A TV icon touched down in Paoli this week.
Carol Burnett paid a hush-hush visit to overjoyed folks at Daylesford Crossing senior living Monday, charming one and all.
Nope, she didn’t know a soul there.
In a touching video, the residents serenaded her and begged her to come. And so she did. (More on that later.)
Preferring to fly under the radar, she specifically asked that no TV cameras and no big news outlets be invited to Daylesford.
She was OK with having one community journalist on hand and SAVVY was lucky enough to get the call (!)
A spry 83, Carol shook hands with everyone in the room, then answered questions.
Which, you may recall, is precisely the way she opened The Carole Burnett Show for 11 years. Carol unplugged and unfiltered.
Funny, yes, but warm, gracious and real. No spoiled superstar demands. No condescending attitude. Heck, she hardly wanted her visit (a good deed if there ever was one) publicized. Today’s celebs could learn a lot from this class act.
In our 35-minute close encounter with Carol, here’s what we learned:
- Like everyone, she’s seen heartache but chooses to live life with gusto. Fifteen years ago, her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, died from cancer at age 38. Unfailingly upbeat during her hospital stay, Carrie’s mantra has become Carol’s: “Each day when I wake up, I decide that today I’m going to love my life.”
- Every year Lucille Ball, that other comic redhead, sent Carol flowers on her birthday. Lucy died at age 77 on Carol’s birthday, April 26. Her flowers arrived that afternoon.
- Among her favorite TV sketches: Playing Scarlett in “Went with the Wind” wearing Bob Mackie’s famous curtain-rod dress; Eunice on “The Gong Show”; and Mrs. Wiggins, she of the Farrah Fawcett hair and see-through head. (“The IQ fairy never paid her a visit,” she cracked in Paoli.)
- After all these years, she hasn’t skipped a beat. Audience question: How will you celebrate your birthday later this month? Carol Burnett: I’m going to try to blow out all the candles. Audience question: “What’s on your bucket list?” Carol: “George Clooney.” (Everyone howled.)
Back to the backstory: Seems Carol Burnett is a big inspiration for Sage Senior Living communities – there are four, including Daylesford, with another one on the way at Atwater in Malvern (“Overlook at Echo Lake”).
Sage owner Kelly Andress says her centers have to pass the Carol Burnett sniff test. As in: Would Carol live here? Every decision – the furniture, the design, the programming – flows from there.
Another reason (perhaps) for her girl crush: Kelly’s a redhead, too. But Carol ‘fessed up that she “never has been” one. (Whaaa??????)
Sage is so smitten with Carol that they thought it would be fun if the centers’ activities directors organized a contest to lure her to visit.
Daylesford’s Carol Burnettt fans outdid themselves with a video that charmed Carol completely. Here’s the tail end:
A few weeks ago, Ms. Burnett’s handlers alerted Sage that the star would indeed journey out to the Main Line. (Residents at the runner up, Plush Mills in Wallingford, received backstage passes to her show at the Academy of Music Tuesday night.)
Here’s Carol advice for enjoying the life you’re living:
But there’s a deeper story behind Kelly’s clear affection for Carol. Kelly says Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett blazed a path for strong, working women, a path that led to Kelly’s career: creating upbeat, upscale senior living communities.
Sage communities, and others like them, fill a relatively new but growing need. Aging moms don’t usually move in with their kids anymore, nor do they live down the street for easy check-ins.
Many Daylesford Crossing residents have college degrees, and from the looks of Monday’s gathering, they have a swell old time. We hear their raucous happy hours make the place seem more like a 55+plus community, instead of one loaded with octogenarians.
You know – folks around Carol Burnett’s age.
No, the living legend doesn’t live at Daylesford Crossing.
But she’d feel right at home.
She sure did on Monday.
Bryn Mawr’s Maxwell family lets in the light after son’s suicide
We all know kids talk. They talk – or text – all the time.
But do they have “conversations that matter”?
Spurring honest talk among young adults is now the life’s work of Bryn Mawr mom and former corporate executive, Laurie Burstein-Maxwell.
Perhaps more than anyone, Laurie and her husband, Lee, know that talk is not cheap. That talk can – and does – save lives.
They know that if their son, Dan, deeply depressed for 18 months, had felt he could confide in his pals, he might still be here. The thick black cloud might have brightened, even a little, and he might not have taken his own life, just weeks after his Radnor High graduation in 2013.
The Maxwells believe his friends might have reminded Dan how much he had to live for, told him about the hole he’d leave in their hearts should he go.
For Dan was not your typical troubled kid – if there even is such a thing.
Surely, mental illness couldn’t visit a member of the National Honor Society and a three-sport varsity athlete, a young man who was kind and caring, who had a wide circle of friends.
But he suffered in silence, the stigma of his illness too profound for him to share his demons with his buddies. His parents, of course, knew of his battles. Like Dan himself, they tried everything to get him well.
Three-and-a-half years after their son’s suicide, the Maxwells are forcing the conversation. Their DMAX Foundation (Dan’s nickname) is committed to “Friends Helping Friends.”
With college counseling centers overloaded with students, the Maxwells’ idea seems simple and smart: Start DMAX Clubs on college campuses – caring, student-run communities that encourage open sharing in serious and sometimes silly ways. (Stress-busting Food Smash, anyone?)
A pilot club at Elon tested the mission, systems and programming.
A second DMAX Club is up and running at Penn State. Its leader say Penn State is a place where “it’s easy to to get lost among 35,000 students” and the stress over grades can be overwhelming.
Soon there may be a DMAX clubs at Drexel and, if all goes according to plan, clubs at Temple, at Bryn Mawr and beyond.
To raise money for the clubs, DMAX Foundation holds two events a year: a social fundraiser and a spring awareness event.
Held at Shipley last week, this year’s spring event, “It Takes a Caring Community,” featured a talk by a man who’s certainly walked the walk.
By saying just the right words, Sgt. Kevin Briggs has saved more than 200 people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Known almost as well for its suicides as its beauty, the 80-year old bridge has seen more than 1,400 jumping deaths. A 20-foot-wide metal “suicide barrier” is about to be installed, a multi-year, multi-million dollar project.
Dubbed the Guardian of the Gate, Briggs says would-be jumpers are getting younger and younger. Bullied or perhaps worried about grades, teens can’t see beyond the immediate future and often jump quickly, before a trained negotiator like Briggs has time to talk them down, he says. “We all want to see our kids succeed but if it’s at the cost of their health, we’ve failed,” he tells SAVVY.
Briggs’ own son – a standout soccer player – seriously contemplated suicide at age 13, stressed over grades and his father’s urging that he be “the man of the house” after his parents’ divorce.
Even the Guardian himself has to guard against mental illness. After serious bouts with cancer, heart disease and a head-on motorcycle crash, he fell into a deep depression.
“So I have to take medication, so what? Depression was as real to me as the crash, the cancer and the heart stuff.”
His mission, like the Maxwells’ DMAX Foundation: To de-stigmatize mental illness, to teach the value of active listening, to let those with mental illness know it’s not their fault and they’re not alone.
At the program’s end, Lee Maxwell, a faith-filled man, took the mic:
“Every day that we live, we have to go on and fight back tears … My son was challenged. God challenged him. He didn’t ask for it. We found out he cried himself to sleep many nights. He was not a quitter, he was not a crier, yet he did that … If Dan’s friends said he has a special challenge, just as he was challenged on the lacrosse field…. It’s like in the Bible, Dan was cursed with a demon not in his control. He felt like he was an alien …I know we can make a difference.”
A related note: Drew Bergman, the young St. Joe’s Prep grad who twice attempted suicide and now speaks to high schools for Minding Your Mind – we profiled him last year – will once again host “A Celebration of Life” fundraiser on May 18. Click here to register.
And because mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand, we want to tell you about “Generation Found,” a powerful and instructive movie coming to the Main Line. The film focuses on a community that came together to ignite a “recovery revolution” for addicted youth in their hometown. It will be shown at Rosemont’s New Leaf Club April 23 with panel discussion to follow.
Carson Kressley kibbitzes in Malvern (with video)
The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy/Devon Horse Show star alighted on King Street’s Blue Octagon last week for a little Schmooze ‘N’ Sign.
A bevy of lovely ladies lined up to meet the dashing man behind the book, “Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big: a Cheeky Guide to Feeling Sexier in Your Own Skin & Unleashing Your Personal Style.”
A mouthful, we know, but this smart and sassy book – Carson’s fourth – may be the single most useful women’s style guide we’ve ever read.
(And, as a former fashion editor, yours truly has read her fair share.)
’Course Carson, a Phi Beta Kappa at Gettysburg, has always had plenty cooking between the ears.
In a match made in marketing heaven, he happened upon Blue Octagon owner Krissa Wichser at a home design show. The preppy-chic aesthetic of Krissa’s store mirrored Carson’s classic-with-a-punch style.
An invitation was proffered.
Books were purchased. A date was set.
Unlike Ms. Burnett, Carson didn’t have to fly in. He drove himself to Malvern from his horse farm outside Allentown, where he grew up.
Still, in our book, he’s an honorary Main Liner, having competed in Saddlebreds at Devon and judged the show’s hat contest for eons. Plus, he’s partial to our native dress, i.e. Lauren/Lilly chic.
Among other gigs, Carson’s been a regular on Oprah, GMA, E!’s Oscar coverage, competed on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice, and is due to cameo and maybe help produce the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye (reportedly to be set in red states, not New York City). Heck, he’s even judged the Miss Universe pageant and raises money for LGBT causes like the Trevor Project and True Colors Fund.
Busy dude. But he still hangs at our horse show each spring.
Where he might tell us – in a nice way and only if we ask – if our butts are looking big.
Tin Lizard slithers into Bryn Mawr
The Main Line’s newest (and tiniest) brewpub, Tin Lizard Brewing, is crawling with customers.
So many, in fact, that they ran out of food on opening night and couldn’t open for lunch the next day.
On tap: Five house brews and a cider, all crafted by Conshohocken Brewing expat Chris Young. Oenophiles get four wines from Fero Vineyards out of Lewisburg, PA. (Sorry, no mixed drinks.)
On the menu: Smoked, dry-rub barbecue, burgers, salads and southern-twanged plates. (Like your BBQ wet? Squeeze on one of four house-made BBQ sauces.)
For the record: we lapped up the tasty fried pickles and smoky wings and ribs. (Alas, the house slaw and cornbread are works in progress.)
Hard to believe this homey spot was once Omar’s Hookah Café, a smokin’ hot joint that flamed out after a six-year run.
Owner operators, Mark and Gary Farley, gutted Omar’s and took six months to hatch the Lizard.
Fun fact: A homebuilder, Mark Farley hand crafted the pub’s wooden tables, bench and corrugated tin–wrapped bar.
Even more fun: Seems the whole (holy?) enterprise was divinely inspired.
The pastor of St. Thomas of Villanova Church, Fr. Joseph Narog, is a Farley family friend and craft beer aficionado. It was Fr. Narog who first floated the brewpub idea. Hence, the brewpub’s “Cloths of Heaven” Irish Red Ale and “The Raising of Lazarus” English IPA.
Spiritual it may be, but these days the Lizard’s eyeing more earthly affairs like handling the hordes, opening the rooftop deck, and sharpening the menu.
It’s all hands on deck: Archbishop Carroll kids, Villanova students and the extended Farley clan. Heaven can wait.
Tin Lizard Brewing, 1000 W. Lancaster Ave. Bryn Mawr, 610-525-1100, is open Wed. and Thurs at 4, Fri. and Sat. at 3 and Sunday at noon. (Closed Mon. and Tues.)
Thirsty souls swarm new Locust Lane brewery
Locust Lane Craft Brewery just started pouring cold ones, well off the beaten path in Malvern.
Not a brewpub, the only grub here comes from food trucks and one parks outside only when the taproom’s open – Thursdays through Sundays.
Back up. An hipster haven tucked away in Malvern?
Yes and no.
The opening weekend crowd was a mix of the middle-aged and millennials. The former were friends of the owners, the latter, suds seekers, known to prowl these parts in search of the latest “release.”
The taproom debuted April Fool’s Day, but Locust Lane is no joke.
Owners are three local, beer lovin’ buds: Tom Arnold, Bryan Brockson and Jason Cartwright. Tom, a former home brewer, is the only one who quit his day job to become LL’s brewer. (Actually it was a night job – trading Asian futures, whatever that is.)
The plan: Brew “simply crafted, classic” beers, distribute them to local bars and restaurants, and let folks taste ’em in the taproom.
Small pours, pints, growlers, half kegs for now; sixtels and crowlers down the line.
On tap: IPA, ESB (an Extra/Special/Strong Bitter), Pale Ale, Stout, Brown Ale and Earth Cider. Simple names for simply crafted – four ingredient – beers.
Like most, it’s a taproom with a view – of the shiny new brewery, purchased from Cape May Brewery.
Locust Lane Craft Brewery, 50 Three Tun Rd, Suite 4, Malvern, 484-324-4141 is open Thursdays and Fridays at 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.
Radio Shack: Over and Out
Two local Radio Shack stores – in Ardmore and Paoli – are closing and huge inventory sell-offs are underway. The company is shuttering 200 of its 1,500 stores in the wake of its second bankruptcy filing in two years.
Blues (and a little booze) relocate in Paoli
They’re singing a happy tune over at the Paoli Blues Fest. The popular music/street festival just announced its new home: Paoli Presbyterian Church, less than a mile a away on S. Valley Rd.
After hosting the event in their parking lot for eight straight Octobers, merchants at Paoli Village Shoppes were getting peeved about losing a Saturday’s worth of business each fall.
(We’d be peeved, too, knowing how rough retailing is these days.)
A move to put the fest in Wilson Park gathered steam then tanked. Tredyffrin has a no-booze rule at public parks. The Beer Garden’s a big part of the Fest.
So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to church we go. Ha!
Salsa and a Shoutout
A new kind of salsa is spicing up Xolo Tacos in Bryn Mawr.
Thursday Latin Salsa Nights kick off with a beginner class at 8:30, then move to Salsa, Bachata and Merengue. DJs and live musicians, too. Just ten bucks. Olé Olé Olé.
A SAVVY shoutout to Tate Kienzle and the Conestoga Boys Lacrosse Team. And not for its exploits on the playing field, although we hear they’re worth shouting about, too.
No, it’s their nice little act of community service that has us tipping our hat.
A junior at Stoga, Tate read in the his church bulletin that donations were being sought for “Comforts of Home” packages to be shipped to parishioners’s kids serving in the military overseas.
Ray and Liz Paski, parishioners at St. Norbert, have two sons and a son-in-law deployed overseas: one in Afghantistan, one in Iraq and the third in Greenland. Tate rallied his teammates to the cause and the boys ended up supplying half of the 340 pounds shipped to the brave sons of the Paskis. “Tate’s an amazing young man,” an organizer of the effort, Sharon Lea, tells SAVVY.
Btw, this was the same Stoga crew that set out to right the ship for Stoga’s football team, dragged down by the hazing scandal. Last summer, Tate asked his buddies, none of whom had played much football, to try out for the team. Natural athletes, they all made the cut. Sure, the team went on to have its worst season in decades, but success isn’t just Ws and Ls, right?