Volume Twenty Nine, Number 4
Pond restored, mud gone, fish and birds return
With the removal of 67 truckloads of silt, the long-delayed restoration of Beaumont's pond is now complete. Ann Louise Strong, Beaumont’s Green Committee Chair and resident of a villa adjacent to the pond, watched rejoicing as the work progressed and kept a diary. These are excerpts from her account. Friday, February 6th: Toth Bros. Clearing & Dredging arrives to dredge Beaumont’s pond, where increasing silt threatens fish, insects, plants, birds—its entire ecology. Saturday, February 7th: A giant yellow dredge with a 65-foot arm (aka CAT 200 Hydraulic Excavator) arrives, along with a tri-axle truck and storage trailer. Monday, February 9th: Three Toth men lay mats between the pond and Gatehouse Road to protect the ground from the dredge’s weight. The oak slat mats measure 10 by 15 feet and weigh 1,000 pounds each. At the inlet, the men install a pump they link to a long hose running beside the woods to the outlet. This hose will carry runoff from neighboring properties and our woods, bypassing the pond. The pond’s small-mouth bass and sunfish will live in a tank near the pond until work is done. Cold weather brings snow and sleet. Tuesday, February 10th: By 10 a.m. bottom mud is visible at the inlet end. Paul Conboy, Beaumont's electrician, has installed electric lines between Villa 13 (empty) and a new electrical system at the pond’s southern edge. Toth installs a drainpipe near the deep-end outlet. Toth’s Lenny Sanchez checks it, riding the dredge bucket. A bubbler is aerating the surrounding waters to forestall ice buildup. Ice covers the pond’s middle. Wednesday, February 11th: No fish, turtles, or frogs yet seen. Two pairs of ducks swim near the bubbler. Once most of the water is pumped out, the dredge will scoop up Pond continued on page 3
SPRING! Captured by Richard Stephens in Louise Carter's Garden.
France knights Alvan Markle for WWII military service
Alvan Markle III
Alvan Markle III has been named a “Chevalier” (Knight) of the Legion of Honor by the President of the French Republic. The award was presented by French General Vincent Cousin in a ceremony last month at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., “as a sign of France’s gratitude for your personal contribution to the liberation of our country during World War II.” Markle continued on page 4
Learning to accept help has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a person who takes pride in being independent. Along with this was learning to ask for help when needed. At Beaumont, I have found people not only willing to help, but pleased to be of assistance. Many of us here are no longer able to do simple things like picking up items from the floor, or cleaning up a spill. Which brings me to a problem with coffee service in the Bar. Food is dropped, or coffee is spilled, and then walked on. If you drop or spill, and can’t bend or squat or otherwise do what’s needed, I’ve discovered how easy and pleasant it is to ask for help and get it. Working together we can keep the new carpet looking fresh and clean!
Your March article “Beaumont reveals plans for new option to help residents prolong independence” by Lynn Plasha, Vice President of Health Services, presented merely a concept of Beaumont’s Management in conjunction with our Health Care Committee not only to better serve our residents, but to allow them to remain independent as long as possible. A lot needs to happen before Beaumont’s proposed version of “Aging in Place” is implemented: 1. The feedback received at the March 2015 Town Meeting needs to be evaluated; 2. The proposed plan will need to be reviewed by the Health Care Committee; and 3. Approval by the Beaumont Retirement Community Inc.’s (BRCI’s) and Beaumont Retirement Services Inc.’s (BRSI’s) boards of directors needs to be obtained. Even though the article as presented to The Beaumont News was premature, and the structure of the program may change as it evolves through the above process, Beaumont’s Management is confident that it will provide a service that is not only essential, but will be utilized by the residents of today as well as tomorrow.
—Marian Lockett-Egan, Chairman of House Committee Editor's Response: With Marian’s letter newly deposited on the editor’s desk one recent morning, I was reminded to head for the Bar for coffee and a glazed doughnut. It was not one of my better days. First, reaching up for a paper cup from the stacks above the counter, I sent not one but several stacks of cups rolling in different directions on the parquet floor in the hall. I started to creak slowly downward, hands outstretched. Before I could get all the way down, however, Ann Schellenger and Mollie Drexler (and I think someone else) were there beside me, picking up cups and telling me not to worry, they would take care of this. Finally seated, I bit into my doughnut. Thought I felt a piece fall to the carpet. Looked all around. Couldn’t see it. Decided it had been my imagination. Zap! Sen. Dick Tilghman was behind me with a folded newspaper, reaching under my chair for the fallen chunk. It was not one of my better days. But Marian was right!
—Joseph J. Peduzzi, President
In Memoriam Raymond L. Freudberg March 5, 2015
Joan Willson March 8, 2015
Richard P. Cancelmo, M.D. March 9, 2015
Richard J. Novo March 13, 2015
Members of the Beaumont Community extend deepest sympathy to their families and friends. BEAUMONT NEWS The Beaumont News is published by the residents and staff of the Beaumont Retirement Community, 601 N. Ithan Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 Editor Associate Editor and Production Manager Assistant Editor Graphic Designer Photo Editor Roving Reporter Events Manager Proofreader Circulation Manager
Mary Graff John Hall Ginny Rivers TJ Walsh Louise Hughes Wistie Miller Kim Norrett Jennie Frankel Barbara O’Brien
The BN is published monthly 10 times a year, October through July. Contributions are welcome, provided they are the contributor’s own work. The deadline for each issue is the 10th of the preceding month. E-mail to Mary Graff at firstname.lastname@example.org and mgraff@BeaumontRetirement.com, or hand in at the Front Desk.
Passover begins April 3
three years, a 13th month called Adar II is included in the calendar right before the month of Nisan. Over the course of a 19-year cycle, this “extra” month occurs in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years. Thus, in the year 2008, one of the years with an extra month, the extra month caused Passover to fall nearly 30 days after Easter.
By Elias Burstein Passover is a Biblically mandated eight-day holiday, which begins at sundown of the evening before the 14th (full moon) day of the Hebrew lunar-calendar month of Nisan. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery. Passover is defined by verses in the Bible (the Torah): “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten” (Exodus 13.3) “and you shall tell your son on that day, ‘it is because of what God did for me when He took me out of Egypt’.” (Exodus 13:8). In 2015, Passover starts at sundown on April 3 (Good Friday) and ends at sundown on April 11. (All Jewish holidays and the Sabbath start and end at sundown.) The Passover Seder (meaning order, arrangement) is a Jewish ritual feast that is held on the first and second nights of Passover. In 2015 the first Seder takes place in the evening of April 3, and the second Seder takes place in the evening of April 4. While many Jewish holidays revolve around the synagogue, the Seder is conducted in the family home. The Seder includes drinking of four cups of wine, eating matzah and partaking of symbolic foods. Families and friends (including those of other faiths) gather around the table to read the Haggadah. The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, as well as special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs. Each participant receives a copy. Men and women are equally eligible to participate in the Passover Seder, and in many homes, participants take turns reciting the text of the Haggadah either in the original Hebrew or in translation. The Passover Seder has been a primary vehicle for the transmission of the Jewish faith from one generation to the next, and from grandparent to child. Attending the Seder and eating matzah during Passover is a widespread custom in the Jewish community, even among those who are not otherwise religiously observant, and it is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world. Easter is based on the solar calendar. It is dated as the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, which occurs between March 22 and April 25. Passover, on the other hand, is based on the Hebrew calendar, a lunar calendar that has twelve 28-day months. Every two or
Photo by Ian Ballard
INTREPID DUO: While couch potatoes watched and wondered during last month's snows, Jean Homeier and Norma Fabian took to their skis.
Pond continued from page 1 mud and load it onto trucks. It will go to a field near King of Prussia, to be mixed with dirt to make topsoil. By noon a muddy slope is exposed below the cattails growing on the woods side. Just before sunset four Canada geese come for a look. Thursday, February 12th: Ice patches. Deep brown mud. The dredge scoops mud onto trucks and carries Lenny mid-pond to check the drainpipe. Grounds Director Mark Hritz reports he can install a second bubbler near the inlet after dredging is done. Friday, February 13th: Morning dawns bright but cold at 8 degrees, wind at 20 mph. Little water is left; the pond bottom looks slushy. Dredging continues at the outlet end. Some mud gets dumped at the far side, forming a slope that drains muddy water. Saturday, February 14th thru Tuesday, February 17th: Weather cold and windy; heavy snow on Tuesday. No work on the pond. Tuesday, February 17th: Green Committee Vice Pond continued on page 7
Markle continued from page 1
Doc, in romantic springtime mood, ponders the gut of a ground squirrel By Dean "Doc" Snyder What kind of fool am I? Not the Sammy Davis Jr. type of fool. I am the kind of fool who delights in slipping and sliding in the snow among the few maple trees on the Beaumont campus, intent on drilling holes in their sides with the assurance that come spring, as the trees slowly awaken to another year of growth, the sap will begin to flow. And being a hopeless romantic, I find myself comparing this
General Vincent Cousin makes the presentation at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. Similar language accompanied presentation of the Croix de Guerre (with vermeil star) from General Charles de Gaulle to Alvan in 1945. On that occasion, he was thanked for “exceptional war services rendered in the course of operations during the Liberation of France.” Among his eight other commendations and “I was there” (Alvan’s words) awards is the European Campaign Medal with battle stars for the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes (the Bulge) and Central Europe campaigns. “It’s really not for me,” Alvan said in February when he received a letter notifying him of his most recent award. “I’ll be representing a lot of good men who are no longer with us.” The October 2013 issue of The Beaumont News, on file in the Music Room with other back issues, contains a detailed account of Alvan’s sometimes hair-raising contributions during World War II.
Photo by Richard Stephens
Doc's sap collecting rig
Hibernation continued on page 6
Who was Rufus Hill? By Dudy Fergusson
He was an Inventor and worked for the CamdenAtlantic Railroad. He invented the “Spark Arrester,” which was part of the original “front” used for the Baldwin Locomotive. When the Mr. Austin of Beaumont’s Mansion was president, Rufus Hill was on his Board of Directors. Mr. Hill’s first article was published by The Journal of the Franklin Institute, “devoted to Science and the Mechanical Arts,” in 1883, entitled “Rufus Hill’s Spark Arrester.” He was widely respected by the railroad community of the late 1880s, particularly by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. His approach to engineering earned him the grand title of “Master Mechanic.” I enjoy knowing that Mr. Austin and Rufus knew each other and that Rufus Hill also walked around some of the Mansion rooms that we are now enjoying. I wish I had known Rufus—he was my maternal great-grandfather. Think of all the tracks we could have traveled over!
Staff celebrates 10-to-25-year anniversaries. 20 Years
Kelly Phasavath, Laundry
Clockwise: Barrington Hill, Food Services; Rachel Debus, Accounting; Connie Yu, Nursing; Maritza Farquharson, Nursing; and Mary Wells, Human Resources.
Clockwise: Althea Johnson, Nursing; Nicholas Sheen, Maintenance; Gregory Martin, Maintenance; Patricia Branch, Nursing; Feven Kassahun, Housekeeping; Margaret Prout, Nursing; and Sylvia Dwyer, Nursing.
Clockwise: Rosemarie Pringle, Dining and Dietary Services; Korto Williams, Dietary Services; Norma Maxwell, Nursing; and Jenny Hadfield, Recreation.
Hibernation continued from page 4 time of awakening to those in the animal kingdom who also slumber through the cold winter months. One of these is the 13-striped ground squirrel, a relative of our chipmunk who has intrigued microbiologists for years. How do gut flora behave during hibernation? How do they recover when their host resumes food intake? The gut flora of the 13-striped ground squirrel are perfect for study. Why? The little striper is easily kept in a laboratory. He is just as easily forced into hibernation by simply placing him in a refrigerator, and is just as easily awakened by allowing his body temperature to warm up, and furthermore this can be repeated without harming the little guy. Uncovering the secret of microbial behavior is the challenge. And what can be learned about life within the human gut. This is significant, as it is alleged that our gut contains 10 times as many bacteria as there are cells in the entire human body. And it is these bacteria that influence health in many ways, including helping to extract energy from food, building the body’s immune system and protecting against infection with harmful disease-causing bacteria. Consider the cow. Herdsmen are keenly aware of the healthy cow’s habit of regurgitating stomach contents loaded with friendly gut bacteria and macerating the same as an aid to further digestion. This in layman’s terms is known as “chewing her cud” and the very first sign of a cow having lost her cud is a call for action. That is, locate a cow actively chewing her own cud and bare-handedly reach into her mouth and quickly retrieve her cud before she swallows it. Again quickly, place it in the mouth of the patient as a means of seeding her gut with normal flora and helping her to recovery. There is no mystery as to what makes sap flow in the spring, and it is a stretch to compare such a simple phenomenon to emergence from hibernation in the animal world, but that’s just the kind of fool I am.
MARKETING DIRECTOR AUDREY WALSH wears many hats, including shopping for the doggie treats that Beaumont’s canine residents and visitors expect as their right. Above, Audrey at Front Desk on her return from store on a wintry day last month; Trixie, one of three Great Danes who belong to Patricia Dushane’s nephew, Christopher Colket, a frequent visitor, and Gracie, Betty Webb’s Teacup Poodle (she thinks, although she also thinks Gracie may be a mix). Readers who may wonder how anyone can afford to feed three Great Danes may like to know that Chris says it costs him $6 a day. Photos: Audrey and Trixie by Front Desk’s Lakia Archer; Gracie (looking hopefully at Lakia’s hand) by Audrey.
Books rank high on 'Amenities Wanted' list? Beaumont Library has books!
Possession of a library was No. 2, second only to “Transportation,” on a list of “Important Community Amenities” for retirement communities put together as a result of a survey. President Joe Peduzzi presented the list at a recent Town Meeting. Indeed, our newly refurbished Library on the Lower Commons, around the corner from the Ballam Theatre, is extremely inviting. It has new stacks, a beautiful sunny bay window, comfortable chairs and, of course, most important— books! The book collection is a mixture of donations and newly acquired titles put together as a result of following up resident suggestions and studying the books listed weekly in the NY Times Book Review as being worth a look. New acquisitions are on special display. We have a fine collection of Large Print books as well as a large Biography section. We also have a collection of photographs of residents and binders containing the minutes of Board and Support Committee meetings. If one of the Library volunteers is not at the desk, please leave comments, suggestions and, of course, compliments!
CHAMPION AGAIN: Jim Zug, shown here in the Fitness Center, won his 21st national squash title at the Merion Cricket Club last month. Not given to parading his own accomplishments, Jim and his latest win were exposed by Debbie Zug, Jim's self-styled "impressed and adoring wife of 51 years."
— Library Committee Photo by Louise Hughes
Pond continued from page 3 Chairman Rich Stephens and I provide pictures and commentary for the Green Committee meeting. Mark says that when dredging is done, the ground around the pond will be ready for planting. Wednesday, February 18th: Sun! But still quite cold. Dredging resumes at the southern end below the cattails. The bubbler now is running in the tank, bringing oxygen to our fish. They are not eating the food provided. Lenny catches two frogs; he puts them under the Gatehouse Road bridge. Thursday, February 19th: Very cold, lots of wind. Dredging all day, with many truckloads of mud removed. The woods side of the inlet area is scraped and contoured to approximate the 1:3 slope required by Lower Merion Township. Both Mark and senior Toth staffer Jeff Moore are surprised the pond has so much mud. If weather permits, dredging will end tomorrow. Jeff will avoid disturbing the stones put at the inlet to slow incoming runoff. Mark and Jeff exchange recollections dating back 13 years to when Toth came to dredge the pond and stabilize the inlet stream. They installed a stone barricade mid-stream and placed rock-filled gabions to stop erosion along some stream banks. They also planted many trees along the stream and pond. Friday, February 20th thru Sunday, February 22nd: No pond work. Weather terrible: icy cold, freezing rain and snow. Water pours from the inlet stream to the pond. Mark learns that in April we can get a variety of fresh water fish to restock. We jest that with all the winter's salt runoff, we should purchase saltwater fish. Monday, February 23rd: Extreme cold, frequent snow and rain, limit work to making sure the pump near the dam can handle the new water. We celebrate pond restoration with members of our Green Committee, staff and our professional engineer, Gary Brown. Tuesday, February 24th: Dredging completed after eight work days. Wednesday, February 25th: Jeff and Lenny start removing pipes, pumps and slats. Jeff points out that we have met the Township-required depth of eight feet in the pond center. Thursday thru Saturday, February 26th-28th: One final step is depositing eight tons of large “surge stone” rocks in the inlet to slow storm water rushing into the pond. Jeff also has brought three huge gray rocks for the Michael Strong memorial rain garden. They will stay near the dam until spring advances. Jeff provides me with final dredging figures: 67 truck-
Photo by Louise Hughes
ATTENTION RESIDENTS with vases too large for their homes: This one, donated by Ron and Patricia Fraser, now graces the corner by the mailboxes. Our one-woman Flower Committee, Sally Herd, says more such donations would be welcome.
loads of mud were carried away, making 1,139 cubic yards, about the size of my villa, #17, including garage. The original job estimated removing 1,000 cubic yards. Wednesday, March 4th: Coda. The pond is full and water is flowing over the dam. Time for Jeff and Lenny to open the opaque plastic container and learn if the fish survived. With fish nets at the ready they lift the lid. Ten dead fish spotted. Little by little they lower their nets and scoop out healthy, silvery sunfish plus a few bass and release them near the shore. I am assured the fish will find enough food in the flowing water. Restocking will follow. Wednesday, March 11th: First success: Canada geese return. At about 7 a.m. a spring turf war breaks out. Two geese—males, I presume—are in a fierce battle of wings and heads. Surrounding them are five more geese, all squawking to cheer on their champions. The noise ebbs. A half hour later, one pair of geese swims in circles near the inlet, squawking at five other geese on the bank. One of this group squawks constantly and the other four watch and listen. We have seven competitors for a seasonal home for two on a once-again appealing pond.
Welcoming the flowers that bloom in the spring (tra la) CROCUSES, like the bee on the first page, were photographed by Richard Stephens, who reported finding crocuses and snowdrops blooming just below his and Barbara’s apartment, at the intersection of Middle Road and Pasture Lane. “They are the remnants of a large bed planted by my mother more than 20 years ago,” he said. “The chipmunks got most of that bed, but a few come up every year.”
ON WINTER'S SNOWIEST DAY, at the Flower Show, Mia Nicole Burris, granddaughter of our driver Rich Smythe, celebrated her 7th birthday and Tony Starr posed with some tulips.
Mia's photo by her grandfather; Tony's by Louise Hughes.
Newsletter, Beaumont Retirement, Bryn Mawr, PA