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by Anita DiGregory

Conquering Spring Fever

With spring break over, and the end of the school year in sight, this time of year can be especially challenging. Final testing, graduation ceremonies, weekend team games, teacher gifts, and other end-of-the-year demands require added energy and motivation; however, the warmer weather and mere exhaustion from the year can lead to the exact opposite. It seems that just about the time allergy season kicks in, so does the dreaded and very overwhelming “spring fever.” Symptoms include uneasiness, sluggishness, lack of motivation, and inability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Worst of all, spring fever seems to be very contagious, spreading from child to child, and child to parent, quite effortlessly. Since the CDC has yet to offer a vaccine for this motivation slayer, here are a few tips that may help you to reach that light at the end of the tunnel, otherwise known as summer.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff 

With all the added demands of the end of the year, things can feel a bit overwhelming, while our energy tanks may be pretty close to empty. Prioritize your to-do list. Try focusing on those events that are the most important, and letting the others slide a bit for now. When you are busy running your kids to different activities and team sports games, while also trying to help them complete end-of-the-year projects and study for finals, now may not be the best time to take on other big projects like remodeling or reorganizing the house.


Set a Schedule 

During these last few weeks, a little planning may prove helpful.  Recording events on a large calendar, and displaying it where everyone in the family can regularly see it, can be a powerful tool for effective time management. Prioritize your schedule to include only those events most necessary to accomplish. Displaying the calendar for all to see helps to instill family teamwork.


Schedule Free Time

It is especially important during stressful times that families take time to just be together and have fun.  Former Director of the National Park Service and Board Co-chair of the U.S. Play Coalition Fran Mainella said, “Families that play together, stay together…so when tougher situations come up, the fact that they’ve played together makes it so they can better communicate in those situations, too.”

With the nicer weather, spring is the perfect time to get out and enjoy a family hike, picnic, or outing together.


Plan a Family Vacation 

By planning a summer adventure, parents and children alike have something exciting to look forward to, and that in itself can be a great motivator. According to a scientific study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, the effect of anticipating a vacation boosted happiness levels for eight weeks. With more than 1,500 individuals evaluated, the study concluded that happiness was higher in anticipation of travel than even after the trip. In fact, there was little difference found between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ post-trip happiness. By planning the getaway together, family members can, therefore, find that extra incentive to accomplish all those not-so-fun, year-end tasks.

If all else fails, remember that you’ve almost made it! Summer is almost within reach…and look at all of the amazing things you accomplished this year!

by Lisa C. Cantwell

“When I was young woman, I visited an antique shop in Hanover, New Hampshire.  The elderly owner of the shop asked me if I was attending Dartmouth College there. I told her no, that I was an actress. She shared with me that she had been a silent film actress and a Ziegfeld Follies girl.  She then showed me this dress that she’d worn in a film in 1920. She also told me that she and the other actresses of the day swallowed tape worms to stay thin! I regret that I don’t remember her name. She was so excited about my acting career that she gave me the dress!”

— Holly O., Cascade

This lady gave you a remarkable TREASURE of a hand-beaded shift dress that hangs from the shoulder to just above the knee.

This authentic, early flapper dress is in very good condition with no holes in its mesh fabric. It also doesn’t appear to be missing any beads! There is some loose threading here and there, which needs to be trimmed and secured so as not to cause fraying. The silver and clear glass beads are in a lovely, swirled pattern throughout the dress. A silk or chiffon chemise would have been worn under this see-through garment, with its dropped waist and scalloped hem. Although the color has faded to a nice sepia tone, it probably began as a much lighter, ecru tone. As for the swallowing of tapeworms to lose weight, I hope she was kidding! There’s evidence that the “tapeworm diet” was marketed in the 1900s, when beef tapeworm cysts were advertised in pill form, but the idea never took off because of lethal side effects. Tapeworms grow up to thirty feet in length and cause headaches, eye problems, meningitis, epilepsy, and dementia, just to name a few ills. It’s likely that the owner of this dress didn’t use that method of weight loss for long, or she wouldn’t have lived to give you this dress. Beaded dresses from the 1920s are highly sought after in the vintage market. Similar treasures bring $500 to $1,200.  Thank you for sharing it!


This clock belonged to my great grandparents, Harvey and Alice Tyson, from Norristown, Pennsylvania. My mother, Catharine Anderman, spent many summers with them, and tells me that it was located in the sitting room on the second floor of their home, on top of an oak roll top desk.  She was born in 1926, and has no idea how they acquired it.  She inherited it and passed it on to me. What can you tell me about it?”

— Beth Helmick, Thurmont

Your heirloom TREASURE dates to the 1850s and is a Royal Bonn, “1755” porcelain clock.

The maker’s mark on the back has the characteristic crown and denotes the style “LaVar.” It is in very good condition, save for a hairline crack between the 10 and 7 hour on the face.  There are several of these hand-painted beauties that date from the late 19th and early 20th century, on various internet auction sites, but yours is definitely a rarer, early type.  Royal Bonn was the 19th and 20th Century Trade Name used by the renowned craftsman Franz Anton Mehlem, who produced pottery in Bonn, Germany, from 1836 to 1931. Fine porcelain and earthenware were also manufactured in the factory, to include dishes and vases. These clocks were imported to America by the Ansonia Clock Company of New York. In 1921, the firm was purchased by Villeroy & Boch, and closed in 1931. The value of these clocks ranges from $299.95 to $3,500. Based on the age of your clock, and taking into account the face crack, consider its value between $800 and $1,200.


TRINKETS…Some We Just Can’t Part With

So far, all of what readers have shared in this column have been treasures. Yet, we all have trinkets, those heirlooms that have little to no value, that we cannot part with. Things like Dad’s felt letter from his high school football jacket, Mom’s butterfly pin, Grandma’s baby spoon, Granddad’s pen knife, an old key to the family farmhouse, Great Uncle Joe’s dog tags, and so forth.  These items often end up in junk drawers or are stored in boxes stashed in a basement, only to be forgotten.

Why not display your trinkets in an old store case? Pictured is one that sits on a counter or table, has a red felt bottom and a lid that can be left open or closed for viewing. Your trinkets will turn into family heirloom treasures, each with its own unique story, which can be passed from generation to generation. If you have an abundance of doodads, whatchamacallits, and thingamajigs from times past, then change up your display with the seasons. Table top size, old store cases in good condition can be found for $50 to $125. Search your stuff for conversational, precious trinkets to determine the size of case you might need. If it’s too sentimental to throw away, why not display?!

Maxine Troxell

When you visit a website, if the web address starts with http://, all the information that your browser sends to the web server, and receives, is in open text. So, for instance, if you log into your WordPress admin panel, your user ID and password are transmitted across the internet in clear text that anyone could read. So, it’s entirely possible that someone who is watching the web traffic to your website could grab your user ID and password as it was sent.

But if you have set up an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate correctly on your web server, the URL becomes https:// (the “s” for “secure”), and all data transmitted back and forth is encrypted. This is especially important if you’re collecting any private data on your website such as credit card information. You don’t want someone snagging your client’s credit card information.

If you visit a website that is not secure and is asking for a credit card to subscribe, immediately back out and go somewhere else.

Current PCI banking standards require that all credit card transactions are done on a secure website.


What can happen if a Hacker gets access to my site?

Can you imagine a stranger—or even worse, a thief—sitting in front of your computer, going through your files and doing whatever they want?

That’s what happens once a hacker has used Sub7 to take control of your computer.

It’s as if they are sitting in your cozy computer chair, using your computer and seeing all of your data and files on your computer monitor. And you have no idea that this is going on.

The hacker could be across the street or across the country. No matter where they are, they can copy photos from your computer onto theirs, or delete your tax records. They can steal your personal data or delete the programs you have on your computer.

Worse yet, they can download more viruses.


Why set up a SSL certificate?

Many websites are informational and don’t actually sell things online. So why would you want to set up an SSL certificate? Security.

As mentioned before, it’s remotely possible that someone could sniff your user ID and password and gain access to your content management system. If you haven’t changed the login alias, it’s actually pretty easy to find your login ID. So, if I have that information, now all I’d need is your password (if I were a hacker looking to break in).


What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results.

Google says that it’s actually a ranking factor. They’ve backed away from all the “usual” SEO factors like links, and so on. But they are telling us we need three things: (1) A mobile-responsive site; (2) A fast website (small graphics); and (3) A secure website. They want peoples’ experiences to be secure.

I personally believe that people are looking for the green padlock in the web browser. It’s a small, subtle sign of trust. This seems to ring true for some of my clients who are getting pushback from their clients because they don’t want to schedule online appointments or interact on the website without it. This is smart. Therefore, we’re getting more requests to set it up for our clients.


How do I set up an SSL certificate?

There’s a little bit of a process to get your website set up with an SSL certificate. You don’t just change the web address to https://, and you’re done. In a nutshell, these are the steps you need to take:

Generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) from your web host, which identifies your web domain and your company information. That gets uploaded to the certificate generating authority.

Obtain a trusted certificate from your domain registrar (like GoDaddy) which will cost you about $200 for 3 years (or more). I prefer to buy the certificate for as long as I can so that I don’t have to reinstall the new certificate each year when it expires.

You will need to install the certificate after you purchase it.  Your hosting company can give you instructions on how to do this or you can hire someone to do this for you.  That person would need your hosting login credentials.

Test all pages on your website for a green padlock. If the https:// version of your web address is working, but you’re not getting a green padlock, you’ve got some more work to do. ALL graphics, files, JavaScript and so on have to load with https:// and not http.

It’s interesting to me that a large number of websites that I have visited don’t have an SSL Certificate, which means they are not secure.

If you are not sure if your website is secure or if you want more information, please Contact E Plus Graphics, Printing, and Promotions at 301-447-2804. We would be happy to assist you.

Can’t Live Without Them

by Valerie Nusbaum

We can pick our friends, our seats, and, well, our noses, but we can’t pick our families (other than our spouses, of course). Randy and I have had some amusing family encounters recently, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

There’s a bit of Irish in my family on my dad’s side; but even if there weren’t, we’d still enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—green shamrock-shaped pancakes and all. It’s been a tradition for years that Mom and I have lunch on St. Patrick’s Day at the Shamrock Restaurant. We love the decorations, the music, and the food, and it doesn’t hurt that everyone is there with the intention of having a good time. Last year, Mom and I invited our cousin, Pat, to join us; and, this year, we gained Pat’s husband, Keith, and Randy.  My hubby had never participated in the celebration because he was always working, but he took some time off to be with us this year and was glad he did. He particularly enjoyed the corned beef, and he even wore his two-foot-tall beer-mug hat.

After lunch, we all came back to our house for dessert. I had made a green coffee cake and shamrock brownies, and served them with green mint chip ice cream. We had a good time and shared lots of memories and laughs.

About a week after that celebration, I was in the kitchen getting things ready for dinner. I’d decided to have baked potatoes, and when I went to my potato bin to get them, I discovered that the bin was full of trash. Huh? Then I recognized some of the wrapping paper from a gift that Mom had given to Pat. Cousin Pat evidently thought my potato bin was a trash can. I’m just glad there was nothing stinky in there!

Not long after that, our nephew, Andrew, came up from Florida for a long weekend. The only thing more entertaining than a Nusbaum man is TWO Nusbaum men. Andrew was here to help his Uncle Randy clean out the garage at Randy’s parents’ house. That small, delicate little boy with the big glasses has grown into a 6’5” strapping linebacker-of-a-man, and we were glad to have his help with all the lifting and carrying. I don’t mean to imply that Andrew ever played football, or even basketball. The athletic prowess of the Nusbaum men runs in other directions. They are outdoorsmen and excel at fishing, hunting, and picnicking.

I went over to the house at lunchtime on Saturday. I’d been assured that the two of them had been hard at work for hours. When I called Randy to ask if Andrew liked sloppy Joes, there was an awful lot of giggling going on; I was happy that they were finding some fun in a rather dismal task. The men were at the landfill when I got to the house, so I went inside and got things ready for lunch. I saw Randy’s truck come up the driveway, and I walked out to the garage to tell them that lunch was ready. I found the pair of them in the garage, each wearing a huge sombrero, playing with toy trucks.

Andrew headed back to Florida with a truckload of stuff and two sombreros. Actually, he was wearing one of them as he waved goodbye.

My husband is the only family member I actually chose. Mostly, I’m glad I married him, but there are some times when all I can do is sigh and get on with it. Randy had to return to the eye doctor’s office three times to repeat one of his tests. His results were always inconclusive, but bordering on something serious.  The technician was thoroughly perturbed with Randy, because he had so much trouble clicking the button when certain lights came into view. It was finally determined that there was nothing seriously wrong with Randy’s eyes. His hand/eye coordination could use some work, though. He also needs to work on concentrating and not letting his mind wander during important life-saving tests.

That leaves my mother. Mom’s landline was out of order. I had been calling her for hours and kept getting a busy signal. This didn’t alarm or surprise me, as Mom has a lot of friends, and she talks on the phone often with her next-door neighbor, even though they live twenty feet apart. When we finally realized that Mom’s phone wasn’t working, Randy called the phone company and reported it. The next morning, I still wasn’t able to reach my mother. She has a cell phone, but doesn’t turn it on unless she’s going to make a long-distance call. I knew that eventually Mom would think it was odd that she hadn’t heard from me, since I check on her several times each day. I hoped that Mom would use her cell phone to call me, so I went and got my own cell phone. I knew that my dear mother would assume that she couldn’t call my landline with her cell. I was right. My cell phone rang shortly after that.

It could be worse.

I’m sending a big shout out to Susan Storer this month. “Susan, thanks so much for your kind words about my columns and for all your help.”

by Christine Maccabee


To say that spring is my favorite time of year is putting it mildly. I love spring and can barely keep myself indoors on a beautiful day like today. Every morning, the birds create a symphony of music, too incredible for words. Then, as early evening approaches, the frogs and toads begin tuning up for their cascade of mating sounds, which to my ears is music—profound music of the spheres and an expression of our earth’s on-going mind-blowing beauty.

Several years ago, I began recording bird songs, notating them on staff paper. Luckily, I have a good ear and lots of training in timings and keys, as bird songs can be very complex; each bird, usually the male, has a repertoire unique to itself and the occasion of calling for a mate or declaration of territory. However, I am of the opinion—and am quite sure it is true—that sometimes birds simply sing on and on just for the joy of it!

To say that I live for spring is true for me, and likely many others. No longer do we have to pull on heavy boots, layers of clothes, hats, and gloves. Devoted mothers no longer have to make sure their children are dressed for twenty-degree weather as they wait for the bus. And the elderly, who sometimes struggle just to get dressed, are freed up as well. Things are lightening up, you might say.

Yes, keeping me inside today will be next to impossible, so I will take a break from typing and go out to plant onions. I must have my store of onions for the winter. See you soon…

Well, I am back, but I only got so far as hanging out the laundry; no onions planted yet. I have so many thoughts, so many feelings today because of spring; I am not certain which song to sing first. I am like the mockingbird with his repertoire of untold numbers of songs, twittering about today. Maybe I have spring fever. It has been known to happen.

As I chased the cat away from the bird feeder, while hanging clothes, I thought of my good friend Walter. Whenever I would ask him if he knew what sort of bird was singing, he always would reply, “Oh, that’s a Tweety Bird!” Funny. Guess that’s me today, twittering away about everything, and nothing.

Now it’s time to get serious, right? Or maybe not. After days and days of stress and worry, we all need time off to go take that long walk or simply plant petunias. I could go on and on about the wild edibles you can put in your salads (violet and dandelion flower petals are so rich in vitamins and minerals). I could instruct you as to how to build a cold frame, so as to eat salad greens all winter, or inspire you to be a seed saver. Or I could tell you the secrets of planting onions properly (I once had a caretaker here who insisted that he knew how to plant onion sets; he told me to leave him alone, and that year, we had no onions because he planted the bulbs upside down!).

However, I need this downtime today to simply enjoy the beauty of this incredible springtime; time to renew my spirit after some rough times. Every day, there are things to deal with: some simple problems and some seemingly insurmountable. But, somehow, we surmount them. I just finished reading a book called Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, and I now have a new heroine, who surmounted far more problems than I ever had. After far too many years of horrible abuse by her husband and devotedly raising eleven children, in 1955, at the age of sixty-seven, she completely turned her back on it all. Setting out in Georgia with a 15-pound sack of essentials, thrown over her shoulder, and wearing tennis shoes, she hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. She even did it two more times and became renowned for trailblazing in Ohio.

I figure if Emma Gatewood could do that, I can deal with my little problems. Think I will just plant those onions and then go take a nice long walk!

1971: The Mount Goes Co-Ed

by James Rada, Jr.

Although Mount St. Mary’s University was named for a woman, she wouldn’t have been able to attend the college until 1971. It was only in its 164th year that the college decided to admit female students.

Some females from nearby St. Joseph’s College had been attending a limited number of classes at the Mount beginning in 1970. The two colleges had entered into a cooperative agreement that allowed students from either school to take a class at the other school if it wasn’t offered at their home college. The schools even provided transportation between the two campuses to aid the students. During the 1970-71 school year, 119 men from the Mount attended one or more classes at St. Joseph’s, and 100 women from St. Joseph’s attended one or more classes at the Mount.

While the agreement seemed to address the educational reasons for the Mount going co-educational, it didn’t address the cultural or financial issues.

St. Joseph’s College announced that it would close in 1973. This caused concern at Mount St. Mary’s, which had also seen its enrollment dropping. The school had 1,100 students during the 1970-71 school year.

“We are, of course, saddened by the Saint Joseph announcement but we do not feel that the wave of bleak prophecy which has pervaded our own campus is justified. Our situations are in no way similar even though we face the same serious problems of most of the nation’s private colleges,” Mount President John J. Dillon Jr. said during a speech.

In June of 1971, it was announced that the Mount would begin admitting women as non-resident students beginning with the 1971-72 school year. They would be admitted as resident students the following year.

To ensure that students from St. Joseph’s College wouldn’t be delayed in their graduation because of the transition, the Mount also waived some of the curriculum requirements at the Mount for students who needed it, according to the Emmitsburg Chronicle.

While admitting female students helped the women of St. Joseph’s College, it also helped the Mount, which had been seeing fewer applications.

“I feel that the tragedy at Saint Joseph can make us a stronger college if we all work in that direction,” Dillon said. “Mount St. Mary’s is, after all, your college.”

The Mount student body celebrated the decision. David Fielder wrote in the Mountain Echo, “This year, however, we have witnessed the emergence of the Mount into the twentieth century with the administration’s radical new policy concerning co-education. We actually have female names listed in the registrar’s office, and, come next year, Mounties may even find men and women living near each other within the campus grounds. Thus one might conclude that we’ve been granted the other half of what it takes to have a student body.”

While the males were certainly happy to see women on campus, the Mountain Echo pointed out that it was a good academic decision for the school. According to the newspaper, in 1969, 40 colleges and universities had gone co-ed. It was a move being made to attract high-caliber students, of which, 81 percent said in a Princeton University survey that they wanted co-educational schools.

However, not everyone was happy. Women who were losing their college with the closure of St. Joseph’s College lead the way with this group. One woman wrote a letter against the move in The Valley Echo called “Better Dead than Co-Ed.”

The overlapping between the admittance of female students and the closing of Mount St. Mary’s allowed for a gradual transition. Today, women make up the majority of the student body (55 percent) at the Mount.

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Lance Corporal Paul Joseph Humerick

U.S. Marine Corps

Born at Annie M. Warner Hospital in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in June of 1947, was a son to Paul E. and Ida G. (Brawner) Humerick. They named him Paul Joseph and gave him the nickname “Sonny.” Paul and Ida took Sonny home to Emmitsburg, where they resided in a house on North Seton Avenue. This is where Sonny spent his entire childhood. He said it was the best of all places to grow up. Right below his house ran Flat Run creek, where he and his friends could go wading and fishing, and there were nearby woods to hunt mushrooms. They had many fields to run and play in. All-in-all, Sonny had a very happy childhood growing up in Emmitsburg.

Sonny said he had two very close friends that he grew up with: Mike Shorb and Billy Weidner. Sonny had a part-time job during the summers mowing grass out by Natural Dam and helping his dad mow at the Sharpe farm. This gave him a little spending money, and Sonny, Mike, and Billy could hardly wait until the week’s end to go and listen to Wayne Sanders’ band play some rock and roll music. Wayne Sanders had a rock and roll band called “Dwayne and the Sounds” and was the hometown entertainment; they had a lot of local followers. When Sonny turned sixteen, he was at the Tropical Treat in Taneytown, where Dwayne and the Sounds were playing. There, he met Linda Wetzel; and, although he knew Linda’s brother, he did not know her. They hit it off that night, and that marked the beginning of a fifty-four-year relationship, married fifty-one of those years. They got married the April 15, 1966. Sonny says he kinda took a “liking to her” and she kinda took a “liking to him.” I would think it was kinda more like a “loving to each other.” What do you think?

In February of 1966, Sonny got a notice from the Draft Board to report to Fort Holibird in Baltimore. Sonny, Denny Staley, and Leroy Shealey were all on the bus to Fort Holibird. Leroy passed the physical, but Sonny and Denny did not. So, they put Sonny and Denny in a big room—about the size of two basketball stadiums combined—and a sergeant came in and walked up and down and looked them over and said, “I’m going to tell you right now, you have thirty days to take care of any business you have, because the Army has you.” Well, Sonny and Linda had plans of getting married in April; they also had a piece of ground cleared and were planning on building a house. When Sonny got home from Holibird, he told Linda and his mom and dad that he had been drafted and he was going in the Army; it wasn’t his choosing but that was the way it was. Sonny said that a few weeks later he received some papers from the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps that said “congratulations, you were accepted in the military.” He explained that the Marine Corps had a ninety-day plan, and that meant that if he joined, then he wouldn’t have to go for three months. That meant one thing to Sonny: he could still get married. So, Sonny and a friend of his, Johnny Eckenrode (who worked with Sonny at the Provincial House), decided to go to Frederick and join the Marines. The recruiter sent them back to Fort Holibird for another physical and, from there, they were sent to Gay and Lombard street to be sworn in. That was on the March 3, 1966, when he became a Jarhead, and he was going to wait to get married in April. Johnny didn’t want to wait, so he volunteered for Vietnam and went in right away. When it was time for Sonny to leave, he went from Baltimore to Georgia, and then arrived at Parris Island on June 2, at 2:00 a.m. The drill instructor got on the bus and was talking to the driver and then turned to Sonny and the rest of the recruits. Sonny said you never saw such a commotion, with forty-five guys trying to get out of that little bus door at one time. Sonny remembers thinking to himself “What in the world am I doing here?” He made it through boot camp and got twenty days of leave, so he went home. After his twenty days of leave at home, he was sent to Camp Lejeune for Infantry Training; in the meantime, he had a MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) as a cook. He was sent to Camp Gardner and went through cook school. Sonny was then shipped to Camp Pendelton in San Diego, California, where he spent his entire Marine career; he was Honorably Discharged from there. Sonny got to visit several of his friends and relatives while at Camp Pendelton: his cousin, Jerry Wagerman; friend, Johnny Knott; friend, Jimmy Wastler; and friend, Phil Mort. Sonny and Linda never had a honeymoon, and he really missed her and his mother and father, so he was very happy to be going home.

After he arrived back home, he went back to work at the Provincial House, where he worked before he joined the Marines, and remained there for forty-seven years.

Sonny is now retired, and he and Linda are still living on the mountain and are very happy with their family-life. They have two children: Stacy and Stephanie. Stacy has a son and a daughter, Zachary and Samantha; and Stephanie has a son, Riley. Sonny regrets that his parents didn’t survive long enough to meet their great-grandchildren; he lost his mother in 1972 and his father in 1992.

Linda and Sonny still go to the Rock and Roll dances at the Ambulance Building in Emmitsburg. They are active and love to get out and about! So, if you meet them at Jubilee or anywhere around the neighborhood, say “Hi” and thank Sonny for his service.

I really enjoyed the little chat I had with Sonny and Linda. I tried to get Linda to put her two cents worth in, but she was not having any of it.

They are the perfect example of a very happy couple and family, who stay positive and enjoy their lives together

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the U.S. Veteran, and God Bless You.

Lance Corporal Paul Joseph Humerick, United States Marine Corps.

Buck Reed

The Supermarket Gourmet

I know my fans expect big things from me. In these past few years, I have tackled the big issues in the culinary world. But who would ever believe I could get this scoop. So many times, I have heard the words “never happen.” My editor told me I would be better off teaching you how to cook a unicorn, which is now on sale at your local grocery store. But, I did it. I got Stew and Soup to put their differences behind them and do their first interview together. Enjoy!


Supermarket Gourmet: First of all, let me thank you both for this time.


Stew: As long as he can be civil.


Soup: I can be cool. I am usually a hot dish, but I can be cool.


Supermarket Gourmet: Considering how closely related you are, why don’t you get along better?


Stew: Clearly, I came first, and during my time we had respect for elders.


Soup: Let’s face it you are old hat.


Supermarket Gourmet: For two dishes that have so much in common, why concentrate on the differences?


Soup: Maybe we are just two dishes that are nothing more than a set of ingredients, cooked and served in liquid. But it is our differences that make me great.


Stew: There is a certain consistency to stews that people find comforting.


Soup: I have that comforting thing going for me as well, but I can also bring a greater variety to the table. I am young; I am happening.


Supermarket Gourmet: What is your greatest benefit?


Stew: I nourish the body and feed the soul. Stew is always the same: meat, seafood, or chicken, cooked with vegetables with a thickened broth. But, I can also be versatile by being served on rice, noodles, or potatoes.


Soup: I heal you when you are sick and raise your spirits when you are weary. I can be thin as a supermodel or thick as a mother’s love. I can be served piping hot or glacier cold. You can start your meal with a cup or enjoy a meal as a bowl, or even make it as a finish for dessert.


Supermarket Gourmet: What about chili?


Soup: Is he here? I am leaving if HE shows up.


Stew: We do agree that chili is not a stew….


Soup: …. or a soup. It is like comparing elephants to zebras. Sure, it is a good dish and everyone loves it, but really no skill to making it.


Stew: It demeans us all.


Supermarket Gourmet: What can we appreciate about you both?


Stew: Well, we both celebrate the marriage of different ingredients coming together.


Soup: Sometimes it is a simple combination, and sometimes it is an excess of ingredients.


Stew: But, it always seems to work out.


Supermarket Gourmet: Any final thoughts?


Soup: If you are in hurry and want something satisfying, throw together a soup. It’s good food.


Stew: If you have the time, but a limited amount of energy, make something amazing: stew. It is what people come home for.

On May 19, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., poet Marian Cannon Dornell (pictured right) will share her poetry at The Creeger House, located at 11 N. Church Street in Thurmont.

Poets and lovers of poetry are also welcome to share their original or favorite works during the open mic session that precedes Dornell’s reading.  A retired registered nurse, specializing in psychiatric/mental health nursing and hospice, Dornell lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. She regularly gives poetry readings in her community, along with talks about race and society. She will read from her latest work, Unicorn in Captivity, published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press. Other works of poetry have appeared in On the Issues: The Progressive Women’s Quarterly, and in Kinfolks:  a journal of black expression. She won an honorable mention in the 2013 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Contest. Dornell has studied with PSU professor and poet Robin Becker, as well as poets Rebecca Foust, Kimiko Hahn, and Todd Davis.  “Catoctin Voices” has been meeting at The Creeger House for over two years as a venue to showcase poets from around the region. The public is invited.

Catoctin High School (CHS) is back at it again! CHS Art Teacher Laura Day’s students entered the 2017 Vans Custom Culture Contest for a second time. Last year, CHS placed in the Top 50 in this national contest, and they hope to make it again to the second round, which is the public voting stage.

Public voting is open, and you can cast your vote until May 10, at 5:00 p.m. Voting can be done by visiting the and clicking on Catoctin H.S. under the Northeast Region.

by Anita DiGregory

The clocks have sprung forward an hour, and it is staying lighter longer. The weather is snow one day and 70 degrees the next…must be springtime in Maryland! For many moms—myself included—this time of year is celebrated. Partially, it is because we have survived yet another winter, almost made it through another cold and flu season, and the family’s de-hibernation process is underway. But it is also because with spring, as with Easter, comes a spirit of renewal, and with it, a renewal of hope. In our area, we are blessed by gentle reminders of this all around us. A Catoctin springtime is truly beautiful, with the new buds on the trees and flower blooms, with rainy days giving way to rainbows, with local farms celebrating new additions, and with more children outside enjoying the fresh air. Whether you are doing a little spring cleaning or enjoying some spring showers, this time of year promises to be a perfect opportunity for family bonding. Here are some family-friendly ways to turn spring days into some family fun time, as well as some great book recommendations to check out at your local library.


Create a Garden

Springtime is the perfect time to get started on a garden, and kids of all ages enjoy getting involved. From pruning to plotting to planning to planting, gardening can be a wonderful and rewarding family experience. The benefits of getting your kids involved in gardening can be almost as plentiful as the harvest. Gardening offers the perfect opportunity to teach your children about a multitude of scientific concepts, such as the water cycle, photosynthesis, healthy nutrition, seeds, soil, parts of a flower, Earth, and the environment. Getting physical exercise and being out in the fresh air and sunshine are added rewards. Children are more inclined to eat what they have helped to create, even if it happens to be vegetables. Additionally, kids gain a sense of pride in seeing their hard work come to fruition.

Recommended books: Grow Flower Grow! by Lisa Bruce; A Seed is a Promise by Claire Merrill; Paddington Bear in the Garden by Michael Bond; Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Wallace; A Tree for all Seasons by Robin Bernard; The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall; The Magic School Bus Gets Planted by Joanna Cole; Mouse and Mole and the Year-round Garden by Doug Cushman.


Build a Fairy House

What is more magical than building a fairy home together? Ask your child to help you draw up some plans first. Read some fairy stories and check out some photos on Pinterest to inspire some fun, creative ideas.

Fairy homes can be made from any number of materials: clay pots, stone, birdhouses, clay, even vegetables! Many local craft stores have miniature furniture and accessories perfect for putting together the finishing touches. Many even have pre-fabricated fairy home kits ready to assemble if that is the route you decide to go. Limited only by the imagination, fairy homes can be small or large, minimal or lavish, and can even grow into a fairy village or garden.

Recommended books: Mistie’s Magic by Sue Whiting; That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt; How to Find Flower Fairies by Cicely Barker.

Go Fly a Kite and Make a Mural

Catoctin springtime can be pretty windy, a perfect cloud gazing, kite-flying time! Try making your own kite and flying it together. Afterwards, take turns pointing out different cloud formations and what they look like. Read about Harold and his purple crayon and work together to make your driveway or sidewalk an original creation: a sidewalk chalk mural. Have fun blowing bubbles together.

Recommended books: The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola; Wind by Marion Bauer; Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.


Try Singing in the Rain

If “April showers bring May flowers,” why not enjoy it while we can! Watch the rain from the porch, while sipping tea together. Put on your big ole’ rubber boots and stomp in the puddles with the kiddos. Make mud pies. Watch for rainbows and paint rainbow pictures together. Read a book to learn more about the rain and rainbows.

Recommended books: Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn Branley; Rain Drop Splash by Alvin Tresselt; Muddigush by Kimberley Knutson; Rain, Rain Everywhere by Christine Leeson; A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman; The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow by Joanna Cole.


Take a Nature Walk

When the seasons change from winter to spring, it is the perfect time for little ones to learn more about the seasons of the year and how nature changes season-to-season. The books below do an excellent job of explaining how nature changes from winter to spring. After reading about it, take a nature hike and see how many things from the stories you can find together.

Recommended books: Let’s Look at the Seasons: Springtime by Ann Schweninger; Four Seasons Make A Year by Anne Rockwell; The Reason for Seasons by Gail Gibbons; When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book about Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na; Spring: A Pop-up Book by David Carter.


Learn a New Sport

After being cooped up all winter, children of all ages will find springtime to be the perfect time to get out and get some exercise. Try introducing the kids to a new sport. The Frederick County Division of Parks and Recreation offers many options for kids of all ages, including sports leagues, instructional classes, individual lessons, and competitions. More information can be found at or by picking up the April-August issue of the Recreater, the official activity guide for parks and rec.

Recommended books: My Football Book by Gail Gibbons; Froggy Plays T-Ball by Jonathon London; The Berenstain Bears Play a Good Game by Jan and Mike Berenstain; The Berenstain Bears Get Their Kicks by Stan Berenstain.


Do A Little Spring Cleaning

Whether it is out with the old and in with the new, sprucing up the yard or doing a complete springtime cleaning, the old saying “many hands make light work” couldn’t be more timely. According to the Center for Parenting Education, research shows that children who help out with chores, “have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification.” By working together with their parents, children are able to learn important skills, are able to feel the positive results of “giving back,” and are able to experience a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

Recommended books: Poppleton in Spring by Cynthia Rylant; Spring Cleaning (Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear) by Else Holmelund Minarik; Spring Cleaning: Featuring Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Muppets by Pat Tornborg and Nancy Stevenson; Just for You by Mercer Mayer.

by Lisa C. Cantwell

Dear Reader: This is a column to help you determine the history and value of your heirlooms, attic finds, flea market purchases, or antique items. Please send a picture and description of your piece, such as how you acquired it and any details about its history, to I’ll research any item, whether it’s a piece of furniture, a painting, a tool, a doll, a figurine, or an article of clothing.  An approximate value will be determined to inform you if it’s a “Trinket or Treasure.” Please submit all pictures and questions by the preceding 15th of the month for possible publication in the next monthly issue of The Catoctin Banner. All inquiries will be answered; however, only those selected for publication will include approximate value assessments. Furthermore, not all submissions may be published in the Banner due to space considerations.  Please include your name or initials and where you reside. Thank you and happy treasure hunting!

“In 1995, we bought two of these plates at an estate sale in Beacon Falls, Connecticut. They were displayed on a mantle in this huge mansion that had been abandoned years before. A couple bought the house and sold most of its contents. We’ve always wondered where the plates were made and what they might be worth.”

— Jack and Holly O., Cascade, MD

Your plates are porcelain TREASURES and were made by Pirkenhammer, in what is now the Czech Republic.

The emblem on the backs of these plates, depicting crossed hammers and a crown, dates them between 1918 and 1939. This fine porcelain was first produced in Pirkenhammer, Bohemia, in 1803. During the 1830s, it was considered the best dining ware made and was very popular with royalty throughout Europe. In 1915, a beautiful floral pattern, gilded in gold with a navy background, was created for Pope Benedict XV. Searches of this particular pattern, numbered “4812,” yielded little, but a similar, older pattern was priced at $41.00 per plate on a popular bidding site. Expect this porcelain to value over time, but currently a reasonable price would be $20 to $30 per plate.


“I purchased this scale ten years ago at a yard sale in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. I never took the time to research it, but thought it was used to weigh nuts, bolts, and nails at a hardware store, or maybe even seed corn or beans? I date it to the late 1800s or early 1900s. What can you tell me about it?”

— T. Stover, New Oxford, PA


This is definitely a TREASURE, the research of which was quite challenging.

Your scale appears to be composed of metal with an iron base. It appears to have all but one of its weights. The original “bowl” that would’ve fit on the exposed four prongs is missing. A search of late 19th century English and European scales revealed two with handles and a swirl design on the bases, similar to yours, but there were no identifying marks. The photo of the “WB” etched on your scale suggests that it could be a WB Scott scale, which was a manufacturer in the USA at the turn of the last century. However, none of the Scott scales resemble this piece. The scale was most likely used in a store for candy, jewelry, or hardware items. Although it’s very fancy for a “general store,” it might have been used to weigh sacks of seeds. Your scale is in excellent condition. Based on its age and design, expect to get $175 to $250.



Victorian Glass Easter Egg

Keep an eye out this month in antique malls and flea markets for charming, old Easter eggs, made of paper mache,’ metal, clay, porcelain, and glass. Pictured (right) is one typical of blown, hand-painted eggs, found in homes during the late 19th and early 20th century. This particular egg dates from the 1920s, and its design is fading due to the fact that water colors were commonly used to decorate these eggs. Collectors aren’t too concerned about the condition of the decoration on the eggs, as a little distressing adds to the charm! This one measures 6 inches long and is 11 inches in circumference. These opaque eggs are holding their value and range from $15.00 to $45.00, depending on the size and condition. Consider a basket of them as a centerpiece at Easter dinner. Happy egg hunting!

by Valerie Nusbaum

It is said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  I believe this idea was fabricated by a group of men whose wives or girlfriends refused to cook. This month, I have a few thoughts on the topic of eating well.

I do most of the cooking at our house for several reasons: I’m home more than Randy, I’m faster in the kitchen than my husband, and I like to know what I’m putting in my body. I try to feed us healthy, tasteful food, but that’s getting harder all the time. The age-old question of “What can I make for dinner?” often comes back to bite me where I sit.

Randy doesn’t balk at cooking. He does all the grilling at our house, and he makes breakfast on the weekends. His waffles are delicious, and, no, they are not previously frozen. If I’m sick, he pitches right in. Still, most of the meal planning and grocery lists are on my shoulders.

According to some expert, here’s a formula for how many calories a person should consume in a day. Multiply your weight by 13. This number applies whether you’re not exercising at all or only working out moderately for an hour or less. If you’re exercising more heavily, add 100 to 200 calories per additional hour of exercise. If I subscribe to that theory, I should consume around 1,650 calories on any given day. You’re sitting there right now doing the multiplication, aren’t you? Does that mean, though, that if I burn 500 calories on the treadmill, I can then eat 500 more calories? That’s half of a double chocolate doughnut, and I’d like to know the answer.  Anyone?

There are so many things we can’t eat any more. A new study says that we shouldn’t consume Splenda because it can raise insulin levels, which may cause diabetes, but we shouldn’t eat sugar either because that can give us diabetes, or make us fat, which will give us diabetes. There always seems to be a new study, contradicting whatever the old study has been telling us. Can someone tell me which one is correct?

I heard that we shouldn’t eat brown rice for fear of arsenic poisoning. We had switched from white rice to brown in order to be healthier. What am I supposed to serve with my burritos and stir fry now?

I was told by my gynecologist that I shouldn’t eat so much chicken because chickens are fed estrogen. At my age, one would think that consuming some estrogen wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. So, am I now supposed to make beef burritos and stir fry? There’s also some reason why I can’t eat soy, but I can’t remember what it is. Goodbye hot and sour soup?

Eggs are a controversial subject, too. They’re a great source of protein, and the yolks are high in cholesterol. This reminds me of the egg poacher my mom had. It was a neat little plastic cup that held an egg, and Mom put it in her microwave for a specified amount of time and took out a perfectly poached egg. I mentioned that Randy might like one. Mom got one for him for Christmas. He tried it and it blew up in the microwave. There was egg everywhere. The directions instructed Randy to cook his egg for 1.5 minutes. Mom said she probably should have told us to cook it for 35 seconds. Probably.

With all the recipe substitutions I make so that we can have healthier, lower-fat food with fewer carbs, the resulting dish hardly resembles what it started out to be. Factor in the things we’re allergic to or just plain don’t like, and we’re living on lettuce and broccoli. But, wait, not too much of those either, because they can cause our blood to either thicken or thin—I forget which.

We go out to eat a couple of times each week, but finding places where we can get a delicious, health-conscious and lower-calorie meal is not easy. We also like to eat in restaurants where we can have a conversation without yelling over the din of screaming kids and background music. Randy wanted to take me out to dinner a while back, and he wanted to try that new barbecue place down on North Market Street, so we went to Carrabba’s. The barbecue joint had a line of people waiting for tables. We don’t wait for tables. We were very distressed to read that Carrabba’s restaurant in Frederick had closed its doors. Why is it that when you find a good place to eat, either the menu gets “new and improved” or it goes out of business?

We were trying to figure out what to have for dinner the other evening. Randy said that he’d see if we had a can of soup in the pantry, and we could have soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I told him that we couldn’t have sandwiches, because we’d had pancakes for breakfast and croutons on our salads at lunch. And I reminded him about the doughnut he’d forced me to eat.  We’d already had way too many carbs that day, so no more bread. He looked at me blankly and said, “Well, that’s silly. Then it’s just soup and cheese.”

by Christine Maccabee

Faith in the Seeds:A Message of Hope for Earth Day 2017

One of my favorite short stories is The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. A wonderful half-hour film was created around this story, through the use of masterful and inspiring watercolor animation. It takes place in France and is about a solitary man, Elzeard Bouffier, who slowly and quietly reforests the mountains and valleys where he lives. On land devastated by clear-cutting, charcoal industry, war, and ignorance, Bouffier planted thousands of acorns, as well as seeds and saplings of other trees. He continued planting right on through the two world wars until his death as a very old man. He also raised bees and watched as springs and streams came back to the arid land, nourishing flower seeds just waiting for water to flow again. He created life, which brought people and their families back to the abandoned villages.

Monsieur Bouffier, though a fictional character, is symbolic of the many heroic activities by people throughout the world, serving to counteract and, hopefully, maintain ecological balance in a world where consumerism and human activities are taking a major toll. Reforestation efforts in Central America by the wonderful New Forest Project are bringing back the rainforests in El Salvador and other war-torn countries. Here in the USA, cities and towns are being encouraged to become Tree Cities, and our town of Thurmont is passing qualifications to be one of those cities, with tree-planting activities on-going.

Personally, I have faith in seeds as an important component in our efforts to take care of our planet. I am a seed saver of old variety and heirloom vegetable seeds, as well as flower seeds of all sorts, especially ones on the wild side, otherwise known as Natives. According to the Native Gardeners Companion catalogue, which offers customers nearly seven hundred native species, “native plants co-evolved with native insects and wildlife and are deeply dependent on one another, creating healthy eco-systems.” Much like Elzeard Bouffier, we too can do something special on our individual properties, whether with seeds or transplanting bare-rooted or potted native plants. Working together, we all can create vitally important habitat for wildlife with healthy eco-systems.

However, nothing can beat Mother Nature when it comes to saving seeds. She is the ultimate seed-saver. Perhaps you have heard  the remarkable story of some lupine seeds that were found in the frozen arctic soil. Even though these seeds were shown by radio-carbon dating to be 10,000 years old, some of them still grew when planted in 20th century soil!

Reading up about lupine flowers, which are in the legume family, I learned that they are the host plant, as well as clovers (also in the legume family), for the life-cycles of various blue butterflies. So, I began planting blue lupine seeds, and I let my clovers grow in patches. Over the last several years, I have seen many tiny pygmy blues and one illusive eastern tailed-blue, so I know they have found my property! Such are the rewards of one lone naturalist…

When I first read the story of Elzeard Bouffier, I thought he was an actual person. Of course, I was disappointed to learn his was a fictional story, but to make it actual is now my challenge, and everyone’s challenge. All we have to do is care enough to do something. As I always say, every little bit helps, but if you can do more, that’s wonderful.

So, be inspired this spring, and have faith in the seeds!