Those of us who have lived in the Kennett area for quite awhile have noticed the big improvements on East Linden Street, but we really did not know the story behind it. The Chester County Community Foundation was paying attention and last week honored three generations of the Bass family with the “Thanks For Caring Award for outstanding commitment to grassroots community philanthropy. These three are Ophilia Bass, her daughter Teresa Bass and Teresa’s daughter LaToya Myers.
Ophelia Bass has raised seven children on East Linden Street, which once had a station on the Underground Railroad. As the street deteriorated with piles of trash, dilapidated houses and street crime, she refused to leave and started rebuilding. She and her daughter, Teresa Bass took a stand. As she said, “We have a right to live in peace.” As it takes a village to raise a child, she spoke to those causing trouble and to anybody who would listen at countless community meetings.
Once she got the neighbors’ attention, they went to work. Houses were disintegrating, so the group contacted a nonprofit to make improvements including façade and home repair program. They discovered that children were missing meals, so Ophelia and daughter Teresa found a source for meals and invited in the hungry children after school and during the summer. When they found children were struggling in school they began the Study Buddy tutoring program.
Historic East Linden Project (HELP) grew, in spite of several disappointments. People promised help, but only caused dissension. Pledged resources did not appear and there were many complaints. With faith, prayer and the support of those who believed in them, Theresa and Ophelia would not give up.
Teresa’s daughter, LaToya Myers, joined the effort, organizing the neighbors for even more events from successful block parties, helping children get to summer camp, planting a Rain Garden and cleaning the block every spring. The three generations of the family were honored for their success, the scope of their dedication and inspiring others to join in the work.
They deserve our congratulation and praise and our thanks. What wonderful neighbors they are! How wonderful that someone noticed!
The Mendenhall Inn Ball Room was full of happy ladies at the 12th annual Luncheon Fashion Show and Auction last week. This benefit luncheon that helps fund the free children’s concerts is the annual get-together of the ladies of our town. You never saw so many hugs and grins of delight as old friends met again and new attendees met the old timers. There was an enormous amount of items in the silent auction, thanks to the generosity of so many of our local businesses. Many thanks for their support.
The fashions were modeled by Tuna Benge, Allison George, Mary Woodmansee Green, Katie Mann, Leslie White Tad, Brad George, Robert Hoch and Paul Merluzzi. The ladies were quite impressed with the clothing from Frolic! in Kennett Square, courtesy of Cathy Black and Leslie White Fad, and Torrelli’s Tuxedo Rentals and Sales.
If any of you ladies are wondering what is “in,” we were shown models wearing lots of black and dark color combinations, wonderful looking jumpers that hide a lot of figure faults and adorable little pocketbooks that were also muffs. It was such a sparkling afternoon. Credit goes to chairmen Martha Diffey and Donna Elliott.
Good grief, it’s time for those gorgeous views of Winterthur at Christmas. The yuletide tours begin Nov. 17 and run through Jan. 6. Reservations are recommended with the tickets only $20. If you take an evening yuletide tour on Nov. 21 and 28, you can enjoy jazz afterwards, with a cash wine and beer bar and light food for purchase.
Winterthur will have a “Design Your Own Wreath” workshop on Nov. 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. They will provide the materials, but you must register by Nov. 21, as space is limited. (302-888-4600). Cost is $70 for non-members.
Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass Leslie B. Grigsby will speak on themes related to the “Uncorked!” exhibition at the Lunchtime Lecture at Winterthur on Nov. 29 at 12:15. This is included with admission ticket.
A benefit concert to benefit Haiti Family Initiative will be held this Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Arden Gild Hall. The music by Mallory Square, Dream Killers, Cameltones, Lake Dwornik, Sam Smick, Stump Junction and Bottled Quartet will be continuous from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $25 with children under 18 free and welcome. There will also be a silent auction including vacation homes, jewelry, designer wines, original art and gift baskets
There is a marvelous opportunity for music lovers on Sunday, Nov. 25, when the new composition “Requiem for 9/11” will have its world premiere at the Grand Opera house at 7 p.m. Emmy award winning composer Wilson Gault Somers, who wrote the well received “Mass For the Homeless” in 1997, has written a composition for orchestra and soloists. All proceeds from the performance will go to the Flight 93, National Memorial in Shanksville. For tickets ($25) call 302-652-5577
It must be the Christmas season, for it is time for shows of miniature paintings to be available. Sunset Hill Fine Arts Gallery, 23 N. High St., West Chester will open its 14th annual Miniature Show on Friday, Nov. 23, with a reception from 1 to 6 p.m. The show will be a part of Old Fashioned Christmas Nov. 30 in West Chester and will be up through Dec. 24.
The Walnut Street Theatre, Broad 7 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, will present the one-man show “Satchmo at the Waldorf” that received rave reviews when it was given in New York. This acclaimed play was written by New York Drama Critic Terry Teachout and comes to life with John Douglas Thompson as Louis Armstrong as he prepares to play one final show. As he waits in the dressing room he remembers the highlights of his life and the complex relationship with his manager. The show runs Nov. 16 to Dec. 2. For tickets call 215-546-7824.
“Plaid Tidings,” that charming visitation to the earth by the male quartet sent by Rosemary Clooney, will be at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Nov. 20 through Dec. 30. This fun musical, a sequel to the delightful musical “Forever Plaid,” has favorite 1950s tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Let It Snow.” For tickets call 215-574-3550.
For everyone who ever loved “The Velveteen Rabbitt,” the good news is that Enchantment Theatre Co., with an original musical score composer Don Sebbesky, winner of a Tony Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award, will bring the story to life with masked actors, pantomime and large scale puppets Performances will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 25. Ticket prices begin at $15 and are available from 215-785-0100. The Bristol Theater is at 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol.
The Delaware Children’s Theatre, 1014 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, is offering a treat for the children, “Babes In Toyland.” This classic story with a weaving of Mother Goose rhymes set to music has a Christmas theme with a visit from Santa after each show. The performances will be given on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., Nov. 24 through Dec. 16. All tickets are $12. Call 302-655-1014 or go to www.DEChildrensTheatre.org.
“Chicken With Plums” – Like its zany title, this film has been called “whimsical, sad and delightfully comedic. It concerns a top violinist whose beloved instrument is broken. Unable to find one worthy of replacing it he goes to bed to die. While there, he has deep reveries of scenes from his youth and even a conversation with the Angel of Death. Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m.
“Somewhere Between” -- This poignant film shows the self-awareness Chinese girls adopted by Americans have as they try to connect with their heritage, Friday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
Sunday Night Football: Steelers vs. Ravens – The game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens will be shown Sunday, Nov. 18, at 8:20 p.m.
“The Artist”-- This beautiful French film is the most award winning film in France and was last year’s BestPicture.It is a magical film described by one critic as “It’s a screaming endorsement of the power of cinema... without saying a word.” Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
School of Rock –The Downingtown School of Rock that has produced some of the finest young musicians around will have their house band perform with a mixture of classic rock, golden oldies and modern classics. Friday, Nov. 16, advance tickets $10, day of $12.
Adam Arcuragi & the Lupine Chorale Society – Georgia born Arcuragi has several well received albums out and has toured throughout the United States and Europe with his band The Lupine Chorale Society. His last album is “Like A Fire That Consumes All before It.” Their headliner will be Spirit Family Reunion with their cheery music that includes stomping, clapping, shaking and hollering. Saturday, Nov. 17. Advance tickets $12, day of $15.
Open Mic – 6:30 p.m. two-beverage cover.
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.