Weighing in a hefty 12 pounds at birth Darren Fenice's right shoulder was damaged by forceps during delivery. Erb's palsy resulted from the injury that stunted his arm and significantly impairs his range of motion. In school, he lashed out at the kids who were tormenting him him and was once expelled. When he grew up he began to practice martial arts as a means of self-defense, focusing on American Kenpo. A back injury sustained in competition has now sidelined him. Based on his experience being picked on growing up, he remains a strong advocate against any form of bullying. He is currently pursuing a career in science education and he pursues another of his passions - cooking dishes from his Austro-Italian heritage. Watch video interview here.
Driving down Henry Avenue from Norristown, Carlos from Colombia saw the horses of the Saul Agricultural School grouped together near the pasture fence. He stopped to admire them as had I. He also thought of inquiring if they might be available for rent. He showed me a photo and video of his Paso Fino, a breed of horse known for its natural lateral gait Sadly, the horse died two months ago at age 16. A longtime horse lover, he doesn't know why more people don't ride. Watch video here.
"You bring a plant or garden-related item and you get an item that you like" explains Diane Olesik who has been coming to the Northwest (Philadelphia) Gardeners Association plant swap for several years. After attendees get a paper ticket for each plant they've brought and stage their plants at the designated tables - annuals, sun perennials, shade perennials etc - they hover by the plants they want to take home. Then they spring into some elbowy action when the countdown teaches "...zero- Go!" Cathedral Village, Roxborough, Philadelphia, Pa. Watch video here
Every Friday night and Sunday afternoon Bingo happens at the Sallmen’s Social Center and Bingo Hall in New Castle, Pa. All proceeds go toward organizations like the American cancer society or an individual or family in need says Marylou Diaz who operates the hall. On a recent night players were after a $450 jackpot and many were playing multiple cards to increase their chances of winning. Watch video here.
Janet Maines has been playing Bingo ever since her grandmother introduced her to the game when she was only 5 and now she travels all around to play. “In 1998, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, I won $20,000.” At the Sallmen’s, Maines exhibited a talent for carrying on a conversation while playing nine Bingo boards at a time. When a number is called her eyes scan in a zigzag pattern through the boards as her hand is poised, dauber ready, to stamp every appearance of the called number. Watch video here.
At a residence in Mount Airy shoppers busily browsed and made purchases from the 500 plus plant collection at the much advertised "Divide and Conquer" plant sale on a beautiful Saturday. James Watts of Germantown holds and Ostrich fern. Molly Mamorian of New York looks over her sister's shoulder. Watch video here.
Julia Weekes loves to sing with a musical instrument and to bash out non-ukulele sounding songs like hard core rock on the ukulele she got from a jazz bass player friend of a friend who was giving out ukuleles to all his loved ones. She immediately fell in love with the instrument, which felt, to her from the outset like she was playing a heart that had been plucked out from the chest. At a Bar Mitzvah luncheon, your correspondent imposed on her to sing some impromptu Radiohead and more as if she were playing along with her uke. Your correspondent would like to video her singing these songs with her uke. Watch video here.
Claire Chappelle had passed by the Handcraft Workshop in Germantown for a year before she ventured in and took a pillowcase-making class. So enthusiastic was she about the experience that in the days leading up to Christmas she was coming in to sew dozens of pillow cases for gifts to friends to family. On the Friday eve before Christmas Chappelle, attended an Open Sew and was putting the finishing touches on some pillowcases while proprietress Heather Hutchinson Harris was cutting fabric and giving instructions to a gentleman working on pajamas. Harris says the pajama making classes are popular with students who take the introductory pillowcase class and then want to move on to a more challenging projects that require working with a pattern. Harris sewed up a career as a teacher and geriatric social worker before launching her shop. Husband Andre Harris, an IT professional, was on hand at the Open Sew helping out.