Sunday, February 23, 2014


DAY ONE: We left on our trip on Friday, February 21st, mid-day. It was lightly raining and very close to freezing, and there were foggy patches, but we made it okay to Manchester where we stopped to see our friend Mary Anderson. Twice in the past week we had been prevented from seeing her by snow storms. Our dear friend, John Nissen, Mary's husband,  died last October. We went to lunch together at Seasons, in Manchester, where we had a chance to talk a bit, and we got a draft of a letter that Mary wants to send out to friends which I will format and print out and send back to her. Mary has some big decisions to make, including where she will live in the coming months and what "stuff" to dispose of and how. Not easy!

Seasons Restaurant

On to Swarthmore, PA!  We took Route 7 out of Manchester down to Bennington, over to Route 22 and down to the Taconic Parkway. We missed the turn to the Tappen Zee Bridge (I was reading to Ellen a fascinating account of the turmoil in the Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees, written by Jeff Potter,  the Editor of The Commons, our local Brattleboro "alternative" newspaper, and she got distracted), so we went down the Henry Hudson Parkway and over the George Washington Bridge instead (all lanes were open!), and onto I-95 down to the PA Turnpike and on to Swarthmore. It was pretty close to 11 p.m. by the time we got there, but it was a good ride. Along the way we made just one rest stop at a plaza and got some rice and red beans at a Popeye's there to supplement snacks in the car.

Wallace, Ellen's friend, graciously offered her home as a place to stay even though she herself is in California visiting family. We thankfully fell into bed and were glad for an electric blanket (which, however, became too warm for me during the night. I love electric blankets just as you get into bed but I wish they would automatically turn off after an hour or so. I have a heating pad that does that which  I use for my cold feet when I go to bed at home).

DAY TWO: Saturday,  we spent the entire day with Sarah and Harry, old friends of Ellen's and now my friends too, who live in Lansdown, PA, about a half-hour from Swarthmore. We had a lovely late breakfast of "Scott's Emulsion" (as in Scott Nearing) - uncooked oatmeal, bran, nuts, yogurt and fruit and other possible things all smooshed together - and then later a light lunch of salmon and cream cheese on Harry's homemade bread, and then in the evening a roast lamb dinner! Wow! Thank you Harry!

Here is a short bio sketch about Sarah:

Sarah Van Keuren majored in art history at Swarthmore College, studied printmaking at the Philadelphia College of Art, and has an MFA in Photography from the University of Delaware. Since 1980 she has taught non-silver printmaking processes at the University of the Arts where she is now an adjunct professor. She is author of A Non-Silver Manual, and has taught workshops across the U.S. and in Finland. She is represented by Schmidt-Dean Gallery in Philadelphia.

Sarah will retire later this spring, and she is about to mount a show which will be a retrospective of her work over an almost 50-year period and she showed us the show on her computer. Here are two examples of what is a very diverse body of work:

Sarah's closeline
Scene from Sarah's window

During the day we took a walk in the neighborhood that took us into a huge cemetery, Holy Cross Cemetery, in Yeadon, PA. I regretfully did not think to bring my camera, because it was fascinating and in many ways beautiful: the brass doors on the mausoleums, the figurines, the ivy engravings on tombstones, etc. I did some research online later and learned that there are over 88,000 persons interred in that cemetery, including Frank Hardart, of Horn & Hardart. We saw a mausoleum with a piece of plywood where brass doors should have been and learned that they had been stolen. The thieves were eventually caught - they were former workers at the cemetery, who had removed and carried the doors by hand (500 lbs each), and lifted them over the wall and made their getaway! The doors were valued at $38,000, but they cut them up with a blowtorch and got $660 for them as scrap metal!  A lot of work for not much change! Plus jail time.

A typical mausoleum

Typical brass doors

We got back to Wallace's about 10pm. A nice day!!  Along the way home we hit a huge pothole. This morning when I went out to the car I saw that a part of the front bumper is missing and the left front fender is partly dislodged! It must have happened when we hit the pothole. Bummer!

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