Good works do live on
The good that people do, despite Shakespeare’s well-known comment, it’s certainly not always “interred with their bones.”
Sunday night, after a hard, wonderful day working in the garden, I came in to get dinner ready; I’d asked Jonathan Sternberg to dine with me, and was glad that he said yes. But I didn’t have any food – a quick trip to Weaver’s Way, but I had forgotten my wallet! Damn!
As I’m standing in line the person in front of me (who looked familiar) introduced herself as Leigh Filippini, and said she was so grateful to have known my wife Ann, [who passed away earlier this year] who was a wonderful person and who had done so much good for Chestnut Hill.
She said, “Why don’t you let me pay for your groceries, then you don’t have to go home and come back?” I was delighted for that offer because I was afraid that by the time I got home, back to Weaver’s Way, and then back home I wouldn’t have had dinner ready on time, so I agreed.
The person behind me then spoke to me very kindly and said how much she missed Ann and how she had enjoyed talking to her on her walks, and what a lovely person she was and how much good she had done for Chestnut Hill.
I thought to myself, “Once again, Ann, you’ve come to my rescue. Thank you.”
The important art of memoir writing
I have been thinking a lot about your April 4 editorial “Thinking About the People in Our Past” and the issue of chronicling the people of Chestnut Hill. I struggle with this issue daily as families approach me about capturing their stories in both print and DVD.
Often there is an initial burst of activity and photo collecting, but sometimes the details of their lives bog them down and projects are started but not finished. It is very sad to witness these missed opportunities.
So thank you for writing about retiring barber Frank Salemno and for recent articles on “Matriarch of Germantown Avenue” Marty Smith and Flourtown Fireman Bill House.
Recently, I enrolled in a memoir class given by Jeane MacBryde Swenson, held at the Center on the Hill. Each week we peel away at the layers of our lives in the hope of finding the kernels of wisdom we have discovered in the hope of leaving a legacy to the next generation. It is hard work, but it is without question the most fulfilling writing I’ve done in a long time.
Later this spring I will be teaching a memoir writing class of my own in Chestnut Hill through Mt. Airy Learning Tree in the evenings. So far, there are few who have committed to peeling back their layers. My hope is to get individuals who work during the day to capture their stories before it is too late.
I got into this work several years ago after capturing my father’s story and publishing a small book. My father has dementia now, and he re-reads our book as a way of staying connected to his memories of life on the farm and riding in Cowtown rodeo. I feel blessed that I was able to undertake the project when I did. Enough said.
There will be a reception for Chestnut Hiller Jean MacBryde Swenson at the Center on the Hill on May 2 at 1 p.m., honoring the important work she has done, starting at the Center for Enrichment five years ago. Students enrolled in her current class will share their work with friends, family and the community. Please mark your calendars now for this living tribute and an afternoon of taking a trip down memory lane in and around the Hill.
Thank you Jean for all you have done in running these courses.
Don’t forget Top of the Hill
To Maggie Wollman [See leters, April 11] While I can’t solve your missed jury call, I can solve your fish dilemma! Grobens was indeed the best. Now, however, we are blessed to have the Top of the Hill Seafood and Market. Their fish is absolutely wonderful – fresh daily, hand chosen, and with a wide variety in season- even shad roe. The owners and staff are warm,caring and always ready to come to your aid with special help.