In May of 1990 while working for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I spent some time with the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great who founded St. Basil Academy in 1931. The sisters also established Manor College in 1947. What I photographed in the times I spent at the school was the sisters at morning prayers and then followed them through their teaching day at St. Basil. I also was able to photograph some of the retired sisters as they worked on the farm, gardened, cleaned furniture and did some crafts.
The sisters were very open about their lives on the campus and pretty much allowed me to make images showing whatever I felt was necessary to tell their story . You see, their numbers had diminished from about 50 strong in the early days to 35 when I visited them.
(Recently, I wrote about Spring Village at Floral Vale for the Bucks County Courier Times Best of Bucks 2017. Since I have been there many times over the past few years on photo assignments, I decided to write from my first hand experience of the facility. A few pictures are included.)
Elizabeth Marion (L) shares a moment with her daughter Marguerite Marnien of Levittown, Pennsylvania during a Mother’s Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)
As a photojournalist, I get to see and photograph a lot of different things. When I see an assignment for any kind of event at Spring Village at Floral Vale, I get very excited. This is a great place. The staff is extraordinary with all of their residents. Every time I photograph an event here, everyone is always happy, from staff to residents this place is top notch.
As their website explains, “There is a place where the best care along with a home-like and quaint environment come together to provide memory care at its best. One visit to Spring Village at Floral Vale and you will understand why our community is the number one choice of families seeking secured memory care.”
They provide individualized care and the entire community is the resident’s home. The residents here are not confined to an area or locked behind closed doors.
The family atmosphere is also amazing.
That starts with leadership.
Spring Village at Floral Vale for the last eight years has been under the leadership of their Senior Executive Director, Deb Bodnar. Her experience in senior care, insight and insistence that this community be ever-ready to change with the needs of their residents, is the driving force of the community goals. Deb and her department head team understand the responsibility that is part of the privilege and honor given to them as a family chooses Spring Village at Floral Vale.
Participants enjoy each other’s company during a Mother’s Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)
A while back I had the privilege of photographing a Mother’s Day brunch outside on a beautiful spring day. The families arrived first and were seated under an enormous tent. What I witnessed and photographed next was amazing. It was a parade of residents escorted by the staff out to the tent to meet with their loved ones. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces, or witnessed so many hugs and kisses in my 30 year career as a photojournalist.
And the hugs and kisses weren’t just for the family, but staff as well. The staff and residents at Spring Village at Floral seem to have a bond that is equal to family. The care and comfort I see there amazes me. It was an experience that actually brought a tear to my eyes as I was making pictures.
“Spring Village at Floral Vale has a commitment to actively recruit and retain staff with “Serving Hearts”. This is the key to good memory care. Anyone can give care, a “Serving Heart caregiver stands out. They are proud of their work. Each and every day they know they have made a difference for our residents.
We never stop our search for Serving Hearts.
“The disease of Dementia/Alzheimer”s is a reality in our world. We don’t apologize for it but rather work instead toward having each of our residents validated, affirmed and understood. It’s a challenging job but our staff at Spring Village regularly receive hands-on training in safety, care and progressive communication techniques that set us apart.”
Visit them and you’ll see why we they are the best of the best!
I spent most of the month of May photographing, interviewing and videotaping citizen scholars.
Here is the video put together with the graphics. Which were merged together with the raw footage perfectly by Eric Arbore and the video team at the Intelligencer and Courier Times. Thanks to Eric and the rest of the team there. Fantastic job!!
Back in 2001, on this date as a matter of fact, I had the coolest assignment to photograph Jan and Stan Berenstain, creators of the “Berenstain Bears” childrens’ books.
I was even able to have stuffed versions of Sister Bear, Pappa Bear, Momma Bear, and Brother Bear in the image for fun.
What was supposed to be a 30 minute shoot turned into a 3 hour gab fest. We got to chatting and I mentioned that I had actually studied illustration and painting at University of the Arts, and it turned out that they had gone to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art with my old high school art instructor, Ed Smith. If not for Ed Smith, i may not have been accepted to the school. He wrote me a hell of a recommendation when I applied and also helped me receive a partial scholarship. They told me old stories about their days with Smitty at college and what the school, which eventually became Philadelphia College of Art and inevitably The University of the Arts of today. What a day. What glorious people. Sadly, the Berenstains have both passed on, but their son continues the family business.
As for Smitty. Well, he’s still around. Probably making someone laugh, listening to the Grateful Dead and sketching.
I believe this image is from some time in the mid 90’s. I was assigned to shoot an Iamy, or David Iams society assignment. The event was at the home of #Chef George #Perrier (2nd from left). It featured some of the greatest chefs in Philadelphia history cooking on the grill. The one I most remember though, is Chef Tell (left), born Friedman Paul Erhardt who owned Chef Tell’s Manor House in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. It was a place that my wife and I frequented often and got to know Chef pretty well. He was a wonderful, jovial fellow always looking to put a smile on your face as well as feed your tummy. I recall one assignment where he was teaching a grilling class at his restaurant. He was showing the folks how to grill steaks. While I was photographing him, after one demonstration he handed me a fork full of steak and wanted me to taste it. As politely as I could, I declined because I don’t eat red meat. He snickered, then put his massive hand upon my shoulder, and squeezing the back of my neck said, “You’ve got ball my friend. No one tells me no.” Uh, oh!! I thought. Scared to death because he was a big imposing fellow. Then he busted out laughing. Received that he didn’t kill me, so did I. He never let me forget that night. Teased me whenever I stopped by.
I have to tell you. I always had the best doing experiences at his place and wish he was still around today. What a nice dude. To this day, I miss that guy.
That said, I can’t recall who the other chefs are in the photo. #cheftell #erhardt #perrier #dining #masterchef #genious #cook #dine #philadelphia #restauranteur #legend #manorhouse #greatfoodgreatcompany #easterbrunch #grill #barbeque
Going through my archives recently, I found some old negatives from one of my first Philadelphia Inquirer assignments. It was August 11, 1987, and I was assigned to make your typical grip and grin photo of Jennifer Hai-Ying Tsou as she accepted a sponsorship from the Jenkintown Rotary Club which enabled her to spend a year in China studying music. I recall making images of her address to the rotary, but not really digging the images. Since she was studying music in China, I felt the need to actually show that in a photograph. Luckily, after the luncheon, she agreed to allow me to make some images of her at the piano of her parents home in Jenkintown. These days Jen Su is an accomplished TV and Radio Presenter as well as Corporate Master of Ceremonies and and Actress/Singer. In the days of film, we had to type a caption for every frame we made, because many times we had a lab person, most likely the late, great, Gervase Rozanski, processing our film and then printing the images. The caption sheet was zeroxed to the back of the print and then the correct caption was circled with marker. If was a much, much different process back in 1987. According to the assignment sheet I made exposed 5 rolls of film for the assignment and got to work with one of my favorite writers from back in the day, John Ellis. I also got to meet a very nice young woman who has gone on to accomplish great things. One of the reasons I got into photojournalism was because of the cool people and things I get to meet and do. Beats being stuck in a studio working on an illustration night after night and being isolated from everyone.
In what other career would Bono of U2 promise to have a pint with you when you visit Ireland?
Long before Teen Mom hit MTV screens, way back in 1989, while working for the Philadelphia Inquirer I spent a few days at William Tennent High School in Warminster, Pennsylvania making pictures of a program geared to keep Teen Moms in school. The school, and mostly, Centennial School District, set up a day care program so young women that had children while in high school could keep on attending school and get their diploma. It was pretty simple. The girls would drop of their child before classes started, then go to school. They could come back to visit the children any time during the day. Then would pick them up after school and in some cases, actually do their homework in the day care while waiting for the bus ride home.
Here are some of the images from the package I did in 1989. Images were shot with Tri-X film and probably pushed to 1600 ISO in most interiors with Nikon F3’s as camera of choice.
A teen mom does her homework while her daughter has a snack.
Teen mom and her daughter leave for school as her mother says good bye.
Teen mom and her daughter play during lunch break.
A group of teen moms share a laugh in the lunch room.
During lunch, a teen mom sets her daughters hair.
A young boy and girl play in the day care area of the high school.
Diaper changing time for a young child of a teen mom.
Teen mom drops off her daughter at day care at the school.
Lunch time in day care.
While her daughter is in day care, a teen mom chats in class with a friend.
A teen mom pours milk into her daughters cereal before leaving for school.
A child kisses her teen mom goodbye after being dropped off for day care.
Five years ago, after the avid runner broke her big toe, Paige Shumskas was signed up for cycling lessons by her father at the Velodrome in Allentown. Her plan was to use cycling as a way to stay in shape until she could get back to running. Then she found she had fallen in love with cycling. She joined a junior development road team that summer. This season she has competed in 50 races.
Come September 11th, Paige will be competing in the women’s pro race Bucks County Classic as the junior development rider of the Fearless Femme pro cycling team. Yes. Pro.
Paige competed in the Bucks County Classic last year, but she said it was at the end of her season, and that she was tired and didn’t fare was well as she would have liked. She then added, “This season I’m more prepared cause I’m racing for a professional team.” She is their junior development rider. She explained that “I mainly work as their domestique” where her basic role is to clog the front of the pack and set the pace for her teammates so they can pull ahead and be in position to win the race. “I do whatever I can to help my teammates win.” said Shumskas.
Paige likes Criterium racing. She is excited about the Doylestown race. “This is like my hometown race. Everyone is going to be there. So I’m really excited for that.” She said last years was different because it wasn’t a pro race. This year the women’s pro race features some of the best women racers in the country.
The season starts between March or May to September. When asked how she manages doing schoolwork during the season, she smiled and said, “I am really good with time management.” Last year she had 3AP classes all with honors. Her instructors will give her work ahead of time so she can manage racing and school work.
The farthest she has traveled for a race was California to compete in Junior Nationals. In that race, someone in front of her purposely took her out of the race, causing her to crash.
She eventually hopes to race internationally in the pro women’s circuit.
She loves Billy Joel, Elton John and Boston.
Today Paige is only doing an hour workout. She’s taking it easy today since she suffered a crash this past weekend when a racer in front of her did something she should’t have and caused a crash from which Paige need 7 stitches. She was happy to report that nothing happened to her bike in the crash and that other then the stitches, she only suffered minor scrapes.
I met Paige at her 14 acre family home in Pipersville. That is the area where she generally trains for races. How can you not? It is beautiful scenery to ride through.
As Paige rides up the road, one doe crosses the road, then another. Further up the road another doe crosses the road following her mother. A car comes closer to Paige. She cautiously waves the vehicle around her. Once past she gets back to work. The Fearless Femme steadily pedals up the scenic hilly road on her way to the next race.
Paige doesn’t want summer to end, saying, “I want to keep racing! It’s so fun!”
If you are walking the streets of Doylestown on September 11th, that nice breeze you feel will not be from the wind. The cause will be from hundreds of cyclists speeding past as they circle around the criterium during the Bucks County Classic.
Held in conjunction with the Doylestown Arts Festival, it is billed as The Biggest Weekend in Bucks County.
Considering that this year’s race will take place on September 11th, Race Director John Eustice said they will have, “At the minimum, a moment of silence,” in remembrance of those from the area that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
This year’s Bucks County Classic, sponsored by The Thompson Organization, will feature six races.
Kicking off the day of racing at 8:30 a.m. is the Cyclosportif, which features either a 31 mile or 60 mile scenic course through Bucks County.
At 9:30 a.m. the Amateur Men’s Race, which is returning for 2016, features cycling stars of the future competing on the same course as the pros.
Children’s races will have youngsters wheeling to the finish line at 10:30 a.m.
High wheel bicycles will be used in the Lenape Scorcher at 11:30 a.m. The race lasts 40 minutes and is limited to only 20 cyclists.
The Doylestown Pro Women’s Race is up after that at 11:45 a.m.
The final race of the day will be the Thompson Criterium of Doylestown Pro Men at 1 p.m.
This race, which was founded in 2003, is part of the US Pro Cycling Tour and features teams riding on the 62 mile course through Doylestown. Total prizes for each Pro mens and Pro womens race is $12,000.
The course itself is designed around the Doylestown Arts Festival, which is taking place September 10 and 11.
Racers will start at the old Bucks County Courthouse, head north on East Court Street and then make a right onto Pine Street, then E. Oakland, Main Street, Ashland, Lafayette, W. Oakland, Clinton and back to Court Street. They will do this for 62 miles until the winner passes the Thompson VIP tent to a checkered flag. Pro men will make 45 laps around the course and pro women about 22 laps, according to Eustice, and 150 pro men, 25 to 30 pro women and about 60 amateurs will compete in the races this year.
The race itself originally started when the Souderton Grand Prix, which took place on a Saturday, left riders with an open Sunday. He convinced the Arts Festival people to give him a corner of town to have the first race. Three years later, Eustice came up with the idea to, “circle the Arts Festival.”
Some of the best places to watch the high speed cycling race is Clinton and Court, Clinton and Mary, Court and Harvey, Court and Pine, Pine and State and Oakland and Pine.
Awards ceremonies are scheduled for Amateur Men 10:40 a.m., Pro Women 12:50 p.m, and Pro Men 3:20 p.m. This time will vary based upon the race finishes.
Streets will be closed on the race course from 8:30 am until 3:30 p.m. If you attend the event, free parking is available in the County Parking Garage, the VIP Lot and Fanny Chapman Park. Shuttles will be available from the garage and Fanny Chapman Park.
When asked what the best aspect of having the race in Doylestown is, Eustice smiled and said, “The people of Doylestown.” He explained that anything he needs to make this race happen, any issue that arises, the community has been there for him in any way they can to help him put on a fabulous race every year.
In the past 14 years since they started that race, it has become “One of the biggest special events in Bucks County,” said Eustice.
Actress Eve Plumb, best known for her role as Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch, poses for a photograph at the Bucks County Playhouse Monday June 10, 1991 in New Hope, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
A group of plungers run into the 32 degree Delaware River during the eighth annual Eastern Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Saturday January 30, 2016 at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain)
A group of plungers exit the 32 degree Delaware River during the eighth annual Eastern Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Saturday January 30, 2016 at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain)
Judy Misoyianis of Vincenttown, New Jersey and Dennis Hart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania dressed as Baby Boomers exit the 32 degree Delaware River during the eighth annual Eastern Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Saturday January 30, 2016 at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain)
From left, Amber Kenney, Karli Krug and Adam Bockius exit the 32 degree Delaware River during the eighth annual Eastern Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Saturday January 30, 2016 at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain)
600 souls braved 32 degree water temperatures to plunge into the Delaware River and raise money for Special Olympics on Saturday at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem.
They helped raise $120,000 during Pennsylvania Special Olympics’ Eighth Annual Eastern Polar Bear Plunge.
For $50 per person, a person could take a dip in the freezing river for a good cause.
Participants waded and splashed their way out into the water and around a banana rescue boat while high-fiving officers as they exited the frigid water.
Members of trevose fire company wore white wedding gowns into the water.
Hot chocolate and coffee was served by duke donuts, a sponsor of the event.
On Sunday I spent part of the morning shoveling and trying to dig myself out from Winter Storm Jonas. Then in the afternoon, I went to make pictures and video of people in the Bucks County area also digging out. Here are some images and the video report.
Tara Grunde-McLaughlin (right) of Newtown, Pennsylvania shovels snow rom the sidewalk while cleaning up after Winter Storm Jonas Sunday January 24, 2016 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
Jonathan Grunde-McLaughlin (left), 8 of Newtown, Pennsylvania throws snow at his brother Andrew Grunde-McLaughlin, 10, also of Newtown, Pennsylvania a day after Winter Storm Jonas Sunday January 24, 2016 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
Stacey Bancroft of Newtown, Pennsylvania shovels snow from the her porch while cleaning up after Winter Storm Jonas Sunday January 24, 2016 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
Jill McDade (left) and Michelle Cunningham, both of Newtown, Pennsylvania walk along State Street as the region cleans up after Winter Storm Jonas Sunday January 24, 2016 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
A vehicle remains snow covered as the region cleans up after Winter Storm Jonas Sunday January 24, 2016 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia had been discussing the merger of several parishes in the Philadelphia area over the last few months. The announcement was to be made last Saturday night to parish members of the affected churches.
On Saturday night I was assigned to photograph what potentially might have been one of the last masses celebrated at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
I arrived early, to make sure I had time to speak with the church pastor and secure permission to snake pictures during the service as well as the announcement of the merger.
The padre agreed, although I did receive a bit of resistance from some parishioners that has said they didn’t believe the pastor would like anyone making photographs. They seemed surpassed when i told them I had secured permission, and all was good.
It seemed as though people knew what was coming when Father Tom Morris read the announcement from the Archdiocese. There were plenty of tears beforehand as well as during. It was a difficult assignment to photograph, because I could feel their pain. Below are some of the images as well as the video I made during the announcement from Father Morris.
The Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce held a State of the State Breakfast yesterday. I was looking for something a bit different and came up with this.
DOYLESTOWN, PA – APRIL 24: State Rep. Bernie O'Neill is silhouetted as he answers a question during the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce State of the State breakfast at the Water Wheel April 24, 2014 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)