Chris Deery is an original “Phoenixville Guy.” He and his brother Andrew grew up in the town. He joined the Navy to see the world and ironically got stationed in landlocked Oklahoma. He settled in the area, married and divorced — rearing his three boys in Oklahoma.
Xerlin Geiser Deery is a “Tulsa Lady” who grew up in the area along with her five siblings — got married and divorced and reared two daughters.
The two met when Chris started to take classes with Xerlin’s massage therapy facility. Along the way they clicked and became business partners. This mecca business was known as “RE” — for relax — rejuvenate — reconnect — re-make one’s life better. They worked together for approximately 20 years, when their relationship became more than business partners — looking towards sharing all aspect of their lives together.
Working together for so many years their two families had entwined and they all were part of each other’s lives. An interesting thing that I would like to mention — all five of their children signed an agreement giving their consent that Xerlin and Chris could start dating in 2004.
While still living in Oklahoma they would make visits to Phoenixville and Chris’ family. Well, Xerlin fell in love with the town and the area. Both she and Chris wanted to return and live here at some time in the future. But, with a thriving business in Oklahoma and the cost of living difference, their dream was put on hold.
Xerlin and Chris are new friends of mine. But this Deery family was part of my childhood. His father, Mark, grandparents and Uncle David lived on Second Avenue - right around the corner from me. David and I were good friends through our teens.
These Deery family members are real go-getters. Being instilled with the thrust of doing good, helping others and bettering themselves. Chris’ grandfather, Arthur, started by sweeping floors at the Farmers and Mechanic’s Bank. He moved up to being branch manager. Grandmother, Virginia was renounced and tops in her field on nursing. Father, Mark, was the youngest person to ever become a Senior-Vice President at PNB (bank). Uncle David was a noted organist and musician.
In 1928, Harrison Deery purchased a home on Gay Street from Dr. Elmer Gotwals. Since that time five generations have been housed there. When Uncle David died in 2011 – Xerlin and Chris found their opportunity to move to Phoenixville and take up residence in the Gay Street house. Chris’ brother already lived here and is the owner-chef of the Majolica Restaurant on Bridge Street at Gay Street. In 2012 the move from Oklahoma to Phoenixville became a reality. About a year later their energy went into regaining their profession of therapy services.
In Oklahoma, their services covered many aspects. One being their therapy to the entertainment world for such clients as Cirque du Soleil, Paul McCartney to mention just a few.
It seems the entire family has a vested interest in the culinary world. As I mention Andrew Derry is owner/chef of Majolica. Twin sons — Aaron is a farmer and Jacob is a chef. Chris is personally involved with many food entities throughout the country. Xerlin has a wonderful antique, classic, family cookbook collection. Here is one of her favorite recipes.
GRAMA’S DOUBLE DOWN PEACH COBBLER
8 cups (10-12) fresh ripe peaches — sliced
2 cups granulated white
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter — melted
Pastry — enough for 2 (9”) layers + strips
Preheat oven to 475-degrees
Combine peaches, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in heavy duty pot. Allow to set until sugar is dissolved and syrup forms. Bring peach mixture to a boil over medium heat — reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender (10 minutes or so). Remove from heat and stir in melted butter. Set aside keeping warm.
Lightly butter 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish. Roll out dough to fit into bottom. Spoon half of the peach mixture evenly. Cover with second layer of rolled out dough. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and spoon remaining peach mixture on top. Roll out remaining dough and cut into strips about 1-inch thick. Arrange strips in a loose lattice weave over the peach mixture. Sprinkle lighted with granulated sugar. Return to oven and bake for additional 15 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Let me hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.”