The other day I wrote a post about Stoneleigh. I said then I thought that Lower Merion School District would not settle for 6 acres, that they would want all 42. My reasoning is simple: it’s expensive to wage an eminent domain battle so it would not make financial sense to go through everything for just 6 acres. (Not that doing things that make financial sense have ever been a hallmark of this school district, right?)
I grew up in the area, and the Haas family are amazing and wonderfully inclusive generous people who thought enough to want their land preserved for all to enjoy.
Lower Merion School District is NOT entitled to this land, just like they were NOT entitled to Ashbridge Park. I lived through one eminent domain battle in Ardmore years ago, so I know how ugly this is.
Also culpable here? Lower Merion Township Commissioners for all of the years of infill development. We went to so many meetings on unwanted development and asked for YEARS about future impact on the school district. Anyone who asked this was poo-pooed as being obstructionist of the future. (Yes Commissioner Liz Rogan I am thinking of you and others. firstname.lastname@example.org ) And the school district never,ever did a thing, never opened their mouths. The school board never did a thing. Who do all these folks serve at the pleasure of? Each other? Developers?
This is egregious and unacceptable. It makes me worry for places like Saunders Woods too. Any park or piece of land, truthfully as this school district and Superintendent Copeland seem to be suffering from a GIANT misplaced sense of entitlement.
Dr. Robin Vann Lynch
Comments for the former 6 ABC reporter turned LMSD talking head? Amy Buckman
Director of Community Relations Lower Merion School District
301 E. Montgomery Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003 Main Office: (610) 645-1800
Direct Line: (610) 645-1978 Email: email@example.com
Denise LaPera Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Phone: 610-645-1930 Fax: 610-645-0703
301 E. Montgomery Ave., Ardmore, PA 19003
Going to Stoneleigh’s opening weekend this weekend? Either as a member for the special preview Saturday or opening day Sunday? I am sure that some of the Lower Merion Township Commissioners past and present will be there. No group of commissioners loves photo ops more than they do, so use the opportunity to give them an earful….but try to be polite as some of them are delicate flowers.
I received word a little while ago through my Shipley network. Young Austin Wylie is gone. Reports indicate suicide. This teenager is a perfect stranger to me, my only sense of connection is my alma mater Shipley, and I have to tell you I find the news devastating. I am having such a hard time wrapping my head around the photographs of a seemingly happy and well-adjusted teenager, and this news.
We have a teen close enough in age to this boy, so it hits home on that level too. My better half’s mother was on the Board of Trustees like Austin’s mom when we were in high school . (My sweet man’s mother is one of the reasons boys were allowed to go to Shipley all those years ago, truthfully.) We were speaking about this today, I called him at his office to tell him the news from Shipley wasn’t good.
One of the things we spoke of is how I don’t remember kids being under pressure like this when we were at Shipley. And that at the Shipley of today this was the second teenage boy from there in a little over a year to chose to end his life. I am referring to Cayman Naib.
Before all you haters pop up and criticize me for thinking about this, be honest, am I the only one? This is not a dig at my alma mater Shipley at all, they are just as devastated and this came way the hell out of left field at school officials as well. I am speaking of the pressure teenagers, and seemingly boys in particular are under to succeed.
This was not a boy anyone would have pegged for this action. But Austin Wylie as per Shipley, his family, and the authorities ended his life by jumping off the Ben Franklin Bridge. He left a note on his phone apparently, and was feeling overwhelmed by something at that time. I don’t understand how no one saw him climbing up on the bridge, but that is one of the things about cities and life: we are all so busy going about our days we often do not notice what happens around us.
This is a very nice letter. I am sharing in my own post because I am a little offended by the Patch and their zeal to spread devastating news like spam. They hit a power share button and just blasted the news across their sites in my opinion. Maybe if they did actual reporting they might have content for all their hyper local sites. But I digress.
Yesterday Shipley had put the following out:
I have to be honest as the hours dragged on yesterday and people in the media I knew kept commenting how they were being shuttled back and forth between the police departments involved trying to figure out what was going on that the news was NOT going to be good. It was just a feeling, and now as I write this post I wish the outcome had been different.
What happened to Austin that made him drop everything else he was doing and go do this in the middle of the day like this?
A friend of mine just made the following comment:
Another suicide. Another young person with their whole life ahead of them. I can’t think about it without crying. But what can we do…to lessen the pressure our children feel – whatever happened to the carefree days of high school? – and what can we do to recognize and support those in need of mental health support. I can’t help but feel like we are failing today’s children.
Another friend then said:
This is horrible. We all need to stop the high expectations, pressure cooker, mentality at school and home. Isn’t great teaching and great learning enough? Manage the expectations and egos.
I agree. And I think this goes especially for boys. Boys internalize so much. We don’t even realize it. Girls seem to let emotions out more. And they will talk about stuff more. When you ask a teenage boy how their day was, the response is monosyllabic. I know first hand and it drives me crazy. Ask girls the same question and you will not only get more of a response, you will get the added color of who annoyed them at lunch or what someone was wearing.
However, male or female, we do need to regulate the pressure cooker called life. As kids climb the grades in high school the expectations grow. The expectations grow from their schools, from us as parents, and the pressure these kids put on themselves so they don’t disappoint anyone.
Another friend of mine said :
It‘s not just Shipley though. It’s an epidemic. The pressure and expectations how early it starts is terrible. And the way today’s teenagers believe their lifetime happiness and success are somehow related to test scores or number of AP classes or grades is heart breaking. In addition we need them, everyone, to be unafraid to ask for help and to not be embarrassed to address and acknowledge their struggles.
It’s a topic that is hard to discuss. It’s not something that teens or adults want to think about. It’s unpleasant and difficult. But it does happen. Teen suicide is very real, and is preventable.
Good mental health is fundamental to the health and well-being of every person and of the nation as a whole. Our children are our future, so we need to help them know they are not alone and there are resources at their and their parents disposal.
Being a teenager is not easy. It is quite literally the best of times and the worst of times. As adults, we need to think back into the deep, dark recesses of our minds and remember what it was like to be a teenager. The hormones, confusing and often conflicting (let alone ever-changing) emotions, peer and parental pressure. Add to that today the issues of multi-platform bullying and social media overload.
Teen suicide is part of a larger public health issue. Coverage of this topic and discussion needs to encourage help-seeking. And we all have to remember suicide is a very complex issue. It can’t be pigeon holed into a little box and that’s it. There are multiple causes. And the signs of suicide vary.
According to the website Reporting On Suicide, the signs can include (but not all individuals display signs):
talking about wanting to die
looking for a way to kill oneself
talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
talking about being a burden to others
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
sleeping too little or too much
withdrawing or feeling isolated
showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
displaying extreme mood swings
Parents need to be honest and admit at times it can be a struggle when communicating with the teenagers in our homes. And according to a study produced during the Clinton White House Years , teenagers aged 15-16 who do not feel close to their parents are about three times as likely to think about suicide as teens who are close to their parents, and teens aged 15-16 who don’t eat dinner with their parents regularly are twice as likely to have attempted suicide. This talking point about dining as a family is also just good common sense.
Togetherness as a family that is positive opens many doors, and face it, what is one of the hardest parts of raising teenagers? Communication. And communication isn’t social media like Facebook and Twitter, e-mails, chat programs, it’s a real conversation. Sitting down and talking even if it is light dinner conversation. Real and tangible contact and human interaction is so important with regard to interpersonal relationships at any age.
Teen suicide is very preventable, but as a society we have to open the doors to productive conversations and communication. Proper education on the topic is one of the keys to prevention. This needs to be discussed in the schools, the community at large, and the home.
Again, communication is key. When life gets bumpy or stressful it is helpful to know there are resources and people to talk to. Some teens in crisis will not display any telltale signs of issues, so it is really important to be able to talk with your children and they with you. And it is important for them to know from us that we do not need them to be perfect, and for some parents, especially if they are personally ambitious that is often hard to convey.
I am not laying blame here, I am devastated for the Wylie family. I look at photos of a boy that will be forever frozen in time, never aging. That makes tears run down my face. I also hope parents who were friends with, neighbors of, and went to school with Austin hit the pause button and help their children grieve and work through this. We can’t pretend these things aren’t happening, they are happening right in our own communities and across the country.
The Shipley School in Lower Merion announced Friday that a student who was reported missing earlier in the week had likely taken his own life.
“Although everyone was praying for a good outcome, I do not have good news,” Head of School Stephen Piltch wrote in a letter posted to the school’s website Friday.
Austin Wylie, 17, was entering his senior year. He was described as a talented player on the school’s soccer team and the club team FC Europa.
On Thursday, Philadelphia marine units were searching the Delaware River near where Wylie’s car had been found, according to police sources. A body was found Friday morning, but officials have yet to positively identify it.
Please talk with your kids about teen suicide. We need to take the top of the pressure cooker.
Austin Wylie, I never knew you, but I won’t soon forget you. I hope you are at peace, and I pray for his family and friends to find peace at this most difficult time. Remember the good times you had with this by all accounts remarkable young man. Hold him in your hearts with love.
My deepest condolences to Brooksley and Jim Wylie and Austin’s brother Cameron.
I close with one of my favorite Robert Frost poem I shared a year ago:
Out through the fields and the woods And over the walls I have wended; I have climbed the hills of view And looked at the world and descended; I have come by the highway home, And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground, Save those that the oak is keeping To ravel them one by one And let them go scraping and creeping Out over the crusted snow, When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still, No longer blown hither and thither; The last lone aster is gone; The flowers of the witch-hazel wither; The heart is still aching to seek, But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season?
This morning when I logged onto my computer, social media was filled with news that strikes fear through your heart: a teenager is missing. From Shipley. His name is Austin Wylie. He is from Lower Merion Township. Lower Merion Police are asking for ANYONE with any information to call them at 610-649-1000. His car was apparently found yesterday at 5th and Spring Garden Streets in Philadelphia. His friends say his keys were found in the car, the police aren’t confirming or denying that.
As per Google, this is where his car was found:
This is not where you would find a kid from the Main Line typically unless they are going clubbing or something and he is just too young for that I think.
I thought maybe first he was a city kid who went out to Shipley, but he’s not as per NBC10:
A standout teenage soccer player from Montgomery County vanished this week, and police from multiple jurisdictions are working together to try to find him.
Austin Wylie, who recently finished his junior year at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, was featured in September as the Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week for his achievements as Shipley’s forward.
Friends are taking to Facebook, Twitter and other social media to share photos of Wylie after they said he went missing Wednesday morning.
A spokesman for Lower Merion Police Department told NBC10 that a number of law enforcement agencies from different jurisdictions are investigating Wylie’s disappearance.
He confirmed that a car Wylie had been driving at some point was located at 5th and Spring Garden streets in Philadelphia since the teen went missing, but wasn’t able to confirm whether the keys had been left in the car, as reports on social media have said.
Anyone with information on Wylie should contact Lower Merion Police at 610-649-1000.
Austin Wylie is a rising senior at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, my alma mater. That means he just finished his junior year. By all accounts a standout student athlete who is well liked. Kids like him do NOT just vanish into this air. What is around 5th and Spring Garden in Northern Liberties that would attract a kid from the suburbs? Or did nothing attract him and something or someone made him go there? And all his friends are saying on social media his keys were in the car????
Main Line Media News is reporting Austin is from Haverford in Lower Merion Township:
Police in multiple jurisdictions are trying to locate a missing teenager whose car was found in Philadelphia Wednesday.
Thursday Lower Merion spokesman Tom Walsh confirmed social media reports that Austin Wylie, a 17-year-old from the Haverford section of Lower Merion, is missing and police have been searching for him.
His friends are a credit to him, they took to social media immediately, posting away. I think it because of these friends that media and police and the rest of us are sharing. When you have a kid close to Austin’s age it is especially terrifying.
I do not know this boy and I am uspet. Another teen missing? From Shipley, no less? This just doesn’t seem like the kind of kid who would take off and disappear. So where is he? His poor parents and family, and his poor friends.
Please if you have seen this boy, please come forward. Even if you saw him buying a soda in a WaWa or something, please come forward to police. Who the heck knows where Philadelphia Police are on this since all we have heard from only Austin’s hometown PD, Lower Merion.
This just doesn’t seem like a kid who would just disappear or take off. Maybe I am wrong, kids get upset, teenage years can be super emotional. Please if you have seen this kid call the police.
Praying for a safe and happy resolution. (And I would love to know why no one has heard from Philadelphia Police on this yet???)
Authorities are asking anyone with information related to the disappearance of Montgomery County teen Austin Wylie, who has been reported missing since Wednesday morning, to come forward.
A spokesperson from the Lower Merion Police Department confirmed to NBC10that a car driven by Wylie at the time of his disappearance has since been found at N. 5th and Spring Garden streets in Northern Liberties.
Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life (Reader’s Digest, 2015) is more than a mere cartoonist’s guide to life. It’s my friend’s autobiography, and he had me in tears over parts of this book. It’s amazing and honest and raw and wow are all of his friends proud of him. It’s not easy to bare your soul and raw emotion like that. And parts of the book are also damn funny. It is the story of his life woven with anecdotes and drawing lessons, little inspirational thoughts, and life lessons. And at the end, he gives his readers a list of art supplies.
You will laugh and you will cry and you will love this book. And you might even learn something. It’s a beautiful thing, this book. And it is well deserving of all the accolades it is receiving.
Here is what Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Elizabeth Wellington said today in her article:
Even if you’re just the occasional reader of Jump Start, West Philadelphia native Robb Armstrong’s 27-year-old award-winning comic strip, you’re likely to assume Armstrong lived quite the charmed life…..Yet the reality is Armstrong’s personal life is nothing at all like the pleasantly Technicolor world of his fictional Cobbs.
Armstrong recounts his somewhat tumultuous coming of age in Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life (Reader’s Digest, 2015), part self-help book, part memoir. The self-help is delivered in 20 drawing lessons, one at the start of each chapter. Through sketching self-portraits or outdoor scenes and even practicing their lettering, readers (Armstrong hopes) can get in touch with their inner artist and embrace their mistakes….”If you are stuck in a dark underground labyrinth, you don’t want someone to show up and say, ‘Hey, man, it’s dark,’ ” Armstrong said from his home in Burbank, Calif. “You want someone to show up with a flashlight and help you. I want my book to be that flashlight.”
Read all of Elizabeth Wellington’s article, it really is terrific.
I went all the way up to the top of the house to the cupola and the widow’s walk, and down to the somewhat creepy root cellar. It is truly an amazing house and considering all the abuse it is taken over the past few decades, it is in remarkably decent shape.
I took hundreds of photos and also talked to people going through. Some were local people who read this blog and had seen me discuss the mansion, also a lot of regular people who like myself just always wanted to see the inside, and quite a few people that actually seemed interested in preserving the mansion. There were also developers and developer representatives and lots and lots of contractors.
I met a woman from far away with a big family that includes a lot of adopted children and grandchildren who is looking for a place to call home.
I also met a guy who grew up near the mansion and told me stories of when he and his siblings were little. He told me how they saw the bikers drive up to the house when they were squatting in the mansion in the 1970s I think it was. He also said that the bikers would ride their motorcycles up the front steps and up the staircase. And that kind of makes sense because there are marks and some of the floors upstairs that look like tires. He also told me of when the bikers had left and the kids in East Whiteland used to use the pool tables and pinball machines that were on the first floor.
Another lady wrote to me and said:
As a young boy my father, now deceased, worked making sandwiches at the Lockwood Mansion. Two elderly sisters employed my father. One of their relatives, Leaugeay, helped my father make sandwiches which were taken to the train station nearby for the soldiers. As the years gone by, my father married and named my sister, Leaugeay as a namesake of a family who helped dad. Growing up on Morstein as a young girl our large clan passed by the mansion many a Sunday on our visits to other family members. Really hate seeing another landmark in Chester County being replaced by commercial buildings. WHAT is going to be left for OUR GRANDCHILDREN to visualize HISTORICAL LANDMARKS……..What a shame that opportunity and money pass over our History.
I was amazed at how few people actually knew any of the history of the house they were just drawn to it. It really is a landmark. And an emotional pull back to the area for others.
Someone from East Whiteland Historical Commission was there. A woman whose name escapes me. I don’t think she was particularly thrilled to meet her friendly neighborhood Chester County blogger, and I’m sorry for that but I am not sorry for my opinions necessarily. She said they were meeting next week, but to what end? Do they have a preservation buyer with deep pockets to bid on Loch Aerie come April 21st? When I asked her about Linden Hall, she assured me it would be preserved but that old porches not historically authentic would be torn off. I told her Linden Hall already looked like demolition by neglect, but she assured me I am wrong so we shall see. I hope I am wrong.
If this beloved mansion Loch Aerie can find the right buyer future generations will be talking about her in years to come.
Here is an article from 2010 about Addison Hutton:
What a perfect fit for a historic architect: designing the building for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust St. in Philadelphia in 1902.
Known by many as the Quaker architect, Addison Hutton was a popular and prolific professional who designed palaces on the Main Line and in surrounding communities, and grand college buildings on campuses including Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore colleges and Lehigh University, as well as adding his talents to the designs of courthouses, museums, libraries and religious institutions.
Many of his most famous Main Line mansions have served double purposes. The Waverly Heights home of a railroad executive is now an upscale retirement community in Gladwyne. Ballytore in Wynnewood first served as a home to the co-founder of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store, then lived its second life as the home of a private school and is now in its third life as an Armenian church.
Hutton also used his talents for designing religious sites. In 1872 he designed the rectory for the Church of the Redeemer on Pennswood Road in Bryn Mawr. The original portion of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood was built in 1871 with Hutton and fellow architect Samuel Sloan designing the building where the preparatory college and theology divisions were joined in September 1871….
The Main Line Times article is quite long and well worth reading in it’s entirety.
Addison Hutton is a favorite architect of mine and his work can also be seen in Bryn Mawr on Shipley’s campus – the landmark mansion known as Beechwood. I know that Addison Hutton mansions can be saved and repurposed as adaptive reuses because I was on the Committee to Save Beechwood. And while Shipley basks in all the glory of this successful old house rescue, it was a committee independent from the school who save it, not the school. The headmaster (who is still there today) wanted to tear Beechwood down for a parking lot or a pool (I forget which.) Here is an article from when it began (the renovation was complete around 2002):
That’s the word from the Shipley School, which recently relented on its controversial plan to demolish a 19th-century building on its campus after a prolonged battle with local historic preservationists.
Yesterday, the school welcomed several architectural firms into the aging Beechwood House and asked them to pitch their best ideas for how to renovate its rooms for school use.
However, the school did not ask the architects to pitch their bills for the work to Shipley’s accountants. Someone else will be paying for the renovations.
As agreed in negotiations with the school, a group of Shipley alumni, preservationists and others who want to save the building have the job of raising the necessary money – possibly as much as $1 million – by Jan. 1, 2001. If they fail, Shipley reserves the right to tear Beechwood down.
But if the group can leap that hurdle, school officials are ready to make good use of the old building.
Frens and Frens were the Philadelphia architecture firm which did the restoration of Beechwood. They won numerous awards as a result. Another Addison Hutton home, also in Bryn Mawr on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue is another more recent and successful adaptive reuse. It was restored and converted to a handful of luxury condominiums.
The estate was formerly a Welsh tract of 500 acres, and the title deeds say it vas held on a lease from W. Penn to Peter Young and from Peter Young to Hugh Roberts , of
whom President George 3. Roberts of the Penna. PR, is a lineal descendant. The tract has been subdivided and has been in the possession of General Persifor Frazer
of the Revolution and also of the family of ?. Frazer Smith. The purchase of the estate was made by Elon Dunbar, Mr. W. 2. Lockwood’s step-father, from estate of
William Harmer, in I8U9, and Mr. Lockwood from Mr. Dunbar in April 1863. When Mr. Dunbar purchased there was 113 acres. Mr. Lockwood has been making purchases
adjoining the original tract at different times and from 136 acres it has increased to 680 acres.
And it had quite the famous landscape architect:
Loch Aerie was designed by architect Addison Hutton in
1865 for William E. Lockwood, who made his fortune manufacturing
paper collars and folding boxes, and lost much of it promoting local railroads. The house remains with few changes. The fine landscape was designed by landscape architect Charles P. Miller.
Mr. Lockwood began to pay some attention to live stock in i868,when he purchased tventy five head of Ayrshires, but about that time he was elected president of the Union Paper
Collar Co. and had to reside in Sew York for ten years. He was thus forced to relinguish the raising of stock, but he secured the services of competent farmers who
attended to what stock he required for domestic purposes. Mr. Lockwood intends to divide his tract into three small farms, consisting of the property south of the
Penna RR and will include twelve acres of woodland,, which will be kept to preserve thewater supply. Pour hundred acres north of the Penna RR will be retained as the
homestead farms of two hundred acres each. On the western most tract is St. Pauls Episcopal Church erected in 1828 by the Rev. Dr. Levi Bull and which was improved in
1874 at an expense of $8000. A fine parsonage will be erected during the coming summer.
And these last excerpts:
2. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1877
Wm. E. Lockwood, of Glenlock, has a telephone in his house also one in the P.R.R. tower so that in case of invasion of his domicile by burglars or tramps he can call the P.R.R. hands to his assistance. The Railroad Company also keep a police car on the siding there to lock up all loafers and tramps found in the vicinity. Mr. Lockwood also has a very complete “burglar. alarm»”which connects with every door and window in his house, and borrows his neighbors “bull dogs” for outside alarm at night. Also he has a formidable array of repeating revolving and breech-loading pistols and rifles and we understand he thinks of adding a gattling gun and jackass howitzer, and yet he retires to his little bed very uneasy as to his safety during the night.
We should think the tramp would give his place a wide berth in their travels but through his influence they are gobbled up at the rate of a dozen per night in and
3. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, May 1, 1936
One of the most interesting houses in the Chester Valley is that of the late William E. Lockwood, at Glen Loch. It was built in the year 1865, with its towers and bull’s-eye windows. William A. Stephenson, late of West Bernard street, West Chester, was the boss stone mason, and the walls were well built. The architect was Addison Hutton, who, five years later, designed the first building for what is now State Teachers College. Mr. Hutton, as the story goes, was on his way to Glen Loch in response to a summons from Mr. Lockwood to consult with him in regard to the plans, when he was told that Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, had been shot.
All the people were so shocked and horrified that there was no talk about house plans that day, and the dwelling was not erected until some months later. One of the art
treasures in the home today is a painting of George Washington on horseback – a handsome piece of work which once was loaned to the late John Wanamaker, long ago, to be exhibited in his Market street window.
People, we need to save the grande dame. #ThisPlaceMatters and she needs a preservation/adaptive reuse buyer. Not just some developer who wants the other 4 acre parcel that goes with the house and the 2 acres it sits on. Loch Aerie has so much potential still. I can totally see a boutique hotel with a marvelous little restaurant on the first floor.
When we were growing up, she was one of my sister’s friends. She lived over on Millbrook Lane (number 773 if memory serves) on the Haverford College and Delaware County side of Haverford. In 1973 her father committed suicide.
As kids you are sort of aware and sort of oblivious at the same time to the tragedies of other kids. It was before the age of the Internet and adults still spoke in hushed tones of “certain things”. Her name was Amy Whittlesey, and perhaps the subtitle of this post should be Defending Amy (once a newspaper headline read Judging Amy and it never sat well with me.)
I remember her as a teenager only a little because there were three years between my sister and I ….and once you hit high school, that’s an ocean. I remember her as soft spoken with an almost shy smile. I remembered at the time that her mother was a politician. I wasn’t even sure what that really entailed at the time and well, it was someone unimportant to a teenage girl. When I first met her we were all at Shipley.
Her mother was indeed quite the politician. A State Representative, Delaware County Council, and she ran in the Late 1970s for Lieutenant Governor (but lost). Then Ronald Reagan became president, and her mother, Faith Ryan Whittlesey, became Ambassador to Switzerland.
Her mother, Ambassador Whittlesey, is more than a little bit terrifying on paper. Like a modern Catherine de’ Medici sort of, if I can say that out loud without a case of “off with her head” , that is? I can’t recall ever meeting her, I just remember Amy. Her mother is perhaps in some senses more driven and disciplined than Hillary Clinton ever will be. Hillary truthfully could take a page or two out of Ambassador Whittlesey’s book. She has always to me represented the ultimate female politician and political survivor meets public saint. So yes, scary. She came up in a political climate of more subterfuge and in many senses, more brutal because women just weren’t doing much of politics, then. So it was an era of politics that were rather medieval. And it was Delaware County where she got her start. Very tough. Crazily so.
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3— For Faith Ryan Whittlesey, who is often described here as the most powerful woman in Pennsylvania politics, life has become a little more hectic than usual since her nomination early last month as Ambassador to Switzerland.
There was, of course, her swearing-in last Wednesday at the State Department in Washington, but that was only one of the many details to be handled by the new Ambassador, a widow with three children, who has a law office to close, a local political career to pack away in mothballs, a household to move and shopping to do….Mrs. Whittlesey, who has been a supporter of President Reagan since 1976, was co-chairman of his defense and foreign policy committee in 1980 and presented the defense plank at the Republican National Convention.
Two of Mrs. Wittlesey’s children, Amy, 14, and William, 8, will accompany her to Switzerland, but her eldest son, Henry, 15, will continue at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H.
But you have to wonder about those saints, right?
When her mom became ambassador, Amy appeared to be thrust into this whirlwind jet set glamorous kind of life. But was it? As an adult, in retrospect, maybe not so much. I kind of think she was like a bird in a gilded cage…a twisted, gilded cage. In retrospect, she lived a Victorian girl’s life in a modern world. It was modern all around her, but she wasn’t really ever free. Ever.
I remember it because at that point in time I had a few friends who had married and I thought they were nuts because everyone was so young, and she was like at least 3 years younger than I. And I also remembered wondering because her husband was so old was she like some sacrificial virgin married off in some Elizabethan drama? How many goats, horses, casks of wine, and estates was she worth?
Then she faded from many of our memories as she went on living her married life. If you did not swim in those social oceans, and it was quite the stratosphere with rarified air, well, you are young, people fade from memory and life goes on.
And that is the thing of it, isn’t it? We sit here with our ordinary lives sometimes envying what appears to be a rather fancy life of someone we know or have known. You wonder what would it be like? Would we do fabulous things, meet fabulous people, and would life sparkle more? Well after reading about the life of someone who was a contemporary of my younger sister and seeing it splashed across media outlets in one headline after the other, wow, be grateful for the magic of more ordinary days.
When I would read the articles, and even today as I re-read them again I am still struck with the same thought: why the hell did her mother sacrifice her? Power? Politics? Social ambition? Money? Mothers can be ambitious for their daughters, yes, but wow, right?
So the media dies off as Amy gets divorced and once again people go about their lives. In 2012 her mother makes local papers about her biography (she moved years ago and I assume still lives in Florida) . (Reference Main Line Media News October, 2012)
For Delaware County residents, Faith Ryan Whittlesey’s life has always seemed to be an open book.
From the time the former Haverford resident entered the political arena as state representative for the 166th District in 1973 until she entered the West Wing of the White House as President Ronald Reagan’s public liaison in 1983, the “Kennedy Democrat”-turned-Republican made headlines in her old hometown.
Along the way, the mother of three suffered the loss of her husband to an apparent suicide, became Delaware County’s first female county council chairman, was appointed ambassador to Switzerland and survived a congressional investigation into her management of the embassy and its link to the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages deal supervised by fired National Security Council aide Oliver North.
Read the entire article – it is several pages long. My adult brain is always a wee bit suspicious of the canonization of former politicians while living. Sort of to be filed under too good to be true – where did their human frailties go as they fit them for a halo and fluffy wings? (Also can read this article published on The Constantine Report – the article originally appeared in The Daily Times, incidentally as she came up through the ranks a Delaware County politician.)
I became reconnected to Amy via social media and have been enjoying getting to know the adult I only knew in the most peripheral of ways as a kid. (Face it our lives are all filled with people who are friends of other people, that touch our lives in different stages, and then the scene shifts and there are other people.)
She loves her kids, she lives for her kids. Her youngest child, a boy whom she had post-divorce drama, is with her in Cambridge MA. Or should I say was because as I write this post, he has been removed from her quite literally.
And yes, I told Amy I was writing this post. I felt almost compelled to because since I have come to be a small part of her circle I have not been able to escape the horrible thought that this woman, this nice gracious and gentle woman is still a pawn in the chess games of life of others.
You don’t reach the age of 50 and beyond without hearing the horror stories of divorce and child custody…and the explosions when those related to the affluent and powerful step away from the shadows of control and into the light on their own. And I am sorry, but Grace Metalious and her fictitious Peyton Place have nothing on things rooted in the Philadelphia area. It’s no wonder Agnes Nixon had decades of things to write about , right?
I think Amy deserves to be free and happy. She is a good woman. The rest can be told in these screen shots I am posting. They are public, and again, I told her I was writing this. My heart breaks for her right now. People we love can often be quite cruel. It is a lesson you wish on no one.
He is still missing. We still as an extended family of human beings need to #FindCayman. I wrote about this yesterday. Follow the hyperlink for information or check the Facebook page Find Cayman.
If you are a classmate and you think you know where he might have gone, or possibly what was upsetting, please go to your parents so they can go to the police.
If anyone organizes search parties and could share that information it would also be helpful. There is one search party beginning at 10 a.m. as per the Find Cayman Facebook Page.
Also given the proposed route, would Cayman have gone near the old Waterloo Gardens site ,or St. David’s Church ,or even Chanticleer Gardens or the Willows property ? Or what about the Devon Horse Show grounds? There are 1 million places to hide there if you can get onto the property.
Praying for this boy’s safe return. Do I know him? No. BUT if you have a boy this age, you know how truly this is every parent’s nightmare and could be any boy. Is a heartbreakingly hard and emotional age to be a boy.
A special shout out to the media, specifically television media. Although you have put his story on your websites and that is awesome, it is not getting much air time.
Please anyone who thinks they may have seen this boy or would have an idea of where he could be….please call the police. And if you were a child with an idea and you are uncomfortable calling the police ask your parents to.
MISSING – please SHARE as widely as possible – Cayman Naib, 8th grader at the Shipley School. He left his home in Newtown Square area around 7 pm last night (3/4). He was wearing ski clothes but had no wallet and left his phone at home. If you have any information please call local police or Newtown Township Police (Delaware County) Detective Moore at 610-356-0602.
Have you seen this boy? This is every parents’ nightmare, and he’s close enough in age to our own child that my heart is in my throat for these parents. I do not know this boy, but he is a good friend to one of my friend Janet’s boys. He attends my alma mater, the Shipley School.
Here is a more detailed message ( and another photo) from Newtown Police (Delaware County):
**************MISSING JUVENILE****************** The Newtown Police is asking for your assistance to help locate a missing juvenile. Missing since 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, is Cayman Naib. Cayman is 13 years-old, 5’7”, 110 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray down winter jacket, black ski pants, and hiking boots. He is an 8th grade student at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, P.A. Cayman could be in the Radnor/Wayne area or may have purchased a train ticket to Philadelphia. If anybody has any information on his whereabouts, please contact Newtown Police at 610-356-0602 or email Investigator William Moor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provided is a recent image of Cayman. Please share this post.