That is a photo of a history book about Lower Merion Township from 1988. It was this great book that was privately printed that only had 1000 copies ever printed on the original publication, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this book out there for sale other than on eBay. I bought it for $10 at an estate sale.
Inside the book was a treasure trove of articles mostly about things in Lower Merion Township but one about Radnor Township as well. The articles were from The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Main Line Times when it was still advertised as an independent newspaper.
I have only just started to read the book but I am sharing screenshots with all of you fellow history buffs that I hope you will find of interest. One thing I loved in particular is a screenshot about things in Gladwyne. it was obviously an old map and it was lent to the folks who put this book out by the father of a childhood friend.
There is so much about the history of the Main Line and Chester County the disappears year-by-year. This is why I love when I can get my hands on one of these really good local history books. I don’t know who owned this particular copy of this book but it’s a wonderful book, and the articles are fabulous.
Of course the local papers collective mansplainers on the editorial board have some ‘splaining to do too, don’t they? I mean what is this saying? Being a bitch about someone else’s sexual assault makes great click bait???
I feel strongly enough about this that I screenshot the article above. The Daily Local and most of the papers under the control of whatever hedge fund has eviscerated them has a hair trigger paywall. I also looked online at the digital capture of the physical paper and for the life of me can’t find this article in print so did they publish it online and run another column in print?
I (generally speaking), don’t read most of what this columnist writes. Yes it’s all her First Amendment Right to express herself and all that, but I question local papers giving her a platform when the platform is so truly offensive at times. This is hardly the first time she has written something awful, but it’s definitely one of the most offensive pieces. Why doesn’t she just have her own website platform for things like this? Or there is always Twitter. She loves Twitter….and if you aren’t like her, you are against her, and that can be exhausting in a columnist can’t it just?
People, women especially, are outraged by this recent piece and I think rightfully so. It’s just nasty. Here are a smattering of comments:
Sadly (and again I must point out) I can’t say she doesn’t have the right to her opinion, even if I find it well, horrible. However, the flip side is I have my opinion right here and right now that she is truly despicable for doing this and I will go further to say maybe she wants to be more relevant and is just sounding desperate? See some of her Tweetabulous tweeting recently:
“White suburban mommies read it in print, and clutched many a pearl.” Gosh Christine, maybe you don’t know from pearls? Everyone who owns pearls knows you don’t clutch them because that is how you break them, even if they are individually knotted in between each pearl. Very different from pop beads….
“These are the empathetic ovary brigadiers.” Now, I am not going to say it’s acceptable behavior to send this woman (or any woman) emails saying they wish violence upon her. That accomplishes nothing, suborns violence, and just makes people part of the problem, not solution. But the bitterness of calling women “empathetic ovary brigadiers” also doesn’t escape me. I could never have my own children, as medically it was never possible. But I was never bitter about it or was fixated because I just figured God had another plan and he did. Now don’t get me wrong, I sat through many a comment from women over the years like “You don’t have children, so you couldn’t possibly understand” and I will admit sometimes I had the mental image of smacking the smugness off of someone’s face when they said something like that. Or when I was in Corporate America years ago and I always got last chance to pick on holiday time off because I was single and had no children. I called it the “single tax” (and worse) but whatever, there were bigger things in life to worry about. However, in this scenario not sure what women who have had kids has to do with them not liking an article that kind of mocks victims of sexual assault, so I will stick with bitter and non-related.
“#MirrorMirror” What does that even mean? How did she think women would react or perhaps that was the point? A file under all attention good, bad, or indifferent is good?
What she wrote was her opinion, but in MY opinion she was wrong. It is hideous to presume as a writer that you know exactly when and how a woman who has been a victim of a sexual assault will react or exactly when another traumatic event will trigger a memory of another traumatic event. And coming from a woman just makes this worse. Christine Flowers doesn’t get a fab virtual look here as being strong or witty, she gets a virtual look (in my opinion) of bitter and nasty postmenopausal mean girl.
At almost 57 I can honestly say that I know more women who were sexually assaulted in some form (as in not always rape) than those who have not been. And it isn’t a case of birds of a feather. Yes, I was a victim once upon a time. It didn’t define me, I worked hard to move past it. But did I ever forget it? Oh hell no. It happened in the dark ages when you didn’t tell after because somehow it was always a woman’s fault, like you stood with a sign on a street corner that said “Assault Me, Please.” Somehow I thought we had moved past that whole blame the victim and victim shaming, but apparently not.
I can’t as a woman say that another woman doesn’t still have PTSD over her assault. I can’t say that she does definitively have PTSD, either. But as a female writer, I don’t think I would build a column shaming a woman who was a victim of sexual assault and I wouldn’t be able to so assertively say this woman was using it to make herself a center of attention in the midst of a national tragedy (assault on the Capitol.)
I can’t minimize or mock what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has revealed or said on this topic, because I believe being in the middle or adjacent to the riots and siege of the US Capitol, or in the same city and even country could indeed trigger victims. Just like the sound of the cannon a local school years ago to start off certain football games used to trigger a Vietnam vet who lived close by. Just like a simple email about celebrating someone retiring triggered women I knew because the person that others wanted to celebrate should be anything but celebrated and with good reason. When I read Flowers’ Op Ed it made me remember again, decades later, why I never told.
We can’t say it isn’t possible for certain traumatic events to trigger past traumatic events, and we shouldn’t mock it. Christine Flowers was not right to do so. But she has to live in her own headspace with it, and judging from what I have seen, again in my opinion, she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what any of us think and she is reveling in her negative spotlight. So bless her heart, she deserves people’s prayers for basically seeming just super hateful and uncaring.
But I do actually think it was a column too far. I do think the Daily Local was wrong publishing it.
Opening my local paper each morning, I am rarely without a sense of gratitude for the critical work news media does in upholding the basis of our democracy. Without exchange of ideals and ideas in this public square, our basis of governance would be rendered inert.
I consider the vulnerability and dedication of journalists and writers in these arenas to be acts of public service. It is in this context and with the above description of the heinous nature of sexual trauma in mind that I find myself so deeply disturbed by the disservice done by Christina. Flowers and the Daily Local News upon survivors of sexual assault and their allies…….Beyond this poorly disguised opportunity for political posturing conducted through a fallacy-laden line of argumentation, Ms. Flowers and those who allowed her words to beprinted for mass consumption also finds themselves to be innately incorrect in their understanding of sexual abuse, the very subject matter at hand….survivors of sexual abuse know well that your identity as a survivor as well as the humanity you cling in your most difficult moments don’t only exist with convenience. You are always a survivor, regardless of who is watching and how that weight of trauma manifests itself in your moment to moment existence.
Whether Ms. Flowers finds it expedient that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s identity as a survivor manifested more strongly in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, the Congresswoman cannot and never will be able to peel away or compartmentalize her trauma….Neither was I able to shirk my reality as a survivor when I encountered this dangerous and hurtful column reading my morning paper over coffee.
I write to the Editor today not only in disgust of the words….but with an immense feeling of shame. I feel the familiar and occasional crush of shame of I carry in my life as survivor. I feel ashamed of the state of our national discourse surrounding sexual abuse knowing the pain words like Ms. Flower’s will carelessly inflict on a massive constituency of survivors.
I can’t imagine what The Daily Local, Delco Times, and Pottstown Mercury were thinking, and those people can live with their conscience on this. But if they thought they were being edgy and that would gain them additional readership, well I think all they have done is lose more readers, and possibly advertisers. And that in and of itself is a complete and utter disservice to local reporters who, in spite of the state of that paper, do their best to report the news.
When you read pure unadulterated bullshit like this, it just makes all of us no matter what our political or religious or racial persuasions to be better people. Last March she and the Philadelphia Inquirer went their different ways. (See Philadelphia Magazine article.) I didn’t actually know that until this all erupted, but her is her tweet from last year:
What Christine Flowers wrote is offensive but she also draws attention to the fact that sexual assault victims seem to be victim shamed still in 2021. It’s so last century….literally. And again, you just don’t expect the victim shaming of a woman to come from a woman.
Will she keep her job or just eventually go down with the sinking ship that is The Daily Local? Don’t know, and at the end of the day it is low on the scale of things that are important in life. Truthfully I suspect life will go on and Christine Flowers will continue to revel in negative attention.
The First Amendment comes in all shapes and sizes most sadly…..but newspapers don’t print all opinions and I am not sure why they printed this.
I am not deliberately trying to pick on East Whiteland Township no matter what some may think. But unlike many other municipalities (and I have been checking), East Whiteland does not have a person or people to regularly and routinely inspect rental properties in this township. They do not even have enough fire personnel to do all the life safety checks on rentals do they? (Asking the question because I heard there were people paid to do that I thought once upon a time out of the fire department or something?)
West Goshen (for example) has a rental property ordinance online. They have someone dedicated to rental inspections. That is in addition to the guys in the zoning department who inspect when the township gets complaints on rental properties.
East Whiteland has a Rental Occupancy Report from 1992. I also found a form to fill out if you have a rental property. It mentions life safety, which is great and necessary. But I do not see anything about specific ordinances pertaining to rental properties and inspections of rental properties. And it is long past time to have that. East Whiteland is growing as a township and has grown exponentially in recent years. Does this township even know out of ALL of the new construction that is complete how many are rental units? And with ALL of the development still in the works and in various stages of construction, let’s get real, they are not all going to be owner occupied, aren’t some of these places going to be rentals? And what about the hotels? Are some of those like long term rentals at times? Sometimes when people can’t find housing they live in hotels/motels don’t they? Motor home parks? Trailer parks? No matter where the rental, shouldn’t people be safe?
The stretch of Lancaster Ave/Route 30/Lincoln Highway where these rentals exist is a no man’s land. No one sees the people who live there, not because they aren’t visible but because people don’t want to see them. Mostly immigrant, with little choice in housing. And by culture, used to living in close quarters. So one would think rental inspections along that strip and elsewhere would make sense, right? So everyone was safe?
According to Patch, “The apartments used were at street addresses 483, 577 and 609 Lancaster Ave. in East Whiteland Township…”
Someone sent me screenshots off ChescoViews and Google Earth I guess it was (I am not very good at using Chesco Views):
This stretch of Lancaster is the one that looks so desolate and run down when you drive by except for the too many cars on the D’Ambrosio property (one of the sites of human trafficking right?):
People always ask how East Whiteland can be focused on this grand future of over-development without “seeing” these properties or their residents. During COVID19 especially when we were all at home, you couldn’t help but see as soon as the weather warmed up how many people live in these rental properties alone. I have also had people tell me in confidence that there are some awfully crammed rental properties in some of the townhouse developments.
So….maybe it is time for East Whiteland to look at this differently? They need an updated local ordinance on rental properties right? And I think they need a full time inspector of rental properties and possibly more staff, like maybe a part time one.
East Whiteland needs this NOW, yesterday and into the future. They have to find the money to have proper inspectors because I doubt there enough in the Fire Marshall category, and how much work are they supposed to do anyway? Aren’t they already stretched thin?
So you know how the fire by the Wawa was December 2016? How about that building which is uninhabitable has just sat there and rotted since then? Seriously here are some photos taken over the past few years (a real slum lord special, right?):
I was a renter for years. Face it, a lot of us were, and some still are. Would you want to live in any of these properties? What if you had no other choice? And were these landlords in the human trafficking locations 100% oblivious as to what was going on?
I also want everyone to know as per my sources, the East Whiteland Police Department truly went above and beyond the call of duty with this. It wasn’t just this girl messaging family that went into this. For a smaller department by comparison to large cities and boroughs, they put lots of man and woman power into this.
East Whiteland Police Department did exhaustive investigation and follow-up and coordinating with all different kinds of other agencies and states and it really does show their dedication to our community. These men and women should be publicly recognized for their efforts. In a time when police departments are being criticized, these men and women deserve to be commended. Ok yes, this is the job they sign up for, but this is huge. Or in my humble opinion it is. And kudos to our Chester County District Attorney as well.
I have many questions regarding human trafficking an how it happened. I will be curious to learn if the families of these girls who were rescued had ever reported them missing? If they did not, why not? Immigration fears or something darker? I ask because if my kid was missing I would leave no stone un-turned.
However I think we need to work as an extended community to prevent these things from happening and I think that means they need to have a system in place in East Whiteland Township and elsewhere in which rental properties are routinely and regularly inspected. Everybody’s been talking about this strip of rental properties in particular for years it’s nothing new. And East Whiteland like many other municipalities in Chester County are experiencing crazy amounts of development and growth. Why not have developers who want to be in our communities chip into programs like this? Isn’t it kind of part of infrastructure and municipal services? I mean it’s all great that mythical theory of build it and they will come but who keeps track once the developers have gotten their money out of sites and moved on?
I am calling on people in East Whiteland and Chester County to contact East Whiteland Township and ANY OTHER TOWNSHIP that does not have proper rental property ordinances and inspectors to catch up with the times. A lot of municipalities like East Whiteland are experiencing growth that is off the charts. Renters deserve safe places to live. Low income residents deserve truly affordable housing and safe housing.
Because of the oversaturation of COVID-19, and the crazy politics out of Washington D.C. I have not been watching the news. Last night, I watched streaming services TV and went to sleep.
I knew about that poor man George Floyd being murdered in Minneapolis. Sorry that’s how I see it if it offends you. Racism is killing this country again.
I knew about the peaceful protests going on in major metropolitan cities. I have little problem with peaceful protest, I have participated in them over the course of my life. But last night, peaceful protests went away, and opportunistic rioting and looting began. That’s not right.
We live in a very angry country. I think a lot of this can be laid at the feet of the politicians in the current regime in the White House. And last night this also came too close to home. Philadelphia was on fire. When I turned on my phone this morning it exploded with text messages like this one:
This is not my Philadelphia.
When you hear things like that your head feels like a ping-pong ball. So I started looking to see what I found:
I am horrified and almost feel like crying. We are a country of anger and vitriol and racism and discrimination. But this wanton mass destruction? Where innocent people are hurt? What does that accomplish?
Right now I am watching NBC’s Meet the Press. They have mayors from certain cities, officials from Minneapolis and so on talking about all of this and what is going on across the country.
There was a common thread of these people basically saying the president has to stop dividing and lead. I don’t think he can do that because he has a limited grasp on the reality most of us experience every day. I also don’t think he cares. And as the Mayor of Atlanta pointed out he has an unfortunate history of misspeaking and making matters worse. We can’t afford that as a nation. All of these mayors are also commenting on the fact that a lot of these agitators the turned peaceful protests violent came in from out of the area.
I was a little kid in Philadelphia from when I was born in the mid-60s through when we moved in the mid-70s. There were not protests like happened last night then. There was a lot of looting and rioting and other parts of the country but Philadelphia was somehow in a bubble.
Racism in America is a real issue. But looting and rioting and burning cities to the ground like happened in so many cities across this country yesterday and overnight? That is hate and anger which begets more hate and anger.
The images I am posting I have taken mostly off of Twitter. I’ve taken screenshots because they’re not my photos so you can see who took them. But we have to stop living like this.
I am also afraid that because of all these riots across the country that just as we’re getting ready to reopen after coronavirus as a nation I think we are going to see spikes in the virus because of the rioting.
Election Day is June 2nd. As Americans one of the most powerful things we can do is exercise our right to vote. And I hope what has happened this weekend drives a lot of you to the polls to vote out the bad and vote in better. And come November continue that in the General Election.
We are not a country of anarchy and anger, or we shouldn’t be. We, as Americans, are better than that. Or we should be.
Today we should all mourn for what we are devolving into as a nation. It’s getting to the point where do we really feel safe in our communities no matter where we live? It breaks my heart and terrifies me.
A place where the above photo was shared had a couple of people who left a “laughing” emoji where you can like this post or find it sad or find it angry. To them I say there is nothing funny about this and you don’t have to like every post anyone posts – but at least TRY to be understanding of what other folks not too far away from you are dealing with. It could be your family, your neighborhood, your house affected.
Someone else made a comment about these pipelines and rights of way. Umm land agents and threats of eminent domain for non-compliance with these corporate bullies does not equal a traditional right of way does it?
I didn’t really understand this issue until I moved into Chester County. And while I am blessed that I don’t have one of these things going THROUGH my property, if the Adelphia pipeline comes through I will be in a potential “blast zone” with one of these pipelines either 1030 feet from a corner of our property or 1060 feet. We are also on wells where I live.
I have a friend who lives up the road apiece from me into West Whiteland Township. When she and her husband bought their house no one told them about the pipeline easement on the property. As in it didn’t show up at the settlement table from either realtor. They are barely in their house a hot minute and Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer shows up. As it turned out, the people they bought the house from had sold an easement to the pipeline company maybe a year or less prior. Now she has a ticking time bomb in her front yard.
These pipelines are dangerous and they pollute our wells, they are problematic and sinkholes occur because of how they are digging (in disregard for the geological composition of the area), roads have had visible issues in spots and the “plans” for first responders won’t save anyone including them and oh how about they are drilling right next to Goshen Fire Company at Boot and Greenhill in West Chester? What happens if something happens there? Who will save the first responders?
They ARE drilling next to schools, libraries and so on. You may have even driven by a site where they are working and not realized what’s going on behind giant temporary construction walls that to us never seem temporary at this point.
If and when there is an explosion do you think the people on the road driving by are going to be any safer than the rest of us?
And then of course there is the giant fairytale that these companies like to tell everyone which is you’re getting gas, etc because of these pipelines. What is being taken from the ground here and shipped through these pipelines through residential neighborhoods is going overseas. To places like Scotland to make plastic.
And the other fable they like to tell is how this brings lots of local jobs. All you have to do is drive by a site and count the out-of-state plates. And I’m not talking New Jersey and Delaware out of state I’m talking Oklahoma,Texas and so on where the wildcatters are from.
My mother, who lives in the city, was stunned at what she saw when we were driving back from a Christmas lunch in West Chester a week ago. She couldn’t believe what she saw and compared it to the issues and conditions with coal mining companies in PA in the 19th century (the Molly Maguires era).
I think we all in this area have to become more informed on what is going on with regard to this issue even if it’s not in our backyard literally.
The above photo was originally posted by someone else with the following:
My neighborhood has been held hostage by Sunoco/Energy Transfer for over 2.5 YEARS now… with no end in sight.
This dangerous export pipeline project claimed eminent domain for overseas plastics production. It carries highly explosive and highly pressurized by-broducts of fracking.
Sunoco continues to cause sinkholes, contaminate private drinking water, drilling mud spills, etc. They are an egregious operator who’s latest illegal tactics include false reports to law enforcement authorities.
We want our backyards back. We want our safety back. We want our clean air & water back. We want our peace & quiet back.
So when this all first started, residents were told “you won’t even notice we’re here.”
Did you know on a clear and quiet day if they are working in a neighboring Township I can actually hear the rhythmic thump thump thump of whatever that machine is they use to move the pipeline along￼?
I will also share what a lovely lady I am privileged to know named Carrie wrote the other day. These are her words and her photo:
#CleanWater is a human right.
We stand in solidarity with our friends David Warren, David Mano, Rosemary Fuller, Erica Tarr, Ralph Blume and many others across Pennsylvania who have had their private well water contaminated by the destruction of the dangerous Mariner East export pipeline project.
In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.* There are many families throughout the United States who are currently living without clean water. Industries, like the fossil fuel industry and other resource extraction industries, have continued unchecked to contaminate our water resources.
There are too many examples of a lack of clean water. Here in Pennsylvania, fracking and pipelines, like the Mariner East Pipeline Project have poisoned people’s aquifers and have left residents to fend for themselves. In fact, some may be drinking poisoned water and they do not know it yet. Leaving individuals and families without clean water is unacceptable. Clean water is our right and we need to hold policy makers accountable.
Two states and only a handful of municipalities have legally established their rights into local constitutions and municipal regulations. For example, in Pennsylvania’s constitution
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.**”
**Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution
Thanks for listening and thank you to our founding fathers for our First Amendment Rights.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over 8 years ago. I had surgery, I went through treatment, and have been lucky so far to survive. Other friends have not been so lucky with breast and other cancers.
I was also lucky that although honestly it took me a few years to pay off my treatment bills, that I was able to do it. Cancer is expensive. I was lucky, but it also was not easy every month making payments until the debt was finally gone.
I have donated to cancer fundraisers on occasion. Not every one that crosses my path, but when I know someone does need help, I try to pay it forward. I did it recently for a woman who is not a friend, but I knew she went through an actual hideous double mastectomy at a hospital I wouldn’t have a hangnail in, and her husband has had a recent surgery and they have kids and actually need the help.
But this item that broke in the news? HOLY CRAP! ANOTHER CANCER FAKER!
A Chester County, Pennsylvania, woman is accused of pretending to have cancer, impersonating a doctor and nurse and lying about her own father dying in an elaborate scheme to steal thousands of dollars from donors on GoFundMe and Facebook.
Jessica Cornell Smith, 32, of Uwchlan Township, was arrested Monday and charged with theft by deception-false impression and receiving stolen property.
Earlier in the year, Smith created a GoFundMe and Facebook page claiming she was diagnosed with Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) and was receiving treatment from oncology specialists at the “Abraham Cancer Center” at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The actual name of the facility is the Abramson Cancer Center.
Through her pages, Smith claimed she was facing tremendous medical bills, travel costs and other payments related to child care and missed work. She also said her insurance coverage held a $15,000 deductible.
I mean freaking for real???
I went and pulled the deactivated Go Fund Me Love the Galmour Kitty fake cancer photos:
I want to know who helped her fake the chemo lounge photos?
Now I want to give a shout out to citizen journalists from The Ever Evolving Truth. Because given what I am checking out, they helped expose this.
I am appalled. Not sure if the photo of the MRI machine is from Penn Medicine at Exton is real or not but Penn Medicine in Exton? I go there sometimes for scans, MRIs, and mammograms. If she was there how did she fake it? As someone who is alive because of Penn Medicine, trust me their forms have forms. And you have to show ID and all sorts of stuff all of the time.
Jesus. How do people do things like this? And she has kids? How do people get this way? Do they just suddenly wake up with the idea of scamming people?
Here is the Inquirer with some other details of this cancer grifter/scammer:
A Chester Springs woman has been charged with netting more than $10,000 in a fund-raising scam in which she falsely claimed she had cancer and needed money.
In a criminal complaint, Uwchlan Township Police detectives laid out a months-long investigation of increasingly escalating lies that ended in the arrest of Jessica Ann Smith, 31, who was arraigned Monday on charges of receiving stolen property and theft by deception….Smith’s husband, Robert Smith, filed his own report with Uwchlan police, according to the criminal complaint. He told police that his wife was raising money online for help with a cancer diagnosis that didn’t exist. The author of the GoFundMe page wrote that she was facing “tremendous medical bills, travel costs, paying for the care of her children and missed work,” according to the complaint….But Smith’s husband said he had no medical or insurance records showing that his wife had been treated for cancer. He did, however, tell police that he had overheard his wife on the phone with her employer, Marco Protection Systems in Downingtown, pretending to be a nurse at Penn Medicine calling to say she needed time off from work because she was recovering from cancer treatment.
The balls on this woman. There is a special place in hell for cancer fakers. And they have no idea what it is to truly fight cancer let alone go through treatment. They have no idea how this disease affects the friends and family of those affected.
Sign me gobsmacked . Thank you to those chasing this story (especially the citizen journalists), which has now even made the Daily Mail a UK publication.
Geoff Partridge in 2017 with his beloved fiancée Jill Turanski. Family photo.
Rest in peace, Geoff Partridge. May your memory always be a blessing. You are at peace.
This is the post I hoped I would not have to write. It’s a story that is so hard to write. Last night came the news that a fisherman had found a male body in the Schuylkill River. I think if I am honest with myself, I had a sinking suspicion officials would say it was him because of where he was found compared to the proximity of where he disappeared.
When I first learned of Geoff Partridge being missing in December I did not at first realize that I knew his mother, Holly Morrison. She and I share some very dear friends. When you meet people as adults at a certain stage of your life you often do not realize who the kids are because they are grown-up and on their own. Our mutual friends include those wonderful men who tirelessly searched the river by boat for Geoff.
I have been sitting with this news for a few hours at this point. When Holly’s and my mutual friend Karen and I spoke I was speechless on the phone. Then when I got off the phone I cried. Again, I did not know him personally but I cried. For his family, for his friends, for his life light burnt out too soon. And for some reason bits of the Coldplay song Fix You wouldn’t leave my head. I don’t know why that song. I do not even know what kind of music Geoff liked.
One of the last lines of the song… Lights will guide you home. I guess it was time for Geoff to come home for his loved ones to have closure.
Vinny Vella from the Philadelphia Inquirer was the kind reporter who wrote an article in December when Geoff was first missing. We turned to him then because it was hard to get coverage of Geoff going missing when it happened, and he was amenable to telling Geoff’s story. So we turned to him today again as soon as Holly and our friends knew for certain the man found in the river was indeed her son. Here is what he wrote a little while ago:
Geoffrey Partridge, 36, was found dead in the Schuylkill late Thursday, almost exactly four months after his SUV was found, abandoned, on one of the river’s banks.
A fisherman discovered Partridge’s body about 6:30 p.m. in the water along River Road near Hollow Road in Gladwyne…Partridge’s cause of death was ruled to be drowning, and its manner was ruled to be a suicide, according to a spokesperson for the coroner’s office.
Holly Morrison, Partridge’s mother, said in a brief interview Friday that her “heart is broken” and she and her family were struggling to process the news.
We’re not supposed to bury our children. My heart is so heavy for her, Geoff’s fiancée Jill, and their family and friends. Geoff and Jill shared 15 years together. When Holly and I swapped text messages a little while ago she told me she is at such a loss for words and is devastated.
I totally teared up the first time I read what she wrote in January, and again today. There are people who are brilliant and too brief lights in our lives. Geoff Partridge meant so much to so many.
I am not going to speculate on what happened that fateful evening he disappeared. As it has been reported, Geoff had bipolar depression and Lyme disease. Ok that right there is a toxic and exhausting scenario. And people do not take seriously enough the neurological impacts of Lyme as well as the more obvious symptoms, including pain.
And if you have ever had friends who suffered from any form of depression, it’s a complicated thing to live with. And I think it’s harder on men because in our society the traditional roles of men being stoic and strong and not expressing how they feel as readily as women makes it harder. It’s the whole boys don’t cry.
My friends tell me how lovely a person Geoff Partridge was. He loved and was loved in return. I don’t know what else to write. I am at a loss here as I feel the sadness of this news today quite profoundly. Part of this is just me as a cancer survivor – death hits me differently now. Also as a parent, this hits me hard.
Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam. (May his soul be on God’s right hand.)
This is what community looks like. This is what it truly looks like when people come together for a greater good, and to support friends and neighbors.
Geoff Partridge is still missing.
Last evening it was bitter cold down on the Schuylkill, and still they came one by one to Flat Rock Park in Gladwyne for the Candlelight Vigil for Geoff Partridge. People who could not be there lit candles in their own home and posted photos on the event page.
A candle in Phoenix, AZ burned brightly last night during the Gladwyne, PA vigil. Courtesy photo from candlelight vigil for Geoff Partridge event page.
Last night you saw an example of the best kind of humanity. It’s the week before Christmas, and I don’t know about you but I’m praying for a Christmas miracle.
If you know anything concerning the whereabouts of Geoff Partridge please contact police.
And Philadelphia area media? Especially the television stations? Would it kill you to keep showing Geoff’s face on TV? I have seen what you have done with other missing persons, so please help his family out.
Lower Merion Township? I realize you all are not happy with this publicly but this is someone’s friend, son, husband, family member, neighbor and so on. And you know what? If this was someone beloved in your families these people would do the same for you. That is the thing about this community. I have seen it over the years.
True community like this is magical. Seeing these photos made tears well up in my eyes.
On May 8th and May 10th I wrote posts on Stoneleigh in Villanova. A little far afield from Chester County but so important. I am a supporter and believer in Natural Lands, and then there is a more personal bent. You see, one of my high school classmates grew up on Stoneleigh. His parents, John and Chara Haas, put the property into a conservation easement in 1996.
The 1996 conservation easement was with Natural Lands. The express wish of Mr. and Mrs. Haas was that the property be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Open space, gardens, and so on. Now today is Mother’s Day and yesterday at the members preview on Stoneleigh, people were speaking of when Mr. and Mrs. Haas would open up the property on Mother’s Day for people to enjoy.
Here is a photo array to see before continuing with the post here – it takes a while to load – a lot of photos:
After Mr. and Mrs. Haas passed away, their children decided to donate the property to Natural Lands, and that happened in 2016. The conservation easement remains very much in place today, but is now under the stewardship of the Lower Merion Conservancy. Lower Merion Conservancy now is responsible for the annual monitoring.
I think Lower Merion School District is already starting damage control with their eminent domain B.S. given this overly verbose don’t hate us because we are big jerks press release currently on their website. I am more than a little disappointed by former 6ABC reporter Amy Buckman already. Her predecessor’s press releases were much easier to follow and didn’t word wander, but I digress.
With regard to what is on their website, it is the full on poor pitiful Pearl routine where among other things they say that “LMSD is now the fastest-growing District in Pennsylvania by total number of students over the past eight years and enrollment could surpass 9,500 students in the next ten years.”
But do they tell you WHY the district is growing so fast? Do they mention all of the development they have never, ever questioned? And yet, they are making a play for Stoneleigh based on future assumptions, or a possibility? Call me crazy but they seem to want land for a future not a present need? And why are their needs the problem of Natural Lands and Stoneleigh? Just because it is there?
Stoneleigh’s history dates back to 1877 when Edmund Smith, a rising executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, purchased 65 acres of land in Villanova and constructed a residence there. To shape the grounds, Smith hired landscape gardener Charles H. Miller, who trained at Kew Gardens in England and later served as chief gardener for Fairmount Park.
At the turn of the 20th century, Samuel Bodine, head of United Gas Improvement Company, acquired the property. In addition to building the Tudor Revival style building that exists today, Bodine hired New York landscape architecture firm Pentecost and Vitale to radically redesign the gardens in a more formal, or “Beaux Arts,” style.
Evidently, Bodine was not pleased with the results. In 1908, he retained the Olmsted Brothers of Massachusetts—sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, and the most prestigious landscape architecture firm in the country—to “guide him in the gradual transformation of the place.” Over the next 50 years, the Olmsted Brothers firm returned periodically to Stoneleigh to plan vistas and pathways, establish gardens and terraces, reroute points of entry, select plant species, and transplant trees.
Following Samuel Bodine’s death in 1932, Stoneleigh was subdivided and sold. Otto Haas, entrepreneur and co-founder of Rohm and Haas Company, purchased the southwestern portion of the estate, launching a more than 80-year tenure of careful stewardship by the Haas family. Otto and Phoebe’s son, John, and his wife, Chara, acquired the property in 1964 and lived there for the next five decades.
Yesterday, Stoneleigh was packed. Natural Lands members turned out from everywhere to tour the house and the grounds. It was lovely and bucolic, and I would like to think what the Haas family had hoped for. Family members were on site yesterday. I am sure it was also a little bit hard for all of them. This was their home, after all. Now it’s an achingly beautiful public garden space and although this is the path set forth by their lovely parents, it just has to be bittersweet. And then to learn that Lower Merion School District is seemingly proceeding on a path of land stealing? Well, I can only imagine.
Due to a need for additional field space, Superintendent Copeland has stated that the District would like to pursue the 6.9 developable acres of Stoneleigh no matter whether or where a new middle school site is acquired. The District is hopeful an amicable accommodation can be reached. As part of their continuing due diligence, and especially now in light of the possibility of the Class 1 designations on two of the potential sites, District representatives in April requested a walk-through of the entire Stoneleigh property for May 18, 2018.
Amicable is school district speak for give us what we want NOW.
Here is an excerpt of what WHYY wrote in an article May 12th:
To combat overcrowding, Lower Merion School District has proposed buying — or seizing through eminent domain — 6.9 acres of the Stoneleigh estate and historic garden in Villanova.
In response, Natural Lands, the conservation trust overseeing the property, has launched a public advocacy campaign called “Save Stoneleigh,” urging the district to drop its bid…
At Stoneleigh, gardeners and conservators have been doing their own planning, preparing the picturesque 42-acre estate that once belonged to the Haas family to open to the public, starting Sunday….
Lower Merion School Board will ultimately weigh every option before deciding whether to invoke eminent domain.
“It’s not the district’s first choice to do that,” said Roos. “But it just can’t be taken off the table as an option.”
Thugs. That is a good descriptive adjective don’t you think? I am all for what lawyer Arthur Wolk wants at this point: removal of the entire school board. To that I add the removal of autocratic school Superintendent Robert Copeland. To THAT I add Lower Merion Commissioners and township staff who have been ever so gung ho over development for YEARS and years. Just clean house.
Legal battles aside, that is exactly what needs to happen to prevent this B.S. in the future.
Savvy Main Line has a lovely write up about Stoneleigh on their website. Check it out.
And now that Stoneleigh has opened, visit. It will take your breath away. And once you are there and experience the magic of the place, you will understand why oh so many of us are so passionate about it. It is magical. Simply magical.
I hope you have enjoyed the photos I shared.
Please see Save Stoneleigh for more information. Please consider signing the petition . Please write a letter, speak at upcoming meetings, and keep spreading the word. Open Space should not be threatened like this. And at the end of the day, if the Lower Merion School District is unwilling and unable to respect the legacy of the Haas family, it is our duty to see that they are taught respect, don’t you think?