From Dwight Smith -

"Hi Everyone,  Good news to report. My C-scan at Dana Farber revealed another 6 % reduction in cancer cell activity.  That makes a 34% reduction in 12 treatments. My next scan will reveal less progress because of the timing of the visit to China. The protocol for the clinical calls for C- scan every 8 weeks regardless of the number of treatments.  The Doctors at DF are very pleased and I remain well within the expected result format. They will take me off oxyplatin (a delivery system) soon because of increased neuropathy.

Not a problem unless you do too much of you know the rest of life!!

The China trip of 2 1/2 weeks was long and successful.  I've attached a photo of me and my crew in Dongguang.

In addition to the new sculpture which will stand 8" high, we've designed a birdbath and an armillary for production. Our windweaver series has sold out and we now have several dealers involved in sales.

We were able to travel to Xian to view the terra cotta soldiers and to Zhangjiajie to see their first national park, (a pleasant change from the industrial territory that we left in Dongguang.) Well, more information than you probably wanted  but that's where we are at.  Happy to be back from China, (the US and spring looks soooo good).

Happy to be getting healthy.  Thanks for your continued concern and support.

Happy Easter,                        Dwight

P.S.- In the picture (above) is my engineer Watson, who speaks no English but has this wonderful Cherubic smile that comes to his face when he likes an idea. At the end is Mr. Wong who does a great job and has developed an enthusiasm for our projects. Who's the baldy?"

Additional Pictures sent by Dwight:

Hi Kevin, Here are some recent pics of our trip to China. The first being Judy and I in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Prov.  A very poor, but beautiful area.

Besides Dongguang , we also went to Xian for a few days. One photo is from Hong Kong.  I took about 250 shots, so it will take a while to digest and process them.  These are the early winners.  I loved the cook boys, they were such " posers" and so full of themselves, as adolescents will be.  As we were! Dwight


Hi my friends - Thanks for visiting my web site and expressing an interest in my upcoming book, Tales of the Reluctant Adventurer�.  As you may already know, I have been traveling around the country for the past two and a half years on my walkabout, my spiritual journey.  I use the term �walkabout� to refer to my desire to travel without a set destination or time frame; the more common term perhaps is wanderlust.  Now, that is not to say that I don�t have some general guidelines for my travels because the purpose of my current journey is to visit many of the states and National Parks and places of interest in the natural world all across the United States.  I have had the great fortune to spend quite a bit of time hiking, camping and exploring many of these places, experiencing the unique beauty each has to offer the world.  I have, even more so, very much enjoyed all the fascinating people I have met along the way. They have come from around the country and the world to enjoy the wonders of the U.S.

I can be reached at:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers, Russ Boone

Tales of the Reluctant Adventurer 

"I hope I die before I get old" (Talkin' 'bout my generation) The Who 1965


"Thanks to advances in public health and medicine, the average 60-year-old today can expect to live to the age of 83, and millions will continue well into their 90s."

So, you've managed to navigate life's inevitable speed bumps, you've survived divorce, job changes, the death of parents and loved ones, health issues, maybe you have a few grandchildren you are now enjoying.  Since this is one of those benchmark birthday's, let us know how you are celebrating your 60th this year. You've got lots of company, so don't be embarrassed about the details. While your at it, let us know what you've learned and how you've managed to keep re-inventing yourself these last six decades. Let us learn from your experience-send me your plans/thoughts and I'll post the best of them here, anonymously, if you prefer.

60 Never Looked This Good t-shirts

Forrest Guth, 85, of Hockessin, speaks to (from left) Amanda Arbaugh, Jackie Larue, Seanna Henigan and Andrew Phillips on Thursday at the Delaware Military Academy near Newport. Guth is one of about 14 surviving members of the World War II Army Airborne company depicted in HBO's "Band of Brothers."

 January 30, 2009

Students welcome hero - WWII Army Airborne veteran shares experience with military academy cadets

The News Journal

Forrest Guth stood like a rock star in the middle of the mess hall at Delaware Military Academy near Newport, surrounded by admiring cadets and signing autographs as pens and paper were thrust at him.

Guth, 88, of Hockessin, is one of about 14 surviving members of the World War II-era Army Airborne company depicted in the critically acclaimed book and HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," and he could not have picked a more receptive audience for a talk about his experiences than the one at the naval charter school.

"You're all nicely dressed," he told the students, who wore winter dress blues. "Do you have an inspection every week?"

"Every Thursday," some of the cadets shouted out in unison.

Senior David Chester, 18, who has joined the Navy and reports for duty in August, asked for the veteran's autograph, as Guth leaned on a cafeteria table to take the weight off his bad knee, which he injured on some rocks when he parachuted in England.

"I liked how he was able to go through all this experience and still survive to tell the tale," Chester said.

Guth, a self-described "country boy" who grew up near Allentown, Pa., was 19 and worked at Bethlehem Steel when he signed up for the Army paratroopers because he wanted to see some action. He wasn't disappointed.

Guth took his basic training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia and ended up in Company E of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division that gained renown at the Battle of Normandy following D-Day and at the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive launched in the mountainous Ardennes region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg.

"That was the tough one," he said of the latter campaign. "That was one I could have skipped very easily. I lost a lot of friends. They were my best friends, and I guess they'll always be my best friends."

Parachuting in from 500 feet in advance of the amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy was not much easier.

"We were inland from the beach, so we didn't see them land," he said of the assault.

"We jumped at night; they landed in the morning. The moon was out partially. It was solid boats. There were all kinds of boats out there."

Guth, who carved out a career as a woodshop and drafting teacher at several Delaware high schools following the war, also injured his back and hip when he parachuted into Holland, one of 26 wartime jumps. He had to take a year off from teaching to be operated on for that one. But he considers himself lucky because he never got shot -- only one of three or four of the 136 original company members who could make that claim.

About 25 percent of the soldiers in his unit either were killed or injured during every mission, said Guth, who lives in Cokesbury Village, which he refers to as "the old-folks home." There was a steady stream of replacements, but they never were as well trained as the original group, he said.

Guth, who had earned the rank of sergeant when he was discharged in 1945, had bullets whiz over his head in the heat of battle. And when he was in a foxhole in Bastogne, Belgium, shrapnel from an exploding shell bent the barrel of his rifle, which was sitting just outside the foxhole.

Don't ask Guth about the 2001 cable TV series that chronicled some of that war action. There was too much cussing in it, he said, and his parents didn't bring him up that way. He much prefers the book of the same name, which spurred the series. The late author Stephen E. Ambrose befriended the unit and gave them the name Band of Brothers because they have held reunions in different cities every year since the war, Guth said. Last year, the dwindling group met in Salem, Ore.

"I think I missed two when the kids were a certain age," the father of two said of the reunions.

Guth, whose wife, Harriet, died last year from Alzheimer's, traveled to Kuwait with six other Company E members last October as part of a USO visit. He also has returned to Europe several times, pausing at the graves of some of his fallen friends.

"They were good guys, good men. I was paying respect. You think about what happened. I was very lucky that I came home," he said.

"I'm embarrassed when people think I'm a hero," added Guth, whose medals include a Presidential Citation, a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. "The heroes stayed over there. I think that's the ultimate gift."

Kaitlyn De Vine, 17, a senior at the school, begs to differ.

"I just look at him as a hero, and I'm just so glad he fought for our freedom," she said. "I'm very appreciative. It makes you want to go out there and do something for the community."

Added fellow senior Jacquelyn LeSage: "I thought he was amazing and inspiring to listen to. Everything he said had the 'wow' factor, where you just sat down and you said, 'He went through that?' "

Mark Giansanti, a military history teacher at the school who is teaching about World War II right now, asked Guth to speak at the school to provide a real-life history lesson for his students.

"I wanted my kids to get a chance to see that history did happen to real people," Giansanti said. "I think what he brought is a realism that myself, as a teacher, can't bring. I don't have those life experiences. I learned something; I learned things about World War II that I never knew."

Class of '67 Reunion Organizers (aka "Da Committee") written up in Reunions Magazine-click on left image to enlarge.

11.17.08 The Hollywood Grill - (old Ho-Jo's) Second Helpings Blog writer and News Journal Patricia Talorico responds to our comments about the Hollywood Grill

Friday, November 14, 2008  Reader mail

QUESTION: Hi Patricia, over the decades I've been a faithful breakfast patron at the Hollywood Grill at U.S. 202 and Murphy Road in Fairfax [formerly the old Howard Johnson's] next to the Best Western Brandywine Valley Motel. This past Friday I discovered a whole new dimension to this favorite "breakfast comfort food" eating establishment.

Friday, (Nov. 7) I was invited to the 90th birthday dinner of Helen "Chiquita" Kingshill - longtime (five decades) Fairfax resident and mother of a good friend and fellow BHS Class of '67'er - Bruce Kingshill. The event was held at the Hollywood Grill. Not only did I discover you could order a good drink (martinis and Dogfish Head Beer), but the dinner entries consisted of broiled and fresh seafood that rivaled any Maryland seafood (red snapper, tilapia and crab cakes). The food was delicious, reasonably priced and filling. What a great (culinary) surprise for this former Wilmingtonian (frequent visitor) and current Ellicott City, Md., resident.

A great birthday celebration was had by "Chiquita", the extended Kingshill family visiting from North Carolina along with myself and other honored guest and friend and BHS classmate; Bill England, also visiting from North Carolina.

Best regards,

Kevin F. Donohue

ANSWER: Great letter. Thanks Kevin. (And I'm forever grateful to you for encouraging me to eat a cheese steak at the Claymont Steak Shop. One of the best cheese steaks I've had outside of South Philly.) I have friends who keep telling me the Hollywood is so much more than a breakfast spot. And here's another endorsement. Readers? Similar experiences? I think the News Journal is picking up the tab soon at Hollywood.

Brandywine High School to celebrate 50th anniversary at homecoming

Oct. 25 festivities begin with faculty breakfast, parade follows

Community News
Posted Oct 16, 2008 @ 01:09 PM
Last update Oct 16, 2008 @ 03:45 PM

Brandywine Hundred, Del. �

Kevin Donohue was at his Brandywine High School class of 1967�s 40th reunion a year ago, and he and his classmates had just dedicated a memorial plaque for their alma mater. But the significance of the occasion did not hit him until one of his classmates broke into song, an existential moment as the simple yet fitting lyrics poured out.     "We are the Bulldogs. Mighty, mighty Bulldogs. Everywhere we go, people want to know...��

�It brought tears to my eyes. We were 58-year-olds breaking out in the school song. It brought it all back - all those memories,� Donohue said. �We had about 175 people come, which is pretty good at this stage of the game.�

Donohue, who now lives near Columbia, Md. will be back in town for Brandywine High School�s 50th anniversary and homecoming Oct. 25.

�Brandywine High School was the best high school in the state. We were kind of in that pipeline where you were expected to go to college,� said Donohue, who went on to Stetson University. �It was a perfect storm of dynamics and socioeconomics.�

In the 1950s and 1960s, Brandywine Hundred was the new frontier for the city of Wilmington, where the chemists, scientists and engineers of DuPont were settling and sending their children to Brandywine for the most part.

Don Wood, a 1961 alumnus who taught for 15 years at Brandywine High after 20 years at Concord High School, will also attend homecoming.

BHS Homecoming & 50th Anniversary Celebration

9 a.m. � Current and former Staff/ faculty breakfast  in the school cafeteria. RSVP:

10 a.m. � Ribbon-cutting for new Alumni Association brick-scape, near flagpole.

10 a.m.-12 p.m. �  Tours conducted by Student Council.

10:20-11:45 a.m. � Stone City (alumni band) performs

11 a.m. �  Parade

12 p.m. � Football Game vs. Hodgson Vo-Tech Homecoming king and queen announced at halftime.

7 p.m. � Dance in cafeteria.

When he entered Brandywine in 1958, the area was still mostly rural. Wood�s grandmother was a Hanby, one of the pioneer families that included names like Foulk, Talley, Weldin, Pennington, Grubb, Webster, Sharpley, Zebley and Mousley.

�Just about all the roads were named after somebody who had a farm off the road,� Wood said.

Until the Alfred I. duPont School District built Brandywine, people in that area often attended P.S. duPont High School in the city or Mount Pleasant High School in East Brandywine Hundred, he said. He and his classmates started out at Alfred I. duPont Elementary, and then spent a year and a half at Springer Junior High. Halfway through their junior year, Brandywine High was completed, in the spring of 1958.

Wood remembers his alma mater as a great school where 90 percent-plus of the graduates went on to college.

And they had success athletically as well, Wood said. He was on Brandywine�s first cross country state championship team that beat out Howard in 1960 and the wrestling team, under coach and mentor Jay Widdoes, that beat St. Andrew�s for the wrestling championship. He also remembers that the football team won the Blue Hen conference championship in the fall of 1960, when there wasn�t a state championship.

Brandywine High School business teacher Eunique Sudler-Lawrence, chairwoman of the 50th anniversary, has been learning about this history and more. She did not anticipate the level of response she�s gotten from alumni from across the country. The four reunions: �68, �78, �88 and �98, are getting huge responses, she said.

�It is just incredible, the amount of school pride alumni have," she said.

Students in Sudler-Lawrence�s sports marketing and entertainment course as well as the student council have been helping her organize the 50th anniversary. The class has been making flyers, invitations and a billboard that was scheduled to go up this week on Concord Pike.

Brandywine seniors Evan Peoples and Mary Frances Meier are among the students helping. Peoples is a legacy. His mother, Carol (Holloway) Peoples graduated from Brandywine in 1973. So did his sisters Emily (2007) and Adrienne (2005).

�I�ve always felt that Brandywine was the best school in Delaware,� said Peoples, who plays lacrosse and swims �All my friends and I just carry that pride wherever we go.�

Meier, secretary of the student council, said she got into Charter School of Wilmington and Mount Pleasant High School via choice. But she decided to stay in her hometown school, Brandywine, to get �the most opportunities.� She is a star player on the field hockey team, near the top of the state this year.

�I love the atmosphere here and I love the people here. We have a lot of dedicated teachers here, like Mr. [Kenny] Rivera, who make sure that people stay involved.�

Rivera, who teaches social studies, said when he went to Glasgow High School (class of 2000), he always thought of Brandywine as �the elite high school of the state.�

�Now, working here I see that from the faculty standpoint,� Rivera said.

Assistant Principal Hinda Tanzer was a guidance counselor at Brandywine from 1974 to 1978, taking time off to start her family. She returned to Brandywine in her current position in 1991. A fun part of the job is seeing the children of former students, Tanzer said. They include the children of Charlie Oberle, Suzie (Niger) Whitcraft and Nancy and Jim Julian (whose children are there now).

She also saw her daughter Katie (1997) and son Matthew (1998) graduate and go on to Binghamton and Pennsylvania, respectively.

�We�re in the top 4 percent according to U.S. World & News Report,� Tanzer said. �You can�t get much better than that.�

September 9, 2008

Brandywine High remembers 50 years

Recalling a time when drive-in movies and dances were hot dates

The News Journal

In true rock star fashion, Brandywine High School alumnus George Thorogood blew off the invitation to attend the school's 50th anniversary celebration next month.

"He's in the studio that week and won't be able to make it," said organizer Eunique Sudler-Lawrence, a business education teacher at the school, adding that he really did not show much interest in the event.

Dozens of other less famous graduates, teachers and administrators are expected to rub elbows that day at the school, for years recognized as a launching pad for college-bound students in the heyday of upwardly mobile Brandywine Hundred, where many DuPont Co. families settled.

Good students: that's what many people remember about the early days at Brandywine High.

"It was such a pleasant surprise to deal with students who were so intellectually sharp," said Jay Widdoes, 82, of Brandywine Hundred, who taught health and physical education at the school from 1959 to 1967.

"Of course, they came from the Brandywine Hundred area, where their parents had passed on some genetic qualities that helped them be honor roll students."

Some of that early growth was not just limited to the students. Fifty years ago, the school on Foulk Road grew out of rolling farmland in Brandywine Hundred, well before the area spawned the mushrooming development of new suburban schools and communities, including some named for pioneering families such as the Sharpleys, Hanbys, Talleys and Weldins.

"I baled hay on the farm here a couple times," said Don Wood, 65, a Hanby relative, as he sat in one of the classrooms. "It was probably the last year it was a farm. Brandywine (High) was probably already staked out. I remember them building the building. I would have been about 14."

Wood, who lived then on Naamans Road and was among the 600 students who were the first to attend the school when it opened in September 1959, has an interesting perspective: The 1961 graduate -- inspired by teachers such as Widdoes -- returned to teach health and physical education there for 15 years, before retiring several years ago. But many of his fondest memories dip back into his halcyon days as a student.

Wood recalls spending his first half year of the 10th grade at Springer Junior High waiting for Brandywine High to be built. The 11th-graders also spent their first half year at the junior high, he said. Both schools were then in the Alfred I. du Pont School District, now known as the Brandywine School District.

It was a much simpler, more carefree time, he said.

"If you see the movie or the play 'Grease,' that was Brandywine in the late '50s," he said. "The DuPont Co. was just flourishing. They had the dances at the DuPont Country Club. They had dances here, too. Back then, there were dances everywhere. It was going to drive-in movies and not watching the movie. It was the last days of innocence before the future generations."

The first students played a big part in the formation of the school, he said, including choosing the school's colors.

"They selected blue and white," Wood said. "They named the yearbook (Azurean) and established the alma mater song -- 'Brandywine we sing to thee, hymns of praise and loyalty.' I can't remember the rest of it."

Lou Ziccarelli, 80, of Brandywine Hundred, a teacher at the school from 1959 to 1978, remembers the powerhouse Bulldog sports teams of that early period. He coached basketball at the school, and he served as assistant football coach under John Modica, 1964's state coach of the year.

"Tremendous athletes," he said. "At one time, I had 15 of them playing college basketball. We had college coaches constantly looking at the players that we had."

Spectators queued up for standing-room-only admission at basketball games in the 1960s and early 1970s, he said.

"We televised the games in a few of the classrooms," Ziccarelli said.

He, too, remembers the school as being "highly academic," and he points to the teachers as being a big reason.

"We had a very young faculty at the time," he said. "We were all in our 20s. You had to have a master's degree or a doctorate. It was one of the highest-paid school districts, too."

Among the students in his American history class was a pre-"Bad to the Bone" teenager named George Thorogood, a member of the Class of '68.

"He did well in my class," Ziccarelli said. "George Thorogood was one of my favorite students. We had a wonderful rapport. He was very pleasant to deal with. I didn't know that he was a musician. I only knew him as a student."

Other famous Brandywine alum include movie star Sean Patrick Thomas, Class of '88; Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher Jr., who left as a senior in his 2001-02 school year to pursue acting; basketball star Dexter Boney, Class of '88, who played for the Phoenix Suns; and Dennis Brockenborough, Class of '88, a member of musical group The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Jill Biden, wife of Joe, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and U.S. senator from Delaware, taught English at Brandywine High and is pictured in its 1992 yearbook.

Kevin Donohue, Class of '67, who last year helped organize his 40th class reunion, said there were "a lot of lawyers, a lot of doctors, a lot of dentists" in his class.

"I made friends that I have stayed friends with for 40 years," said Donohue, 59, who runs his own advertising and marketing firm in Ellicott City, Md. "So, for me, it was just a good group of people. For me, I thought the whole world revolved around Brandywine. We were kind of the gold standard for high schools in Delaware at the time."

As a student, he was a member of the school's Latin Club. Fellow clubs of that period also included the Future Business Leaders, Future Homemakers Club, Future Nurses, Future Teachers of America, the Bridge Club, Military Science Club, the Folksinging Club, the School Store Club and the Classic Car Club.

The latter group brought a big smile to the face of anniversary organizer Sudler-Lawrence, 29, as she glanced at a late-model car in the high school yearbook.

"Their new cars are our classic cars," she said. "That's funny."

Tail of Two Dog Houses:

There used to be �The (original) Dog House� on the Concord Pike, I worked there ever so briefly and it was Dave Porter�s favorite eatery and they had really good cheeseburgers too. This Dog House (pictured below) is on the DuPont Hywy. Has any one ever been there?. I wonder if it�s a re-incarnation of the original Doghouse on 202, (in the description), they refer to your order as �one dog with relish, mustard, etc� just like we used to say when I worked there.  

A small place and it is always packed. Seating is at a long counter, probably about 20 seats total. You are facing the grill, watching the workers do their thing. Since seating is at a premium, lots of people just order takeouts. You don't get a number, your order is called out by what food you ordered, such as: "Dog with mustard, onion, and relish!"

Favorite Dish: Hot dogs, anyway you like 'em. They are foot long, sliced down the middle and grilled. Also, just as popular, are the cheesesteaks.

Address: 1200 DuPont Highway, New Castle, Delaware

There is also yet another Dog House; �Johnnie�s Dog House� opening on Concord Pike, see below. More haute cuisine to sample when next in Wilm.

June 17, 2008

Delaware flag stamp unveiled

The News Journal

DOVER � The U.S. Postal Service marked Flag Day 2008 by announcing a three-year series of stamps called �Flags of Our Nation,� and, owing to its spot in the alphabetical pecking order, an image of Delaware�s flag was one of 10 issued Saturday to get the ball rolling.

On Tuesday, postal representatives were in Dover, as well as eight other state capitals, to celebrate the issuance of the series.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner hosted a ceremony that included U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., Kent County Levy Court Vice President Allan F. Angel, D-Dover, and Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr.

The first 10 flags � including Stars and Stripes, the national flag � now are available at post offices, by visiting or by calling (800) STAMP-24. A second group of stamps will be issued in September and the process will be repeated over the following two years until flags from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories are in circulation.

Ray Daiutolo Sr., a postal service spokesman, said the series was inspired by the popularity of stamps bearing images of the U.S. flag, which are featured on an ongoing basis.

�It�s part of our commemorative stamp program in which we issue stamps to show what makes our country special and unique,� Daiutolo said. �The Stars and Stripes is very popular, and this is a way of spreading that around.�

The flags were designed by Tom Engeman, a former Brunswick, Md., resident who, according to Daiutolo and Minner, now lives in Bethany Beach. Besides images of the flags, the stamps include �snapshot views� of items particular to the various jurisdictions. In Delaare�s case, a depiction of a beach scene is featured.

Noting that the postal service handles 212 billion pieces of mail each year, Minner described the stamp issuance as �a great tourism campaign.�

�We are very proud and fortunate to be among the first 10 stamps to be launched in this collection,� Minner said. �Of course, it does make sense � we are the First State. And I can�t think of a better way to showcase the beauty of our state.�

In a statement, Castle praised �Flags of Our Nation� as an educational tool on par with his own 50 State Quarters Program.

�Flags are a great symbol of our nation, representing unity of Americans and pride in our states,� he said.

�This initiative will not only serve as something for collectors but also as a means to teach about the history of Delaware and every other state as new stamps are released over the next three years.�

Minner noted that Engeman also designed the National World War II Memorial stamp, which was issued in 2004, and a stamp featuring the Liberty Bell released three years later.

�It is no wonder that with an artist from Bethany, our flag is flying on the beach,� Minner said.

Design Director, Dwight Smith, artist, Designer, Sculptor, Journalist, Educator designs kinetic artwork for HypnArtic Artwork. They provide high-end, yard and garden wind sculptures. Each wind sculpture's movement has been designed to provide a relaxing, hypnotic environment. HypnArtic Artwork partners with multiple artists throughout the United States who provide a continuing flow of unique wind sculptures.  If interested in learning more or owning some of Dwight's creations, contact Dwight at

That�s not the 1967 "Plaid Crab" Apartment building pictured BUT put a snack bar and billboard in front of the place and voila!
Those Plaid Crab O.C MD invasion weekends spent with Peggi Mitten, Pat Walker et. al (who were working at Phillips Crab house that summer) were a lot of fun. About 10-12 of us guys would travel down Friday night and spend the weekend with our 'mates, gratis.  Packed in ala sardines into a one or two bedroom un-air-conditioned apartment, waking up soaking in a pool of sweat on a vinyl couch, now that was living!  I asked Peggi recently if those summer weekend "invasions" didn't really trash her summer living quarters. Her answer; "What mess?" "Wasn't that normal?"  "The first summer ('67) Sandy Slayton (?) also roomed with us.  The summer of '68, we had 4 other roommates from Virginia living with us.  It was indeed a one bedroom apartment with a double bed in the bedroom, and the couch opened into a double bed.  We managed to squeeze a second double bed into the bedroom with barely enough room to squeeze between the two.  The first one in bed had to go against the wall.  There were 7 of us that summer.  One of us always had to find a boyfriend and sleep elsewhere. There was only one bathroom and we all worked the same shift.   And those girls were slobs.  Joanna, Hooper, and I forget the others.  I do, however, remember that Joanna waited on the Nixon's who were in route from Cape Henlopen back to DC for Robt. Kennedy's funeral.  The Phillips picked up their tab.

Top memories:  "David Porter and Becky slept UNDER the opened-out couch.  A huge ashtray fell on his chest.  Steve Bruni and I slept in his car down at the Beach.  Gil slept in his car and complained (he had locked his keys in the trunk).  I think a lot of people slept on the floor or in their cars.  Did anyone even bother to think of a sleeping bag?  Geeeesh, how did we do it?  And no one has any pictures - too bad.  It was fun though wasn't it?.  And we were soooo young then!

Thanks for the memory."

Peggi Mitten


Granogue, Cathy Rollins Debutante Party, The Four Tops, Count Basie and some Inventive Gate Crashers:

Drew Stuart: "Wasn�t this Rollins gig the same night we graduated from BHS?  For some reason that sticks in my mind.  All I remember (and that isn�t much considering we were pretty well plastered) was walking through a field of parked cars and coming upon the stage area from behind.  Then lifting the canvas and seeing all the equipment, and suddenly, music!  Inhibitions must have been checked, because we simply got up on the stage and I actually remember the Four Tops enjoying our dancing with them.  I have no idea how long we were there or what happened next.  It was surreal.  Over the years I�ve recounted the story many times, and I think about it whenever I get the Motown urge.  The other Motown memory was Steve, Jack, Gil and I going to see the Temptations at the Nixon Theater in West Philly the day before we were to leave for college.  The only white folks in the audience!  If I�m correct in my dates that would mean we started and ended our summer of �67 with Motown!  The other society page stuff I remember are parties at the Soda House.  We were plastered then, too.  But when weren�t we?  Regards, guys!"

Norm Lack: "I once went to a debutant party at Granogue (1969 or 70) and there was a duPont family of 4 (mom, dad, son and daughter) living there. They had lots of room. The famous crashing was at Cathy Rollins�s deb party. I knew her pretty well because she was dating Nick Ellis, who is a good friend and was a roommate in college. The reason for crashing was The Four Tops. Deb parties are a dime a dozen but the Four Tops played so this was serious business. I remember seeing someone on the way in, I think it was Bruni, out in the parking area and I thought he was pretending to park cars, I don�t think I saw the others until the Four Tops started playing. Most of the young people moved up on the dance floor right in front of the band. Keep in mind they had Count Basie for the parents in another area. The band started playing and the crowd went nuts clapping and yelling. I looked around and there they were right up front; it was great, all of us from Brandywine right up front on the dance floor, inches from the band."

  Class of '67'ers Mike and BJ Houser, Susan and Bruce Kingshill, Marilyn Monson Nimtz and Kevin Donohue gathered at Buckley's in Greenville April 19, '08 to discuss the latest classmate comings and goings.  Bruce and Susan were up from Waynesville, NC visiting his mom, Chiquita who still lives in Fairfax.  Marilyn looked none the worse for wear even though she has been working non-stop getting the new Francine's Community Marketplace in Hockessin open for business.  BJ Houser, much to everyone's delight, looked fit as a fiddle after some medical issues had put her out of commission during our big 40th last OCT. Bruce, Susan and Kevin inspected the downed tree behind the Class of '67 memorial marker at BHS (we plan on planting a new tree and landscaping with flowers) and for good measure, discovered a pretty good cheese steak place in the Independence Mall on Concord Pike in the process.  A nostalgic drive out to the old Merchandise Mart on Gov. Printz Blvd proved that time, urban blight, shifting demographics and changed shopping habits had not been kind to the once popular commercial area, which to our great disappointment, pretty much resembled a moonscape.

Spring Lakes Par-Three Golf Course Found on Google Satellite Map!,+wilmington,+delaware,+19803&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=30.682067,58.535156&ie=UTF8&ll=39.862153,-75.541327&spn=0.007247,0.021329&t=h&z=16&layer=tc&cbll=39.86444,-75.543963

From Old Google view of where Lynthwaite's once was on the Concord Pike. 

"Lynthwaite's Ice Cream See Map had TWO locations.  The first location was on the west side of Concord Pike.  The west side is the side that the Chuck Wagon is on - if you know where that is.  The SECOND location, 4725 Concord Pike, was on the east side of Concord Pike - the side where the Concord Mall is.  The second location would have been between Double Tree and the Concord Pike Village. I would guess that the two locations were across from each other and maybe 200 yards apart. The Chuck Wagon side was where the farm was. The exact location is NOT recognizable - it is not there. It may be the mound of dirt between the two places mentioned. If you are in the area of Mitchell's in Fairfax, every year they put old photos in their windows. One shows the second and last location of Lynthwaite's. The building is alone - nothing else is near it.  There are no survey markers to point it out - you just have to visualize it"

Lynthwaite's Homage From Old  -'s.html

Almost 50 years ago (1958), a Wilmington first amendment controversy surrounded the Edgemoor Art Theatre's efforts to show �And God Created Woman� (tame cinema fare by today�s standards) starring Bridget Bardot. The Edgemoor Theatre was managed by Mr. Daniel Cudone.

The Cudone family lived on Shipley Rd behind Steve Bruni and had three children; Dan Jr., Bobby, and Christine, all attended BHS. Mr. Cudone died in �74 at the age of 59. Click here to open a pfd attachment and scroll to �The Price of Art� story by Irving Morris.

March 21, 2008

Aircraft carrier (CVN 67) will pass through DE overnight

The News Journal

The deactivated aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy is on its way to a storage yard in Philadelphia � but it won't enter the Delaware Bay until about 9 tonight, officials said.

That means the vessel may not pass through northern Delaware until dawn on Saturday.

The Navy is not releasing an exact schedule of its passage up the bay and Delaware River due to security concerns.

The carrier will remain in Philadelphia, mothballed, until the Navy decides whether to sell, scrap or use the ship for another purpose. A group wants to turn the ship into a museum in Miami.

The Kennedy was retired on March 23, 2007, after 38 years of active service.

Initial plans to tow the ship to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in South Philadelphia were put on hold in July because of concerns about the depth of the water there.

While the Navy dredged the area around that pier, the Kennedy was tied up in Norfolk, Va., not far from where it was built in the 1960s.


Webmaster note: The USS JFK, CVN 67 "Big John" is the aircraft carrier I made my tailhook landing on off the coast of Jacksonville, FL a few years ago.  


DuPont shaped good legs

Wilmington women first to buy, wear nylons

Wilm. News Journal

For a brief and shining moment, the women of Wilmington were the fashion envy of the world. They had nylons.

And nobody else did. Anywhere.

Nearly 70 years and millions of legs ago, the first 4,000 pairs of nylons were sold at six Wilmington shops. Cheaper and less apt to run than silk, the garter-style hose sold out in three hours.

Nylon was created by DuPont Co. shortly after the company ended more than a century of making gunpowder by the Brandywine River. The mill site, now the Hag- ley Museum, closed in 1921. Five years later, DuPont director Charles M.A. Stine championed a shift to molecular research, leading to scientist Wallace H. Carothers' creation of "Fiber 66," later dubbed nylon, in 1935. The first filaments, an infinity loop of white threads, are preserved -- like the first nylon stocking -- in the museum near Greenville.

Nylon's development is documented there in detail rarely found in industrial history because executive Charles Rutledge kept elaborate scrapbooks on all DuPont textiles, Archivist Ben Blake said. "It's the single best collection on the early history of nylon," he said.

For detail, the filaments' label cites their manufacture as Dec. 12, 1935, at approximately 12:50 p.m., on Position 2 of Spinning Machine No. 1.

Nylon's advent was announced in The New York Herald Tribune on Oct. 27, 1938, touted three days later by a full-page DuPont Co. ad.

Like the museum's DuPont Science & Discovery exhibit, the scrapbooks show nylon's first use was not for legs, but mouths.

"Toothbrush bristles were the first things made of nylon," said Hagley Museum spokeswoman Meg Dickhart.

The first nylon stocking, kept in Hagley's Hall of Records, was thick and nubby. A few Du Pont wives wore refined samples before the first nylons went on sale -- at Braunsteins, Arthurs, Bird-Speakman, Fisher's, Kennard's and Crosby & Hill -- to around-the-block lines on Oct. 24, 1939.

"They started in Wilmington, then DuPont took nylons to the World's Fair and San Francisco Expo almost simultaneously in 1939," Blake said. The nylons' national launch on May 15, 1940, sold nearly 4 million pairs in four days.

Seaford, the production site, became "The Nylon Capital of the World."

Reference Archivist Marjorie G. McNinch said her favorite nylon photo shows World War II pin-up Betty Grable removing her stockings to be auctioned for war bonds. Stocking production stopped as nylon joined the war effort in products from parachutes to sutures.

Postwar, production of nylon stockings resumed -- and boomed.

But they nearly weren't called nylons.

The scrapbooks detail brainstorming on what to call "Fiber 66." Scientists toyed with creator Carothers' name and "KLIS" or "silk" spelled backward.

Another idea was "Duprooh," for "DuPont pulls rabbit out of hat."

For the fiber's durability, a scientist suggested "no-run." Another switched vowels to "nu-ron." Brainstorming led to "nulon," "nillon," "neelon" and "nilon" with the "I" tried as both long and short vowel.

They liked "nilon" with the long "I", so they changed the "I" to a "Y" to ensure it was pronounced that way and the rest was history, Dickhart said.

"But those aren't all the names they tried," she said. "For awhile, they thought of calling nylons 'Delawear.' "

Du Pont Co.'s invention of nylon stockings caused a fashion revolution after their debut in Delaware. Above, actress Marie Wilson,

 whose leg was cast for this 1950 Hollywood advertising sculpture, is hoisted skyward for a comparison.


The first public sale of nylons caused quite frenzy at Braunstein's department store in Wilmington on Oct. 24, 1939. Five other shops shared DuPont's first 4,000 pairs. Nationally, women went wild for the silk-like stockings, which went on sale May 15, 1940.

Stockings weren't the first product made of nylon to be rolled out to the public. This is a Saturday Evening Post advertisement for toothbrushes with nylon bristles from Oct. 29, 1938.

Betty Grable removes her nylon stockings to be auctioned at a war bond rally during World War II. A pair of her stockings could receive a bid of up to $40,000.

The first nylon filaments to be drawn at the first production factory, at the Du Pont Co. in Seaford, are preserved at the Hagley Museum and Library near Greenville, which also has the first nylon stocking and the first nylon garment, an elegant white evening dress.


(From FiberSource)

Nylon Characteristics

� Exceptionally strong

� Elastic

� Abrasion resistant

� Lustrous

� Easy to wash

� Resistant to damage from oil and many chemicals

� Can be precolored or dyed in wide range of colors

� Resilient

� Low in moisture absorbency

� Filament yarns provide smooth, soft, long-lasting fabrics

� Spun yarns lend fabrics lightweight and warmth

Major Nylon Fiber Uses

Apparel: Blouses, dresses, foundation garments, hosiery, lingerie, underwear, raincoats, ski apparel, windbreakers, swimwear, and cycle wear

Home furnishings: Bedspreads, carpet, curtains, upholstery

Industrial, other Uses: Tire cord, hoses, conveyer and seat belts, parachutes, racket strings, ropes and nets, sleeping bags, tarpaulins, tents, thread, monofilament fishing line, dental floss

General nylon care tips

Most items made of nylon can be machine-washed and tumble-dried at low temperatures. Use warm water and add a fabric softener to the final rinse cycle.

Remove articles from dryer as soon as tumbling cycle is completed. If ironing is required, use warm iron. (For specific care instructions, refer to garments' sewn-in care label.)


� To learn more about nylon and the history of DuPont Co.�s evolution from gunpowder production to �Better Living Through Chemistry,� visit the" target=new>Hagley Museum and Library near Greenville.

� "" target=new>The Science of Nylon," from the" target=new>Chemical Heritage Foundation.

� "" target=new>The Nylon Drama," from" target=new>The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation of the Smithsonian Institution.

NOAA Selects Bill Read as New National Hurricane Center Director: (Jan '08)

Class of �67 Bill Read:   Bill Read on U-Tube >

Bill's NOAA Press Release =

Thanks, and a tip of the hat to Classmate Rob Harra for pointing out Bill's appointment.

May 15, 2008

Brandywine grad directs Hurricane Center
Special to The News Journal

Broadcasting the weather is more than guaranteeing that people will wear the appropriate clothing, have a pleasant time or avoid a bad-hair day. Forecasting warns people to seek shelter, especially when Mother Nature wields a heavy hand with severe weather.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1. Standing at the forefront of disseminating information that will safeguard millions is former Delawarean Bill Read, who became director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami on Jan. 25. Protecting the public from severe weather has been his lifelong mission.

"In the event of a hurricane, my primary responsibility is to serve as the voice in the building -- in other words I'll be the one presenting the information when we have a critical hurricane event," he said. "Obviously I have to do that in a calm manner."

Read's other responsibilities focus on the leadership and management of all operations and projects. Read plans to continue the advancement of the display and dissemination of scientific information, especially through the Internet. The Brandywine High School graduate also wants continued development of training within the emergency management community and expansion of its outreach capabilities.

Part of the job means getting people to understand that meteorology is "an inexact science," he said. "We're constantly getting new people moving to the coastal areas and in some areas of the country, particularly the areas northeast of you. You all had experience with Isabel a few years ago, which is fairly typical of a mid-Atlantic to Northeast hurricane moving fast and producing a lot of wind and power lines and trees down and whatnot. But in New England, it's almost two decades since they've had a direct hit from a significant hurricane, so ... getting people educated and actually to take [forecasts] seriously ... is always a challenge.

"Even in Florida for example -- North Florida around Jacksonville, they haven't had a direct hit in a generation, even though the rest of the state has been pummeled for the last several years; that tends to be one of our biggest challenges -- is to overcome people getting complacent or having a false sense of security due to the lack of an event having gone through their area."

Read's warmth for weather may not seem surprising, considering the day he entered the world. Aug. 10, 1949, was the hottest day of that year in Boston, where Read was born. His family moved to Wilmington in the early 1950s (his mother still lives north of town), and he vaguely recalls the peripheral effect of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. But it was the nor'easter on Ash Wednesday that caught his eye in 1962. Read's father found himself on a trial jury that had to deliberate whether property damage was caused by wind or water. Each day, the senior Read regaled his son about meteorologists' testimonies. The light bulb flashed like a bolt of lightning that this was his calling.

A bachelor's degree in meteorology at Texas A&M prepared Read for his sometimes-unpredictable career.

With a draft number of 21, Read had a tour of duty with the Navy and flew with the Navy Hurricane Hunters in 1972 and 1973. Afterward, Read spent time in Keflav�k, Iceland, utilizing the Norwegian School of Meteorology methods for weather predictions. After his Navy stint, he returned to Texas A&M, where he received a master's degree in meteorology. Read has been with the National Weather Service, mostly in Texas, ever since.

Read, a self-described storm junkie, has developed what his colleagues refer to as "rhino hide"; a thick-skinned protection against the love/hate relationship the public has for meteorologists.

"Probably over the long haul the thing that I've learned the most is it's not nearly as easy to understand the weather as I thought 35 years ago when I started down this road," Read said. "It's very complicated, and each system you wind up forecasting or working throws a little curve in there to remind me that we don't know everything about it."



Hey everybody,

I wanted to let you all know that I've been nominated for best singer/songwriter in Out and About Magazine's annual music awards.

I could really use your vote and anyone else you can get to do the same. I know you've all got friends and co-workers who are looking for a way to pass a few minutes of time.

Just head over to
and cast your vote. It only takes about a minute to do. Please forward this along to anyone else you think will be able to help out.

Also, a reminder that I've got a nice show coming up at
Puck Live in Doylestown, PA on Friday, May 2nd.

If you haven't made it out to this venue, you owe it to yourself to come see music in a great room with great sound. Seating is very limited so do yourself a favor and head over to their website to reserve your tickets.

Thank you all in advance for your votes. It means the world to me.

Hope to see you in Doylestown,

Chris Bruni
phone: 302-983-6976

Class of '67'ers Featured on Delaware News Journal Blog: "Second Helpings" by Dining Critic, Patricia Talorico.

delawareonline � The News Journal � Second Helpings Blog

Sub shop loyalty in Delaware runs very deep, according to your phone calls and emails. Keep the letters coming. You ask. We answer. Every Friday.
Hi Patricia,
This picture (above) was taken at the Claymont Steak Shop in Oct of 2007. Pictured are myself (black polo shirt) and four of my BHS Class of �67 classmates who were in Wilmington celebrating our 40th HS Reunion at the Blue Ball Dairy Barn.
(They are; Left to right: Bruce Kingshill, Mike Houser, Kevin Donohue, Marilyn Monson Nimtz, Linda Fuhrmeister Potter.)
The Cheese Steak soiree was the highlight of the trip; as you can see, we were amply fed and I was the only one able to finish mine!

Thanks for the review!

Kevin Donohue

From Patricia;

"Here's a really interesting email from News Journal reader Kevin Donohue - and a great idea. Sub/steak shop owners or city of Wilmington/Newark officials get your thinking caps on and STEAL THIS IDEA. Seriously."

From Kevin:  

"Patricia, has anyone ever thought of doing a �Cheesesteak Festival� in Wilmington??!! As a former Wilm resident, I know for a fact, those Wilmington subs and cheese steaks keeps a lot of us ex-pats coming back again and again.
Best, Kevin

Class of 67'ers Take Over Charcoal Pit


The Class of �67 was well represented at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington yesterday as Marilyn Monson Nimtz, Mike Houser, Maureen �Muffy� Crowley Milford and Kevin Donohue dined on a traditional menu of Philly Cheese steaks and French fries in near record 70 degree February weather. Animated conversations covering a wide variety of topics from former classmates, cholesterol lowering statin drugs to alternatives to the internal combustion engine punctuated an enjoyable lunch. In an unscripted moment, another Class of �67er; Sandy Molitor Konetski (along with her daughter and grand kids) made a surprise appearance. A very efficient and sweet Vietnamese server provided photography duties.

(On a sad note, we gathered hoping to visit our friend and classmate, John Schwind who is suffering from cancer. However, we did not get to visit with John, a "Thinking of You" card was signed by all present and was mailed to John).

Kevin Donohue 2.7.08


By Adam Zewe
Staff Reporter

Brandywine Hundred residents breathed a sigh of relief at the final public meeting for the Blue Ball Properties project on Jan. 7. Major construction of the seven-year, $130 million project is finished, officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation told 75 residents at the meeting.

�Pretty much what you see is what it�s going to be,� said Bob King, community relations officer for the department.

The project included road improvements, historic preservation, wetland restoration, improved storm water management, recreation improvements, publicparkland and greenways.

There are still some minor projects to complete, King said, but the to-do list is small compared to the project�s 100- page master plan.

Landscaping and signs need to be finished around Alapocas Run State Park, a new state park near the intersection of Routes 141 and 202, he said.

Most of the park is open, said park manager Susan Staats, but the athletic fields will open this Spring once the grass grows and a bathroom will be constructed later this year at the park�s playground.

A dog park, which is a fenced area where residents can bring their dogs to play without leashes, will be built in Alapocas Run State Park at the intersection of Foulk and Weldin roads, she said.

The dog park and all the remaining work for the project should be complete by the end of the year, said Mark Tudor, the department�s project manager.

�DNREC and DelDOT are still here and we will still be fine-tuning some things,� he said.

But Tudor does not expect the fine-tuning to be disruptive to motorists or residents.

Residents experienced plenty of disruption from construction vehicles and lane closures during the seven-year project, said Brandywine Hundred resident Sue Finnie.

Finnie, said that she was skeptical of the project in the beginning, but is pleased with the end result.

�It�ll be a little confusing until people ride on it enough,� she said, of the new traffic patterns. �I think it was worth it, in the long run, what they finished. The roads look really good.�

The project involved construction of the Route 141 Spur, widening of Route 202, reconstruction of a ramp from Interstate 95, and construction on the Augustine Cutoff, West and East Park Drives, Children�s Drive and Powder Mill Road.

�It�s nice to not have all the construction, but it�s nice to see the progress and the end result of it,� said Bob Blazovic, a Brandywine Hundred resident.

He said he drives on the redesigned roads during rush hour everyday and traffic moves faster because of the improvements.

�I think the project has been an upgrade for the environment and the cultural aspects of Brandywine Hundred,� he said.

The area�s culture is highlighted through a folk art display inside the renovated Blue Ball Dairy Barn and the environment has been preserved on a five-mile greenway trail.

The greenway, a 10- foot-wide path for walkers or bicyclists, is complete except for a bridge over Turkey Run Creek in Brandywine Hundred.

New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner (R-2nd District) said New Castle County plans to install the bridge. He did not know how much it will cost, but said the county will seek funding this Spring.

The greenway will be improved along Rockwood Road, Weiner said, but he did not know when the project will start. A $1 million project will shift Rockwood Road and a hiking path will be built alongside it.

Mike Bensinger, a Brandywine Hundred resident, said he is happy with the barn and greenway, but he thinks the department built too much.

�In Delaware, we tend to overdo some things,� he said. �It�s pretty, what they�ve done, but Delaware, over time, it seems to be overdeveloping.�

Highway project to begin in 2009

A project to redesign the U.S. Route 202/ I-95 interchange, which was not a part of the Blue Ball Properties plan, is scheduled to start in 2009.

The ramp from Northbound I-95 onto Northbound Route 202 will be rebuilt so it is two lanes for its entire length, said David Galeone, an engineer with McCormick Taylor, the firm that designed the ramps.

The ramp from Southbound I-95 onto Southbound Route 202 will be moved to the East side of Route 202, which will make the merge area safer, he said.

The Route 202/I-95 merge area is dangerous because motorists entering the Interstate from Route 202 are accelerating while motorists exiting the Interstate onto Route 202 are slowing down, said Galeone.

The project, which is expected to cost $30 million and take two years to complete, will be put to bid in Fall, 2009, said Tudor.


Auto tag No. 6 likely to sell for $1 million 

UPDATE TO THIS STORY: Del. tag goes for $675,000

By SUMMER HARLOW, The News Journal

Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008

For some, it's like a fraternity they desperately want to pledge.

Others see dollar signs, a good investment.

And then there are those like Ruthi Adams Joseph, who view their low-digit, black and white license plates as a sentimental link to history and family.

Joseph, of Millsboro, inherited all three of her tags -- Nos. 5, 357 and, on the farm truck, FT1 -- and no matter their selling price, she'd never part with them, she said.

"It's something that's really special to me," she said. "There's a real sense of pride."

So when drivers roll down their windows and ask her how much her obviously heirloom 5 tag is worth, she just shrugs.

"I have no idea," she said. "And what difference does it make? If I'm sentimentally attached to something, I would never consider selling it."

The First State's fascination with numbers -- especially low ones -- does not end with license plates. Hunting licenses, fishing licenses, even phone numbers have added cachet ... depending on their number.

But the allure of low-digit tags is something outsiders and many newcomers have trouble understanding.

Delawareans, especially natives, are familiar with the pull of the black and white porcelain plates, pestering the Division of Motor Vehicles to see if any are available, or resorting to auctions or Web sites where a three-digit tag can sell for $80,000.

And the elusive one-digit tags? The coveted No. 6 tag will be auctioned Feb. 17, and auctioneer Butch Emmert of Emmert Auction Associates in Rehoboth Beach expects it to go for somewhere in the million-dollar range.

That's right -- $1 million.

Sociologists call the low-digit tags "cultural capital."

"Due to its scarcity and history, the low-digit black license plate has become a local signifier of status and prestige," said Tammy Anderson, associate professor of sociology at the University of Delaware. "When you pass a BMW with such a license plate, you distinguish yourself from the other Beemer drivers without one. It's all about distinction -- distinguishing oneself from others in the status and prestige areas."

State obsession

Delaware's motor vehicle laws, which allow registration numbers and tags to be transferred between cars and owners, have spurred the state's obsession with low-digit numbers, leading to the buying and selling, even willing and inheriting, of the must-have tags.

Only numbers lower than 87,000 are eligible for a black and white porcelain plate, adding to the appeal. And numbers 1 through 3 are reserved for the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, making the remaining single digits that more scarce -- and desirable.

"They're nostalgic," said Dave Miller, president of the Delaware Historic Plate Co. in Newark, the only state-authorized company allowed to reproduce the black and white plates. "To some people, maybe it's a status thing because there is a limited amount of people who can have one. It differentiates people, and people always like that."

Delaware first issued state tags in 1909, and a year later about 1,000 vehicles had been registered. Those plates were black and white.

While most states stopped making porcelain plates in the 1920s, Delaware used porcelain until 1946, and in 1947 the black and white porcelain plates were replaced with stainless steel.

In 1959, the current blue and gold look was instituted. It's the longest-running continual plate design in the country, said Mike Williams, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The state allows legal reproductions of the black and white porcelain plates for numbers lower than 87,000, as the last original porcelain plate issued was No. 86,999, Williams said.

"The black and white is recognized as a distinctively Delaware plate," he said, adding that he has a four-digit, black and white original stainless steel plate. "Its simplicity is what makes it beautiful."

Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University in New York, said the low-digit plates have value simply because local culture has decided they are valuable.

"You've got virtually no supply, so they're hard to get," he said. "It's a way of advertising your status, advertising that you're important enough to have a license plate, or it means you're a big shot and you can pay for it."

Thompson likened the phenomenon to the craze in New York City to have a 212 area code.

"If you have 212, it immediately says to everyone you're old-school New York, so it is almost a brand value," he said. "The low-digit license plate carries all the status because in Delaware, everyone knows what it means."

The phone number phenomenon is also in play in Delaware.

In Seaford, for example, many opt for the 629 exchange over newer 628. In Hockessin, 235 is preferred over 239.

In Rehoboth Beach, 227 is the old-school choice over 226, so much that seasonal customers pay an extra $25 to keep their numbers during the off-season when many turn off their service.

It doesn't end there.

Because of high interest in things low-numbered, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife is about to hold a lottery for the first 1,000 fishing licenses -- this is the first year fishermen will be required to purchase a license. As with license plates, though, numbers 1 and 2 are reserved for the governor and lieutenant governor.

And hunters have been known to pass on or auction off their low-number licenses. Some pay to renew their licenses after they turn 65 -- when they don't need to pay anymore -- just so they can pass down the license to family members. Others auction off these precious commodities.

When Jay Getto moved to Wilmington from Pennsylvania about two years ago, he knew what the black and white plates were all about, and he wanted one.

He posted an ad on the Delaware Historic Plate Co.'s Web site. Within 15 minutes, he'd gotten 30 responses and had his pick of available tags to purchase.

"True Delawareans have them," he said. "It says you're part of a state club of 87,000 people. You're part of the, quote, special group. It says, 'I'm a Delawarean now.' "

It also says you've got money to spend, said Emmert, who sells about 60 tags a year, mostly at auctions.

And while it's great to inherit a tag, what matters is that it's displayed on your car, not how you got it, he said.

"It's a great investment," he said, speculating that the No. 6 tag he'll auction next month will be worth more than $2 million in the next 10 to 30 years.

'Dead tags' fetch a price

It's not just the plates with active registrations that are worth a pretty penny.

"Dead tags" can go for $300 or $400, Emmert said.

Snookie Vent of Milton buys and sells the old tags, and he's amassed a collection of more than 1,500 plates.

"I just got hooked on it," he said, adding that his collection includes a plate from 1910, and an old governor's plate signed by Ruth Ann Minner.

Of course, not everyone buys into the mania of tracking down low-digit black and white plates.

Retired state trooper Barry Beck said he has never tried to get a low-digit tag, even though he worked for the Division of Motor Vehicles until about five years ago.

"It's just not something that blew up my skirt," said Beck, who is on the Hagley Car Show committee. "I figured what I have is good and legal and I didn't have to put hard work or money into it."

It took about a year of living in Delaware before Aaron Dunphy felt the draw.

Now he runs the license plate brokerage Web site

"When I first heard about it, I definitely thought it was odd, but I also think it's odd when people spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of jeans," Dunphy said. "No other state really does this; it's just one of those little niches that Delaware has."

Thompson, the professor of pop culture, said he could understand spending $13,000 on a Hannah Montana ticket, because you get to see a concert and you make your 11-year-old daughter happy.

"But here? All you get is a license plate number," he said. "It's whimsical."

It doesn't matter whether you're a native Delawarean or you've only lived here a few years, Williams said.

"You have a soft spot in recognizing the significance of showing off a low-number plate," he said.

As more people move to Delaware, demand for -- and the price of -- these tags will continue to mount, Emmert said. And the aspiration to own digits as low as possible won't ever change, he said.

"There's a lot of wealth in Delaware, and what better thing to own if you're a loyal Delawarean?" he said.

Getto acknowledged that the fixation is "unusual."

"It's a state-sponsored vanity tag," he said. "I think it's part of what makes Delaware, Delaware."Copyright � , The News Journal. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights (Terms updated March 2007). Questions?

Google satellite view of old Brandywine Raceway.

Acc'd to the Old webmaster; "this is a Satellite view of the Brandywine Raceway in 2005. Toll Brother's Construction is building $1,000,000+ homes on the site - which is almost finished.  The roads have been named.  The Brandywine Town Center is on the left, just out of view."

The Brandywine Raceway in it's heyday picture below is from LS Anderson Reproductions -








Ever wonder why it�s called the �Blue Ball� Properties?

In the 1700s, the property under today�s renovated Blue Ball Dairy Barn was part of land occupied by the original Blue Ball Inn, which was located at the crossroads of Concord Pike and Foulk Road. The inn took its name from the blue ball that innkeepers hung on a post outside as a signal for stagecoach drivers to stop for passengers. Among the Inn�s most prominent owners was John Dickinson, Delaware�s �Penman of the Revolution.� His wife Mary continued to operate the Inn after John�s death in 1808.

Later, the Inn became a tenant farmhouse, as it was in 1908 when industrialist Alfred I. duPont bought the Blue Ball land. Alfred I., along with cousins Pierre S. and T. Coleman DuPont, were early leaders of the E. I. DuPont deNemours Company, now known as the DuPont Company, and A. I. was a benefactor who founded the A. I. DuPont Children�s Hospital and the Nemours Foundation health system.

The dairy barn was built to supply DuPont's 300-acre Nemours estate. In an era when many dairy barns were being closed due to unclean conditions, DuPont instructed his contractor to build a barn that would be both fireproof and sanitary. They used steel reinforced concrete, along with innovative ventilation and drainage systems to meet DuPont requirements and made it a model of early 20th century modern thinking and practical technology � similar to the kind of 21st century thinking that has gone into its modern day recreation as a community center.

When A. I. DuPont died in 1935, his estate was split up and leased to tenant farmers until 1977, when the barn was abandoned and the former inn was demolished to make way for the widening of the Concord Pike.

Blue Ball Dairy Barn Is Going �Green�

Water savings, energy efficiency and selection of environmentally-friendly building materials are all a part of the plan for the conversion of the historic Blue Ball Dairy Barn to a community center. When completed, DNREC will apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project.  The LEED Green Rating System� is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The photo above is part of a rain water retention system that will collect water from the roof of the barn for non-potable uses. Click here to see more.

Delaware Fun Facts

Did You Know?

Christmas Seals were first sold in Wilmington, Delaware in 1907.

Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver, was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, making us the First State of the Union.

Delaware ranks 49th in size, but 46th in population, and continuing to grow at a rapid pace!

Delaware Memorial Bridge is the longest twin-span suspension bridge in the world!

The inventor of the phonograph and founder of RCA, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, was born in Wilmington, DE

Delaware has more doctoral level scientists and engineers per capita than any other state.

New Sweden was founded as a colony in 1638 and is recognized as the first permanent colony on Delaware soil.

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, six miles northwest of Wilmington features one of the world's finest naturalistic gardens

The nation's first scheduled steam railroad began in New Castle in 1831.

The Blue Hen chicken is the official state bird. The hens were noted for their fighting ability. Delaware is sometimes referred to as the Blue Hen State.

The Lady Bug is Delaware's official state bug.

Eleven years after the landing of the English pilgrims the first white settlement was made on Delaware soil.

Take Our Quiz

You know you're a Delawarean if...........

- You know what the Hummers Parade is, also, when & where its held.
- Vacation means going to Bethany, Rehoboth, or Cape Henlopen.
- You know the best subs come from Capriotti's and Casapulla's.
- You used to play in the wooder in the crick, and caught frogs.
- Your school classes were canceled because of 3 snowflakes.
- The whole state panics and uses all of their road salt for those 3 snowflakes.
- You love the beach but hate the tourists.
- You know what people mean when they talk about punkin-chunkin.
- You know someone who went to school with one of the Capano's.
- You've eaten scrapple sandwiches.
- You can identify all the major types of manure by smell.
- If it takes more than an hour to drive there, you're not going.
- You know what a "slippery" dumpling is.
- You know who YouDee is.
- Somebody in your family has worked for the DuPont Company.
- You think the "Apple Scrapple Festival" is perfectly normal, except for all those granola types running in the 5K race.
- You think, maybe, just maybe, you might get a White Christmas. Then it rains.
- You know that the highest point in the state is a rise on the golf course.
- The state has one hill. You've been sledding on it.
- You remember WAMS and WCAU (BARSKY in the morning!).
- You know NewERK is in New Jersey, but NewARK is in Delaware.
- You know how to carefully pronounce the name Foulk Road.
- You talk of Northern Delaware and the entire Eastern Seaboard as "above the canal."
- You know if another Delawarean is from southern, middle or northern Delaware as soon as they open their mouth.
- You know the name of every street in Delaware, but have no idea what the route number is.
- You can remember when Maryland Bank (MBNA) swallowed up Ogletown and Putt-Putt.
- Everywhere you go, you always run into someone you know or went to school with.
- You know what Newark Night and First Night are.
- You know exactly which roads to avoid due to the CONSTANT road construction.
- You love Dolly's salt water taffy and Grotto's Pizza.
- You know where all of the late-night 24-hour rest stops and restaurants are.
- You can remember when Christiana Hospital was a field with cows.
- You remember when Christiana Mall had a Galaxy arcade.
- When you go out of state to shop or eat, you are always surprised about the tax
- You know the differences in housing in Elsmere, Pike Creek, and Greenville.
- You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Delaware.

Add up all the ones you know
30+ = You're too much of a Delawarean. You really should visit another state.
20-29 = You are a true Delawarean.
10-19 = Eh. You're a mediocre Delawarean. Take a trip to the natural history museum.
0-9 = You are definitely a Delaware novice..... venture out and see all the good things Delaware has to offer.

Delaware History, Time Lines, Neighborhoods:    Copyright �2007, The News Journal.

Brandywine Hundred, Hockessin and Pike Creek

Some of the most affluent and historical communities of Delaware are nestled near the arc of the state's northern boundary.

But Brandywine Hundred, Hockessin and Pike Creek don't actually have boundaries of their own.

Though unincorporated, each of the communities is distinct.

Brandywine Hundred

Generally synonymous with North Wilmington and its largely white-collar suburbs, Brandywine Hundred is roughly the area north of the Christiana River and east of Brandywine Creek. That's where it got the first part of its name. The second part is tied to the pre-Revolutionary War history of the state.

In 1682, Delaware was divided into 33 hundreds -- a British unit of measurement roughly the equivalent of a U.S. county.

Though all deeds in Delaware still are recorded in hundreds, Brandywine Hundred is the only 'hundred' commonly used as a proper place name today.

Initially home to old Delaware families such as the Weldins, the Hanbys and the Talleys, who owned large farms, the area was carved into housing developments after World War II and as the DuPont Co. grew.

Today, Brandywine Hundred is a mature community whose residents have a strong sense of identity.

If the community had a Main Street, it would be Concord Pike Highway, or U.S. 202 - which over the last several decades has become one of the most attractive shopping districts in the region.

Though the boundaries aren't official, most agree that Brandywine Hundred includes the communities of Claymont, Talleyville and Arden.


Geographically, Hockessin is equally as indistinct.

The community- pronounced HOE-kess-in - is essentially the chunk of northwest New Castle County that lies south of the Pennsylvania line, west of Red Clay Creek, east of Doe Run Road and north of Graves Road.

About 40 families laid the foundation of the village in 1688, according to Hockessin historian Joe Lake, Jr. Since then, it's grown into a community of more than 12,000 - and growing.

A market study for a new $20 million health club found that more than 100,000 people lived within an 8-minute drive of the facility, located of Limestone Road.

Residents generally are well educated and well to do.

According to the 2000 census, more than 96 percent of residents graduated from high school and almost 30 percent have graduate degrees. The median income of Hockessin households: About $100,000, census figures show.

Once the site of kaolin clay pits and snuff mills, Hockessin's economy has gone through more than one evolution. As the pits and mills disappeared, mushroom and dairy farms took their places. Now, small businesses such as boutiques, nurseries and real estate offices provide the community's economic backbone.

Pike Creek

If the boundaries of Brandywine Hundred and Hockessin are difficult to pin down, Pike Creek is even more amorphous.

The U.S. Census took a stab, creating a CDP for Pike Creek, making it a "census-designated place." With close to 20,000 people in 2000, it encompasses the area surrounding Pike Creek from Kirkwood Highway up to the Northstar area, roughly between Limestone Road (DE 7) and Polly Drummond Hill Road. It's about six square miles.

Predominantly residential, it includes Carousel Park, overseen by New Castle County, and a riding center. Many of its housing complexes were built during the 1970s and 80s.

Other landmarks: All Saints Cemetery, Ebenezer Methodist Church and Faith Baptist Church. Like other areas of northern New Castle County, Pike Creek residents have median incomes above the state average, unemployment rates significantly below the state average and college graduation rates above the state average.

Copyright �2007, The News Journal. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights (Terms updated March 2007). Questions?


Wilmington: Delaware's metropolitan hub

The News Journal

Wilmington, Delaware�s largest city, sits on the Interstate 95 corridor between the larger metropolises of Philadelphia, to the north, and Baltimore, to the south.

Within its 10.8 square miles, the city of Wilmington is home to about 72,600 residents. But the city also is the hub of a metropolitan area of more than a half-million people, nearly two-thirds of the state�s population. It is the home to major corporations, including the DuPont Co. and Bank of America.

The Swedes, Dutch and British settled in Wilmington in the mid-1600s. Quaker settlers came in the early 1700s and turned the area into a successful market and mill town.

Wilmington became a borough in 1739 and a city in 1832.

By the mid 1800s, the city was bustling with shipyards, tanneries, carriage factories, railroad-car manufacturers, brickyards, cotton factories and a flour mill.

The city became an office center in 1904, when DuPont Co. located it�s headquarters here.

Legislation passed in the early 1980s made it attractive for banks to do business in Delaware and changed Wilmington into one of the nation�s corporate capitals. MBNA, the country�s largest independent credit-card bank, built its headquarters in Wilmington in 1993. Bank of America acquired MBNA and retained the city offices.

About 43,000 people, mostly suburban commuters, work downtown each day.

The city is about 56 percent black, 36 percent white, 10 percent Hispanic and 1 percent Asian.

The entertainment areas are in the Trolley Square area, Union Street and the Christina Riverfront, where a significant part of the $1 billion that has been invested since 1995 in real estate and economic development projects has been spent. Wilmington is also home to the Grand Opera House, the Delaware Art Museum and Theatre N at Nemours, a theater that shows small independent productions.

The city also has 552 acres of parkland.

The Wilmington-based Buccini-Pollin Group has been the leader of the private re-investment effort, converting old office buildings into upscale apartments downtown and spearheading new residential and mixed-use projects on the waterfront.

Copyright �2007, The News Journal. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights (Terms updated March 2007). Questions?


Well-rounded Trolley Square

With a rich blue-collar history and a modern-day identity as a dining and shopping destination, Trolley Square is fertile ground for the future

By GARY SOULSMAN, Staff reporter

Bob and Diane Vondrasek were unhappy with the isolation they felt in the suburbs, so 15 months ago they moved to greater Trolley Square, a west Wilmington neighborhood framed by Pennsylvania Avenue, Union Street and the Brandywine River.

The family wanted Brit, their 12-year-old daughter, to live where people said hello and looked after one another. Greater Trolley Square, with its mix of stores and homes, was the place they settled on.

�We�ve found this to be an unbelievably nice place to live,� said Diane while having coffee at Angelo�s Luncheonette. �Living here instills an appreciation of community that will serve Brit well through the rest of her life.�

Angelo�s is an example of what Diane means. It�s a three-generation family eatery that is so friendly it feels as if it�s been airlifted onto Scott Street from the �Leave It to Beaver� world of the 1950s.

Diane has discovered a neighborhood rich in working-class history. It�s been known as an Irish community, though English and Germans were early residents, too. The area was settled in the 1860s after the city�s trolley line had extended into farmland once owned by the Shallcross and Lovering families. Historically the area where she lives has been called Forty Acres, a name taken from the fertility of the farmland. One acre of land was said to be worth 40 acres one might find someplace else.

�With such a wonderful history, we want to keep the Forty Acres name and its link to the past,� said Diane, noting that Shallcross and Lovering are street names still in use.

But she is also realistic. She knows that to many people who drive to the area for music and Guinness at Kelly�s Logan House, the coffee at Brew HaHa! or the breadsticks at Toscana, this area is Trolley Square.

Trolley Square is a name first given to a shopping complex at Du Pont Street and Delaware Avenue built in the late �70s at what had been a former trolley depot and bus barn. Since then, it�s taken hold as something of a neighborhood identity.

Within the past year, 20 restaurants and more than 60 other businesses have begun calling themselves the Village of Trolley Square. A brochure and map now carry the Village of Trolley Square name as does a Web site (

Real-estate agents often call the region Trolley Square, too.

�It�s because Trolley Square has grown beyond the identity of a commercial hub,� said City Councilman Gerald L. Brady, who represents the neighborhood and hears lots of debate on what the area should be called.

To him there�s room for all:

�Forty Acres� when talking about the historic homes to the west of the shopping center.

�Delaware Avenue� when talking about historic homes up the hill to the east of the center.

And �Trolley Square� when speaking about the stores.

Movement afoot

Mike Wilson would like nothing better than to make Trolley Square well-known to the wide world beyond Delaware.

As president of the Village of Trolley Square Business Association, he hopes that one day this will be a destination that people want to find for shopping, strolling and dining.

�We already have a vital district, one of the most successful in the city,� Wilson said. �Over the next several years, with improvements and marketing, we think it will be even more desirable
that visitors will want to come for the afternoon.�

Last year, 10 of 14 billboards were removed and there are plans to improve the streets around the Trolley Square shopping, said Brady, a fourth-generation resident.

This would be a $3.5 million state-funded project that would redo sidewalks and streets on Delaware Avenue, Clayton, Du Pont, Gilpin and 16th streets near the shopping center. The three-phase plan calls for brick intersections and period lighting.

The Eighth District Neighborhood Planning Council, which has recommended the project, also has suggested utility lines be placed underground. But the plan still needs approval and funds from the Delaware Department of Transportation, which means the earliest it could occur would be 2004, Brady said.

He added the city is also studying ways to create more parking. One idea is to add a parking garage on the Acme parking lot either below or above ground. The existing lot is located at Du Pont Street and Delaware Avenue. Brady says expanding this would make it easier for people driving into the area. A larger lot also might make it possible for the grocery to expand.

Parking is needed if the Trolley Square area is to thrive and attract a more diversified mix of shops, said John Kurtz, owner of a Lincoln Street gallery showing Oriental rugs in what was once a candy store. In addition, Kurtz said he would like to see more residents and business owners show an interest in keeping debris off neighborhood streets.

Because of the area�s 19th-century roots, residents have been studying how the creation of a Forty Acres historic district might affect homeowners. �What I�m hearing is that people are afraid of an historic district
that it would be too restrictive if they wanted to make repairs,� said Brady.

Fred Carspecken, longtime owner of Carspecken-Scott Gallery, says he�s glad the city and state are interested in seeing Trolley Square improved. �There�s been so much money and attention given to places, like Market Street and the Riverfront, we feel a little neglected,� he said.

Even without new amenities, the area has been appealing to Joel and Uthairat Wilson. The couple opened a Thai import shop in Trolley Square Shopping Center three years ago, though they first looked at Rehoboth Beach; the Manayunk section of Philadelphia; and the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., before settling on the Wilmington neighborhood.

�We think we made the right choice,� said Joel, who pointed out that parking is free and real-estate values on the rise.

But he�s also found that people in Newark and Middletown do not always know the name, or the location
or that Trolley Square is a safe shopping area to visit.

�There�s all kinds of potential here,� said Joel.

Economically resilient

Thirty years ago, when so many families were moving from the city to the suburbs, some people had doubts about this part of Wilmington.

In 1973, when Carspecken sought to open a gallery at 1707 N. Lincoln St., a bank initially turned him down for a $22,500 mortgage because it was unsure the neighborhood would be a good investment. But a second bank lent him the money.

�I feel fortunate that I bought where I did when I did,� said Carspecken, who also purchased a home in Forty Acres in 1976. �This neighborhood has been very resilient.�

He says he would not be able to afford to open his gallery in the area now. And he�s observed that several galleries that were once open in the heart of downtown have died or moved.

Forty Acres has been resilient because it�s a blend of shopping and living that intrigues people who wanted the experience of getting to know their neighbors, said Hugh Horning, who has lived on North Scott Street since 1977.

Today the strength of this interest can be seen in the price of homes
they routinely sell for $250,000 or more. Tom and Marie Foley�s pristine four-bedroom row home, which has about 1,600 square feet, is on the market for $359,000, well above values reported in the 2000 Census. At that time the average price for homes in greater Trolley Square was $161,000.

�The run-up in prices has been amazing,� said Paul Schofield, echoing a statement often made.

To Schofield, who was born in Forty Acres in 1937 and lives across Union Street in the Highlands neighborhood today, the drawback to gentrification is that young people who grew up in Forty Acres can�t always afford to move back.

Even so, he�s glad young couples with children are moving in. Among them, he�s seen lot of enthusiasm.
�They�ve come because there are parks, a grocery store, shops and lots of restaurants,� he said. �They can walk to just about everything they want.�

Youthful appeal

Today the appeal of Trolley Square/Forty Acres crosses many age groups, though there is not a great deal of racial diversity. The 2000 Census reported that 91 percent of the population is white, seven percent black, three percent Hispanic and one percent Asian.

The median age is 37.8. Nevertheless, the restaurants and shops are a big draw for adults just out of college when they look for an interesting place to rent an apartment, said resident and business owner Bill Degnan. The Census found that 1,916 of the area�s 4,924 people are 20 to 34 years old.

Degnan has long recognized the appeal of the neighborhood and three years ago he located his Web-design business just east of the Trolley Square Shopping Center. He�s had no trouble attracting young people to work for his company.

To Degnan, the community is a desirable place to rent or own and the last Census reported that 1,895 people rent in the greater Trolley Square area compared with 1,244 people who own their own home.
The area has a cachet with his clients too. �You�ve got the benefits of being in the city but you feel like you�re in a neat little neighborhood,� he said.

Older people, such as Phil Giordano, are also drawn to the neighborhood's convenience.

Giordano has cut hair in the family's Trolley Square shop, All About Hair, for 25 years. Last November he and his wife, Jeanne, sold their Prices Corner-area home to move to the third floor of the Trolley Square shopping center.

Living atop his first-floor shop has been so easy (he rents out the middle floor as office space) that he hasn�t driven his second family car during the last seven weeks. Amenities are so close he�s thinking of selling the car.

�I love my commute,� he said. �It's 32 seconds.�

Forty Acres history

The interest in Trolley Square/Forty Acres has brought a new focus on history.

Kara Briggs, curator of the George Read House and Gardens in Old New Castle, has been one of the leading lights. A fourth- generation Forty Acres resident who attended nearby St. Ann�s School, Briggs is adamant about seeing the historic identity of her community preserved.

�Trolley Square is a name that�s only about 20 years old,� she said, adding that Forty Acres is a name that carries you back to the Civil War.

Last May, to preserve a sense of neighborhood identity, Briggs joined with other area residents, including her mother Cissy and the Vondraseks, to start the Forty Acres Historical Society. Initially, the group hosted a lecture at the city�s 1893 firehouse which is still in use on Gilpin Avenue. The group also launched a newsletter and the 27-year-old Briggs has been assembling photographs hoping to write a history of Forty Acres.

�Forty Acres began with economic stability, it stumbled and rose again, but it was always Forty Acres,� said Briggs. �It has such an overwhelming sense of community we don�t want the name to slip into oblivion because of the popularity of Trolley Square.�

Reach Gary Soulsman at 324-2893 or Reporter Mike Chalmers contributed to this story.

Copyright �2007, The News Journal. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights (Terms updated March 2007).

Wilmington Timeline

1638 Swedish settlers sail up the Delaware River on the Kalmar Nyckel and Vogel Grip. They enter a small river they name Christina for their queen.

1698 Swedes build a church, now called Old Swedes Church. It�s one of the oldest in the country.

1731 Thomas Willing lays out a town on the Christina River he called Willingtown. He plans the streets in a grid pattern similar to Philadelphia.

1735 William Shipley moves to Willingtown and persuades other Quakers to join him.

Willingtown becomes a market town of about 600 people. The family of William Penn grants the town a charter, which allows it to organize its own government. The name is changed to Wilmington.

Wilmington becomes a city with a mayor and city council government.

The modern DuPont Co. chooses Wilmington as the site for its headquarters.

The state passes the Financial Center Development Act and a building boom begins to accommodate the out-of-state banks that move to Wilmington.

DuPont Co. announces major corporate downsizing.

MBNA Corp., the giant credit-card company, relocates its corporate offices to Wilmington.

DuPont divests the company of most of its real-estate holdings in downtown Wilmington, selling the Nemours and Brandywine buildings.

MBNA begins $32 million renovation of former Daniel L. Herrmann Courthouse as its headquarters. It begins work on its eighth downtown building, at Ninth and French streets.

Copyright �2007, The News Journal. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights (Terms updated March 2007). Questions?

Jake's Woods

By MAUREEN MILFORD, DE News Journal Staff reporter

On that April day when I saw the big sign on the property - the kind of sign that heralds development with its "LAND 3.5 acres" - I felt a twinge of regret.

It's finally happened.

As long as that property on Foulk Road stayed intact, I didn't have to look at the facts surrounding the life and death of Jacob Robinson Weldin - the facts that defined the early years of my generation.

Jake Weldin was my neighbor, but we kids who lived in the spanking new split-level homes with knotty pine "dens" didn't play with him. For starters, he was older. Two or three years made a big difference to us hordes of post-World War II children. Jake was quiet and seemed rough around the edges. We didn't exchange more than a few words his whole life.

But more than that, there was some kind of invisible divide between our planned community of identical houses and Jake's domain - a triangular plot with a Brandywine blue granite house, a small cherry orchard, a field and a woods that bordered the backs of the tract houses.

We were the children of the Organization Men of the 1950s, who had migrated to Wilmington with their fresh professional degrees paid for by the G.I. Bill. Our dads would car-pool to their jobs at the DuPont Co. or Hercules Inc. or Atlas Powder Co.

Jake's parents, by contrast, were older. His family had been on the land for generations. It was his family's land that made up our tiny, treeless patches with their scrawny rosebushes, chain-link fences and jungle gyms.

His father's family had been on the land since the 1600s when it got a land grant from William Penn. But we didn't know that. We just knew he was not like us. We were children cut loose from history that had been left back at homesteads in Minnesota or Nebraska or West Virginia. I got a "C" on my third-grade report on Delaware history.

So we didn't play with Jake, but we played in his woods - like we owned the place. After the developers got through building Fairfax and Oak Lane Manor, it was the only piece of undomesticated land within striking distance. Sure, there was a wooded park with a creek nearby. But that had been tamed, too, with swings, slides, seesaws and a baseball diamond. The Weldins' woods was wild, a landscape that would shape-shift with the seasons. Trees that fell during the winter storms were left to make a contribution to the ecology. In the spring brambles appeared, then disappeared in the fall.

That woodland was our bit of sacred chaos. Slipping into the woods was like swimming underwater with your eyes open; it was a different realm you could never experience from outside. Once in, we felt hidden. On one path some kids built a village of stick houses that resembled beaver dams. Up past the path that led to Jake's house I constructed a lean-to that kept the rain out with a piece of discarded tar paper.

Sometimes, we ventured right up to the cultivated part of Jake's property and fooled around on his father's homemade car lift behind his free-standing garage. The garage was a tempting affair, crammed with interesting old things.

One night I had got an insight into Jake during a private moment no one was meant to see. I was cutting through his yard with my friend en route from her house to mine when I saw Jake through the uncurtained windows watching television with his mother. The show must have been a mystery, because Jake left the room on tiptoes, mimicking a thief in the night. He and his mother were laughing.

After Jake got a goose, I stopped cutting through his lawn to get to my friend's house. The goose was better than a guard dog, chasing strangers and nipping at their heels.

Considering today's neighbors will go to court if a tree branch falls on their pear tree, it's a testimony to the Weldins' good nature that they never once chased us off their property. Once, when Jake and his friends were sleeping out in the woods, we filled the sleeping bags with sticks and monkey balls when they weren't around. It was the only time I remember him playing there, and, I think unconsciously we saw him as an invader.

That night, Jake's mother called my mother. When we came in from playing, my mother, looking like one of the Valkyries, swooped down on us. I was dumfounded at her fury. But now I know my mother knew we had committed a big sin.

Growing up in Vermont, my mother knew the smugness of outsiders who are enamored of wild places but only tolerate the settlers as local color. To them, the folks look different, have funny accents and, in general, need improvement.

When not in Jake's woods, we were the children of better living through chemistry. Outside the green confusion we were scientific mystics, suffering from pride in man's technological advances. Kids in our school had labs in their basement and used to talk with pride about how Wilmington would be a prime target in a nuclear war because we were the "Chemical Capital of the World."

In reality, our drama with Jake has been played throughout time.

Jake and his family were "placed" people, as essayist Wendell Berry calls them. They are the people like the Weldins, Hanbys, Talleys and Sharpleys who know all the nuances of the landscape. They put their own names on places - like Talleyville and Weldin Road - not finding it necessary to appropriate names from the Main Line or old Virginia.

Jake was born into a place and an identity. At one point, he had 40-some cousins in the area on his mother's side alone. They remembered when the land had been home to cows, blackberry thickets and an occasional gypsy camp.

We didn't stay in the house long enough for me to get to know Jake. When I was 13 we moved to another new house made to look old and filled with antiques. Although Jake went to my high school, Brandywine, I lost track of him. I know he graduated with my brother, but unlike the other bright-faced kids, Jake's yearbook picture wasn't a standard shot taken by the authorized school photographer.

His picture had a shadow behind his head, while the background of the other seniors' pictures were soft modulated shades of gray. His name was spelled wrong: "Jack Weldin," and his list of school activities was not listed on the page with his picture.

The next time I heard about Jake was in June 1968. My mother told me Army Sgt. Weldin had been killed, Delaware's 62nd Vietnam war death. He died just 16 days before his service was up. It turns out he had enlisted on June 16, 1966, just days after graduating from high school. While stationed in Korea for 13 months, Jake won the Soldiers' Medal for saving someone's life.

"He was such a sweet boy," said his aunt, Catherine Talley. "I remember taking him to see the fireworks when he was 4 and he covered his ears. I can't for the life of me figure out why he volunteered to go to Vietnam."

Jake liked farming and was devoted to his mother, Anna, his aunt said. When his mother, Anna Bartsch Weldin, had to be admitted to the hospital when he was 17, Jake harvested the vegetables from the family's garden and froze them.

"Imagine that. A 17-year-old boy doing that," Catherine said.

She was at her sister's home the day the Army presented seven medals to Jake's parents, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. They also brought Jake's clothes home, still covered in mud. Catherine made a strawberry pie, but none of the officers touched it.

In the pocket of his uniform was a letter. "Dear Mom," it read. "War is hell, hell, hell." He never had time to finish it, Catherine said.

I went to Jake's grave recently, nearly 30 years after he died. He is buried with generations of his family in Newark Union, a serene plot bordered by suburban homes that has been the resting place of settlers since the early 1600s.

Now Jake's home is for sale and could be developed with up to a dozen homes. If the bulldozer arrives, its operator won't know he's tearing up more than trees.

But as Wallace Stegner puts it, Americans have made a "tradition out of mourning the passing of things we never had time to really know just as we have made a culture out of � movement without place."

Jake's woods is a place to me now. I've sometimes been tempted to stop my car along Foulk Road and enter those woods via the old route. But it looks like the path is no more. I've come to realize that 42 years hence, the place is far more a memory than a physical reality.

Photo Captions:

Jacob Weldin's 1966 yearbook photo.

The Diamond State drive-in near Felton, Del., is the one remaining outdoor theater in the state. Its operators don't know how much longer it will last. The property may be developed for other uses.

Lights are flickering but not yet out at drive-ins

The Diamond State drive-in near Felton, Del., is the one remaining outdoor theater in the state. Its operators don't know how much longer it will last. The property may be developed for other uses.



In 1933, Richard Hollingshead opened the nation's first drive-in movie in Camden, N.J. The rise and fall of operating drive-ins:

1958: 4,063 open drive-ins
2007: 407 open drive-ins

States with the most open drive-ins:

� Pa.: 35
� Ohio: 33
� New York: 32
� Indiana: 21
� California: 19
� Texas: 18
� Tennessee: 17
� Michigan: 14
� Illinois: 13
� Missouri: 13


By Marcy E. Mullins, USA TODAY

By Maureen Milford, USA TODAY

FELTON, Del. � As Amanda Burck, 14, of Ridgely, Md., gathered with her family in the Diamond State Drive-In Theater's snack bar for popcorn, candy, cheeseburgers and ice cream last Friday night, it could have been an autumn evening in 1967.

"I'm, like, really excited," Burck said. "I've seen them on TV and heard stories, but I've never seen an actual drive-in."

Diamond State, a 300-car theater on U.S. 13, is the last drive-in remaining in Delaware. As the 2007 season winds down, theater operators Donald Brown, 44, of Felton, and Patricia Creigh, 36, of Lincoln, Del., are uncertain if their piece of post-war Americana will be around much longer. The theater's founder and owner died in June, raising questions about whether the heirs will renew the lease on the 8-acre commercial property when it expires in 2008.

"We haven't made a final decision," said Robert Steele of Coatesville, Pa.

His parents, the late Mildred and Albert Steele, developed the theater in 1947. He has a written appraisal from Dover Consulting Service valuing the commercially zoned land at $1.2 million.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Del | Wilmington | Felton | Drive-In Theater | Susan Sanders

If the property is developed, the Felton drive-in would go the way of many of the nation's outdoor theaters since the 1980s, said Susan Sanders, co-author of The American Drive-In Movie Theatre.

The biggest reason for the decline of drive-ins has been the rising value of the land, although escalating insurance costs and high property taxes haven't helped, said Sanders, of Grapevine, Texas.

The downtrend of drive-ins has had little to do with their popularity, according to Jennifer Sherer Janisch of Las Vegas, co-founder of the website Many were still profitable or even selling out when they closed, Janisch said.

At their peak in 1960, there were at least 5,000 drive-in theaters throughout the country, Sanders said. Today, there are roughly 400 drive-ins in the nation, Janisch said.

The number, she said, has stayed fairly stable in recent years, and there are still new ones opening. Texas has been a hot spot for new theaters in the past two years, she said.

In early September, James Chenault, 47, of Tyler, Texas, opened the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater in Tyler with his brother-in-law and nephew. The total cost to open the theater, including the 35- by 70-foot screen, was about $300,000, he said.

Chenault said they invested heavily in the food operation, a known profit center for drive-ins. Not only does Sky-Vue make its own pizzas, the owners spent $25,000 for two popcorn machines.

Chenault said he's bullish about the future of Sky-Vue because his research shows "you can make a pretty good living."

The first drive-in movie theater was opened in 1933 by Richard Hollingshead in Camden, N.J., who wanted to attract customers to his auto parts company and gas station at night, Sanders said. His experiments in outdoor movies included hanging a sheet between trees.

More than a dozen drive-ins popped up before World War II, but the real growth came in the 1950s as families moved to suburbia, Sanders said.

Kenneth Steele writes in a history of the Diamond State Drive-In that the original sound system used by his parents was two 24-inch bullhorns. On a clear night, the sound could be heard 2 miles away. The Steeles quickly added the legendary in-car speakers.

Today, most outdoor theaters broadcast the soundtrack through the car radio or a portable radio, although some theaters retain the old window speakers to add to the atmosphere, Janisch said.

Bill Walton and his wife, Paula Smith, of Felton take their daughters, Nolah, 8, and Aylish, 11, to the Diamond State Drive-In once every two or three weeks. The family comes prepared with pizza or fried chicken, a cooler full of sodas, chairs and sleeping bags. The girls usually bring pajamas.

The family is so attached to the drive-in, they fantasize about winning the lottery and buying it. They say they also dream about reopening the closed roller rink on the property and decorating the restrooms in the 1950s style.

"We'd have Pink Ladies and poodle skirts," like the movie Grease, Aylish Walton said.

Steele said he and his brother Robert plan to reach a decision about the drive-in before the end of the year. Brown said if he and Creigh are unable to renew their lease they will try to open a new one in western Sussex County, Del.

Since its rebirth in 1995, the Felton theater has largely been profitable, with the exception of the first few years, Brown said. At its peak in 2004, ticket sales totaled in the low six-figure range, Brown said.

"It's a small business. We're able to make a living from it," he said.

Milford reports for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.


Accenture, which since 1997 had leased the former John Wanamaker department store on Augustine Cut-off, vacated the building in mid-December.

Accenture vacates old Wanamaker store

Tech consultant brought grand plans a decade ago, but gutted staff in '04

By MAUREEN MILFORD, The News Journal

Posted Friday, February 15, 2008

The massive former John Wanamaker department store campus on Augustine Cut-off in Brandywine Hundred that was extensively renovated for offices amid much fanfare by Accenture in the late 1990s is vacant once again.

The owner plans to sell or lease the 16.7-acre property developed by the venerable Philadelphia retailer in 1950.

Karen Fini, director of leasing with Capano Management Co. in Wilmington, said she expects to list the property with a local real estate broker in the coming weeks. No sale price has been set, she said.

Accenture, a management and technology consulting firm, vacated the approximately 200,000-square-foot building in mid-December, Fini said. Offices were relocated to a 36,000-square-foot space in the Rockwood Office Park on Carr Road.

In 1997, Accenture signed a 10-year lease on the former department store building after it landed a 10-year contract to handle information systems support for the DuPont Co. The company was then known as Andersen Consulting and was based in Chicago.

At that time, the company said it planned to employ 1,000 people locally by 2002, including 400 former DuPont workers. In 2004, Accenture cut 90 of its local 450 workers.

Alex Pachetti, senior director of corporate communications and industry analyst relations with Accenture in New York City, said the company typically doesn't provide local numbers "because the nature of our work is such that people's location is often very fluid," with employees working at the clients' locations, virtual locations or from home.

DuPont did not return phone calls Thursday.

The quiet move from Augustine Cut-off was in sharp contrast to Accenture's entrance to the market. When the company converted the department store building to offices in 1997 and 1998, the company said it was creating a global center to support the chemical industry. The company touted the renovation as an environment that "inspires creativity and the formation of high-performance work teams."

The opening of the $6 million Wanamaker store in 1950 marked a turning point for the retail fortunes of downtown Wilmington, which never landed a major, regional department store chain. The retailer had scouted various locations in the city, including one at Ninth and Orange and Shipley streets. That plan was abandoned because it was felt the narrow city streets would have become too congested.

Louis J. Capano Jr. bought the property in 1988 for an undisclosed price as part of a plan for the retailer to move to a new store in Christiana Mall. Real estate brokers said at the time Capano had paid about $12 million for the property.

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I Remember Wilmington - send us your own fond memories of growing up in Wilmington and I'll publish them here. The first group here was from a list I sent to a classmate prior to the 35th reunion. I'm sure you've got your own set of memories; send them along for publication here. (Kevin Donohue)

At Twin Lakes, it's -- Game on!

Delaware tradition since at least the 1920s still draws a crowd


Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007

GREENVILLE -- Twin Lakes ice skating veteran George Rudawsky didn't bring his skates to the frozen pond off Kennett Pike on Saturday afternoon, but his daughter Ava did.

Rudawsky watched the 5-year-old, with the help of her mother, Suzette, lace up her skates -- just as he did as a kid.

"C'mon, mom!" said a fearless Ava as she straightened her pretty skating skirt and pulled her mother toward the one-acre pond on a private Greenville estate that's been in the Hobbs family for seven generations.

Before venturing out onto the ice, an unsure Suzette glanced back at her husband as a frigid gust of wind made it feel much chillier than 33 degrees.

Outdoor skating may sound romantic, but it also can be bone-chillingly cold and even a little scary.

"So, we're not going to fall in, right?" she said, as George shook his head and chuckled.

The allure of outdoor ice skating -- and the risk of cracking ice -- has been a time-honored winter tradition at Twin Lakes for more than 80 years. In good skating weather, thousands of Delawareans have slid and sprawled, teetered and tumbled across the pond's surface.

"I remember coming here when I was like in sixth or seventh grade," said Wilmington resident Rudawsky as his daughter, wife and nearly two dozen other rosy-cheeked skaters glided across the ice.

Ice skating at Twin Lakes is perhaps one of Delaware's best- and worst-kept secrets. It's always been the kind of place longtime northern New Castle County residents have simply learned about from family and friends or neighbors in the know. It's never been advertised as a skating site and no signs point the way. The grounds are marked with a pile of white rocks and a mailbox next to a long driveway.

Since at least the 1920s -- according to News Journal files -- the Hobbs family has extended a neighborly welcome to the public to skate free of charge and at their own risk on the landmark "twin" ponds on the 252-acre estate at 4208-4210 Kennett Pike. Though people have occasionally fallen through the ice, no serious injuries have been reported.

When temperatures dip below freezing -- as they have recently -- cars and SUVs begin parking along Kennett Pike. Skaters make their way down the long driveway toward the pond that's believed to be no more than 4 feet deep. Shoes and boots are piled along the banks of the pond for no-frills skating.

The name Twin Lakes is a bit of a misnomer. There were once two ponds -- know as "the twins" -- that were on either side of the driveway. But only one remains. The other collapsed after a storm several years ago.

The estate is home to the Twin Lakes Brewery, which is owned by Sam Hobbs, whose great grandfather was DuPont Co. director Eugene E. du Pont. His mother, Patricia Hobbs, and his uncle George A. "Frolic" Weymouth, founder and chairman of the Brandywine River Museum, the Chadds Ford, Pa., institution that specializes in Wyeth family paintings, grew up on the estate. Twin Lakes beer is available at many Delaware restaurants. The brewery's tasting room, in Weymouth's former art studio near the pond, is open Wednesday evenings and every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

On Saturday morning, Hobbs and his two sons, James, 8, and Brett, 7, donned skates and began a fast-paced, energetic ice hockey game with a group of friends and family members. Their yellow Labrador retriever Cali -- short for California Roll -- romped among the players.

"Cali! Come back here!" Hobbs said as he skated after the dog, who scooped up the puck with her mouth.

Jake Miller, a friend of Sam Hobbs and his brother George, smiled at the scene as he sat on the ground and pulled on a pair of skates.

"We used to play ice hockey as kids," said Miller, of Kennett Square, Pa. The 44-year-old said he frequently came to the pond in his youth. "What a beautiful day. It looks pretty much the same as it did then."

"We have had skaters coming since 9 in the morning," said Hobbs, who plans on continuing the tradition of allowing the public to skate on the pond. "It was really cool. One guy came down and said, 'I used to do this as a little child and I didn't know if we could still do it anymore.' He said he's coming back with his kids."

The surface of a frozen pond is usually bumpy, but on Saturday, Twin Lakes seemed almost as smooth as an indoor rink. Hobbs said it's because of a homemade device he called a "Sam-boni." He rigged a green and white towel to a large upside-down rake and attached a garden hose to the end. On Friday evening, Hobbs turned on the hose and then pulled the rake and towel "Sam-boni" over the water to smooth the icy surface.

Hobbs said he loves that it's been cold enough this winter for people to enjoy the Twin Lakes tradition. Today is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 35, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

"Everyone's welcome as long as they park on [Del.] 52, be respectful, don't litter and leave before dusk," he said.

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HOME > Business

Del. fixture Eckerd acquired

Rite Aid buys drugstore chain that prospered here

Right now, commentators and analysts are probably pontificating about how the Eckerd buyout marks the end of an era. Don't blame them if they fail to mention how much of that era began in Wilmington.

Not many histories speak of the role Delaware played in the rise of Eckerd as a major drug chain long before its purchase Thursday by Rite Aid Corp. Even Eckerd's own tale of its past reveals little detail of how Wilmington marked the first expansion of the store out of its roots in Erie, Pa., and how the city became the place where many of the chain's innovations reportedly began.

Eventually, the changes begun in Wilmington -- creating the position of store manager, and freeing the pharmacist to focus on prescriptions -- would become commonplace in U.S. drugstores, histories of the chain say. Now it seems certain that they will also outlive the chain itself; the proposed buyout will convert all 1,521 Eckerd's stores to Rite Aids.

The buyout would make Rite Aid the largest drugstore chain operator on the East Coast.

For Delaware, the $2.55 billion cash-and-stock merger also comes at a time of ongoing change in the drugstore industry, and in the wake of the sale of its largest drugstore chain. Happy Harry's, which began in Delaware and spread to surrounding states, was bought by the giant Walgreens chain in June.

Even with the completion of the Rite Aid-Eckerd deal, Delaware's drugstore market will still be dominated by 61 Walgreens-owned stores, which will continue to be known as Happy Harry's. When Eckerd's 21 Delaware stores get their new identity, Rite Aid will have 44 locations in the state.

Once, there was just one Delaware Eckerd. The chain's founder, J. Milton Eckerd, opened his first store in Erie in 1898, but decided 14 years later to sell it to his sons and move to Wilmington. "His choice of location proved auspicious when Wilmington soon became the booming commercial center of the Delaware Valley," according to a history on the Funding Universe Web site.

Through the 1920s and 1930s, the chain expanded to North Carolina, then later in the century, through Florida. They remained a common presence in Delaware, mostly in New Castle County, even as the Happy Harry's chain expanded. Eckerd's latest owners, Canada's Jean Coutu Group Inc., bought the chain from the retailer J.C. Penney Co. just two years ago for $2.38 billion.

"Eckerd has gone through so many different changes," and many owners, said Alan B. Levin, Happy Harry's chairman. "We've competed against [Eckerd and Rite Aid] through the years, and obviously their problem today was they never finished the transition. Jean Coutu was never able to get it off the ground."

Rite Aid will still trail Walgreens and CVS nationally. CVS is the last of the majors not to have made a major push into Delaware. It has just two locations in the state, according to its Web site.

"Adding these stores to our company gives Rite Aid scale comparable to our major drugstore competitors, and we believe this enables us to compete more effectively in a highly competitive business," Rite Aid President and CEO Mary Sammons said in a statement.

Rite Aid will pay $1.45 billion in cash and 250 million shares valued at about $1.1 billion for Jean Coutu's Brooks and Eckerd chains in the United States. The shares will give Jean Coutu a 32 percent equity stake and 30 percent voting power in the expanded Rite Aid. In addition, Rite Aid will assume $850 million of long-term debt as part of the deal.

Rite Aid shares fell 32 cents to $4.36 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The planned acquisition includes 1,858 drugstores -- 337 Brooks stores and 1,521 Eckerd stores -- and six distribution centers, all located primarily on the East Coast and in the mid-Atlantic states. The stores being acquired are located in 18 states. Rite Aid currently operates in 14 of the states, and the deal will also give it outlets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Carolina and North Carolina.

The company said it may complete the deal as early as its fiscal 2007 fourth quarter, which begins Dec. 3, 2006, and ends March 3, 2007.

"Rite Aid is a good competitor, but they're dealing with a lot of demons as well, a lot of debt," Levin said. "But they'll make it. Their management is excellent."

This article contains information from the Associated Press. Contact Eric Ruth at 324-2428 or


Eckerd is not the only drugstore chain in Delaware that has experienced acquisition. The $2.55 billion cash-and-stock merger comes at a time of ongoing change in the drugstore industry and in the wake of the sale of the state's largest drugstore chain. Happy Harry's, which began in Delaware and spread to surrounding states, was bought by the giant Walgreens chain in June.

 Clear sailing in '07 - means avoiding this place by Pete Simon Jan 2nd, 2007

Since 1981, various spots in Colorado have been my home; most of it spent working in public radio.  When I and my wife Mary (a Colorado native) visit friends and family in the Delaware Valley I try to pick out certain places or events so as to give Mary a better feel for the place.  Last April that included a day at the Constitution Center and the nearby walking tour of historic sites in Philly.  On other occasions it's been a trip to Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, Hagley, or a drive through the wedge and into Lancaster County.  But this past Christmas week, I wanted to delve into another slice of life altogether which ALSO defines home sweet home, whether we like it or not.  After all these years, I still found it in a confined little corner of New Castle County.  

The pungent odor hits you immediately; a combination of rancid funnel cake grease, dirt, mold, and other key elements.  But I had to proceed. After entering, I turned the first corner and walked by the south end of the place; past a survivalist shop (with any gear imaginable for all of your "end of times" needs), just as this scary bastard was standing there; a cross between a skinny G. Gordon Liddy 35 years ago and a Hell's Angels biker sporting a silver star studded black leather jacket.  To top it off, he wore a black beret which covered his shaved head.  The menacing black-eyed stare was all he had to say.  He ruled this hell hole, no doubt about it.   After a quick stroll around the building cluttered with dusty junk bins and "fresh" produce stands, we were gone into the night with our lives intact.  The Liddy figure must have gone with his long hunting knife in a different direction.

Whether it's some sort of libertarian garden spot, where politicians just let the nuts have their own little enclave, or whether its just a simple example of kick-back politics, this is a place where the New Castle County Health Department will not tread.

The one good thing you can say about the place?  It has to make you feel better about your own life, no matter how down you might be.    So on that count, the place serves a positive function....  It's a slice of the seedy side of Tijuana, right in a neat little corner of "metro" Wilmington.   Maybe Ralph McTell could write a song about the place and we could feel even better.

We got back into the car, in time to turn on WXPN to hear Jerry Blavitt talking over the middle of a song by Joe Turner of all people.   Like Hare's corner, some things never change.

Please forward "liberally" so as to warn the unaware.  

I HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT '07.... and beyond.


Pete Simon []

Discovering what came before Top 40 is a joy

Pete Simon - January 2007

Being the nerdy radio junkie that I am, my first memories of radio are not from listening to WAMS (the 1960�s Wilmington equivalent of KIMN, Denver), but to WILM, which held on to its block programming up until the early 60�s with (at various times in its evolution)  a mix of news, talk, and music that included pre rock and roll �hit parade�, jazz, R&B, and early rock and roll.

WILM remains the only Wilmington radio station with downtown studios. In the 50's and 60's they were located just off Rodney Square; four blocks from Club Baby Grand and the childhood home of Wilmington trumpet legend Clifford Brown. One of the WILM d.j.s at the time was Maurice Simms, a friend and confidant of Clifford Brown and Clifford�s first teacher and mentor, the legendary Robert "Boysie" Lowry. Lowry settled in Wilmington in the 1940�s after passing through town as a saxophonist with "Doctor Robertson's Traveling Medicine Show" from eastern North Carolina. The "black migration" to the Delaware Valley from the Carolinas was significant, and included in its ranks John William Coltrane, whose family settled nearby in Philly. "Trane" was one of the jazz greats to frequent Wilmington in the early 50�s. Others who passed through town then included the great organist Jimmy Smith, and trumpeter/be-bop/Afro-Cuban innovator Dizzy Gillespie (who �discovered� Clifford Brown while playing one of his Wilmington concerts). It was a very active music scene for those who frequented Club Baby Grand and other locales. City curfew laws closed the clubs at midnight. The musicians actually liked this arrangement, because it meant that after-hours house parties and jam sessions started that much earlier (this from conversations with Maurice Simms in the late 1970's).

The only thing I regret about this rich local jazz heritage is that I was too young to grasp any of it. By the time I first started listening to the radio in the mid-to-late 50's the jazz scene in town had diminished; punctuated on June 26, 1956 by the untimely demise of Clifford Brown on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  His soft-spoken, compassionate demeanor, drug-free lifestyle, and unparalleled playing ability and discipline is legendary. Brownie's impact on other jazz greats cannot be overstated. And if music had not worked out for him, he was also a math whiz who studied it at Delaware State College. His example showed the way to a drug-free existence for many stellar musicians who struggled with substance abuse, including John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins; the two premiere tenor saxophonists of their generation. Sonny Rollins has said the best music he recorded was with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet.

My first memories of radio are of those which came shortly after the jazz magic in town had diminished, at least on the airwaves. It was replaced in part by something better for my young ears: Rhythm and Blues of the day, and early Rock and Roll. That experience continues to have an impact on me. Today, I'm an alternating host for a classic R&B show on called "The R&B JUKEBOX", heard every Saturday at 7 p.m. Mountain time. The show highlights the pre-Elvis days of R&B, including the first music I remember hearing on WILM (Jimmy Smith, the King recordings -- with heavy gospel overtones -- of James Brown, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Joe Turner, Ruth Brown --whose early recordings allowed Atlantic Records to get off the ground, thus the moniker: "The House That Ruth Built" --, Etta James, The Coasters -- with Carl Gardner's voice to die for -- and THE GODFATHER OF R&B, Louie Jordan (Chuck Berry's "daddy"). It was a glorious time for Wilmington radio. Mitch Thomas ruled the evenings at the WILM roost. "THE BIG M.T." was my link to worlds far beyond New Castle County. Ironically enough, M.T. was followed each weeknight on WILM by Joe Pine, with "It's Your Nickel", the first talk radio program in the country -- but by the time Pine started his ranting, I was usually asleep.

The R&B JUKEBOX on KUVO is a wonderful history lesson for hosts of the show and listeners alike. It has enabled me to return to this golden era, and helped me develop a much greater understanding of the artists, the times, and the boldness of many of the artists in the R&B world during the days of lingering �Jim Crow" segregation.  While some of the lyrics of R&B songs of the day may seem outdated, or politically incorrect, listening to the cleverly crafted double entendre lyrics for me is great fun and a great history lesson; the roots of which go back to pre-phonograph days when social conditions demanded that certain people speak in code or metaphor in order to survive. Another key trait of early R&B is the defiant honking by soloing tenor saxophonists like Big Jay McNeely, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Lee Allen, and many others. While people in the Jazz world frowned upon such "noise", defenders of the sound maintain that the honking captured the rawness of the recordings and the frustrations of African Americans. For ten years from the end of World War Two, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement, this was UNDERGROUND music; usually confined to corner bar jukeboxes and low powered AM radio stations. Then, as Rosa Parks became a household name, Alan Freed in Cleveland, and people in other places with high powered AM stations, like WLAC, Nashville gave this music wider exposure.  Rock and Roll was "born". For him, Elvis was in the right place at the right time. The artists I've learned about while prepping for the show:

- Wynonie Harris ("Mr. Blues"; the king of side-splitting double entendre),

- Big Maybelle (�One Monkey Don�t Stop No Show� is a SHOW STOPPER)

- early Clyde McPhatter with the Drifters (an amazing group that somehow stayed relevant for two decades, even though they had at different times 3 lead singers following McPhatter, a very tough act to follow

- the early recordings of the amazingly soulful, operatic voice of Jackie Wilson

- The Spiders, a New Orleans-based gospel group which crossed over to the secular side in 1951.... Later in the 50's, SAM COOKE would also "cross over".

- Johnny Otis and all of the people he nurtured along the way, including �Little Ester� Phillips and The Robbins/Coasters

- the invaluable BOX SETS from the OKEY and SPECIALTY recordings from 1947 to 1959... where you'll hear Screamin Jay Hawkins, Roy Milton and His Solid Senders (including the dazzling vocalist and pianist Camile Howard), the gospel side of Sam Cooke, the emergence of Little Richard, and much more.

- AND last-but-not-least: one of the trailblazers for Jimi Hendrix (no, he just didn't plop down here from another galaxy with "his" sound): Johnny Guitar Watson.  In 1955 he was the first blues guitarist to crank up the volume in the studio -- his song "Too Tired" is riveting stuff; makes your hair stand on end.. but because of the line "I'm Too Tired to Come", it never made it to the airwaves.

75 to 80% of the material mentioned in the above listings -- (and a lot more "obscure" recorded gems) was NOT available on vinyl from the late 60's, onward. When I hosted a blues show on WXDR at the University of Delaware in 1976, the more "conventional" Chess and Vee-Jay bluesmen held center stage; I love those guys too, but it was only a slice of the bigger picture. Thank goodness for the digital/ CD technology which opened the recording studio vaults to a treasure chest of music and an essential-but-under appreciated portion of post World War Two history. My hat goes off to companies like RHINO RECORDS for having the vision to put much of it into box sets, so that all of us can catch up a bit, and better understand the evolution of music from the big band era of the 30's and 40's -- all the way up to what I listened to in high school: the emergence of "soul music" from Memphis and Muscle Shoals, to what emerged from Chicago, Philly, and that �musical fortress� in Detroit.

By the time I reached high school, the golden age of rhythm and blues was a fading memory. WAMS had replaced WILM (now with a news/talk format) as the "go to" station.  Somehow, the golden age of R&B has not been forgotten. And that is reason to celebrate.

1967 to 2007: A 40 year Musical Journey - Pete Simon (Aug '07)


So, I am the lucky one assigned to writing something about the music of our lives for our 40th anniversary. There are obviously hundreds of stories and opinions amongst us; I don�t claim that my observations are the gold standard of music appreciation or anything of the sort; it�s just the way I observed and absorbed the incredible range of music, and the culture and politics it has reflected. Frozen by the possibilities, I am honored to give it a shot. Here goes.

Aside from being an avid listener of all sorts of music, I�ve spent 35 years in radio -- mostly with public and/or community stations where musical formats are often eclectic. Today I continue in that vein as a volunteer host, Monday evenings on �Jazz 89�, KUVO, Denver ( More on the Jazz component later.

Since we�ve already polled classmates on our favorite songs (45s) during high school (Aretha�s anthem that she borrowed from Otis Redding remains the one for me), I�d like to focus on how the listening focus shifted for many of us before and after graduation to the expanding world of the album as art. The times dictated the change.

Tempered by civil unrest, an unpopular war, and changes in our social fabric that no one could have predicted (even a year before we graduated), you could hear the world evolving through music that was churning; a new sound canvas that blended art, angst, politics, sex, and more into a new framework, or concept, for music collected on an album. For some of us, bubble gum was replaced in our senior year at high school by the Doors� Break On Through (To The Other Side) and Light My Fire; the Zappa anthem Trouble Every Day; and a heightened edge to what the lads from Liverpool created (the chasm even went as far for some people to pose the following question: The Beatles, before or after Rubber Soul?)

Before proceeding further, I have to acknowledge what I call the backlash factor, typified by public radio commentator Ian Shoals. Upon the 20th anniversary of the release of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper, Shoals blurted during one of his commentaries: �take Sgt. Pepper and your concepts and keep them to yourself; give me the Ramones�. Others may have said: �give me John Denver�. I�ll stick with the concepts for now, thanks.

Where ever you are on the listening spectrum, as we slow down we tend to settle in with whatever is comfortable. Whether it�s Frank Sinatra or Frank Zappa, let�s hope we�ll keep room to accept something new or different, whether it be music, the people we call friends, or new ideas.


Over the past forty years, we have come full circle as a culture in the way we listen to music. We are part of the last graduating class that depended almost solely on top-40 radio as our connecting point to the culture around us. The 45-single was considered the gold standard for listening and relating to our peers. Today we find ourselves in a world where (again) the single takes center stage with the ability to download only singles for your iPod. More so than at any time over the last 40 years, this makes it difficult for anyone to produce entire albums worth remembering and cherishing.

In the springtime leading up to our graduation, George Martin was busy producing Sgt. Pepper on a three track recording machine, making it all the more amazing. That achievement lays to rest any notion that creating such art has anything to do with more sophisticated recording technology which followed. For the album art connoisseur, today�s iPod revolution is a curse, but there is consolation in the fact that the variety of music being downloaded onto iPods does not stick to the stale rules which ruled Top 40. Today�s variety includes anything from around the world -- old or new -- including, amongst the younger generation, a resurgence in the popularity of Bob Dylan. Still, the decline of the importance of the album as a work of art has many of us shaking our collective heads.

Just what is album art? The concept album? It�s defined in different ways. In the early 60�s and before that, pop albums were not nearly as likely to be considered complete works of art, or those produced to make some sort of social or political statement. For some of us, it highlights the work of a producer, songwriter(s), or performer(s) with a signature sound. Carole King was one of the first artists to achieve this with the widely accepted Tapestry. It set the table for a procession of often daring artists.

For other people a concept album requires something more, such as a collection of songs with music and lyrics depicting common themes or threads. Marvin Gaye�s What�s Goin� On is a prime example of this effort; a collection of songs tied to the human condition in which drug abuse and escapism, poverty, and pollution of the planet are examined with the urgency that normally isn�t linked to a pop record. More recently, Los Lobos reached a milestone in this regard with Kiko; depicting life as seen through the eyes of several souls roughing it out on the streets of the East L.A. barrio. There are countless other examples out there.

During the month we graduated, the pop album revolution hit full stride with the release of Sgt. Pepper. It ushered in the �Summer of Love�, The Monterrey Pop Festival, and new strange things heard on the FM band. By autumn �67, FM stations around the country programmed a portion or all of their schedules with �album rock�. It was a watershed moment for the music industry and our culture. Listening choices multiplied and (for the business-conscious person) music markets expanded in ways unimagined a few short years before. The change in the order scared a lot of us, while a growing number of us flocked to concert halls and/or �psychedelic dungeons� (as Mr. Zappa would say) to take it all in (The Trauma and Electric Factory in Philly, and Fillmore East in New York were favorite haunts of mine). By 1971, the first rock band without a �single� to its name sold out Madison Square Garden (hint: the group was led by this wily character who hopped around the stage on one leg while playing the flute).

The movement began while we were in tenth grade. It shattered the notion that every pop song had a 3 minute limit for airplay. One could argue that a starting point for this mindset came in 1965 with Bob Dylan�s Highway 61 and its 6 minute single �Like A Rolling Stone�. Dylan�s masterpiece (just one of many) set the proverbial musical bar higher for the Beatles, who answered later that year with Rubber Soul. That stirred the amazing rumblings in Brian Wilson to abandon his safe surf music formula and create his monument Pet Sounds. It dramatically heightened an amazing musical synergy between Lennon-McCartney and Brian Wilson (as Paul McCartney will attest), a force that led to Sgt. Pepper and could have gone much further, if not for Capitol Records pulling the plug on Wilson�s Smile project (June �67). With both the Beatles and Beach Boys in the Capitol stable, Capitol execs were doing their best to kill a goose that was laying golden eggs for them. After Smile was shelved, the Beatles created great music, but the outside competition factor was greatly diminished; inner squabbling ensued; and their days as THE BAND were numbered. The last hurrah for this musical ping-pong match came with the release of �Hey Jude�; the answer to �Good Vibrations�. The highly competitive synergy factor vanished, but not before the groundwork was laid for those to follow (check out the comments of Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and how Pet Sounds inspired him). Here is a list of albums released or recorded in 1967; providing quite a launching pad:

Sgt. Pepper � The Beatles

� Younger Than Yesterday - The Byrds

� Electric Music for the Mind and Body � Country Joe and the Fish

� Bookends � Simon and Garfunkel

Are You Experienced? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (debut)

Buffalo Springfield Again - Buffalo Springfield

� Circus Maximus - Circus Maximus

Forever Changes - Love

The Sound of Wilson Pickett - Wilson Pickett

Disraeli Gears - Cream

Absolutely Free - The Mothers of Invention

Little Games - The Yardbirds (w/ Jimmy Page)

Strange Days - The Doors

John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan

Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie

Mellow Yellow - Donovan

The Doors - The Doors (debut)

Aretha Arrives - Aretha Franklin

King & Queen - Otis Redding and Carla Thomas

� We�re Only In It For the Money - The Mothers of Invention

Blowin' Your Mind! - Van Morrison

The Temptations in a Mellow Mood - The Temptations

Between the Buttons - The Rolling Stones

Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield (debut)

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin

The Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead

Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane

Procol Harum - Procol Harum

Their Satanic Majesties Request - Rolling Stones

The Who Sell Out - The Who

Safe as Milk - Captain Beefheart

Axis: Bold as Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Something Else By The Kinks - The Kinks

Mr. Fantasy - Traffic

Moby Grape - Moby Grape

The Temptations with a Lot o' Soul - The Temptations

Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles

Wear Your Love Like Heaven - Donovan

After Bathing At Baxter's - Jefferson Airplane

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd. - The Monkees

Days of Future Passed - The Moody Blues

Pleasures Of The Harbor - Phil Ochs

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (condensed version) - Pink Floyd

Happy Together - The Turtles

The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground

� Bee Gees 1st � The Bee Gees

� Clambake � Elvis Presley

In looking at this list, I cannot help but inject something about the influence of Jazz on a key portion of it. The first time I heard Are You Experienced at a friend�s house, the earth moved. After the initial astonishment subsided, I thought of the great Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, who had just passed away. With his simultaneous playing of octave notes in a much louder, more spacious and electrified blues-tinged manner than Wes, Jimi Hendrix took a jazz guitar concept further out than anyone could have imagined.

My listening tastes were formed in the late 50�s while listening to WILM�s Mitch Thomas, who during his evening program played the music of Louis Jordan, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, The Coasters, Etta James, and Jimmy Smith. Another jolt came in 1970 during Navy days which included travel to the Caribbean, Africa, India, the Persian Gulf, and Red Sea. It locked me in to listening to �tropical jazz� for the rest of my days.

Since its inception, Jazz in its many forms and moods has shaped pop music. I venture to say that when most of us heard The Beatles� George Harrison or The Rolling Stones� Brian Jones playing a sitar, we thought it was the first time a western musical group dabbled in Indian music. Jazz pioneers Eric Dolphy (on his album Aspects) and John Coltrane (various recordings made for the Impulse label) integrated Indian music into the jazz lexicon from 1960, onward. Coltrane�s 1961 soprano sax solo on his piece �India� served as guarded inspiration for Roger McGuinn as he crafted his �psychedelic� guitar solo on The Byrd�s �Eight Miles High�.

The term �psychedelic� continues to annoy like a sand burr in my shoe. The concept, often incorporating �spacey� instrumental solos, is a watered down approach to soloing taken from the �modal jazz� form created by Miles Davis on his 1959 monument Kind Of Blue. A number of jazz soloists (including Coltrane) expanded on the form; the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers borrowed the concept, creating a framework for �jam bands�. Miles changed the world of music several times during his amazing career; Bitches Brew was another one of those stellar moments, fusing elements of acoustic instrument jazz improvisation with electric instruments. It laid a foundation for jazz and pop music which still resonates today.

Given all of the social, political, and musical tsunamis since �67, I can�t help but wonder how you have processed it all. What music matters to you and why? How have you received new sounds and musical ideas as they�ve unfolded through the decades? How has it all shaped your world?

RECOMMENDATIONS: Must see DVDs: Standing in the Shadows of Motown; Tom Dowd And The Language of Music (an account of Dowd�s engineering prowess with Atlantic Records); The PBS/Ken Burns series on Jazz, and the Martin Scorsese series on The Blues and Bob Dylan; The Concert for George Harrison; The Last Waltz; Stop Making Sense; and The Howlin Wolf Story, to name a few. POST 60�s albums: (70s) � What�s Goin On, Marvin Gaye; anything by Stevie Wonder (as he and Marvin brushed up against the �guiding hand� of Berry Gordy); Joni Mitchell (every female artist to follow is in her debt); Little Feat; Weather Report (and the genius of Wayne Shorter); (80�s) � Stevie Ray Vaughn; U-2; The Pretenders; The Police; (90�s) � Kiko and other work by Los Lobos; John Hiatt; Lyle Lovett; Bonnie Raitt; Cassandra Wilson, and Joan Osborne; and (Today) - an amazing array of �kids�, including Rufus Wainwright; and, a national treasure still awaiting discovery known as �The Subdudes�.

The musical universe is massive; thanks for considering a part of mine. Pete Simon -


For me, fighting complacency is a big deal. It�s been said that politicians who simplify their message have the most to gain; the day of a �sound bite� lasting longer than 8 seconds is history. This sub-par standard produces the same kind of frustration I�d feel when I used to hear a four minute song cut down to under 3 minutes for air play with the juicy guitar solos missing. Collectively, we behaved like this in �67 in the way we viewed long hair on guys. For too many of us, long haired scraggly looking anti-war protesters were nothing but a bunch of Commie-duped dirty dope-smoking hippies, blah, blah. Some of the blame for this simplification is rightfully placed on the doorstep of mass media blabbermouths and certain print commentators. Truthfully, the variety amongst those involved in the �counter culture� is broad, with people embracing all political parties and walks of life. This variety is heard in the music and lyrics contained on Pop, R&B, and Country albums. If we as a nation are still fighting each other in a 1960�s framework, as some observers say, then taking a fresh look at the last 40 years of music may speed up long overdue healing.

One example of developing more clarity: developing a better explanation of the differences between �hippies� and �freaks�. The differences were often huge. To get a grip on this overlooked phenomenon, I invite you to read (British author) Ben Watson�s book: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play; a book largely about Frank Zappa, but with plenty to say about these times. The book gave me clearer insight into divisions between hippies and freaks (Zappa being in the latter camp; blasting hippies and their often overly passive demeanor and self-destructive drug abuse - it explains why Zappa hated Sgt. Pepper and why he released an album shortly afterwards with a satirical album cover panning Sgt. Pepper). The book also introduced me to the �Situationist� movement throughout Europe. It was an anti-materialist social movement that was prominent in the 1960�s when Europeans of our generation had their own issues with authority. Many of those who embraced the philosophy were avid Zappa fans; Europeans went much further than Americans in the way they interpreted Zappa lyrics to fit their anti-materialism stance (while in Europe, Zappa�s encounters with the press were often far more intellectually advanced than here). It�s heady stuff. I�ll be the first to say Zappa had his faults, but reading the book gives you an interesting way of looking at our time on the planet.

Finally, I implore you to take a moment and get out to listen to live music; not as much at the high-paying concert halls but in your own communities. Support people just getting off the musical ground. Much has been said since our graduation about the positive impact music has on enhancing the learning experience. That includes not only the up and coming generation, but you. We owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to try.


SCHOOL 1967 vs. 2007

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1967 - Vice principal comes over to look at Jack's shotgun. He goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lockdown, and FBI is called. Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1967 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail; nobody is arrested; nobody is expelled.

2007 - Police called. SWAT team arrives. Johnny and Mark are arrested and charged with assault. Both are expelled even though Johnny started it.  

Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1967 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the principal. He returns to class, sits still, and does not disrupt class again.

2007 - Jeffrey is diagnosed with ADD and given huge doses of ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a learning disability.  

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1967 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is placed in foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself, and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1967 - Mark shares aspirin with principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - Police called. Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. Car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1967 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given a diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant bed.

1967 - Ants die.

2007 - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security, and FBI called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates parents; siblings are removed from home; computers confiscated. Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Heather. Heather hugs him to comfort him.


1967 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.


2007 - Heather is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

A fun fest filled with mountains of scrapple-Apples also at the core of celebration to raise money in Delaware

Click on �watch video� link and scroll to �Scrapple�

  Scrapple Rapa Scrapple Attn: Mail Order Service P.O. Box 219 Bridgeville, DE 19933
For shipping charges call 800-338-4727 or send us an e-mail to

Watch the video
Scrapple is the quintessential Philadelphia comfort food (along with cheesesteaks), tracing its origins to the Pennsylvania Dutch. But there are dark rumors about what parts of the pig find their way into this "Philadelphia pate." Ed calls on master chef Jim Coleman to clear up the suspicions, and to show you how to whip up a batch of scrapple yourself.

By Stephanie Shapiro

Sun Staff

Originally published October 13, 2004

Under the supervision of "General" Jerry W. Jones, the men of Union United Methodist Church went to work Saturday, grilling 240 pounds of scrapple slabs for the annual "Apple-Scrapple All-You-Can Eat Breakfast."

While the $5.50 meal also included stewed apples, sausage and pancakes, it was the scrapple, of course, that took center stage at the fund-raiser, held as part of the annual Apple-Scrapple Festival in the Eastern Shore town of Bridgeville, Del.

"We prefer to call it 'square steak,' " Jones said of the rectangular slices cut from the solidified pudding of pork snouts, hearts and other remains mixed with cornmeal or wheat flour that is popular in Delaware, Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Living in Bridgeville, best known as home to the RAPA Scrapple company, the country's largest scrapple producer, is perhaps conducive to a self-deprecating sense of humor.

But that doesn't mean that scrapple gets a bad rapple in Bridgeville, where red, white and blue scrapple wrappers are displayed with the same pride as the American flag.

Thousands of festival goers crammed into the town not only to eat scrapple, but also to carve it, toss it and see, up close, the role it has played in Bridgeville's heritage. The scrapple celebration, which began Friday afternoon and concluded Saturday night, also featured craft displays, street rods, live bluegrass music and a staggering amount of other food offerings, including the ample apple dumplings that represented the festival's other celebrated product. T.S. Smith & Sons, an apple orchard and packinghouse, is also located in the Sussex County town.

In its 13 years, the Apple-Scrapple Festival has ballooned from a small event that attracted a modest crowd of about 2,500 to a sprawling affair that lures more than 30,000 visitors, says Donna Seefried, RAPA's vice president.

Jones, the rest of the Methodist men, their wives and children were happy to serve 700 guests who plowed through mountains of the scrapple, which was donated by RAPA. Earnings from the breakfast will go toward the church and community activities.

On Apple-Scrapple Festival day, the vacuum-packed product, made from scraps that might otherwise be discarded, spurred a windfall as well for the Bridgeville Senior Center, the Woodbridge High School Music Boosters and the Bridgeville Charge United Methodist Churches (a coalition of three churches). These groups also served hundreds of pounds of crisply fried scrapple. Their version came on white bread, accompanied by cheese, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, grape jelly, apple butter or syrup, according to preference.

Bridgeville resident Charles Smith ordered his $3 scrapple sandwich from the United Methodist church booth, and slathered it with ketchup. He eats scrapple every day, Smith says. "I've been having it all my life."

Until a back injury forced him to retire, Smith worked at RAPA as well. "I'll always like it," he says of the local delicacy.

Smith's friend, Derrick Cuffee, of Greenwood, Del., ordered a scrapple sandwich, too. No ketchup for him, though. "I just like mine plain," he said.

Scrapple is a versatile product. You can fry it, naturally. But you also can carve it, as the festival's scrapple-carving contest demonstrated. Competition was fierce among a small field of contestants who had to produce a work of art from 2 pounds of raw, chilled scrapple in an hour.

Pegeen Brown, a vivacious kindergarten teacher from Seaford, Del., came with her tools: a paring knife, tiny spatula and an implement for picking crab. Two years ago, "I made three pigs [from her scrapple block]. I was so proud," she said. My sister made Shamu. My next-door neighbor outdid us with The Thinker. I never thought I could have so much fun with scrapple."

This year, as November's election drew near, Brown wasted no time molding a Republican elephant and a Democratic donkey facing off over an apple on which she inscribed: "Vote."

It was the 13th year of competition for Brown's arch rival, John Tomeski, a firefighter and Bridgeville resident who came equipped with a Leatherman tool. He went about creating an Elvis-like pig, complete with guitar and finely articulated locks, etched with a serrated blade.

Tomeski's masterpiece replicated this year's Apple-Scrapple logo featuring an image of a snouted Presley cruising in a street rod with his snouty girlfriend. (The firefighter also created a papier-mache King Pig for his front yard.)

Other carving-contest entries included a mare and her foal, a pair of praying hands and a model of the local high school's baseball stadium. Dane Sears of Gambrills took first place and $30 with his pig and apple, which included the campaign slogan: "Vote Apple-Scrapple 2004." It was a little less partisan than last year's winner, which was a likeness of George W. Bush, according to Renie Jefferson, a RAPA employee and carving-contest judge. "It looked just like him," Jefferson said.

Brown came in third, and a crushed Tomeski finished out of the running.

"They do some amazing things with a pound of scrapple," Seefried said last week before the festival started. She's not as impressed with another festival event called "scrapple chunkin'," which involves the slinging of 2- and 5-pound scrapple blocks in a field behind Woodbridge High School. "The chunkin' I don't really approve of," Seefried says. "I don't want to associate our product with being thrown and chunked."

The fledgling sport is far from disrespectful to scrapple, said Rob Perciful, Seaford High School track coach who coordinated the scrapple chunkin' contest. As he supervised contestants who wrapped their scrapple in plastic bags and sealed them with duct tape to prevent scrapple explosions, Perciful predicted, "This is going to be an Olympic event in 2008."

First, though, there were some bugs to work out. After a close encounter between a tossed scrapple loaf and a spectator, Perciful warned, "You don't ever want to be in the way of an errant scrapple tosser. It may permanently alter your personality."

Charcoal Pit


Revisit old favorites at the Charcoal Pit


The world of food is always changing and innovating, with chefs flitting from one trendy ingredient to the next. But sometimes, I don't want change. I want what I know. I want what is good.

The Charcoal Pit has been around since 1956, and there's been no bending to trends or flitting from one ingredient to the next. And, for me, that's just the way they should be.

If you grew up in Delaware, you've been to the Charcoal Pit. Whether your grandparents took you there when you were little or you went with a group of friends to split a Kitchen Sink after a football game, you know the Charcoal Pit.

When I walked in last week for lunch, The Pit felt the exact same as it did when my grandparents took me there when I was a little girl with pig-tails. The seats in the booths are still covered with maroon vinyl. The booths along the outside walls still have the jukeboxes right in the booths. The smell of french fries and hamburgers still wafts through the entire restaurant and they still have candy in the glass case under the cash register.

Our trio converged on the Charcoal Pit for a mid-week lunch, fueled by cravings of milkshakes and hamburgers. The menu is how regulars will remember it, filled with burgers and sandwiches.

One of us started with what Charcoal Pit is most famous for -- their burger. If you're going to get a burger at The Pit, the only one to get is the Pit Deluxe ($4.95, 4 oz; $5.50, 8 oz.). The burger has that charcoal-grilled flavor that you'd expect at a place with the word "charcoal" in the name. Waitresses top the burger with iceberg lettuce they rip right off the head of lettuce and tomato. If you want something else, just ask.

If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, do yourself a favor and try one here. Their grilled cheese ($3.25) isn't a fancy grilled cheese with tomatoes and fancy-shmancy cheeses. It's white bread with American cheese, cut in half diagonally and served with a slice of dill pickle on top of each half. In this case, simple is better.

I thought about getting their chardog ($2.50), which is the best-tasting hot dog you can get unless you're grilling it on your deck yourself. They also make a good chicken cheesesteak ($4.75), but what I really wanted was their cheesesteak, which they call a ribeye ($4.75). Whiz was a choice, but I've always gotten my cheesesteaks at The Pit with American cheese, and I didn't see why I should change that now.

The cheesesteak isn't chopped, but is stacked high with full pieces of meat. (Think more Geno's than Pat's.) The roll was soft enough to bite into easily, but strong enough to hold up to the cheesesteak inside.

Their french fries ($1.50) are thick, crispy on the inside and filled with fluffy potato goodness. But don't forget their onion rings ($2.50), which come out crispy and filled with whole onion slices, not that onion mush in some onion rings.

Super-thick milkshakes ($3.50) are the standard, and come served in a metal tin with a glass on the side. Be prepared for at least one person per table to spill while trying to pour the milkshake. For something a little different, try the Orange Freeze ($3.75), a milkshake made with orange sherbert. There's nothing more refreshing than an Orange Freeze.

And that will never change.


2600 Concord Pike



Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sun-Th

11 a.m.-1 a.m Fri & Sat


Classic American

Dress Code



sandwiches: $3.25-$6.50

entrees: $7.95-$16.95

sundaes: $1.95-$4.75


Other locations

The Concord Pike location is the original Charcoal Pit, but they do have three other locations. There's a Charcoal Pit in Pike Creek, one on Kirkwood Highway near Prices Corner and one in the Fox Run Shopping Center.

Sundae City

If you're looking for a classic ice cream sundae, look no further. They have everything from butterscotch and chocolate marshmallow sundaes to their famous Kitchen Sink -- 20 scoops of ice cream and every topping you can imagine.

By JENNIFER MARIE MILLER, Special to The News Journal

She's Charcoal Pit's "unofficial" mother hen, cheerleader and human resource manager.

Roberta Boyle takes great pride in her Pit. After all, she is the restaurant's longest-lasting employee - 47 years and counting.

"Customers are nice, tips are good, and the food is great," she said.

The Newport resident, now 74, started her career at the Concord Pike Charcoal Pit - the original - in October 1957 after a neighbor asked her to join the crew.

She possesses the beginnings of the Charcoal Pit museum - a collection of invitations to past company Christmas parties, old advertisements, menus and photos of past and current co-workers. Many of her co-workers have worked at the Charcoal Pit for 10 years or more.

There's a 1971 issue of Delaware Today with her daughter Marlene on the cover as part of Charcoal Pit's award for Best of Delaware restaurant. On wax paper and old menus is a list of co-worker's [employment] anniversary dates that she's recorded over the years.

There's a lot of history behind those friendly eyes that now greet you as part-time cashier on weekdays.

"I started working the night shift when I was 27 years old because I wanted extra money for my family and time away," she said. "And it's a very versatile place to work, very accommodating to my schedule, so I never left."

The Charcoal Pit opened in September 1956, one year before Roberta joined the team, and all four of her children have worked there. Right now, her granddaughter works the take-out counter.

"We're a family," manager Mary Tielleman said. "We watch out for each other and we joke and have fun. We have good customers, young ones coming from a swim meet to older ones enjoying the old jukeboxes."

Tielleman, who has worked for the company for 11 years, said Boyle is the mother figure.

"We stay because of the same reason why people return - fantastic food, family atmosphere and good service. You know it's good when you see waitresses from other restaurants dining here frequently."

Tielleman said although the Charcoal Pit business has added more locations over the years, she believes the Concord Pike location is still the most popular and the busiest.

Boyle remembers, back in 1957 when she started working the 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift, lines for tables went out the door and the restaurant wasn't surrounded by the commercial sprawl now located on Concord Pike.

"There used to be all houses across the street and no McDonald's or gas stations," she said. "Fairfax [shopping center] and Howard Johnson were here, but the highway was smaller with four lanes, not six."

Those familiar with the current design of the restaurant interior should note: "We never had the right side [when you walk in] or the back area. There was a big fountain area, and the counter used to be real low."

Boyle remembers serving their famous milkshakes and root beer in frosted glasses. Back then, the sundaes were named only after Brandywine Hundred -area schools like the Claymont Indian sundae and the P.S. Du Pont Dynamite.

"Today the names of the sundaes have changed, but the ingredients have stayed the same."

"Burgers were 45 cents and nighttime was always busy with Brandywine [Raceway]," she said.

"We've always made our homemade soups, and I used to make the crab cakes once per week for years until I got arthritis."

According to Boyle, one of the Sloan brothers, the original owners, came up with the crabcake recipe, which has become one of their most popular items.

"We're known for milkshakes, steak sandwiches and burgers," she said. "We never had any children's meals or salads. Those came later."

She still enjoys the customers and says she remembers many people from decades ago.

"Many people come and tell me that even though they moved away, they always stop in when they're in town."

Today, she's glad the uniforms have changed to pants because she admits to not admiring the '50s style pink and aqua uniforms.

"The place mats are newer, too. We never had the mats. To me, it's more to clean up."

Lou Sloan, the only brother left, still visits occasionally. Today the Pit is owned by Louis Capano, with Mike Sciota as director of operations.

Any retirement plans in Boyle's future?

"I love the menu and I'm very satisfied with my work experience," she said. "I'll stay as long as I can walk around."

Her favorites?

"I like almost anything, but I guess my favorites are the hot fudge sundaes and the cheeseburgers - ours are the best!"

When Roberta Boyle first started working at the original Charcoal Pit, the sundaes on the menu were all named for Brandywine Hundred-area schools, many of which no longer exist.


Roberta Boyle

AGE: 74

FAMILY: Deceased husband, four children; grandchildren

RESIDENCE: Newport; originally from Tamaqua, Pa. (husband came to Delaware to work for Atlas)

Reunion Fears

By Dr. Pepper Schwartz
Classmates Relationships Expert

It's that time of year again. High school and college reunions are scheduled throughout the spring and early summer, and some attendees are going to the event with terror in their hearts. There are two common fears. First, "will I see an old flame who still interests me, and will I worry about how she or he will react to me?" Or, "what should I do if I see someone I really want to avoid?"

Some people have so many fears they end up not going - and then have regrets. This would be the wrong choice. After all, these occasions come along rarely, and with just a little preparation (physical and mental) they can be a triumph instead of a tragedy. Let's first take the case of the Romantic Love of Your Life Who Got Away or The One You Always Lusted After and Now You Will See Her/Him Again.

The first worry is natural; "How do I look?" "How will I come across?" Everyone wants to be thinner, less bald, more accomplished and infinitely charming. The good news is that most of us aren't. And most realize that after 10, 20, or 30 years or more, appropriate physical adjustments will have taken place. If you are an exceptionally fine specimen, you're in luck, and your reunion should be terror-free. But even if you are not as gorgeous as you once were, or as successful as you would like, the Romantic Icon you hope to see at the reunion may still be interested in you. After all, we're all older, wiser and have interesting tales to tell about our lives. Just make sure you aren't a total tale of woe (no one really wants to hear it and it will definitely be a turn-off) and concentrate on being relaxed and confident. A comfortable confidence is always an attractive trait that will easily overwhelm the importance of a few extra pounds.

But you must be mentally prepared. You will probably see someone who looks older (or younger!) than you imagined. You don't want to react to someone's unexpected appearance in an insulting or over enthusiastic way. Likewise, other people's assessments of how you look or how much they want to reconnect isn't predictable. You need to be ready for someone to be more interested in you than you expect - and also to be less interested in you than you hope.

We all carry around a lot of myths and impressions about how important we were to someone during those years. Sometimes these are happily confirmed, and we're the person they came to the reunion to see. But other times, we discover we were just a blip (if that) on their radar screen. We have to take it, accept it, and not be crushed. After all, a lot has happened since graduation. We are living in the present and can't let ourselves be haunted by old wounds, or a fantasy that a romance between seventeen year olds will bloom afresh 20 years later. It could happen, but you can't count on it.

Think of a reunion as an anthropological trip. Everything is interesting, but it may not be relevant to your daily life. The key is to go for the experience and not build up so much hope that you stand a good chance of being deflated. Even if there does seem to be some extra special warmth coming from that certain someone, don't go overboard. Use the reunion as an opening salvo. You can always email later and develop the relationship further online.

And what if you are dreading seeing someone? Is there an old lover you fear who still carries your picture? Did someone steal your high school sweetheart away? If you want to avoid someone, come with a partner, friend or date and give him or her instructions about who to look out for and how to act as your blocker. Your reunion buddy can distract any dreaded classmate while you make your getaway. If the person you fear brings up painful memories, use the reunion as a way to finally get over them, and move on. You don't have to be friendly, but this isn't the time for revenge either. Be cool. You don't want to give an old enemy the satisfaction of seeing you distressed. You're beyond all that!

Ok, so reunions aren't easy. But they can be wonderful, offering the possibility of reconnecting with important people from earlier in your life, rekindling a romance, or just helping you put certain experiences and people behind you.

Don't miss yours!

Stone Balloon to be demolished By MICHELE BESSO
The News Journal

The owner of the Stone Balloon, the landmark bar on Newark�s Main Street, has submitted preliminary plans to the city which call for demolishing the tavern and concert hall and replacing it with condominiums and retail businesses, city officials said.

Jim Baurle wants to build a four-story facility, with 85 luxury condominiums, 5,000 square feet of retail space and two levels of parking for more than 200 cars, according to subdivision plans filed this week.

Newark City Manager Carl Luft said today the subdivision plans show that the existing building is to be torn down. The Stone Balloon�s building is more than 100 years old and was formerly home to the Washington House Hotel and Merrill�s Tavern.

�Once we receive the required color renditions of the proposed facade, we�ll have a better picture of how they intend to design the front porch and other buildings,� Luft said.

Mayor Vance Funk has said he expects residents and city officials would be concerned about whether the outside of the Stone Balloon would remain the same.

Baurle and his attorney, Mark Sisk, have declined comment until an architectural rendering can be submitted to the city sometime next week.

The development would include the existing Stone Balloon building at 115 East Main St., as well as buildings at 116 Delaware Ave. and 118-126 Delaware Ave. Those buildings include a one-story office building and a rental home. The plans indicate that these structures would also be removed, Luft said.

The earliest the city�s planning commission could review plans would be Dec. 7. City Council would have the final say on how the property could be used. New city regulations require a special-use permit for all downtown apartments. The applicant will also need subdivision approval and a rezoning.

If built, the residences would overlook Main Street and Delaware Avenue. Plans are to have units available by spring 2006. The ground-floor retail stores would be accessible from Main Street, while the residences would be entered from Delaware Avenue.

In the 1970s, the Stone Balloon was known as Newark�s premier rock �n� roll bar. It now books mostly local bands. Acts through the years have included Hall & Oates, the Pointer Sisters, Hootie & the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies.

See complete coverage in Saturday�s News Journal. Contact Michele Besso at 838-3187 or

Posted 3:05 PM

Strawbridge's sets sell-off as end nears

Delawareans nostalgic as they make final trips to state institution

The News Journal
"Strawbs" at the Merchandise Mart

On Joyce Miller's jacket, there is a badge. On the badge, there is a star. Inside the star, a diamond shines.

As she touches that diamond, awarded for superior customer service, Miller speaks with joy, and a trace of pride, about the 17 years spent on the floor of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store at Christiana Mall. The sales associate treasures her many days there with co-workers and customers, who became a family of sorts to the 71-year-old.

These days are full of bittersweet thoughts for employees like Miller and thousands of Delaware shoppers. By fall, the name that stood in Delaware for 56 years will be gone, swallowed up in a corporate merger with Federated Department Stores Inc.

At Strawbridge's Concord Mall and Dover stores, the merger will mean a name change -- to Macy's, one of Federated's flagships.

At Christiana Mall, which already has a Macy's, it means more of an end. Starting Sunday, all Strawbridge's merchandise will be liquidated in a weeks-long sale, and the property put up for sale.

Though no prospective buyers have been announced, retail space at Christiana Mall is considered prime. The 1.1-million-square-foot mall is among the most profitable in the country, producing sales-to-square-foot ratios nearly three times the industry average for a mall that size.

Federated says it is working "very hard" to find new jobs in the company for the Christiana Mall store's 191 employees. Still, there is a sense of loss among workers and customers, a feeling that some small part of Delaware's identity will be lost, and that old relationships will vanish.

For many, the memories won't leave so soon. As a child, Rosemarie Wilkinson cherished her trips to the Christiana store soon after it opened in the late 1970s. "I remember that store like it was yesterday," she said. Chewing gummy bears, she would pitch pennies into the fountains.

One wish even came true. For the past two years, Wilkinson has been a sales associate at the Christiana Mall store, where she found an atmosphere of camaraderie and compassion. For one employee, that meant help from fellow workers when his apartment was struck by fire. "It's like a family away from home," Wilkinson said.

Partly, that's because the store's work force boasts many loyal workers, said manager Kathy Weaver. Those longtime workers say they came to know longtime customers well. On Tuesday, employees spoke of people they'll miss -- the elderly strollers, the minister who stops by every couple of weeks just to say hello.

Those people have been reacting with alarm to the news that Strawbridge's is leaving, sales associates said.

Several shoppers said they will miss Strawbridge's for its well-kept and nicely stocked aisles, and lamented the potential lack of diversity at the mall. "I'm going to miss the two stores, because what you couldn't find at Macy's, you could find at Strawbridge's," said Jenny Socha, who was picking out a wristwatch Tuesday.

For some, it's little solace knowing there will still be a store, at least for some months, in Brandywine Hundred. It's too far for Aleph Woolfolk, 81, of Newark. "I probably will miss it some. ... But I will not go up to Concord Mall."

Anne Madara, a Strawbridge's shopper for 40 years, will surely remember the store for its "fabulous" sales and for its people. "The help here is always very accommodating. I'm going to miss them. I hate to see them leave."

Contact Eric Ruth at 324-2428 or

    NEW BHSAA Website!!

Brandywine High School Alumni Association

Dear BHS Alumni,

Bonny Bagnatori Krause, BHSAA President

Bonny Krause-302-655-7711

Current board members are:


Bonny Bagnatori Krause

Co Vice President

Laird Robbins

Co Vice President

Lisa Mezger Osberg


Cyndi Mitchell Lehm


Kevin Lyons

Assistant Treasurer

Leslie Rutherford Collins

Board Member

Bob Ralston

Board Member

Pamm Ferris Tweed

If you are interested in becoming a board member or you want to contact us please e-mail us at .

We are looking for volunteers to be a class contact for each year of BHS existence

Bonny Bagnatori Krause, President BHSAA