Month: May 2013

Our Current Read — June 12, 2013


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

2013 Memorial Day Parade
Photos by Frank Johnson and Bob Smith

Thanks to Frank Johnson and Bob Smith for these photos!

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Trolley Museum and Florence Griswold Museum
— May 16, 2013, Photos by Frank Johnson

Thanks to Frank Johnson for these photos!

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Trolley Museum and Florence Griswold Museum
— May 16, 2013, Photos by Bob Smith

Thanks to Bob Smith for these photos!

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This Club was formed to provide the members a way to learn more about genealogy.

Club Members:

Frank Johnson – Activity Leader
Dave Mordy – Activity Leader
Bill Close
Ed Mulock
Pete Kenyon
David Kniffin
Sandy MacDonald
David Mace
Ed Mulock
Tom Reifenheiser

For more information or questions contact one of the following activity leaders:
Frank Johnson at Tel. 203-323-2475 or email at
Dave Mordy at Tel. 203-966-2276 or email at

Sorry! This event has been cancelled
Summer Barbecue and Jazz Festival — June 23, 2013

JazzGroupThe Annual Summer Barbecue and Jazz Festival will be held on Sunday, June 23rd, from 5pm – 9pm at the Country Club of Darien.

The cash bar will opens at 5pm.

Plan on a lively mix of jazz concert and dancing. The music will be provided by the Joe Holmes Dixieland Band, joined at dinner time by jazz singer Nicole Pasternack.


Dinner will be served outside (weather permitting); there will also be some seating indoors.

Our Menu is

  • Mixed green salad with condiments
  • Cold trilogue pasta salad
  • Hamburgers, cheese burgers
  • Grilled chicken
  • Italian sausage and peppers
  • Grilled vegetable platter
  • Dessert of sliced watermelon, and assorted cookies
  • Coffee, tea, iced tea

Wine will be served with the meal.

You can sign up at any Wednesday DMA meeting prior to the event.

If you have any questions, please contact

Bill Winship at 203-655-3530 / , or

Peter Hallock at 203-202-9349 /

We look forward to seeing you there!

Music Program — June 5, 2013
The Darien Songsters

The Songsters’ performance will mark the end of the 2012/2013 year for the DMA. They are a bunch of stout hearted senior men who enjoy performing a selection of Barbershop Harmony, Broadway, and Spiritual songs.

Concert starts at 11 am.

Speaker — May 29, 2013
Mark Albertson

Mark Albertson, historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine and a member of the United States Naval Institute as well as being a member of the Navy League will return to speak to us about America, Europe and the War of 1812 . It is not merely another rendition of the conflict itself; rather, it delves into the status of the fledgling Republic at the outset of the 19th century.  For this is the beginning of the American Empire, Manifest Destiny.  And the talk explores this theme with such developments as the Louisiana Purchase; the decline of France and Spain as New World colonial powers; the War of 1812 as a backwater to the main event in Europe, the Napoleonic Wars; and, the long-slow thaw in Anglo-American relations that eventually resulted in the two powers becoming allies on April 6, 1917.

Memorial Day Parade — Monday May 27, 2013, 9:30am

We want to have a big turnout of DMA members this year.


Be at the Goodwives Shopping Center by 9:30 AM.

(Remember, no cars are allowed to park there except for those that are in the parade).

The parade route is down the Post Road for 1.25 miles.  We want to have marchers but if you are unable to walk (march) we will have cars for those who need a ride. The parade starts at 10 AM and will be over by 11 AM.

Spend an hour honoring those who served and gave their lives and also have a good time with fellow members of the DMA.

Speaker — May 22, 2013
Greg Van Antwerp

Greg Van Antwerp will talk about his passionate second “career”. For the past 35 years Greg has been digging for historical treasure through every estate, garage and tag sale he could find. He will be sharing some of his discoveries and search techniques with us.

In 2009, Greg began blogging about his discoveries by creating the Confessions of an Urban Archeologist. There he presents hundreds of posts with photos, videos, and stories documenting the “best of” what he has discovered in his journeys. He also writes a weekly column for Patch titled “The Urban Archeologist” that is published in an average of 15 Patch towns each week.  Greg’s professional life has been spent working in community television for over 20 years.

During his treasure hunts Greg is known to travel with his favorite companion/assistant –  his daughter by his side.