"Hi Everyone, Good
news to report. My C-scan at Dana Farber revealed another 6 %
reduction in cancer cell activity. That makes a 34% reduction in 12
treatments. My next scan will reveal less progress because of the
timing of the visit to China. The protocol for the clinical calls
for C- scan every 8 weeks regardless of the number of treatments.
The Doctors at DF are very pleased and I remain well within the
expected result format. They will take me off oxyplatin (a delivery
system) soon because of increased neuropathy.
Not a problem unless
you do too much of it....like you know the rest of life!!
The China trip of 2
1/2 weeks was long and successful. I've attached a photo of me and
my crew in Dongguang.
In addition to the
new sculpture which will stand 8" high, we've designed a birdbath
and an armillary for production. Our windweaver series has sold out
and we now have several dealers involved in sales.
We were able to
travel to Xian to view the terra cotta soldiers and to Zhangjiajie
to see their first national park, (a pleasant change from the
industrial territory that we left in Dongguang.) Well, more
information than you probably wanted but that's where we are
at. Happy to be back from China, (the US and spring looks soooo
Happy to be getting
healthy. Thanks for your continued concern and support.
P.S.- In the picture
(above) is my engineer Watson, who speaks no English but has this
wonderful Cherubic smile that comes to his face when he likes an
idea. At the end is Mr. Wong who does a great job and has developed
an enthusiasm for our projects. Who's the baldy?"
sent by Dwight:
Hi Kevin, Here are
some recent pics of our trip to China. The first being Judy and I in
Zhangjiajie, Hunan Prov. A very poor, but beautiful area.
Besides Dongguang ,
we also went to Xian for a few days. One photo is from Hong Kong. I
took about 250 shots, so it will take a while to digest and process
them. These are the early winners. I loved the cook boys, they
were such " posers" and so full of themselves, as adolescents will
be. As we were! Dwight
Hi my friends - Thanks for visiting my web site and expressing an
interest in my upcoming book, ‘Tales of the Reluctant
Adventurer’. As you may already know, I have been
traveling around the country for the past two and a half years on
my walkabout, my spiritual journey. I use the term ‘walkabout’ to
refer to my desire to travel without a set destination or time
frame; the more common term perhaps is wanderlust.
Now, that is not to say that I don’t have some general
guidelines for my travels because the purpose of my current
journey is to visit many of the states and National Parks and
places of interest in the natural world all across the United
States. I have had the great fortune to spend quite a bit of time
hiking, camping and exploring many of these places, experiencing
the unique beauty each has to offer the world. I have, even more
so, very much enjoyed all the fascinating people I have met along
the way. They have come from around the country and the world to
enjoy the wonders of the U.S.
advances in public health and medicine, the average 60-year-old today can expect to live to the age of 83, and millions will
continue well into their 90s."
So, you've managed to navigate life's inevitable speed bumps, you've
survived divorce, job changes, the death of parents and loved ones,
health issues, maybe you have a few grandchildren you are now
enjoying. Since this is one of those benchmark
birthday's, let us know how you are celebrating your 60th this year.
You've got lots of company, so don't be embarrassed about the
details. While your at it, let us know what you've learned and how
you've managed to keep re-inventing yourself these last six decades.
Let us learn from your experience-send
me your plans/thoughts and I'll post the best of them here,
anonymously, if you prefer.
Forrest Guth, 85, of Hockessin, speaks to (from left) Amanda Arbaugh,
Jackie Larue, Seanna Henigan and Andrew Phillips on Thursday at the
Delaware Military Academy near Newport. Guth is one of about 14
surviving members of the World War II Army Airborne company depicted
in HBO's "Band of Brothers."
January 30, 2009
Students welcome hero
WWII Army Airborne veteran shares experience with military academy
By EDWARD L. KENNEY
The News Journal
Forrest Guth stood like a rock star in the middle of the mess hall
at Delaware Military Academy near Newport, surrounded by admiring
cadets and signing autographs as pens and paper were thrust at him.
Guth, 88, of Hockessin, is one of about 14 surviving members of the
World War II-era Army Airborne company depicted in the critically
acclaimed book and HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," and he could
not have picked a more receptive audience for a talk about his
experiences than the one at the naval charter school.
"You're all nicely dressed," he told the students, who wore winter
dress blues. "Do you have an inspection every week?"
"Every Thursday," some of the cadets shouted out in unison.
Senior David Chester, 18, who has joined the Navy and reports for
duty in August, asked for the veteran's autograph, as Guth leaned on
a cafeteria table to take the weight off his bad knee, which he
injured on some rocks when he parachuted in England.
"I liked how he was able to go through all this experience and still
survive to tell the tale," Chester said.
Guth, a self-described "country boy" who grew up near Allentown,
Pa., was 19 and worked at Bethlehem Steel when he signed up for the
Army paratroopers because he wanted to see some action. He wasn't
Guth took his basic training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia and ended up
in Company E of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st
Airborne Division that gained renown at the Battle of Normandy
following D-Day and at the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive
launched in the mountainous Ardennes region of Belgium, France and
"That was the tough one," he said of the latter campaign. "That was
one I could have skipped very easily. I lost a lot of friends. They
were my best friends, and I guess they'll always be my best
Parachuting in from 500 feet in advance of the amphibious assault on
the beaches of Normandy was not much easier.
"We were inland from the beach, so we didn't see them land," he said
of the assault.
"We jumped at night; they landed in the morning. The moon was out
partially. It was solid boats. There were all kinds of boats out
Guth, who carved out a career as a woodshop and drafting teacher at
several Delaware high schools following the war, also injured his
back and hip when he parachuted into Holland, one of 26 wartime
jumps. He had to take a year off from teaching to be operated on for
that one. But he considers himself lucky because he never got shot
-- only one of three or four of the 136 original company members who
could make that claim.
About 25 percent of the soldiers in his unit either were killed or
injured during every mission, said Guth, who lives in Cokesbury
Village, which he refers to as "the old-folks home." There was a
steady stream of replacements, but they never were as well trained
as the original group, he said.
Guth, who had earned the rank of sergeant when he was discharged in
1945, had bullets whiz over his head in the heat of battle. And when
he was in a foxhole in Bastogne, Belgium, shrapnel from an exploding
shell bent the barrel of his rifle, which was sitting just outside
Don't ask Guth about the 2001 cable TV series that chronicled some
of that war action. There was too much cussing in it, he said, and
his parents didn't bring him up that way. He much prefers the book
of the same name, which spurred the series. The late author Stephen
E. Ambrose befriended the unit and gave them the name Band of
Brothers because they have held reunions in different cities every
year since the war, Guth said. Last year, the dwindling group met in
"I think I missed two when the kids were a certain age," the father
of two said of the reunions.
Guth, whose wife, Harriet, died last year from Alzheimer's, traveled
to Kuwait with six other Company E members last October as part of a
USO visit. He also has returned to Europe several times, pausing at
the graves of some of his fallen friends.
"They were good guys, good men. I was paying respect. You think
about what happened. I was very lucky that I came home," he said.
"I'm embarrassed when people think I'm a hero," added Guth, whose
medals include a Presidential Citation, a Purple Heart and two
Bronze Stars. "The heroes stayed over there. I think that's the
Kaitlyn De Vine, 17, a senior at the school, begs to differ.
"I just look at him as a hero, and I'm just so glad he fought for
our freedom," she said. "I'm very appreciative. It makes you want to
go out there and do something for the community."
Added fellow senior Jacquelyn LeSage: "I thought he was amazing and
inspiring to listen to. Everything he said had the 'wow' factor,
where you just sat down and you said, 'He went through that?' "
Mark Giansanti, a military history teacher at the school who is
teaching about World War II right now, asked Guth to speak at the
school to provide a real-life history lesson for his students.
"I wanted my kids to get a chance to see that history did happen to
real people," Giansanti said. "I think what he brought is a realism
that myself, as a teacher, can't bring. I don't have those life
experiences. I learned something; I learned things about World War
II that I never knew."
Class of '67 Reunion
Organizers (aka "Da Committee") written up in Reunions
Magazine-click on left image to enlarge.
Hollywood Grill - (old Ho-Jo's)
Second Helpings Blog writer and News Journal Patricia Talorico
responds to our comments about the Hollywood Grill
Hi Patricia, over the decades I've been a faithful breakfast
patron at the Hollywood Grill at U.S. 202 and Murphy Road in Fairfax
[formerly the old Howard Johnson's] next to the Best Western
Brandywine Valley Motel. This past Friday I discovered a whole new
dimension to this favorite "breakfast comfort food" eating
Friday, (Nov. 7) I
was invited to the 90th birthday dinner of Helen "Chiquita"
Kingshill - longtime (five decades) Fairfax resident and mother of a
good friend and fellow BHS Class of '67'er - Bruce Kingshill. The
event was held at the Hollywood Grill. Not only did I discover you
could order a good drink (martinis and Dogfish Head Beer), but the
dinner entries consisted of broiled and fresh seafood that rivaled
any Maryland seafood (red snapper, tilapia and crab cakes). The food
was delicious, reasonably priced and filling. What a great
(culinary) surprise for this former Wilmingtonian (frequent visitor)
and current Ellicott City, Md., resident.
A great birthday
celebration was had by "Chiquita", the extended Kingshill family
visiting from North Carolina along with myself and other honored
guest and friend and BHS classmate; Bill England, also visiting from
Kevin F. Donohue
Great letter. Thanks Kevin. (And I'm forever grateful to you for
encouraging me to eat a cheese steak at the Claymont Steak Shop. One
of the best cheese steaks I've had outside of South Philly.) I have
friends who keep telling me the Hollywood is so much more than a
breakfast spot. And here's another endorsement. Readers? Similar
experiences? I think the News Journal is picking up the tab soon at
Brandywine High School to celebrate 50th
anniversary at homecoming
Oct. 25 festivities begin with faculty
breakfast, parade follows
By Antonio Prado
Posted Oct 16, 2008 @ 01:09 PM
Last update Oct 16, 2008 @ 03:45 PM
Brandywine Hundred, Del. —
Kevin Donohue was at his Brandywine High School class
of 1967’s 40th reunion a year ago, and he and his
classmates had just dedicated a memorial plaque for their
But the significance of the occasion did not
hit him until one of his classmates broke into song, an
existential moment as the simple yet fitting lyrics poured
"We are the Bulldogs. Mighty, mighty Bulldogs.
Everywhere we go, people want to know...’”
“It brought tears to my eyes. We were 58-year-olds
breaking out in the school song. It brought it all back -
all those memories,” Donohue said. “We had about 175
people come, which is pretty good at this stage of the
Donohue, who now lives near Columbia, Md. will be back
in town for Brandywine High School’s 50th anniversary and
homecoming Oct. 25.
“Brandywine High School was the best high school in the
state. We were kind of in that pipeline where you were
expected to go to college,” said Donohue, who went on to
Stetson University. “It was a perfect storm of dynamics
In the 1950s and 1960s, Brandywine Hundred was the new
frontier for the city of Wilmington, where the chemists,
scientists and engineers of DuPont were settling and
sending their children to Brandywine for the most part.
Don Wood, a 1961 alumnus who taught for 15 years at
Brandywine High after 20 years at Concord High School,
will also attend homecoming.
When he entered Brandywine in 1958, the area was still
mostly rural. Wood’s grandmother was a Hanby, one of the
pioneer families that included names like Foulk, Talley,
Weldin, Pennington, Grubb, Webster, Sharpley, Zebley and
“Just about all the roads were named after somebody who
had a farm off the road,” Wood said.
Until the Alfred I. duPont School District built
Brandywine, people in that area often attended P.S. duPont
High School in the city or Mount Pleasant High School in
East Brandywine Hundred, he said. He and his classmates
started out at Alfred I. duPont Elementary, and then spent
a year and a half at Springer Junior High. Halfway through
their junior year, Brandywine High was completed, in the
spring of 1958.
Wood remembers his alma mater as a great school where
90 percent-plus of the graduates went on to college.
And they had success athletically as well, Wood said.
He was on Brandywine’s first cross country state
championship team that beat out Howard in 1960 and the
wrestling team, under coach and mentor Jay Widdoes, that
beat St. Andrew’s for the wrestling championship. He also
remembers that the football team won the Blue Hen
conference championship in the fall of 1960, when there
wasn’t a state championship.
Brandywine High School business teacher Eunique Sudler-Lawrence,
chairwoman of the 50th anniversary, has been learning
about this history and more. She did not anticipate the
level of response she’s gotten from alumni from across the
country. The four reunions: ’68, ’78, ’88 and ’98, are
getting huge responses, she said.
“It is just incredible, the amount of school pride
alumni have," she said.
Students in Sudler-Lawrence’s sports marketing and
entertainment course as well as the student council have
been helping her organize the 50th anniversary. The class
has been making flyers, invitations and a billboard that
was scheduled to go up this week on Concord Pike.
Brandywine seniors Evan Peoples and Mary Frances Meier
are among the students helping. Peoples is a legacy. His
mother, Carol (Holloway) Peoples graduated from Brandywine
in 1973. So did his sisters Emily (2007) and Adrienne
“I’ve always felt that Brandywine was the best school
in Delaware,” said Peoples, who plays lacrosse and swims
“All my friends and I just carry that pride wherever we
Meier, secretary of the student council, said she got
into Charter School of Wilmington and Mount Pleasant High
School via choice. But she decided to stay in her hometown
school, Brandywine, to get “the most opportunities.” She
is a star player on the field hockey team, near the top of
the state this year.
“I love the atmosphere here and I love the people here.
We have a lot of dedicated teachers here, like Mr. [Kenny]
Rivera, who make sure that people stay involved.”
Rivera, who teaches social studies, said when he went
to Glasgow High School (class of 2000), he always thought
of Brandywine as “the elite high school of the state.”
“Now, working here I see that from the faculty
standpoint,” Rivera said.
Assistant Principal Hinda Tanzer was a guidance
counselor at Brandywine from 1974 to 1978, taking time off
to start her family. She returned to Brandywine in her
current position in 1991. A fun part of the job is seeing
the children of former students, Tanzer said. They include
the children of Charlie Oberle, Suzie (Niger) Whitcraft
and Nancy and Jim Julian (whose children are there now).
She also saw her daughter Katie (1997) and son Matthew
(1998) graduate and go on to Binghamton and Pennsylvania,
“We’re in the top 4 percent according to U.S. World &
News Report,” Tanzer said. “You can’t get much better than
Recalling a time
when drive-in movies and dances were hot dates
By EDWARD L. KENNEY
The News Journal
In true rock star fashion, Brandywine High School alumnus George
Thorogood blew off the invitation to attend the school's 50th
anniversary celebration next month.
"He's in the studio that week and won't be able to make it," said
organizer Eunique Sudler-Lawrence, a business education teacher at the
school, adding that he really did not show much interest in the event.
Dozens of other less famous graduates, teachers and administrators
are expected to rub elbows that day at the school, for years
recognized as a launching pad for college-bound students in the heyday
of upwardly mobile Brandywine Hundred, where many DuPont Co. families
Good students: that's what many people remember about the early
days at Brandywine High.
"It was such a pleasant surprise to deal with students who were so
intellectually sharp," said Jay Widdoes, 82, of Brandywine Hundred,
who taught health and physical education at the school from 1959 to
"Of course, they came from the Brandywine Hundred area, where their
parents had passed on some genetic qualities that helped them be honor
Some of that early growth was not just limited to the students.
Fifty years ago, the school on Foulk Road grew out of rolling farmland
in Brandywine Hundred, well before the area spawned the mushrooming
development of new suburban schools and communities, including some
named for pioneering families such as the Sharpleys, Hanbys, Talleys
"I baled hay on the farm here a couple times," said Don Wood, 65, a
Hanby relative, as he sat in one of the classrooms. "It was probably
the last year it was a farm. Brandywine (High) was probably already
staked out. I remember them building the building. I would have been
Wood, who lived then on Naamans Road and was among the 600 students
who were the first to attend the school when it opened in September
1959, has an interesting perspective: The 1961 graduate -- inspired by
teachers such as Widdoes -- returned to teach health and physical
education there for 15 years, before retiring several years ago. But
many of his fondest memories dip back into his halcyon days as a
Wood recalls spending his first half year of the 10th grade at
Springer Junior High waiting for Brandywine High to be built. The
11th-graders also spent their first half year at the junior high, he
said. Both schools were then in the Alfred I. du Pont School District,
now known as the Brandywine School District.
It was a much simpler, more carefree time, he said.
"If you see the movie or the play 'Grease,' that was Brandywine in
the late '50s," he said. "The DuPont Co. was just flourishing. They
had the dances at the DuPont Country Club. They had dances here, too.
Back then, there were dances everywhere. It was going to drive-in
movies and not watching the movie. It was the last days of innocence
before the future generations."
The first students played a big part in the formation of the
school, he said, including choosing the school's colors.
"They selected blue and white," Wood said. "They named the yearbook
(Azurean) and established the alma mater song -- 'Brandywine we sing
to thee, hymns of praise and loyalty.' I can't remember the rest of
Lou Ziccarelli, 80, of Brandywine Hundred, a teacher at the school
from 1959 to 1978, remembers the powerhouse Bulldog sports teams of
that early period. He coached basketball at the school, and he served
as assistant football coach under John Modica, 1964's state coach of
"Tremendous athletes," he said. "At one time, I had 15 of them
playing college basketball. We had college coaches constantly looking
at the players that we had."
Spectators queued up for standing-room-only admission at basketball
games in the 1960s and early 1970s, he said.
"We televised the games in a few of the classrooms," Ziccarelli
He, too, remembers the school as being "highly academic," and he
points to the teachers as being a big reason.
"We had a very young faculty at the time," he said. "We were all in
our 20s. You had to have a master's degree or a doctorate. It was one
of the highest-paid school districts, too."
Among the students in his American history class was a pre-"Bad to
the Bone" teenager named George Thorogood, a member of the Class of
"He did well in my class," Ziccarelli said. "George Thorogood was
one of my favorite students. We had a wonderful rapport. He was very
pleasant to deal with. I didn't know that he was a musician. I only
knew him as a student."
Other famous Brandywine alum include movie star Sean Patrick
Thomas, Class of '88; Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher Jr., who
left as a senior in his 2001-02 school year to pursue acting;
basketball star Dexter Boney, Class of '88, who played for the Phoenix
Suns; and Dennis Brockenborough, Class of '88, a member of musical
group The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Jill Biden, wife of Joe, the
Democratic vice presidential nominee and U.S. senator from Delaware,
taught English at Brandywine High and is pictured in its 1992
Kevin Donohue, Class of '67, who last year helped organize his 40th
class reunion, said there were "a lot of lawyers, a lot of doctors, a
lot of dentists" in his class.
"I made friends that I have stayed friends with for 40 years," said
Donohue, 59, who runs his own advertising and marketing firm in
Ellicott City, Md. "So, for me, it was just a good group of people.
For me, I thought the whole world revolved around Brandywine. We were
kind of the gold standard for high schools in Delaware at the time."
As a student, he was a member of the school's Latin Club. Fellow
clubs of that period also included the Future Business Leaders, Future
Homemakers Club, Future Nurses, Future Teachers of America, the Bridge
Club, Military Science Club, the Folksinging Club, the School Store
Club and the Classic Car Club.
The latter group brought a big smile to the face of anniversary
organizer Sudler-Lawrence, 29, as she glanced at a late-model car in
the high school yearbook.
"Their new cars are our classic cars," she said. "That's funny."
The News Journal/JENNIFER
Brandywine High School Class of 1961 graduate Don
Wood returned to teach health and physical education for 15 years.
Phoenix Suns basketball star Dexter Boney, Class
Movie star Sean Patrick Thomas, Class of '88
English teacher Jill Biden, wife of Sen. Joe
Biden, is pictured in Brandywine High School's 1992 yearbook.
Tony winner John Gallagher Jr. left
Brandywine High School in the 2001-02 school year to pursue
Brandywine graduate George Thorogood will
not be attending the school's 50th anniversary celebration
Brandywine High School's 50th
anniversary will be celebrated at noon Oct. 25 at the
school on Foulk Road in Brandywine Hundred. The event will
feature local vendors, food and refreshments, and "decade
areas," featuring memorabilia and a place to gather for
graduates of each decade.
There used to be “The
(original) Dog House” on the Concord Pike, I worked there
ever so briefly and it was Dave Porter’s favorite eatery and they had
really good cheeseburgers too. This Dog House (pictured below) is on the
DuPont Hywy. Has any one ever been there?. I wonder if it’s a
re-incarnation of the original Doghouse on 202, (in the description), they
refer to your order as “one dog with
relish, mustard, etc” just like we used to say when I worked there.
A small place and it is always packed.
Seating is at a long counter, probably about 20 seats total. You are
facing the grill, watching the workers do their thing. Since seating is at
a premium, lots of people just order takeouts. You don't get a number,
your order is called out by what food you ordered, such as: "Dog with
mustard, onion, and relish!"
Favorite Dish: Hot dogs,
anyway you like 'em. They are foot long, sliced down the middle and
grilled. Also, just as popular, are the cheesesteaks.
Address: 1200 DuPont
Highway, New Castle, Delaware
There is also yet
another Dog House; “Johnnie’s Dog House” opening on Concord Pike,
see below. More haute cuisine to sample when next in Wilm.
Delaware flag stamp unveiled
By JAMES MERRIWEATHER
The News Journal
— The U.S. Postal Service marked Flag Day 2008 by announcing a three-year
series of stamps called “Flags of Our Nation,” and, owing to its spot in
the alphabetical pecking order, an image of Delaware’s flag was one of 10
issued Saturday to get the ball rolling.
Tuesday, postal representatives were in Dover, as well as eight other
state capitals, to celebrate the issuance of the series.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner hosted a ceremony that included U.S. Rep. Mike
Castle, R-Del., Kent County Levy Court Vice President Allan F. Angel,
D-Dover, and Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr.
The first 10 flags – including Stars and Stripes, the national flag – now
are available at post offices, by visiting
www.usps.com or by calling (800) STAMP-24. A second group of stamps
will be issued in September and the process will be repeated over the
following two years until flags from all 50 states, the District of
Columbia and five U.S. territories are in circulation.
Ray Daiutolo Sr., a postal service spokesman, said the series was inspired
by the popularity of stamps bearing images of the U.S. flag, which are
featured on an ongoing basis.
“It’s part of our commemorative stamp program in which we issue stamps to
show what makes our country special and unique,” Daiutolo said. “The Stars
and Stripes is very popular, and this is a way of spreading that around.”
The flags were designed by Tom Engeman, a former Brunswick, Md., resident
who, according to Daiutolo and Minner, now lives in Bethany Beach. Besides
images of the flags, the stamps include “snapshot views” of items
particular to the various jurisdictions. In Delaare’s case, a depiction of
a beach scene is featured.
Noting that the postal service handles 212 billion pieces of mail each
year, Minner described the stamp issuance as “a great tourism campaign.”
“We are very proud and fortunate to be among the first 10 stamps to be
launched in this collection,” Minner said. “Of course, it does make sense
– we are the First State. And I can’t think of a better way to showcase
the beauty of our state.”
In a statement, Castle praised “Flags of Our Nation” as an educational
tool on par with his own 50 State Quarters Program.
“Flags are a great symbol of our nation, representing unity of Americans
and pride in our states,” he said.
“This initiative will not only serve as something for collectors but also
as a means to teach about the history of Delaware and every other state as
new stamps are released over the next three years.”
Minner noted that Engeman also designed the National World War II Memorial
stamp, which was issued in 2004, and a stamp featuring the Liberty Bell
released three years later.
“It is no wonder that with an artist from Bethany, our flag is flying on
the beach,” Minner said.
Design Director, Dwight Smith,
artist, Designer, Sculptor, Journalist, Educator designs kinetic artwork for
HypnArtic Artwork.They provide
high-end, yard and garden wind sculptures. Each wind sculpture's movement
has been designed to provide a relaxing, hypnotic environment. HypnArtic Artwork
partners with multiple artists throughout the United States who provide a
continuing flow of unique wind sculptures. If interested in learning
more or owning some of Dwight's creations, contact Dwight at
That’s not the 1967 "Plaid Crab" Apartment building pictured
BUT put a
snack bar and billboard in front of the place and
Crab O.C MD invasion weekends spent with Peggi Mitten, Pat Walker et. al
(who were working at Phillips Crab house that summer) were a lot of fun.
About 10-12 of us guys would travel down Friday night and spend the
weekend with our 'mates, gratis. Packed in ala sardines into a one
or two bedroom un-air-conditioned apartment, waking up
soaking in a pool of sweat on a vinyl couch, now that was living! I
asked Peggi recently if those summer weekend "invasions" didn't really
trash her summer living quarters. Her answer; "What mess?" "Wasn't that
normal?" "The first summer ('67) Sandy Slayton (?)
also roomed with us. The summer of '68, we had 4 other roommates from
Virginia living with us. It was indeed a one bedroom apartment with a
double bed in the bedroom, and the couch opened into a double bed. We
managed to squeeze a second double bed into the bedroom with barely enough
room to squeeze between the two. The first one in bed had to go against
the wall. There were 7 of us that summer. One of us always had to find a
boyfriend and sleep elsewhere. There was only one bathroom and we all
worked the same shift. And those girls were slobs. Joanna, Hooper, and
I forget the others. I do, however, remember that Joanna waited on the Nixon's who were
in route from Cape Henlopen back to DC for Robt. Kennedy's funeral. The
Phillips picked up their tab.
Top memories: "David Porter and Becky slept UNDER the
opened-out couch. A huge ashtray fell on his chest. Steve Bruni and I
slept in his car down at the Beach. Gil slept in his car and complained
(he had locked his keys in the trunk). I think a lot of people slept on
the floor or in their cars. Did anyone even bother to think of a sleeping
bag? Geeeesh, how did we do it? And no one has any pictures - too bad.
It was fun though wasn't it?. And we were soooo young then!
Thanks for the memory."
Granogue, Cathy Rollins
Debutante Party, The Four Tops, Count Basie and some Inventive Gate
Stuart: "Wasn’t this Rollins gig the same night we graduated from
BHS? For some reason that sticks in my mind. All I remember (and that
isn’t much considering we were pretty well plastered) was walking through a
field of parked cars and coming upon the stage area from behind. Then
lifting the canvas and seeing all the equipment, and suddenly, music!
Inhibitions must have been checked, because we simply got up on the stage
and I actually remember the Four Tops enjoying our dancing with them. I
have no idea how long we were there or what happened next. It was surreal.
Over the years I’ve recounted the story many times, and I think about it
whenever I get the Motown urge. The other Motown memory was Steve, Jack,
Gil and I going to see the Temptations at the Nixon Theater in West Philly
the day before we were to leave for college. The only white folks in the
audience! If I’m correct in my dates that would mean we started and ended
our summer of ’67 with Motown! The other society page stuff I remember are
parties at the Soda House. We were plastered then, too. But when weren’t
we? Regards, guys!"
Norm Lack: "I once went to a debutant party at Granogue (1969 or
70) and there was a duPont family of 4 (mom, dad, son and daughter) living
there. They had lots of room. The famous crashing was at Cathy Rollins’s deb
party. I knew her pretty well because she was dating Nick Ellis, who is a
good friend and was a roommate in college. The reason for crashing was The
Four Tops. Deb parties are a dime a dozen but the Four Tops played so this
was serious business. I remember seeing someone on the way in, I think it
was Bruni, out in the parking area and I thought he was pretending to park
cars, I don’t think I saw the others until the Four Tops started playing.
Most of the young people moved up on the dance floor right in front of the
band. Keep in mind they had Count Basie for the parents in another area. The
band started playing and the crowd went nuts clapping and yelling. I looked
around and there they were right up front; it was great, all of us from
Brandywine right up front on the dance floor, inches from the band."
Class of '67'ers Mike and BJ
Houser, Susan and Bruce Kingshill, Marilyn Monson Nimtz and Kevin Donohue
gathered at Buckley's in Greenville April 19, '08 to discuss the latest classmate comings
and goings. Bruce and Susan were up from Waynesville, NC visiting his
mom, Chiquita who still lives in Fairfax. Marilyn looked none the
worse for wear even though she has been working non-stop getting the new
Francine's Community Marketplace in Hockessin open for business. BJ
Houser, much to everyone's delight, looked fit as a fiddle after some
medical issues had put her out of commission during our big 40th last OCT.
Bruce, Susan and Kevin inspected the downed tree behind the Class of '67
memorial marker at BHS (we plan on planting a new tree and landscaping with
flowers) and for good measure, discovered a pretty good cheese steak place
in the Independence Mall on Concord Pike in the process. A nostalgic
drive out to the old Merchandise Mart on Gov. Printz Blvd proved that time,
urban blight, shifting demographics and changed shopping habits had not been
kind to the once popular commercial area, which to our great disappointment,
pretty much resembled a moonscape.
Ice Cream See Map
had TWO locations. The first location was on the west side of Concord
Pike. The west side is the side that the Chuck Wagon is on - if you
know where that is. The SECOND location, 4725 Concord Pike,
was on the east side of
Concord Pike - the side where the Concord Mall is. The second location
would have been between Double Tree and the Concord Pike Village. I would
guess that the two locations were across from each other and maybe 200 yards
apart. The Chuck Wagon side was where the farm was. The exact location is
NOT recognizable - it is not there. It may be the mound of dirt between the
two places mentioned. If you are in the area of Mitchell's in Fairfax, every
year they put old photos in their windows. One shows the second and last
location of Lynthwaite's. The building is alone - nothing else is near it.
There are no survey markers to point it out - you just have to visualize it"
Almost 50 years ago (1958), a
Wilmington first amendment controversy surrounded the Edgemoor Art Theatre's efforts to show “And
God Created Woman” (tame cinema fare by today’s standards) starring
Bridget Bardot. The Edgemoor Theatre was managed by Mr. Daniel Cudone.
The Cudone family lived
on Shipley Rd behind Steve Bruni and had three children; Dan Jr., Bobby, and
Christine, all attended BHS. Mr. Cudone died in ’74 at the age of 59.
Click here to open
a pfd attachment and scroll to “The Price of Art” story by Irving Morris.
Wilmington women first to buy, wear nylons
DELAWARE BACKSTORY Wilm. News Journal
By ROBIN BROWN
For a brief and
shining moment, the women of Wilmington were the fashion envy of the
world. They had nylons.
And nobody else did.
Nearly 70 years and
millions of legs ago, the first 4,000 pairs of nylons were sold at six
Wilmington shops. Cheaper and less apt to run than silk, the
garter-style hose sold out in three hours.
Nylon was created by
DuPont Co. shortly after the company ended more than a century of
making gunpowder by the Brandywine River. The mill site, now the Hag-
ley Museum, closed in 1921. Five years later, DuPont director Charles
M.A. Stine championed a shift to molecular research, leading to
scientist Wallace H. Carothers' creation of "Fiber 66," later dubbed
nylon, in 1935. The first filaments, an infinity loop of white
threads, are preserved -- like the first nylon stocking -- in the
museum near Greenville.
is documented there in detail rarely found in industrial history
because executive Charles Rutledge kept elaborate scrapbooks on all
DuPont textiles, Archivist Ben Blake said. "It's the single best
collection on the early history of nylon," he said.
For detail, the
filaments' label cites their manufacture as Dec. 12, 1935, at
approximately 12:50 p.m., on Position 2 of Spinning Machine No. 1.
Nylon's advent was
announced in The New York Herald Tribune on Oct. 27, 1938, touted
three days later by a full-page DuPont Co. ad.
Like the museum's
DuPont Science & Discovery exhibit, the scrapbooks show nylon's first
use was not for legs, but mouths.
were the first things made of nylon," said Hagley Museum spokeswoman
The first nylon
stocking, kept in Hagley's Hall of Records, was thick and nubby. A few
Du Pont wives wore refined samples before the first nylons went on
sale -- at Braunsteins, Arthurs, Bird-Speakman, Fisher's, Kennard's
and Crosby & Hill -- to around-the-block lines on Oct. 24, 1939.
"They started in
Wilmington, then DuPont took nylons to the World's Fair and San
Francisco Expo almost simultaneously in 1939," Blake said. The nylons'
national launch on May 15, 1940, sold nearly 4 million pairs in four
the production site, became "The Nylon Capital of the World."
Marjorie G. McNinch said her favorite nylon photo shows World War II
pin-up Betty Grable removing her stockings to be auctioned for war
bonds. Stocking production stopped as nylon joined the war effort in
products from parachutes to sutures.
of nylon stockings resumed -- and boomed.
But they nearly
weren't called nylons.
detail brainstorming on what to call "Fiber 66." Scientists toyed with
creator Carothers' name and "KLIS" or "silk" spelled backward.
Another idea was "Duprooh,"
for "DuPont pulls rabbit out of hat."
For the fiber's
durability, a scientist suggested "no-run." Another switched vowels to
"nu-ron." Brainstorming led to "nulon," "nillon," "neelon" and "nilon"
with the "I" tried as both long and short vowel.
They liked "nilon"
with the long "I", so they changed the "I" to a "Y" to ensure it was
pronounced that way and the rest was history, Dickhart said.
"But those aren't
all the names they tried," she said. "For awhile, they thought of
calling nylons 'Delawear.' "
Du Pont Co.'s invention of nylon stockings caused a fashion
revolution after their debut in Delaware. Above, actress Marie Wilson,
whose leg was cast for this 1950 Hollywood advertising
sculpture, is hoisted skyward for a comparison.
The first public sale of nylons caused quite frenzy at
Braunstein's department store in Wilmington on Oct. 24, 1939. Five
other shops shared DuPont's first 4,000 pairs. Nationally, women went
wild for the silk-like stockings, which went on sale May 15, 1940.
Stockings weren't the first product made of nylon to be
rolled out to the public. This is a Saturday Evening Post
advertisement for toothbrushes with nylon bristles from Oct. 29, 1938.
Betty Grable removes her nylon stockings to be auctioned at a
war bond rally during World War II. A pair of her stockings could
receive a bid of up to $40,000.
The first nylon filaments to be drawn at the first production
factory, at the Du Pont Co. in Seaford, are preserved at the Hagley
Museum and Library near Greenville, which also has the first nylon
stocking and the first nylon garment, an elegant white evening dress.
MORE ABOUT NYLON
• Exceptionally strong
• Abrasion resistant
• Easy to wash
• Resistant to damage from oil and many chemicals
• Can be precolored or dyed in wide range of colors
• Low in moisture absorbency
• Filament yarns provide smooth, soft, long-lasting fabrics
• Spun yarns lend fabrics lightweight and warmth
Major Nylon Fiber Uses
Apparel: Blouses, dresses, foundation garments, hosiery,
lingerie, underwear, raincoats, ski apparel, windbreakers, swimwear,
and cycle wear
Home furnishings: Bedspreads, carpet, curtains, upholstery
Industrial, other Uses: Tire cord, hoses, conveyer and seat
belts, parachutes, racket strings, ropes and nets, sleeping bags,
tarpaulins, tents, thread, monofilament fishing line, dental floss
General nylon care tips
Most items made of nylon can be machine-washed and
tumble-dried at low temperatures. Use warm water and add a fabric
softener to the final rinse cycle.
Remove articles from dryer as soon as tumbling cycle is
completed. If ironing is required, use warm iron. (For specific care
instructions, refer to garments' sewn-in care label.)
LINKS TO LEARN MORE
• To learn more
about nylon and the history of DuPont Co.’s evolution from gunpowder
production to “Better Living Through Chemistry,” visit the
http://www.hagley.org/" target=new>Hagley Museum and Library near
Broadcasting the weather is more than guaranteeing that people will
wear the appropriate clothing, have a pleasant time or avoid a bad-hair
day. Forecasting warns people to seek shelter, especially when Mother
Nature wields a heavy hand with severe weather.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1. Standing at
the forefront of disseminating information that will safeguard millions
is former Delawarean Bill Read, who became director of the National
Hurricane Center in Miami on Jan. 25. Protecting the public from severe
weather has been his lifelong mission.
"In the event of a hurricane, my primary responsibility is to serve
as the voice in the building -- in other words I'll be the one
presenting the information when we have a critical hurricane event," he
said. "Obviously I have to do that in a calm manner."
Read's other responsibilities focus on the leadership and management
of all operations and projects. Read plans to continue the advancement
of the display and dissemination of scientific information, especially
through the Internet. The Brandywine High School graduate also wants
continued development of training within the emergency management
community and expansion of its outreach capabilities.
Part of the job means getting people to understand that meteorology
is "an inexact science," he said. "We're constantly getting new people
moving to the coastal areas and in some areas of the country,
particularly the areas northeast of you. You all had experience with
Isabel a few years ago, which is fairly typical of a mid-Atlantic to
Northeast hurricane moving fast and producing a lot of wind and power
lines and trees down and whatnot. But in New England, it's almost two
decades since they've had a direct hit from a significant hurricane, so
... getting people educated and actually to take [forecasts] seriously
... is always a challenge.
"Even in Florida for example -- North Florida around Jacksonville,
they haven't had a direct hit in a generation, even though the rest of
the state has been pummeled for the last several years; that tends to be
one of our biggest challenges -- is to overcome people getting
complacent or having a false sense of security due to the lack of an
event having gone through their area."
Read's warmth for weather may not seem surprising, considering the
day he entered the world. Aug. 10, 1949, was the hottest day of that
year in Boston, where Read was born. His family moved to Wilmington in
the early 1950s (his mother still lives north of town), and he vaguely
recalls the peripheral effect of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. But it was the
nor'easter on Ash Wednesday that caught his eye in 1962. Read's father
found himself on a trial jury that had to deliberate whether property
damage was caused by wind or water. Each day, the senior Read regaled
his son about meteorologists' testimonies. The light bulb flashed like a
bolt of lightning that this was his calling.
A bachelor's degree in meteorology at Texas A&M prepared Read for his
With a draft number of 21, Read had a tour of duty with the Navy and
flew with the Navy Hurricane Hunters in 1972 and 1973. Afterward, Read
spent time in Keflavík, Iceland, utilizing the Norwegian School of
Meteorology methods for weather predictions. After his Navy stint, he
returned to Texas A&M, where he received a master's degree in
meteorology. Read has been with the National Weather Service, mostly in
Texas, ever since.
Read, a self-described storm junkie, has developed what his
colleagues refer to as "rhino hide"; a thick-skinned protection against
the love/hate relationship the public has for meteorologists.
"Probably over the long haul the thing that I've learned the most is
it's not nearly as easy to understand the weather as I thought 35 years
ago when I started down this road," Read said. "It's very complicated,
and each system you wind up forecasting or working throws a little curve
in there to remind me that we don't know everything about it."
I wanted to let you all know that I've been nominated for
best singer/songwriter in Out and About Magazine's annual
I could really use your vote and anyone else you can get to
do the same. I know you've all got friends and co-workers
who are looking for a way to pass a few minutes of time.
Just head over to
and cast your vote. It only takes about a minute to do.
Please forward this along to anyone else you think will be
able to help out.
Also, a reminder that I've got a nice show coming up at
Puck Live in Doylestown, PA on Friday, May 2nd.
If you haven't made it out to this venue, you owe it to
yourself to come see music in a great room with great sound.
Seating is very limited so do yourself a favor and head over
to their website to reserve your tickets.
Thank you all in advance for your votes. It means the world
Sub shop loyalty in Delaware runs very deep,
according to your phone calls and emails. Keep the letters coming. You
ask. We answer. Every Friday.
CLAYMONT STEAK STEAK STILL GETS LOVE Hi Patricia,
(above) was taken at the Claymont Steak Shop in Oct of 2007. Pictured
are myself (black polo shirt) and four of my BHS Class of ’67 classmates
who were in Wilmington celebrating our 40th HS Reunion at the Blue Ball
(They are; Left to right: Bruce Kingshill, Mike Houser, Kevin Donohue, Marilyn Monson Nimtz, Linda Fuhrmeister Potter.)
The Cheese Steak
soiree was the highlight of the trip; as you can see, we were amply fed
and I was the only one able to finish mine!
Thanks for the
"Here's a really
interesting email from News Journal reader Kevin Donohue - and a great
idea. Sub/steak shop owners or
city of Wilmington/Newark officials get your thinking caps on and STEAL
THIS IDEA. Seriously."
has anyone ever thought of doing a
“Cheesesteak Festival” in Wilmington??!! As a former Wilm resident, I
know for a fact, those Wilmington subs and cheese steaks keeps a lot of us
ex-pats coming back again and again. Best, Kevin
Class of ’67 was well represented at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington
yesterday as Marilyn Monson Nimtz, Mike Houser, Maureen “Muffy” Crowley
Milford and Kevin Donohue dined on a traditional menu of Philly Cheese steaks and French fries in
near record 70 degree February weather. Animated conversations covering a
wide variety of topics from former classmates, cholesterol lowering statin
alternatives to the internal combustion engine punctuated an enjoyable
lunch. In an unscripted moment, another Class of ’67er; Sandy Molitor
Konetski (along with her daughter and grand kids) made a surprise appearance.
A very efficient and sweet Vietnamese server provided photography duties.
(On a sad note, we gathered hoping to visit our
friend and classmate, John Schwind who is suffering from cancer. However, we
did not get to visit with John, a "Thinking of You" card was signed by all present and was
mailed to John).
Major construction of Blue Ball Project
By Adam Zewe
Brandywine Hundred residents breathed a sigh of
relief at the final public meeting for the Blue Ball Properties project on
Jan. 7. Major construction of the seven-year, $130 million project is
finished, officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation told 75
residents at the meeting.
“Pretty much what you see is what it’s going to be,” said Bob King,
community relations officer for the department.
The project included road improvements, historic preservation, wetland
restoration, improved storm water management, recreation improvements,
publicparkland and greenways.
There are still some minor projects to complete, King said, but the to-do
list is small compared to the project’s 100- page master plan.
Landscaping and signs need to be finished around Alapocas Run State Park, a
new state park near the intersection of Routes 141 and 202, he said.
Most of the park is open, said park manager Susan Staats, but the athletic
fields will open this Spring once the grass grows and a bathroom will be
constructed later this year at the park’s playground.
A dog park, which is a fenced area where residents can bring their dogs to
play without leashes, will be built in Alapocas Run State Park at the
intersection of Foulk and Weldin roads, she said.
The dog park and all the remaining work for the project should be complete
by the end of the year, said Mark Tudor, the department’s project manager.
“DNREC and DelDOT are still here and we will still be fine-tuning some
things,” he said.
But Tudor does not expect the fine-tuning to be disruptive to motorists or
Residents experienced plenty of disruption from construction vehicles and
lane closures during the seven-year project, said Brandywine Hundred
resident Sue Finnie.
Finnie, said that she was skeptical of the project in the beginning, but is
pleased with the end result.
“It’ll be a little confusing until people ride on it enough,” she said, of
the new traffic patterns. “I think it was worth it, in the long run, what
they finished. The roads look really good.”
The project involved construction of the Route 141 Spur, widening of Route
202, reconstruction of a ramp from Interstate 95, and construction on the
Augustine Cutoff, West and East Park Drives, Children’s Drive and Powder
“It’s nice to not have all the construction, but it’s nice to see the
progress and the end result of it,” said Bob Blazovic, a Brandywine Hundred
He said he drives on the redesigned roads during rush hour everyday and
traffic moves faster because of the improvements.
“I think the project has been an upgrade for the environment and the
cultural aspects of Brandywine Hundred,” he said.
The area’s culture is highlighted through a folk art display inside the
renovated Blue Ball Dairy Barn and the environment has been preserved on a
five-mile greenway trail.
The greenway, a 10- foot-wide path for walkers or bicyclists, is complete
except for a bridge over Turkey Run Creek in Brandywine Hundred.
New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner (R-2nd District) said New Castle
County plans to install the bridge. He did not know how much it will cost,
but said the county will seek funding this Spring.
The greenway will be improved along Rockwood Road, Weiner said, but he did
not know when the project will start. A $1 million project will shift
Rockwood Road and a hiking path will be built alongside it.
Mike Bensinger, a Brandywine Hundred resident, said he is happy with the
barn and greenway, but he thinks the department built too much.
“In Delaware, we tend to overdo some things,” he said. “It’s pretty, what
they’ve done, but Delaware, over time, it seems to be overdeveloping.”
Highway project to begin in 2009
A project to redesign the U.S. Route 202/ I-95 interchange, which was not a
part of the Blue Ball Properties plan, is scheduled to start in 2009.
The ramp from Northbound I-95 onto Northbound Route 202 will be rebuilt so
it is two lanes for its entire length, said David Galeone, an engineer with
McCormick Taylor, the firm that designed the ramps.
The ramp from Southbound I-95 onto Southbound Route 202 will be moved to the
East side of Route 202, which will make the merge area safer, he said.
The Route 202/I-95 merge area is dangerous because motorists entering the
Interstate from Route 202 are accelerating while motorists exiting the
Interstate onto Route 202 are slowing down, said Galeone.
The project, which is expected to cost $30 million and take two years to
complete, will be put to bid in Fall, 2009, said Tudor.
For some, it's like a fraternity they desperately want to pledge.
Others see dollar signs, a good investment.
And then there are those like Ruthi Adams Joseph, who view their
low-digit, black and white license plates as a sentimental link to history
Joseph, of Millsboro, inherited all three of her tags -- Nos. 5, 357 and,
on the farm truck, FT1 -- and no matter their selling price, she'd never
part with them, she said.
"It's something that's really special to me," she said. "There's a real
sense of pride."
So when drivers roll down their windows and ask her how much her
obviously heirloom 5 tag is worth, she just shrugs.
"I have no idea," she said. "And what difference does it make? If I'm
sentimentally attached to something, I would never consider selling it."
The First State's fascination with numbers -- especially low ones -- does
not end with license plates. Hunting licenses, fishing licenses, even phone
numbers have added cachet ... depending on their number.
But the allure of low-digit tags is something outsiders and many
newcomers have trouble understanding.
Delawareans, especially natives, are familiar with the pull of the black
and white porcelain plates, pestering the Division of Motor Vehicles to see
if any are available, or resorting to auctions or Web sites where a
three-digit tag can sell for $80,000.
And the elusive one-digit tags? The coveted No. 6 tag will be auctioned
Feb. 17, and auctioneer Butch Emmert of Emmert Auction Associates in
Rehoboth Beach expects it to go for somewhere in the million-dollar range.
That's right -- $1 million.
Sociologists call the low-digit tags "cultural capital."
"Due to its scarcity and history, the low-digit black license plate has
become a local signifier of status and prestige," said Tammy Anderson,
associate professor of sociology at the University of Delaware. "When you
pass a BMW with such a license plate, you distinguish yourself from the
other Beemer drivers without one. It's all about distinction --
distinguishing oneself from others in the status and prestige areas."
Delaware's motor vehicle laws, which allow registration numbers and tags
to be transferred between cars and owners, have spurred the state's
obsession with low-digit numbers, leading to the buying and selling, even
willing and inheriting, of the must-have tags.
Only numbers lower than 87,000 are eligible for a black and white
porcelain plate, adding to the appeal. And numbers 1 through 3 are reserved
for the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, making the
remaining single digits that more scarce -- and desirable.
"They're nostalgic," said Dave Miller, president of the Delaware Historic
Plate Co. in Newark, the only state-authorized company allowed to reproduce
the black and white plates. "To some people, maybe it's a status thing
because there is a limited amount of people who can have one. It
differentiates people, and people always like that."
Delaware first issued state tags in 1909, and a year later about 1,000
vehicles had been registered. Those plates were black and white.
While most states stopped making porcelain plates in the 1920s, Delaware
used porcelain until 1946, and in 1947 the black and white porcelain plates
were replaced with stainless steel.
In 1959, the current blue and gold look was instituted. It's the
longest-running continual plate design in the country, said Mike Williams,
spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation.
The state allows legal reproductions of the black and white porcelain
plates for numbers lower than 87,000, as the last original porcelain plate
issued was No. 86,999, Williams said.
"The black and white is recognized as a distinctively Delaware plate," he
said, adding that he has a four-digit, black and white original stainless
steel plate. "Its simplicity is what makes it beautiful."
Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular
Culture at Syracuse University in New York, said the low-digit plates have
value simply because local culture has decided they are valuable.
"You've got virtually no supply, so they're hard to get," he said. "It's
a way of advertising your status, advertising that you're important enough
to have a license plate, or it means you're a big shot and you can pay for
Thompson likened the phenomenon to the craze in New York City to have a
212 area code.
"If you have 212, it immediately says to everyone you're old-school New
York, so it is almost a brand value," he said. "The low-digit license plate
carries all the status because in Delaware, everyone knows what it means."
The phone number phenomenon is also in play in Delaware.
In Seaford, for example, many opt for the 629 exchange over newer 628. In
Hockessin, 235 is preferred over 239.
In Rehoboth Beach, 227 is the old-school choice over 226, so much that
seasonal customers pay an extra $25 to keep their numbers during the
off-season when many turn off their service.
It doesn't end there.
Because of high interest in things low-numbered, the Delaware Division of
Fish and Wildlife is about to hold a lottery for the first 1,000 fishing
licenses -- this is the first year fishermen will be required to purchase a
license. As with license plates, though, numbers 1 and 2 are reserved for
the governor and lieutenant governor.
And hunters have been known to pass on or auction off their low-number
licenses. Some pay to renew their licenses after they turn 65 -- when they
don't need to pay anymore -- just so they can pass down the license to
family members. Others auction off these precious commodities.
When Jay Getto moved to Wilmington from Pennsylvania about two years ago,
he knew what the black and white plates were all about, and he wanted one.
He posted an ad on the Delaware Historic Plate Co.'s Web site. Within 15
minutes, he'd gotten 30 responses and had his pick of available tags to
"True Delawareans have them," he said. "It says you're part of a state
club of 87,000 people. You're part of the, quote, special group. It says,
'I'm a Delawarean now.' "
It also says you've got money to spend, said Emmert, who sells about 60
tags a year, mostly at auctions.
And while it's great to inherit a tag, what matters is that it's
displayed on your car, not how you got it, he said.
"It's a great investment," he said, speculating that the No. 6 tag he'll
auction next month will be worth more than $2 million in the next 10 to 30
'Dead tags' fetch a price
It's not just the plates with active registrations that are worth a
"Dead tags" can go for $300 or $400, Emmert said.
Snookie Vent of Milton buys and sells the old tags, and he's amassed a
collection of more than 1,500 plates.
"I just got hooked on it," he said, adding that his collection includes a
plate from 1910, and an old governor's plate signed by Ruth Ann Minner.
Of course, not everyone buys into the mania of tracking down low-digit
black and white plates.
Retired state trooper Barry Beck said he has never tried to get a
low-digit tag, even though he worked for the Division of Motor Vehicles
until about five years ago.
"It's just not something that blew up my skirt," said Beck, who is on the
Hagley Car Show committee. "I figured what I have is good and legal and I
didn't have to put hard work or money into it."
It took about a year of living in Delaware before Aaron Dunphy felt the
Now he runs the license plate brokerage Web site www.lowdigittags.com.
"When I first heard about it, I definitely thought it was odd, but I also
think it's odd when people spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of jeans,"
Dunphy said. "No other state really does this; it's just one of those little
niches that Delaware has."
Thompson, the professor of pop culture, said he could understand spending
$13,000 on a Hannah Montana ticket, because you get to see a concert and you
make your 11-year-old daughter happy.
"But here? All you get is a license plate number," he said. "It's
It doesn't matter whether you're a native Delawarean or you've only lived
here a few years, Williams said.
"You have a soft spot in recognizing the significance of showing off a
low-number plate," he said.
As more people move to Delaware, demand for -- and the price of -- these
tags will continue to mount, Emmert said. And the aspiration to own digits
as low as possible won't ever change, he said.
"There's a lot of wealth in Delaware, and what better thing to own if
you're a loyal Delawarean?" he said.
Getto acknowledged that the fixation is "unusual."
Acc'd to the
Old Wilmington.net webmaster;
"this is a Satellite view of the
Brandywine Raceway in 2005. Toll Brother's Construction is building
$1,000,000+ homes on the site - which is almost finished. The roads have been
named. The Brandywine Town Center is on the left, just out of view."
In the 1700s, the property under today’s
renovated Blue Ball Dairy Barn was part of land occupied by the original Blue
Ball Inn, which was located at the crossroads of Concord Pike and Foulk Road.
The inn took its name from the blue ball that innkeepers hung on a post
outside as a signal for stagecoach drivers to
stop for passengers. Among the Inn’s most prominent owners was John Dickinson,
Delaware’s “Penman of the Revolution.” His wife Mary continued to operate the
Inn after John’s death in 1808.
Later, the Inn became a tenant farmhouse, as it
was in 1908 when industrialist Alfred I. duPont bought the Blue Ball land.
Alfred I., along with cousins Pierre S. and T. Coleman DuPont, were early
leaders of the E. I. DuPont deNemours Company, now known as the DuPont
Company, and A. I. was a benefactor who founded the A. I. DuPont Children’s
Hospital and the Nemours Foundation health system.
The dairy barn was built to supply DuPont's
300-acre Nemours estate. In an era when many dairy barns were being closed due
to unclean conditions, DuPont instructed his contractor to build a barn that
would be both fireproof and sanitary. They used steel reinforced concrete,
along with innovative ventilation and drainage systems to meet DuPont
requirements and made it a model of early 20th century modern thinking and
practical technology – similar to the kind of 21st century thinking that has
gone into its modern day recreation as a community center.
When A. I. DuPont died in 1935, his estate was
split up and leased to tenant farmers until 1977, when the barn was abandoned
and the former inn was demolished to make way for the widening of the Concord
Water savings, energy efficiency and selection
of environmentally-friendly building materials are all a part of the plan for
the conversion of the historic Blue Ball Dairy Barn to a community center.
When completed, DNREC will apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) certification for the project.
The LEED Green Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national
standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The photo
above is part of a rain water retention system that will collect water from
the roof of the barn for non-potable uses.
Click here to see more.
Christmas Seals were first sold in
Wilmington, Delaware in 1907.
Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver, was born in Wilmington,
Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, making us the First
State of the Union.
Delaware ranks 49th in size, but 46th in population, and continuing to grow at
a rapid pace!
Delaware Memorial Bridge is the longest twin-span suspension bridge in the
The inventor of the phonograph and founder of RCA, Eldridge Reeves Johnson,
was born in Wilmington, DE
Delaware has more doctoral level scientists and engineers per capita than any
New Sweden was founded as a colony in 1638 and is recognized as the first
permanent colony on Delaware soil.
Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, six miles northwest of Wilmington
features one of the world's finest naturalistic gardens
The nation's first scheduled steam railroad began in New Castle in 1831.
The Blue Hen chicken is the official state bird. The hens were noted for their
fighting ability. Delaware is sometimes referred to as the Blue Hen State.
The Lady Bug is Delaware's official state bug.
Eleven years after the landing of the English pilgrims the first white
settlement was made on Delaware soil.
Take Our Quiz
You know you're a Delawarean if...........
- You know what the Hummers Parade is, also, when
& where its held.
- Vacation means going to Bethany, Rehoboth, or Cape Henlopen.
- You know the best subs come from Capriotti's and Casapulla's.
- You used to play in the wooder in the crick, and caught frogs.
- Your school classes were canceled because of 3 snowflakes.
- The whole state panics and uses all of their road salt for those 3
- You love the beach but hate the tourists.
- You know what people mean when they talk about punkin-chunkin.
- You know someone who went to school with one of the Capano's.
- You've eaten scrapple sandwiches.
- You can identify all the major types of manure by smell.
- If it takes more than an hour to drive there, you're not going.
- You know what a "slippery" dumpling is.
- You know who YouDee is.
- Somebody in your family has worked for the DuPont Company.
- You think the "Apple Scrapple Festival" is perfectly normal, except for all
those granola types running in the 5K race.
- You think, maybe, just maybe, you might get a White Christmas. Then it
- You know that the highest point in the state is a rise on the golf course.
- The state has one hill. You've been sledding on it.
- You remember WAMS and WCAU (BARSKY in the morning!).
- You know NewERK is in New Jersey, but NewARK is in Delaware.
- You know how to carefully pronounce the name Foulk Road.
- You talk of Northern Delaware and the entire Eastern Seaboard as "above the
- You know if another Delawarean is from southern, middle or northern Delaware
as soon as they open their mouth.
- You know the name of every street in Delaware, but have no idea what the
route number is.
- You can remember when Maryland Bank (MBNA) swallowed up Ogletown and
- Everywhere you go, you always run into someone you know or went to school
- You know what Newark Night and First Night are.
- You know exactly which roads to avoid due to the CONSTANT road construction.
- You love Dolly's salt water taffy and Grotto's Pizza.
- You know where all of the late-night 24-hour rest stops and restaurants are.
- You can remember when Christiana Hospital was a field with cows.
- You remember when Christiana Mall had a Galaxy arcade.
- When you go out of state to shop or eat, you are always surprised about the
- You know the differences in housing in Elsmere, Pike Creek, and Greenville.
- You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from
Add up all the ones you know
30+ = You're too much of a Delawarean. You really should visit another state.
20-29 = You are a true Delawarean.
10-19 = Eh. You're a mediocre Delawarean. Take a trip to the natural history
0-9 = You are definitely a Delaware novice..... venture out and see all the
good things Delaware has to offer.
Some of the most
affluent and historical communities of Delaware are nestled near the arc of
the state's northern boundary.
But Brandywine Hundred, Hockessin and Pike Creek don't actually have
boundaries of their own.
Though unincorporated, each of the communities is distinct.
Generally synonymous with North Wilmington and its largely white-collar
suburbs, Brandywine Hundred is roughly the area north of the Christiana River
and east of Brandywine Creek. That's where it got the first part of its name.
The second part is tied to the pre-Revolutionary War history of the state.
In 1682, Delaware was divided into 33 hundreds -- a British unit of
measurement roughly the equivalent of a U.S. county.
Though all deeds in Delaware still are recorded in hundreds, Brandywine
Hundred is the only 'hundred' commonly used as a proper place name today.
Initially home to old Delaware families such as the Weldins, the Hanbys and
the Talleys, who owned large farms, the area was carved into housing
developments after World War II and as the DuPont Co. grew.
Today, Brandywine Hundred is a mature community whose residents have a strong
sense of identity.
If the community had a Main Street, it would be Concord Pike Highway, or U.S.
202 - which over the last several decades has become one of the most
attractive shopping districts in the region.
Though the boundaries aren't official, most agree that Brandywine Hundred
includes the communities of Claymont, Talleyville and Arden.
Geographically, Hockessin is equally as indistinct.
The community- pronounced HOE-kess-in - is essentially the chunk of northwest
New Castle County that lies south of the Pennsylvania line, west of Red Clay
Creek, east of Doe Run Road and north of Graves Road.
About 40 families laid the foundation of the village in 1688, according to
Hockessin historian Joe Lake, Jr. Since then, it's grown into a community of
more than 12,000 - and growing.
A market study for a new $20 million health club found that more than 100,000
people lived within an 8-minute drive of the facility, located of Limestone
Residents generally are well educated and well to do.
According to the 2000 census, more than 96 percent of residents graduated from
high school and almost 30 percent have graduate degrees. The median income of
Hockessin households: About $100,000, census figures show.
Once the site of kaolin clay pits and snuff mills, Hockessin's economy has
gone through more than one evolution. As the pits and mills disappeared,
mushroom and dairy farms took their places. Now, small businesses such as
boutiques, nurseries and real estate offices provide the community's economic
If the boundaries of Brandywine Hundred and Hockessin are difficult to pin
down, Pike Creek is even more amorphous.
The U.S. Census took a stab, creating a CDP for Pike Creek, making it a
"census-designated place." With close to 20,000 people in 2000, it encompasses
the area surrounding Pike Creek from Kirkwood Highway up to the Northstar
area, roughly between Limestone Road (DE 7) and Polly Drummond Hill Road. It's
about six square miles.
Predominantly residential, it includes Carousel Park, overseen by New Castle
County, and a riding center. Many of its housing complexes were built during
the 1970s and 80s.
Other landmarks: All Saints Cemetery, Ebenezer Methodist Church and Faith
Baptist Church. Like other areas of northern New Castle County, Pike Creek
residents have median incomes above the state average, unemployment rates
significantly below the state average and college graduation rates above the
Delaware’s largest city, sits on the Interstate 95 corridor between the larger
metropolises of Philadelphia, to the north, and Baltimore, to the south.
Within its 10.8 square miles, the city of Wilmington is home to about 72,600
residents. But the city also is the hub of a metropolitan area of more than a
half-million people, nearly two-thirds of the state’s population. It is the
home to major corporations, including the DuPont Co. and Bank of America.
The Swedes, Dutch and British settled in Wilmington in the mid-1600s. Quaker
settlers came in the early 1700s and turned the area into a successful market
and mill town.
Wilmington became a borough in 1739 and a city in 1832.
By the mid 1800s, the city was bustling with shipyards, tanneries, carriage
factories, railroad-car manufacturers, brickyards, cotton factories and a
The city became an office center in 1904, when DuPont Co. located it’s
Legislation passed in the early 1980s made it attractive for banks to do
business in Delaware and changed Wilmington into one of the nation’s corporate
capitals. MBNA, the country’s largest independent credit-card bank, built its
headquarters in Wilmington in 1993. Bank of America acquired MBNA and retained
the city offices.
About 43,000 people, mostly suburban commuters, work downtown each day.
The city is about 56 percent black, 36 percent white, 10 percent Hispanic and
1 percent Asian.
The entertainment areas are in the Trolley Square area, Union Street and the
Christina Riverfront, where a significant part of the $1 billion that has been
invested since 1995 in real estate and economic development projects has been
spent. Wilmington is also home to the Grand Opera House, the Delaware Art
Museum and Theatre N at Nemours, a theater that shows small independent
The city also has 552 acres of parkland.
The Wilmington-based Buccini-Pollin Group has been the leader of the private
re-investment effort, converting old office buildings into upscale apartments
downtown and spearheading new residential and mixed-use projects on the
With a rich blue-collar history
and a modern-day identity as a dining and shopping destination, Trolley Square
is fertile ground for the future
By GARY SOULSMAN, Staff reporter
Bob and Diane
Vondrasek were unhappy with the isolation they felt in the suburbs, so 15
months ago they moved to greater Trolley Square, a west Wilmington
neighborhood framed by Pennsylvania Avenue, Union Street and the Brandywine
The family wanted Brit, their 12-year-old daughter, to live where people said
hello and looked after one another. Greater Trolley Square, with its mix of
stores and homes, was the place they settled on.
“We’ve found this to be an unbelievably nice place to live,” said Diane while
having coffee at Angelo’s Luncheonette. “Living here instills an appreciation
of community that will serve Brit well through the rest of her life.”
Angelo’s is an example of what Diane means. It’s a three-generation family
eatery that is so friendly it feels as if it’s been airlifted onto Scott
Street from the “Leave It to Beaver” world of the 1950s.
Diane has discovered a neighborhood rich in working-class history. It’s been
known as an Irish community, though English and Germans were early residents,
too. The area was settled in the 1860s after the city’s trolley line had
extended into farmland once owned by the Shallcross and Lovering families.
Historically the area where she lives has been called Forty Acres, a name
taken from the fertility of the farmland. One acre of land was said to be
worth 40 acres one might find someplace else.
“With such a wonderful history, we want to keep the Forty Acres name and its
link to the past,” said Diane, noting that Shallcross and Lovering are street
names still in use.
But she is also realistic. She knows that to many people who drive to the area
for music and Guinness at Kelly’s Logan House, the coffee at Brew HaHa! or the
breadsticks at Toscana, this area is Trolley Square.
Trolley Square is a name first given to a shopping complex at Du Pont Street
and Delaware Avenue built in the late ’70s at what had been a former trolley
depot and bus barn. Since then, it’s taken hold as something of a neighborhood
Within the past year, 20 restaurants and more than 60 other businesses have
begun calling themselves the Village of Trolley Square. A brochure and map now
carry the Village of Trolley Square name as does a Web site (www.visittrolleysquare.com).
Real-estate agents often call the region Trolley Square, too.
“It’s because Trolley Square has grown beyond the identity of a commercial
hub,” said City Councilman Gerald L. Brady, who represents the neighborhood
and hears lots of debate on what the area should be called.
To him there’s room for all:
“Forty Acres” when talking about the historic homes to the west of the
“Delaware Avenue” when talking about historic homes up the hill to the east of
And “Trolley Square” when speaking about the stores.
Mike Wilson would like nothing better than to make Trolley Square well-known
to the wide world beyond Delaware.
As president of the Village of Trolley Square Business Association, he hopes
that one day this will be a destination that people want to find for shopping,
strolling and dining.
“We already have a vital district, one of the most successful in the city,”
Wilson said. “Over the next several years, with improvements and marketing, we
think it will be even more desirable –
that visitors will want to come for the afternoon.”
Last year, 10 of 14 billboards were removed and there are plans to improve the
streets around the Trolley Square shopping, said Brady, a fourth-generation
This would be a $3.5 million state-funded project that would redo sidewalks
and streets on Delaware Avenue, Clayton, Du Pont, Gilpin and 16th streets near
the shopping center. The three-phase plan calls for brick intersections and
The Eighth District Neighborhood Planning Council, which has recommended the
project, also has suggested utility lines be placed underground. But the plan
still needs approval and funds from the Delaware Department of Transportation,
which means the earliest it could occur would be 2004, Brady said.
He added the city is also studying ways to create more parking. One idea is to
add a parking garage on the Acme parking lot either below or above ground. The
existing lot is located at Du Pont Street and Delaware Avenue. Brady says
expanding this would make it easier for people driving into the area. A larger
lot also might make it possible for the grocery to expand.
Parking is needed if the Trolley Square area is to thrive and attract a more
diversified mix of shops, said John Kurtz, owner of a Lincoln Street gallery
showing Oriental rugs in what was once a candy store. In addition, Kurtz said
he would like to see more residents and business owners show an interest in
keeping debris off neighborhood streets.
Because of the area’s 19th-century roots, residents have been studying how the
creation of a Forty Acres historic district might affect homeowners. “What I’m
hearing is that people are afraid of an historic district –
that it would be too restrictive if they wanted to make repairs,” said Brady.
Fred Carspecken, longtime owner of Carspecken-Scott Gallery, says he’s glad
the city and state are interested in seeing Trolley Square improved. “There’s
been so much money and attention given to places, like Market Street and the
Riverfront, we feel a little neglected,” he said.
Even without new amenities, the area has been appealing to Joel and Uthairat
Wilson. The couple opened a Thai import shop in Trolley Square Shopping Center
three years ago, though they first looked at Rehoboth Beach; the Manayunk
section of Philadelphia; and the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.,
before settling on the Wilmington neighborhood.
“We think we made the right choice,” said Joel, who pointed out that parking
is free and real-estate values on the rise.
But he’s also found that people in Newark and Middletown do not always know
the name, or the location –
or that Trolley Square is a safe shopping area to visit.
“There’s all kinds of potential here,” said Joel.
Thirty years ago, when so many families were moving from the city to the
suburbs, some people had doubts about this part of Wilmington.
In 1973, when Carspecken sought to open a gallery at 1707 N. Lincoln St., a
bank initially turned him down for a $22,500 mortgage because it was unsure
the neighborhood would be a good investment. But a second bank lent him the
“I feel fortunate that I bought where I did when I did,” said Carspecken, who
also purchased a home in Forty Acres in 1976. “This neighborhood has been very
He says he would not be able to afford to open his gallery in the area now.
And he’s observed that several galleries that were once open in the heart of
downtown have died or moved.
Forty Acres has been resilient because it’s a blend of shopping and living
that intrigues people who wanted the experience of getting to know their
neighbors, said Hugh Horning, who has lived on North Scott Street since 1977.
Today the strength of this interest can be seen in the price of homes –
they routinely sell for $250,000 or more. Tom and Marie Foley’s pristine
four-bedroom row home, which has about 1,600 square feet, is on the market for
$359,000, well above values reported in the 2000 Census. At that time the
average price for homes in greater Trolley Square was $161,000.
“The run-up in prices has been amazing,” said Paul Schofield, echoing a
statement often made.
To Schofield, who was born in Forty Acres in 1937 and lives across Union
Street in the Highlands neighborhood today, the drawback to gentrification is
that young people who grew up in Forty Acres can’t always afford to move back.
Even so, he’s glad young couples with children are moving in. Among them, he’s
seen lot of enthusiasm.
“They’ve come because there are parks, a grocery store, shops and lots of
restaurants,” he said. “They can walk to just about everything they want.”
Today the appeal of Trolley Square/Forty Acres crosses many age groups, though
there is not a great deal of racial diversity. The 2000 Census reported that
91 percent of the population is white, seven percent black, three percent
Hispanic and one percent Asian.
The median age is 37.8. Nevertheless, the restaurants and shops are a big draw
for adults just out of college when they look for an interesting place to rent
an apartment, said resident and business owner Bill Degnan. The Census found
that 1,916 of the area’s 4,924 people are 20 to 34 years old.
Degnan has long recognized the appeal of the neighborhood and three years ago
he located his Web-design business just east of the Trolley Square Shopping
Center. He’s had no trouble attracting young people to work for his company.
To Degnan, the community is a desirable place to rent or own and the last
Census reported that 1,895 people rent in the greater Trolley Square area
compared with 1,244 people who own their own home.
The area has a cachet with his clients too. “You’ve got the benefits of being
in the city but you feel like you’re in a neat little neighborhood,” he said.
Older people, such as Phil Giordano, are also drawn to the neighborhood's
Giordano has cut hair in the family's Trolley Square shop, All About Hair, for
25 years. Last November he and his wife, Jeanne, sold their Prices Corner-area
home to move to the third floor of the Trolley Square shopping center.
Living atop his first-floor shop has been so easy (he rents out the middle
floor as office space) that he hasn’t driven his second family car during the
last seven weeks. Amenities are so close he’s thinking of selling the car.
“I love my commute,” he said. “It's 32 seconds.”
Forty Acres history
The interest in Trolley Square/Forty Acres has brought a new focus on history.
Kara Briggs, curator of the George Read House and Gardens in Old New Castle,
has been one of the leading lights. A fourth- generation Forty Acres resident
who attended nearby St. Ann’s School, Briggs is adamant about seeing the
historic identity of her community preserved.
“Trolley Square is a name that’s only about 20 years old,” she said, adding
that Forty Acres is a name that carries you back to the Civil War.
Last May, to preserve a sense of neighborhood identity, Briggs joined with
other area residents, including her mother Cissy and the Vondraseks, to start
the Forty Acres Historical Society. Initially, the group hosted a lecture at
the city’s 1893 firehouse which is still in use on Gilpin Avenue. The group
also launched a newsletter and the 27-year-old Briggs has been assembling
photographs hoping to write a history of Forty Acres.
“Forty Acres began with economic stability, it stumbled and rose again, but it
was always Forty Acres,” said Briggs. “It has such an overwhelming sense of
community we don’t want the name to slip into oblivion because of the
popularity of Trolley Square.”
By MAUREEN MILFORD, DE News
On that April day when I saw
the big sign on the property - the kind of sign that heralds development with
its "LAND 3.5 acres" - I felt a twinge of regret.
It's finally happened.
As long as that property on
Foulk Road stayed intact, I didn't have to look at the facts surrounding the
life and death of Jacob Robinson Weldin - the facts that defined the early
years of my generation.
Jake Weldin was my neighbor, but we kids who
lived in the spanking new split-level homes with knotty pine "dens" didn't
play with him. For starters, he was older. Two or three years made a big
difference to us hordes of post-World War II children. Jake was quiet and
seemed rough around the edges. We didn't exchange more than a few words his
But more than that, there was
some kind of invisible divide between our planned community of identical
houses and Jake's domain - a triangular plot with a Brandywine blue granite
house, a small cherry orchard, a field and a woods that bordered the backs of
the tract houses.
We were the children of the
Organization Men of the 1950s, who had migrated to Wilmington with their fresh
professional degrees paid for by the G.I. Bill. Our dads would car-pool to
their jobs at the DuPont Co. or Hercules Inc. or Atlas Powder Co.
Jake's parents, by contrast,
were older. His family had been on the land for generations. It was his
family's land that made up our tiny, treeless patches with their scrawny
rosebushes, chain-link fences and jungle gyms.
His father's family had been on
the land since the 1600s when it got a land grant from William Penn. But we
didn't know that. We just knew he was not like us. We were children cut loose
from history that had been left back at homesteads in Minnesota or Nebraska or
West Virginia. I got a "C" on my third-grade report on Delaware history.
So we didn't play with Jake,
but we played in his woods - like we owned the place. After the developers got
through building Fairfax and Oak Lane Manor, it was the only piece of
undomesticated land within striking distance. Sure, there was a wooded park
with a creek nearby. But that had been tamed, too, with swings, slides,
seesaws and a baseball diamond. The Weldins' woods was wild, a landscape that
would shape-shift with the seasons. Trees that fell during the winter storms
were left to make a contribution to the ecology. In the spring brambles
appeared, then disappeared in the fall.
That woodland was our bit of
sacred chaos. Slipping into the woods was like swimming underwater with your
eyes open; it was a different realm you could never experience from outside.
Once in, we felt hidden. On one path some kids built a village of stick houses
that resembled beaver dams. Up past the path that led to Jake's house I
constructed a lean-to that kept the rain out with a piece of discarded tar
Sometimes, we ventured right up
to the cultivated part of Jake's property and fooled around on his father's
homemade car lift behind his free-standing garage. The garage was a tempting
affair, crammed with interesting old things.
One night I had got an insight
into Jake during a private moment no one was meant to see. I was cutting
through his yard with my friend en route from her house to mine when I saw
Jake through the uncurtained windows watching television with his mother. The
show must have been a mystery, because Jake left the room on tiptoes,
mimicking a thief in the night. He and his mother were laughing.
After Jake got a goose, I
stopped cutting through his lawn to get to my friend's house. The goose was
better than a guard dog, chasing strangers and nipping at their heels.
Considering today's neighbors
will go to court if a tree branch falls on their pear tree, it's a testimony
to the Weldins' good nature that they never once chased us off their property.
Once, when Jake and his friends were sleeping out in the woods, we filled the
sleeping bags with sticks and monkey balls when they weren't around. It was
the only time I remember him playing there, and, I think unconsciously we saw
him as an invader.
That night, Jake's mother
called my mother. When we came in from playing, my mother, looking like one of
the Valkyries, swooped down on us. I was dumfounded at her fury. But now I
know my mother knew we had committed a big sin.
Growing up in Vermont, my
mother knew the smugness of outsiders who are enamored of wild places but only
tolerate the settlers as local color. To them, the folks look different, have
funny accents and, in general, need improvement.
When not in Jake's woods, we
were the children of better living through chemistry. Outside the green
confusion we were scientific mystics, suffering from pride in man's
technological advances. Kids in our school had labs in their basement and used
to talk with pride about how Wilmington would be a prime target in a nuclear
war because we were the "Chemical Capital of the World."
In reality, our drama with Jake
has been played throughout time.
Jake and his family were
"placed" people, as essayist Wendell Berry calls them. They are the people
like the Weldins, Hanbys, Talleys and Sharpleys who know all the nuances of
the landscape. They put their own names on places - like Talleyville and
Weldin Road - not finding it necessary to appropriate names from the Main Line
or old Virginia.
Jake was born into a place and
an identity. At one point, he had 40-some cousins in the area on his mother's
side alone. They remembered when the land had been home to cows, blackberry
thickets and an occasional gypsy camp.
We didn't stay in the house
long enough for me to get to know Jake. When I was 13 we moved to another new
house made to look old and filled with antiques. Although Jake went to my high
school, Brandywine, I lost track of him. I know he graduated with my brother,
but unlike the other bright-faced kids, Jake's yearbook picture wasn't a
standard shot taken by the authorized school photographer.
His picture had a shadow behind
his head, while the background of the other seniors' pictures were soft
modulated shades of gray. His name was spelled wrong: "Jack Weldin," and his
list of school activities was not listed on the page with his picture.
The next time I heard about
Jake was in June 1968. My mother told me Army Sgt. Weldin had been killed,
Delaware's 62nd Vietnam war death. He died just 16 days before his service was
up. It turns out he had enlisted on June 16, 1966, just days after graduating
from high school. While stationed in Korea for 13 months, Jake won the
Soldiers' Medal for saving someone's life.
"He was such a sweet boy," said
his aunt, Catherine Talley. "I remember taking him to see the fireworks when
he was 4 and he covered his ears. I can't for the life of me figure out why he
volunteered to go to Vietnam."
Jake liked farming and was
devoted to his mother, Anna, his aunt said. When his mother, Anna Bartsch
Weldin, had to be admitted to the hospital when he was 17, Jake harvested the
vegetables from the family's garden and froze them.
"Imagine that. A 17-year-old
boy doing that," Catherine said.
She was at her sister's home
the day the Army presented seven medals to Jake's parents, including the
Bronze Star and Purple Heart. They also brought Jake's clothes home, still
covered in mud. Catherine made a strawberry pie, but none of the officers
In the pocket of his uniform
was a letter. "Dear Mom," it read. "War is hell, hell, hell." He never had
time to finish it, Catherine said.
I went to Jake's grave
recently, nearly 30 years after he died. He is buried with generations of his
family in Newark Union, a serene plot bordered by suburban homes that has been
the resting place of settlers since the early 1600s.
Now Jake's home is for sale and
could be developed with up to a dozen homes. If the bulldozer arrives, its
operator won't know he's tearing up more than trees.
But as Wallace Stegner puts it,
Americans have made a "tradition out of mourning the passing of things we
never had time to really know just as we have made a culture out of … movement
Jake's woods is a place to me
now. I've sometimes been tempted to stop my car along Foulk Road and enter
those woods via the old route. But it looks like the path is no more. I've
come to realize that 42 years hence, the place is far more a memory than a
FELTON, Del. — As
Amanda Burck, 14, of Ridgely, Md., gathered with her family in the
Diamond State Drive-In Theater's snack bar for popcorn, candy,
cheeseburgers and ice cream last Friday night, it could have been an
autumn evening in 1967.
like, really excited," Burck said. "I've seen them on TV and heard
stories, but I've never seen an actual drive-in."
State, a 300-car theater on U.S. 13, is the last drive-in remaining in
Delaware. As the 2007 season winds down, theater operators Donald Brown,
44, of Felton, and Patricia Creigh, 36, of Lincoln, Del., are uncertain
if their piece of post-war Americana will be around much longer. The
theater's founder and owner died in June, raising questions about
whether the heirs will renew the lease on the 8-acre commercial property
when it expires in 2008.
haven't made a final decision," said Robert Steele of Coatesville, Pa.
parents, the late Mildred and Albert Steele, developed the theater in
1947. He has a written appraisal from Dover Consulting Service valuing
the commercially zoned land at $1.2 million.
property is developed, the Felton drive-in would go the way of many of
the nation's outdoor theaters since the 1980s, said Susan Sanders,
co-author of The American Drive-In
biggest reason for the decline of drive-ins has been the rising value of
the land, although escalating insurance costs and high property taxes
haven't helped, said Sanders, of Grapevine, Texas.
downtrend of drive-ins has had little to do with their popularity,
according to Jennifer Sherer Janisch of Las Vegas, co-founder of the
website www.drive-ins.com. Many were still profitable or even selling
out when they closed, Janisch said.
peak in 1960, there were at least 5,000 drive-in theaters throughout the
country, Sanders said. Today, there are roughly 400 drive-ins in the
nation, Janisch said.
number, she said, has stayed fairly stable in recent years, and there
are still new ones opening. Texas has been a hot spot for new theaters
in the past two years, she said.
September, James Chenault, 47, of Tyler, Texas, opened the Sky-Vue
Drive-In Theater in Tyler with his brother-in-law and nephew. The total
cost to open the theater, including the 35- by 70-foot screen, was about
$300,000, he said.
said they invested heavily in the food operation, a known profit center
for drive-ins. Not only does Sky-Vue make its own pizzas, the owners
spent $25,000 for two popcorn machines.
said he's bullish about the future of Sky-Vue because his research shows
"you can make a pretty good living."
drive-in movie theater was opened in 1933 by Richard Hollingshead in
Camden, N.J., who wanted to attract customers to his auto parts company
and gas station at night, Sanders said. His experiments in outdoor
movies included hanging a sheet between trees.
a dozen drive-ins popped up before World War II, but the real growth
came in the 1950s as families moved to suburbia, Sanders said.
Steele writes in a history of the Diamond State Drive-In that the
original sound system used by his parents was two 24-inch bullhorns. On
a clear night, the sound could be heard 2 miles away. The Steeles
quickly added the legendary in-car speakers.
most outdoor theaters broadcast the soundtrack through the car radio or
a portable radio, although some theaters retain the old window speakers
to add to the atmosphere, Janisch said.
Walton and his wife, Paula Smith, of Felton take their daughters, Nolah,
8, and Aylish, 11, to the Diamond State Drive-In once every two or three
weeks. The family comes prepared with pizza or fried chicken, a cooler
full of sodas, chairs and sleeping bags. The girls usually bring
family is so attached to the drive-in, they fantasize about winning the
lottery and buying it. They say they also dream about reopening the
closed roller rink on the property and decorating the restrooms in the
have Pink Ladies and poodle skirts," like the movie Grease, Aylish Walton said.
said he and his brother Robert plan to reach a decision about the
drive-in before the end of the year. Brown said if he and Creigh are
unable to renew their lease they will try to open a new one in western
Sussex County, Del.
rebirth in 1995, the Felton theater has largely been profitable, with
the exception of the first few years, Brown said. At its peak in 2004,
ticket sales totaled in the low six-figure range, Brown said.
small business. We're able to make a living from it," he said.
Milford reports for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.
Accenture, which since
1997 had leased the former John Wanamaker department store on Augustine
Cut-off, vacated the building in mid-December.
Tech consultant brought grand plans a decade ago, but gutted staff in
By MAUREEN MILFORD, The News Journal
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008
The massive former John Wanamaker department store campus on Augustine
Cut-off in Brandywine Hundred that was extensively renovated for offices
amid much fanfare by Accenture in the late 1990s is vacant once again.
The owner plans to sell or lease the 16.7-acre property developed by
the venerable Philadelphia retailer in 1950.
Karen Fini, director of leasing with Capano Management Co. in
Wilmington, said she expects to list the property with a local real estate
broker in the coming weeks. No sale price has been set, she said.
Accenture, a management and technology consulting firm, vacated the
approximately 200,000-square-foot building in mid-December, Fini said.
Offices were relocated to a 36,000-square-foot space in the Rockwood
Office Park on Carr Road.
In 1997, Accenture signed a 10-year lease on the former department
store building after it landed a 10-year contract to handle information
systems support for the DuPont Co. The company was then known as Andersen
Consulting and was based in Chicago.
At that time, the company said it planned to employ 1,000 people
locally by 2002, including 400 former DuPont workers. In 2004, Accenture
cut 90 of its local 450 workers.
Alex Pachetti, senior director of corporate communications and industry
analyst relations with Accenture in New York City, said the company
typically doesn't provide local numbers "because the nature of our work is
such that people's location is often very fluid," with employees working
at the clients' locations, virtual locations or from home.
DuPont did not return phone calls Thursday.
The quiet move from Augustine Cut-off was in sharp contrast to
Accenture's entrance to the market. When the company converted the
department store building to offices in 1997 and 1998, the company said it
was creating a global center to support the chemical industry. The company
touted the renovation as an environment that "inspires creativity and the
formation of high-performance work teams."
The opening of the $6 million Wanamaker store in 1950 marked a turning
point for the retail fortunes of downtown Wilmington, which never landed a
major, regional department store chain. The retailer had scouted various
locations in the city, including one at Ninth and Orange and Shipley
streets. That plan was abandoned because it was felt the narrow city
streets would have become too congested.
Louis J. Capano Jr. bought the property in 1988 for an undisclosed
price as part of a plan for the retailer to move to a new store in
Christiana Mall. Real estate brokers said at the time Capano had paid
about $12 million for the property.
I Remember Wilmington - send us
your own fond memories of growing up in Wilmington and I'll publish them here.
The first group here was from a list I sent to a classmate prior to the 35th reunion.
I'm sure you've got your own set of memories; send them along for publication
here. (Kevin Donohue)
Going to 'Twin Lakes' on
Kennett Pike for ice-skating
to see "Old Yeller" the line stretched around the block.
Salesianum (Sallies) dances
Aldersgate Methodist Church
'Hopping cars' with your
sled in the snow-one time I "hopped" a Wilm. Transit Bus that took me from
my house on 21st Street-Baynard Blvd all the way to PS DuPont HS.
'Kiddie Town' on du Pont
Mounting a playing card on
your bike so the spokes would create a 'motor sound'
Sledding on "Monkey Hill"
near the Wilmington Zoo-loved this place as a kid-“Suicide Hill" was across
the street-it was really only a foot path thru the woods and was really
steep. I once rode my bicycle down Monkey Hill in the summer, hit a curb and
went flying head first. Broke my wrist when I landed and didn't realize it
until several hours later when I could not use my thumb and forefinger to
button my dungarees.
Lynthwaith'sIce Cream on Rt. 202
with the target on the trash can at the exit.
Achenbach’s Soda Shop on
26th Street – this was owned by Peggi Mitten’s aunt
Gassers Pharmacy on
Washington Street-Mr. Gasser lived two doors down from our house on Baynard
Blvd. He used to bring me baseball card bubble gum packs
Joan Roberts across from
the Wanamaker's Store on Augustine Cutoff. My mother used to take me to
Joan Robert’s for my clothes “stand up straight” she would always say.
Delaware Olds-I worked there as a lot boy one summer-our neighbor (Boots
Campbell) on Clermont Rd was the dealership manager-I once drove an armored
truck across the lot and realized (after it was moving) it had no brakes!
Gaylord’s, Almart's, & "Strawbs"
at the Old Merchandise Mart -
Rick's Riding Academy on Rt 202 just across
the PA line & next to the tiny St. Cornelius stone church;
The Dog House-Concord
Pike-got fired there for not remembering the prices-Dave Porter’s favorite
Lanks Sub Shop on Concord
Dunbar Bicycle Shop at 9th
& French Sts-I received the most beautiful Shelby English bike from there
one Christmas. Later stolen Grr!
Horisk's Grocery Store –our
family’s first Wilm apt was above Horisks on Del Ave. One day, my birthday,
the Oscar Meyer wiener man in the (Weiner Mobile) came to our door! Was I
impressed or what!
Wilmington Dry Goods
store-loved the smell of popcorn, wooden floors, I bought my first music
albums there (Judy Collins and Frank Zappa).
S & H
First "house" at 1900 Del Ave in the early '50's. Believe it or not, today
in bright white paint, it is the Doherty
Additional Familiar Landmarks
<The Old El Capitan, Concord Pike
<Tally Ho, Concord Pike
< the Old rope swing on the Brandywine at Doeskin/Rockland
<The Wilmington Train Station, Sledding at Rockford Park >
Delaware tradition since at least the 1920s still draws a crowd
By PATRICIA TALORICO, The News Journal
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007
GREENVILLE -- Twin Lakes ice skating veteran George Rudawsky didn't
bring his skates to the frozen pond off Kennett Pike on Saturday
afternoon, but his daughter Ava did.
Rudawsky watched the 5-year-old, with the help of her mother, Suzette,
lace up her skates -- just as he did as a kid.
"C'mon, mom!" said a fearless Ava as she straightened her pretty
skating skirt and pulled her mother toward the one-acre pond on a private
Greenville estate that's been in the Hobbs family for seven generations.
Before venturing out onto the ice, an unsure Suzette glanced back at
her husband as a frigid gust of wind made it feel much chillier than 33
Outdoor skating may sound romantic, but it also can be bone-chillingly
cold and even a little scary.
"So, we're not going to fall in, right?" she said, as George shook his
head and chuckled.
The allure of outdoor ice skating -- and the risk of cracking ice --
has been a time-honored winter tradition at Twin Lakes for more than 80
years. In good skating weather, thousands of Delawareans have slid and
sprawled, teetered and tumbled across the pond's surface.
"I remember coming here when I was like in sixth or seventh grade,"
said Wilmington resident Rudawsky as his daughter, wife and nearly two
dozen other rosy-cheeked skaters glided across the ice.
Ice skating at Twin Lakes is perhaps one of Delaware's best- and
worst-kept secrets. It's always been the kind of place longtime northern
New Castle County residents have simply learned about from family and
friends or neighbors in the know. It's never been advertised as a skating
site and no signs point the way. The grounds are marked with a pile of
white rocks and a mailbox next to a long driveway.
Since at least the 1920s -- according to News Journal files -- the
Hobbs family has extended a neighborly welcome to the public to skate free
of charge and at their own risk on the landmark "twin" ponds on the
252-acre estate at 4208-4210 Kennett Pike. Though people have occasionally
fallen through the ice, no serious injuries have been reported.
When temperatures dip below freezing -- as they have recently -- cars
and SUVs begin parking along Kennett Pike. Skaters make their way down the
long driveway toward the pond that's believed to be no more than 4 feet
deep. Shoes and boots are piled along the banks of the pond for no-frills
The name Twin Lakes is a bit of a misnomer. There were once two ponds
-- know as "the twins" -- that were on either side of the driveway. But
only one remains. The other collapsed after a storm several years ago.
The estate is home to the
Twin Lakes Brewery, which is owned by Sam
Hobbs, whose great grandfather was DuPont Co. director Eugene E. du Pont.
His mother, Patricia Hobbs, and his uncle George A. "Frolic" Weymouth,
founder and chairman of the Brandywine River Museum, the Chadds Ford, Pa.,
institution that specializes in Wyeth family paintings, grew up on the
estate. Twin Lakes beer is available at many Delaware restaurants. The
brewery's tasting room, in Weymouth's former art studio near the pond, is
open Wednesday evenings and every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
On Saturday morning, Hobbs and his two sons, James, 8, and Brett, 7,
donned skates and began a fast-paced, energetic ice hockey game with a
group of friends and family members. Their yellow Labrador retriever Cali
-- short for California Roll -- romped among the players.
"Cali! Come back here!" Hobbs said as he skated after the dog, who
scooped up the puck with her mouth.
Jake Miller, a friend of Sam Hobbs and his brother George, smiled at
the scene as he sat on the ground and pulled on a pair of skates.
"We used to play ice hockey as kids," said Miller, of Kennett Square,
Pa. The 44-year-old said he frequently came to the pond in his youth.
"What a beautiful day. It looks pretty much the same as it did then."
"We have had skaters coming since 9 in the morning," said Hobbs, who
plans on continuing the tradition of allowing the public to skate on the
pond. "It was really cool. One guy came down and said, 'I used to do this
as a little child and I didn't know if we could still do it anymore.' He
said he's coming back with his kids."
The surface of a frozen pond is usually bumpy, but on Saturday, Twin
Lakes seemed almost as smooth as an indoor rink. Hobbs said it's because
of a homemade device he called a "Sam-boni." He rigged a green and white
towel to a large upside-down rake and attached a garden hose to the end.
On Friday evening, Hobbs turned on the hose and then pulled the rake and
towel "Sam-boni" over the water to smooth the icy surface.
Hobbs said he loves that it's been cold enough this winter for people
to enjoy the Twin Lakes tradition. Today is expected to be mostly sunny,
with a high near 35, according to the National Weather Service forecast.
"Everyone's welcome as long as they park on [Del.] 52, be respectful,
don't litter and leave before dusk," he said.
Right now, commentators and analysts are probably
pontificating about how the Eckerd buyout marks the end of an era. Don't
blame them if they fail to mention how much of that era began in
histories speak of the role Delaware played in the rise of Eckerd as a
major drug chain long before its purchase Thursday by Rite Aid Corp.
Even Eckerd's own tale of its past reveals little detail of how
Wilmington marked the first expansion of the store out of its roots in
Erie, Pa., and how the city became the place where many of the chain's
innovations reportedly began.
Eventually, the changes begun in Wilmington -- creating the position of
store manager, and freeing the pharmacist to focus on prescriptions --
would become commonplace in U.S. drugstores, histories of the chain say.
Now it seems certain that they will also outlive the chain itself; the
proposed buyout will convert all 1,521 Eckerd's stores to Rite Aids.
buyout would make Rite Aid the largest drugstore chain operator on the
Delaware, the $2.55 billion cash-and-stock merger also comes at a time
of ongoing change in the drugstore industry, and in the wake of the sale
of its largest drugstore chain. Happy Harry's, which began in Delaware
and spread to surrounding states, was bought by the giant Walgreens
chain in June.
with the completion of the Rite Aid-Eckerd deal, Delaware's drugstore
market will still be dominated by 61 Walgreens-owned stores, which will
continue to be known as Happy Harry's. When Eckerd's 21 Delaware stores
get their new identity, Rite Aid will have 44 locations in the state.
there was just one Delaware Eckerd. The chain's founder, J. Milton
Eckerd, opened his first store in Erie in 1898, but decided 14 years
later to sell it to his sons and move to Wilmington. "His choice of
location proved auspicious when Wilmington soon became the booming
commercial center of the Delaware Valley," according to a history on the
Funding Universe Web site.
the 1920s and 1930s, the chain expanded to North Carolina, then later in
the century, through Florida. They remained a common presence in
Delaware, mostly in New Castle County, even as the Happy Harry's chain
expanded. Eckerd's latest owners, Canada's Jean Coutu Group Inc., bought
the chain from the retailer J.C. Penney Co. just two years ago for $2.38
has gone through so many different changes," and many owners, said Alan
B. Levin, Happy Harry's chairman. "We've competed against [Eckerd and
Rite Aid] through the years, and obviously their problem today was they
never finished the transition. Jean Coutu was never able to get it off
will still trail Walgreens and CVS nationally. CVS is the last of the
majors not to have made a major push into Delaware. It has just two
locations in the state, according to its Web site.
these stores to our company gives Rite Aid scale comparable to our major
drugstore competitors, and we believe this enables us to compete more
effectively in a highly competitive business," Rite Aid President and
CEO Mary Sammons said in a statement.
will pay $1.45 billion in cash and 250 million shares valued at about
$1.1 billion for Jean Coutu's Brooks and Eckerd chains in the United
States. The shares will give Jean Coutu a 32 percent equity stake and 30
percent voting power in the expanded Rite Aid. In addition, Rite Aid
will assume $850 million of long-term debt as part of the deal.
shares fell 32 cents to $4.36 in early trading on the New York Stock
planned acquisition includes 1,858 drugstores -- 337 Brooks stores and
1,521 Eckerd stores -- and six distribution centers, all located
primarily on the East Coast and in the mid-Atlantic states. The stores
being acquired are located in 18 states. Rite Aid currently operates in
14 of the states, and the deal will also give it outlets in
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Carolina and North Carolina.
company said it may complete the deal as early as its fiscal 2007 fourth
quarter, which begins Dec. 3, 2006, and ends March 3, 2007.
Aid is a good competitor, but they're dealing with a lot of demons as
well, a lot of debt," Levin said. "But they'll make it. Their management
is not the only drugstore chain in Delaware that has experienced
acquisition. The $2.55 billion cash-and-stock merger comes at a time of
ongoing change in the drugstore industry and in the wake of the sale of
the state's largest drugstore chain. Happy Harry's, which began in
Delaware and spread to surrounding states, was bought by the giant
Walgreens chain in June.
Clear sailing in '07 -
means avoiding this place by Pete Simon Jan 2nd, 2007
Since 1981, various spots
in Colorado have been my home; most of it spent working in public radio.
When I and my wife Mary (a Colorado native) visit friends and family in the
Delaware Valley I try to pick out certain places or events so as to give
Mary a better feel for the place. Last April that included a day at the
Constitution Center and the nearby walking tour of historic sites in
Philly. On other occasions it's been a trip to Winterthur, Longwood
Gardens, Hagley, or a drive through the wedge and into Lancaster County.
But this past Christmas week, I wanted to delve into another slice of life
altogether which ALSO defines home sweet home, whether we like it or
not. After all these years, I still found it in a confined little corner of
New Castle County.
The pungent odor hits you immediately; a
combination of rancid funnel cake grease, dirt, mold, and other key
elements. But I had to proceed. After entering, I turned the first corner
and walked by the south end of the place; past a survivalist shop (with any
gear imaginable for all of your "end of times" needs), just as this scary
bastard was standing there; a cross between a skinny G. Gordon Liddy 35
years ago and a Hell's Angels biker sporting a silver star studded black
leather jacket. To top it off, he wore a black beret which covered
his shaved head. The menacing black-eyed stare was all he had to say. He
ruled this hell hole, no doubt about it. After a quick stroll around the
building cluttered with dusty junk bins and "fresh" produce stands, we were
gone into the night with our lives intact. The Liddy figure must have gone
with his long hunting knife in a different direction.
Whether it's some sort of libertarian
garden spot, where politicians just let the nuts have their own little
enclave, or whether its just a simple example of kick-back politics, this is
a place where the New Castle County Health Department will not tread.
The one good thing you can say about the
place? It has to make you feel better about your own life, no matter how
down you might be. So on that count, the place serves a positive
function.... It's a slice of the seedy side of Tijuana, right in a neat
little corner of "metro" Wilmington. Maybe Ralph McTell could write a song
about the place and we could feel even better.
We got back into the car, in time to turn
on WXPN to hear Jerry Blavitt talking over the middle of a song by Joe
Turner of all people. Like Hare's corner, some things never change.
Please forward "liberally"
so as to warn the unaware.
Being the nerdy radio junkie
that I am, my first memories of radio are not from listening to WAMS (the
1960‘s Wilmington equivalent of KIMN, Denver), but to WILM, which held on to
its block programming up until the early 60’s with (at various times in its
evolution) a mix of news, talk, and music that included pre rock and roll
“hit parade”, jazz, R&B, and early rock and roll.
WILM remains the only
Wilmington radio station with downtown studios. In the 50's and 60's they
were located just off Rodney Square; four blocks from Club Baby Grand and
the childhood home of Wilmington trumpet legend Clifford Brown. One of the
WILM d.j.s at the time was Maurice Simms, a friend and confidant of Clifford
Brown and Clifford’s first teacher and mentor, the legendary Robert "Boysie"
Lowry. Lowry settled in Wilmington in the 1940’s after passing through town
as a saxophonist with "Doctor Robertson's Traveling Medicine Show" from
eastern North Carolina. The "black migration" to the Delaware Valley from
the Carolinas was significant, and included in its ranks John William
Coltrane, whose family settled nearby in Philly. "Trane" was one of the jazz
greats to frequent Wilmington in the early 50’s. Others who passed through
town then included the great organist Jimmy Smith, and
trumpeter/be-bop/Afro-Cuban innovator Dizzy Gillespie (who “discovered“
Clifford Brown while playing one of his Wilmington concerts). It was a very
active music scene for those who frequented Club Baby Grand and other
locales. City curfew laws closed the clubs at midnight. The musicians
actually liked this arrangement, because it meant that after-hours house
parties and jam sessions started that much earlier (this from conversations
with Maurice Simms in the late 1970's).
The only thing I regret
about this rich local jazz heritage is that I was too young to grasp any of
it. By the time I first started listening to the radio in the mid-to-late
50's the jazz scene in town had diminished; punctuated on June 26, 1956 by
the untimely demise of Clifford Brown on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. His
soft-spoken, compassionate demeanor, drug-free lifestyle, and unparalleled
playing ability and discipline is legendary. Brownie's impact on other jazz
greats cannot be overstated. And if music had not worked out for him, he was
also a math whiz who studied it at Delaware State College. His example
showed the way to a drug-free existence for many stellar musicians who
struggled with substance abuse, including John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins;
the two premiere tenor saxophonists of their generation. Sonny Rollins has
said the best music he recorded was with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach
My first memories of radio
are of those which came shortly after the jazz magic in town had diminished,
at least on the airwaves. It was replaced in part by something better for my
young ears: Rhythm and Blues of the day, and early Rock and Roll. That
experience continues to have an impact on me. Today, I'm an alternating host
for a classic R&B show on www.kuvo.org
called "The R&B JUKEBOX", heard every Saturday at 7 p.m. Mountain time. The
show highlights the pre-Elvis days of R&B, including the first music I
remember hearing on WILM (Jimmy Smith, the King recordings -- with heavy
gospel overtones -- of James Brown, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Joe
Turner, Ruth Brown --whose early recordings allowed Atlantic Records to get
off the ground, thus the moniker: "The House That Ruth Built" --, Etta
James, The Coasters -- with Carl Gardner's voice to die for -- and THE
GODFATHER OF R&B, Louie Jordan (Chuck Berry's "daddy"). It was a glorious
time for Wilmington radio. Mitch Thomas ruled the evenings at the WILM
roost. "THE BIG M.T." was my link to worlds far beyond New Castle County.
Ironically enough, M.T. was followed each weeknight on WILM by Joe Pine,
with "It's Your Nickel", the first talk radio program in the country -- but
by the time Pine started his ranting, I was usually asleep.
JUKEBOX on KUVO is a wonderful history lesson for hosts of the show and
listeners alike. It has enabled me to return to this golden era, and helped
me develop a much greater understanding of the artists, the times, and the
boldness of many of the artists in the R&B world during the days of
lingering “Jim Crow" segregation. While some of the lyrics of R&B songs of
the day may seem outdated, or politically incorrect, listening to the
cleverly crafted double entendre lyrics for me is great fun and a great
history lesson; the roots of which go back to pre-phonograph days when
social conditions demanded that certain people speak in code or metaphor in
order to survive. Another key trait of early R&B is the defiant honking by
soloing tenor saxophonists like Big Jay McNeely, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Lee
Allen, and many others. While people in the Jazz world frowned upon such
"noise", defenders of the sound maintain that the honking captured the
rawness of the recordings and the frustrations of African Americans. For ten
years from the end of World War Two, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights
Movement, this was UNDERGROUND music; usually confined to corner bar
jukeboxes and low powered AM radio stations. Then, as Rosa Parks became a
household name, Alan Freed in Cleveland, and people in other places with
high powered AM stations, like WLAC, Nashville gave this music wider
exposure. Rock and Roll was "born". For him, Elvis was in the right place
at the right time. The artists I've learned about while prepping for the
Harris ("Mr. Blues"; the king of side-splitting double entendre),
- Big Maybelle
(“One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” is a SHOW STOPPER)
- early Clyde
McPhatter with the Drifters (an amazing group that somehow stayed relevant
for two decades, even though they had at different times 3 lead singers
following McPhatter, a very tough act to follow
- the early
recordings of the amazingly soulful, operatic voice of Jackie Wilson
- The Spiders,
a New Orleans-based gospel group which crossed over to the secular side in
1951.... Later in the 50's, SAM COOKE would also "cross over".
- Johnny Otis
and all of the people he nurtured along the way,
including “Little Ester” Phillips and The Robbins/Coasters
invaluable BOX SETS from the OKEY and SPECIALTY recordings from 1947 to
1959... where you'll hear Screamin Jay Hawkins, Roy Milton and His Solid
Senders (including the dazzling vocalist and pianist Camile Howard), the
gospel side of Sam Cooke, the emergence of Little Richard, and much more.
last-but-not-least: one of the trailblazers for Jimi Hendrix (no, he just
didn't plop down here from another galaxy with "his" sound): Johnny Guitar
Watson. In 1955 he was the first blues guitarist to crank up the volume in
the studio -- his song "Too Tired" is riveting stuff; makes your hair stand
on end.. but because of the line "I'm Too Tired to Come", it never made it
to the airwaves.
75 to 80% of
the material mentioned in the above listings -- (and a lot more "obscure"
recorded gems) was NOT available on vinyl from the late 60's, onward. When I
hosted a blues show on WXDR at the University of Delaware in 1976, the more
"conventional" Chess and Vee-Jay bluesmen held center stage; I love those
guys too, but it was only a slice of the bigger picture. Thank goodness for
the digital/ CD technology which opened the recording studio vaults to a
treasure chest of music and an essential-but-under appreciated portion of
post World War Two history. My hat goes off to companies like RHINO RECORDS
for having the vision to put much of it into box sets, so that all of us can
catch up a bit, and better understand the evolution of music from the big
band era of the 30's and 40's -- all the way up to what I listened to in
high school: the emergence of "soul music" from Memphis and Muscle Shoals,
to what emerged from Chicago, Philly, and that “musical fortress“ in
By the time I
reached high school, the golden age of rhythm and blues was a fading memory.
WAMS had replaced WILM (now with a news/talk format) as the "go to"
station. Somehow, the golden age of R&B has not been forgotten. And that is
reason to celebrate.
So, I am
the lucky one assigned to writing something about the music of our lives for
our 40th anniversary. There are obviously hundreds of stories and
opinions amongst us; I don’t claim that my observations are the gold
standard of music appreciation or anything of the sort; it’s just the way I
observed and absorbed the incredible range of music, and the culture and
politics it has reflected. Frozen by the possibilities, I am honored to give
it a shot. Here goes.
from being an avid listener of all sorts of music, I’ve spent 35 years in
radio -- mostly with public and/or community stations where musical formats
are often eclectic. Today I continue in that vein as a volunteer host,
Monday evenings on “Jazz 89”, KUVO, Denver (www.kuvo.org).
More on the Jazz component later.
we’ve already polled classmates on our favorite songs (45s) during high
school (Aretha‘s anthem that she borrowed from Otis Redding remains the one
for me), I’d like to focus on how the listening focus shifted for many of us
before and after graduation to the expanding world of the album as art. The
times dictated the change.
by civil unrest, an unpopular war, and changes in our social fabric that no
one could have predicted (even a year before we graduated), you could hear
the world evolving through music that was churning; a new sound canvas that
blended art, angst, politics, sex, and more into a new framework, or
concept, for music collected on an album. For some of us, bubble gum was
replaced in our senior year at high school by the Doors’ Break On Through
(To The Other Side) and Light My Fire; the Zappa anthem
Trouble Every Day; and a heightened edge to what the lads from Liverpool
created (the chasm even went as far for some people to pose the following
question: The Beatles, before or after Rubber Soul?)
proceeding further, I have to acknowledge what I call the backlash factor,
typified by public radio commentator Ian Shoals. Upon the 20th
anniversary of the release of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper, Shoals blurted
during one of his commentaries: “take Sgt. Pepper and your concepts
and keep them to yourself; give me the Ramones”. Others may have said: “give
me John Denver”. I’ll stick with the concepts for now, thanks.
ever you are on the listening spectrum, as we slow down we tend to settle in
with whatever is comfortable. Whether it’s Frank Sinatra or Frank Zappa,
let’s hope we’ll keep room to accept something new or different, whether it
be music, the people we call friends, or new ideas.
FROM SINGLES TO SINGLES
past forty years, we have come full circle as a culture in the way we listen
to music. We are part of the last graduating class that depended almost
solely on top-40 radio as our connecting point to the culture around us. The
45-single was considered the gold standard for listening and relating to our
peers. Today we find ourselves in a world where (again) the single takes
center stage with the ability to download only singles for your iPod. More
so than at any time over the last 40 years, this makes it difficult for
anyone to produce entire albums worth remembering and cherishing.
springtime leading up to our graduation, George Martin was busy producing
Sgt. Pepper on a three track recording machine, making it all the more
amazing. That achievement lays to rest any notion that creating such art has
anything to do with more sophisticated recording technology which followed.
For the album art connoisseur, today’s iPod revolution is a curse, but there
is consolation in the fact that the variety of music being downloaded onto
iPods does not stick to the stale rules which ruled Top 40. Today’s variety
includes anything from around the world -- old or new -- including, amongst
the younger generation, a resurgence in the popularity of Bob Dylan. Still,
the decline of the importance of the album as a work of art has many of us
shaking our collective heads.
what is album art? The concept album? It’s defined in different ways. In the
early 60’s and before that, pop albums were not nearly as likely to be
considered complete works of art, or those produced to make some sort of
social or political statement. For some of us, it highlights the work of a
producer, songwriter(s), or performer(s) with a signature sound. Carole King
was one of the first artists to achieve this with the widely accepted
Tapestry. It set the table for a procession of often daring artists.
other people a concept album requires something more, such as a collection
of songs with music and lyrics depicting common themes or threads. Marvin
Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On is a prime example of this effort; a
collection of songs tied to the human condition in which drug abuse and
escapism, poverty, and pollution of the planet are examined with the urgency
that normally isn’t linked to a pop record. More recently, Los Lobos reached
a milestone in this regard with Kiko; depicting life as seen through
the eyes of several souls roughing it out on the streets of the East L.A.
barrio. There are countless other examples out there.
the month we graduated, the pop album revolution hit full stride with the
release of Sgt. Pepper. It ushered in the “Summer of Love”, The
Monterrey Pop Festival, and new strange things heard on the FM band. By
autumn ‘67, FM stations around the country programmed a portion or all of
their schedules with “album rock”. It was a watershed moment for the music
industry and our culture. Listening choices multiplied and (for the
business-conscious person) music markets expanded in ways unimagined a few
short years before. The change in the order scared a lot of us, while a
growing number of us flocked to concert halls and/or “psychedelic dungeons”
(as Mr. Zappa would say) to take it all in (The Trauma and Electric Factory
in Philly, and Fillmore East in New York were favorite haunts of mine). By
1971, the first rock band without a “single” to its name sold out Madison
Square Garden (hint: the group was led by this wily character who hopped
around the stage on one leg while playing the flute).
movement began while we were in tenth grade. It shattered the notion that
every pop song had a 3 minute limit for airplay. One could argue that a
starting point for this mindset came in 1965 with Bob Dylan’s Highway 61
and its 6 minute single “Like A Rolling Stone”. Dylan’s masterpiece
(just one of many) set the proverbial musical bar higher for the Beatles,
who answered later that year with Rubber Soul. That stirred the
amazing rumblings in Brian Wilson to abandon his safe surf music formula and
create his monument Pet Sounds. It dramatically heightened an amazing
musical synergy between Lennon-McCartney and Brian Wilson (as Paul McCartney
will attest), a force that led to Sgt. Pepper and could have gone
much further, if not for Capitol Records pulling the plug on Wilson’s
Smile project (June ‘67). With both the Beatles and Beach Boys in the
Capitol stable, Capitol execs were doing their best to kill a goose that was
laying golden eggs for them. After Smile was shelved, the Beatles
created great music, but the outside competition factor was greatly
diminished; inner squabbling ensued; and their days as THE BAND were
numbered. The last hurrah for this musical ping-pong match came with the
release of “Hey Jude“; the answer to “Good Vibrations“. The highly
competitive synergy factor vanished, but not before the groundwork was laid
for those to follow (check out the comments of Lindsay Buckingham of
Fleetwood Mac and how Pet Sounds inspired him). Here is a list of
albums released or recorded in 1967; providing quite a launching pad:
– The Beatles
Than Yesterday - The Byrds
Music for the Mind and Body – Country Joe and the Fish
looking at this list, I cannot help but inject something about the influence
of Jazz on a key portion of it. The first time I heard Are You
Experienced at a friend’s house, the earth moved. After the initial
astonishment subsided, I thought of the great Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery,
who had just passed away. With his simultaneous playing of octave notes in a
much louder, more spacious and electrified blues-tinged manner than Wes,
Jimi Hendrix took a jazz guitar concept further out than anyone could have
listening tastes were formed in the late 50’s while listening to WILM’s
Mitch Thomas, who during his evening program played the music of Louis
Jordan, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, The Coasters, Etta James, and Jimmy
Smith. Another jolt came in 1970 during Navy days which included travel to
the Caribbean, Africa, India, the Persian Gulf, and Red Sea. It locked me in
to listening to “tropical jazz” for the rest of my days.
its inception, Jazz in its many forms and moods has shaped pop music. I
venture to say that when most of us heard The Beatles’ George Harrison or
The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones playing a sitar, we thought it was the first
time a western musical group dabbled in Indian music. Jazz pioneers Eric
Dolphy (on his album Aspects) and John Coltrane (various recordings
made for the Impulse label) integrated Indian music into the jazz lexicon
from 1960, onward. Coltrane’s 1961 soprano sax solo on his piece “India”
served as guarded inspiration for Roger McGuinn as he crafted his
“psychedelic” guitar solo on The Byrd‘s “Eight Miles High”.
“psychedelic” continues to annoy like a sand burr in my shoe. The concept,
often incorporating “spacey” instrumental solos, is a watered down approach
to soloing taken from the “modal jazz” form created by Miles Davis on his
1959 monument Kind Of Blue. A number of jazz soloists (including
Coltrane) expanded on the form; the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers
borrowed the concept, creating a framework for “jam bands”. Miles changed
the world of music several times during his amazing career; Bitches Brew
was another one of those stellar moments, fusing elements of acoustic
instrument jazz improvisation with electric instruments. It laid a
foundation for jazz and pop music which still resonates today.
all of the social, political, and musical tsunamis since ‘67, I can’t help
but wonder how you have processed it all. What music matters to you and why?
How have you received new sounds and musical ideas as they’ve unfolded
through the decades? How has it all shaped your world?
RECOMMENDATIONS: Must see DVDs: Standing in the Shadows of Motown;
Tom Dowd And The Language of Music (an account of Dowd’s engineering
prowess with Atlantic Records); The PBS/Ken Burns series on Jazz, and
the Martin Scorsese series on The Blues and Bob Dylan; The
Concert for George Harrison; The Last Waltz; Stop Making Sense;
and The Howlin Wolf Story, to name a few. POST 60’s albums: (70s) –
What’s Goin On, Marvin Gaye; anything by Stevie Wonder (as he and
Marvin brushed up against the “guiding hand” of Berry Gordy); Joni Mitchell
(every female artist to follow is in her debt); Little Feat; Weather Report
(and the genius of Wayne Shorter); (80’s) – Stevie Ray Vaughn; U-2; The
Pretenders; The Police; (90‘s) – Kiko and other work by Los Lobos;
John Hiatt; Lyle Lovett; Bonnie Raitt; Cassandra Wilson, and Joan Osborne;
and (Today) - an amazing array of “kids“, including Rufus Wainwright; and, a
national treasure still awaiting discovery known as “The Subdudes”.
musical universe is massive; thanks for considering a part of mine. Pete
Simon - email@example.com
fighting complacency is a big deal. It’s been said that politicians who
simplify their message have the most to gain; the day of a “sound bite”
lasting longer than 8 seconds is history. This sub-par standard produces the
same kind of frustration I’d feel when I used to hear a four minute song cut
down to under 3 minutes for air play with the juicy guitar solos missing.
Collectively, we behaved like this in ’67 in the way we viewed long hair on
guys. For too many of us, long haired scraggly looking anti-war protesters
were nothing but a bunch of Commie-duped dirty dope-smoking hippies, blah,
blah. Some of the blame for this simplification is rightfully placed on the
doorstep of mass media blabbermouths and certain print commentators.
Truthfully, the variety amongst those involved in the “counter culture“ is
broad, with people embracing all political parties and walks of life. This
variety is heard in the music and lyrics contained on Pop, R&B, and Country
albums. If we as a nation are still fighting each other in a 1960’s
framework, as some observers say, then taking a fresh look at the last 40
years of music may speed up long overdue healing.
example of developing more clarity: developing a better explanation of the
differences between “hippies” and “freaks”. The differences were often huge.
To get a grip on this overlooked phenomenon, I invite you to read (British
author) Ben Watson’s book: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play; a
book largely about Frank Zappa, but with plenty to say about these times.
The book gave me clearer insight into divisions between hippies and freaks
(Zappa being in the latter camp; blasting hippies and their often overly
passive demeanor and self-destructive drug abuse - it explains why Zappa
hated Sgt. Pepper and why he released an album shortly afterwards
with a satirical album cover panning Sgt. Pepper). The book also
introduced me to the “Situationist” movement throughout Europe. It was an
anti-materialist social movement that was prominent in the 1960’s when
Europeans of our generation had their own issues with authority. Many of
those who embraced the philosophy were avid Zappa fans; Europeans went much
further than Americans in the way they interpreted Zappa lyrics to fit their
anti-materialism stance (while in Europe, Zappa’s encounters with the press
were often far more intellectually advanced than here). It’s heady stuff.
I’ll be the first to say Zappa had his faults, but reading the book gives
you an interesting way of looking at our time on the planet.
I implore you to take a moment and get out to listen to live music; not as
much at the high-paying concert halls but in your own communities. Support
people just getting off the musical ground. Much has been said since our
graduation about the positive impact music has on enhancing the learning
experience. That includes not only the up and coming generation, but you. We
owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to try.
Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking
lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1967 - Vice principal comes over to look at Jack's shotgun. He goes to
his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2007 - School goes into lockdown, and FBI is called. Jack is hauled off
to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for
traumatized students and teachers.
Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1967 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up
best friends. Nobody goes to jail; nobody is arrested; nobody is
2007 - Police called. SWAT team arrives. Johnny and Mark are arrested
and charged with assault. Both are expelled even though Johnny started
Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.
1967 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the
principal. He returns to class, sits still, and does not disrupt class
2007 - Jeffrey is diagnosed with ADD and given huge doses of ritalin.
Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has
a learning disability.
Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his dad gives him
a whipping with his belt.
1967 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to
college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is placed in
foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister
that she remembers being abused herself, and their dad goes to prison.
Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.
Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1967 - Mark shares aspirin with principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 - Police called. Mark is expelled from school for drug violations.
Car is searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1967 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear
nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for
graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state
school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core
curriculum. Pedro is given a diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns
for a living because he cannot speak English.
Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July,
puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant bed.
1967 - Ants die.
2007 - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security, and
FBI called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI
investigates parents; siblings are removed from home; computers
confiscated. Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never
allowed to fly again.
Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He
is found crying by his teacher, Heather. Heather hugs him to comfort him.
1967 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Heather is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.
She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of
Click on “watch video” link and scroll to
Scrapple Rapa Scrapple Attn: Mail Order Service P.O.
Box 219 Bridgeville, DE 19933
For shipping charges call 800-338-4727 or send us an e-mail to
Watch the video
Scrapple is the quintessential Philadelphia comfort food (along with
cheesesteaks), tracing its origins to the Pennsylvania Dutch. But there are
dark rumors about what parts of the pig find their way into this
"Philadelphia pate." Ed calls on master chef Jim Coleman to clear up the
suspicions, and to show you how to whip up a batch of scrapple yourself.
By Stephanie Shapiro
Originally published October 13, 2004
Under the supervision of "General" Jerry W. Jones, the men of
Union United Methodist Church went to work Saturday, grilling 240 pounds
of scrapple slabs for the annual "Apple-Scrapple All-You-Can Eat
While the $5.50 meal also included stewed apples, sausage and pancakes,
it was the scrapple, of course, that took center stage at the fund-raiser,
held as part of the annual Apple-Scrapple Festival in the Eastern Shore
town of Bridgeville, Del.
"We prefer to call it 'square steak,' " Jones said of the
rectangular slices cut from the solidified pudding of pork snouts, hearts
and other remains mixed with cornmeal or wheat flour that is popular in
Delaware, Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania.
Living in Bridgeville, best known as home to the RAPA Scrapple company,
the country's largest scrapple producer, is perhaps conducive to a
self-deprecating sense of humor.
But that doesn't mean that scrapple gets a bad rapple in Bridgeville,
where red, white and blue scrapple wrappers are displayed with the same
pride as the American flag.
Thousands of festival goers crammed into the town not only to eat
scrapple, but also to carve it, toss it and see, up close, the role it has
played in Bridgeville's heritage. The scrapple celebration, which began
Friday afternoon and concluded Saturday night, also featured craft
displays, street rods, live bluegrass music and a staggering amount of
other food offerings, including the ample apple dumplings that represented
the festival's other celebrated product. T.S. Smith & Sons, an apple
orchard and packinghouse, is also located in the Sussex County town.
In its 13 years, the Apple-Scrapple Festival has ballooned from a small
event that attracted a modest crowd of about 2,500 to a sprawling affair
that lures more than 30,000 visitors, says Donna Seefried, RAPA's vice
Jones, the rest of the Methodist men, their wives and children were
happy to serve 700 guests who plowed through mountains of the scrapple,
which was donated by RAPA. Earnings from the breakfast will go toward the
church and community activities.
On Apple-Scrapple Festival day, the vacuum-packed product, made from
scraps that might otherwise be discarded, spurred a windfall as well for
the Bridgeville Senior Center, the Woodbridge High School Music Boosters
and the Bridgeville Charge United Methodist Churches (a coalition of three
churches). These groups also served hundreds of pounds of crisply fried
scrapple. Their version came on white bread, accompanied by cheese, hot
sauce, ketchup, mustard, grape jelly, apple butter or syrup, according to
Bridgeville resident Charles Smith ordered his $3 scrapple sandwich
from the United Methodist church booth, and slathered it with ketchup. He
eats scrapple every day, Smith says. "I've been having it all my
Until a back injury forced him to retire, Smith worked at RAPA as well.
"I'll always like it," he says of the local delicacy.
Smith's friend, Derrick Cuffee, of Greenwood, Del., ordered a scrapple
sandwich, too. No ketchup for him, though. "I just like mine
plain," he said.
Scrapple is a versatile product. You can fry it, naturally. But you
also can carve it, as the festival's scrapple-carving contest
demonstrated. Competition was fierce among a small field of contestants
who had to produce a work of art from 2 pounds of raw, chilled scrapple in
Pegeen Brown, a vivacious kindergarten teacher from Seaford, Del., came
with her tools: a paring knife, tiny spatula and an implement for picking
crab. Two years ago, "I made three pigs [from her scrapple block]. I
was so proud," she said. My sister made Shamu. My next-door neighbor
outdid us with The Thinker. I never thought I could have so much fun with
This year, as November's election drew near, Brown wasted no time
molding a Republican elephant and a Democratic donkey facing off over an
apple on which she inscribed: "Vote."
It was the 13th year of competition for Brown's arch rival, John
Tomeski, a firefighter and Bridgeville resident who came equipped with a
Leatherman tool. He went about creating an Elvis-like pig, complete with
guitar and finely articulated locks, etched with a serrated blade.
Tomeski's masterpiece replicated this year's Apple-Scrapple logo
featuring an image of a snouted Presley cruising in a street rod with his
snouty girlfriend. (The firefighter also created a papier-mache King Pig
for his front yard.)
Other carving-contest entries included a mare and her foal, a pair of
praying hands and a model of the local high school's baseball stadium.
Dane Sears of Gambrills took first place and $30 with his pig and apple,
which included the campaign slogan: "Vote Apple-Scrapple 2004."
It was a little less partisan than last year's winner, which was a
likeness of George W. Bush, according to Renie Jefferson, a RAPA employee
and carving-contest judge. "It looked just like him," Jefferson
Brown came in third, and a crushed Tomeski finished out of the running.
"They do some amazing things with a pound of scrapple,"
Seefried said last week before the festival started. She's not as
impressed with another festival event called "scrapple chunkin',"
which involves the slinging of 2- and 5-pound scrapple blocks in a field
behind Woodbridge High School. "The chunkin' I don't really approve
of," Seefried says. "I don't want to associate our product with
being thrown and chunked."
The fledgling sport is far from disrespectful to scrapple, said Rob
Perciful, Seaford High School track coach who coordinated the scrapple
chunkin' contest. As he supervised contestants who wrapped their scrapple
in plastic bags and sealed them with duct tape to prevent scrapple
explosions, Perciful predicted, "This is going to be an Olympic event
First, though, there were some bugs to work out. After a close
encounter between a tossed scrapple loaf and a spectator, Perciful warned,
"You don't ever want to be in the way of an errant scrapple tosser.
It may permanently alter your personality."
The world of food is always changing and innovating, with chefs
flitting from one trendy ingredient to the next. But sometimes, I don't
want change. I want what I know. I want what is good.
The Charcoal Pit has been around since 1956, and there's been no
bending to trends or flitting from one ingredient to the next. And, for
me, that's just the way they should be.
If you grew up in Delaware, you've been to the Charcoal Pit. Whether
your grandparents took you there when you were little or you went with a
group of friends to split a Kitchen Sink after a football game, you know
the Charcoal Pit.
When I walked in last week for lunch, The Pit felt the exact same as it
did when my grandparents took me there when I was a little girl with
pig-tails. The seats in the booths are still covered with maroon vinyl.
The booths along the outside walls still have the jukeboxes right in the
booths. The smell of french fries and hamburgers still wafts through the
entire restaurant and they still have candy in the glass case under the
Our trio converged on the Charcoal Pit for a mid-week lunch, fueled by
cravings of milkshakes and hamburgers. The menu is how regulars will
remember it, filled with burgers and sandwiches.
One of us started with what Charcoal Pit is most famous for -- their
burger. If you're going to get a burger at The Pit, the only one to get is
the Pit Deluxe ($4.95, 4 oz; $5.50, 8 oz.). The burger has that
charcoal-grilled flavor that you'd expect at a place with the word
"charcoal" in the name. Waitresses top the burger with iceberg lettuce
they rip right off the head of lettuce and tomato. If you want something
else, just ask.
If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, do yourself a favor and try one
here. Their grilled cheese ($3.25) isn't a fancy grilled cheese with
tomatoes and fancy-shmancy cheeses. It's white bread with American cheese,
cut in half diagonally and served with a slice of dill pickle on top of
each half. In this case, simple is better.
I thought about getting their chardog ($2.50), which is the
best-tasting hot dog you can get unless you're grilling it on your deck
yourself. They also make a good chicken cheesesteak ($4.75), but what I
really wanted was their cheesesteak, which they call a ribeye ($4.75).
Whiz was a choice, but I've always gotten my cheesesteaks at The Pit with
American cheese, and I didn't see why I should change that now.
The cheesesteak isn't chopped, but is stacked high with full pieces of
meat. (Think more Geno's than Pat's.) The roll was soft enough to bite
into easily, but strong enough to hold up to the cheesesteak inside.
Their french fries ($1.50) are thick, crispy on the inside and filled
with fluffy potato goodness. But don't forget their onion rings ($2.50),
which come out crispy and filled with whole onion slices, not that onion
mush in some onion rings.
Super-thick milkshakes ($3.50) are the standard, and come served in a
metal tin with a glass on the side. Be prepared for at least one person
per table to spill while trying to pour the milkshake. For something a
little different, try the Orange Freeze ($3.75), a milkshake made with
orange sherbert. There's nothing more refreshing than an Orange Freeze.
The Concord Pike location is the original Charcoal Pit, but they do
have three other locations. There's a Charcoal Pit in Pike Creek, one on
Kirkwood Highway near Prices Corner and one in the Fox Run Shopping
If you're looking for a classic ice cream sundae, look no further. They
have everything from butterscotch and chocolate marshmallow sundaes to
their famous Kitchen Sink -- 20 scoops of ice cream and every topping you
JENNIFER MARIE MILLER, Special to The News Journal
"unofficial" mother hen, cheerleader and human
Boyle takes great pride in her Pit.
After all, she is the restaurant's longest-lasting employee
- 47 years and counting.
are nice, tips are good, and the food is great," she
Newport resident, now 74, started her career at the Concord
- the original - in October 1957 after a neighbor asked her
to join the crew.
possesses the beginnings of the CharcoalPit museum - a
collection of invitations to past company Christmas parties,
old advertisements, menus and photos of past and current
co-workers. Many of her co-workers have worked at the CharcoalPit for 10
years or more.
a 1971 issue of Delaware Today with her daughter Marlene on
the cover as part of CharcoalPit's award
for Best of Delaware restaurant. On wax paper and old menus
is a list of co-worker's [employment] anniversary dates that
she's recorded over the years.
a lot of history behind those friendly eyes that now greet
you as part-time cashier on weekdays.
started working the night shift when I was 27 years old
because I wanted extra money for my family and time
away," she said. "And it's a very versatile place
to work, very accommodating to my schedule, so I never
opened in September 1956, one year before Roberta joined the
team, and all four of her children have worked there. Right
now, her granddaughter works the take-out counter.
a family," manager Mary Tielleman said. "We watch
out for each other and we joke and have fun. We have good
customers, young ones coming from a swim meet to older ones
enjoying the old jukeboxes."
who has worked for the company for 11 years, said Boyle is
the mother figure.
stay because of the same reason why people return -
fantastic food, family atmosphere and good service. You know
it's good when you see waitresses from other restaurants
dining here frequently."
said although the CharcoalPit business
has added more locations over the years, she believes the
Concord Pike location is still the most popular and the
remembers, back in 1957 when she started working the 6 p.m.
to 1 a.m. shift, lines for tables went out the door and the
restaurant wasn't surrounded by the commercial sprawl now
located on Concord Pike.
used to be all houses across the street and no McDonald's or
gas stations," she said. "Fairfax [shopping
center] and Howard Johnson were here, but the highway was
smaller with four lanes, not six."
familiar with the current design of the restaurant interior
should note: "We never had the right side [when you
walk in] or the back area. There was a big fountain area,
and the counter used to be real low."
remembers serving their famous milkshakes and root beer in
frosted glasses. Back then, the sundaes were named only
after Brandywine Hundred -area schools like the Claymont
Indian sundae and the P.S. Du Pont Dynamite.
the names of the sundaes have changed, but the ingredients
have stayed the same."
were 45 cents and nighttime was always busy with Brandywine
[Raceway]," she said.
always made our homemade soups, and I used to make the crab
cakes once per week for years until I got arthritis."
to Boyle, one of the Sloan brothers, the original owners,
came up with the crabcake recipe, which has become one of
their most popular items.
known for milkshakes, steak sandwiches and burgers,"
she said. "We never had any children's meals or salads.
Those came later."
still enjoys the customers and says she remembers many
people from decades ago.
people come and tell me that even though they moved away,
they always stop in when they're in town."
she's glad the uniforms have changed to pants because she
admits to not admiring the '50s style pink and aqua
place mats are newer, too. We never had the mats. To me,
it's more to clean up."
Sloan, the only brother left, still visits occasionally.
Today the Pit
is owned by Louis Capano, with Mike Sciota as director of
retirement plans in Boyle's future?
love the menu and I'm very satisfied with my work
experience," she said. "I'll stay as long as I can
like almost anything, but I guess my favorites are the hot
fudge sundaes and the cheeseburgers - ours are the
Roberta Boyle first started working at the original CharcoalPit, the
sundaes on the menu were all named for Brandywine
Hundred-area schools, many of which no longer exist.
Deceased husband, four children; grandchildren
Newport; originally from Tamaqua, Pa. (husband came to
Delaware to work for Atlas)
It's that time of year again. High school and college reunions are scheduled
throughout the spring and early summer, and some attendees are going to the
event with terror in their hearts. There are two common fears. First, "will I
see an old flame who still interests me, and will I worry about how she or he
will react to me?" Or, "what should I do if I see someone I really want to
Some people have so many fears they end up not going - and then have regrets.
This would be the wrong choice. After all, these occasions come along rarely,
and with just a little preparation (physical and mental) they can be a triumph
instead of a tragedy. Let's first take the case of the Romantic Love of Your Life Who Got Away
or The One You Always Lusted After and Now
You Will See Her/Him Again.
first worry is natural; "How do I look?" "How will I come across?" Everyone
wants to be thinner, less bald, more accomplished and infinitely charming. The
good news is that most of us aren't. And most realize that after 10, 20, or 30
years or more, appropriate physical adjustments will have taken place. If you
are an exceptionally fine specimen, you're in luck, and your reunion should be
terror-free. But even if you are not as gorgeous as you once were, or as
successful as you would like, the Romantic Icon you hope to see at the reunion
may still be interested in you. After all, we're all older, wiser and have
interesting tales to tell about our lives. Just make sure you aren't a total
tale of woe (no one really wants to hear it and it will definitely be a
turn-off) and concentrate on being relaxed and confident. A comfortable
confidence is always an attractive trait that will easily overwhelm the
importance of a few extra pounds.
you must be mentally prepared. You will probably see someone who looks older (or
younger!) than you imagined. You don't want to react to someone's unexpected
appearance in an insulting or over enthusiastic way. Likewise, other people's
assessments of how you look or how much they want to reconnect isn't
predictable. You need to be ready for someone to be more interested in you than
you expect - and also to be less interested in you than you hope.
We all carry around a lot of myths and impressions about how important we were
to someone during those years. Sometimes these are happily confirmed, and we're
the person they came to the reunion to see. But other times, we discover we were
just a blip (if that) on their radar screen. We have to take it, accept it, and
not be crushed. After all, a lot has happened since graduation. We are living in
the present and can't let ourselves be haunted by old wounds, or a fantasy that
a romance between seventeen year olds will bloom afresh 20 years later. It could
happen, but you can't count on it.
Think of a reunion as an
anthropological trip. Everything is interesting, but it may not be relevant to
your daily life. The key is to go for the experience and not build up so much
hope that you stand a good chance of being deflated. Even if there does seem to
be some extra special warmth coming from that certain someone, don't go
overboard. Use the reunion as an opening salvo. You can always email later and
develop the relationship further online.
And what if you are dreading seeing someone? Is there an old lover you fear who
still carries your picture? Did someone steal your high school sweetheart away?
If you want to avoid someone, come with a partner, friend or date and give him
or her instructions about who to look out for and how to act as your blocker.
Your reunion buddy can distract any dreaded classmate while you make your
getaway. If the person you fear brings up painful memories, use the reunion as a
way to finally get over them, and move on. You don't have to be friendly, but
this isn't the time for revenge either. Be cool. You don't want to give an old
enemy the satisfaction of seeing you distressed. You're beyond all that!
Ok, so reunions aren't easy. But they can be wonderful, offering the possibility
of reconnecting with important people from earlier in your life, rekindling a
romance, or just helping you put certain experiences and people behind you.
The owner of the
Stone Balloon, the landmark bar on Newark’s Main Street, has submitted
preliminary plans to the city which call for demolishing the tavern and concert
hall and replacing it with condominiums and retail businesses, city officials
Jim Baurle wants to build a four-story facility, with 85 luxury condominiums,
5,000 square feet of retail space and two levels of parking for more than 200
cars, according to subdivision plans filed this week.
Newark City Manager Carl Luft said today the subdivision plans show that the
existing building is to be torn down. The Stone Balloon’s building is more
than 100 years old and was formerly home to the Washington House Hotel and
“Once we receive the required color renditions of the proposed facade, we’ll
have a better picture of how they intend to design the front porch and other
buildings,” Luft said.
Mayor Vance Funk has said he expects residents and city officials would be
concerned about whether the outside of the Stone Balloon would remain the same.
Baurle and his attorney, Mark Sisk, have declined comment until an architectural
rendering can be submitted to the city sometime next week.
The development would include the existing Stone Balloon building at 115 East
Main St., as well as buildings at 116 Delaware Ave. and 118-126 Delaware Ave.
Those buildings include a one-story office building and a rental home. The plans
indicate that these structures would also be removed, Luft said.
The earliest the city’s planning commission could review plans would be Dec.
7. City Council would have the final say on how the property could be used. New
city regulations require a special-use permit for all downtown apartments. The
applicant will also need subdivision approval and a rezoning.
If built, the residences would overlook Main Street and Delaware Avenue. Plans
are to have units available by spring 2006. The ground-floor retail stores would
be accessible from Main Street, while the residences would be entered from
In the 1970s, the Stone Balloon was known as Newark’s premier rock ’n’
roll bar. It now books mostly local bands. Acts through the years have included
Hall & Oates, the Pointer Sisters, Hootie & the Blowfish and Barenaked
See complete coverage in Saturday’s News Journal. Contact Michele Besso at
838-3187 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Delawareans nostalgic as they make final trips to state institution
By ERIC RUTH
The News Journal
"Strawbs" at the Merchandise
On Joyce Miller's jacket, there is a badge. On the badge, there is a
star. Inside the star, a diamond shines.
As she touches that diamond, awarded for superior customer service,
Miller speaks with joy, and a trace of pride, about the 17 years spent on
the floor of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store at Christiana
Mall. The sales associate treasures her many days there with co-workers
and customers, who became a family of sorts to the 71-year-old.
These days are full of bittersweet thoughts for employees like Miller
and thousands of Delaware shoppers. By fall, the name that stood in
Delaware for 56 years will be gone, swallowed up in a corporate merger
with Federated Department Stores Inc.
At Strawbridge's Concord Mall and Dover stores, the merger will mean a
name change -- to Macy's, one of Federated's flagships.
At Christiana Mall, which already has a Macy's, it means more of an
end. Starting Sunday, all Strawbridge's merchandise will be liquidated in
a weeks-long sale, and the property put up for sale.
Though no prospective buyers have been announced, retail space at
Christiana Mall is considered prime. The 1.1-million-square-foot mall is
among the most profitable in the country, producing sales-to-square-foot
ratios nearly three times the industry average for a mall that size.
Federated says it is working "very hard" to find new jobs in the
company for the Christiana Mall store's 191 employees. Still, there is a
sense of loss among workers and customers, a feeling that some small part
of Delaware's identity will be lost, and that old relationships will
For many, the memories won't leave so soon. As a child, Rosemarie
Wilkinson cherished her trips to the Christiana store soon after it opened
in the late 1970s. "I remember that store like it was yesterday," she
said. Chewing gummy bears, she would pitch pennies into the fountains.
One wish even came true. For the past two years, Wilkinson has been a
sales associate at the Christiana Mall store, where she found an
atmosphere of camaraderie and compassion. For one employee, that meant
help from fellow workers when his apartment was struck by fire. "It's like
a family away from home," Wilkinson said.
Partly, that's because the store's work force boasts many loyal
workers, said manager Kathy Weaver. Those longtime workers say they came
to know longtime customers well. On Tuesday, employees spoke of people
they'll miss -- the elderly strollers, the minister who stops by every
couple of weeks just to say hello.
Those people have been reacting with alarm to the news that
Strawbridge's is leaving, sales associates said.
Several shoppers said they will miss Strawbridge's for its well-kept
and nicely stocked aisles, and lamented the potential lack of diversity at
the mall. "I'm going to miss the two stores, because what you couldn't
find at Macy's, you could find at Strawbridge's," said Jenny Socha, who
was picking out a wristwatch Tuesday.
For some, it's little solace knowing there will still be a store, at
least for some months, in Brandywine Hundred. It's too far for Aleph
Woolfolk, 81, of Newark. "I probably will miss it some. ... But I will not
go up to Concord Mall."
Anne Madara, a Strawbridge's shopper for 40 years, will surely remember
the store for its "fabulous" sales and for its people. "The help here is
always very accommodating. I'm going to miss them. I hate to see them
Merchandise at the Strawbridge's in Christiana Mall will be liquidated
in a public sale starting Sunday. The sale will continue until the stores
closes its doors for good, which is expected no later than April 15. The
store's Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Customers can continue using Strawbridge's gift cards at any Macy's or
Strawbridge's location, including Concord Mall and Dover Mall. Beginning
in February, Macy's and Strawbridge's charge cards can be used
interchangeably. Strawbridge's customers can expect to receive Macy's
replacement cards in summer or early fall.
Since 1950s, venerated institution served state
During the last 56 years, Americans have come to know one certainty in
life – nothing seems to stay the same. Wars give way to peace; fads fall
prey to new fashions; and generations grow to raise a generation of their
But through all those years, there always has been a Strawbridge &
Clothier store in Delaware.
For families in the 1950s, Christmas memories often included a trip to
Strawbridge’s at the now-faded Merchandise Mart, on Governor Printz
Boulevard north of Wilmington. Through the 1960s and ’70s, two more stores
in New Castle County would open, supplemented by the chain’s subsidiary
Clover stores. Eventually, the Philadelphia retailer extended its reach
all the way to Dover.
That first store and the two Clover locations in Delaware would not last
until the end, but the family-owned company was sure to keep a proud
outlook through the rise and fall of its fortunes. When a hostile suitor
attempted to take over the company in 1986, Strawbridge’s responded with
an in-your-face newspaper ad: “No sale,” it said in large letters. “No
way. Not today. Not tomorrow.”
For Strawbridge’s, that tomorrow eventually came. By fall, the name itself
will disappear, ending a legacy that reaches back to 1868, when the first
Strawbridge & Clothier opened on Market Street in Philadelphia.
For that city, it’s a loss that recalls the closing of the venerated
Wanamaker store in Center City. In Delaware, some would argue, memories of
those two stores run just as deep.