THANKSGIVING: Always time for gratitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, may I take this opportunity to thank you for reading my column, sharing your news with me and supporting local journalism. I have a lot of fun writing "Unionville in the News," and from what you've told me you enjoy reading about the athletic and studious Young Relative (now taking a much-deserved rest until the next sports season), the long-suffering Dearest Partner (who just didn't know what he was getting into), the always colorful goings-on in the unique community that is Unionville, and all of the other small but vital moments that make up life but don't usually make it into the newspaper.

I started writing this column as a blog in 2010 in response to all the ill-informed, mean-spirited snarkiness and rudeness that I saw online and in public life. We can do better, I thought (and still do). Let it begin with me.

PANCAKES: At the Masonic Lodge

The Masons certainly know how to make pancakes! Last Saturday we headed to Masonic Lodge 475 in downtown Kennett for an excellent breakfast of flapjacks, sausage, coffee and orange juice. We always see retired East Marlborough supervisor Robert Weer and his wife, Barbara, at the breakfast. On Saturday they were there with their daughter, Blair Fleischmann, and her husband Charlie.

We also saw our dear friend Doug, who told us that his cousin had invited him to the event at the last minute.

"I haven't been here since I was 12," said Doug, gazing around the crowded social hall. (Doug, though he is as youthful as anyone I know, is now definitely a grown-up.)

Doug asked if we had gone back for more pancakes, but I explained that we were attending a fundraising spaghetti dinner in Maryland that evening and had to moderate our carbs intake.

KENNETT TOWNSHIP: New stores coming

A friend said she'd heard that a new Pat's Pizza is going in and asked me to check it out. She's right. Pat's is the lead tenant of a 8,500-square-foot strip shopping center that's going to be built on a vacant 1.8-acre site in the 700 block of West Cypress Street, just west of J&G Automotive. The parking lot will have 67 spaces. Completion is expected next fall. The other three units in the building are for lease; Zommick McMahon Commercial Real Estate has the listing.

SHOPPING: Time-saving but isolating

Friends are raving about the time-saving grocery services that are springing up. You order online, and your groceries are delivered to your door or you pick them up at the store.

Granted, I have more free time than many people do. But for me, going to the Giant is not only a shopping trip but a social occasion; I feel shortchanged if I don't run into somebody I know.

On Sunday, for instance, I saw three friends at the Kennett Giant. One told me her father's hometown, including a supermarket that had been in the family for three generations, was destroyed by the fires in California.

Another said tires had been slashed in a parking lot in downtown Oxford, and a police officer told her she was only one of many victims.

A third described how she broke her leg tripping over a stool. I told her she needs to come up with a better story, given that she's a serious athlete and does Ironman competitions. The guy next to us at the registers suggested that she should say she broke her leg halfway through a race but still finished!

LIBRARIES: Definitely not obsolete

Two friends of mine, a husband and wife, are doing something right in the child-rearing department. As they were leaving the Kennett Y the other evening, their young son asked if they could go to the library next. His father explained that he was sorry, but they couldn't, because (1) they hadn't brought any books to return and (2) it wasn't open. The boy wasn't happy. Apparently he is already a bookworm and reads all morning long, his Dad proudly told me. Not to be outdone, the daughter said that she visits her elementary school library often.

THANKS: Great customer service

I want to thank two folks this week for making my life easier.

A clerk at Pet Supplies Plus in Avondale volunteered to carry a 35-lb tub of cat litter from the shelf, to the cash register, and then out to my car. And he did it with good cheer! I didn't get his name, but he had jet-black hair with a dyed streak on top, and a lot of earrings. He explained that he and his colleagues have to stock the shelves with those heavy buckets of litter, so he knows full well how unwieldy they can be.

And another shout-out to Lenna Pierson, the office manager at PJ Mullin's State Farm insurance agency. When I took my car in for inspection the other day at the Springdell Garage, I realized to my embarrassment that the insurance card in my wallet was expired. I called PJ's office, and within literally five minutes Lenna faxed a valid one to the garage. She told me not to apologize and said it's actually one of the most common requests they get.

NEWLIN: Historical Society

A new group, the Newlin Historical Society, is being formed. Its purpose is to research the township's history, including "early indigenous residents including Indian Hannah; historic buildings; early industrial development along the Brandywine including bridges, dams, railroads; the Battle of the Brandywine; garnet, chromium, and corundum mining; Mason/Dixon; Stargazer; the Poorhouse and Cemetery; the Hunt; the King Ranch; conservation agencies such as the Brandywine Conservancy and the Natural Land Trust; citizens past and present who have contributed to the betterment of Newlin Township; and other notable local citizens recognized nationally."

The president is John O’Neal, vice president is Muriel George, secretary is RoseLynn Malarek, and treasurer is Sandy Reber. Anyone interested in joining should contact RoseLynn at

STAPLES: Closing in January

The Staples office-supply store in the Longwood shopping center will be closing Jan. 5, 2019, a clerk confirmed to me the other day. They were originally due to shut in October. I will miss the store, and the employees, terribly. I knew right where my #60 and #61 HP ink cartridges and my preferred copy paper were located, and I could be in and out of there and back to my office desk in no time. I'll be visiting that shopping center a lot less now.

RADIO: Tilda is getting old

I have become my parents.

I can remember writhing in the back seat of the car as Mum and Dad listened to WJBR ("Just Beautiful Radio"), which played corny, schmaltzy, strings-heavy elevator-style music. Despite our pleas, there was not a chance that we kids could persuade them to switch the station to rock and roll.

"You can't even understand the words!" Mum would say (she didn't like the way Mick Jagger sucked on the microphone, either).

"You know, they don't even play their own instruments," I recall Dad saying about my then-favorites, the Monkees.

Flash-forward to 2018, when there's a new radio station on the air that plays "relaxing favorites" like oldies by Stevie Wonder, Chicago and Billy Joel. It had been years since I had heard Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning" and Faith Hill's "I Can Feel You Breathe."

You know what? I have to confess, I like it. The lyrics don't get me angry with their violence and misogyny. The music doesn't sound like a vital part has fallen off my car. There are no mile-a-minute DJs, no stupid contests, no vapid gossip about celebrities I've never heard of, no slick speed-talking ads about "some restrictions apply," "taxes and tags extra," and "not available in all areas."

I know . . . me, who once waited in line for Ramones tickets.

NATHAN SIMMS: He lived at Indian Deep

In last week's column I wrote about Nathan Simms, who as a teenager was involved, inadvertently, in John Wilkes Booth's escape after shooting President Lincoln. Mr. Simms moved to Marshallton, where he worked as a laborer, and he is buried in Bradford Cemetery.

Susanna Davison, clerk of London Grove Friends Meeting, was good enough to share some fascinating information about him:

"According to my late mother Janet Roberts (who is also buried in Bradford Cemetery), Nate was one of the tenants who lived in one of the Indian Deep Farm tenant houses! That little house, known as “Patches,” is located on Beagle Road near Northbrook and was improved by my parents in the 1960s. My late husband Joe Davison and I were married in a Quaker wedding held there in 1970. Patches is now occupied by my son Jesse Davison and his family. Nate Simms would have crossed the Brandywine on foot via the Northbrook bridge. It would have taken him less than an hour to get to and from his work in Marshallton. I’m very glad to know he was not laid to rest in the potters field!"

Write to Tilda at Thank you!

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