Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."
Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
June 1, 2011
Signs of renewal as season begins
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
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.
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.
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.
plan for a Grand Illumination throughout this collection of
known 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
Competing with over 700 athletes from 15 states
In Test of Fitness, a Mt. Gretnan
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 women
60 to 64, the Campmeeting athlete again
placed first, completing the race in 1 hour, 57 minutes.
Just how fast
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
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.
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.
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:
foundation, IM ABLE, is gaining a national reputation. His story
appears online at http://www.getupandmove.org/whoweare/
Carnival Fun(draiser) Coming
A Campmeeting Playground For All of Mt. Gretna
sometimes amazing what Mt. Gretnans can do
once they make up their minds to make a difference.
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
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 playground
with brightly painted slides, new climbing bars and swings and other
equipment that's already paid for.
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
a 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.
consider this playground, which will be named Heritage Park, a gift to
everyone in Mt. Gretna,
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.
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.
attend this year's carnival?
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 July 4 Grand Illumination
Dave Adams Photo
An Independence Day Celebration as Only Mt. Gretna Can
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.
Freedom Ring" is the theme of a communitywide Grand Illumination
-- one expected to become a signature event in Mt. Gretna as porches
with patriotic themes to herald the
spirit of freedom.
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.
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.
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
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
Doodle Stakes His Claim to a Place in the Sun
newcomer of dubious lineage, Doodle -- the irascible rooster -- has
made quite a name for himself.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 964-1994.
Flowers, yes, but Mary Also Knows a Thing or Two About
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
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
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.
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
morning book reviews.
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.
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
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
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
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,
email@example.com, or give her a call:
For exercise, nothing beats
a five-mile walk.
Except, perhaps, a five-mile walk with
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 patrons
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
* * * * * *
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 old
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
* * * * * * * *
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
"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.
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
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.
IN OTHER NEWS
With the growing threat of Lyme disease, many Mt. Gretnans now keep a tick key handy.
Sold at Amazon.com 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 furnace
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
* * * * * *
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 Governor 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 email@example.com.
* * * * * *
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.
QUESTIONS READERS ASK
 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
 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).
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.
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) that
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
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
"Big Junk Day." Bring on
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
Mt. Gretna Library opens for the season, 10 a.m.
Saturday, June 18:
Heritage Festival opens at the Tabernacle, with New Orleans jazz, 7
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 http://gretnamusic.org/
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online
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
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 email@example.com
South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt.
Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago
Hill and Timber Bridge; online at
Newsletter -- Available online and mailed
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed
to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay,firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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
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 http://mtgretna.com/news .
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."
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