Tony Comes Home From Vietnam

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It was 1970.  Tony was coming home from Vietnam.  He had been wounded – something to do with the helicopter he was in – the details were discussed in hushed voices.  They didn’t think the casualties of war and brutal injuries were appropriate for a girl’s ears. That was odd to me.  The war in Vietnam was for real and not over yet. For my… Read More

Growing Downwards

Growing Downwards - Patti Spencer

A great deal of growing, is growing downwards. . . Sooner or later the process of growing smaller starts, and it is painful at first until you get used to it. – Donald Winnicott   We learn from Dendrology and the root structure of woody plants the importance of growing downward. The spread and depth of the root system of a tree are just as big,… Read More

The Jumping Off Place

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My father called the town the “jumping off place.” Mont Alto had been a stop on the railroad where folks got off the train to go to the Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The Sanatorium was at the top of South Mountain. Granny Beulah told me a horse and wagon would meet the train and take the new patients up the mountain. Later, the same horse wagon would… Read More

An Estate Attorney Goes to the Theater

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Big Daddy… What is it that makes him so big? His big heart, his big belly, or his big money?” –  Brick Pollitt, a character in the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” My husband and I saw Tennessee William’s play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Fulton Theatre. Many may ask, what does estate planning have to do with theatre? The theme… Read More

Dendrology at the Forestry School

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Dendrology (Ancient Greek: δένδρον, dendron, “tree”; and Ancient Greek: -λογία, -logia, science of or study of) or xylology (Ancient Greek: ξύλον, ksulon, “wood”) is the science and study of wooded plants (trees, shrubs, and lianas), specifically, their taxonomic classifications. There are three ways to identify trees – the leaves, the bark, and the general shape. So say’s my Daddy’s Dendrology coursebook. Circa 1945. Returning from World… Read More

Money makes the world go ’round. Or does it?

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In Pride and Prejudice, because of the entail on Longbourn and the Bennets being blessed with five daughters and no sons, it’s all about the money. Mr. Bennet has the life tenancy at Longbourn. That gives him lifetime occupancy and an income from rents paid by the farmers. It was not much, but kept him on the right side of the line dividing the gentry… Read More

August 23, 2017 Hershey Trust Company Announces Sale of 4.5 million shares of the Hershey Company

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4.5 million shares sounds like a lot until you realize the trust will still have 60.6 million shares of the Hershey Company.  According to Penn Live 3 million of the shares are being purchased by Morgan Stanley and 1.5 million shares are being bought back by The Hershey Company.  The purchase price for the company buy-back is $106 per share. We don’t know what the price for Morgan Stanley’s purchase is… Read More

The Entail as a Plot Device

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If you’re a fan of PBS’s historical period drama Downton Abbey, then you know what an entailed estate is. The legal title to the country estate, Downton Abbey, is to pass only to “heirs male.” Unfortunately Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and his wife Cora have three daughters and no sons. The oldest daughter Mary is to marry a distant cousin who is the… Read More

Milton Hershey, the Man

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Milton S. Hershey was born on September 13, 1857 to a German-Mennonite family in south-central Pennsylvania. As a young boy, Hershey was a poor student, and after transferring among seven different schools, he dropped out before reaching the fourth grade.  He was apprenticed to a Lancaster County confectioner and launched several candy businesses.  In 1886, he opened the Lancaster Caramel Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which… Read More

Clinton’s Murder

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“Hey Suzy! Somebody killed Clinton Shank!“ exclaimed my father over the phone. “Oh my god.” I was shocked. “Yep. Somebody killed Clinton and it looks like murder.” “Oh my god what happened?” “Well, the state police were just here.” “You mean at our house?” “Yes, they wanted to talk to me.” “Oh my god! Are you a suspect?” “No, I don’t think so. They know… Read More