Looking at the activity calendar on the right sidebar of this journal, one will see the last post made here was on the 2nd of September, a little over three weeks prior to this one. Shame on me for being so neglectful.
“What were you up to?” you might be asking; although, probably not. Most likely you didn’t even notice, or care one way or the other. That’s OK. I was enjoying myself.
In case someone did, however, I was busy writing my fourth novel, an illustrated tome about a place that’s close to my heart and apartment: Sarobia, or presently known as Neshaminy State Park, roughly four miles northeast from where I live.
The lead-in photo to today’s tirade is a sketch of the entry into the former notorious estate. I’m assuming it was drawn by Richard Blossom Farley, an early-twentieth-century American Impressionist painter, sculptor, poet, architect, builder, and classically trained artist who lived there, along with other bohemians, stray dogs and alley cats who inhabited the experimental commune and art colony.
The following is a present-day photo of that same entrance sans gatehouse, Farley’s tower, and gateposts topped with black-iron cats; now a one-lane road, coming in and out of the state park for authorized vehicles only:
The shame of it all is everything from the compound’s florescence has been stolen or demolished, leaving only remnants of its past, like the formal garden’s wall adorned with a cracked Humpty Dumpty, sitting atop of its main portal; a couple of sundial pedestals with store-bought masonry indices without gnomons, or shadow-casters—the originals were ripped off by hoodlums—and the old pump house which supplied water to the estate, now a storage facility for the park.
Often wondering what the place looked liked back in its heyday, I was fortunate to have met Jack Maher (JM), who grew up adjacently to Sarobia on the grounds of the Riverfront Estate, owned by a Major Frank Ehlenfeldt, where JM’s father was the caretaker.
Jack had become friends with Sarobia’s caretaker’s son, Henry, both of whom had free access to the two properties; and JM had many anecdotes to tell presently about life on the mysterious, experimental commune and art colony.
Most significantly, the vast, personal collection of 35 mm slides owned by Robert Logan, the master of Sarobia, was in the possession of my new-found contact, who shared the grandeur of the old estate by graciously giving me the privilege of scanning and reproducing the images from them, to include the photos in my latest novel entitled, Sarobia: Sanctuary for Human Beings, Birds and Animals.
Along with the boatload of illustrations is the factual history behind the infamous commune and art colony, which had been been depicted by the locals as being a haven of heathens, nudists, cat-worshipers and insanity.
Jack introduced himself to me by e-mail after finding my postings about Sarobia on the search engines. We corresponded back and forth during the interim before I took a road trip on the 6th of this month to meet him and his wife personally at their home in Northern Virginia, near Fredericksburg. It was then he gave me all the magnificently explicit slides.
It took me the remainder of the time from early September until now to go through the nearly 1,000 slides and transpose the best into digital photographs, write, edit, proofread and publish my latest novel, which is what I’ve been up to for the past three weeks. I plan now on getting back to business as usual, sharing photographs of my daily exploits, and cutting up on Social Media.
Making my musical covers had suffered as well during this period, for which I’m really sure nobody noticed; but I’m back, so be forewarned.
By the way, If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of my newest novel, please feel free to click here for more information about how to pick it up.
Thanks in advance.