Lydia Meyer was eight years old when she and her mom Anna were in a jewelry store in the Willow Grove Mall and robbers stormed the counter. She told me this story as we sat on her living room coach a few months ago. Haven’t been able to get her (or this story) out of my mind.
When a four-story building on Market Street collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift shop recently, we heard stories of bystanders, including an 18-year-old student at Science Leadership Academy, rushing to the rescue of the people trapped inside the building. Hearing their stories made me wonder what I would do in such a situation.
So I decided to ask people what they imagined their first impulse might be if faced with the choice. How would they respond? Many of the people I interviewed were at 30th Street Station, waiting for an outbound train. Here is what I heard.
Photo: Associated Press
Stella is getting ready for her big day. As Joanne Dhody brushes Stella’s teeth, a pink tongue searches for a random smear of beef-flavored toothpaste. Stella is Dhody’s 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, a registered therapy dog. The two have visited St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children every week for the past 9 years.
While doing an interview for public radio in rural Vermont, Susan Randall, formerly of Chestnut Hill, saw a young man run out of an empty school bus and race across a cornfield. She followed. He eventually confessed to a triple murder, “right into my DAT [digital audio tape] recorder,” says Randall, which stunned this young journalist, then in her 20’s.
The event changed the trajectory of her life. Randall, now 44, will talk about her work as a private eye and now a federal public defender investigator, as part of a panel discussion following the screening of the film “The House I Live In” on Friday, April 5, at Enon Baptist Tabernacle Church, in Germantown.
Our interview with Susan made the front page of the Chestnut Hill Local.
Barbara recently interviewed Chestnut Hill resident Lyn Buchheit about her work with refugees at Community College of Philadelphia. As a teacher of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Buchheit forms relationships with students from around the world. Most are refugees who have obtained asylum in the U.S.
Particularly interesting to Barbara was the story of a family in South Philadelphia, a mother and her four children, who spent three years in a refugee camp outside of New Delhi.
Bill Scott was drafted into the Army at age 18, not long after the U.S. entered World War II. In this interview, this Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient recalls landing on Omaha Beach, as part of the D-Day invasion, more than 70 years later.