Beaumont News December 2018

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V o lu me T h i rt y T wo , N umber 10

December 2018

Comcast Xfinity transition was a bumpy but worthwhile ride By Frank Kampas Beaumont is transitioning to Comcast’s Triple Play service for phone, TV, and Internet. Until now, each of these three services was provided separately. The old phone system had the advantage that one could call other residents or Beaumont offices simply by dialing a four-digit number. Unfortunately, this convenience was less essential than reliability issues, especially when making outside calls. After extensive research, Beaumont’s IT department decided the best path forward would be to have Comcast handle all three services, rather than only TV. The transition period was expected to be difficult —and it was. The various systems had probably been uniform throughout Beaumont when they were installed, but that was 30 years ago. As new residents took

Photo by Lynn Ayres

CHOOSING A PLAN: Comcast’s rep and Zachary Margolis, Director of Beaumont’s Food and Beverage Department, assist residents Norman and Joan Greene in deciding the best option for their needs.

occupancy of units and superimposed renovations and alterations to the structures, any uniformity disappeared. Each installation of the new Comcast equipment required

COMCAST continued on page 6

Parking project, fraught with surprises, is finally finished By Joseph Peduzzi & Brock Nichols

Photo by Linda Madara

HOLIDAY CRAFTINESS: Linda Madara’s craft class on November 27 used wine corks to create tiny red-nosed Rudolphs and festive 6-inch trees to add a touch of holiday spirit to the season.

Sometimes it seems as if Murphy was right. Beaumont has needed additional parking space for a long time. The first step, solicitation for engineering firms, was taken in the fall of 2015. The project was completed by the end September 2018, but there were many speed bumps along the way. The entire project spanned three years, of which approximately six months were spent on actual construction. Before construction could

start, several milestones had to be accomplished: design concepts, stormwater calculations, site surveying, utility location, meetings with the neighbors and commissioner, landscape and buffering design, committee planning reviews, logistical and construction meetings, application and permit submission, and zoning and land development hearings with the township. Once all these variables were in line, we were able to get shovels in the ground. That’s when Murphy made his appearance. Construction started in PARKING continued on page 3

Director of therapeutic recreation offers a variety of programs to help residents

THE FAREWELL PART Y for front desk receptionist Lakia Archer was celebrated in the Bistro on October 11, her last day. She joined the Beaumont family in May 2009.

By Bobette Leidner, with Mary Sinclair

Lakia attended Chestnut Hill College for two years before she came to Beaumont. She was part of the wait staff for three years to pay off some of her student loans. For the remaining six years with us, she manned the telephone and fielded answers to a myriad of questions, redirecting calls and messages to anyone requiring assistance.

The tall, smiling brunette walking the halls of Beaumont is Director of Theraputic Recreation Bernadette Bevilacqua. A fun fact about Bernadette is that she is one of a set of quadruplets: two boys and two girls. Bernadette attended Slippery Rock University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in recreation therapy. Prior to coming to Beaumont, she worked at Integrace Copper Ridge, a continuing care retirement community in Sykesville, Maryland. A certified therapeutic recreation specialist, she worked specifically with older adults living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, for which she had received specialized training. Bernadette Bevilacqua Here at Beaumont’s Health Care and Personal Care units, Bernadette has organized programs that focus on horticultural therapy, music therapy, fitness, and educational art presentations. She recently worked with the Fitness Center to plan and execute the week-long Active Aging events. She’s also working with David Randolph, along with the horticultural therapist, other residents and staff members to make enhancements to the Beaumont greenhouse. Her goal is to support each resident’s quality of life through meaningful group and individual therapeutic recreational programming. As to why she works in this particular field, she said, “The career path I chose supports my personal and professional beliefs in helping others through small actions.” One of her favorite quotes is “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Her growing family obligations started to become more than she anticipated. She and her fiancé Theo Gifford have been together for 10 years, producing two sons, Kendall, age four, and Khalel, one. Day care for them and her long hours at Beaumont made her realize how much she really wanted to be a full-time wife and mother. On October 13, Lakia and Theo were married at The Waterfall in Claymont, Delaware. She wore a fitted, mermaid-style wedding dress with a fourfoot train decorated with sequins and beading. Text by Wistie Miller; photo by Lynn Ayres

Wanted: writers for The Beaumont News

Do you like to write? Do you like meeting new people? Do you have ideas for stories you would like to see in the BN?

Please join us at the monthly BN story conference at 10 a.m. on the first Thursday of every month in the Bistro (where you can get coffee and pastry before the meeting).

The Beaumont News is published monthly, from October through July. The deadline for contributors is the 10th of the previous month ( January 10 for the February issue) unless by special arrangement with Editor Mary Graff ( or Managing Editor Lynn Ayres ( Articles, pictures and other related matter should be emailed to both editors. If emailing is not possible, articles should be typed or legibly handwritten and given to the Front Office to be converted to email and sent to both editors.

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

In Memoriam

Executive Editor Mary Graff Managing Editor Lynn Ayres Deputy Executive Editor and Production Manager John Hall Graphic Designer TJ Walsh Photo Editor Louise Hughes Contributing Editor Linda Madara Quality Control Jennifer Frankel Index Manager Nancy Harris Consulting Assistant Editors Mary Schnabel, Jean Homeier, Peggy Wolcott, Sis Ziesing, Wistie Miller and Irene Borgogno

Susan Howard November 20, 2018 Members of the Beaumont Community extend deepest sympathy to her family and friends.


Lose something? Find something? Proceed to the front desk.

By Irene Borgogno

ning, followed by six each of bunches of keys, wine-bottle carriers and eyeglass cases. Four umbrellas and four gloves had a surprisingly low presence. Most of the remainder were one-of-a-kind, although there were three lanyards, three necklaces and two white power-charger cords. The most unusual item? My money would be on the oversized spoon-rest with the hedgehog decoration. The most attractive item was a woman’s cardigan sweater, size large, with a forest design embroidered on it. Once a year, the Lost and Found is emptied. The items are put on display and a notice is distributed advising people to check for items lost. Any unclaimed items are put into Louise’s annual yard sale.

The golden color of the light at sunset did not explain a sharp glint at the edge of Pond Lane. Reaching down, I picked up a small, gold, knot-shaped earring for a pierced ear. Off I went to the Lost and Found. I’ve turned in other items, mostly earrings and keys. My eye seems to be on the alert for shiny objects on the ground. Why my curiosity was aroused this time, I do not know, but I asked to see the collection of items that lay unclaimed, in the package room behind the Front Desk. It is a motley assortment, residing in two large post office carrier bins. What is the most common item? No surprise there: eyeglasses. There were 27 pairs. There were several close contenders for second place, with seven earrings winPARKING continued from page 1 March of this year, but four back-to-back-to-back-toback Nor’easters disrupted exterior work. When the rain stopped, we were able to make good progress excavating, installing stormwater systems, paving and striping areas. April arrived, and a gas line long thought to be capped and abandoned was instead found to be active. Working with PECO, the line was properly cut and capped. At the same time, some minor design changes were made to accommodate another, active and needed gas line. Then we found the barn.

Photo by Lynn Ayres

MASSIVE EXCAVATION was needed to deal with water line traffic control—water main vs. underground storm basin.

When excavating for one of the stormwater management systems, we discovered the footers and foundations of an abandoned barn, towards the north end of the property line. The barn required unexpected, extra excavation to remove the debris and then unplanned backfill with dirt and stone to ensure needed percolation


rates for the storm water system. At last, the end was in sight … except for the water main sitting exactly where Photo by Lynn Ayres stormwater RETAINING WALL AND STORM DRAIN are piping installed near the Health Center. needed to be installed. The position of the water main had to be lowered to give clearance for the stormwater pipes. Shutdown of the water main caused a temporary loss of water to the entire campus. The relocation shutdown involved coordination of Photo by Richard Stephens several regu- FINISHING TOUCHES are completed at night on latory bodies Pasture Lane. as well as local emergency management personnel and additional Beaumont staffing to police the community during the event. Finally, after three years of planning, designing and building, Beaumont had added over 40 muchneeded parking spaces.

Music, songs and campfire lights brighten long, cold nights

THE CHESTER CHILDREN’S CHORUS performed at Beaumont in October. Dr. John Alston, former associate professor of music at Swarthmore College, founded the chorus in 1994 to offer Chester children the same opportunity to change their lives through music that he was offered as a boy by the Newark, New Jersey, Boys’ Choir. The chorus began with seven boys from one elementary school and currently has 130 boys and girls, ages 8-18, from every school in the district. Dr. Alston spoke about the program at Beaumont and then returned on the evening of October 19 with a group of the older students. During the school year, each child attends two of the 15 weekly small-group rehearsals. In summer, a six-week, full-day summer learning program at Swarthmore College includes arts, academics, and athletics. Each student receives instruction in music education, and advanced performers sing classical masterworks with Swarthmore College Chorus and the Media Chamber Chorale. Text and photos from CCC website.

THE CAMPFIRE EVENING on November 14 drew a respectable crowd despite an early blast of winter. On the lawn outside the Fitness Center, two campfires were set up to roast hotdogs, toast marshmallows (for s’mores), or just warm up a bit. Hot chocolate helped with warming, especially if a shot of alcohol turned it into a hot toddy. Those who needed more warmth took refuge in the Fitness Center. In addition to food and drinks, each guest received a glow necklace, and maintenance worker Ivan Ramos played guitar and sang. A festive evening! The next morning, all signs of the festivities were gone—buried under a layer of overnight snowfall. Photos by Linda Madara THE JOYBELLS ARE RINGING: Since 1970, The Joybells, Melmark’s hand bell choir, have performed regularly at churches, schools, colleges and corporate and community events. On October 23 they performed at Beaumont. Melmark, in Berwyn, is a private, not-forprofit provider of comprehensive residential, educational, vocational, and healthcare services for children and adults. Text and photo from Melmark Joybells website.


GILBERT & SULLIVAN came to Beaumont on October 27, when the Savoy Company, playing to a full house in the Beaumont Room, presented favorite tunes from comic operas, including The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado, plus the full production of Trial by Jury. Beaumont resident Alan Tripp gave the opening remarks. The Savoy Company is the oldest amateur theater company in the world dedicated solely to producing the 13 surviving operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Most of the audience was familiar with the Savoy Company, and a surprising number had also sung with them. They stood and sang along when the company began their brief anthem, “Let every heart be filled with joy, and sing the praise of Old Savoy.” Photos by Linda Madara THE BEAUMONT RAG-TAG FOLK BAND led Beaumont’s first hootenanny on November 9. The six-member band included three acoustic guitars (Vick Kelly, Dick Peterson, Mac Butcher), clarinet (Frank Kampas), washboard (Margaret Balamuth) and ukulele (Ginny Rivers). The singing crew included anyone who wished to join in, and this was a formidable number. The Music Room was packed—standing room only. Vick and Dick each had vocal solos, but Ginny’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” was too well known and loved for the audience to restrain itself from joining in. It was a rousing good time, and a second round is planned for January. Photos by Linda Madara; text by Irene Borgogno


We are all cousins— our genes hold the evidence By Marvin Weisbord I know little of my father’s ancestors. My mother’s mother’s family wrote memoirs and saved photographs. The man in the picture was born in 1802 and died in 1907. He is my maternal grandmother’s grandfather— only one of my eight great-great-grandfathers. We have nothing in common except a few genes. I have no idea what the others looked like or where they lived. They probably were unaware of each other. As a Philadelphian, there were times when I wished my ancestor had arrived with William Penn or signed the Declaration of Independence. My best claim is a grandfather who was conscripted into the Tsar’s army and spent five years guarding the Kremlin. He fled Russia in 1905 when they wanted him back to fight the Japanese. By then he had a wife (my grandmother) and a child. His wife’s father’s father is the man in the photo. I revised my sketchy ancestry after I and Dorothy—whose DNA shows her to be a genetic jigsaw puzzle—read Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone COMCAST continued from page 1

Who Ever Lived. If we go back far enough we discover a limitless gallery of heroes and rogues that we can add to our lineage. I’m grateful to Rutherford for his readable account. What got my attention was his key point: You, me, and everybody else on planet earth have an ancestor in common. That makes all of us who live and work in Beaumont at Bryn Mawr distant relatives. If we go back 3600 years we will find a common ancestor with everyone in the world. “You are of royal descent,” writes Adam Rutherford, “because everyone is. You are of Viking descent, because everyone is. You are of Saracen, Roman, Goth, Hun, Jewish descent, because, well, you get the idea. The further back we go, the more the certainty of ancestry increases.” Dorothy’s and my eight grandchildren collectively carry genes from China, England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Ukraine, plus Native Americans and— so help me—Neanderthals. Those are the ones we know about. One day descendants of ours will order DNA tests and add to that list until our lineage includes everybody. Meanwhile, I have enjoyed preserving for my children’s children this rare photo of their great-greatgreat-great grandfather. He is the only distant ancestor I can show them. On their family tree, he is one of 32 such greats. For their grandchildren he will be one of 128. That’s who we all are—newfound relatives, stuck with one another on a shrinking planet, trying to figure out, as families do, where we came from. I’m glad to confirm that we share distant ancestors. How fortunate that a few of us chose Beaumont, this tiny village on a hill, to live in harmony with an extended family thousands of years old—residents and staff alike—that includes us all. modem were placed in the second bedroom, which I use as my office. The modem got its input from the wall connector previously used solely for the TV. Outputs were connected directly to the TV and a computer in that room, giving me the incredible download speed of 300 megabits per second. (The telephone output was not connected, since the new phone number was unknown.) When the Comcast technician measured the signal strength coming into the equipment, he found it to be low. Brad went into the attic, crawled over the AC ducts, and removed a splitter in the TV cabling to try to increase the signal strength. Despite Brad’s heroic efforts, the signal strength was low. The cable from the street to our villa was replaced a couple days later, and the cable running down the street replaced a couple days after that, both by

different modifications—and patience. My own experience will illustrate the situation. The first step in the process was to tell a Comcast agent which TV plan we wanted. During that interview, the agent informed me that we would not be able to keep our old telephone number. When we moved to Beaumont in 2016, we ported our old number, with its 215 area code. This apparently violated regulations concerning 911, which routes calls by area code, but the Comcast agent did not know what our new number would be. Despite the lack of the number, a Comcast technician and Brad Siegel from the IT department came to our Villa to make the conversion. The Comcast TV box and the Internet-telephone


COMCAST continued on page 7

Busy couple met in college and shares love of travel, physical activities and Vermont By Jean Homeier Both Susan and Cummins Catherwood lead challenging, busy lives centered around both non-profit and for-profit organizations which have served the needs of Philadelphians for many years. Susan has served on many boards, such as The Pew Charitable Trust and the University of Pennsylvania Trustees for the past thirty years, and Cummins has been Chairman of the Easter Seal Foundation, the Easter Seal Society and Children’s Seashore House, among others. Cummins, originally a “Haverford boy,” and Susan, who grew up in California and Denver, met at Stanford University and were married in the University’s chapel a week after graduation. Next came Cummins’ MBA at the University of Virginia’s Colgate Darden School of Business followed by a job with Morgan Susan Catherwood Guaranty Trust in New York. Two years later, with small son Daniel in tow, they arrived in Philadelphia where Cummins joined Butcher

and Sherrerd. A second son, Morgan, arrived soon after and Susan began a long and interesting volunteer career with the Board of the Gladwyne Montessori School and the Penn Museum’s Women’s Committee, among others. After many years with Butcher, Cummins helped form Rutherford, Brown and Catherwood and later joined Boenning and Scattergood in Conshohocken. The Catherwoods have Cummins Catherwood traveled widely and often, many times with the Penn Museum to lands where the Museum has done archaeological work. They spend half the summer and Christmas vacations at Maple Grove Farm in Walpole, Vermont, which has been in the family since Cummins’ father bought it in the 1940s’ Army days from his commanding officer. This winter they look forward to a trip to Chile to visit the country’s new national park lands, much of which was funded by donations from Americans interested in worldwide conservation. Susan competed in swimming, tennis and golf in her school days and, as an adult, has done so at Merion Cricket Club and Gulf Mills Country Club. Cummins has been a serious skier since childhood as a student in Switzerland and enjoys fly-fishing as well.

COMCAST continued from page 6 Comcast, for our block of villas and a number of others. Although I got a very high download speed on the computer connected directly to the modem, and good download speeds for other computers near the Comcast modem, the WiFi signal at the other end of the villa, where Irene [Borgogno] keeps her computer, was too weak to be useful. A WiFi extender fixed that problem. Several weeks later, I still hadn’t heard from Comcast about the new telephone number. I went to see IT Director Mary Huff. She looked at one of her numerous conversion-status spreadsheets and told me I needed to call Comcast. A half an hour of conversation with the Comcast service people in Florida produced our new number. I unplugged the phone base station from the wall jack and connected it to the Comcast modem. I called the new number from my cell phone, verifying that it was correct. For my villa, the conversion is now complete. The process took several weeks of work done by several people. Many people are still in the process of converting, but the effort is worthwhile. My download speed is much greater, and the reliability issue seems to have been resolved.


A HOLIDAY TRADITION: Executive Chef John Bauer and Sous Chef Barrington Hill inspect this year’s gingerbread house. Although it looks tempting, don’t try to sample the house and garden. Technically, it is edible, but the“glue” that holds everything together is royal icing, made from powdered sugar and egg whites. The mixture is used to build the house, glue the candies in place, and add touches of snow to everything. When it dries, it’s as hard as a rock.

THE HYMN SING-ALONG debuted on November 3 in the Music Room for residents in the health center, personal care and independent living with aides. A dozen people came together in the music room. The plan was to keep the group small and personal. It was a recreational event supported by Marian Lockett-Egan and Recreational Therapy Director Bernadette Bevilacqua. The piano was played by a healthcare resident Virginia Bridgeman, who is a retired church music director. The group joined the singing, smiled, enjoyed it, and asked for another one, which was held December 3. Text from Marian Lockett-Egan; photo by Linda Madara

He never smiles: a tall tale of Beaumont By Linda Madara and Irene Borgogno

“It’s lonely here. I suppose I look stern, but a man must maintain his dignity. And these people are not very sociable. They pass through, but no one stops to chat. It wouldn’t be too bad if my sweet Mary were next to me, but some idiot put her all the way across the room. We would have to shout to each other, and that would not be seemly. “All those people, scurrying through. Well, maybe not all scurrying, but no one lingers. And what do I hear? Complaints, nothing but complaints. Complaints about people in charge, especially people in government. What do they expect? All politicians are crooks…and morons. You want something to complain about? I’ll tell you what deserved complaints. The Volstead Act, that’s what. You think you have troublemakers now? It took the damn politicians over 10 years to realize how iniquitous it was to deprive a man of his after-dinner port. What next? His cigars? “The Music Room, where I now reside, is a wonderful room for listening to music. I know, because I designed it to be that way. I am dedicated to good music, and a lot of good music has been played here. When I planned this room, I was thinking classical: Bach is a great favorite of mine. But I remember when the children listened to what they called jazz. It was different. I wasn’t sure I approved, but I liked it, even if the names associated with it were sometimes strange. Like Jelly Roll Morton. What kind of a name is that? But some of the songs would catch my ear and not let go, like that one called ‘Strutters’ Ball.’ Written by someone named Shelton Brooks. At least that sounds like a name, not a dessert. “When those Beaumont people moved in, they used the Music Room for classical stuff, which was pleasant. Then, one day, there was jazz. What a wake-up! The room came alive. Some are the tunes my children listened to, but there are more. A lot more. “Best of all, I see my great-niece frequently. She doesn’t talk to me, but she does look at me. I see her


fiddling with all those cameras. Video equipment, she calls it. I wish she would talk to me. Maybe bring me a glass of pinot noir. I wonder what she would do if I….” The Wynlyn Jazz group had finished their concert for the evening, and the audience had left the Music Room. The musicians were packing up their equipment. Linda Madara was packing her camera equipment. She had a strange look on her face. Marv Weisbord closed the piano and went over to her to ask if anything were wrong. She hesitated before speaking. “I just had a weird experience. I thought I heard someone ask me to get him a glass of wine. The voice sounded like it was coming from near the wall. Actually, I thought the picture was talking.” They both gazed Photo by Linda Madara at the portrait of William Austin. Marv turned to Portrait of William Austin, president of Baldwin Locomotive Works and Linda and said, “I think original owner of the mansion. you just had an episode of displacement, or whatever psychologists call it. You are the one who needs the glass of wine. Come on. Ted and Dorothy are getting impatient.” Linda nodded, and they exited the room with the rest of the group heading to dinner. Linda realized she had not taken one of her bags and went back to get it. After a quick visual check to make sure there was nothing else, Linda glanced at the portrait. Mr. Austin winked at her. Linda backed away, thinking, “Nope, didn’t happen.” She turned and hurried from the room. And Mr. Austin smiled.

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