VOLUME TWENTY FOUR, NUMBER THREE
Can Spring—and the Flower Show—be far behind?
Men’s Garden Club photo by John Steele
Photo by Jennie Frankel After the first February snowstorm blanketed the East Coast, Jeanne Cortner snapped on skis and set out cross country from behind her villa on Pond Lane. As the storms continued, Maintenance and Grounds crews worked almost nonstop plowing roads and driveways and carving out walkways (at left, a path to the greenhouse). Story, more photos, page 3. Meanwhile, the Men’s Garden Club was putting together its exhibit for the Philadelphia Flower Show. Beaumont resident Herb Clarke, top left, shows off a Thai statuette and some of the bamboo segments he and fellow club members painted for the show. That story on page 6. Photo by Dr. Dean Snyder
is a unique member of the tea family (Theaceae), a family that also includes camellias. Jane Dearnley recalls childhood trips from Savannah to visit her aunt at the plantation, and she recalls hearing about the Franklinia tree at an early age. Fast forward to 1991, when Bartram’s Garden organized a trip to Georgia to see the source of the Franklinia trees and probably to hunt for any possible survivors, since no Franklinia had been seen in the wild since 1803. Cecily and John Clark, Frances and Alvan Markle III, and Anna and Brooke Roberts were among the travelers. Alvan remembers the river banks as about four feet of deep muck. Anna describes descending from a bus and walking across a lovely field to the Altamaha River. She recalls the river as being about the width of the Schuylkill at Conshohocken. Once at the river bank, the group hopped into waiting canoes and were directed to paddle slowly downstream searching intently for what might be Franklinia trees. At their destination they found several chefs preparing a delicious meal of grilled catfish. A splendid trip but no Franklinias. John Clark did challenge Brooke Roberts to a canoe race; neither Anna nor Cecily recalls who won. Cecily remains intrigued that “…this is truly a rare species that appears to be extinct. For over 200 years no one has found another example other than the trees that are descendants of the Bartrams’ trips.” —Ann Louise Strong
Dear Editor: The January story in the Beaumont News about the Franklinia trees led to calls from several Beaumont residents reporting their connections to the trees and their history. Jane McIntosh Dearnley is a direct descendant of John McIntosh, who arrived from Scotland ca. 1735 and established a plantation in coastal southern Georgia along the swampy banks of the Altamaha River. He arrived with a band of gentlemen farmers also known for their military prowess. These men were valued for their ability to keep the Spaniards and Seminoles living to the south in Florida at bay. They founded the still-small town of Darien; years later officials named the county McIntosh. In 1765, John Bartram and his son, William, came south from Philadelphia looking for new plant species. They came to the McIntosh plantation, by then the
Once at the river bank, the group hopped into waiting canoes and were directed to paddle slowly downstream searching intently for what might be Franklinia trees. property of General Lachlan McIntosh, and were welcomed with an invitation to treat the McIntosh home as their home during their visit. And their visit led to the discovery of the Franklinia (F. alatamaha). (No one seems to know why the difference in spelling between the river and the plant.) William returned in 1773 for a collecting trip in the southeast. He brought seeds of the Franklinia back to Philadelphia and cultivated them at his home on the Schuylkill. The tree
Dear Editor: In response to the invitation in your January issue to contribute to your Main Line Winter Bird List, I would like to report these observations: one old bald coot and two solitary bachelors (endangered species). —Anon
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Grounds crew with some of the equipment they used to keep roads, drives, and walkways clear during last month’s storms (from left): Jake Bean, Pat Nardizzi, Grounds Director Mark Hritz, and Kurt Mueller.
Maintenance personnel who pitched in with the Grounds crew to clear away February’s snow and ice (from left): Jude Phasavath, Kent Hall, Paul Conboy, and Director of Facilities Warren Gillings. Photos by Louise Hughes
Above and beyond the call For several nights during the storms, dozens of Beaumont managers, grounds and maintenance workers, waiters and waitresses, Health Services, Housekeeping and Security staff, slept wherever they could on cots and extra mattresses, air mattresses, and sleeping bags, in guest suites, available apartments, and offices. Brock Nichols, Housekeeping Director, served as chief
provider of supplies from cots and linens to toothpaste. Marketing Director Audrey Walsh woke up in her office with a kink in her neck after the first night on an air mattress without a pillow, but reported thankfully after the second night that Brock had found her one. Nelly Carney, who supplies companions to augment Beaumont staff, brought pizzas for all. —Liz Dornberger
Icicles decorate the view from the greenhouse as geraniums and other blooms thrive inside. Photo by Dr. Dean Snyder
A glass of wine, a cracker with cheese, and . . . By Rose-Marie Pringle, Dining Services Director
Beaumont’s wine-tasting program is now in its third year, and has proved quite a success. One Thursday a month at 5:30 p.m., wine enthusiasts fill the Music Room and the Bar. Beaumont President (and wine aficionado) Joe Fortenbaugh develops the wine selection schedule for the nine wine-and-cheese tastings and three wine dinners each year. The chosen wines often take us around the globe, Photo by Louise Hughes challenging and educating our palates. Alvan Markle III, program in hand, and Dr. Herb Diamond, chairman of Beaumont’s The evening begins with a greeting from Wine Committee, discuss a wine-tasting evening’s selections. the Wine Committee chairman, Dr. Herbert Diamond. My staff and I distribute a program as order ours by the bottle or glass.) along with the wine. Hey, maybe we don’t swish the wine in our mouths On one such evening recently we tasted zinfandels: several times or spit it out in a bucket, as at many wine Ravenswood, Rosenblum, and The Seven Deadly tastings, but this is Beaumont’s interpretation of a Zins. There are always three selections, and residents wine-tasting event. Great company, smiles, laughter, are encouraged to discuss the wines and offer their new friendships, an array of gourmet cheese and opinions. This often generates quite a lot of conversation crackers, a glass or two . . . and no opinion is wrong, because as Joe likes to say, Members of the committee in addition to those “Drink what you like!” The residents’ likes (and already mentioned here are residents Bill Graff, Mary sometimes dislikes) are discussed at the next Wine Schnabel, chairman of the Dining Committee, and Committee meeting, when the members decide from Susan Woolford, chairman of the House Committee, month to month what wines will be offered in the dining along with Administrative Assistant Jennie Frankel. rooms. (Diners can bring their own, of course, as well Cheers!
An early winner in recipe contest Wednesday March 10 will be the last night for residents to taste and judge dishes made from recipes submitted by finalists in the contest sponsored by Beaumont’s Dining Committee. Prizes will be awarded Wednesday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) at a reception celebrating the contest winners. In the meantime, there is no question that the best recipe for serving the large number of people here at Beaumont was submitted by Alvan Markle. It is included below, in case readers would like to use it for their next big party. —Mary Schnabel, Dining Committee chairman
First, catch your rhinoceros. (Permit required.) A safari is best, although expensive. Eviscerate, skin, and dress the carcass. Salt the cavity liberally and hang for at least a week to impart that gamey flavor. (An 1,800-pound capacity Pulllift would facilitate this.) Prepare a five-foot-by-ten-foot firepit one foot deep and line it with large stones. Lay a fire with aged railroad ties cut in two, and light it six hours before dinnertime. Impale your rhinoceros on a sturdy spit and rotate it continuously over the glowing embers until done, basting frequently with drawn butter. Present on a suitable platform, such as the bed of a large pickup truck, with maraschino cherries in the eye sockets and a watermelon in the mouth. Dismember with a poleaxe and carve with a sharpened scimitar. Will serve all 245 residents. Drawing by Alvan Markle III, with apologies to Fannie Farmer
Research, studies keep new resident busy By Jean Kirk
Dr. Richard (Dick) Warren moved to Beaumont in January of this year, but he first came here 15 years ago, assisting a friend with the religious program in the Health Center. He grew up in Binghamton, NY; graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. He joined a religious discussion group at the Naval Academy and developed interests he has Photo by Louise Hughes sustained to this day, Dr. Richard Warren
currently visiting inmates as a volunteer in a chaplain’s program at the Delaware County Men’s Prison in Cheyney and on the ushers’ team at the Church of the Saviour in Wayne. With a doctorate in theoretical mathematics from the University of Colorado, he taught math for five years as an Associate Professor at the Air Force Academy. He retired from the Air Force as a major after 20 years of service and moved to Bala Cynwyd, where his wife’s family lived. His wife, the former Elizabeth Ermilio, died six years ago. He has been employed by Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia for more than 25 years, currently as process manager for about 100 research development projects. He regularly audits evening courses at Villanova University in whatever subjects happen to interest him, including journalism (recently) and history of photography (this semester). He has a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
Auto biography: New car technology tests buyer By Anna Roberts signed for a Honda Civic, dark blue, yellow The decision was stripe, and beautiful. awfully hard. How to But also a chalsay goodbye to an old lenge. My friend the friend. But three calls salesman explained to AAA on cold, snowy everything and I days, plus chronic remembered nothing. I anxiety, pushed me. drove my beautiful new Was my old car car home to Beaumont going to fail me on the and into my garage, turnpike? Full of ladies closed the garage en route to something door, and found myself important? Every inside the car, in the morning I woke up dark, all doors locked, worrying, and finally and no idea how to get decided to make a out. How long? What move. next? Who would find Everyone seemed to love their Hondas, Photo by Louise Hughes me? so I courageously A new world of gadgetry surrounds Anna Roberts in her new Honda Civic. * * * decided “just to look.” My new car has been my joy and delight for a year I was greeted by a gentleman who asked, “Service?” No, I admitted, I wanted to look at cars. now. It starts instantly, parks easily, shines after a Instantly he came alive, eyes shining, necktie rain, and is easy on the eyes. However, I still fumble with the unlock switch, the tightened. “I have just the car for YOU,” he purred, and I was lost. Within 15 minutes I would have windshield wiper, and the headlights. There is an excellent book of instructions, but I still don’t know bought any car or every car on the lot. Beware of salesmen, as they are so skillful! At why the red triangle on the dashboard is sometimes least I had sense enough not to sign anything right on and sometimes off. Am I the only one still fumbling in the “new world”? then, but the next day, with a son in tow, I gladly 5
Photo by Louise Hughes
A promise of spring
Mary Page’s watercolor of a hibiscus was one of many floral harbingers of spring in Beaumont residents’ recent winter art show.
Helping beautify Flower Show for 2+ decades Beaumont’s Herb Clarke, the retired veteran Philadelphia weathercaster, is a member of the Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia, currently working on a Thailand-based exhibit for the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Passport to the World,” open now through March 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Club members painted “thousands” of bamboo segments for the exhibit, Herb says; he himself “stopped counting after 900.”
On that morning the ladies were working in greenhouses or basements and leaving their husbands at home, but the men went to the bar instead to scheme. “Why don’t we enter an exhibit,” one said. “We can build the exhibit that will win the Gold Cup!” We did it, too. And year after year we have worked to create winning exhibits. We’ve been working since late last year in a warehouse in Malvern. We no longer compete, but stage an exhibit at no cost to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, producers of the show, and we always win silver awards. Win or lose, each year following the close of the show, we celebrate our Victory Dinner at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova. On that evening more than 180 MGCP members and their wives gather to praise their efforts. Jane Pepper, retiring longtime president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, will attend our dinner this year.
By Herb Clarke The Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia was started in a Narberth bar 21 years ago when a small group of men gathered for coffee on a Saturday morning. The wives of most of the men were members of various suburban garden clubs hoping to win ribbons in the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. 6
Who’s afraid of climate change? By Dr. Dean Snyder
Of course I’m guessing, but I’ll wager that Oetzi was hoping for climate change as he wandered off into the mountains where he died, to be found frozen 5,300 years later. Today it is very apparent that Oetzi was foolish to believe that just hoping for something could make it happen. We all know that 5,300 years ago man had no understanding of such things as greenhouse gases or climate. How could Oetzi’s generation know about cirrus clouds and their effect on the weather? Certainly they did not have the technical know-how to figure out that cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals which serve either to insulate the earth’s crust from the sun or to retain earth’s heat from escaping into the atmosphere. Oetzi’s people certainly did not know this. He was a fool to hope for a noticeable change of climate in his lifetime. Apparently Oetzi lived near the mountains, so he certainly had little knowledge of wetlands and the fact that wetlands emit large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, and until the wetlands could be
major factor affecting levels of greenhouse gases and climatic changes? What Oetzi also did not know is that even if he had been privileged with the knowledge of all the factors involved in climate change, the knowledge would have been useless without the cooperation and support of government. How could he have known that? We do, so we are at the very most not without hope. However! Some of us turn our attentions to more realistic approaches to save mankind. Oetzi’s frozen and nearly intact body is, except for the cranial cavity and the size of the jaw, otherwise an exact copy of today’s man. Unbelievable! Fiftythree hundred years and who knows how many climatic changes later, and the laws of nature have not seen fit to change anything about us but the size of our brains and jaws! Steady as she goes is the message I get from this, and if anyone is feeling weak in the knees at the thought of climatic change, think about changing man and not the climate. The big difference between now and the time Oetzi lived is our understanding of the human genome. The unraveling of the human genome, and the ability to tinker with the haphazard arrangement of our genes, is where I would look for changing something. I believe in the axiom that life on our planet is limited by either space or resources, and since 70 percent of earth’s surface is water or ice, I would have science redesign those of us who do not wish to chance climatic change. With just a little bit of tinkering and the transfer of genes from a few animal species, mankind could be fitted for the coldest regions on earth where polar bears and seals are abundant food sources. I envision man fitted with genes that produce hoofs and fur for comfort. As for those who would choose the tropics, I envision them being built as amphibians. Amphibians, after all, would be enabled to exploit all the valuable resources present in our oceans and the bonus of free access to the cooling waters. What a Utopia that could be. Abundant underwater harvesting with no planting, weeding or tilling of the soil, and free beaches. WHO’S AFRAID OF CLIMATE CHANGE?
Fifty-three hundred years and who knows how many climatic changes later, and the laws of nature have not seen fit to change anything about us but the size of our brains and jaws! drained there was no hope of a climate change. Surely Oetzi did not even consider the oceans and their effect on climate. Big mistake. Oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s crust, and we know there is a correlation between archaeomagnetic jerks (volcanoes) which makes them a major determinant of weather. He certainly did not consider the fact that the cold ocean waters serve as a storage depot for carbon dioxide, which liquifies in cold water. And we know that cold water stratifies to the lowest depths, and as the currents mix warm water with the cold the carbon dioxide is allowed to escape as a greenhouse gas. What in the world gives us any reason to believe that Oetzi even gave any thought to the oceans and their currents as a
IN MEMORIAM Mrs. Eleanor Wentz
February 17, 2010
Mrs. Polly Newbold
February 21, 2010
Members of the Beaumont Community extend deepest sympathy to their families and friends. 7
Recollections of Haiti and a caring, generous people By Nancy Harris
A year ago last fall, my daughter-in-law and I were privileged to visit the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Forty miles north of Port-au-Prince we were witness to the most extraordinary care the amazing staff was able to provide in the most rudimentary facility. Rudimentary but solid, being built to U.S. standards, unlike the unfortunate buildings which crumbled in the recent earthquake. Water comes from wells; electricity from generators. Albert Schweitzer, whose mission was to provide healthcare for those in greatest need, was the inspiration for Larimer and Gwen Mellon to create this hospital some 54 years ago. Long before the terrible earthquake, the people there
established protocol for emergencies, which was most helpful. The operating rooms were going full bore as hundreds of wounded kept arriving. Mattresses and box springs were separated to accommodate more patients while others were on cots or benches in the halls. It took five whole days before any volunteer surgical teams could get to Deschapelles to relieve the exhausted Haitian staff and bring in supplies. At one point, a normal month’s worth of medical supplies was being used each day! The orthopedic and neurological surgical groups worked seamlessly with the Haitian staff. Many had been to HAS before, notably teams from Atlanta, New York, and Montreal; others had not. Another factor gleaned from the blog was the role the surrounding community played in helping the hospital deal with the overwhelming crush of patients. One group, called ODES, organized volunteers, some of whom cleaned the hallways and emptied trash cans, while others prepared and served food for the families of the patients and still others carried beds and cots to and from the operating rooms. In addition, ODES has taken over the former TB village and installed discharged patients who will need to return to the hospital for follow-up treatment. What will happen in the future is certainly cause for conjecture. Hopefully the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer will be able to continue its mission.
At one point, a normal month’s worth of medical supplies was being used each day! had been performing miracles with limited resources. They had been working on a shoestring for some time. Many Beaumont residents may remember meeting Ian and Lucy Rawson last June when they were visiting Carolyn Langfitt for the installation of the very popular Haitian art show. Carolyn was a great friend of Mrs. Mellon, Ian’s mother, and has visited the hospital many times. Ian is the director of the hospital and has been writing news bulletins on the www.hashaiti.org blog. This “blog” was my first experience with such a thing, and I found it wonderfully reassuring to be able to know what was going on there. (After even one visit to Deschapelles, one is apt to take a proprietary interest.) In any case, I hope you will take a look. I learned that the hospital was quite full, with 60 patients, when the disaster struck, and they remained there along with all the newly wounded from Port-au-Prince. The hospital staff had a well
Carolyn Langfitt adds: Over the years, I have spent much time in Haiti. I have always been impressed with the character of the Haitian people. They are deeply devoted to family. They are artistic, both painters and sculptors. They make art from the tops of metal oil cans, carvings from tree stumps, and sell these objects to visitors for very little money. Never more than during this terrible earthquake has the generosity of the Haitians shone through as they bravely rescued their fellow citizens from crumbled buildings. They are people of deep religious faith who value human life.
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