that of President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, balls, other parties, and meetings were held there, but in 1973 the hotel was demolished, and Gray’s Lane House, an apartment condominium designed by Vincent Kling, now occupies the site.

It was a lovely summer. My school friend Paula’s aunt I think it was, lived close by so I would see her and I remember visiting other people my parents knew on Elbow Lane, and other nearby roads and lanes in Haverford and Bryn Mawr.

My father’s job was in the city, so I remember a lot of the time he stayed in our house in Society Hill during the week, and took the Paoli Local to Haverford Station on the weekends.

The Markels house was a magical house, and there are details I remember to this day inside. A lovely wood paneled library with floor to ceiling books, a piano, a Butler’s Pantry loaded with the most beautiful and feminine sets of china and flatware.  I think it was that summer I fell in love with English and French porcelain. 

There were stools in the kitchen which was large and sunny. I remember watching television sitting on a stool – there was a tiny black and white television on one of the expansive kitchen counters.

Outside were what were to me at the time the best secret gardens ever. The gardens were so beautiful and there was also a  lovely pool. I remember the Markels had inside and outside staff who would come take care of things during the week.

Ironically this was the summer I also remember seeing Loch Aerie for the first time because I remember my parents exploring way past the borders of the Main Line.  I remember driving out Lancaster Avenue into Chester County for movies and antique stores.  I remember that there were also drive in movie theaters in Chester County at that time, but I digress.

The Markels house was old school Main Line beauty. The house was large and gracious, but just beautiful and subtle inside. It was also a very livable house.  I think it was because of this summer that a few years later my parents eventually settled in Haverford after a year in Gladwyne.

According to Montgomery County public property records, the people whom eventually bought this lovely house from the Markels sold it to Merion Cricket Club more than a few years ago for a little over $1.5 million:

Unless you lived back on those streets, you really weren’t paying attention to who was selling and who was buying.  I remember before I left the Main Line talks of Merion Cricket Club amassing neighboring properties so they could expand.  I just didn’t pay much attention to it. I was never a member, only ever a guest.

Recently, someone sent me a Zoning notice from Lower Merion Township:

Wow, so now we know why Merion was buying all the properties over the past years, right? They want to become a land locked Main Line Country Club? Forget that the history of the club, and the traditions of the club do not lend themselves to this, that there already are swim clubs and country clubs on the Main Line.  

But given the nouveau Main Line, I completely expect all of these lovely houses Merion Cricket has amassed in these still lovely neighborhoods will fall to the wrecking ball with hardly a whimper.

These are beautiful homes. They are also part of an increasing history of the Main Line no one cares about, or they find it is acceptable to just sacrifice these established and lovely neighborhoods.  This is a change that will impact this area.  For those of us with childhood memories it is sad and / or bittersweet.  I am guessing my own personal memories of a magical childhood summer have surfaced because of this news.

Here is a recent article on the topic:

LM Zoning: Merion Cricket Club seeks demo of club-owned historic homes Viability of club’s future addressed in plan
By Richard Ilgenfritz @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Apr 21, 2017 Updated Apr 21, 2017

Citing the need to attract additional members, officials from the Merion Cricket Club are seeking Lower Merion Township zoning approval of a plan to demolish seven historic homes in Haverford, including those built by famed architect Walter Durham, and repurpose others.

“The club has seen its membership levels drop over a significant period. In order to address the long-term, continued viability of the club, the club has, over the years, acquired the adjoining parcels and has embarked on a master planning process to develop a vision for proposed improvements to the club’s facilities. By providing for improved facilities, the club’s objective is to allow the club to stabilize membership levels, and thereafter return to and sustain its previous membership levels,” according to the application submitted to the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board…..The Cricket Club has owned many of the properties for more than a decade and under the plans will demolish houses on Elbow Lane near Cheswold Lane and ones near Grays Lane to the rear of its historic property. Four homes in the center of the Elbow Lane to the rear of the club will be retained and repurposed for other uses.

The Lower Merion Conservancy placed the Durham homes that date back to the early and mid-1900s on its Historic Preservation Watch List last year due to concerns that they would be demolished.

Sometimes things done in the name of “progress” are painful. But I no longer live there, so I write about this as an observer memorializing memories of a summer long ago.

Enjoy the lovely day.