The More the Murray-er

If you’ve got a mind to do a little shopping at Target this weekend, or even if you don’t, head on down to the Target parking lot at Front and Snyder and drop a donation please into the buckets held by members of the mighty Murray Comic Club.  Murray will be holding its annual fundraiser for Easter Seals this Saturday, April 23rd, between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Club members will be in the area of the Target lot collecting whatever you can contribute.  Murray has been doing this for years, along with sending care packages to the U.S. servicemen and women overseas in a separate outreach effort.  Murray President Rich Porco organizes his Mummers to give to the community throughout the year. 

Murray Comic Club members are truly there when needed.  That is especially why I am humbled and grateful to have recently been made an honorary member of the Murray Comic Club.  Of course, Murray being a 1st Prize Winning Club on New Year’s Day matters, too!   Murray has made winning both a habit and an art form.  My congratulations to Captain Dennis Pellegrino and to all in Murray, especially to the 1st prize winners and those singled out by the club for their contributions. That means you, Rusty.  And that is particularly so when it comes to Jessica Porco.  She not only makes Murray go, I think she also makes the entire parade go. A Hall of Famer is Jessica.  When it comes to Mummery, it is The More the Murray-er!

Night of the Wenches

Lift those feet and pump those fingers for Two Street!  Congratulations to the newest inductees into the Wench Brigade Association Hall of Fame.  The Association, led by President Charles “Chalie” McKenna gathered in South Philadelphia for the annual celebration of the heart and soul  of Mummery.  The Pirates welcomed Vince Deissroth into the Hall.  Riverfront Mummers celebrated the life of the late Bud Rodebaugh, who strutted in 53 parades.  Joseph “UNC” Fitzgerald rises to the Hall from Cara Liom.  O’Malley celebrates Mike Hoffman.  William “Clyde” Mort is elevated from Joey Howlett, Jr., Saints.  Clyde is Mr. Umbrella.  Bryson New Year’s Brigade marks the entrance into the Hall of Michael “Gootch” Bryson.  Newest  member of the Association, Oregon, ushered Vince “Bim” Paley.  Bim at one time or the other has been involved in every division of the Mummers parade.  Best to all the inductees and their families and all who wear the dress of New Year’s Day.


The other night in South Jersey, 400 people gathered at the American Legion Post in Brooklawn, New Jersey and dreamed of Jeanne.  Shortly before Jeanne Koppen passed away 7 months ago, she asked that if folks were to do anything, that they get together to help her favorite Mummers club, Avalon String Band.  Jeanne watched the parade every year, kept meticulous notes on the performances and would  judge who she thought was best.  She had a soft spot for a couple of bands, but the softest was for Avalon and Handsome Jack.  Avalon Captain Jack Hee, Jr., and Jeanne’s son, Brian, had known each other when they were kids, and Jack and his band were there when the Koppen family had needed them for two special events, a wedding and Jeanne’s funeral.  So, Jeanne’s sister, Donna, and others got to work, planning a celebration.  The tickets sold out almost immediately.  They could easily have issued twice as many.  The family, Jeanne’s siblings, her children and in-laws, all worked the event this weekend at the American Legion Post:  Donna and Bobby,  Brian (seen with Jack in the photo to the left), Jennifer,  Maureen, Doug,  Sandy, and Paul.  Jeanne’s husband, Albert, prepared most of the food.  The retired postal worker made a career of “delivering” and he sure did as chef and main host.  (Albert is in the photo below, standing in the back row on the left.)  He and I stood in the vestibule of the Post, looking at a picture of his wife strutting with Jack Hee.  Albert misses Jeanne more than words can say.  He talked her love of Mummery, and about her life.  Mummers are family and fans of Mummers are family, too.  Jeanne Koppen shows it’s so.

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