Letters to the Editor

A tribute to a good man

To the Editor:

With deep regret I would like to inform the community of the death of Rutledge native Ralph Parris at the age of 83 early last month in California.

Ralph graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1950, and spent most of his boyhood in Rutledge. We met him by chance on one of his trips back for a high school reunion and thought there might still be folks in our area who would remember him fondly. To take a walk around the borough with Ralph was like entering a time machine; listening to him speak, we were all instantly transported back to a Rutledge of the 1930s and ‘40s.

3-25 Ralph Parris

In addition to Swarthmore High School, Ralph attended the Rutledge Institute, and then Drexel University, where he graduated in 1954 with a B.A. in electrical engineering. Later, he attended Princeton University and received a master of science in 1958. Ralph married his college sweetheart, Evelyn Peacock, in 1956 at the Presbyterian church in Broomall.

Ralph worked for 36 years as an electrical and engineering manager for Burroughs Corporation, later known as UNISYS. While working for Burroughs, he and Evelyn lived in Paoli, Birmingham, and Plymouth, Mich. They settled in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., in 1971. In 1991 he retired and began enjoying a life of service to others. He generously shared his technical and organizational skills in the community and church. Ralph loved returning to Swarthmore for his reunions, most recently in 2010 for his 60th.

My wife and I had the good fortune to meet him and Evelyn in the earlier days of the World Wide Web when he searched for the term, “Rutledge,” and contacted us after finding webpages detailing our family’s exploits in the annual Rutledge Fourth of July Parade. They visited with us several times here on the East Coast and we were welcomed into their home near San Diego during a California vacation last year.

One of the joys of my life was when Ralph pulled out his old SHS yearbook to show our teenage son, Bradford. Ironically both of them attended school in the same building (SRS used to be Swarthmore High), although separated by a span of more than half a century.

One of Ralph’s former co-workers summed up his personality perfectly when he wrote after Ralph’s passing, “Over those years and since then, this question has passed through my mind perhaps a thousand times total, ‘Why can’t I be as nice a person as Ralph?’” Sincerely,

Robert Morbeck

3-25 cleanup 1

Thanks to the cleaning crew!

To the Editor:

Weather is fickle, but our volunteers never are. Despite the temperature last Saturday morning, 23 volunteers from Swarthmore and Rutledge showed up to begin the spring cleanup in Little Crum Creek Park. Heartfelt thanks to all for raking and cleaning up debris in the area along Cresson Lane. We love our volunteers, including those five little ones who came with their parents!

Our next big cleanup in the park will be on Sunday, April 30, when we join up with the CRC Watersheds Association for the annual Streams Cleanup Day.

Another reason to visit the park right now is to see the Pop-Up Art in the Park exhibit along Yale Avenue — this installation will only be there a few weeks, so catch it before it disappears! Stay tuned — more interesting things will be happening in the park as warm weather emerges.

Susan Kelly, Chair
Swarthmore Environmental Advisory Council

Einstein’s views more clearly explained

To the Editor:

In his letter of March 11 (“Seeking a Peaceful State”) Dr. John Brodsky wrote that “Einstein did not favor partition with ‘A Jewish State’,” Brodsky told the reader that the source of that statement is an address Dr. Einstein delivered on April 29, 1938. I want to supplement that excerpt.

In that talk Einstein also stated — some persons disagreed with this assertion — that “The essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest.” However, in the face of increasing restrictions against Jews in Nazi Germany and the looming threat of a European war, Einstein went on to say that “If external necessity should after all compel us to assume this burden [of a Jewish state], let us bear it with tact and patience.”

Albert Einstein declared himself a Zionist in 1920, advocating Palestine not as a Jewish state but as a Jewish cultural and spiritual center for enriching Jews and Judaism. In 1921 he accompanied Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, to the United States on a fund-raising mission for the Hebrew University and Palestine Foundation Fund. In the 1940s I snapped a picture of Einstein during his visit to a farm in Hightstown, New Jersey, where a group of American Jews were learning agriculture prior to emigrating to a kibbutz in Palestine.

After the rebirth of Israel as an independent nation in 1948, Einstein became an ardent admirer and supporter. He spoke on American radio on behalf of the Jewish National Fund, United Jewish Appeal, and other non-Israeli, as well as specifically Israeli, causes. When Weizmann, the State of Israel’s first president, died in 1952, Einstein was invited to run for that country’s presidency. He expressed gratitude for the honor but declined the invitation.

Rabbi Louis Kaplan

Traffic, Yale Ave., and Quality of Life

To the Editor:

I find it ridiculous and preposterous that, after years of traffic monitoring and 100 people signing a petition calling for traffic calming measures, Swarthmore would pay an additional $5,000 to an engineer to “study the traffic patterns” on Yale Avenue. More data is not necessary. A hundred people saying there is too much traffic is enough data. It’s offensive that we would have to wait longer, when there has been talk for 15 or 20 years of calming the road.

Fifteen years ago, we had electronic ropes measuring traffic volume, and double white lines (where it was an all-time favorite hangout of Swarthmore officers who waited there to nab careless traffic.) I believe we even raised the speed limit to 25 mph in an effort to slow traffic. I have lived on Yale since 1997, off and on, and the traffic volume has increased to the point of intolerability. The suggestion of flashing lights is intolerable and completely ludicrous, more lights invite more traffic, just as improvements of the road invite more traffic. People are now coming up Park Avenue at an unprecedented rate, and the four-way stop sign is as busy as any city.

The trends that I notice — and you can make the check for $5,000 payable to David at 407 Yale — are that cars increase their speeds too quickly, and do not follow the speed limit. There is almost no pattern of commuter or business traffic any more. What used to be local traffic- somebody getting from Wallingford to Morton, or Rutledge to Rose Valley, is now what I can deduce as either pleasure traffic or drivers avoiding Baltimore Pike. It is just a plain nuisance, whether it’s 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning!

For $1,000 we can put a stop sign a stop sign on every cross street on Yale, and a local traffic only sign — “not a thruway” would be better, or “no thru traffic” — on both Swarthmore Avenue and Chester Road intersections, similar to Cornell or Cedar. I can only imagine what the insult would be when they start ignoring speed humps. The road itself has changed due to the insane volume of traffic, having buckled some in the middle and actually sunk down, and is posing a health and quality of threat to people on Yale. I’ve contemplated buying asphalt myself to build a speed bump 20 feet after the stop sign on the corner of Park and Yale, and even contemplated sacrificing an old oak for a day or two of peace.

The residents of Swarthmore receive absolutely no benefit from Yale Avenue being treated as a busy thoroughfare. The type of traffic on it belongs on Michigan Avenue or Baltimore Pike. Save the $5,000, put in stop signs on every cross street, and forget flashing lights. I’m tired of Swarthmore being degraded and urbanized.


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