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Families flocked to the Jay Heritage Center for bales of fun on September 24. There they were greeted by a very tall and welcoming woman and treated to banjo music, a dance performance, and a fencing demonstration. Youngsters paused awhile at the petting zoo, watched paper artistry, and learned about the glories of the garden.

And in between face painting and pot decorating and sampling the fine fare offered at food trucks, many were just content to sit on the steps of the Jay Mansion and enjoy the view of the meadow and beyond on the first Sunday of fall.

Photos by Julieane Webb

GOOD TALKS

On Tap for Library Discussion Series

Last year, the Rye Free Reading Room and Allen Clark launched a series of literary discussions open to the public, led by Dr. Mark Schenker Sr., Associate Dean at Yale College and Dean of Academic Affairs. Dr. Schenker has been invited back for two talks this fall.

On Sunday, October 22, Schenker will lead a discussion about Tim O’Neil’s much-recognized “The Things They Carried.” The book is a series of interrelated, semi-autobiographical stories based on O’Brien’s service in Vietnam. Because of its relevance to the Ken Burns’ new PBS documentary, the book has been reissued and is available at Arcade and in the library.

In his 1990 New York Times review, D. J. R. Bruckner said, “Characters snatch stories from one another's mouths and tell them in a different way, with different incidents. A character may take part of a story away from a narrator and refashion it. A first-person commentator who intervenes to critique or correct a story just told, and who can easily be mistaken for Mr. O'Brien, may turn out to be a character in a later story. The stories themselves eventually seem to be engaged in a dialogue about invention.”

Four weeks later, on Sunday, November 19, Schenker will shift to Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

Both sessions will be held in the library’s meeting room starting at 4:30. Refreshments and cheeses will be served afterwards.

A voluntary donation to the Rye Free Reading Room of $10 or $15 (depending on total attendance) is requested. To reserve a seat, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

When the Bird Homestead nonprofit, which operates the Rye Meeting
House, embarked on an investigation inside the historic building to
determine the colors of paint layers over time, the board of trustees
never expected to find any artistic images. “It is a special, but
diminutive building. We thought we would find a series of solid
colors,” said Anne Stillman, president and CEO.  

Instead, while carefully scraping off the existing ivory-colored paint, Walter
Sedovic Architects found a stenciled image of a fleur-de-lis. That
was just the beginning.

The nonprofit hired Evergreene Architectural Arts to investigate
further. A conservator revealed one surprise after another. The
maroon fleur-de-lis on a brick-colored background did not appear in a
single line of stenciling, as would have been more common, but covered
almost an entire plaster wall of the chancel in a pattern alternating
with a star. A representative section has been uncovered. Above this
area, which resembles wallpaper, the conservator found a border of
green stylized trees with golden fruit. These small orbs retain tiny
traces of real gold leaf.

A row of almost abstract circular images in paler colors borders the
stained glass window. Formerly an Episcopal chapel, the building was affiliated with Rye’s Christ’s Church for about 90 years. In 1959, the Religious Society of
Friends purchased it for use as a meeting house. It is now
a secular site operated for historic, environmental, and educational
purposes.

The building retains an interior cruciform plan with the elevated
chancel as the focal point. “It turns out that the chancel was highly
decorated during the building’s 19th-century life as a chapel,” said
Stillman. “We were astonished and thrilled.”

The newly discovered colors reflect the taste for earth tones of the
Victorian era. Wainscoting exists below the plaster on the three walls
of the chancel. It was made of a less expensive wood and subsequently
painted over. However, in the late 19th-century, it was painted to
imitate the look of oak paneling in a technique called graining or
faux bois. Copying an original untouched sample found under a later
molding, an artist from Evergreene replicated the color and subtle
graining design.

To avoid the risk of covering over any images that may still be
hidden, the organization has decided to defer plaster repair until a
full investigation is completed. The goal remains to reveal as much of the original stenciling as possible and to continue to restore the chancel to its 19th-century appearance. With this exciting discovery, the Bird Homestead nonprofit will need to raise more funds for continued investigation and conservation.

Members of the public are invited to stop by the Meeting House and see
the work-in-progress on Saturday, October 14 between 1 and 4 at an informal open house. Light refreshments will be served.

The reason you’re seeing pink ribbons all over town is that last week SOUL RYEDERS launched its 4th annual TieTheTownPink breast cancer awareness campaign. The local nonprofit invites everyone in the community to serve and support families affected by breast cancer and join in the fight against the disease by making this month Pinktober in Rye.

Last year, Rye merchants and homeowners in Rye, Rye Brook, and Rye Neck ordered over 750 ribbons and volunteers festooned mailboxes, front doors, benches, and trees.

SOUL RYEDERS is hoping to break that record this month.

Ribbons cost $25. Order yours today at www.soulryeders.org. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOUL RYEDERS is a volunteer-driven charitable organization based in Westchester County, that is committed to empowering those in our community who are affected by cancer.  From diagnosis through treatment, recovery and survivorship, SOUL RYEDERS offers practical resources and nurturing support services that provide dignity, confidence, hope, and compassion.

By Janice Llanes Fabry

MC and Paul McEvoy, founding board members of MAC Angels, will be honored at the nonprofit foundation’s annual gala November 4 at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle. The MAC Angels Foundation supports families with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), an incurable motor neuron disease. Under Paul’s presidency, selfless volunteers continue to alleviate the emotional, physical, and financial challenges faced by patients and their families.

“It’s always nice to be acknowledged for the work that you do. At the same time, we’re humbled,” said Paul on behalf of the couple who have dedicated their lives to affecting positive change through service. “We’ll always continue our support for MAC Angels.”

The McEvoys only learned of ALS in 2001 when Paul’s mother, Beth McEvoy, was diagnosed at age 71. It took time to confirm the diagnoses because there is no blood test for ALS and it can mimic a number of several other neurological diseases. Initially, doctors suspected that she might be slurring her words as a result of possible anesthesia complications after rotator cuff surgery a year earlier. That turned out not to be the case.

“I didn’t know what ALS was all about. My mother had the bulbar form, which tends to affect speech and swallowing before moving on to the limbs,” said Paul upon making the initial discovery. “The fact that she could not communicate was so frustrating and difficult for her and for all of us.”

When MAC Angels’ former Executive Director Richard Mauch requested the McEvoys become involved in the inception of such a foundation, they didn’t hesitate for one moment. 

“We could relate to ALS,” explained MC. “And it was important to us to offer our help in memory of Paul’s mother.”

Paul, who recognized a void, added, “My mother was a saintly woman and we were lucky to have my father, my siblings, and a support network that most people don’t have. It wasn’t a difficult extrapolation to learn these families need counseling, medical resources, financial help, and caretakers.”

In 2010, the Friends of Claire Foundation, named for Claire Gormley Collier for whom the McEvoys helped raise funds, and the Mary Ann Collier Foundation, named for Claire’s philanthropic mother-in-law, joined forces to become MAC Angels.

The McEvoys have been instrumental in defining the foundation’s mission. They’ve also been leading sponsors of all the fundraising that is critical to MAC Angels’ goal of enhancing the quality of life for patients, family members, and care givers impacted daily by ALS.

As MC remarked, “I feel good about being able to help families and about making their day to day lives a little easier, whether it’s having a ramp built for handicap access, providing a lift to a doctor’s appointment, supplying meals and palliative care, giving someone a TV for some entertainment, or gardening alongside a caretaker to give them a break.” 

Indeed, it takes a village to begin to offer the resources and satisfy the needs, or what MAC Angels calls the “survivorship gap,” of ALS families. Chris Curtin, founder and MAC Angels’ first president whom Paul calls “Mother Theresa,” oversees all services. Program Director Ellen DiCicco has been raising awareness and assisting families directly by navigating available resources since the beginning. Social worker Carol Sommerville does all the intakes with new families and provides healthcare advocacy. Executive Director Kelly Corwen, in spite of not having a family connection, handles all the behind the scenes operations and is running this year’s gala with Nora Powell. 

“In the ALS world, everyone is familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge to find a cure, but unfortunately at the moment there’s little prospect,” lamented Paul. “The best thing the MAC Angels could do is ease the burden on the families, as well as the patients.”