A Sunday in War Time

A Sunday in War TimeI was so proud I had perfected my backflip over the back of our living room couch. It involved getting my mouth fixed just right, gathering momentum, doing a short run, digging my head and hands into the soft couch cushions, then flipping my legs up and over the hard back of the couch and crashing to the floor on the other side, then emerging to the applause of the handsome young men in their Air Force blue uniforms I was trying to impress. My mother was mortified. Here was her seven-year old daughter showing off her waving skinny legs and mended underwear to her young male guests. To me they were a grown-up adult audience to impress. To my father they were the scared, 17 year old boys he had brought home after Sunday evening service to experience a bit of home away from home comfort before he drove them back to the central flying school about 4 miles away. Dad’s car was one of the only six or seven which were allowed to be driven in our 1940s wartime, peaceful English, Cotswold Village.

My father kept a visitor’s book in which he wrote down their names and the date of their visit and beside it was the date of their death. It was the time of the Blitz over London. Boys straight out of school were being trained to fly Spitfires, to shoot down German planes and kill German pilots. It took six weeks to train them. Their life expectancy was three weeks!

Earlier, in the afternoon of that same day, my mother and I walked to our cheerful church hall to serve tea, hand out cigarettes and sing hymns; same tune, different words, with our other guests. They were German pilots, now prisoners of war shot down by our young pilots while on bombing raids over the south of England. Most of them were older men and some had learned to fly in the First World War – the war to end all wars. During the week they were transported in army trucks from the POW camp and dropped off in twos and threes at farms around the countryside. The farmers were glad to have the labor as their sons were off learning to kill Germans. The prisoners were happy, they loved the countryside, they knew that they would love to go home to their families when the war was over. They missed their families and they enjoyed coming to the church because it reminded them of their blonde daughters back home.

I thus learned a lesson at an early age about the irony, tragedy and stupidity but, sometimes, the necessity of war.

— Janet Galloway

Summer Fun in the Clusters!

Neighbors in Redwood and Quince enjoyed a convivial afternoon gathering on Sunday, June 19.

They gathered chairs under the shade of a tree for conversation, sandwiches, iced beverages, baked treats, and creamy ice cream bars that helped keep everyone cool!

Bill Newman and Bob Jack

Mimi Bach and Barbara Remmey
Chocolate chip cookiesGathering around the snack table.

Let’s Go Flyers!

Let's Go Flyers!On March 28, 2016 Pine Run Associates Larry McGlynn, Stephanie Dryden, Joyce Gerstemeier, Let's Go Flyers!Jeanne Redner, Danette Benecke, Tracy Mullarkey, Tim Hayes, Ginger Gruver, along with Villagers Rich Egan and Joan Schumacher, met up with “Broad Street Bully” legends Dave Schultz, Bernie Parent, and Bob Kelly, then cheered the Flyers on to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets at The Wells Fargo Center. Claude Giroux scored the final goal at 4:46 in overtime securing a crucial win for playoff positioning. Joan Schumacher scored a goal too – she got her hat signed by Bernie Parent!

Snow! Snow!

Snow!While snow is beautiful there is a limit to our appreciation for even beauty can be overdone. This past weekend is a case in point! As the snow continued to fall throughout the eastern area of the country it became a challenge to maintenance workers everywhere and the Pine Run community workers met the challenge. They kept walkways cleared.

In the meantime, the Quince tree in front of my cottage became a thing of beauty as clumps of snow gathered on it branches sparkling in the sun of a new day. While this will not last it gave me a moment of pleasure.

— Phyllis Cassidy 1.24.16

Parking lots clear!Sidewalks clear!

President’s Column

Villager Board President Dick NeileyOur Board, and its role, was reorganized about two years ago after adopting a Task Force report, which looked at how we were managing ourselves. The major and initial change was opening up Board Meetings to greater Villager participation. Other important changes involved expanding the responsibilities of the six Directors and, more recently, initiating full Board participation with management in informal Leadership and Planning sessions.

To understand why a Village Board exists, it is first necessary to look at the role of management and our staff. We pay our monthly fees and, in turn, they provide the services that are necessary for the Community to function. But just feeding us, maintaining our living spaces and their total package of services doesn’t really fill the active quality of life that we, collectively, would want – living here in a collaborative community. The Board exists to serve and represent the Villagers and to support activities Villagers desire. I see our major functions as:

  • Communication. We act as a voice both to and from management. It is critical to inform Villagers what’s going on and equally important to keep Management in the loop so they can respond to our needs. In addition, through speakers at Board Meetings, bring information of interest and value to Villagers.
  • Coordination. The Board coordinates and supports our 50 committees and budgets funds to run them. That requires that we maintain our own funds and manage committee budgets and collect annual dues.
  • The “all other” category. This is hard to define. Things come up that need doing – discussion, decisions, reports and appearances. Some are known in advance and some just happen. These tend to be spread out as assignments to Board members.

Even after having been a Board member for three years, I find coming up with a nice, clean explanation of what we do is difficult. We clearly are there to represent the interests of all the Villagers and to try to act as both a focal and a doing point to help the Village thrive. We are all here with 100% freedom as to how we manage our lives. We’ve elected to make the change from individual living – as most of us did in our homes – to community living as part of our Village. We also all know that it is a significant adjustment. It can also be seen as an opportunity quite simply to be part of our Village and contribute your part to our totality. Again, I’m having trouble finding the right words but I think that you get it.

So, at the end of the year 2015, I hope you had a good one plus a happy holiday season. My wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.

— Dick Neiley

Who Gives a Hoot?

Horned Owl by Ken KitsonOne year, early in the morning in mid-September, I heard six deep hoots, answered a short distance away by another six or so. This serenade went back and forth for about twenty minutes. The performance was repeated that day about 6PM. This was the Great Horned Owl,
a common resident here and one of our largest owls.

The male selects the territory and then calls to attract a mate. The female then selects her lifetime mate and she will also select the final nest site.* Mated pairs may occupy territories year-round and the territories are established and maintained through the hooting serenades. While they remain in the same territory throughout the year, they only roost together during the mating season.

The Great Horned Owl does not build its nest but will use the nest of others such as the Red-tailed Hawk, crow, or squirrel. They usually have one brood with one to four eggs (usually two). The female does almost all of the incubating and brooding until the young are two weeks old, while the male brings food for her and for the young.
Barn Owl by Ken Kitson
Another owl that may appear familiar is the Barn Owl.
It does not give a hoot but gives a rasping hiss or snore.
It requires open areas and cavities for nesting, tree cavities or man-made such as abandoned buildings or nest boxes.

— Ken Kitson (Illustrations also by Ken Kitson)

* Intriguing Owls: Tekiela

I Remember Pearl Harbor

Naval photograph documenting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Battleships USS WEST VIRGINIA and USS TENNESSEE are seen after the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo: PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES)My brother, Ted, was having trouble “finding” himself. We were still in the Depression, jobs were non-existent, he was dating a girl who lived 45 miles away, he had no car, no money so – he joined the Navy. As a college graduate, he qualified for their Officer Training Program and was assigned to a training ship in New York harbor. Life was looking better but his love life flopped. She returned his engagement ring. After several months, Ted received a commission as Ensign in the US Navy. He got orders to report to the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor on December 1, 1941.

Enroute to Hawaii, Ted stopped in California and ordered a new Oldsmobile to be picked up on his return to the States. Little did he know that would be years later. We got a letter from him that first week in December. He was ecstatic. His world had turned around. He was on a major ship in Hawaii and even had a “Side Boy” assigned to him. Life was his oyster!

I was dating Ellen (my wife-to-be) and on December 7th we went to the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute. We heard the news on the trolley going home, “The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.” We went to church. Everyone did.

After a few agonizing days, we received a telegram. It said, “I’m O.K. I’m in a pup tent on the bank of Pearl Harbor. I have a change of underwear. That’s all. I’ll write later. Love, Ted.” We learned that Ted’s ship was sunk and his quarters were under water. Some time later the ship was raised sufficiently enough for Ted to get to his locker (which was still underwater) and he retrieved the engagement ring.

Later in the war, Ted was assigned to Atlantic submarine duty out of Boston. He reconnected with his girlfriend in Reading. She again accepted the much-traveled engagement ring and they were married. Today, Ted and Anna Mae Burchill, both 98 years old, live in a retirement community in Florida. He is in nursing care and she is in assisted living – but they are still together.

— Charlie Burchill

Editor’s Note: God bless them.

In the Run

The scene? The Cafe in the dining room. The time? Usually 5pm. Across from our table I often notice a man who appears very distinguished, almost resembling the artist, Degas, but quiet in nature. I hear from others that this man is most interesting, I can’t resist being inquisitive and curious, and I set up an interview. Our Villager for December is Gene Grayson.

Gene, an only child, was born in New York City. He attended public school until 5th grade, and then went to the Ethical Culture School, New York City. After high school, Gene entered Cornell University; but in 1942, at age 19, Gene was drafted into the Army, taking basic training at Columbia, South Carolina. He discovered most of the men there were also nineteen years old. Gene was assigned to the 87th Infantry Division (3rd Army – Patton’s Army) and served as a forward observer and radio operator with the 912 Field Artillery. Today, Gene attributes his bad back to the 40-pound radio he carried on his back during WWII. He fought from the Saar Valley to the Battle of the Bulge to the German surrender. One day riding in the back of a jeep, Gene turned on his radio, and heard another infantry company calling for help. Their backup could not hear them, but he did. Gene called their artillery unit, relayed their distress, and let them know their outfit was in trouble, and where they were. Gene saved many lives improvising this communication, and for his quick action, was awarded a Bronze Star. He stayed until the end of the war, and was discharged in 1945, with the rank of Corporal.

After the war, Gene returned to Cornell to finish his education. He earned a B.A. in English Literature, and then, not knowing where to go for a job, stumbled into Advertising. In the beginning of his career he worked for Grey and Ted Bates Advertising. At Grey, he met Florence, who also worked there, and they married in 1953. Gene and Florence had one daughter, Laura, who lives in Perkasie, PA. Gene later took a job at Ogilvy and Mather, working there for sixteen years as Creative Director, Senior Vice President and became a member of the Board. He wrote, or supervised, 28 million dollars worth of TV advertising for Rolls Royce, KLM, General Foods, Hershey, Dove, Pepperidge Farms and International Paper to name a few.

Gene tells a story of doing a TV commercial for Dove for dishes. He wrote a funny story that needed an actual dove to fly through a window. Hidden on the other side of the window was a cage of female doves. The male dove was being enticed with female doves, bird food and bird trainers: all to no avail. The filming began at 9 AM, and finally at 6 PM, one dove flew through the set.

Gene hired Danny Thomas for the commercial for Maxwell House. Danny was in the show, MAKE WAY FOR DADDY. They became good friends and often had dinner together. Gene also used Danny’s daughter, Terre, for his commercials.

Gene lived in Tenafly, New Jersey for many years and came to Pine Run after his wife passed away. At 91 years old he is truly glad to be here. Although Gene is basically a quiet and reserved individual, I found him most charming, thoughtful and funny once I got to know him.

— Elinor Cohen

Re-Creating the Pine Run Welcome “Green” Wagon

Last August, Ceil asked me if it would be possible to repair the Pine Run “Green Wagon”, a basically classical buckboard wagon historically used on farms in their fields and to transport produce to market. I think our wagon is between 100 to 130 years old.

I formed a team with Irv Thompson and Tom Swartz to see if we could possibly at least repair the platform box, which had rotted out over the years. We concluded that it could not be repaired, but we strongly felt that a new platform could be made exactly as the old one. The metal frame was in excellent condition and could be used. The real problem was not the platform but the wagon wheels. They had deteriorated to the point where they would have to be replaced. This became our main focus and our biggest problem. We explored the possibility of locating a replacement wagon. This became an impossible task and proved to be cost prohibitive. In all probability it would be in the range of $30,000 and up. We were not sure that one existed that would meet our requirements, even for that amount of money. So, back to the drawing board.

We removed the platform and used a piece of it as a paint sample. Irv decided to use one-half inch PVC instead of wood for the sides, front and back, and pressurized wood for the platform under-frame. The floor of the platform would be three-quarter inch PVC. PVC has an outdoor lifespan of 25 to 30 years so we do not anticipate it would create a near-term problem.

The Wheels. The wagon had four rubber tire-sealed bearing wheels, two 36 inch diameter wheels in the back and two 34 inch wheels in the front. The front wheels could be pivoted so the wagon could be steered, and the fact that they were smaller made turning a little easier. These deteriorated wheels had to be removed and replaced and because of the antiquity of the wagon and its wheels, this was a complicated and major effort. It took us a long time to realize that we had to knock off the end of the wheel hubs in order to get at the square nuts on the end axles holding the wheels on. It took a while to learn that the nuts were left handed on the right side and right handed on the left side. We were finally able to remove the wheels. The wheel axles were tapered and about 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. This made it complicated to find new wheels that would fit these dimensions.

There were no distributors or manufacturers in our area that had, or could get, wagon wheels that would fit our requirements. Searching the internet, we located a number of companies in the Mid- and Southwest who specialized in wagon wheels, but their prices, with freight and shipping costs, were prohibitive. I went to the Amish in Lancaster County and they had an outlet in Gordonville, PA, which sold their Ornamental Wagon Wheels and I felt that we could adapt these wheels to meet our requirements. At Gordonville, I saw the actual wheels and realized that some way – somehow – they could be adapted to our axles. No 34 inch wheels were available so we bought two 32 inch and two 36 inch wheels. Brandon, in Maintenance made two different-diameter copper tubes as a double axle sleeve, and with brass washers we were able to mount the wheels and secure them with the original nuts.

The next step was to paint each of these wheels with a primer coat and two coats of high quality outdoor house paint to provide maximum protection when the wagon was exposed to the weather. Painting the wheels was a time-consuming task because there were four wheels with 12 spokes per wheel. Using our samples, we purchased green paint for the platform and yellow for the wheels from Austin Briggs. The special striping for the platform and wheels was ordered from 3M.

We built a special painting jig to allow me to paint both sides at one time. Just finishing the wheels took about sixty man-hours! But, now, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel and we were in a position to do the final assembly of the wagon. The platform was built, painted, striped and attached to the wooden mainframe. The wheels were painted, striped and the outer bands painted with a rust-resistant special paint. The final assembly took time, with a few small problems that were easily solved. We applied axle grease to the wheels and installed them. Irv, Tom and I finally put the wagon together and met our deadline of the October 2015 Fall Festival. It was a fun project and we learned a lot. We just hope that you like and enjoy the “new” wagon.

— Jack Venner

How to Use Our Library

Lucky are we who come to Pine Run and find an inviting library awaiting us! Located just behind the lounge in the Community Building and overflowing a bit onto shelves in the Pub, it offers books in both regular and large print, hardbacks and paperbacks, and a rather comprehensive selection of magazines. There are also reference books including atlases, dictionaries, coffee-table histories of the World Wars and the works of favorite artists. The books on the shelves—fiction, biographies and many others of interest—can be signed out at the high desk by the doorway to the lounge. Take the card from the back of the book, sign your name and the date, and leave the card on the desk. Also, add three weeks to the date and enter it on the “Date Due” list pasted in the back of the book (a reminder for yourself). When you return the book, just leave it on the desk’s lower shelf.

Borrowing a paperback is easier yet. Simply choose a book from the four revolving racks (the Carousel) located in the back corner of the library. Take the paperback home and read it: then bring it back and slip it into the rack again (no signing in or out necessary). On the shelves in the Pub are also a number of audio-videos and DVD’s for you to borrow. On the other hand, reference books must remain in the library or the Pub (most are marked with a red “R” pasted on the cover). But do sit down for a bit and enjoy them—whether photos of Pearl Harbor, pictures of the stone houses in Bucks County or artwork by Andrew Wyeth and others.

We are constantly adding new books to our library, which means retiring those that are seldom read. New ones are chosen from various best seller lists and from recommendations by Villagers. The library is funded by the Pine Run Village Board, and the books are generally purchased from the Doylestown Book Shop (from whom we receive a discount). We accept books donated by Villagers, too, but because of limited shelf space, not all can be added to our collection and must be “re-donated” to other places.

The library also offers wide selection of magazines as well as local and Philadelphia newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and the Sunday New York Times. Once the magazines are replaced by newer issues, Villagers are welcome to take and keep out-of-date numbers (found on the shelf along the side of the library room). Newspapers however are discarded the following day.

So do make yourself familiar with our Pine Run library! It is always open for your browsing, but don’t be surprised to find the small tables in use by bridge and/or table-top game players. They gather most afternoons and some evenings, but we hope you’ll be there too. The books are waiting!

— Mollie Hallowell, Librarian

Library Committee: Mollie Hallowell (books), Mary Ann Crozier (magazines), Ruth Gerhart, Doris Gleason, Rose Jones, Jean Kraus,
Pat Patterson, Jayne Reddie and Mildred Vreeland.