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The Mt. Gretna Newsletter

Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."   Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)

No. 119                                                                    June 1, 2011

Signs of renewal as season begins 

Something happens at the start of a new summer season in Mt. Gretna. Something altogether reassuring. An optimistic spirit springs forth, a sense that whatever else is going on in the world, something good is about to happen here. it's simply the echoes of our heritage, a mission embedded in our core more than a century ago. Indefinable, lending itself never to precise analysis, it is yet something that awakens in those who come to make their homes here an inescapable North Star -- a notion that the more we give of ourselves, the richer we become. It is related to another motive force, one alluded to recently by Thomas Becker, the head of the Chautauqua Institution in New York, which 119 years ago lit the spark that captured the fancy of Mt. Gretna founder Robert H. Coleman. It goes like this: The more we discover about our world, the more readily we become engaged in a contributory life.

It is a spark that radiates through those engaged in performing, presenting and perpetuating the arts here. And few among us are more upbeat than they. Gretna Theatre's Larry Frenock, who directs operations there with the skill, persistence and assured touch of a pro in every sense of that word, has helped guide the theatre through turbulent seas to a bright future. The season already is off to a soaring start with last month's blockbuster opening by Shirley Jones. Just ahead is a cavalcade of shows that include hits like My Fair Lady, A Little Night Music and Funny Girl.

Others transmit that energy as well. Those responsible for guiding the destiny of Music at Gretna, Michael Murray and Carl Kane among them, understand the difference between attracting the greatest number of people and setting an artistic standard. Theirs is a mission of bringing out the best, presenting not simply what others can duplicate. They adhere to a tradition that places Music at Gretna still "among the best," as TIME magazine put it nearly three decades ago.

And still others add to the ascendant pulse, even in times when many are giving up. Mt. Gretna's Cicada Festival, Organ Recital Series, Bible and Heritage Festivals and nascent Bluegrass stirrings touch the hearts and minds of those seeking more than entertainment. It is a quest that for many often reaches deeply into the soul.

This season's plan for a Grand Illumination throughout this collection of communities as Mt. Gretna holds promise as a signature event. One that no other village can duplicate. It will honor the spirit of freedom as no other Central Pennsylvania community can. And it will be a time when Mt. Gretnans -- illuminating their homes and porches to celebrate the nation's birthday -- will put their indelible stamp on a central theme: Freedom is not free. And it is, at all costs, vital to preserve.

Add it all up and the question remains: Is the path ahead easy or assured? Not on your life. But thanks to those who persevere, thanks to those who believe theirs is a contributory role, Mt. Gretna's future has never looked brighter.


Competing with over 700 athletes from 15 states

In Test of Fitness, a Mt. Gretnan Shines

When they awarded medals at last month's triathlon, 61-year-old Pat Allwein (left) was the only Mt. Gretnan to finish among the winners. Competing in the category for wome 60 to 64, the Campmeeting athlete again placed first, completing the race in 1 hour, 57 minutes.

Just how fast is that?

Consider this: The overall first-place finisher was barely 50 minutes faster. And that was a guy, Daryl Weaver of Lititz, 24 years her junior who also took top honors last year. They competed over a course that included a 500-yard swim in the nippy waters of Lake Conewago, a 16-mile bike race up and over the mountain, and a 3.1-mile run along roads surrounding the lakeside starting point.

Other Mt. Gretnans included Bill Gifford and Brian Spangler. They joined 780 other athletes who registered for the event from 15 states, including Colorado and South Dakota. Among those with ties to Mt. Gretna was 29-year-old Timothy Otto, a Philadelphian whose family's links to this area extend over several generations. He finished fifth overall with a time of 1:12:28.

Another with historical ties to Mt. Gretna was T.J. Jordan, 43, a Lancaster banker and the great-great nephew of Nell Pontz, who finished with a time of 1:23:41. You remember Nell, of course. She was the young woman who dared to bare her forearms for a turn-of-the-century postcard photographer along Lake Conewago. The episode scandalized her parents, who scooped up every card they could get their hands on. That sent values of non-confiscated cards soaring on eBay a century later.

One hand. No legs. Big smile.

"This was a great year for us," said race organizer Chris Kaag, a physical fitness advocate who was struck by a degenerative nerve condition at 21 and now, 14 years later, devotes his life to raising money to help other disabled people "get up and move." Funds earned through the Mt. Gretna race -- perhaps $30,000 to $40,000 this year -- go to help purchase specialized cycling equipment for children and adults who've lost arms, legs or sometimes both. (Some Mt. Gretna Newsletter readers use the photo of one of the race's beneficiaries -- inset, right -- as a screen saver. . .a reminder that despair, in the comparatively buoyant lives of most of us, is inappropriate. If you'd like a copy, drop us a note with the subject line: "Screen Saver.")

Chris' foundation, IM ABLE, is gaining a national reputation. His story appears online at  



Carnival Fun(draiser) Coming June 11:

A Campmeeting Playground For All of Mt. Gretna 

It's sometimes amazing what Mt. Gretnans can do once they make up their minds to make a difference.

Without state grants, government funding or a trace of taxpayer revenues, the Campmeeting Playgound will spring to life once again on June 11 for its third annual festival.

In a small village, in tough economic times, and without many resources to draw on, the playground is a minor miracle. It also is a tribute to private

donors, energized volunteers and the empowering force of a vision.

Is the June 11 carnival to be a fundraiser? Yes, but one held in a newly-enclosed with brightly painted slides, new climbing bars and swings and other equipment that's already paid for.

What the fundraising is all

about, therefore, is a goal of adding to funds the Campmeeting Association already provides to keep the fun going all summer long.  

Near the fully-restored shuffleboard court is a picnic are kitchen and a gazebo, where parents can relax while they watch their youngsters at play. Both the gazebo and the newly outfitted kitchen

are the gifts of private donors.

"We consider this playground, which will be named Heritage Park, a gift to everyone in Mt. Gretna,

" says Rachel  

Schmalhofer, one of the leaders of the restoration effort and a parent herself. "It's open to everyone," she says. Rachel and Stephanie Lamont Bost, also a mom and the former co-owner of Le Sorelle cafe, led the effort to raise money and equip the playground.

Among those they credit with helping in the cause are: Scott and Jane Zellers, who donated the gazebo and provided a stove, sink and bathroom for the summer kitchen (inset, below); Merv and Irene Lentz, who a popcorn machine that will be used at the upcoming carnival; Le Sorelle Porch and Pantry, which has donated food for the past two carnivals; Fred Swarr, who created the new Heritage Park sign; Fred Seltzer, who repainted the see-saws, balance beam, playhouse and fire truck (inset, above); artist Ellen Nicholas, who decorated a bench and the fire truck, then transformed an ordinary playhouse into a "Three Little Pigs" haven. "Plus everyone who volunteered to run a game or cook hot dogs at the carnival," says Rachel. In addition to these gifts of time and talent, there was the $30,000 gift from an anonymous donor who simply wanted to "make things better for the children of Mt. Gretna." A miracle? Yes, but miracles sometimes happen when energies build foundations under dreams.

Planning to attend this year's carnival?

Here's what you need to know:

Date: Saturday, June 11.

Time: 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

On tap: Face painting, games, golf cart rides, moon bounce, pony rides, hot dogs, popcorn, and homemade treats. Plus raffle tickets (on sale at Gretna Emporium) for a two-night stay (with lunch vouchers) at the Hilton Harrisburg.

Tickets: $5 each; all proceeds go to the playground.



The July 4 Grand Illumination

Dave Adams Photo

An Independence Day Celebration as Only Mt. Gretna Can Do It

When bells ring out next month to celebrate the Fourth of July, Mt. Gretna will add its distinctive touch: A Grand Illumination that traces its origins to the earliest days of Chautauqua and Campmeeting communities across America.

"Let Freedom Ring" is the theme of a communitywide Grand Illumination -- one expected to become a signature event in Mt. Gretna as porches are decorated patriotic themes to herald the spirit of freedom.

At dusk, following a patriotic concert at the Playhouse by the Keystone Band of Rehrersburg and the traditional lighting of candles in Chautauqua Park, everyone from Timber Bridge, Conewago Hill and Timber Hills to the Chautauqua, the Campmeeting, Stoberdale and Mt. Gretna Heights will be asked to illuminate their homes and porches. It promises to be a sweeping display of lights and decorative Liberty Bells as residents everywhere join in the celebration.

Dave Adams Photo

At 9 p.m., the Ringing of the Bells will begin at the Tabernacle and above the Playhouse, honoring this year's Grand Illumination theme, "Let Freedom Ring," says organizer Karl Gettle.

His committee includes members from each of the Mt. Gretna neighborhoods: Max Hunsicker in the Heights, Joyce Ebright in Timber Bridge, Evelyn Koppel in Timber Hills, Bruce Gettle in the Campmeeting, Laura Feather in Conewago Hill and Barb Kleinfelter in the Chautauqua.

Barb will also be leading classes in Liberty Bell decorations at the Hall of Philosophy every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., starting June 14. "We've already cut out the wooden bells for you," she says. "Now come paint them for the Grand Illumination." The bell shapes will be on sale every Saturday outside the post office, with proceeds going to the Mt. Gretna Fire Company and the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society.

"People don't necessarily have to use our bells," says Karl, "but we'd like to see them make Liberty Bells a centerpiece of whatever decorations they choose for Independence Day. All we're asking is that they illuminate their porches on July 4th to honor the nation's birthday."




Doodle Stakes His Claim to a Place in the Sun  

For a newcomer of dubious lineage, Doodle -- the irascible rooster -- has made quite a name for himself.   

After making his escape one morning outside the pizza shop from the back of a pickup loaded with chickens that some suspect were stolen, Doodle took a sudden liking to his unexpected new home. As the first order of business, he had to escape from a crack team of SPCA captors. Then he evaded Mt. Gretna's firefighters, some of the best in the business when it comes to catching cats on rooftops and other assorted prey. Finally, when they called in a Mississippi chicken-catcher with mysterious skills that included a paralyzing whistle that left ordinary chickens stupefied, the wily Doodle soared into the treetops, certifying his credentials as genuinely unreachable, uncatchable and, well, in a community filled with PhDs, perhaps the smartest of them all.

Possessed of iron-willed determination, Doodle has carved out both his legend and his territorial rights. Alongside the pizzeria, he pecks daily at cheese curls, Cheerios and leftover pizza pickings with the air of a guy who owns the town. Which, come to think of it, he may.

Doodle: An icon perched on the precipice of immortality

Architect Bill Barlow honored Doodle by naming an award-winning soup after him in the 2010 Soup Cook-Off.  

Artist Betsy Stutzman put him on the cover of last summer's Calendar of Events.  

And now he's about to become enshrined in an 11" by 14" original oil painting, "Cheese Doodle," by wildlife artist and photographer Susan M. Afflerbach.

Her work will soon go on display at the Pizzeria, where she'll have framed prints on sale.

Her tribute to the high-strutting rooster is only one of several that Susan has painted for notables that have made their way toward stardom in Mt. Gretna's lexicon. She also painted the famous "Upside Down Icky" to honor Icabod, the wayward Sandhill Crane that made an uncharted landing here a year ago and stayed around for an entire winter.

Susan has a special feeling for animals, particularly those, like Doodle, determined to live out life on their own terms. After 26 years of working in corporate offices, she found cubicle life increasingly "suffocating." She and husband Gregg had recently moved to Spring Hill Acres and a home once owned by Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and former Mt. Gretnan) Bill Ecenbarger. "I'd always been creative, but always it was with music. Yet when I moved into this setting, the impulse to start painting just came out of nowhere. I credit the wildlife with getting me started.

"For me, the best part of the day was coming home to the deer, which would follow me up the driveway. I've always loved animals, and my goal is to express their feelings and personalities. I hope that my paintings help others to see our world through the eyes of the innocent."

Online displays of her paintings and photographs show the scope of her talents. And her latest achievement -- a tribute to the indomitable Doodle -- could rank among this summer's artistic highlights.



Can they put Mt. Gretna back together again?

Jack Heisley, who moved to Timber Hills from Philadelphia 14 years ago, thinks it's time to put Mt. Gretna back to the way it was before the neighborhoods of Timber Hills, Timber Bridge and Conewago Hill became a part of South Londonderry Township.
The 74-year-old insurance broker is spearheading a move to unite those areas with Mt. Gretna Borough. It's an ambitious goal -- one that would likely require the majority of voters in both municipalities, which some regard as a long shot.
Heisley nevertheless thinks the move would send a message to township officials, for whom he says "Mt. Gretna is out of sight and out of mind."
As evidence, he points to the township's recent decision to spend $500,000 for land to create a park that he says, "we didn't want, didn't approve and probably will never use."
He says he's spoken with many of his neighbors who "tell me they're tired of paying more and getting less than folks who live on the opposite side of Route 117."
He sees many advantages to merging with the borough: "We'd suddenly get leaf pickups, shorter bus rides to school, more comprehensive police coverage, consolidated sanitary sewer services and other things that South Londonderry's overstretched budget simply can't provide. We pay top dollar in taxes but get services which -- at best -- can only be described as minimal," he says. Others say they'd want to look carefully at what any new arrangement would mean in terms of taxes before they leap onto the bandwagon.
It's a question Heisley and others will explore this summer. If you'd like to share your ideas, email him at or call 964-1994.


Flowers, yes, but Mary Also Knows a Thing or Two About Eggs

Back at her familiar stand for the 45th season, Mary Hernley was selling flowers in the middle of May, catching customers between rainy days, family gatherings and weekend trips to church conferences. As usual, she was dispensing advice when we caught up with her -- admittedly because we asked her for a bit of wisdom on the value of brown eggs. Along with flowers and her daughter's sticky

Madelaine Gray photo

buns, they're among her specialties.

Are they truly  better than white eggs? Brown eggs command higher prices at the supermarket, we'd noticed. And somehow something in the back of our mind had convinced us that brown eggs taste better.

Mary seemed to agree. She and husband Peter grow all brown eggs all the time.

How do you get brown eggs? "Well, with brown chickens," she said, adding a little smile that softly suggested that everyone, even Mt. Gretna types, ought to know that. We didn't.

Mary thinks the best eggs come from free range chickens. They produce the whitest whites, the yellowest yokes. She can't prove that, of course, but it's a hunch borne of experience. What she does know beyond a doubt is that brown chickens are calmer and less apt to "fly all over the place" every time she or Peter go into the barn to fetch their eggs.

So if it's true, as the Purdue ads say, that it takes a tough man to raise a tender chicken, is it equally true that bucolic chickens make for tastier eggs? Mary's not exactly claiming that. But her eggs, like her flowers and her daughter's sticky buns, put a lot of joy on the breakfast tables and in the hearts of Mt. Gretnans. Which is why we're glad she's back for her 45th year.


A Tuesday Morning Favorite Returns This Year  

Two of Mt. Gretna's most distinguished educators, both retired professors from Lebanon Valley College, will be in the lineup of speakers at this summer's Tuesday morning book reviews.  

Howard Applegate, who formerly headed the college's history department, will open the series at the Hall of Philosophy June 14 with a review of James Hirsch's biography of baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays . Paul Heise, a well-known economist and discussion leader at a popular Mt. Gretna forum, has selected 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and Next Financial Meltdown for his review Aug. 9.

Other books in the Tuesday morning series, which continues through Aug. 16,  include The World that Never Was: Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents, by Alex Butterworth; Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges; J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski; Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul; Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman; and Santa Evita by Tomas Eloy Martinez. Reviewers are members of the LVC faculty. All programs start at 9:45 a.m. For details on the college's other summer book review series, held at Cornwall Manor, click here


Better than psychotherapy?

Top Authority on Chinese Brush Painting Comes to Mt. Gretna

Betsy Stutzman, who owns a Mt. Gretna cottage even though her permanent home on Mine Road is less than two miles away, has the distinction of being the Campmeeting cottage owner with the shortest

Betsy savors the serenity

 commute. She is also one of Mt. Gretna's best-known artists.

Although friends say she's a professional, Betsy claims she's really just "a hobbyist that's gone awry." She uses her Mt. Gretna cottage as a studio where she sometimes invites friends over for "paint-togethers."

This month, however, she's sponsoring a different type of paint-together -- in the Mt. Gretna firehall. It's a class in brush painting by one of America's leading artists in that technique. Joan Lok is, in fact, president of the American Sumi-e (or Oriental brush painting) Society. Joan will be teaching classes in Sumi-e at the firehall June 24-25 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Joan teaches the touch


It's a technique Betsy loves. "When you're painting in that style, it's almost a Zen experience and you don't even have to know anything about art. It's such a peaceful feeling, you feel very close to nature, and suddenly you're drawn into a different part of the world," she says. 

Sounds like psychotherapy, only cheaper. "It's better than that. And the cost is only $160," says Betsy, who knows a thing or two about the Sumi-e experience. She was one of the Chinese brush painting association's top award winners in 2009, which is how she came to meet Joan Lok.

Space for Ms. Lok's classes is limited, and the deadline for signups is June 13. For details, drop an email note to Betsy,, or give her a call: 273-9719.




For exercise, nothing beats a five-mile walk. Except, perhaps, a five-mile walk wit a purpose.
Mt. Gretnans taking part in last month's "Steps to Survival" hike to raise money for the Lebanon Sexual Assault Resource Counseling Center included (inset) Sally Marisic, Jean Healy, Sid Hostetter and Evelyn Koppel.
Also participating in this third annual fundraiser were Madelaine Gray (who took the photo) and other Mt. Gretna friends including Susan Wood, Kathy Wall, Ann Reimel and Judy Bojko.
And the dog? That's Sally's Chloe, who, after a long winter and too many rainy days this spring, also romped through this opportunity to finally enjoy the outdoors. It happens every spring. If you'd like to join them sometime,
drop a note to Madelaine or call 964-3118.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brightest smile in Mt. Gretna? That's the vote Luis Cruz got on a recent Sunday morning from patron breakfasting at the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria, one of the few pizza parlors in America where you can also get scrambled eggs and bacon.
"He's always so polite," commented a woman who regularly stops in after church. "Somebody at home trained him well."
The good-natured 15-year-old hopes to become a chef someday. A student at Lebanon High School, he helps out at the pizza shop on weekends -- clearing tables, greeting diners and occasionally lending a hand to owners Damien and Elidio Orea in the kitchen.
No, he can't make pizzas yet. But he's already turning out salads, subs and cheese steaks. And with his winning smile and pleasant manner, pizza shop regulars are betting he'll someday run a restaurant of his own.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Playhouse this summer, and the odds are you'll catch a glimpse of a future Broadway star. Patrons who bought tickets to Gretna Theatre's production of "Big River" in 2006 saw Forrest McClendon, who played the role of a slave named Jim.
Last month, McClendon received a Tony Award nomination, the theater world's highest honor. He's currently appearing in "The Scottsboro Boys" on Broadway.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Do Playhouse concession stand volunteers have more fun? "It's a great way to meet new people, greet o friends as they head toward the auditorium and maybe catch a tune or two," says Gary Shrawder, who coordinates volunteer assignments.
Gary says that despite their popularity, there are still a few openings to fill in this summer's schedule. Translation: He NEEDS volunteers and is counting on YOU!
Give him a call (272-2284) or send him an e-mail: He'll match your availability with his openings.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Where do you find the fashionable ladies of Mt. Gretna? Not only are they among the most fashionable, but one is an always nattily attired insurance company executive, the other a prominent national authority on the science of meticulous dry cleaning. So would you expect to see them happily covered in mud on a Saturday morning in the Campmeeting's Butterfly Garden?
Not exactly. But former Campmeeting resident and insurance executive Deb Barnhart (inset, right) and dry cleaning consultant Jane Zellers ( left, in background) who lives in the Chautauqua, seemed delighted to be out on a rainy day in the middle of May to prepare a landing zone not only for butterflies but also for the swarms of children, parents and grandparents they hope will flock to the Butterfly Garden this summer.
Continuing an idea sparked in the 1990s by Edie Miller (now living in North Carolina with husband Tom, who formerly headed the Central Penn AAA), Jane and Deb are out every year tending to the garden. They've added foot paths, flowers, a bench and other touches to make the spot another welcome oasis. . . for serenity, sensibility and staying in touch with things that non-gardeners may never come to know.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  * Hannigan, who grew up in Mt. Gretna and now is principal oboist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (inset, right), scored a stunning triumph last month, mastering the breath-control challenges of Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto with "wonderfully warm tone and apparently limitless reserves of breath," said Dallas Morning News classical music critic Scott Cantrell.
That review no longer appears online, but Tim Hannigan, her dad (who formerly lived along Valley Road), sent us the newspaper clippings. If you'd like to see them,
drop us a note.
The superbly conditioned musician faces another challenge this fall. She was selected by lottery to run in the New York City Marathon Nov. 6.

* * * * * * * *  

Shy guy . . . or gal. Last year it was Icabod, the wayward Sandhill Crane who flew in for an unscheduled landing at the ice dam and stayed the whole winter. This year's surprise visitor? An American Bittern that suddenly turned up on Dick Brown's pond along Mine Road, just north of Mt. Gretna in late April.
"It's an unusual sighting and a weird bird," says Mt. Gretna Bird Club member Evelyn Koppel. "When feeling threatened, it holds its beak in the air to blend in with the weeds around it," she added.
The visitor hung around Dick's pond from April 25 until May 17, feeding on frogs and tadpoles. Then it vanished, apparently to migrate further north.
"American Bitterns are not exactly rare in this part of the country," he says, "but they're so hidden that few people ever see them. This is probably the third one I've ever seen. It was neat to observe such a secretive bird up close and for so long."
So did he give him (or her) a name? "I called it 'Ab,'" says Dick. He probably figured that whether the visitor turned out to be an Abby... or an Abraham, "Ab" was safe. Especially since only another Bittern would know for sure.  



Attention: Mt. Gretna Residents:

When power outages occur, don't tarry:

Keep this handy & call Met-Ed: 


Met-Ed gives top priority to power failures that affect the greatest numbers of people. Your call helps pinpoint the scope of an outage and could speed repair crews to Mt. Gretna. Make the call even if you're certain that your neighbors have also reported the outage. No, squeaky wheels don't always get oiled first, but it never hurts to light up the plotting grids at Met Ed.  


NOTE: During extreme weather conditions, the Mt. Gretna Fire Company provides emergency shelter in 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 pets.



With the growing threat of Lyme disease, many Mt. Gretnans now keep a tick key handy Sold at and local pet food and supply stores, they make it easy to remove ticks from humans and animals. Early signs of the disease may include "fever, headache, fatigue, depression and a circular skin rash.. In most cases, the infection and its symptoms are eliminated by antibiotics, especially if the illness is treated early," says a Wikipedia entry. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Iron Master's Mansion in Colebrook, site of the nation's fourth most productive blast until it closed in 1858, joined the National Register of Historic Places last summer. A brief history of the home, one of several built by the family of Mt. Gretna founder Robert H. Coleman, appears in the current South Londonderry Township newsletter.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Cornwall Area Architecture" is the theme of the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace annual dinner Wednesday, June 15. Bryan van Sweden, of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, will describe local buildings, offering tips on how architectural styles give clues to the community's evolution and how to preserve historic buildings and neighborhoods. Cost: $30. Deadline for reservations at Marabelle's restaurant, West Cumberland Street, is June 7; tel. 272-9711.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

At Govern Dick Park this month:
Mountain Bike Night Ride Friday, June 3, 7:15 pm.
National Trails Day Saturday, June 4; 1-3 pm. This family event simulates an Appalachian Trail hike for adults and, for youngsters, a Humpty Dumpty walk.
Music on the Porch Sunday, June 5; 1-4 pm. Patsy Kline (tel. 964-3797) and friends gather for Bluegrass and a traditional Appalachian workshop and jam session with acoustic instruments. Beginners and spectators welcome. 
History of Governor Dick Park Friday, June 24; 7 pm. 
Details: 964-3808 or email

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

At the Chautauqua tennis courts: John Condrack leads a tennis clinic for 8- to 14-year-olds, Friday, June 24. Details: Bob Moritz, 926-3662. Fee: $7.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Planning a trip through Virginia this month? Stop by the Arts Center in Orange, Va., and you're likely to see paintings with a familiar touch. In fact, they're the works of Mt. Gretna artist (and Elizabethtown College professor) Lou Schellenberg, who divides her time among Maine, Nova Scotia and Mt. Gretna. A month-long exhibit, "The Maine Event," starts June 2.




[] Where can I get the Mt Gretna postcard picture book? I've seen copies in people's homes and have checked at the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society, but none were available. I've heard that someone in the neighborhood has a box of copies. Do you know where they are?
<> As far as we've been able to determine, the only copies that remain of Michael Schropp's "Mt. Gretna: A Postcard History," published in 1977 are those in the hands of individual owners. Michael's brother, Jack Schropp, a former Navy SEAL who grew up in Mt. Gretna and now lives in Canada, thought that a few copies might be available through the
Lebanon County Historical Society, 924 Cumberland St. We checked. The only copies the Society has on hand are part of the official collection.

[] Can you please give me some information on the summer playground? What are the dates? Are the lovely Kim and Terri teaching again this year?

<> Kim Beiler and her mom, Terri, are indeed returning for the season (June 20 - August 20).

Kim's back

For Kim, this summer will be her third in Mt. Gretna.

The 22-year-old Manheim resident graduated last month from Lebanon Valley College and will start her teaching career this fall.

To enroll a youngster in Mt. Gretna's playground program, just stop by the playground and see Kim any weekday morning from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. Cost is $50 for the full season or $10 per week. Youngsters may be enrolled at any time. 

What makes her program so popular? "I love children," says Kim, who also enjoys thinking up special events like "Holidays Week" or "Around the World Week" when she adopts themes for five different countries. She also invites "community helpers" like the fire and police departments to stop by. And she occasionally strolls down the street (with usually eight to 20 youngsters in tow) to visit postmaster Steve Strickler.


Joan Buck (1923-2011)

It is easy to see why Joan Buck's obituary, published in Canada last month, referred to her "beloved" Mt. Gretna. Born some 300 miles east of London in the Welsh Community of Cwmdare, her birthplace is a village (with lakes, a post office and a pub) th calls to mind the community of Mt. Gretna, where she lived for nearly half a century. 
After her family moved to Alberta when she was three, Joan grew up on the prairies and later served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where she met her future husband, Dr. Conrad (Gus) Buck, during World War II. They had seven children and eventually settled in Mt. Gretna in 1960, just three years before Dr. Buck's death. Although she made many sacrifices for her children's welfare, her obituary notes that she "always remained cheerful, independent, and a gifted singer with a flair for the dramatic."
Active well into her 80s, she raked her own leaves, split her own wood and, at 86, made a remarkable recovery from a series of health crises. With the help of Don Frymyer, her companion of 40 years, she was able to return to her Mt. Gretna home for another two years. Following a fall this past February, she moved to Canada to be closer to several of her children. She died there on May 14. In addition to her children (Judy, Barbara, David, Connie, Jenny, Cameron and Sheilagh) she is survived by their spouses, 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned in Mt. Gretna this summer.

Earle M. Frankhouser (1916-2011)

Earle Frankhouser, 95, a former Mt. Gretna Borough councilman who once lived on Lebanon Avenue, died May 16 at Cornwall Manor. He was the husband of the late Eleanor Frankhouser, who died in 1987. A World War II veteran, he served in the Battle of the Bulge as well as the Battle of Germany. He retired as a civil engineer from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and was a long-time member of the Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church. He is survived by his daughters, Doris Glick and Nancy Bowman of Mt. Gretna and their families. An obituary appears online. Memorial contributions may be made to Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 427, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.



Updates & Offbeat

Stuff to 

Post on

The Fridge

"Big Junk Day." Bring on the dogs.

Saturday, June 4:

Community Potluck Supper at the firehall, 4:30 p.m. Yes, you need to tell them what you're bringing: 964-1830

Mondays June 6, 13, 20, 27:  

Bluegrass on the porch at La Cigale, next to the miniature golf course; every Monday around 6:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair. 


Thursday, June 9:

"My Fair Lady" opens at the Playhouse, runs through June 19.

Tuesdays, June 14, 21 & 28:

Liberty Bell decoration classes for a holiday destined to become Mt. Gretna's signature event: the July 4th Grand Illumination. Classes held at Hall of Philosophy, 2 to 6 p.m.


Saturdays, June 4, 11, 18, 25:Liberty Bell shapes sold at post office every Saturday morning.  

Saturday, June 11:  

Carnival at Campmeeting Heritage Park Playground, 12 to 2 p.m.

Sub and book sale, Mt. Gretna Fire Company, 10 a.m. 


Monday, June 13:

Deadline to sign up for Chinese brush painting classes June 24-25. (See story, this issue)

Mt. Gretna Library opens for the season, 10 a.m.   

Saturday, June 18: Heritage Festival opens at the Tabernacle, with New Orleans jazz, 7 p.m.  

Sunday, June 19:

"Big Junk Day" hot dog party at Thatcher Bornman's cottage, 108 Lancaster Avenue, around 6 p.m. A zany celebration that happens once a year, only in Mt. Gretna.  

Sunday, June 26:

New Holland Band in a 7:00 p.m. concert of patriotic and sacred music at the Tabernacle; one of the best.   

Wednesday, June 29:

Posit Science, a program to improve memory, 7:30 p.m. at the Hall of Philosophy. Don't forget about this one.   

Thursday, June 30-July 10:   

Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" at the Playhouse. What made Sondheim special? See this YouTube video



Other newsletters of interest:

Mt. Gretna Updates -- Issued as warranted to alert local residents to such matters as temporary road closings, utility repairs, shelter advisories for adverse weather and other conditions affecting people who live in the seven neighborhoods served by the Mt. Gretna post office. Send an e-mail request, with "LOCAL UPDATES" in subject line, to

This Week in Mt. Gretna -- Issued during summer months; a week-by-week listing of local events, sent by e-mail on request. To add your name to the mailing list, 

Mt. Gretna Arts Council Newsletter -- Now available only online (no mailed copies). Updated to include news concerning groups dedicated to the arts in Mt. Gretna, Calendar of Events, Summer Premier and Arts Council scholarships.Click here


Gretna Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events, schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List" at 

Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online at 

Mt. Gretna Bible Festival Newsletter -- Mailed in the spring and fall without charge. Send request to Bible Festival, P.O. Box 408, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.

Governor Dick Park Newsletter -- Online and by e-mail. (Summer 2011 issue just published.) See 

Cornwall Police Department E-Mail Bulletins -- issued as warranted to update residents on events of community interest, including crime alerts. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail request to 

South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at 

Campmeeting Newsletter -- Available online and mailed to residents.

Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay, 



This unofficial community newsletter has neither any attachment to a particular group or organization nor any political or commercial ax to grind. Mainly, it's a retirement hobby, much like woodworking, model airplane building, or fishing might be for others. It produces no income, but a great deal of personal satisfaction, mainly because it keeps us in touch with so many people who have come to be such very good friends.
We send it by e-mail to anyone who asks, without charge and with no expectation of anything other than a gentle prodding when we err.
We don't cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV and others with greater skills, resources and insights.
Generally speaking, we try to cover things that readers may not have already read elsewhere. Yet since the majority of our readers live outside of Mt. Gretna -- in other cities, states and countries -- we sometimes summarize local stories that appear in area newspapers. We also depend mightily on our readers to alert us to news, including local obituary notices, relating to present and former Mt. Gretnans.
In preparing each issue, we try to keep in mind the example set by the late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who felt as if listeners had invited him into their homes. 

We also value the practical wisdom 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?" It's a good guideline not only for writing a newsletter but also for conducting a life. Anchoring that guidance is the assurance that people may not remember what we did or said, but they will always remember how we made them feel. .
We've been writing this newsletter since January 2001, usually once a month unless we're traveling, ailing or attending to household duties that, in the interest of domestic tranquility, take a higher priority. 
We thank the many people who help us gather the news, take the photos, then edit, fact-check and proofread this newsletter. They include folks with special skills and knowledge of Mt. Gretna who live not only here but also in places like New York City, St. Paul, Minn., New Cumberland, Pa. and Hilton Head, S.C. 
If you have difficulty reading or printing the newsletter, please click on the online version appearing at .
Thanks to our friends at Gretna Computers, you can always find
back issues of this newsletter on the Web. That online archive, we're told, occasionally proves helpful to people planning to move here and want to know more about what goes on in a community which, as the late Marlin Seiders once observed, "is not a place, but a spirit."
Kindest regards,

Roger Groce

P.S. We use "Constant Contact" to help us keep up with growing numbers of folks around the world who seem to enjoy reading about Mt. Gretna. It's a good idea to add to your e-mail address book to help your Internet Service Provider (ISP) distinguish the Mt. Gretna Newsletter from spam (unsolicited email messages).

Privacy policy: The Mt. Gretna Newsletter mailing list is not sold, rented, traded or shared with anyone. Period.

Mt. Gretna Newsletter: Winner of Constant Contact 2010 All-Star Award




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