This week’s issue . . .

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Swarthmore Borough Memorial Day Observance
Monday, May 28, 2018 • 10 a.m.
Monument Park (corner of Park & Dartmouth aves.)

The Celebration will take place rain or shine. If there is no rain, it will be
held near Borough Hall on Park Avenue; if it’s raining, the celebration
will take place in the lobby of Borough Hall.

Introduction: Eck Gerner
National Anthem
Invocation: Rabbi Gerber, Congregation Ohev Shalom
Greetings: Mayor Tim Kearney
Solemn Reading of the Names of Men Killed in Action: Bob Richardson
Flags given to Veterans by Scouts and placed at Memorial
(all Veterans and Scout Troops are welcome to participate)
Tolling of the Swarthmore Fire Company Bell
Singing of “God Bless America”
Speaker: Robert Dammel
Benediction
Silent Remembrance
Taps
Music: Silver Dollar Band
March to Eastlawn Cemetery (Graves will be decorated by Scouts)

Memorial Day Observance in RV

All neighbors are invited to attend a silent ceremony in memory of our war dead at the Rose Valley Veterans Memorial on Monday, May 28. The national colors will be raised at 9 a.m. on the flagpole erected near the entrance to Old Mill Lane. Residents are encouraged to attend and place a small flag in front of the Veterans Memorial in memory of a deceased veteran. Flags for this purpose will be available throughout the day in a box behind the water feature.

The stories in this week’s issue . . .

• YPTW’s Hello, Dolly! Takes the PCS Stage May 25 – June 3

• Now Playing at YPTW: The Graduate

• ‘Letting Go, Letting Come’ Series Examines Experiences of Aging

• WSSD Sets Summer Band and String School

• Private School Graduates

• Report from the Fire Company by Rich Cresson

• A Bevy of Roses Featured at SHS Garden Tour by Ginny Scott

• Media Chamber Chorale to Present John Rutter’s Requiem by Linda Heffernan

• Isaiah Kim to Perform June 5 at Lang

• SHHS Debaters Cap another Fine Season

• Library Holiday Hours

• Danny Tobias Leads Quintet into CAC

• Scott Workshop: Bringing the Roses Back

• Local Groups Will Rock the Hedgerow in June 2 Benefit

• Welcome June at Wallingford Pres Strawberry Festival

• Spanish Flavor in TGP Concert

Briefly Noted . . .

Michael Chenoweth of Morton received a Master of Science in Nursingfrom Wilkes University during Spring commencement ceremonies on May 19, 2018.

Anna Martin of Media and Quinn Wirth of Wallingford graduated from Gettysburg College on May 20, 2018.

Julia Gyourko of Swarthmore was awarded the Scott Prize in Arabic, which recognizes excellence in modern languages from Wesleyan University. Julia formerly attended Strath Haven High School.

Alana Waldt of Swarthmore was named to the dean’s list at Ashland University for the Spring 2018 semester. Alana is majoring in nursing and is a graduate of Strath Haven High School.

Gabriel W. Cole of Wallingford has been inducted into St. Lawrence University’s Irving Bacheller Society, the Department of English’s honorary society. Gabriel is a member of the Class of 2018 and is majoring in English. He attended Strath Haven High School.

Alex Prugh of Swarthmore graduated from Colgate University with degrees in economics and computer science, and achieved Summa Cum Laude status. Alex will be working in the Washington, D.C., area in the fall.

Jamie Bartholomew , SHHS class of ‘03, competed in “American Ninja Warrior,” which was filmed in Philadelphia last week. Jamie, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was cheered on by Pam and Art Bartholomew of Swarthmore, classmates Ben Tropp and Jack Giammattei, and his most ardent fan, Walker Lewis of Swarthmore. Tune in to ANW on June 25 at 8 p.m. to see how Jamie did. (This photo is from an earlier competition.)

Pictured from left to right are Wallingford Elementary School Librarian Martha Lambertsen, Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass, and 4th grade students Sophia Aranda, Lily Newport, and Liliana Fletcher. Early in May, Mass – author of the bestselling Candymakers series and Stead – Newberry Medal winner for When You Reach Me – visited WES to talk with students about their work and their new collaboration entitled Bob. This mystery/fairytale tells of a story of a non-zombie named Bob who with the help of ten year old Livy, searches to try and find his way back home. Mass and Stead each shared samples of their writing from elementary school. Neither of them really enjoyed writing, but they both had a passion and zest for reading which originated at a very young age. It wasn’t until after they tried other careers that they both discovered the joy of writing. An interview of the authors, conducted by WES 5th graders, will be available on the WES library author interview site soon. The author visit was the latest arranged by WES Librarian Martha Lambertsen and Children’s Book World.  Photo courtesy of Kristin Snyder.

Natalie Marra (left) and Amy Caruso (right), both of Wallingford, represented the Board of the Strath Haven Middle School Home & School Association (SHMS HSA) in joyfully presenting a check for $1,600 to the Jack Hontz Endowment Fund on Monday, May 21. Henry Pearlberg (center), chair of the WSSD Music Department, received the gift during an 8th grade assembly on Monday. Thanks to the community’s generosity during the annual spring musical Mary Poppins raffle and the Harlem Wizards vs. Haven Hoopsters event, funds raised will go towards funding music and arts camps for students this summer. Photo by Deirdre Abrahamsson.

Letters to the Editor

To My Fellow Swarthmoreans

Do you have plans for Memorial Day morning this Monday? Swarthmore has a single, brief, but meaningful ceremony uptown at 10 a.m. to commemorate those in the military who made the ultimate sacrifice:  death. Our freedoms, which we can easily take for granted, were hard won by those who served, especially those who have incurred injuries, disabilities or death.

The stirring music of the Silver Dollar Band and the speaker, the blessing, the placement of flags in Monument Park (corner of Dartmouth and Park Avenue) help set the tone for the holiday.

You are also welcome to follow veterans and Boy Scouts to a ceremony at Eastlawn Cemetery (down Park Avenue and across Michigan Avenue) where the scouts will place flags on the graves of veterans.

On the preceding night of Sunday, May 27, there is an excellent patriotic program on PBS (channel 12) from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (and repeated from 9:30 to 11 p.m). It captures the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall, which has been held in Washington, D.C., for a number of years, with a different military focus each year. Patriotic music is woven through a story line of a military person’s sacrifice in their tour of duty. The program is usually hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna. This inspirational program sets the tone for Memorial Day.

Please care, please come, please ponder why you are lucky to have your freedoms.

Joan Watson
Swarthmore

Freshly repainted, the gazebo offers a serene shelter in Little Crum Creek Park. Photo by Susan Kelly.

Thank you, Tom Pinto!

To the Editor:

Have you been to Little Crum Creek Park lately? If so, you’ve probably noticed the new “face” of the gazebo.

Several months ago, the roof was replaced by the borough but, similar to any improvement project, once you improve one thing, something else needs a new look. In this case, the metal supporting structure and benches looked pretty scruffy.  

When I approached Tom Pinto, owner of Thomas Aquinas Painting, asking him for an estimate to paint the metal frame of the gazebo, he volunteered that he would have a crew sand and paint the metal frame and sand and stain the benches, free of charge. Tom’s crew performed a miracle by adding the finishing touches to the gazebo, and to the park.

We’re extremely fortunate to have people like Tom in our borough, so when you see Tom around the borough, please don’t hesitate to thank him for his generous donation of time and resources to the park.

Susan Kelly
Swarthmore Environmental
Advisory Council

Re. the Biddle Tract: Intent is at issue

To the Editor:

Facts matter and the co-founders of Swarthmore 21 are misinformed and wrong. It is intent, not motive, at issue. 

At the November 2017 public council meeting my written and videotaped remarks to borough council proposed that either Council should not sign any waivers, or in the alternative, Council should sign waivers for all the properties under the restrictive covenant that are appropriately zoned. Further, my intent has been consistent when speaking with other business owners, elected officials, and other interested persons. Easily holding more than one thought, my position is consistent with the intention of the original signers of the deed: that Swarthmore College intended that no alcohol be sold within the Clement Biddle land purchase. Since 1892, the college has not changed their intention. It is not really a Biddle prohibition, rather a contractual clause running with the land enforceable still by the college!

My intention has been consistent for nearly 20 years from the initial RFP circulated by borough council on behalf of Swarthmore College and alcohol sales, favoring open meetings and a broader community involvement. Further, at no time did I oppose alcohol sales per se, and if it happens in the borough no single institution or business should be favored. If change does happen, then naturally my self-interest seeks the alleged benefit that others would enjoy. 

But if the founders of Swarthmore 21 do suspect motives, then why do they look away from the actors? The Co-Op has no business plan and yet submitted a bid to purchase a liquor license even before obtaining a legal determination on the restrictive covenant. Co-Op drafted but did not circulate a ballot to shareholders. The Co-Op refuses to disclose this information to a shareholder, so where is their transparency? As a shareholder, my requests were denied.

Swarthmore College imposed the contractual covenant upon Mr. Biddle, yet that institution in recent decades has (i) justified an exception for alcohol sales on their institutionally zoned campus, (ii) refused to enforce their covenant upon the borough, which violates the covenant by allowing vendors to sell alcohol at the Farmers Market, and (iii) readily signed a waiver and release for the Co-Op, while not releasing all other commercial properties burdened by their restriction. The college could keep the issue out of the courts by unburdening and releasing ALL the Biddle owners, instead of playing favorites. 

My intention is the engagement with all the Biddle property owners and the Co-Op shareholders, but the Co-Op’s actions are destined for a judicial decision if the college does not release all. The risk for the Co-Op is that the court will review the college’s intent as of the 1892 deed, not the 2018 motives of any other party, nor the single waiver bestowed upon the Co-Op. 

Pat Flanigan
Swarthmore

Jim Ryan of the Lions Club of Swarthmore gives out trophies to the winners of the 17th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk.

Running with the Lions (and Rotary)

To the Editor: 

Kudos to all of the runners and walkers who participated in last Sunday’s 17th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk, sponsored by the Swarthmore Lions Club and the Swarthmore Rotary Club. The rain held off for the race and then drenched us afterwards. The winning time for the women’s division was the fastest in several years and fourth fastest overall. The men’s field was also fast and very competitive.

The women’s overall winners were 1.) Lisa Victorius (21:40), 2.) Corinne Weidner (24:59), and 3.) Sophie Bergstrom (27:06). The men’s overall winners were 1.) Bradley Ernst (20:51), 2.) Steven Melly (21:03), and 3.) Blanton Dunn (21:28).

Female age group winners were 1.) Riley Armstrong and 2,) Charlotte Davis (10 and under); 1.) Keira Bolin and 2.) Charlotte Caywood (11-13); 1.) Breanna Raysor, 2.) Alicia Valente, and 3.) Naomi Dicky (14-19); 1.) Maura McCarthy (20-29); 1.) Kristen McKenna, 2.) Julianne Barclay and 3.) Anna Filipczak (30-39); 1.) Heidi Arnold and 2.) Libby Elliott (40-49); and 1.) Kate Dicky (50-59).

The male age group winners were 1.) John Stephanson (10 and under); 1.) Sawyer Bock (11-13); 1.) Alex Melly and 2.) Ben Ent (14-19); 1.) Chris Houpt and 2.) Michael Bolin (30-39); 1.) Scott Greuser,  2.) Doug Milana, and Chris Armstrong (40-49); 1.) Mike Keeports 2.) Paul Maillet, and 3.) Michael Stack (50-59); and 1.) Michael Palazzo, 2.) Terry Britt, and 3.) Jack Fields (60+).  If you did not receive your medal, please send an email to jdryan17@gmail.com. Full race results are now posted on www.runtheday.com.

I would like to recognize Swarthmore Rotarians and the Fun-Fair Director Joe Lesniak for their generous support of the race. Special thanks to Gina Sheehan, Faculty Advisor of the Ridley High School Leos Club, and the Leo volunteers. who marshaled and served refreshments at the finish line. Many thanks to Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig and Sergeant Bill Thomas for keeping the streets safe. Rich Allen and the Run the Day team did a great job with the race timing and results. We also thank Michael Hill and Swarthmore College for allowing us to run through the campus.  

Finally, thanks to fellow Lions and friends (James Verdi; Jeff Bergstrom, the Dickey family, Rob Borgstrom, and the Milbourne family) for their help with the race. We look forward to seeing you at the Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K on Tuesday, July 3. 

Jim Ryan
Swarthmore Lions Club

Co-Op Up for Best of Philly!

To the Editor:

This is a personal plea from myself and my team at the Co-op to help us out with something fun, without a financial ask. We just need your votes.

We have been nominated to compete in the Philadelphia Magazine 2018 Best of Philly Edition for Best Sandwich. We are competing against three other local businesses for this prestigious title.

How you can help? We need folks to vote online on a daily basis, on multiple devices if possible.

Simply use your search engine by typing in “real philly deli,” or visit https://www.phillymag.com/real-philly-deli.

We would love it if you could also pass this along to your family/friends/co-workers, wherever they live. Every vote counts, no matter where in the world it is cast. The winner will be determined simply by number of online votes. This competition runs thru June 3.

If we win, the Co-Op will be featured in a 2-page spread in the Best of Philly edition of Philadelphia this summer. 

Thanks for your time, and remember to vote daily and vote often!

Mike Litka, General Manager
Swarthmore Co-Op

Sunday Night Softball returns

To the Editor:

Sunday Night Softball is beginning this Sunday evening, May 27, at 5:15 Swarthmore time, on the college field next to the track and the Community Center (behind the Presbyterian Church on Harvard Avenue).

This is a pick-up game. Anyone who’s a teenager or older is welcome to play or hang out and watch. 

Hope to see you all out there!

Al Federico
Swarthmore

Why give away goldfish?

To the Editor:

I attended the Swarthmore Charity Fun Fair this past weekend with my daughter. Our family looks forward to this day every year. We are proud to highlight our community’s benevolence and support such great causes.

I was, however, dismayed that once again goldfish were being given away as a prize at one of the carnival booths. What message does this send to our children about the value of a life? Animal ownership is a responsibility that needs to be planned and well thought out. It should not be a spur of the moment thing that happens simply because someone has won a prize. Games offering a living creature as prizes do not take this into consideration. Handing out an animal as a toy perhaps sends the wrong message to children, whom we wish to teach compassion for all living things, regardless of their likeness to us. Even greater is the fear that we teach children that living things less capable than us exist solely for our amusement. Treating even the lowest animal as disposable fails to instill in children the compassion we must have towards those who cannot defend themselves or those that rely on us for assistance. 

Goldfish are easily stressed. They may suffer from shock and oxygen starvation, or even die from changes in water temperature. These “carnival” fish often die before their new owners can get them home, or soon afterwards. Animal welfare as a field has made considerable progress over the past two decades. Until recently, fish were thought to be unable to perceive pain, and have little to no memory. As such, fish have tended to fall through the welfare net. There is, however, growing scientific evidence that fish are far from dim-witted and that they share many of the same general pain processes and stress physiology as other vertebrates. Current interest in the welfare of fish has resulted in scientific publications indicating that there should be concern over potential pain, distress, and suffering that humans may cause in interactions with fish.  

While at this time it is impossible to answer the question whether fish can suffer, considering the current literature on the subject, it is argued that they should certainly be given the benefit of the doubt. I have no qualms with rearing animals for food, humanely disposing of pests causing humans manifest harm, riding ponies, or owning dogs. I just wish to point out that a goldfish’s low cognition and relative defenselessness does not mean that it cannot suffer. I am sure that no harm was intended by offering this prize. Rotary International’s dedication to improving lives and creating a better world by promoting peace is laudable. However, I believe that treating animals compassionately breeds compassion towards people weaving more empathy, respect, and dignity into human interactions. A compassionate relationship with animals is integral to a more compassionate world.

Ines Rodriguez, MS, VMD
Board Eligible in the American College of Animal Welfare
Swarthmore

Briefly Noted . . .

The Delaware County Youth Orchestra, featuring several students from Strath Haven among its 96 musicians, will perform its annual Spring Concert for the 2017-2018 season on Sunday, May 20, at 3 p.m., at Conestoga High School, 200 Irish Road, Berwyn, Pa. Admission is free, and the venue has disability access. Under the direction of Maestro Andrew Hauze of Swarthmore, the orchestra will present Bernstein, “Overture” to West Side Story;” Berlioz, “Three Dances from The Damnation of Faust;” Delius, “The Walk to the Paradise Garden;” and Sibelius, “Finlandia.” For directions, please visit our website at www.dcyo.org.

Strath Haven Middle School students, Lauren Karpyn and Luke DiBonaventura, both had big wins last weekend at the National History Day State Contest in Carlisle, Pa. Lauren (8th grade) placed third in the Junior Individual Documentary category with her film, “Success to the Triphena! A Toast to Conflict or Compromise?” Luke Di Bonaventura (7th grade) won first place in the Junior Individual Exhibit category with his project, “Super Patriots: Antisemitism, Comic Books and World War II.” Luke advances to the National History Day National Contest at the University of Maryland next month.

Yes, Virginia, there is free parking in Swarthmore, at the push of a button. No more fretting when you park with no change for the meter on a short errand in the Ville. All 30-minute meters in Swarthmore are now equipped with buttons (see arrows) that load the meter with 10 minutes of free parking. You can add coins if you need a bit longer. The meters are installed near the post office, the Co-Op, and other shops.

Nathan D’Ignazio

Nathan D’Ignazio of Swarthmore received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, May 13. Nathan is the son of Connie Gilday and Joe D’Ignazio.

Kira Venturini, a rising Senior at Emerson College, made the Spring dean’s list with distinction, was named to the NEWMAC All Conference Academic Soccer team and will be a captain of Emerson’s soccer team her senior year. Kira is the daughter of Glenn and Marian Venturini of Wallingford.

Eleanor Stief of Swarthmore has been named to St. Lawrence University’s dean’s list for the Fall 2017 semester. Eleanor is a member of the Class of 2019 and is majoring in performance and communication arts. She attended Strath Haven High School.

Samantha Ward of Swarthmore was recently inducted in The East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) chapter of Sigma Phi Omega, the national honor society in gerontology.

Letters to the Editor

Defending Tanner Rouse

To the Editor:

I write in response to last week’s letter denouncing Tanner Rouse’s service as a prosecutor in Philadelphia.

In an effort to discredit Rouse and promote Mayor Kearney, both then senate candidates, Jon Feinberg asserted that the prosecutors of that office “in word and deed favored winning convictions over the fair administration of justice.” As a former Philadelphia prosecutor, I found his description of the people who worked within its walls unrecognizable.

I worked as an Assistant District Attorney for five years in Philadelphia prosecuting everything from misdemeanors to horrific felonies involving sexual assault and gun violence. The claim that all of the prosecutors in that office strive to win at any cost is false and repugnant. I felt just as accomplished on the day I convicted a man who riddled his neighbor with bullets as I did on the day I withdrew charges against an innocent man who was accused of shooting off another man’s jaw. I made countless decisions to withdraw criminal charges during my time as a prosecutor with the support of my supervisors who regularly made it clear to me that I should always act to exonerate the innocent even if it meant so-called “losing.”

My role as a prosecutor was never about winning or satisfying my ego and it was certainly never about the money. It was always about being a voice for the most powerless members of the community. I was honored to be offered the position of Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia as one of just 33 people chosen from thousands of applicants. I withstood a rigorous interview process which included a challenge to correct a hypothetical injustice at the expense of a court room victory. When those hypotheticals became reality after I was hired, I acted in keeping with my oath, my moral character and always with the support of my office’s leadership. I never let politics or pride impede a just result.

Mayor Kearney is a successful and compassionate person who has been responsive to me as his constituent. In addition, he and his wife, Claudia, have been friends to my family in some of the darkest times life has to offer. Tanner Rouse is an accomplished and motivated attorney who has a reputation for being honest and fearless. It is worth noting that his wife Ursula, who is also a former Philadelpha prosecutor, shares the same reputation. I feel fortunate that both men selflessly offered to represent my interests in the senate.

By the time this goes to print, the primary candidate will have been chosen. Votes will have been cast and decisions will have been made but these divisive accusations about an entire generation of prosecutors will linger. In our town, which purports to tout kindness, understanding and empathy towards all people, we do a disservice to ourselves, our children and to each other when we project our biases onto others with little thought to the far-reaching effects of our actions.

Jennifer Lentz
Swarthmore

‘Veiled personal attack’

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see that a veiled personal attack was printed in last week’s Letters to the Editor. Not only do I object to election related op-ed submissions being printed without providing an opportunity for a response by the group or individual who was the subject of the letter, but I think letters that disparage individuals should not be considered for publication. 

When I open my Swarthmorean, I hope to only see letters promoting civil debate and I expect purported facts to be verified. 

Thank you to all of the candidates willing to serve our great state. 

Madeleine Delson
Swarthmore

Jack Baldwin ‘aged in place’

To the Editor:

Jack Baldwin. Photo by Linda Heffernan

For the last several years, Jack Baldwin was a regular fixture in town. Tall and elegant, he could often be found sitting on the Co-Op patio, either by himself or with friends. Almost every day he would take the short walk from his small apartment on Myers Ave. to the library to read the paper and just spend some time with people.

A few months ago he had a fall, not his first, but this one injured his knee and forced him into a rehab facility that led to his eventual move to a nursing home. A few weeks ago Jack died at age 94 as result of illness and pneumonia.

Jack exemplified “aging in place” and Swarthmore was perfect place for him. Living in Swarthmore allowed him to stay independent despite being slowed down by age. Thanks to all who made his life here so full. He will be missed.

Marty Spiegel
Swarthmore

 

Thanks for the hospitality

To the Editor:

For the last 7½ weeks we have had the privilege of being part of the Swarthmore community. 

We have lived at Nick’s House, a home for patients and their caregivers receiving cancer treatment in the greater Philadelphia area. Headstrong Foundation, an organization that provides financial and emotional support to families affected by cancer, established Nick’s House.

While staying at the house, we have truly appreciated the attractive town of Swarthmore. We shopped and ate in town, buying from unique stores and restaurants, and taking advantage of community events, such as the library book and bake sale. Every day we enjoyed our routine of walking to and from the train station as we headed to the city for treatment. And the Swarthmore campus offered us a relaxing and beautiful stroll in the evening.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to more easily navigate a difficult journey by being a part of your lovely community.

Judy Rifkin and Debbie Barlieb
Lehigh Valley

Maria Teresa Eldridge Fisher Obituary

Maria Teresa Eldridge Fisher left this life on May 11, 2018. She lived in Newtown Square.

Maria was born in Pittsfield, Mass., on August 30, 1970, the first child of Joan Alice Tibbs Eldridge and Maurice G. Eldridge. Maria was a woman filled with love and joy, grace and beauty that she shared with an open heart with her family and her friends. From Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond, she bonded with a network of friendship that blessed us all. She was a wonderful child, a wondrous parent, a giver and a warrior (think Wonder Woman) against fear and adversity.

Her first child, Francessca Maria Wallace, with her first husband Frank Wallace, is a delightful, creative and insightful 14-year-old who misses her and is filled with her spirit. Her second child, born of her second marriage to Robert Fisher, Natalia Maria Fisher, is a bundle of 4-year-old energy, who delights in her discoveries of this world, will miss her mother though she, too, is imbued with her spirit and energy.

Maria was educated in wonderful schools: Berkshire Country Day School in the Berkshires, Sidwell Friends School and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. She earned her B.A. at Smith College in Theater and Dance. While there she, like her Grandmother Alice and Aunt Daisy, became a proud life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

After Smith she would then go on to earn her MFA in Acting at Brandeis University. She taught a semester there, offering a class in Movement for Theatre. She briefly pursued a career in acting in New York City performing off-Broadway before moving on to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where she worked for five years and became a Human Resources and Clinical Data Operations Executive Assistant to the Vice President. 

When she returned to Swarthmore, where her parents Maurice and Joan lived, she fell in love with early childhood education as she worked for several years at The School in Rose Valley and Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery. Working in those schools she blessed the lives of many young children and their families with love and energy and her belief in the power of the arts in the lives of all children. While she would also later serve at Trinity on the Board of Directors first as Vice President and then later as President, she largely focused on taking on the fulfilling roles of wife and mother. She suffused the lives of her children with her sterling model of the practice of giving nurture, direction, encouragement, inspiration and wisdom to her children, her family and her friends.

She left us too soon, but left us with the bounty of her beautiful self to sustain us in perpetuating her vision of a better, more just, loving and humane world.

Maria leaves to cherish her memory, her husband Robert and her two lovely daughters, Francessca, and Natalia; her father Maurice and his wife Patricia; her brother Jonathan, his wife Alicia and their children Jonathan II, Andrew and Michael; her Aunt Janice and her three children; her godmother Elaine and her god-sister, Elaine’s daughter Dawn; and many cousins, other family members, and friends from all of the walks of her life.

A Memorial Service for Maria will be held at Christ Church, 20 N. American Street (2nd and Market) Philadelphia, PA 19106 at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19, followed by a Reception in the North Garden there (if raining, the Great Hall in the church’s Neighborhood House across the street).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider supporting Maria’s Daughters’ Education Fund at www.gofundme.com/maria039s-daughters039-education-fund.

 

In this week’s issue . . .

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District:
School Board Approves
General Fund Budget

By Katie Crawford

Gabriel Savage will join WES as Principal July 1.

The 2018-2019 proposed final General Fund budget was rolled out at the April 23rd meeting of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board. Business administrator Martha Kew reminded the board that the total amounts of state and federal revenue contributions to the district remain open to conjecture until their own budgets are settled.

The total budget of $79,927,934 represents a 1.7% increase in overall expenditures. Sixty percent of the proposed budget is allocated for instructional programs; 28% towards support services, which include everything from transportation to guidance; 2% towards student activities; 9% towards debt services; and .5% towards the budgetary reserve.

Eighty percent of revenue for the district will come from local sources for the 2018-2019 school year. WSSD ranks number one out of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania for the least amount of taxable commercial properties. This year, the district is recommending a 2.4% increase in local real estate taxes. This will amount to roughly an additional $402 per year for a house valued at $377,000.

In order to meet expenditures, the district will withdraw $451,134 from the fund balance. Kew emphasized that the district continues, “to work diligently to reduce the structural deficit,” yet the budget could not be met this year without seeking an additional withdrawal. The capital budget includes initiatives for Chromebooks for incoming 9th graders, the purchase of more efficient snow removal equipment, and additional …

New Hair Salon Turns up the Volume

Anna Mazepink (left) and Angela Drabik at their new studio on S. Chester Road.

Turn it up! High Volume Hair Studio opened last week at 9 S. Chester Road in the Ville of Swarthmore. Proprietors Angela Drabik and Anna Mazepink, both Delaware County natives who now live in Drexel Hill, worked at the Hair Cuttery in Ridley for many years before busting loose to dream up and open High Volume.

Spacious, tidy and bright, the salon’s look is the product of six months of building out, installing fixtures and painting — work donated by Anna’s boyfriend, Angela’s husband, assorted parents and in-laws. During that phase, the owners got to know Swarthmore, which they characterized as a “beautiful small town with a great sense of community.” They look forward to working with new clients from the borough and nearby, and, as their book of business grows, adding new stylists to work the additional chairs in the shop.

Services range from a $10 men’s shape up and a $21 women’s cut to $100 balayage and $200+ keratin treatments. The studio is open Tuesday through Saturday; call 484-471-3264 or visit their Facebook page.

May Fair and Book Sale at the Furness Library

The Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford will hold its annual May Fair on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by for freshly grilled food, face painting, games and prizes for kids, plants sale, baked goods, a visiting fire truck, a costume jewelry counter, a moon bounce and of course, the first day of HKF’s spring Book Sale! Come join Helen Kate staff, board members, and volunteers at this much loved family event.

The Book Sale features thousands of books in all categories — fiction, mysteries, cookbooks, art, gardening, history, rare books, and much more. Donors to the Library’s Annual Appeal are invited to a special preview on Friday, May 11, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Book Sale continues through Tuesday during regular library hours. Hard-backed books will be half price on Sunday, and then $2 a bag Monday, May 14, and Tuesday, May 15.

All funds earned will provide library programs, materials and services to the community. The Helen Kate Furness Free Library is located at 100 N. Providence Road.

Potters Guild Sale Next Weekend

Brett Thomas, ceramic artist and Potters’ Guild member, is pictured loading the gas kiln in preparation for the spring sale. See the final pots at the Preview Party, May 3, at Community Arts Center, where the sale runs through May 6, 2018.

Featuring a wide selection of functional and decorative handcrafted pottery, the Potters Guild’s annual spring sale opens in The Duke Gallery at Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, next Thursday, May 3, with a preview party, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For a $5 ticket, party-goers will enjoy refreshments while they have first choice among the works of the Potters Guild’s 30 members. The sale continues all weekend long from May 4 through May 6. Hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the sale is free and shoppers will be treated to a wide variety of pottery created by the skilled ceramicists of The Potters Guild. Items available for purchase include everything from fanciful figurines, sculptures, vases, tiles, flower pots, bowls, and mugs, to garden ornaments, small fountains, tea pots, tiles, clocks, decorative masks, and large serving platters and bowls. For more information, contact CAC at 610-566-1713, or visit communityartscenter.org.

Think Pink

In the interest of community health, several local Crozer-Keystone Health System offices are putting a special focus on women’s health with Think Pink mammography events during the month of May. Facilities are equipped with the latest 3-D mammography technology, and Crozer Keystone offers additional inducements to schedule an …

Musicopia Benefit at SHHS Next Friday

Strath Haven High School musicians are putting their talents forth to benefit budding musicians elsewhere in the Philadelphia area. The SHHS Musicopia Benefit Concert next Friday, May 4, gathers talented artists in many musical genres, in a fundraiser for the non-profit organization Musicopia, whose mission is to provide music education …

Relay For Life on for
Saturday at Strath Haven’s King Field

The annual Relay for Life, a 12-hour festival of fundraising and fellowship, will take place this Saturday, April 28, at George L. King Field in Wallingford. Beginning at 10 a.m., students, faculty, staff and their families will walk laps on the track behind Strath Haven Middle School, in a marathon day benefitting the work of the American Cancer Society in providing support for patients battling cancer and their caregivers, as well as to fund research. 

The event will include activities for the whole family, including a scavenger hunt, a World Cup soccer game, face painting, a survivor/caregiver walk, and a nighttime luminaria ceremony. Performers take the stage to inspire walkers with live music in the afternoon, and food will be available for purchase in abundance. The event is open to all from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. To donate to the event or to join a team, visit: www.relayforlife.org/pahaven.

Toe the Lions at Fun Fair 5K Run & Walk on May 20

Three weeks until the Swarthmore Charity Fun Fair on May 20: Just enough time to buy a new pair of running shoes, break them in, and take your training up a level for a challenging 5K course … or to take care of your chores early, clear your Sunday afternoon schedule, and round up the family for a spring ramble through Swarthmore. Whatever your approach, the Fun Fair 5K Run and Walk is the event for you. Lions Charities will benefit from proceeds from this race, which is supported by Swarthmore Rotary Club.

In its 17th year, the Fun Fair event welcomes participants of all ages and fitness levels. The 3.1 mile course includes some hills as it winds through the streets of Swarthmore and the campus of Swarthmore College. Live entertainment, food, and fun await finishers at Swarthmore Fun Fair immediately after the race. T-shirts are guaranteed to first 100 registrants.

The race goes off at noon on Sunday, May 20, from the Swarthmore train station. Registration and race packet pick-up take place there from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will recognize the first three male and female runners, along with winners in eight age groups. Online registration through runtheday.com is $25; the entry fee is $30 on race day. For more information, call James Ryan at 610-909-3127; email jdryan17@gmail.com, and visit www.swarthmorefair.org.

Phyllis Raymond’s Commitment to Learning

At a recent luncheon, WSCC board members honored Phyllis Raymond for her 20 years of inspired and steady service to the program. From left to right are Jane Standish, Carol Fanconi, Peg Christensen, Phyllis Raymond, and Susan Larson. Peg Christensen cited one of Phyllis’s great gifts: “She was adept at thinking of new courses and finding excellent instructors that she convinced to teach for us. That is the life blood of our organization’s success.”

Nearly 70 years after it began in Swarthmore, Phyllis Raymond’s journey to the various points of the post-secondary educational compass is finishing where it started. Twenty years after friends recruited her to the board of Wallingford-Swarthmore Community Classes, she’s rotating off, saying, “I am the only one from that era who is still involved, and I love it. But I am 85, and there are young people who are very interested, and doing a great job on the board.”

She has been instrumental to the development of successful and varied courses for WSCC, which offers 50 or more courses each semester to lifelong learners, with classes meeting at Strath Haven High School in evening hours, Swarthmore Borough Hall by day, and various other locations.

Phyllis’s first retirement was in 1994 from Swarthmore College, where she had worked since 1971, the last 20 of which were spent as Associate Dean of Admissions, traveling to convince bright students to come to Swarthmore. Prior to that, Phyllis had also tutored students, and taught briefly; she “never liked teaching.”

But she did love learning, and worked through obstacles to pursue her degrees. Enrolled as a Swarthmore undergraduate in 1950, Phyllis was uprooted when her Swat grad and naval officer husband Richard was assigned to Norfolk. She enrolled at William & Mary, and then finally accepted her baccalaureate diploma from the University of Indiana, where her husband was earning a Master’s after leaving the service. Her husband ultimately topped out with a law degree earned at night while working for the government in Arlington, Va.

Phyllis said, “I was wishing I’d gotten a graduate degree, so when we moved back to Swarthmore, I asked around … and the head of the Political Science department, Roland Pennock, put together a Master’s program for me. I asked if anyone had ever done it; he said no, but we can work something out for you. It was a lot of work over two years, but I did it.” 

Phyllis is still in Swarthmore, where granddaughter Hayley Raymond will graduate in May from the College. Maybe some semester, she’ll get to check off another box in her continuing education: in all her years on the WSCC board, Phyllis has yet to enroll in a course there. 

A Tale of Two Projects: Faculty Lecture at McCabe Atrium

Amy Cheng Vollmer, Swarthmore College professor of Biology, will discuss two lines of promising microbiological research in a faculty lecture which is open to the community at large, at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, in the atrium at the college’s McCabe Library. Vollmer will report on studies of a protein linked to stress survival in bacteria, and …

Congressional Candidates Forum: Gun Policy

After scores of recent mass killings in schools and government offices, at clubs and concerts, in workplaces and in restaurants, all facilitated by high capacity weapons, momentum is growing for sensible and effective control of guns and ammunition. Politicians are under increasing pressure to articulate their positions on gun policy. If …

Earnest, Silly … and Important

Relaxing in the country are Earnest cast members (standing, left to right) Jennifer Summerfield and Jessica Dal Canton; (sitting) Jared Reed; and (reclining) Adam Altman. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Opening with a preview on Thursday, May 3, Hedgerow Theatre revives Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest in a crisp and stylish production on Hedgerow’s Rose Valley stage at 64 Rose Valley Road.

Wilde’s cast of upper class Britons at the turn of the 19th century is all crackling dialogue and arch manners. As did Wilde, the play embodies British dandyism, its superficial gaiety thinly veiling commentary on the hypocrisy of modern life and mores. The play endures as a flamboyant comedy of manners full of mistaken identities, secret engagements, and non-existent lovers, as well as biting social commentary that is agelessly relevant.

Barrymore award winner Dan Hodge directs, conjuring the talent for farce which is a core characteristic of the Hedgerow company. This production brings out the wit and essence of the characters even as they embarrass themselves with vanity, miscalculations, and bad behavior.

Core Hedgerow company members comprise the cast, including Jennifer Summerfield, Jessica Dal Canton, Adam Altman, and Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed. Following the Thursday preview (tickets are $20), the production opens on Saturday, May 5, with performances each Thursday through Sunday until May 27. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35, with several special events planned on various show dates. See hedgerowtheatre.org for details, or call 610-566-4211.

Hope for Honduras Benefit Concert

Sunday is the day; the Swarthmore Friends Meeting House at 12 Whittier Place is the setting; health care for Hondurans is the cause which will benefit from the 2018 Hope for Honduras concert on April 29. The concert features local talent of all ages, led by Strath Haven High School students in the Silvertones choral group and the SHHS Saxophone …

Arla Patch Exhibit of ‘A Heart Story’ Opens at Pendle Hill

Quakertown artist and educator Arla Patch exhibits her 16-piece polymer clay series “A Heart Story” in the Barn Gallery at Pendle Hill, beginning tonight, April 27.  “‘A Heart Story’ was sparked by loss and betrayal,” Ms. Patch said. “It was a three-year project, and through it, heartbreak was transformed, stage-by-stage, into a new whole heart.” Patch …

Masterworks Chorale Sings
Rutter and Bach Sunday

Kat Bowman

The Masterworks Chorale invites the music-loving public to attend its spring concert, featuring the Requiem by John Rutter and selections from Cantata 21 by J. S. Bach.

The concert is at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, directed by Kat Bowman and includes Swarthmoreans Mary Huissen, cello and YunJoung Park, piano. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 for adults and $5 for children and students. A reception will follow the concert.

The Masterworks Chorale, founded in 1979 as the Upper Darby Singers, is devoted to the performance of quality choral music, covering a wide range of periods, styles, and languages.

Great Plants, Cheap at SHS Second Chance Sale

On Saturday, May 5, Swarthmore Horticultural Society will sell shrubs and perennials from the containers in downtown Swarthmore from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Offerings include Cornus ‘Ivory Halo’ (Dogwood) for $20, Juniperus ‘Robusta Green’ (juniper) for $20 and Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ at 3 for $10. Carex ‘Ice Dance’ will be 3 for $5. SHS will be selling all plants at the Swarthmore Farmers Market, on the Lafayette Avenue side for convenient pick-up. You may pay for your purchases by cash, check or credit card. All plants must be picked up by 11:30 a.m. For more information, please go to the SHS website at swarthmorehorticuluralsociety.org.

Hot Topic: Community Policing

Make plans now to join three leading local lawmen for a discussion of “Community Policing: Challenges and Opportunities” at the monthly Hot Topics luncheon in Media on Friday, May 11. The League of Women Voters invite you to hear Swarthmore police …

Family Caregivers Speakers Series Continues

Senior Community Services’ free speakers series for family caregivers continues next Thursday, May 3, with a presentation on “The Role and Benefits of Effective Communication in Caregiving” by Sharon White, MSS, LCSW. Caregivers and their …

Kentucky Folktales at RV Story House

Kentucky-born Mary Hamilton has been at this storytelling business for a while — 35 years or so as a full-time professional. She is the author of the 2012 book Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, and it is from that deep well that she will …

Briefly Noted . . .

The Swarthmore Co-Op annual meeting was held at the store on April 19. General manager Mike Litka and outgoing Board president Pam Bartholomew reviewed the past year and shared their outlook for the coming year. Co-Op members elected new board members and approved a bylaw revision that allowed voting for board members and Co-Op matters by email. Board members in the picture are (front, l. to r.): Jacqlyn Diamond and Ines Rodriquez; back row from left: Andy Rieger; Lori Knauer; Barbara Amstutz; Jill Gaieski, vice president; Mark Rossi, secretary; John Moots; Stephanie Edwards, treasurer; Donna Francher, president, and Greg Bochman.

Over three snack periods recently at Wallingford Elementary School, Sue Gaur, her 2nd grade class, and a community of supportive and thirsty WES students, staff and parents raised $1,866 for Relay for Life and The American Cancer Society. Mrs. Gaur has been working creatively for 13 years with her WES classes to raise money for ACS through an in-school lemonade stand. She and her 2nd graders sang out the apparently irresistible ditty: “All children in WES land, come to Mrs. Gaur’s Lemonade Stand. Lemonade and a pretzel make a good snack, bring $2 in your backpack.  Enjoy some lemonade and make your day sunny;  Relay for Life will get all your money!” Lemon AID workers included (top row from left to right): Jayden D., Skylar H., Isaac H., Jonah L., Zach A., Sue Gaur, Elizabeth W., Bianca B. and Luka N.; (middle row from left to right): Cameron D., Ryan S., Lena G., Christian K., Margaret H., Shira J., Ellis W., Eli V. and  Holly C.; (bottom row from left to right): Amalia N., Maureen A., Livy T., Luca D. and Cooper M.

Roll up your sleeves for some easy and rewarding environmental work next Monday, May 7, at Crumhenge in the Crum Meadow, as planting continues the first phase of the Crum Woods Restoration and Stewardship Plan, which was called for after the construction of the SEPTA Viaduct and redoing of the sanitary sewer line in recent years. Volunteers will plant plugs of 49 native plants in the grass field below the Holly Collection, helping build a fully functioning meadow including  grasses, flowers, and other wet and dry meadow species. The meadow planting has an aesthetic component, and a practical imperative: to restore this flood plain’s capacity to handle inundation. 

More than 70 volunteers, including Swarthmore faculty, students, and staff and members of the Swarthmore community, took part in the first planting of 4,000 plugs on April 6 (above). The May 7 session begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 1 p.m., when volunteers will be treated to lunch. RSVP to sustainability project manager Amos Frye ‘19 at afrye1@swarthmore.edu. For the big picture on the plans for Crum restoration, go to swarthmore.edu/crum-woods-stewardship.

Monday night, April 23, Congressman Pat Meehan honored Strath Haven High School 11th grader Perry Sosi with a first-place Congressional Art award in the Digital Art Category. The 7th District Congressional Art show is a juried show that is held in every Congressional district across the country to encourage and recognize the artistic talent in the nation and in each Congressional District. Perry’s piece is a self-portrait using watercolor brushes in Adobe Illustrator. His portrait was created in Mrs. Taylor’s Graphic Design 3 Class. Perry has plans to study Graphic Design on the College level when he graduates. This is a great honor to win a place in the Congressional Art Show. 

Singer and guitarist Doug Hill of Wallingford and music partner Hugh Colocott will perform as 92nd Street this Saturday, April 28, at Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville. Showtime is 8 p.m. for this gig, which also features Ray Adkins. Tickets are $12 in advance (call 484-924-8425) and $15 at the door.

Cora Lausch saves an earthworm at the Great Swarthmore Clean-Up on Earth Day 2018. Photo by Tim Kearney.

Poetry Corner

Unsureness

From the May 8, 2020 Swarthmorean: The Swarthmore Farmers Market was snowed out again. They have now decided to restart on Saturday, June 6.

First
our memories will change
as normal changes
to meet up with what is
now normal
Who remembers Spring Planting
It was always summer, wasn’t it
Community Greenhouses were always there
not just sprung up

Note: Please look under notices in the Swarthmorean for share information for the new Community Greenhouses.

Maybe new memories are in the process
of being implanted
and we just haven’t been told about it
just like a latest relationship
replaces the previous one
a new dog the memory of the old one

Notice: The Swarthmore Swim Club will close any days when the temperature goes below 80 degrees starting December 10. It will, as usual, be closed during the Christmas holidays.

Where was yesterday
when there were seasons four
or is that just a musical fiction
by Vivaldi someone

— Bob Small

Bob Small is a long time resident of Swarthmore living with his wife, Paula Bronstein, and their cats, dogs, and chickens. He has retired from any and all activism, but is focusing on writing Letters to the Editor, Poetry, Polemics, Plays, etc., some of which can be seen at his web address robertthesmall on wordpress.

Oregon Beach

Broken tongues
Of basalt flows
Break the lowly mist
And basement to
The smoky haze
Smooth shiny plains
Interrogate between
The surf and grassy bench.
We name these beaches
But walking in the mist
With the early sun
Alight the raptured waves
An ancient chord resounds
And I become lost in time
A four dimensioned one
And life becomes
The washing of the waves
And the order of the grains
On these obscure and mystic plains.

Figures in the mist
Well by
Tortured and
Buried half in sand
They too sing
But with the voice
Of inland spirits gone astray
Reach up
Weathered arms!
Catch the strands of fog
Thy brothers stand
The headlands sentinel
And point the wind
With knotty arthritic hands

The waves tumble in
And the order is destroyed
Each grain
Jumping to the flow of tide
The plains are gone
The graven arms rock
In a milk of chaos
Cold black rocks
Roar green wet songs
And spouting caves
Breathe and sneeze
Their foaming spittle

Soon the mist is gone
And with the falling tide
A new order will arise
The cross-washed sand
Has made smooth plains
The sun bursts forth
The sandpiper runs
Along the tongues of foam
And cries
Life, life!
Life will abide again!

— Christopher Ray

“As a native of Westport, Conn., and Long Island Sound, I had never seen such beaches!”

Lawn Boys

I swear it’s the mayhem that gets them going,
revving those little motors without the first
shred of a permit. This latest one runs through
two gas cans easy, just tanking around, rearing
the housing up on its hind wheels, toeing its nose
smack down into the borders, throttling, choking –
yes, a carte blanche invitation to destroy.

Whatever gets them off the couch, it’s not the lawn
itself. These guys aren’t gardeners, can’t read the line
dividing sod from shrub, grassplot from seedbed.
They’ll put the parrot-tulips to the blade, slice
right through violets and fern brakes, yet leave untouched
a pride of thistles, a bristle of dandelions –
“so pretty.” And nor is it the money, else

they’d be here more often. First of spring, I call
and call, while the grass thickens to pasture, then
to wildwood, then to spinney. This latest one
has set his phone to seem he’s answered: “Wait a sec!
My battery’s low! I’ll just grab the extension – “
then a long pause, then some well-recorded fumbling, then
more mutters just before the razzy beep. I leave him

long detailed messages I know he won’t play through.
That’s why – must be – that rise by the front walk’s
razed raw again, why the side-yard’s gone to briars.
“Take care,” I’ll tell the phone; “there’s deadwood fallen,”
but that won’t slow him: he won’t pick up sticks, grinds through
whatever’s in his way, shredding plastic bags and paper,
shattering branches – once even a brick

to see its splinters scatter and fly. My daddy mowed
sedately, sober as a farmer guiding the plow
behind the plodding mule, methodical,
meticulous. These guys are rough-riders,
lathering their broncs up San Juan Hill, and I
must like that better. Mayhem. What else
do I get? What else do I pay them for?

— Nathalie Anderson

Rough

After the sightings, the sea got rough,
got rough on us, shale fallen to scarp and
shoving down, shunting against itself,
scathing and carping, flints striking flakes
off each other, sparking white, black, white.

Did I say sightings? I meant to say biting.
Nobody in beyond the ankle but
still that slash to the ankle bone, the sea
a sussurus of open-jawed serration,
strange voice at your ear.

Whatever we glimpsed out there hid itself
in potentia, flexing its muscle
under the water’s skin. Head of a hawk,
head of a rottweiler. And the seals
in their slickers, black-backed, menaced

as we were, too doggish to know it. Her husband
lost like that, no longer the man she’d married,
but when were we ever? Nail head. Hammer head.
When will you admit you didn’t know your own mother?
Strange mouth at your ear. Strange hand on your arm.

And did I say spiky? I meant to say spiny.
We could feel it under foot, every step
from the shoreline to the car. The sand
rough on us, the mind rougher.
Cross-cut saw. Shredder.

— Nathalie Anderson

Nathalie Anderson of Rutledge has authored four books: Following Fred Astaire (The Word Works, 1998); Crawlers (Ashland Poetry Press, 2005); Quiver (Penstroke, 2011); and Stain, (The Word Works, 2017), as well as the chapbook Held and Firmly Bound (Muddy Ford, 2017). Anderson directs the Program in Creative Writing at Swarthmore College. 

The Big Girls

Surging through the hall
Lips red with gossip and laughter
DAs bobbing in time,
They carry on their hips
Books unopened since the fall.

Then out the door
They cross the street
To their big beautiful Buicks
(Reaching 3rdbefore mid-block)
Leaving us behind
Yearning to be born
           Before—

— Louise Coffin

How I Grew Up

My mother wore stockings with seams,
A garter belt, “step-ins,”
Brassieres of cotton,
And lacy-bodiced slips.

Each day, pearls
Given her by her father
When she turned 16.
He died before I was born.

My mother’s pale ashes
Lie in a nearby cemetery;
The pearls rest in a velvet case,
And white is just another color.

— Louise Coffin

Diary Entry

What I wrote
Just yesterday,
Filtered through my memory,
Vain effort to capture what has been.

Wasis not in my vocabulary
(That finite ending, no recourse).
But this ephemera is just that:
The gossamer moment,

The dress I wore or the smile,
And your words
Out on the air
To float away—

Delicate points too frail to abide
only
for me
The bequeathing of promises dimmed by hope.

— Louise Coffin

Paper Dolls

Cut-outs we were
Tacked to the walls
All smiles and red cheeks, nimble-fingered
Simulacra of the living.

— Louise Coffin

Louise Coffin, a former high school English teacher in Atlanta, revels in her Swarthmore retirement.