Monthly Archives: April 2012

Yard Sales

One of the many nice things about living in a small, walkable community are the yard sales. This past Saturday was the day when many Lansdale residents presented their unwanted wares for display on their front yards with the hope that someone else would want to give them money for things that typically appear on the television series “Hoarders”. More important than selling your stuff– which when you divide the three or four hours spent getting the stuff ready and then sitting outside waiting for buyers on a beautiful Saturday morning, the hourly wage ends up being less than $2.00/hour– is the reacquainting process that takes place with your neighbors. The grass is growing, the leaves are on the trees, grills are being ignited which all means that neighbors are once again outside, but for the shy types, simply going up to a neighbor that one hasn’t spoke to all winter may seem a bit forward. For that reason there are the yard sales– an excuse to meander and say hello and catch up on what happened since the Christmas Tree lighting. And of course, there is also the prospect of finding hidden treasure at these yard sales, which I vow doesn’t exist. Kids clothes, glass vases, DVD’s, are the usual fare. But every now and then something interesting comes along like old leather luggage (for that transatlantic voyage) or a Spanish style throne chair that would look great at the head of the table. Or bumping into a neighbor who has a new baby girl whom you haven’t seen yet. These are the reasons for yard sales– not to mention the few dollars to put in your pocket.

“What’s in a name?…”

As anyone who travels into Lansdale knows, our Borough was named for Phillip Lansdale Fox. He was the chief surveyor for the North Penn Railroad Company. Logically, Lansdale should have been named Jenkintown after the Jenkins family that donated the land for the train station, but there was already a Jenkintown further south.  I can understand naming a town for someone’s last name, and to a lesser extent, I can understand naming a town for someone’s first name, but naming a town for someone’s middle name seems a bit odd. If I may allow myself a bit of creative license, I would like to imagine a few folks sitting around a table at the local tavern trying to figure out what to name this new outpost north of Philadelphia. Knowing that a drink or two helps prime the creative pump, I would also like to think that Mr. Fox lost a bet– or won a bet– and that his middle name was chosen. Quirky but not impossible. “Lansdale? Not a bad ring to it,” I can hear them laughing.

With a little extra time on my hands, I googled “List of American Places Named After People”, and I found two other towns named after peoples’ middle names, Adams Station, California named after Mary Adams Peacock and Birchville, California named after L. Birch Adsit (In this case, I think that Birch was the best choice, L-ville? Adsit? I can imagine the Abbott and Costello response to the question, “Where do you live?” “That’s it?” “No, Adsit!” “That’s it?”).

In addition to the list named above was another list of “Places Formerly Named After People”. A few of the places included Crumville, California which was later named Ridgecrest (very Stepford Wives sounding), Spoonsville, California is now Edgemont and Yanks, California is now Meyers– less goofy and more respectable names. A slightly different, but nonetheless interesting example of a name change was Halfway, Oregon which became Half.com in 1999 in order to attract investment from Half.com which was later bought out by Ebay. And in 2005, the town of Clark, Texas morphed into DISH in exchange for free DISH Network’s free satellite service for its 55 homes.

For the reader who may be lost here, this past Monday, Lansdale had North Star Branding Consultants present the results of their surveys and research on how people– residents, non-residents, competing towns, businesses–view Lansdale. The results were genuine and honest. In fact, it felt a little like a family intervention.

Taking the branding process a step further (all in jest, of course!), I would like to ask this question: If you could rename Lansdale and give it a fresh start, what would you rename it? I like Shazam! exactly as it is written in italics with an exclamation point. “Where do you live?” “Shazam!” Delivered with heartfelt conviction just like Billy Batson in the Saturday afternoon seventies show. And there are no other Shazams in the United States. Or in order to bring investment, which big corporation would you most like to see come into town? Krispy Kreme, Pennsylvania in exchange for donuts? Berkshire-Hathaway for stock options? The possibilities are endless.

“… That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Easter in Lansdale

Little did I realize until a few years ago that the Borough has seventeen churches. This morning I visited them all to see how Lansdale worships on Easter. It started at six o’clock before sunrise with a visit to 145 Green Street for a gathering of the surrounding area Korean churches, which account for just about half of the churches in Lansdale. Here they are: the First Generation Korean Church on North Broad Street, Line Street Zion Presbyterian Korean Church, Calvary Korean Church on the corner of Richardson Street and Derstine Avenue, Kyung Hyang Church on the corner of Main Street and Towamencin Avenue, the Ha Ma Eum Faith Presbyterian Church on Elm Drive, the Philadelphia Smyrna Catholic Korean Church on West Mount Vernon Street and pictured here the Korean Mission Presbyterian Church on Green Street.

My next stop was Saint Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church for seven o’clock mass. At the side entrance, I couldn’t help but take a photo of Felix Molletierre and his wife, Stella. Felix also happened to give me my first and last haircut.

Leaving mass at Saint Stans, I went to the other end and other side of Main Street to Trinity Lutheran Church, which is probably one of the most recognizable buildings in town with an interior just as attractive.

Backtracking east on Main Street to an overlooked gem in Lansdale is Montco Bible Fellowship Church with their wonderful choir and Pastor Tony Hart. Here are Pastor Hart, two congregants and me.

Heading north on Broad Street, I stopped in at the Lansdale Methodist Church where I was christened 42 years ago. The two girls in the photo, accompanied by their grandparents, were also christened there a few years later.

Meandering through town killing time before the next mass, I saw a sandwich board outside the North Penn Valley Boys and Girls Club for the Renew Community which is a congregation based out of Lansdale, but without a permanent home– for the time being. Their pastor– pictured here– is J.R. Briggs, Lansdale resident, friend and active member in the community.

Another long established church is Saint John’s located right in the heart of town in a beautiful stone building with gorgeous stained glass windows and ornamental woodwork inside. Pictured here is Bill Miller, a clarinetist with the church chamber ensemble.

Next stop: Church of the Messiah Episcopalian Church on the corner of Broad Street and Fourth Street. This time with my daughter, Anna, in tow we were warmly greeted by Reverend Ditterline. When I asked if we could take a photo, he replied with, “Give me seven minutes and the photo will look much better with my vestments on.” A man after my own heart.

I cheated with my next stop because I didn’t wait for Easter services, but I just went over to Seventh and Broad Streets to Lansdale’s First Baptist Church on the chance that I would find someone for a photo. And of course, I found a chorister and her son arriving early for rehearsal.

Making our way home, we stopped in at Grace Mennonite Church located at Mitchell Avenue and York Avenue. Again, we were warmly greeted by  a few congregants but with a three year old at her third church of the morning, patience was wearing thin and a brief photo was all that was allowed.

Finally, only a block away from our home at the corner of Cannon and York Avenues is Lansdale Mennonite Church led by neighbor, Larry Bergey.

There you have seventeen options for Christian worship in Lansdale. And after all that worship, what would Easter be without bright colored eggs with chocolate inside hidden in the backyard?