Readers Respond to Our Divorce Issue

Plus, some thoughts on our April issue.


Divorce Guide: Should You Keep the House?

I’m divorced and happily remarried. But it is sound advice to sell the house, or you will wallow in the memories and make it harder to move on with your life. 

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I’m also a realtor, so you’d figure that would be my stance. But it’s out of experience—not selfishness—that I recommend selling. I’ve sold many homes of divorcing couples, and I’ll say this: Make sure both of you are ready to sell. Do not use the opportunity to get back at your spouse by taking advantage of living conditions, pricing/negotiation reality, repair requirements, and/or showing availability. By using the sale of your home as a weapon against your spouse/partner, you could be sabotaging the value of your home and the ability to get the best price. Realtors are not there to judge either party—only to facilitate a quick sale for the best possible price. 

We can’t do it alone. We need the cooperation of both parties. Be unified with your ex-spouse in your home sale, or you could be hurting yourself.

Chuck Barbera

20 Main Liners Who Give Back

Bill Smith is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. He truly loves the animals and wants the very best for them. A wonderful man and a wonderful rescue organization!

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Mary Lou Fahy Buckingham


She Cares

About 10 years ago, a new friend who lived near Radnor Hunt asked me if I wanted to take the dogs to a land preserve called Okehocking. I hadn’t been out that way since I was a kid riding horses, and I figured it would be full of housing developments. 

Astoundingly, Okehocking was full of beautiful, open land as far as the eye could see. How has this been preserved this way? The answer is Bonnie Van Alen and the Willistown Conservation Trust (“MLT Cares,” April 2016). 

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I’ve been so grateful to them for their efforts. This will be a blessing to everyone. You all deserve a standing ovation.

Pam Coath

Lest We Forget

Thank you for remembering a shattering day in this community, and doing so with clarity, dignity and, above all, poignancy (“Scattered Debris,” April 2016).

My daughter, Rachel Shapp, was at recess in the playground of Merion Elementary School when the warnings to run. As Rachel scampered up a chain-link fence, workmen at one of those houses—unknown saviors—came with ladders to help get the children, as well as a pregnant woman and her small child, to safety. Within moments, Rachel and a few other kids were quickly escorted by a Baird Road resident to her home. 

As this fully preventable disaster was unfolding, I was in the basement of our home close to Merion Elementary. I left my car on Baird Road and raced around the corner to the playing field where the kids had lined up just like they did for a fire drill. A chain-link fence blocked access to the kids in the field and separated them from a growing number of anxious parents. Workers rebuilding the South Bowman Avenue railroad bridge arrived with commercial wire cutters, making fast work of a few sections of the fence, allowing us to gain access to the playground.

I quickly found Rachel. She was always a petite thing. Her Romanian-immigrant mother always called her “Pitzi,” a Romanian word for “small.” At this moment, she was pale and trembling.

We all had to cross over South Bowman Avenue to avoid coming too close to the scene. “What is that?” the kids asked as we moved past the mangled, temporary graves that lay crumpled in a small rise of ground. Today, I still shudder to think, “What if the angle of descent hadn’t led to such a violent and compacting crash landing? What if the plane had skidded into the school building in the area of the gym?”

When Rachel and her class arrived in their homeroom, we sat in silence … until it occurred to me (a professional concert and opera singer) that we all should sing some of our favorite songs to pass the time. And so, the children and I sang. Attendance was carefully taken. And then we heard the voice of principal Marvin Gold—a tower of strength and consolation—read a few names. Only later did it dawn on me that he was calling names of the missing.

My frantic wife had gotten a very garbled message at her work. She drove home from North Philadelphia with a huge lump in her heart and gut. The memory of Rachel’s reunion with Luminitza still brings tears to my eyes.

From my perspective, all of the praise given to the loving and dedicated staff of Merion Elementary School was fully due. The stupidity of four so called flight professionals led to this disaster. Did they expect that an aircraft, which requires a balance of air pressure on the wings to stay aloft, wasn’t going to be adversely affected by the violent down-rush of air from a craft that stays aloft by sucking huge amounts of air downward?

Thank you, Main Line Today, for your moving piece of journalism.

Richard Shapp

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!