V o lu me T h i rt y O ne , N umber 1
Januar y 2017
Meditation hard to explain, but residents who practice it say it really works By Lisa Burkholder, Resident Care Coordinator Enter the Ballam Theater between 1 and 2 p.m. on almost any given Tuesday, and you will encounter a curious sight: five to 10 residents seated in chairs arranged roughly in a circle at the front of the theater. They sit with eyes closed, posture erect, in silence. After 10 to 20 minutes a bell chimes and group members open their eyes, reorient to their surroundings, and begin discussing Photo by Richard Stephens the experience. THE OLD AND THE NEW: Lingering leaves on a now-dormant This is the scene at Beaumont’s weekly Medioak embrace the first snow of the new year. tation Group, which often includes lively inquiry into techniques, purposes and benefits, along with challenges. extended thought, reflection, contemplation.” The group has met regularly for almost two years, Although there are many nuances to the pracprimarily facilitated by Susan DiCerchio from the Won tice, essential to meditation is the cultivation of a certain Institute of Graduate Studies in Glenside, where she mental state, often a singular, attentive focus on what is is working for a master’s degree in Applied Meditation referred to as the “object of meditation.” One’s breath is Studies. the most common object of meditation, but focus can also Meditation is hard to explain in just a few words. be on a bodily sensation, an emotion, a thought, a mantra Susan provided the simplest definition: “continued or Meditation continued on page 2
Photo by Louise Hughes
OOPS—Doc Snyder succumbs to a burst of elfin humor at Mrs. Claus’s Christmas Brunch, landing not exactly voluntarily in Santa’s lap. Elves Mike Bailey (left) and Marcus Taylor gave Doc the push; Howard Barron as Santa provided the lap. Resident Services’ Louise Hughes planned the brunch.
Photo by Louise Hughes
FIRST NIGHT OF HANUKKAH: Eta Glassman, Howard Glassman, Evelyn Rosen, Don Trachtenberg and Paula Spiegel light the menorah candles for the first night.
Meditation continued from page 1 or an image, among other objects. This focus broadens perspective and helps to separate oneself from troubling thoughts or feelings, without retreating from them or denying their existence. Meditation is a very broad term with a rich history dating back to antiquity, primarily in Eastern cultures and most often in a religious context, such as Zen Buddhism, in which spiritual growth was the primary objective. However, as it made its way west and into secular society, the goals have shifted to include stress reduction and relaxation, as well as personal growth and self-knowledge. Whether to help with insomnia or anxiety, out of curiosity and intellectual interest, or to cultivate kindness and compassion within ourselves, the benefits are seemingly endless. Susan began truly practicing meditation 15 years ago. She says it has allowed her to begin to “develop the capacity to not be as reactive to troublesome feelings such as anxiety in the face of uncertainty.” “But it can be different for everyone,” she added. Resident John Lloyd explained: “The biggest benefit for me has been getting to know myself better. It was not until I started the practice that I realized just how much I find myself doing things to avoid knowing myself.” Another regular attendee, Minney Robb, says she joined the group out of curiosity and hoped meditation would help to “declutter my active mind” and sharpen her focus. She says, “It has helped me distin-
guish between what is important and what is not, and what I can change, and what I can’t.” The exact mechanism in the brain responsible for the positive effects of meditation is still unknown, although there has been a boom in neuroscientific research into meditation in the past couple of decades. Minney praises Susan’s handling of the group: “I really like Susan’s flexible approach and attitude,” she said. “She gives us the freedom to explore our thoughts, but she doesn’t let us meander.” Benefits are most readily attained by practicing meditation each day, sometimes multiple times. Residents are encouraged to practice or “sit” on their own, setting aside a space and 10 to 20 minutes at a time or more, to delve deeper into the focus on one’s breath, and the feelings and sensations that may arise throughout the practice. John gave an example: “I find myself using [meditation] for brief spells where you have to wait for something—in line, for an elevator, for the traffic light to turn green. In those moments I focus on my breath.” “It’s been a wonderful, non-threatening experience,” John said, and Minney agreed. “It’s a very congenial group,” she said. “We speak honestly and confidentially, and I feel there is a lot of trust between us.” To be sure, meditation can be intimidating to some. There are misconceptions about what it entails. “My best advice,” Susan said, “is to view meditation as an innately human endeavor, available to every human being at any time—nothing really special.”
In Memoriam Dr. Russell B. Harris December 27, 2016
Francis Gowen December 28, 2016
MARBLED ORBWEAVER SPIDER (Araneus marmoreus) finds a perfect home in Wheeler Woods. Their webs are found in trees, shrubs, tall weeds and grasses in moist, wooded settings, frequently along the banks of streams.
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 Co-Editor Graphic Designer Photo Editor Roving Reporter Events Manager Proofreader
Mary Graff John Hall Marilyn Ayres TJ Walsh Louise Hughes Wistie Miller Caitlin McDevitt Jennie Frankel
Photo by Mark Hritz, Grounds Director
Yedinskys: Sylvia a psychiatrist, Philip with ‘passion for learning,’ move into Austin apartment
describes as “a corporate communications guru.” It was essentially a consulting firm, producing annual reports, speeches, and other such works. His interests are numerous. Sylvia spoke especially about her husband’s “wonderful musical memory.” He has By Jean Homeier a passion for learning in general, cosmology in particular, When Philip Yedinsky retired, he and Sylvia moved from and takes a number of classes online, where he enjoys the the Main Line to Manchester, Vermont, where they lived lectures, does some of the reading and “doesn’t have to take for 12 years before settling in at Beaumont in October. the exams.” Philip grew up in After receiving her undergraduate degree from the the greater PhilaUniversity of Pennsylvania, Sylvia entered the Woman’s delphia area, Sylvia Medical College of Pennsylvania, served an internship at in Brooklyn. Her Chestnut Hill Hospital, and became a family doctor with a grandfather had a private practice in West Oak Lane. farm in the Berk After three years of that, Sylvia embarked on more shires, where she training and became a consultation liaison in-hospital spent happy times. psychiatrist treating patients at Woman’s Medical College Always drawn (where she also became Assistant Dean) and Pennsylvania to rural life, Sylvia Hospital, among others. In the last 10 years of her career Sylvia and Philip Yedinsky considers herself a she took care of the mentally and physically disabled. Outcountry girl at heart, thus the much loved Vermont home side her profession, her prime interests have been history, where they continue to spend summers. art and opera. Philip majored in English literature at Penn State Philip and Sylvia have a son in Connecticut who and received his master’s in literature from the University played a major role in John Kerry’s presidential campaign; of Pennsylvania with an emphasis on the history of ideas. a daughter who, after 25 years as a banker in London, has For 12 years he taught at Drexel University, then switched moved to Seattle, and an older daughter who works for to advertising with N.W. Ayer. After that he established Synchrony, the credit division spun off from General Philip Yedinsky Inc. and became what he jokingly Electric. There are five grandchildren.
Whoever else hereabouts has been whitewater rafting?
with their two daughters until the marriage ended. Again she worked for a number of years before she met Sam Heineman and his two children. She and Sam were married soon after that. Sam was an importer with a warehouse in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. His work took him to many countries in Asia and Europe, and Marlene joined him. In addition to gathering the treasures that now surround her in Baldwin, she helped Sam as his business grew. Frequently, on their trips to Asia, they would stop in Vail, Colorodo, to vacation with family, including skiing in the winter and whitewater rafting in the summer. Spending time in Vail inspired them to open a gift shop, called “Elegance,” located in Edwards, outside of Vail. During those years their home, on several acres of land, was in Wayne. A busy life indeed for both of them, until Sam became very ill. He died in June 2012. Marlene’s daughter Janice and Janice’s husband, Theo, live in Rosemont with their son, Theodore “Lucky,” and daughter, Miranda. Marlene says she feels very fortunate, in that her family visits often.
By M.H. Wolcott
Marlene Heineman arrived at Beaumont in November. She says she is already enjoying her lovely apartment in Baldwin, with its many treasures collected from travels in Asia and Europe, and the treetop view from her windows. Marlene grew up in Milford, Ohio, where her parents owned a pharmacy and worked in it themselves. After graduating from high school she studied at Miami UniverMarlene Heineman sity in Oxford, Ohio, and received a degree in elementary education. She taught school for several years before she married Paul Swerdlow, a lawyer with an office in Media. They lived in Broomall
Madaras carry on a long tradition of Roberts family at Beaumont
Linda say his life was saved. They credit part of that to Linda’s Uncle Brooke Roberts, a surgeon on staff at that time. (Brooke and his wife, Anna, now both deceased, also lived on Pond Lane.) While Ted was in the hospital, Linda arrived daily with a new batch of cookies for the doctors and nurses. Ted’s room thus became one of the most popular in HUP, and the cookie fans persuaded Linda to write a cookbook sharing her recipes. The result, Sweet Treats, became a hot seller in the hospital gift shop and among the Madaras’ friends. All profits went to cancer research. The Madaras have been HUP boosters ever since. Ted served on the hospital’s Ethics Committee as well as the Clinical Pastoral Committee. They were co-chairs of fund-raising for the Roberts-Measey Chair of Surgery, raising more than $2 million dollars in a month! Linda’s CV is full of achievements. She is a talented gardener, photographer, singer, and a partner in a wedding planning business. She is past president of the Acorn Club and Singing City, and a former chairman of the Craft Show, sponsored by the Art Museum’s Women’s Committee of which she is a Sustaining Member. She continues to sing in the choir at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where she arranges the flowers for Sunday services. Ted sold his real estate business but still holds his license and is active. He was elected to the Session of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and served as a trustee. Madara continued on page 5
By Mary Schnabel How we love continuity! That’s one reason we are pleased that from Beaumont’s inception all four of the venerable Mr. Isaac Roberts’ sons have resided here…a chain that won’t be broken any time soon! Linda Roberts Madara and husband Ted have now moved into Apartment 103 in Baldwin. Linda’s Aunt Joan Roberts lives on Pond Lane, and we still speak with fond affection of Linda’s mother, Betsy, also a Pond Lane Ted and Linda Madara resident until her death in 2003. Linda and Ted don’t come as strangers. Both are lifelong Philadelphians with high profile careers in civic and cultural affairs. Ted, a graduate of Penn, started out in banking and then branched into real estate, founding the Narberth-based firm Clark and Madara. Years ago a sudden health crisis landed Ted in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where both he and
From Bangor to Boston to Beaumont, Charlotte Steinberg now lives in Baldwin By Jean Homeier Baldwin 121 has been Charlotte Steinberg’s home since October, when she moved from the Boston area to Beaumont in order to be near her daughter and family in Gladwyne. Bangor, Maine, was Charlotte’s childhood home, but she had lived in Massachusetts since college days at Simmons College. It was there she met her husband, Herbert, a Wharton graduate who became a residential real estate investor. They were married at the beginning of Charlotte Steinberg senior year in college and after graduation lived in Wellesley. After Herbert’s death Charlotte moved to a planned
community in Natick, where she stayed for 29 years before deciding to come to Beaumont. Charlotte describes herself as “professional mother” and “professional volunteer.” Her Gladwyne daughter is an active board member of “Steppingstone Scholars,” her Gladwyne son-in-law is a lawyer and in this family there are a granddaughter, one “grandson-in law” and a grandson. In Cazenovia, New York, Charlotte has a son and daughter-in-law, both of whom are professors at Syracuse University, and two granddaughters. Charlotte has contributed much time over the years to hospital work. “Have Smock, Will Travel” is the motto of a group of devoted hospital helpers who don pink smocks as their common uniform and work at all the hospitals in the Boston area. Among other tasks, Charlotte handled information desks and read to hospitalized children. Moving to Beaumont, she hoped to find a refresher course in bridge, meet new people and resurrect her old skills.
Dining’s Morning Host, Robert Green, covers a lot of ground By Mary Schnabel Mornings at Beaumont are usually pretty quiet. In the Mansion, the Coffee Bar crowd begins to assemble around 8 a.m. for a coffee fix and the newspapers. There is sometimes a housekeeper vacuuming the halls near the bank, and an occasional resident will be heading to the Wellness Center for a morning medication. Otherwise, for the most part, peace reigns. There is, however, one lively space and that’s the area of the Mansion Dining Rooms. There, starting at 7:30, one can always find lots of activity, and it’s mostly coming from just one person, Robert Green. Photo by Louise Hughes Robert serves MORNING HOST Robert Green prepares the a 7:30 a.m. to 3 Grill Room for lunch. p.m shift as Morning Host. The first thing he does is set up the coffee and pastries in the Coffee Bar. He waits until a bit later to take the morning coffee down to the Library, but wastes no time getting to the next thing on his agenda, preparing the dining rooms for evening dinner. As I pass by the Lattice Porch I often see him Madara continued from page 4 He continues to be an ever-faithful usher on Sundays. Ted and Linda used to come to Beaumont when Anna Austin lived here and invited them for visits. Ted’s parents and the Austins were dear friends, thus they refer to her as “Aunt” Anna. When she was disposing of her big yellow Packard Coupe with red wheels, she gave it to Ted’s father, who drove it for years. Ted is looking for a picture he thinks is “around somewhere.” Relaxing means going to Maine in the sum-
vacuuming or polishing glass and silver or folding napkins. We always greet each other. One day I remarked that he seemed to be so many places all at once. How many steps did he suppose he took as he made his rounds? “Just a minute,” he said as he slipped an iPhone from his pocket. “Since I got here an hour ago I have taken 6,500 steps.” At my obvious surprise, he explained that he records, on a special app, all the steps he takes, his heart rate, his blood pressure and even the miles he walks a day, here on the job. Of course we sat down together later that day, when he was on his break, and I interviewed him at greater length. Robert has worked at Beaumont for six years. He started as part of the wait staff but was promoted to his current position a couple of years ago. His responsibilities take him all over the place, including opening the Grill Room and acting as host there until one of the regular staff arrives. He often delivers lunches and fills in for Dining Services wherever he happens to be needed. Now a junior at Temple, majoring in political science, Robert says he has always been interested in keeping fit. He was on the track team in high school and works out regularly at a gym. Using his phone, he read me the figures he had recorded the week before. In one week he had taken thousands and thousands of steps, walking “about 53 to 54 miles,” right here in our building. Robert tells me he is seriously considering entering a 5K run (a road running race over five kilometers, or 3.1 miles) next year. Whatever he does, Robert Green is going places, lots of steps at a time!
mer; there they sail and enjoy the company of their son, daughter, the spouses, and their three grandchildren. Ted served as a Trustee of the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society on Cranberry Island, near Northeast Harbor. Both love to travel, having visited 55 countries over the years. The Madaras are delighted to know that no matter how far they wander, they are now tethered to their new apartment here in Beaumont at Bryn Mawr, along with their beloved, usually well-behaved black lab Bling!
Cruising Gladwyne and Belmont Hills, tour group seeks out Christmas lights By Irene Borgogno The Beaumont Christmas Lights Tour set out for Gladwyne and Belmont Hills in bitterly cold twilight. Our private bus was filled to capacity, and the tour leader, Wistie Miller, had a treasure map itinerary based on her many years’ experience of Christmas light viewing. Gladwyne contained individual house-light displays, many of substantial size. Displays consisted primarily of lights and greenery. The most spectacular was a residence on Country Club Road, just off Conshohocken State Road. There were at least two dozen tall evergreen trees covered with lights, and each individual tree had a distinct color theme. There was also at least one large deciduous tree with trunk and branches wrapped in white lights. The driveway and gate were commensurately adorned. This display was clearly intended for primarily private enjoyment. While the lights were somewhat visible from the street, passerby-viewing enjoyment was neither the focus nor a priority. We drove past several times to allow all tour members adequate opportunity to observe and enjoy. We spent about 45 minutes cruising Gladwyne and vicinity. Belmont Hills was a different experience. This area used to be a millworkers’ residential community, with multi-ethnic roots. Wistie gave a brief, very interesting description of its history. Displays here were smaller than in Gladwyne, but more frequent and varied, including plain lights, flashing lights, lights that change color,
lighted figurines (mostly reindeer), large inflated figures (most in a supine position after the day’s strong, gusty winds), and small, moving lights projected onto house fronts. The last-mentioned type of display was new to most of the tour members, and comments ranged from “colorful snowflakes” to “measles.” Having grown up in South Philadelphia, I have strong prejudices regarding Christmas light displays. I remember many homes that were brightly decorated individually, but in my opinion the best effects were group efforts. In many areas, neighbors would get together to suspend lights across streets, from home to home, shedding more light than the street lamps. Neither of the areas visited on the Beaumont tour was of this character. Belmont Hills came closer, but we did not observe any neighborhood effort. Each decorated house was a self-contained specimen. On the other hand, nothing in the South Philly of my memory compares to that spectacular display on Country Club Road. The entire tour lasted less than two hours and was a welcome festive addition to the season. Participants indicated a hope that such a tour might become a Beaumont tradition—perhaps with the addition of a microphone for the tour guide. Special thanks to Wistie Miller for her work in organizing and conducting this tour, and for providing the following historical note about Belmont Hills. History of Belmont Hills
LITTLE TABLE TREES, lightless in other years, glowed for the first time this Christmas as decoration elves Sally and Bob Herd used battery-powered lights to overcome lack of nearby outlets.
Photo by Paige Welby
Belmont Hills was originally called Rocky Hill. It is located directly across the Schuylkill River from Manayunk. In 1683, William Penn granted 612 acres to an Englishwoman, Katherine Robert, who farmed the land. She was followed by a stream of English, Welsh, Irish and German settlers, and subsequently, in the 1800s, by newcomers from Italy and Albania. The immigrants worked on area farms or in local mills. Mill Creek, the largest waterway in Lower Merion Township, provided power for industries in grain, paper, cardboard, guns, gun powder, lumber, sheet metal, woolen fabric, cotton thread, lamp wicks and candles. As industries moved elsewhere, the mill properties were purchased by wealthy financiers and industrialists, who built large houses that provided alternative employment on their estates.
Photo by John Bauer
HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD TREE, created by Chef John Bauer (right) and Rocco Arcaro, is surrounded by a skating pond, candy-cane fence and other symbols of the season. The branches are decorated with sweets and finished with a dash of powdered-sugar “snow.”
Photo by Louise Hughes
MRS. CLAUS’S CHRISTMAS BRUNCH: Santa’s elf Greg Johnson confers with Jeanne Cortner about whether Lily has been a good girl all year.
Photos by Rose Marie Pringle; torte photo by Chef John Bauer
BEAUMONT CELEBRATES NEW YEAR’S EVE: Dessert (center) was a triumph of Chef Bauer’s art—an opera torte with spun almond sugar.
Pampered mice earn Doc’s ire and come to a very bad end By Dean “Doc” Snyder For 12 years I have admired the colony of mice residing under the garden shed. I have fed them, as did former resident George (Brook) Gay. While seated in our favorite chair and smoking his pipe, he would have the little guys come to him to grab a morsel from atop his shoe. George just liked them. Me, I was content knowing that a mouse is a favorite meal for the garter and black snakes residing in the nearby woodpile. I know, too, that the great horned owl is an occasional visitor, and for him mice are a delicacy and fun to catch. Fox? Fox are the most fun to watch while hunting mice. But the honeymoon is over!
Hungry sparrow robs Doc of a treasured memory
At the end of August, the crawler tractor would not start. I am no mechanic, but I do know that an engine in perfect running condition does not just die without a reason. Just what could that be? Jake Bean of the Grounds Crew knew. When he and I went to uncover the machine, three mice went scurrying from the engine. When satisfied that the electrical harness and fuses were sound, there was no choice. The engine had to be removed and taken apart to inspect the wiring beneath the gas tank. The wiring was chewed and partially destroyed because of a short circuit caused by the exposed wires. I choose not to discuss the labor involved by Beaumont’s best. And I cannot dwell on the mechanic’s charges, all because of my foolish mistake in believing I was doing a variety of critters a favor. The honeymoon is over. Good-bye, mice. Enjoy that delicious meal enclosed in those shiny black boxes as you go to meet your maker.
A few years ago I constructed a wren house and hung it on my patio. It has housed a wren family every year since. By Dean “Doc” Snyder Last year, after the first hatch, the wrens moved out. A chickadee became Not since I was infatuated with the a boy have I been so house but could not aware of the English negotiate the small sparrow. Alas, in spite entrance. Since the of the fact that we house was constructed have no horses, a coloof cedar shingles (a soft ny of sparrows appears wood), said chickadee to be doing quite well proceeded to enlarge here at Beaumont. the entrance and boldly But how? The sparremove the nesting rows I knew as a boy materials. However, appeared to be depenhe did not inhabit the dent upon the horse house. (or mule). Early this past Now I know. spring the wrens reap I’ll wager that peared. They prepared economist John Kena nest and successfully Photo by Phil Winter reared two hatchlings, neth Galbraith was a SIZE COMPARISON of a sparrow and wren farm boy as well. after which a second set of wrens appeared, cleaned the He has likened the nest, refurbished it and began hatching. theory of “trickle-down” economy to that of the sparrow. Guess what? Mr. Sparrow discovered the nest, and He referenced what an older generation called the “horse- because of the now oversized entrance, raided the nest and and-sparrow” theory: if you feed a horse plentifully proceeded to devour the hatchlings. Now I am tempted enough, its crap will contain enough oats to sustain the to join those who are vigorously trying to eradicate the sparrow. In other words, trickle-down economy. But I will English sparrow, the bird so vivid in my memories of life also wager that Galbraith had no knowledge of another on the farm with the sparrows feeding on oats in the crap component of the sparrow’s diet: meat and eggs. of our well-fed team of mules. I feel sick!
Newsletter, Beaumont Retirement, Bryn Mawr, PA