Friends of Marshall Square Park


6th Annual Progressive Dinner

2012, February 4 (Saturday)

Members Only
+ their guests

At the four neighborhood homes of our…


Oscar and Vivian Lasko
4:45 to 5:50 PM • Appetizers

Jackie and Paul Cody
6 to 6:50 PM • Soups or Salads

Sandi & Mark DePhillips
7 to 8:00 PM • Casserole/Main Dish

Joe & Gretchen DelRossi
8:10 to 9:00 PM • Dessert, Coffee

Thanks to all the hosts and guests over the years for making this event possible and successful.

Your support brings our next big project closer every year—reinstalling the long-lost FOUNTAIN at Franklin and Marshall Streets, where it was well into the last mid century!


by Jim Salvas

Narrative by Jim Salvas,
FMSP Secretary

“Standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.
—Bill Murray, from Groundhog Day

Once again, just after Groundhog Day, Friends of Marshall Square Park gather for their midwinter festivity, the Annual Progressive Dinner. With a chilly dusk approaching, we walk down the hill of North Matlack to the first of our four stops, the sprawling and beautiful home of Oscar and Vivian Lasko.

This first door swings open and there’s Oscar to greet us and lead us to the beverages, with Vivian not far behind, passing around the first trays of appetizers. We greet old friends and meet new ones as we all marvel together at how cozy our hosts have made their large home. Oscar, a 91-year resident of West Chester, is relatively new to the home, having built it only four decades ago.

For many of us, this year’s Progressive Dinner is something of a reunion. For the first time, we gave past hosts “first dibs” on our scarce, hot tickets to show our appreciation. As a result, almost all of them are here, sharing tales of the nights they hosted The Progressive. We see John Cigler and Patrick McCoy, who served the dessert course way back in 2007. Bob and Mary Kay McCann took their turn in 2008; and they’re here, too. There are more from each year; but last year’s hosts take the prize—every one of them is here this year (there’s a 2011 Host Group photo in the slideshow at time 2:49).

Too soon, Linda Scott—our longtime mastermind—rings her new bell (traditionally a gong), and we’re off up the hill a little ways to the stately home of Paul and Jackie Cody. Soup’s on!

Warmed by their den’s fireplace and in the great room (and, wow, is it a GREAT room!), everyone mingles. The party kicks into high gear as we are joined by a few late arrivals. A lot of talk, a few glasses of wine and a delicious cup of soup later, it’s time to move on.

As we make our way to the home of Mark and Sandi DePhillips on Penny Lane—many of course singing the old Beatles tune—those in the know thread our way in the dark through the backyard.

The DePhillips have the distinction of being our first repeat hosts, having also served the main course in 2008. More importantly, they are serving up their warm hospitality. Though theirs is the newest house ever on our tour, they make it feel like an old, friendly gathering spot.

This time Miriam Coleman gets in on the bell-ringing and does it in style, signaling it’s time to move on to our last stop, just up the hill to the stone home of Joe and Gretchen DelRossi, where we find welcoming Christmas decorations shining brightly.

Inside, we’re impressed to find that Gretchen has made almost every one of the delicious desserts herself. How is it she and Joe are so trim? (Gretchen told Lane the coconut ones had no gluten—?)

A cup of coffee… A few last chats… A speech by our stalwart President (since 2007), Jeff Beitel.

The 6th Annual Progressive Dinner ends as we climb back up the hill—a few still holding hands in the midwinter chill.

See SLIDESHOW—6th (most-recent) Progressive Dinner