hockey makes its return to Lake Conewago as the coldest days of the
season set in on the final weekend of January.
Things that sometimes you just can't replace
THE news last month included a newspaper report that at a meeting of the
Mt. Gretna Borough Council, John Hambright had submitted his resignation
due to health reasons. There wasn't much more to it than that, other than
the fact that borough officials said they would set about the process of
finding someone to take John's place. Apparently, several have already
expressed interest in the job.
Maybe so. But when it comes to finding a replacement,
it'll be hard to come up with someone who's always good-natured, whose
voice rumbles with the undercurrent of an irrepressible chuckle, and
whose eyes have a trademarked twinkle. Equally elusive will be someone
who never gets excited, consistently applies good judgment and nurtures
both people and relationships with kindness.
a corn roast with daughter Lynn, John and one of his favorite
Although John can't get around as much these days as he'd like to, that's
not really a handicap. Count on him to have a good time wherever he goes.
One of the places he's always liked to go is Le Sorelle, home of sticky
buns that probably merit a U.S. patent. John doesn't go just for the
stickies, however. Like many men who lose their wives late in life, John
misses Betsy most of all.
So a few words exchanged with pleasant waitresses over an egg sandwich in
the morning can sometimes be the highlight of an entire day. Some people
have a knack for getting the most out of any day. It rubs off on the
people around them too.
Right after reading the news about the changes at Borough Council, I came
across a magazine
about the future for all our lives, a future filled with robots.
The article predicted that robots will soon do darned near everything
that people do: Roam up and down hospital corridors delivering pills to
patients, drive our cars and long-haul trucks, even take our orders and
serve our meals to us in restaurants. One restaurant in Japan is already
doing that, it said. Their robots take orders and deliver food exactly as
ordered, work 24/7 and never make a mistake.They cost about $3,200 to
$4,700, depending on their skills, and should last about 10 years.
I wondered what Mt. Gretna would be like with robots in the
Then I remembered my first experience in one of those special check-out
aisles they now have in supermarkets. Rather than waiting in line to wait
for someone to check your groceries, you can scan them yourself. But
weighing bananas, scanning cereal boxes and stuffing dollar bills in a
slot seemed complicated. I chose instead a line with a pretty young
cashier behind the cash register.
When it was my turn, I asked if she was worried that automated check-outs
might someday take away her job.
"No," she said. "They may be faster, but they don't
Now, several years later, I notice that most folks still don't use those
speedy, but smile-less, check-out-yourself lines. That's reassuring. It's
still Pretty Girls 10, Robots 2.
It's the sort of thing that you learn living in a small town like Mt.
Gretna: People who brighten your days are irreplaceable.
Gretna School of Art lays plans
open its doors this summer
Ready to begin its first year, the
Mt. Gretna School of Art -- now with its faculty members
chosen, a Wednesday lecture series set and museum bus trips already
planned -- this month will begin extending invitations to 18 or perhaps
20 top art students across the country who will become part of its first
class and bring founder Jay Noble's idea into reality.
The school's lead teachers for its Intensive Program studies will include
Stony Brook University instructor in foundation drawing and painting, and
chair of the Wright State University Department of Art and Art History.
Both have experience at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, where
Noble himself once studied, and whose artistic director, Don
will be a guest lecturer at the Mt. Gretna school's inaugural year.
Artists who have committed to serve as visiting critics during this
summer's six-week session include distinguished faculty members from some
of America's leading colleges and universities. They include Celia
of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Dartmouth, Swarthmore and
Italy's International School of Painting; Deborah
who has taught at American University, Dartmouth, Yale and the New York
Studio School of Painting and Drawing; Barbara
who formerly taught at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and New
York's Chautauqua Institution; and co-founder Ruth
a graduate of Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts and Queens College in
New York City. Now living in Lancaster, she displays her works
throughout the Northeast, principally in New York and Philadelphia.
Lecturers who will be part of a Hall of Philosophy Wednesday
morning lecture series (open to the public as well as MGSOA students)
former executive director of the Lancaster, Pa. Museum of Art; Kimes of
the New York Chautauqua and Stony Brook University professor Semergieff.
The sessions will be held at 10 am each Wednesday, June 5 through July
Noble, a faculty member at York College of Pennsylvania and the
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in Lancaster, says museum bus
trips are currently planned to New York City in June and to Philadelphia
in July. He expects that 20 to 30 seats will be available for adults and
young people in the community who wish to join students on the trip.
Tickets will be offered in April, he says.
to help launch the school's first year and defray expenses for students
participating in this year's Intensive Studies program may be made
through its fiscal sponsor, the Philanthropic
Endeavors Foundation, Inc. of York, Pa. The Mt. Gretna School of
Art board includes Mt. Gretna residents Lou Schellenberg, artist and
faculty member at Elizabethtown College, and Jennifer Veser Besse, an
adjunct professor of philosophy at Elizabethtown College and Millersville
Others on the board are Dr. Robert Colman, retired Penn State Harrisburg
professor of psychology and social science; Barbara Grossman, who has
taught painting at the Yale School of Art and the University of Pennsylvania;
Rita King, gallery director at the York, Pa. Parliament Community
Gallery; Linda Fanning Lefevre, executive dean emeritus at Harrisburg
Area Community College who now serves with Delaware Valley College; and
Dan Liberatore, president of Purpose1 Visual Marketing Group in
First responders appreciation night March 20
a grateful community,
a chance to say thank you
If you've ever wanted to say "thank you" to people who leave
their homes in the middle of the night to answer a call, who give up
their weekends for training that will qualify them as professionals
albeit without pay, who put their lives at risk so our lives are safe,
our dinners uninterrupted and our homes protected. . . next month
you'll have that chance.
It's Mt. Gretna's night to recognize its First
Responders, a night to make them distinguished guests at a dinner held
Answering the call, anytime of the day or night, 365 days
a year. . .
Surrendering time with family and friends. . .
Who are these men and women? Many of them live outside
Mt. Gretna. They come from places like Manheim, Cleona, Annville
and other communities throughout Lebanon and Lancaster counties.
In fact, today about 50% of Mt. Gretna's Fire
Department volunteers live outside this community. Five years ago, only
In a town where maybe
half the cottages are sited closely together, built of wood from trees
harvested more than a century ago, and clustered along streets where
emergency access often is limited, the reasons for both concern and
commendation for first responders are clear.
To be sure, among their biggest rewards is the
extraordinary gratitude expressed by people they pull from overturned
cars and burning homes. A level of satisfaction that most people doing
ordinary jobs never approach.
Recognizing their contributions is the idea behind
this event -- a lasagna dinner Kathy Snavely is organizing, with the help
of equally appreciative folks that include caterer Becky Briody, Earl
Lenington, Tom Mayer and Rhoda Long.
... after quenching sparks, adding sparkle to our lives.
6:30 pm dinner on March 20 at the fire hall that will take on grand
proportions: meat or vegetable lasagna, Italian bread and salad from
Becky, Mt. Gretna's Chef-on-the-Go, and a dessert buffet served by
Here's the key: First responders will come as honored
guests that evening. So success will depend on others making their
reservations in advance -- $20 per person -- and sending their checks in
early to make sure that all costs are covered.
Successful planning requires that everyone get their
reservations in by March 8 along with their checks -- made payable to
Kathy Snavely, P. O. Box 622, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
If you're out of town and unable to attend, you can
still send a check as a token of your appreciation. It's just another way
to say "thank you," say the organizers.
Who knows? If a First Responders Recognition
Night comes off as they hope, maybe it'll be a permanent fixture on the
calendar each year. An annual expression of gratitude for the invaluable
service they gladly render all year long.
The Colemans as you
probably never knew them
If you want to draw a crowd to the Mt. Gretna fire hall on a Sunday
afternoon in mid-winter, talk to the folks at the Historical Society.
Last year they packed the place to overflowing with an illustrated talk
by Morris Greiner, probably the oldest living Mt. Gretna native who also
happens to own probably the largest collection of Mt. Gretna postcards in
This year, they'll likely do the same thing with another
The Cornwall Furnace: Iconic symbol of Coleman family
Lisa Polczynski photo
talk, this by former Chatuauqua resident Jim Polczynski, who has spent
the last 15 years tracking down the marvels and mysteries of the Coleman
family, one of the few six-generation business dynasties in America.
It's everybody's favorite, "a rags-to-riches" story says
Polczynski (pronounced Pole-CHIN-ski), who first peeked into the family
saga after he began renovating the building (now the Cornwall Inn) that
was once the Coleman Company Store, back in the
when the Cornwall Iron Furnace was operating. It's the story of how a
16-year-old boy left Ireland with a couple of months' laborer's wages in
his pocket and ultimately became Pennsylvania's first millionaire.
Among his descendents, great-grandson Robert H. Coleman (left) ultimately
became the founder of Mt. Gretna.
Along the way were family squabbles, marriages and close personal
friendships with other wealthy Americans (including U.S. presidents),
business acquisitions on grand and sometimes dubious scales, and always
"amazingly close family bonds" as well -- all centered on what
was the Colemans' richest asset: the largest iron ore deposit east of the
Mississippi and located just four miles from Mt. Gretna. "If you
want to understand just how America was built, the Coleman family is a
good place to start," says Polczynski.
An iron and steel industry consultant who grew up near Pittsburgh,
Polczynski is a frequent lecturer on the Coleman family history. "I
try to present a new perspective each time I speak," he says. His
next opportunity -- focusing on the evolution of the family business --
will be Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 pm in the fire hall.
Organizers suggest that you might want to come early to find a
A PROPOSAL to develop 37
acres of land zoned Residential Forest (RF) near Mt. Gretna could come
before the West Cornwall Township planning commission at its Wednesday,
Feb. 27 meeting. That timing, however, depends upon whether the developer,
Eastern Enterprises, Inc., completes its final revisions of the plan.
The projected development would involve ten single-family
housing sites located along Mine and Butler roads, north of Mt. Gretna.
Although not opposing the project since it must conform to existing RF
zoning requirements, Preserve Mt. Gretna, a group which advocates
vigilance over environmental and historic preservation concerns, advises
area residents to stay close to all proposed land development activity in
the area. As a practical matter, however, West Cornwall is one of 16
Lebanon County municipalities that have delegated subdivision and land
development matters to the county planning department whose decisions,
under the Municipalities Planning Code, are normally ratified at the
township level only as a formality.
The West Cornwall Township planning commission meets monthly
on fourth Wednesdays, and the supervisors meet on second Mondays; both
meetings are usually held at 7pm at the township office building, 73
South Zinns Mill Road.
Also on the horizon: a public hearing, probably in early
March, on the new Regional Comprehensive Plan for the area. Details on
time and location for that hearing should be posted in the next few days
at the website http://cornwall-lebanonplan.com/.
KATHY Snavely was among those welcoming Rosalynn Carter and
the newly designated Chautauqua Assembly of Plains, Ga. into the
Chautauqua Trail, a nationwide network of communities that trace their
origins to the Chautauqua Movement.
Plains, pop. 634, "is not a sleepy little town anymore," said
the former first lady, who led efforts to establish a Chautauqua
Assembly. With 11 churches, cotton, corn and, of course,
"it would be a wonderful thing if we could get a Chautauqua Assembly
going in Plains," Mrs. Carter told delegates at a DeFuniak Springs,
Fla. conference last month.
The newly organized Chautauqua Trail -- created around 14 surviving
Chautauqua communities in the U.S. and Canada -- will hold its national
meeting in Mt. Gretna July 25-28.
COUNT on those Winterites to come up with something special for February.
This month it's Campmeeting resident Kathy Wall, a specialist in senior
caregiving, who invites everyone to come with their favorite book from
childhood in mind (or in hand if you've still got a copy).
Treasure Island, My Friend Flicka, Winnie the
Pooh, Cinderella, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty?
All are grist for this month's gathering at the Mt. Gretna fire hall,
starting promptly at 1 pm, Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Memories and "yummy goodies" are what Kathy and her friends --
Vic and Judy Bojko, Mary Ellen McCarty, Sharon Solie and Walter and
Claudette Steele have in store, says Winterites leader Donna Kaplan.
The session, complete with desserts and beverages on tablecloths provided
by Nancy and John Mitchell of La Cigale (and stitched together by
energetic Mt. Gretna Heights volunteer Annie Roach), starts at 1 pm. It's
open to all, including men, who are encouraged to come and bring a
friend, says Ms. Kaplan (tel. 964-2174). "Everyone who spends their
winters in and around Mt. Gretna is welcome, she says. Winterites annual
dues are $10; proceeds benefit the fire company.
GRAND ILLUMINATION plans for 2013? Barb Kleinfelter and Karl Gettle are
already at work to add decorative touches that will enhance this year's
national birthday celebration.
One of the first ideas to emerge is a Flag Basket that will not only make
porches more festive but also hold magazines, sewing supplies and other
items. It'll feature a Besty Ross "stars in a circle"
design, based on the flag which, according to some, made its first
appearance in the 1790s.
Other ideas for the celebration will be announced, along with details of
four special Tuesday afternoon paint-your-own decoration classes that
Barb will hold at the Hall of Philosophy in the weeks preceding this
year's Independence Day festivities.
Their major objective right now: "We want to remind people to start
planning and collecting decorations for Mt. Gretna's Grand
Illumination," says Karl. It'll again be held over two nights this year
-- on Thursday and Friday, July 4-5 -- to allow everyone a chance to
fully appreciate the lights and handiwork that go into this annual
VALENTINE'S DAY? Those Gretna Theatre folks know how to make it truly
memorable. Anybody can whip up a dozen roses, anybody can knock on the door holding a box of
chocolates, but only the GT pros know how to transform an ordinary winter
weekend into an unforgettable romantic interlude well in advance of the
Valentine's Day crowds -- with four Playhouse stars, sumptuous chicken
breast or beef tip entrees, entertainment including taxes and tip for
$48. All with a silent auction to boot, plus an optional overnight
"sweetheart" all-inclusive package to make it really special.
When we last checked they were working on this third
Round the Piano event
with Meet Me in St. Louis star Chris Vettel plus other three other Mt.
Gretna favorites to join him. Buy tickets online or call the
Better hurry. Catching an unforgettable night at the Lantern
might just be an impossible dream if you tarry. Saturday, Feb. 9,
starting at 6:30 pm.
For Mt. Gretna real estate, encouraging signs despite
uncertainty of tax impact
WHEN it comes to reading the tea leaves of Mt. Gretna real estate,
there's usually no better place to start than the statistics that Fred
That's because Schaeffer, a 30-year veteran of Mt. Gretna Realty, tallies
all sales of real estate, both public and private, whether or not they
are handled by real estate brokers and agents.
Viewed from one perspective, the number of homes that changed hands last
year may spur optimism in the Mt. Gretna marketplace, albeit one where totals
are tiny and trends difficult to detect.
Overall, 26 homes sold in 2012, more than than any year since 2007 (when
27 homes changed hands and housing prices approached all-time highs).
Yet the stats also show that housing prices still have a long way to go
on the road to recovery from peak years of 2007 and 2008. On a
price-per-square-foot basis, home prices were down 14.2% from the $183
average recorded in 2008.
The average price for a home sold in Mt. Gretna last year was $231,677,
up 11% over the levels of a year ago but down from $272,872 recorded in
2008. Schaeffer points out that last year's 11% gain may reflect an
increase in the number of sales in the Chautauqua, where home prices tend
to be higher.
Perhaps most telling: some Mt. Gretna homeowners awakened to market
realities last year. Original asking prices sometimes started out at
unrealistically high levels. Five of the 26 properties finally sold
anywhere from 30% to 42% below the original asking prices. Many others
dropped original prices by 10% to 20%.
The outlook for this year? Still unknown is the impact of the recent
countywide reassessment which sent property tax rates soaring sometimes
as much as 500 or 600 percent. Actual tax bills for homeowners, however,
probably won't be known until later this year after school districts
determine their tax rates.
Some homeowners have challenged their new assessments in preliminary and
formal hearings, often with mixed results. Although some have achieved
assessed value reductions of $125,000 or more, others have been left with
marginal or no changes. Appeals are now being processed by the Lebanon
County Court of Common Pleas.
Mt. Gretna's midwinter surprise
ICEBREAKER! The term calls up images of double-hulled, 16,000
long ton displacement vessels slicing through icy chunks in arctic
waters, bent on delivering emergency supplies to distant
Mission: crack through the ice. . .
Last month, with the sudden outbreak of 50-degree temperatures on
January's second weekend,
Sunny day, but still an icy dip.
sailors were out on the still partially frozen waters of Lake Conewago
in a canoe, slicing through. . . well, maybe a 1/8" film of ice,
bent on the single-minded objective of just having fun on a bonus
Photographer Tom Mayer, on assignment to catch "glimpses of a Mt.
Gretna summer on the first sunny day in January," spotted this
paddling pair (inset, left) near the lake's westernmost shore.
"They were playing 'ice breaker' along edges of the ice
At the eastern end of the lake, smoother sailing.
Tom. "First, they would paddle fast and ram into the ice. Then,
they'd use their paddles to escape from the broken ice. I have no
idea who they were," he said, "but they seemed to be enjoying
Two hours later, at the opposite end of the lake (right), Milton
Hershey School horticulturalist and Campmeeting resident Nan McKay --
also a photographer given the same assignment -- spotted another pair
out on the lake plying the waters in a more conventional way as they
pursued the pleasures of a summer-like afternoon in their canoe, even
though the temperatures were still 30 degrees shy of a day in June.
Meanwhile, Minnesota native Katie Carpenter, a WITF-TV producer who's
now a Campmeeting resident, also volunteered to take a walk through Mt.
Gretna to capture a few additional pictures for this photo essay.
"I love exploring Mt. Gretna," she says,
"especially with camera in hand because it helps me to stop and
appreciate the little details of each season.It really has helped me
feel like this is home.
"I love the tall trees, the light reflecting on the
still lake, the mossy steps, cozy cottages and the beauty of the spring
colors. Wow. I like the mild winters, too, even though, as a Minnesota
girl, I'd like to see snow more often on the rail trail."
Galileo Thermometer hits 68 degrees
temperatures climbed toward 70 degrees on Katie's Galileo
Thermometer (left), these spirited guys needed little prompting to romp
though the day over at the Campmeeting playground.
No excuse needed to romp on a midwinter afternoon.
Visitors discover the magic of midwinter.
Wending her way through
Awaiting Independence Day candles
park and heading toward the lake photographer Katie came upon visitors
along the trail, finding that even though the leaves are gone the
mysteries and pleasures of a Mt. Gretna winter are not.
As Veda Boyd, a former resident who spent three decades
here (and whose story appears elsewhere in this issue) told us the
other day, "I think you have a deeper appreciation of the seasonal
changes in Mt. Gretna because of the trees, the cottages, the
quaintness of everything. It gives you such a euphoric feeling when the
Veda spent three decades here as a year round resident.
Even though the lures of grandchildren who live elsewhere are powerful,
such memories never leave.
Sure enough: A brief summer-like interlude on a weekend in
the middle of what is turning out to be a surprisingly cold Mt. Gretna
winter can teach many lessons. It's a part of the treasure.
Another 'meet the neighbors" party coming
as lakeside residents extend a big welcome mat
WHEN it comes to planning social events, those folks who live across
the lake know how to do it.The magic keys: simplicity -- and a big,
wide welcome mat for everyone in Mt. Gretna.
"Come if you can, invite your friends, make your own reservations,
order from the menu, pay your own bill and leave when you like:"
It's a kinetic formula that's evolved over the past three years to
build friendly turnouts and help casual acquaintances become good
That's exactly the recipe they'll apply for their gathering on Friday,
Feb. 8 at the Timbers -- a midwinter party for no other purpose
than to welcome newcomers, renew friendships, and meet people you may
never have met before.
While the original idea was to get neighbors together (from Timber
Hills, along Lakeview Drive, in tiny nooks like Timber Lane and Timber
Cove, on Conewago Hill and in Timber Bridge), event planners are going
out of their way this year to make sure that everyone feels
welcome -- regardless of where they live in Mt. Gretna and surrounding
communities. "Bring your friends along," says planning
committee member Barbara Close. "The whole idea is to get to know
The fun starts at 5 pm with dinner ordered at your leisure, anytime
after 6 pm.
Reservations: Call the Timbers at 964-3601.
Have questions? Call Ms. Close at 964-2184. If you'd like to add your
name to the mailing list for future lakeside social events, drop a note
to Patsy Oburn (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Evelyn
"SO COLD it hurts," was the
way one reader described Mt. Gretna's topsy-turvey winter so far.
As scenes in this issue show, the
extremes of January ranged from downright balmy to decidedly artic as
shiver-producing jet streams carved their way through the treetops.
Just how cold did it get? Bill Care says
records at the Mt. Gretna borough dipped to 10 degrees Tuesday, Jan.
That sent photographer Bill Shoals into
action. Undaunted by the cold, he was out on Jan. 24 to capture this
icy scene at the waterfall just east of Mt. Gretna, along Rte. 117.
Lowest temp on record? Bill Care recalls that
it hit 19 below zero in 1994. That was the year Mt. Gretnans will
likely never forget: 89 inches of snow piled up during the winter,
collapsing the Playhouse.
Nothing like that has happened since. But, no
matter what the groundog says, don't go to the bank on it. Even in an
era of global warming, you never know what lies just ahead.
ONE problem with most job titles today
is that it's hard to tell what people actually do. Timber Hills
resident Patsy Oburn, winding up a career with the U.S. Government this
spring, may have solved that problem. She sent friends and relatives an
her agency published last month.
As program manager of the Defense Contract
Management Agency's Combating Trafficking in Persons Integrated Process
Team, Patsy's "a sharp cookie," says neighbor Evelyn Koppel.
Patsy makes sure that regardless of where they are in the world,
employees of firms hired by the U.S. government have a right to the
same standards of fairness, dignity and respect from their employers
that government workers themselves receive.
Maybe they should just say Patsy's in charge
of the Golden Rule. Here in Mt. Gretna, she's one of the spark plugs
who help plan, organize and stimulate social get-togethers for her
neighbors in TImber Hills.
connections: On a trip to represent the Pennsylvania Chautauqua at a
Chautauqua Assembly meeting in Florida, Jack and Jane Anderson (top
left and bottom right) ran into Tom and Carol Mayer (top right and
bottom left), who plan to move next May to the Villages, located in
central Florida. Putting things in order at their new home there, the
Mayers ran into Evelyn Duncan (center), now a permanent Villages
resident who was honored as Mt. Gretna's 2002 Coghlan Award-winning
How many of us scoot off to Florida every
winter? We're not sure, but it's a bunch as many of us head for
America's sun spots. (Mt. Gretna's 2,500 summer population drops 40%
over the winter.) Count on most of them to return every summer,
however. Even Tom and Carol are penciling in regular trips back to Mt.
Gretna on their schedule as planned escapes from Florida's August
WELL, no, there's nothing especially
remarkable about this Cedar Waxwing, which
showed up outside the Valley Road home of Mt. Gretna Bird
Club member Evelyn Koppel last month, just in time to test out her new
In midwinter, even a masked bandit finds pickings are
Except, that is, he's almost the only game in
town these days. "We're seeing very few birds this
winter," she says.
Normally, we can count on Evelyn and husband Sid
Hostetter to come up with a wintertime oddity or two.
Birds like Icky, the Sandhill Crane
that made an unscheduled landing a few years ago, several hundred miles
off his normal flight track and stayed the entire winter. Or that Ash
Throated Flycatcher, which set off bird tracker alarms across the
country in 2009 -- the fourth such sighting in Pennsylvania
Thus far, however, nothing.
So an ordinary Cedar Waxwing takes center stage. Come to
think of it, however, with that bandit mask, bright yellow tail and
red-flecked feathers, he (or she) is not so ordinary. And in midwinter,
during a slow news month, any bird (like any dream) will do.
Mt. Gretna actress and author Veda Boyd
A taste of life
and then some
CURIOUS thing about cookbooks. Some of the best might never have seen
the light of day without the prodding of those who've tasted their
"At 77, the last thing I wanted to do is take on another book
project," says Veda Boyd. She'd already done several, including a
frankly autobiographical novel based on her own turbulent life that
landed her alongside Mother Teresa, Condoleeza Rice, Mary Kay Ash and
others in an anthology of 365 stories of women whose stories have
inspired other women.
"My children and grandchildren begged me to assemble my mother's
recipes which I loved growing up on Fulton Street in Manheim and which
they came to love as well," says Veda, who spent over 30 years in
Mt. Gretna. "Finally, I decided that a cookbook of family recipes
would be a nice legacy to leave," she says.
No, you can't buy it on Amazon.com, but Veda printed it privately and
sells a few extra copies to friends, relatives and customers at a
children's toy store near Charlotte, NC where she works part-time. (To
order a copy, drop her a note at email@example.com.)
Never heard of Veda Boyd? That probably qualifies you as a genuine Mt.
Gretna newbie. For 17 years, Veda ran the Mt. Gretna Sampler, a gift
shop that now houses Gretna Emporium next to the Jigger Shop. Before
that she was an actress at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse, co-starring with
Katherine Claypool in productions like "Dear Me, The Sky is
Falling." (That's where she first discovered that speaking with a
Jewish accent came naturally. "It was so much fun," she
says.) She also helped spark tennis tournaments in the days of the Mt.
Gretna clay courts, procuring autographed Ivan Lendl tee shirts for the
For many summers she and her family were regulars at the Mt. Gretna
Lake, enjoying caviar, cream cheese and crackers and sipping wine with
friends such as Dr. Charles and Marla Pitt, who still live on
Came to Stay
(the novel based on her life and still available on Amazon.com) both
launched her career as an inspirational speaker and helped secure her
place in the anthology, Sisterhood
of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference.
A life well-lived? You could say that, but spend a few minutes with
Veda and you know that it wasn't easy. "I experienced frequent
physical abuse. I survived traumatic flights to Europe -- once when we
almost ditched in the ocean. I was shot at in Paris by the Algerians.
I've escaped and been spared death many times.
"You don't escape that many times and be given another chance
unless there's a purpose for your life. That's what I've discovered in
my 77 years -- half of them living it the wrong way and the other half
living it the right way. Believe me, there are many more benefits to
doing it the right way," she says.
Her first book, which took three and a half years to write, "was
like giving birth to my first child," she says. "The bottom
line is that God can take the worst situation you could possibly have
and turn it around for good."
3d Consecutive year of growth in both
membership and activity levels reported for 2012 by Mt. Gretna United
Methodist Church, offering 8:30 and 10 am services at Fourth Street and
Boehm Avenue in the Campmeeting. This year's focus: programs for youth.
Pastor Mike Remel welcomes ideas and suggestions from the community.
$1,500 or more. The
savings possible through a Lawn Ambulance subscription should you ever
need emergency transportation to the hospital. Lawn's team of
highly trained volunteers covers virtually all Mt. Gretna
neighborhoods, including the Campmeeting and Mt. Gretna Heights. They
even have a cooperative agreement with neighboring ambulance services
so your fees are covered even if they can't respond because they're already tied up on other calls.
Coordinator Steve Mrozowski says a Lawn ambulance subscription
works like an insurance policy. You'll incur no added out-of-pocket
costs other than any insurance deductibles or copays should you need
transport to local hospitals, including those in Hershey and Lancaster.
If you haven't yet signed up for the service, check it out online at www.lawnems.com or call
A midsummer glimpse of Mt. Gretna in
Faded shuffleboard signs recall fond memories
WHEN I was a summer kid in Mt. Gretna in the mid-1970s, I felt like the
place was deteriorating around me.
Stone steps to Campmeeting adventures
There were cottages that had been closed for years with no
sign of their owners; the buildings of the Mt. Gretna Park, Otterbein
Lodge, Melrose's store, and the Kauffman Mansion all stood empty and
'Governor Dick's' enclosed springhead at the Frog Pond had
been buried by years of runoff. A group of friends and I spent the
weekend of my twelfth birthday digging out the mud to reveal the 18th
century stones around the spring. (Bet you didn't know that, Heights
Apart from the Kauffman Mansion (now revived as the Mt.
Gretna Inn) and the spring, all the buildings I mentioned in the
previous paragraph are gone now.
I don't really miss the feeling of faded decay that
permeated Mt. Gretna during my pre-teen years -- I feel like Gretna has
undergone a renaissance since then. But hints remain here and there of
summers that are mostly forgotten, and in 2012 I tried to document a
few of these in pictures. I call them my 'decaying Mt. Gretna'
Does anyone recognize these? Enjoy.
a cracked shuffleboard court, a speckled railroad marker and an
abandoned porch where laughter once reigned
wife and mother Elizabeth Wein spent summers growing up at the home of
her grandmother Betty Flocken, who still lives in Mt. Gretna Heights.
She is the author of six books including "Code Name: Verity,"
a current New
York Times best-selling novel for young adults. She now lives in
Scotland but continues to visit Mt. Gretna as often as she can.
power goes out,
gives top priority to outages affecting the greatest numbers of
people. Your call not only helps pinpoint the scope of an outage but
may also speed repair crews to Mt. Gretna.
the call even though your neighbors might also have reported the
outage, advise company officials.
do lights often flicker but not go out altogether during
storms? It's Met-Ed's adaptive relay system, says spokeswoman Karen
Baxter. "It gives power lines a chance to 'self-heal,'" she
says. "We use it only during storms. Often, a branch will hit a
line and then fall off. Under the old system, that branch would cause a
fault, and a truck would have to be dispatched to fix it. With the new
system, if the line goes out for a couple of seconds, it tries to close
again. If it can, it self-heals, and no one has to go out to make the
repair. It's annoying because sometimes the power can be off just long
enough for you to have to reset your clocks, but it does save maybe a
three-hour outage if you must wait for a line truck," she says.
NOTE: In extreme weather conditions, the Mt. Gretna Fire
Company provides emergency shelter during power outages lasting more
than three hours. Bring medications and medical equipment; a sleeping
bag or blanket and pillows; food for yourself and family members;
books, games and other materials to help pass the time; and, if the
stay is likely to be for several days, a change of clothes. Sorry, no
facilities are available for pets.
STONE (1930 - 2013)
Stone, a native of Lebanon and long-time resident of Mt. Gretna, died
at her home Jan. 20 at age 82, surrounded by her family. The widow of
Luther W. Stone, whom she married in 1951, she had enjoyed the outdoors
of Mt. Gretna, arts and crafts, volunteer work and time -- especially
vacations -- with an extensive family, including three sons, two
daughters and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A complete obituary
Depending on their point of view, those who thought we'd escape with
yet another mild winter this year were suddenly shocked or delighted to
discover a late-arriving winter storm in their midst -- one which
blanketed the area with a wispy layer of snow as January headed into
its final weekend.
For photographers like Campmeeting resident Jane Mourer,
who captured this late-night scene at left, the unexpected invitation
to capture vistas like this, amid the glow of street lamps aided by the
light of a full midwinter moon, was almost irresistible.
Below, on a Sunday afternoon as the snow began to melt,
Elaine Hartman, who lives on nearby Mine Road, joined the cavalcade of
photographers who grabbed their cameras and, hiking through areas like
the 121-year-old Campmeeting, came upon sun-speckled scenes like this.
Is it a stretch to imagine that such sights might prompt even confirmed
snowbirds to scratch their heads and wonder whether, when it comes to
getting the most out of life, winters in places like Sarasota and Palm
Springs are truly better?
Calendar updates and stuff to post on the fridge
Luise Christensen-Howell, one of the artists at Mt.
Gretna's Gallery at La Cigale, will display her stained glass work in
an exhibition that runs throughout this month and benefits Aurora
Social Rehabilitation Services for adults with mental illness.
tonight (Feb. 1)
at The Gallery at Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art,
above the Lebanon Farmer's Market on South 8th St.
SATURDAY, FEB. 2
Groundhog Day. Look for Penny along Rte. 117, 9 to 11 am
with donuts, coffee, waves and good cheer. (She'll be at Mt. Gretna
Nursery School Fri. Feb. 1.)
SUNDAY, FEB. 3:
SouperBowl Sunday at Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church. Following the 10 am
worship service members prepare their favorite soup for a luncheon and
invite all in the community to join them. (Please bring a donation or
can of soup for the food bank.)
Two $10.95 cheese pizzas for $15.95? Perfect for watching
those new Anheuser-Busch commercials. . . and the tantalizing Mt.
Gretna Pizzeria special cooked up for the Big Game
by Damien and Rose. They'll be open til 8 pm. Call in your orders:
964-1853. (Their biggest Super Bowl order ever? 12 pizzas plus a 5 ft
TUESDAY, FEB. 5:
Favorite books from childhood: that's this month's theme
at the Winterites (see "Insights," above). Bring your books,
stir your memories with Kathy Wall and friends, Dessert served. Starts
at 1 pm. All welcome, including men. At Mt. Gretna fire hall.
FRIDAY, FEB. 8
"Meet the Neighbors" gathering at the Timbers:
Folks in the Timber Hills area invite all in the community to come and
bring their friends. Just make your own reservations (964-3601), order
from the menu, pay your own bill and leave when you like. For details,
see article this issue or call Barbara Close, 964-3601. Starts 6 pm.
SATURDAY, FEB. 9:
Love 'Round the Piano, a pre-Valentine's Day special
event by Gretna Theatre at the Lantern Lodge, starting 6:30 pm. See
SUNDAY, FEB. 10:
"From Iron to Steel," the 150-year saga of the
Coleman family by Jim Polczynski (inset), 2 pm at Mt. Gretna fire hall.
See story, this issue.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 13:
The first of two meetings South Londonderry Twp.
supervisors plan this year in Mt. Gretna. At the Timbers, starting at 7
Lenten services begin at 7 pm at Cornwall United
Methodist Church and continue each Wednesday at churches in Quentin,
Rocherty, Rexmont, Mt. Gretna and Cornwall Manor until Good Friday,
THURSDAY, FEB. 14:
Valentine's Day Spectacular at Le Sorelle Porch and
Pantry Cafe. Menu choices (advance
orders required) include Baked Salmon stuffed with crab meat; Chicken
Saltimbocca with ham, Swiss cheese and tomato; Boneless Pork Chop with
baked apple cranberry stuffing and gravy; and homemade Fettuccine Alfredo.
(Reservations required by Feb. 11. See full details online
or call 717-269-3876.)
Valentine's weekend specials (Feb. 14-16) at the Timbers
include Norwegian salmon with pesto, filet mignon with portobella
bordelaise, broiled scallops in bacon with teriyaki sauce, and Chicken
Florentine. With pianists Ron Waters and Andy Roberts on Thursday and
Friday 6 to 9 pm. Tel. 964-3601
SUNDAY, FEB. 17:
Confirmation classes for 12-14 year-olds begin at Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church. For information, call the church:
SATURDAY, FEB. 23:
Another in Gretna Music's series of the most challenging
works ever composed for piano. Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata
delights audiences and sends chills down the spines of even
accomplished performers. Pianist Joel Fan takes up the challenge at
Leffler Hall, Elizabethtown College, 7:30 pm. For performance and
pre-concert and dinner: order online
or call 717-361-1508.
Basic Boating, a PA Fish and Boat Commission one-day
course for safety certificates required of anyone 10 or older who
operates a boat, at the Gov. Dick Nature Center off Pinch Road. To
register, call 964-3808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Course
cancelled if fewer than 10 sign up.) Hours: 9 am to 5 pm.
the last Sunday afternoon of January, skaters finally get their
chance on the lake .
Jane Mourer photo
Gretna's new year-round
calendar appears online, a service of
the Mt. Gretna Arts Council. Email listings and updates to Jennifer
Veser Besse at email@example.com
unofficial community newsletter is merely a retirement hobby, much like
woodworking, golf or fishing might be for others. It has no attachment
to any particular group or organization nor any political or commercial
ax to grind. It produces no income but provides enormous quantities of
personal satisfaction because it keeps me engaged with life and in
touch with interesting, talented and kind people, many who have come to
cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV
and other media with greater skills, wisdom, energy and other
resources. Generally speaking, I try to cover things that people have
not already read elsewhere. Yet since the majority of readers live
outside Mt. Gretna, sometimes this letter summarizes events already
covered by local newspapers. I also depend on readers to alert me to
news, including obituaries, relating to present and former Mt.
I send it by e-mail to anyone who asks, without charge and with no
expectation of anything other than a gentle prodding when I err. It is
not available by U.S. mail, although many readers kindly print copies
themselves and mail them to friends and relatives who don't have
preparing each issue, I like to keep in mind the example set by the
late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who felt listeners
had invited him into their homes. I also value the practical guidance
of Rotary International's Four-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say or
Do: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build
goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all
concerned?" While that might not be a practical standard for most
journalists, I find it a useful guideline for writing a community
newsletter and also for living a life.
to get this newsletter out on the first day of each month unless I'm
traveling, ailing or attending to personal duties that sometimes must
take a higher priority. This year, with 2013 travel plans again in the
offing, I may have to skip one or two months.
It is impossible to adequately thank the many people who help me gather
the news, take the photos, then edit, fact-check and proofread this
newsletter. They include people with special skills and in-depth
knowledge of Mt. Gretna who live both here in this community as well as
in places such as New York City, St. Paul, Minn., and Camp Hill and
If you have difficulty reading or printing the newsletter, please click
on the online version -- http://mtgretna.com/news which
appears through the courtesy of friends at Gretna Computers.
you have difficulty seeing the pictures or adjusting text size to fit
your screen, click on the "click here" hyperlink which
appears just above the masthead.
archive, I'm told, sometimes proves helpful to people planing to move
here and who want to know more about this community, which the late
Marlin Seiders famously called "not a place, but a spirit."