Came into View

On January 9 my husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to pick up unsold artwork from the Baum School of Art’s holiday show. The school is located in the middle of downtown across the street from the Allentown Art Museum. Both of these places are very familiar to us from years of visiting Allentown.

The city is undergoing a lot of change right now. After declines in industry and manufacturing and a period of drift, the city is renewing itself in a lot of different ways. Its location is advantageous, it has a significant population, there are several colleges in the city, and it borders Bethlehem, PA, another Lehigh Valley city reinventing itself.

Downtown Allentown was further changed by the construction of the PPL Center, home to a minor league hockey team and an Arena football team – not to mention lots of special events. New restaurants and hotels have followed as well as residential apartment construction.

I’m glad to see it. I like Allentown a lot and the city has been good to me as far as my art career. That’s another area undergoing growth – Third Thursday art evenings and plenty of events at the museum, the school, and other art venues in town.

Anyway, driving in, we noticed a building coming down to clear a site for new construction along Hamilton Street.

Once we were finished with our errand we walked a few blocks to take a closer look. I can’t resist watching a building in its demolition process. Here are some pictures.

Here’s part of the building still standing – Hamilton Street facade.

From the side looking toward Hamilton.

Side view. Now it gets interesting. Look at that staircase ghost – think how high the ceilings were in this building.

The handrail is still in place. Somehow that touched my heart. I was thinking of how many hands had slid along the metal in all the years of the building’s life.

My husband directed my attention to the back of the building. The former bathrooms, to be specific. There they are, stacked on above the other.

Now that’s interesting to think about, isn’t it? All this time these rooms were one above the other, completely separated and never to be seen in comparison with each other.

Now I really felt for the building. Bathrooms, well, they are private spaces and now, here they are, front and center.

I don’t know what’s going on this site – it’s being cleared all the way back to the next block. I’ll keep my eye on it.

On the way out of town, we passed West Park, where I have done so many years of Art in the Park. Looks very different from the scene in June, when we are there.

January, 2018.


June, 2017.

A nice trip and I’m looking forward to the next time we are there.


Getting the Hurt Leg Fixed, Epilogue

To remind you, this story started on Christmas, 2016, when my husband fell down the stairs and completely severed his left quadriceps tendon. This serious injury cannot heal by itself and required surgery, done on January 6, 2017. He went home in a brace, unable to bend his leg for weeks or even touch it to the floor. He required assistance with every detail of living, and so I was fully occupied for months. Remember this scene from Chapter One – in the hospital awaiting surgery?


January 6, 2017.

You can read the previous post in the Hurt Leg series, which will lead you to the earlier ones – but I’m writing a tiny update here. Really, the story will never be finished; an injury like this one leaves behind complications and changes that do heal, but physically and mentally, a scar remains.

But this is the Epilogue, so let me get on with epilogue-ing. We decided to revisit the hospital on Christmas Day 2017, walking in under our own power, to eat lunch in the hospital cafeteria. One year earlier, we did the same before we left for home to start the long healing journey. I particularly remember this occasion as a near meltdown for me as I tried to push my husband in a wheelchair while carrying two plates with grilled cheese sandwiches on them.

A cafeteria employee helped us out last year, getting us to a table. This year we did it on our own. We chose grilled cheese sandwiches again to commemorate the earlier meal.

This section of the cafeteria where we chose to sit is new – I guess they reclaimed space from another section of the building, because it was not here last year. We amused ourselves by watching cars coming into the garage outside the window – see that yellow bar at the entrance? You’d be surprised how many cars barely fit under it, or, in one case, have to back out, confusing a line of cars behind it.

But they all cooperated and got it worked out in the end.

Let me tell you, it was a great feeling to be leaving the hospital in good health and needing no repairs. I’m glad we made this little trip – it seemed fitting to mark the anniversary of what for us was a life-changing event.

Christmas evening we attended a party at the home of our friends and neighbors, John and David. We helped set up the luminaries along the driveway for them earlier in the afternoon. How nice to be able to accomplish that task with knees that work well!

We are thankful for everyone who helped us in the last year and for all our good friends. Here is to 2018, here is to our own lights shining, and here is to being illuminated by the lights of the others in our lives.

In Which We Visit Norris City Cemetery

On Sunday, September 10, my husband and I ran/walked at Norristown Farm Park. In our continuing exploration of the park and its environs, after we finished we drove over to the Norris City Cemetery, adjacent to the park.

I’ll mention that it is so adjacent that in an earlier run, I got lost (as I do so often and so easily and with so little ability to stop myself) and did a loop through the cemetery while I got myself back on track.

I’ll also say that once I run a route, I don’t get lost again. I did like the detour through this peaceful spot and I’ll do it again, on purpose.

All right, back to the topic. The cemetery is located on a hill next to an East Norriton township park. The township now owns the cemetery and maintains it (beautifully, I might add). We parked at the back of the cemetery next to the bocce courts and went in the rear entrance.

The cemetery was founded about 160 years ago. It was non-sectarian and seems to have been most used during the period 1880’s to about 1920.  It’s not filled up and I gather you could still be buried here, if you wanted.

(For all information on the history of the site I refer you to the cemetery’s really thorough website, which is where I got my information, Norris City Cemetery . There are also some great then-and-now photos of the cemetery. Thank you to the creators of this site.)

It’s a simple, open site. It flows down a hill, with plenty of room between the rows. We wandered down the hill.

There are not a lot of elaborate monuments here; this was the biggest one we saw.

Most of the monuments are marble or granite. As I’ve seen in other cemeteries, time has not been kind to the marble ones in particular. This stone was representative. To figure out the inscription you might be better with a rubbing rather than trying to decipher it.

But there is plenty to see, all the same. I’ll show you a few things that caught our eyes.

We noticed a bluish monument and took a closer look. I thought it might have been painted. But no; when I tapped it, it rang metal.

We didn’t know what to make of it at the time. We could tell it was hollow. Did that mean it was a container as well as a marker? My husband did some research when we got home and we learned that this monument was an example of a white bronze marker. (All information I mention on this subject is from A Grave Interest, “White Bronze – A Monument of Quality” – take a look, it’s fascinating.)

Long and short of it, the monument is hollow, does not contain anything, and is actually zinc. These markers were manufactured for only a short time around the turn of the last century and were a cheaper alternative to stone markers. Each one was custom made and therefore quite personal. Here is more of the Steiner monument:

Once we knew what to look for, we saw some more. This one:

This one, with a detail of the kind of information you could have included on your monument – the plates you chose were screwed into the structure:

And this one, which is big and elaborate:

All of these markers were in great shape. Apparently the manufacturer claimed these monuments would stand the test of time better than stone. From what I saw here, I would agree.


We saw some examples of cemetery symbolism: Lilies, for the resurrection of the soul:

And what looked like a dollar sign with too many vertical lines. (A dollar sign? A dollar sign? I thought.) Later research revealed it to be the IHS monogram (first three letters in Jesus’ name, in Greek.)

I’m glad this was cleared up, but not before I had some thoughts on “you can’t take it with you but maybe I’ll try…” I’m sorry, those thoughts just came into my mind and I couldn’t help it.

I had this thought about the life of Emma Louse Supplee – she lived one-half of her life on one side of 1900 and the other half on the other side. I liked that symmetry. I will need to live until 2042 to achieve the same.

We made our way down the hill. As we did, we noticed something I really liked: the view of the cornfield along one side of the cemetery. It’s part of the Farm Park.

We also saw remnants of stone piled along a section of the perimeter, in the brush. We knew that the cemetery had been derelict before the township took it over about 30 years ago. We figured these were broken/destroyed stones of various purposes and beyond saving. I say this because it is obvious that a lot of care was taken to rehabilitate all that could be, given the present look of the site.

Everything is transient, it says to me.

Here is a view from the bottom of the hill, near the front entrance of the cemetery.

I am glad we stopped and took the time to look around. There is a nice feeling to this location. The township park next door, with all the people and activity of today. The fields with their yearly cycle of growth and death and rebirth. The sky and the trees. The little American flags set on veterans’ graves. The care that today’s living are still taking for those gone long ago and to whom they have no connection other than living in the same city, decades and centuries apart.

Being remembered. It’s nice to think about.


If You Live Across the Street from the High School You Are Never Bored

We live across the street from our high school. Great place to be. I have the girls’ lacrosse/field hockey and softball fields right there and I attend a lot of games, despite not knowing much about any of them.

We can also watch the marching band practice, walk on the track, go to swim meets…art fairs…and it goes on and on.

The latest event, to mark the start of school, was a festival of food trucks held in front of the school, yesterday afternoon and evening. Food trucks are a common sight in the city – lots and lots of people eat lunch from one every work day, and you can get about anything. Nowadays they go around to festivals and the like, as well.

From our house, here was the view:

We walked over and paid our (minimal) admission fee. There was food, food, music, food, food, silent auction, picnicking, food, kids running around, food, people waiting in line for food, food…

It’s fun to live in a place like the one where I live!

the insubstantial

It is what holds the pieces of your life together.

Getting the Hurt Leg Fixed, Chapter 10

On June 7, we visited the surgeon. It was time for a checkup on my husband’s left knee.

To remind you, this story started on Christmas, 2016, when he fell down the stairs and completely severed his left quadriceps tendon. This serious injury cannot heal by itself and required surgery, done on January 6, 2017. He went home in a brace, unable to bend his leg for weeks or even touch it to the floor. He required assistance with every detail of living, and so I was fully occupied for months. Remember this scene from Chapter One – in the hospital awaiting surgery?


January 6, 2017.


As he healed, things got easier – first he could touch his foot to the floor, put weight on it, bend his leg in the brace, walk without crutches, and finally say goodbye to the brace itself. He has faithfully attended physical therapy and regained full flexibility in the knee.

Other changes have come about. This experience forced us to think about how we manage daily life, and some changes were made. For one thing, my husband moved his office to a suburban location for a variety of reasons, one being that it made his schedule easier for PT, but also added to our quality of life by making work more accessible and convenient. He also was able to work from home during his recovery and found that it could be done with good results. These changes are permanent and I like the new schedule – we have more time together. That means a lot to me.

We also were reminded how much we value being able to run, to hike, to take walks, to exercise. The recovery process for his knee will take about a year. Though it has healed now, it is weakened, as is the right leg, and it will take another six months or so for that strength to come back, as much as it will. Still, my husband last week ran about 100 yards on the track at the high school – a milestone. We do not know the final outcome, but we do know that with this doctor visit, we are ending one phase and beginning the next one.

But I’ve gotten ahead of the story. The doctor was pleased with the knee’s status. He said, “I could torture you with asking for another visit in three months, but I don’t think you need it.” We were very happy to agree and left the medical office building for the last time. I had a bit of superstitious worry about making such a statement, but I have decided to be firm with the fates and let them know we’ll do our part if they will do theirs!

So, take a look, as we wave goodbye. And end the story of the hurt leg here, with our characters driving off in the car toward home.

Doctor's office 6-7-17 small

in the back room,

Listen. The ATC oracle is speaking.



in the back room

in the back room,

nothing is allowed

The oracle speaks. Was it speaking to you?

nothing is allowed

nothing is allowed

because I believed you


because I believed you

 I present these oracle-like artist trading cards for your review and possible edification! You remember such items from the past, maybe – here they are again.

I make these cards and then I give them a phrase cut from printed matter, chosen at random but maybe not. See if you get any kind of push or insight or set off on any train of thought from looking and reading these, even if it’s just to say, “Whaaat?!”

Carwash Sign

This carwash is located next to the Pennypack Trail’s parking lot at Welsh and Terwood Roads. It’s closed today since they work on the weekends. The business does hand washing and detailing for cars. On a normal day you would see cars in various stages of being cleaned and lots of employees at work.


Usually the sign out by the road says something like “A clean car is a happy car”. Right now, though, this is what it says.


I could go on, but I don’t need to. The sign tells us the narrative the people at this business want us to know and to follow.

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