Sezna (left) and Ingersoll hold Sisters’ Readings throughout the state. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliHope and Healing

Sisters Gail Sezna and Wendy Ingersoll wrote books to help them get through trying times. Now they hope those works will help others heal.

Sisters Gail Sezna and Wendy Ingersoll have endured a series of very challenging events. Sezna lost two of her three children to separate tragedies about 10 years ago. Ingersoll was forced to deal with alcoholism in her family. They both went through divorce at the same time after lengthy marriages.

In the aftermath, they each were moved to publish books to help them deal with their loss and grief. Their works weave stories of recovery that they hope will help others who have had similar experiences.

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Ingersoll, a musician and piano teacher who had previously published a chapbook of poetry, put together a full-length book of poems titled “Grace Only Follows.” Sezna, a registered nurse, wrote a short memoir called “My Boys: A Mother’s Story After Multiple Losses.”

Ingersoll and Sezna, who both live in the Wilmington area, won Delaware Press Association awards for their books. They have also done a number of joint “Sisters’ Readings” with another scheduled for next month.

“The arch of our stories is something bad happens, we work our way through it through various processes and we come out with a positive outlook,” Ingersoll says. “I think both stories are about recovery. About moving forward.”

Sezna started writing after her 15-year-old son Teddy died in a boating accident. A little more than a year later, her oldest son, Deeg, was killed during the World Trade Center attack.

“I was on a mission to tell a story,” Sezna says. “I have this terrible fear that your kids are going to be forgotten. I wrote down every single detail so I don’t forget and the world wouldn’t forget. It became how to survive all of that. I really wanted it to be a resource for other people who experienced something like that.”

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The sisters will hold a joint reading in October at Second Saturday in Lantana Square. In the meantime, Ingersoll expects to start work on another book—something not quite as heavy as the last.

“I’m hoping that my next book will be happier,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t want to write about divorce anymore.”  —Drew Ostroski

Page 2: Recycling the Laundry? | UD students are famous for it–but not in the way you might think.


The UD team on hand at the EPA Expo included (from left) Jennifer McCord, Jenna Shaw, Huantian Cao, Heather Starner, Jo Kallal, Rita Chang, and Grace Manalo. Photograph Courtesy of University of DelawareRecycling the Laundry?

UD students are famous for it—but not in the way you might think.

When is a blue dress green? When it’s environmentally friendly. Eco-fashion involves the use of fair labor practices, sustainable textiles and repurposed materials. What if the garment itself could be repurposed?

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That design theory won University of Delaware students a $10,000 grant in the first phase of the Environmental Protection Agency’s national P3 competition. The contest challenges college students to design products that improve the environment and human life. And what’s life without fashion?

It began in the fall of 2008 as a class assignment from Dr. Huantian Cao, associate professor in UD’s fashion and apparel studies program. Rita Chang, Heather Starner, Jennifer McCord, Jenna Shaw and Grace Manalo turned the P3 contest into an eco-friendly Project Runway challenge. The result? A dress that, through zippers and snaps, transforms into skirts, shirts and capes.

“Our goal was to create one garment for multiple purposes,” McCord said. “It’s called design for adaptability, and it reduces waste, consumption and the use of natural resources.”

The students displayed their creations—one blue, one yellow—at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., in April. What did the women wear to the event?

“UD sweatshirts,” McCord says. “We wanted to look like a team, even though the sweatshirts are gray and frumpy.”

Maybe the women will redesign them. —Melissa Jacobs

Page 3: Media Watch


Media Watch

The question of whether Comcast will kill live leased access programming in New Castle County may soon be answered. Many in the black community want to keep live public programming because it is a primary means of communication. So the Leased Access Producers Association hired attorney Tommie Little, who says, “Live leased access is the last footprint in Delaware for free exercise of free speech. Once you start taping, free speech is gone.” In October, Wilmington City Council will consider a renewal of Comcast’s franchise agreement with the city. Will live leased access live on? Stay tuned. —Drew Ostroski

Page 4: An Eventful Endeavor | Barry Schlecker aims to become the life behind the parties.


Schlecker is organizing the Brandywine Festival of the Arts, which will be held in Brandywine Park in Wilmington this month. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliAn Eventful Endeavor

Barry Schlecker aims to become the life behind the parties.

Since 1970, Barry Schlecker has been known as Mr. Network. “I’ve always been a natural networker,” says Schlecker, who pioneered business-lead groups in the area and has owned two successful personnel firms. Now Schlecker, 70, wants to become known as Mr. Events. And he’s well on his way.

Schlecker founded the Newark Film Festival, scheduled for September 23-30 at Cinema Center 3 in the Newark Shopping Center. This year, he’s adding the Brandywine Festival of the Arts, which will be held in Brandywine Park in Wilmington September 11-12.

The Wilmington festival was inspired by the 2009 demise of the 50-year-old Brandywine Arts Festival. Schlecker, a longtime supporter of the arts, saw an opportunity. “The timing was perfect,” says Schlecker, who sold his company, The Network Group, earlier this year, although he remains as a consultant. “I realized the festival would be a full-time job if I wanted to do it right.”

Schlecker garnered input from Wilmington artists Olga Ganoudis and Larry Anderson and former arts festival organizer John Schoonover. Now juried, the show this year will feature a manageable 250 vendors—not 400—and Schlecker is updating the food and beverage options to include local businesses.

In Newark, the other show must also go on. The film festival, now in its sixth year, will feature 25 to 28 films over eight days. October 1-3, the DAM (Delaware Art Museum) Best of the Fest will highlight the top films at the art museum in Wilmington.

“My goal is to get these two festivals done this year, do them well and look at a spring event,” Schlecker says. “I’d love to do something on the Riverfront using the riverwalk as a base. This is like a whole new business, a whole new life.”

But if you need a plumber, a job or an introduction, you can still give Schlecker a call. —Pam George

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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