A thousand little legs locomote along the slender hands of an Academy of Natural Sciences educator. Her painted fingernails are brown and shiny just like the six-inch-long and pinky-wide African chocolate millipede snaking around her fingers. She has seen even larger ones crawling up mango trees in Puerto Rico. She trades off the millipede for two black darkling beetles, a striped and a stripeless, native to arid regions of the southwest United States. These grew up at the Academy, she explains, as she fondly strokes their backs. Watch video here.
Driving my daughter from Chestnut Hill to her job in Roxborough Saturday morning, we passed a man making his way on foot down the steep and treacherously narrow, icy shoulder of Bells Mill Road. When I again passed him on my return trip twenty minutes later, now on his ascent from Forbidden Drive, I had to offer him a lift. Robert Mongeluzzi’s car tire had been flattened by a pothole the day before and, after spending the night in Chestnut Hill, he was hoping to somehow connect with a bus and make it to his home in Merion Station. He offered to top off my gas tank as thanks but I settled for the story of his work as a trial attorney representing victims and families of the Market Street Salvation Army building collapse and other, similarly notorious and catastrophic incidents.
The dogs being served by Queenies Pets service ("Treating Your Pets Like Royalty") love romping around the Wissahickon Park (offleash) and swimming in the creek, reports Tim Abrams whom I encountered dropping off home a neighbor’s dog and ushering two others into his car after their outing. Abrams has a full schedule and just yesterday had five compatible dogs on an outing at one time. In addition to excursions in the park, Abrams manages doggie play dates in clients’ back yards.
In Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, where many sidewalks become buckled or broken because of large tree roots , Bill Hackett of Husky Masonry, Perkiomenville, PA sawcuts a seam in old sidewalk blocks that he is preparing to replace with "3/4 inch two bit" concrete aggregate. This modern blend is preferable to mixtures with round stones or cinders used in earlier times because they tended to break up more easily. To give the newly laid concrete an aged look so it blends in with the older adjoining sidewalk blocks, he sprinkles powdered dirt, which he has taken the extra measure of sifting more finely, onto the newly poured concrete. The biggest challenge of the work, Hackett jokes, is not getting hit by cars.
Jim Leonard combats the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis with the assist of an advanced mobility vehicle. No glorified “seat with wheels” Leonard’s device can zip through a mall at 6 miles per hour, recline him horizontally to relieve pressure or elevate him so he can reach the microwave in his kitchen or stir a pot. While waiting to be seated for breakfast at Mainely Meat in Bar Harbor, Maine, Leonard stopped short of demonstrating the 360 degree wheelies he can do with his sophisticated chair. Watch video here.
Yertle's almost eight and a half. She's a green winged macaw. She's been with us since she's been 3 months old. And she is able to say, "I love you", "banana", "How are you?", "Take me out", "Help me!" WHAT DOES SHE UNDERSTAND? Everything. She does not like her harness. She puts up a fight to get in her harness but we have to because she'll fly away. So she fights until we get it on and then she's happy to come out. Right, Yertle? DOES SHE GET A CHANCE TO FLY EVER? Oh, she flies around the room in the house. She's pretty good at it. Normally most people keep the wings clipped. We let her fly in the room because it's good exercise for them. And she gives good kisses. C'mon, give me a kiss. WHERE IS SHE NATIVE TO? Florida. You can't bring birds in from Costa Rica or any other place anymore. SHE WAS BORN AND BRED IN FLORIDA? Yes, she came up as a kind of a blob to a bird store in New Jersey and when we saw her she was three months old. Her feet weren't strong enough to hold on to a perch yet so she slept laying down on the bottom of the cage. She was so cute sleeping on the bottom of the cage, that's why Sari (Sari's her real owner) fell in love with her. Say hello to the nice man. Yurtle: "Hello." Well that was a good start. She also says "Hi" And when the phone rings she says, "Hello! Hello!" In Mount Airy, Ruth Hoxsie with Yertle Ann Yentele, a green winged macaw, who earned the name "Yentele" because she'll repeat anything she hears. Watch video here.
Prudential, Fox and Roach realtor Pam Thistle shows houses to prospective buyers Dabravka and Moritz Ritter who are attracted to the Hill's Avenue, shops, trains and not "too suburban" feel.
YOU’RE LOOKING FOR HOUSES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Moritz Ritter: We live in center city and we are looking for 3, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, quiet street…
Dabravka Ritter:..close to the transportation.
Pam Thistle: … because they have no car, nice walkable location
AND WHY ARE YOU LOOKING IN OUR NICE NEIGHBORHOOD?
MR: Oh, we like it up here! We’re looking for something that doesn’t have too suburban a feel [laughter]DR: Germantown Avenue’s a plus, the shops and the trains
HAVE YOU SEEN ANYTHING TODAY THAT YOU LIKE?
MR: Yes some things we’ll think about.PT: Just starting out, getting a feel for the neighborhood. DR: First trip.
Dabravaka and Moritz Ritter with Prudential, Fox and Roach realtor Pam Thistle.
I'VE SEEN YOU GENTLEMEN WALKING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR MANY YEARS. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT'S YOUR ROUTINE?
JM: My name is John Manola.
WT: And I am William Talero. I met John forty years ago when I was teaching at the School for the Blind in Jersey City. He was a chaplain of a group of blind people who used to be foster grandparents to some of the blind youngsters. And then I met him again nine years ago when I went to a concert in Philadelphia. And we joined forces and we moved here to Chestnut Hill. And we try to walk as much as we can and live a healthy life.
ARE YOU VISUALLY IMPAIRED?
WT: I am totally blind. I lost my vision. I used to have partial vision but eight years ago I became totally blind because glaucoma took the last bit of sight that I had. So living with John has been very beneficial to me because he's and honest person and he happens to like to walk and I always enjoy walking. Before I was totally blind I used to walk all over- the Wissahickon and I did a little bit of the Appalachian Trail...You don't believe it but this gentleman next month is going to be ninety-three.
JM: I'm 92 now; I'll be 93 in December, yes.
I NOTICE YOU WEAR SHADES, ALSO.
JM: Yes, my eyes are sensitive to light, there's nothing wrong with my eyesight.
WT: He has very good sight
YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT USING YOUR OTHER SENSES.
WT: Well you know there is a great opportunity to use your other senses when you walk down on the avenue because the bakeries, the dry cleaning, the flower shop, and of course the sounds are certainly very much in evidence. I remember many years ago when they used to have the trolley. And it was always a kind of nice, quaint sound that you always related to Philadelphia. I kind of miss that 23 trolley, you know?
WHAT ABOUT THE COFFEE AND THE GARLIC?Yes, the coffee and all the garlic and all the wonderful smells of the various restaurants, not as many as there used to be.
WHAT RESTUARANTS DO YOU RECOGNIZE BY SMELL?
I definitely know when I’m getting close to the Japanese restaurant and the Chinese-French place, Cin-Cin, and on this side, of course, the Hotel. We like to go to Rollers. It’s very friendly and we always have a good meal there.
John Manola (left) and William Talero, along Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill.
“My name is Anice Austin and I am a culinary arts student at Montgomery County Community college. I am going door to door to ask for a donation to help me pay for my tuition. I am trying to be a chef in Philadelphia and surrounding areas as best as I can. I have thirty-three credits toward my goal. I need thirty more. Here’s a letter from the KEYS Program validating that I am enrolled in the college. Here is my roster for the classes that are needed in this program. I am encouraged with culinary because I feel that during the recession period it’s hard for people to get by. So I figured if I pick a major that’s recession proof- food- it’s hard for people not to eat and survive.” AND HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH THE COLLECTIONS? “I’m doing pretty good. I’ve gotten so far a third of the way there. I have also tried the scholarship programs but being as I enrolled so late, I missed the deadline.” WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO COOK? “I like to cook everything. My favorite is Caribbean foods. So I’m good with the curried chickens and the oriental meals. I really like everything- baking, cooking, pastry chef. Those things cover a lot of territory. So for me, that’s my baby.” Anice Austin of Germantown, going door-to-door in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. Watch video here.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN FRANCE? “In France, the people, I think have been too spoiled because before Mitterand, the retirement was at 65. But to be voted for, [they] reduced it to 60 years old. And that was when- 1982?...Of course with all this booming of the new generation, there is not enough money to pay for social security and retirement for everybody so we have to extend again, from 60 to 62. The problem comes from that- only the two years. And I think the French are really spoiled. Students of 15 from the school, who don’t even care so much just do that manifestation. And Sarkozy said, ‘That’s enough, I’m going to pass the law anyway.’ ” Marie Collette of Glenside, a native of Champagne, Reims, walking her dog Maya in Chestnut Hill, where she has had a shop for many years showcasing her painted furniture and murals. Watch video here.