Mt. Gretna, Pa.
"Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
November 1, 2011
It is a scene unlikely to be duplicated anytime soon:
Fall foliage draped in a layer of snow. . .
photographed last weekend by Chautauqua residents Tom and Carol
Mayer as they walked along Route 117 on their way to a Sunday morning
breakfast. The late fall storm took on a Beauty and the Beast aspect:
True, it felled trees, clipped branches, punctured roofs and left
many without electrical power, but it also provided glimpses of a
fall grandeur rarely seen. And it provided for everyone remaining in
Mt. Gretna an instructive, if abrupt, reminder that now's the time to
prepare for a winter that's right around the corner.
Late fall mornings in Mt. Gretna normally summon misty impressions over
the lake, a transitory yet satisfying reminder that grace notes await
those who linger for summer's encore. It is a bounty rarely matched in
other times or places. Occasionally, however, nature changes the
Last weekend caught many by surprise. As a snowstorm swept through the
Northeast, knocking down trees, blocking roads, and disrupting
electrical power and Internet service
Betsy Stutzman photo.
, Mt. Gretnans
found comfort in animated conversations with friends and neighbors,
survivors all of the earliest snow storm in memory, marveling at the
unexpected foretaste of what many suspect could be a challenging
In this issue, as in others that have come before, we attempt to catch
our readers up on events that have transpired over recent weeks, few of
which would qualify as honest-to-goodness news elsewhere. World-shaking
events don't happen here. Yet it strikes us that regardless of where
they live, nearly everyone could use a little dose of Mt. Gretna-style
un-eventfulness in their life every now and then.
So this newsletter, with only modest aspirations, sets out to deliver
Most readers of this letter live outside Mt. Gretna, a fact that
surprised us when we first began writing it in quest of a retirement
pursuit over a decade ago. Our aim then was to report on such matters
as whether cellular telephone service would ever become a reality,
whether snowfalls piling up on the rooftops of century-old cottages
were a cause for concern for absent owners who lived far away, and the
rewarding experience of chronicling achievements of Mt. Gretna citizens
who had before their deaths become almost legends.
Madelaine Gray photo
What also surprised us were
the numbers of people who seemed eager to read about a tiny village
whose population of 1,500 or so swelled to perhaps 2,500 in the summer.
At least 2,000 readers now regularly receive and read this letter --
some of them in Europe, Africa and the South Pacific -- and an untold
number who receive pass-along copies forwarded by friends and
Thus we have come to realize that the spirit of Mt. Gretna, in truth,
has no boundaries. Almost everyone who ever grew up here, everyone
whose summers were enriched by childhood experiences here, everyone who
shares memories of times with their parents, grandparents or
great-grandparents in Mt. Gretna has been stamped with credentials that
endure forever. In the spirit of those who founded this community, that
approbation also extends to those who first came to Mt. Gretna in their
adult years, perhaps even in their 50s or 60s. The legitimacy of
belonging resides not in a deed but in the heart. Those who truly
understand that seem to grasp it instinctively. "I've never lived
anywhere I've felt so accepted," said the first neighbor we met
upon purchasing a cottage on Harvard
Avenue more than 20 years ago. It is a resonance that leaves no
doubt, the unmistakable warmth of something irreproducible, and
therefore irreplaceable. Something to be valued. And, at all costs, to
Eastern Enterprises, Inc. notified West Cornwall
Township last month that the company was withdrawing a petition to
rezone its 65-acre tract along Route 117 from Residential Forest (RF)
to Residential 1 and 2. The requested rezoning would have allowed
multi-family dwellings such as townhouses and also a greater number of
single-family homes than are possible under RF. The company's action
came 10 days after another landowner, Valeria Heisey,
had withdrawn her rezoning request as well as her support for the
Eastern Enterprises petition, which had been filed last June. The
entire 90-acre tract thus continues to be zoned as a Residential Forest
District, which current zoning laws describe as "land which needs
regulation to protect and preserve its environmental integrity for
Did Tropical Storm Lee leave a legacy of humming generators?
Those two or three days in September that some spent without electrical
power sent generator sales climbing. Many report that friends and
neighbors bought either gas- or propane-powered units in the weeks
immediately following Lee's multi-day outage when suppliers scrambled
to keep up with the demand. That need surged again last weekend as Mt. Gretnans rushed to local hardware and farm supply
stores, only to discover that the generator shelves were again bare.
Although propane models are capable of running 24 hours a day for five
to seven days at a time, depending on tank capacity, during the summer
when windows are open, thoughtful owners shut them down after 10 pm to
allow close neighbors a good night's sleep.
No one knows exactly how many homes and cottages in Mt. Gretna now have
emergency power supplies at hand, but estimates in some neighborhoods
such as the Village Lane section of Timber Hills or Conewago
Hill range from 30% to 60%. Elsewhere, in communities such as the Campmeeting and Chautauqua, where many homes are
occupied only in summer, Borough crewman Joey Wise estimates the
average may be closer to 10%. But, summer or winter, nearly everyone
misses Met-Ed when it's gone. Clearly, even in Mt. Gretna, the
nostalgia of kerosene lanterns and wood-burning stoves fades quickly.
Good night, John Boy.
More deer here than ever? It would seem so, says
Cynthia Condrack, who has lived in the
Chautauqua for the past 25
years and never before saw deer walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.
"Now, they're eating my impatiens," she declares.
Others have spotted deer, in clusters if not bona fide herds, in Mt.
Gretna Heights and along Batdorf Avenue in the
Campmeeting. Across the highway, folks
in Timber Hills regularly discover anywhere from 10 to 14 deer grazing
at night on Soldiers Field. In the weeks before rutting season, three
bucks suddenly showed up on the spot where the Conewago
Hotel once stood. Increasingly, local residents are concerned about the
threat of Lyme disease, which has already affected a number of Mt. Gretnans. Some believe that Lyme disease could
become the major public health danger in the next few years.
Online edition goes "live"
Now, a Year-Round Calendar for Mt. Gretnans
You won't have to wait for
the Summer Calendar to know what's going on in Mt. Gretna.
Introducing the Arts
Council's year-round online edition.
No, it's not a replacement for the popular -- and ultra-handy --
"chunky book" that's crammed full of cultural, recreational,
religious and social events from May to September.
The traditional Summer Calendar will continue to be the No. 1 reference
for year-rounders, summer residents, casual
visitors -- and news media, including this newsletter.
Supplementing the printed calendar now will be a new online edition,
which has just gone "live." It lists events that will take
here as well as out-of-town happenings that include exhibits and
performances by artists, writers, musicians and others with ties to Mt.
Does that mean you'll find listings for concerts by Dallas Symphony
Orchestra oboist (and former Mt. Gretnan)
Erin Hannigan, or exhibits in Florida by Art
Show founders Reed Dixon and Bruce Johnson? "Yes, all they have to
do is let us know when and where they'll be," says Jennifer Veser Besse, a
third-generation Mt. Gretnan who spearheads
the Internet project.
Ten color-coded category keys help readers quickly spot items of
special interest: For example, kids' events appear in yellow, religious
activities in red, nature events in green, recreational events in pink,
concerts in purple, arts exhibits in orange.
The online format allows up-to-the-minute changes whenever they occur,
says Jennifer. It's part of a revamped Arts Council website that includes the council's
newsletter and a comprehensive list of painters, sculptors, musicians,
writers, jewelers and other artists with current or historical
ties to Mt. Gretna. "Our area has a rich cultural heritage,"
says Jennifer. "This new website both recognizes and celebrates
that distinction." She adds that notices should be for
events similar to those which have traditionally appeared in the Summer
Calendar, and she promises to post them promptly. Yet it's a good
practice to send items as far in advance as possible. "If someone
tells me on a Thursday about an activity that'll take place on Friday,
it might not make it onto the calendar in time," she warns.
The site also offers pop-up
details as readers cursor-over event listings.
That clickable feature will add useful details about shows and
exhibits, which helps both presenters and readers, she says.
How to get your event
listed? Send details to: Jennifer@mtgretna.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if your event is
months away, Jennifer will see that it's posted online now. She'll also
forward copies of your information to the Summer Calendar's editorial
team. That means both summer and winter events will be covered at all
times. The printed calendar will continue to carry both advertising and
a comprehensive listing of events that
take place during the height of the summer season.
Although he's retired twice
before, the Campmeeting's superintendent
now says reading and staying busy -- not rocking chairs -- are his
up nearly 15 years as a township supervisor but not about ready to
retire, Merv Lentz, at 82, says he gave some
thought a few years ago to retiring as Campmeeting
superintendent. "Yet, here I am. I decided I didn't want to sit in
a rocking chair and rock myself to death. I make a point of having
something to do."
German and Spanish teacher, he's been to Europe 15 times.
Something to do? Usually up
before 5:30 am, he makes daily checks on the Campmeeting
water supply, scoops up leaves, spreads rocks with a skid loader, pulls
weeds, reviews building permits, checks water lines, cuts grass, trims
branches, arranges special pickups when someone wants to get rid of an
old sofa, repairs broken benches at the Tabernacle, cleans out
bathrooms, and handles dozens of other chores that most people never
think about. Sometimes he even builds bird and butterfly houses for
children to assemble and paint. Already retired twice -- as a bakery
route supervisor and a high school teacher -- he'll give up being a
West Cornwall Township supervisor when his term ends next month. It's a
non-paid job [Merv convinced his fellow
supervisors to forgo their $50-a-month salary.]
MT GRETNA NEWSLETTER: ANY
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN TEACHING AND SUPERVISING A TOWNSHIP?
Whether they're kids or
adults, when people come to you with their problems, it pays to listen,
not lecture. Most problems get solved by sitting down and talking, not
in a public setting, not with criticism, but just talking one-on-one. . . and listening.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE A
I once had a smart teacher
who said, "You have to teach in order to learn." That was
good advice. I learned a lot from teaching. Irene [his wife of 60
years] and I never had any children of our own, but in 26 years of
teaching I had 3,000 kids. I often run into them in restaurants or the
supermarket. They still remember me.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TEACH
My parents [in South
Annville, where Merv was born] spoke
Pennsylvania Dutch, but only to each other, never to us children. I
picked up Dutch and can speak it as well as any Amishman.
So I guess languages just came easily to me. I got my teaching
certificate on a Friday and started teaching the next Tuesday. I was
always the first to arrive at school. I taught German and Spanish and
DOES PENNSYLVANIA HAVE TOO
I think small government
works best. A big, countywide government could get bulky. As it is now,
we can work together to purchase things at the same price the state of
Pennsylvania gets. It's called "piggybacking" and it works. I
wouldn't like to see all townships get wiped out and have one
government. But maybe I'm wrong. It might be worth a try, and maybe it
would work out.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?
I usually read a book a
week. My favorite authors include Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Vince
Flynn, David McCullough, Ken Follett and Karl Rove, who I met last year
at Borders. I also do crossword puzzles and have a garage for minor
carpentry work. I once built a 7' x 7' hutch. [Most intricate carpentry
project ever? "I've built five houses in Mt. Gretna from
scratch," he says.]
EVER WATCH SPORTS ON TV?
Maybe Penn State football
games. I used to watch pro games because Tom Landry set a good example.
But they didn't treat him right, so I'm just not a Cowboys fan anymore.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR MT. GRETNA?
I'd like to see people from
all parts of Mt. Gretna get together and discuss mutual problems and
concerns so we could help one another out with ideas. Plus, I'd like to
see more people get involved with voluntary things. Maybe we need to
publicize volunteer opportunities more, hold annual volunteer picnics
and find other ways to show our appreciation for people who pitch in
and help do things like run the library, build butterfly gardens and
organize the Heritage Festival.
Annual Glimpse into Artists' Creative Lairs
Will Attract Visitors to Mt. Gretna this Weekend
It's one thing to admire a work
of art in a gallery, quite another to poke around inside the studio
where it was actually created.
That's the essence of the Lebanon Valley Art Studio Tour which takes
place here this month, and also a key to its
popularity over the past 12 years.
At Betsy Stutzman's studio: delicate art of Oriental brush
The 13th annual tour Nov. 5-6 will feature the works of
33 artists assembled in 20 different studios and galleries from
Hummelstown to Schaefferstown -- with nearly
a third of them centered in Mt. Gretna.
Photographers David Adams and Madelaine Gray will open their studios in
the Campmeeting. So, too, will Campmeeting artists Fred Swarr, Mary Kopala and Elizabeth Stutzman.
Stroll across Route 117 to
La Cigale, the headquarters of John
and Nancy Mitchell's imported French Provencal table linens , and
you'll find five more local artists, including Gretna Springs wildlife
painter and photographer Susan Afflerbach, water colorist and former
Mt. Gretnan Carol Snyder, ceramic ware creator Dennis Maust, basketry wizard Garrett Van Hoesen
and stoneware clay artist Margaret Seidenberg-Ellis.
With 10 of the 33 exhibiting artists clustered in Mt. Gretna, it's a
good bet that many of the 4,000 visitors expected to take the
three-county driving tour will find their way here. No admission
charge. Hours: Saturday, Nov. 5 from 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday, Nov. 6,
noon to 5 pm.
No, it's not an everyday sight in Mt. Gretna, but
wildlife painter and photographer Susan Afflerbach
was at the lake with her camera on a Sunday afternoon in late October
when four Amish carriages clip-clopped their way past the Mt. Gretna
Men's Club and down Route 117 toward Colebrook. "They were singing
as they passed by," she says. "It was beautiful."
Susan's works will be among those on
display at La Cigale this weekend, during the
Lebanon Valley Art Studio Tour (see story above).
What will you discover at the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society
museum? Volunteer Glin Atkinson (right), who
once designed those head-turning showcase windows at the
nationally famous Donecker's
womens store in Ephrata, and Pat Pinsler (left), a former managing director at
Gretna Theatre who grew up in Mt. Gretna and remembers those scratchy
woolen bathing suits at the lake, puzzled over what to do with this
sign last month.
Rearranging the first-floor
showrooms for visitors next season, they dusted off, spruced up and
aligned items in the museum to highlight each
phase of Mt. Gretna's history. Located at 206 Pennsylvania Avenue and
open only by
appointment during the winter months,
the society offers online glimpses 24/7.
you hide it?
Most forlorn dog in Mt. Gretna? That's Bo, the English
Springer Spaniel that lives in Timber Hills and carries a glove
everywhere he goes.
Everywhere, that is, until last month.
Bo & glove
2 years ago
Somehow, somewhere in the excitement
of Tropical Storm Lee,
which sent trees crashing down
around the Village Cove home where he hangs out with Tom and Joanne Honeychurch, Bo's glove disappeared.
"We tried to interest
him in three different gloves, but he only wants
his glove," says Joanne
(left), who spent summers growing up in Mt. Gretna and is, like her
husband, now a retired computer specialist. Both continue the glove
search for Bo, now 6 years old and himself retired (as a show dog).
Meanwhile, a groundswell of empathy surges in Bo's neighborhood,
particularly among men. Every guy who's ever had a favorite pair of
jeans, or beat-up sneakers that his wife insisted on tossing out, or a
sweater punctuated by tiny specks left by wayward ashes of a Garcia
& Vega corona, understands Bo's plight. When a guy's got a
favorite, it's a keeper. That's just the way life is.
Peter Hewitt, who makes Mt.
Gretna a "must" stop for aspiring Juilliard School organists, attracts his share of
intriguing encounters. For example, a performer at one of Peter's
popular July organ recitals once showed up late but nevertheless had
promised to take Peter and Walter McAnney to
lunch in his chauffeur-driven limo. Choices were limited, however,
since the concert would soon begin. They opted for a quick snack at the
pizzeria. So Peter, Walter and
the performer crawled into the
limo, made the 50-yard-journey across the street, picked up flowers
from Marion Brubaker's stand on the opposite corner and even brought
her back to arrange and display the flowers. Marion, who spent most of
her life on a farm, talked about that experience for years.
Last month, as Peter put the
finishing touches on his recital lineups for 2012 and 2013, a bicyclist
stopped to chat with Peter on his porch. The cyclist, a Brethren Church
minister, then pointed across Route 117 and informed Peter that the
lady on horseback was his wife. She and her horse Lisle came up
on the driveway and they chatted while Peter patted the horse. They
then left on their respective modes of travel and headed to the tennis
courts, where their children and grandchildren were playing. No sooner
had they left when another passerby, riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle,
pulled up onto Peter's driveway and asked for directions to the
A bemused Peter, whose
distinguished mien seems unlikely to attract either horses or bikers on
a Sunday afternoon, suggests "things like that could only happen
in Mt. Gretna." Perhaps. But somehow they're more likely to happen
when Peter's around.
Nobody knows better what it means to have a
well-equipped fire company nearby than RaeAnn
Lynch. On a bright spring morning in 2008 she returned to her Campmeeting home after
walking her dog to discover flames searing the side of her home.
Although she had turned off the gas fireplace before leaving her home,
a bird's nest over the fireplace's outdoor vent caught fire.
Thanks to an alert neighbor, the fire engines were already there when
she returned. Although she lost the roof and workmen had to replace the
entire second floor, the firefighters' quick work saved her home.
That's why RaeAnn, a real estate agent (who makes gemstone and
sterling jewelry in her spare time and twice has won a spot in the Mt.
Gretna Outdoor Art Show), jumped at the chance to help the fire company
as it nears its fundraising goal. She was out last weekend painting
ever higher levels on the ladder as the $400,000 campaign comes within
$68,145 of its target. With just a few more contributions and pledges,
the goal will be achieved -- maybe even before 2011 comes to a close.
To help in the final push,
send your tax-deductible gift this month to Mt. Gretna Fire Company,
P.O. Box 177, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064. For questions and other details,
contact campaign manager Tom Mayer, 964-1987 or email
Christmas gifts inspired by Mt. Gretna? Lisa Schwartz, an
illustrator, fine artist and jewelry designer -- and a friend of La Cigale owners John and Nancy Mitchell -- has just
created a Mt. Gretna-specific
series of brooches. Inspired by the "shocking"
Mt. Gretna bather, Doodle the rooster, and giant acorns that often pelt
Mt. Gretna's tin rooftops at this time of year, Schwartz brings her
signature style to the ornate and nostalgic line, reminiscent of Mt.
Crafted in enamel over brass
and layered in an intricate collage format, they're now sold
exclusively at La Cigale. Schwartz, who lives
in Bucks County and was commissioned by the White House to create
special jewelry designs during the Clinton years, plans to add some new
Mt. Gretna-themed styles featuring canoe charms. "Mt. Gretna is
absolutely charming," she says. "The houses with porches and
the lake make it a wonderful place. It goes hand in hand with my work
because it has such a nostalgic sensibility."
When photographer Madelaine Gray goes to
Paris, count on her to come back with an exquisite portfolio. That's just what you'll
find at a new exhibit, "Paris: As Seen by Two Photographers"
-- one of whom just happens
to be Madelaine herself -- which opens in
Lebanon next month. It includes pictures that Madelaine
and fellow photographer Al Holliday
shot during the same week of September this year when both were in
Paris. And both, it turns out, will be at the Lebanon Valley Council of
the Arts' 734 Willow Street headquarters Dec. 2 to launch the opening
and greet visitors from 5 to 8 pm. The exhibition will continue
has yet devised a more welcoming nor more spirited launch of the
holiday season than Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney,
whose home, tree and musical enchantment has ushered in Mt. Gretna's
holiday season for the past 14 years.
energy, charm and an enthusiasm that belies his 79 years, Peter will
officially launch the 2011 holiday season on the third day of December,
starting promply at 5:30 pm. That's when the
tree that serves as Mt Gretna's holiday centerpiece lights up for
carolers who'll stream into the Hewitt-McAnney
residence at 1 Cedarn Point to begin the
holiday festivities. Everyone in town is invited, and those who come
are asked to bring a dish of finger food that will be served buffet
style along with hot mulled cider.
Why Thatcher Switched to Soup. . . and Hot Dogs
Bornman can't remember the year Mt. Gretna's
soup contest got started, but he'll never forget
the moment his brief career came to an end as a contestant in a chili
cook-off. That occurred soon after Chef Thatch had entered the
capital city's renowned
chili contest. A woman spotted him at a supermarket and asked whether
he'd been one of the chili chefs the day before. "Why, yes I
was," said Thatch, taken a little off guard. "Well, my
husband was one of the judges, and he's been home sick all day. That's
the last time he'll ever be a judge." That might explain why
Thatcher (inset, right) got out of the chili business altogether
and now is probably best-known as the guy who serves up free hot dogs
to celebrate Mt. Gretna's Big Junk Day. For the past eight or ten
years now, ever since he and former Mt. Gretnan
Tom Miller hatched the idea, he's organized the annual Mt. Gretna Soup
Cook-off. In the interim, he's made a few changes. First, he got
rid of a formal judges' panel. Instead, he now gives a ballot to
everybody who comes in the door. It's democracy in action. Besides,
says Thatch, "Everybody likes soup, especially on a cold day in
November. And everybody can vote for their favorites."
ingredients add to the success of this event, which repeats
at the Mt. Gretna fire hall Saturday, Nov. 12 from noon to 2 pm: First,
there's the wide variety of soups themselves, all with exotic names and
tastes, cooked up by some of Mt. Gretna's best -- usually with a few
out-of-towners. "This is really tough competition," says
Thatch, "but everybody who enters seems to have a lot of
fun." Entries often come with elaborate decorations as contestants
also compete for "best presentation" honors. Added pleasure
comes from Scott Galbriath (inset,
lower left), who donates his time to add soft background music that
serves to "take things up a notch," says Thatcher. Then
there's the socialization factor: In Mt. Gretna on a chilly November
day, there's no better place to meet and greet your friends.
Thach, who looks forward to a big
turnout of both contestants and soup-tasters again this year, repeats
the theme that sets the tone of this annual enterprise: "Challenge
your pallet and cast your ballot," he says.
annual Mt. Gretna Soup Cook-Off, Saturday, Nov. 12, noon to 2 pm.
Admission: $10. All proceeds benefit the Mt. Gretna Fire Company.
Lawrence Welk may be gone, but you can
still hear an accordionist who loves telling stories at the Winterites. Storyteller and musician Rich Renalgia of Hershey
appears today at 1 pm in the Mt. Gretna fire hall. It's the Winterites' second gathering of the 2011-2012 season, which runs from October to April. They've
been meeting on first Tuesdays of the month [except January] ever since
Maggie Stroh founded the group in 1950. Come to think of it, that was
about the time the "ah-one and-a-two" champagne music bandleader
was getting his start as well.
are welcome, including growing numbers of men who turn out for the
sprightly sessions each month. With their revenues from membership dues
and $3 Duplicate Bridge sessions, the group recently donated $1,000 to
the fire company, says president Donna Kaplan, who invites questions by
Recipe Roundup: Favorites, Including an Irish Dish, Pour
in for New Edition of Firefighters' Cookbook
Must you have a name like McGuire to create an exquisite Irish
Shepherd's Pie? No, but it probably helps.
to cut, but they ate every morsel"
Friends like Campmeeting neighbor Kathy Kercher
keep finding Irish cookbooks to drop off at Peggy McGuire's Fifth
Street cottage. "So with all these cookbooks I've given you, why
not cook something for us?" asked Kathy.
Cat-lover Peggy's first try with this recipe turned out purrrfectly. "The potato topping looked like
meringue, so good I didn't want to cut it," says Peggy. As a
senior research associate and training specialist for the University of
Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies in Knoxville, Tenn., Peggy's
"the ultimate telecommuter." But when she has a few spare
moments, she can turn out masterpieces like this.
. . with a little help from her friends.
her recipe for . . .
tablespoons sunflower oil
lb. very lean ground beef
heaping tablespoons cornmeal
pint beef stock
pint leftover wine (optional)
tablespoons tomato puree
lb. carrots, sliced
lbs. potatoes, boiled and mashed with 1/2 pint milk and 2 oz
oven to 350. Fry onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add the meat and
stir until brown. In a bowl, mix the cornmeal with half of the beef
stock; then mix in the wine, the rest of the stock and the tomato
puree. Pour this over the meat. Season well with salt and pepper,
cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
all this into an oven-proof dish. Stir in the vegetables and top with
the mashed potatoes. Bake for 1 hour. Serves four.
The Cookbook volunteers still
need lots of receipes to stuff into
their 2012 edition. Have a favorite you can contribute? It doesn't
matter whether you live in Mt. Gretna, Singapore or sunny California. . . if you're a Mt. Gretnan
at heart, they want to hear from you!
Send your entries now to: Mt.
Gretna Fire Company Cookbook, P.O. Box 177, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
20 Volunteers working two to
three days to raise $1,000? That's what it takes to put
on a fire company breakfast like the one coming up Sunday, Nov. 6.
The 13-item menu includes
eggs strata, pancakes, sausage, potatoes, baked oatmeal, creamed
chipped beef with sausage gravy and biscuits, plus toast, juice and
coffee. Somehow, despite a $500 bill at the grocery store to purchase
their ingredients, the volunteers squeeze out a profit, which goes to
help pay for the building and put a little toward equipment purchases.
Just how much profit, of course, depends on generous donations. There's no charge at the
door. Only an empty fireman's boot. The idea is to stuff it with cash,
and most people feel $10 per person is a reasonable contribution . .
. not just for the sumptuous breakfast, but for the reassurance
of knowing that those who would protect our homes and lives in an
emergency will always be there.
Is all the work worth it?
"Well, we have a lot of fun," says Karen Lynch, who's been
helping coordinate breakfasts and other fundraisers for the past 33
years. She hopes that everyone who stops by (from 8 am to noon) will
visit Kathy Kercher and Sharon Solie's crafts table. They donate their time and
materials to create one-of-a-kind crafts that will make wonderful
Christmas gifts... another way to thank Mt. Gretna's firefighters.
192,123 Miles before it finally
collapsed, utterly unrepairable. With a blown
engine that "runs but can't be depended upon in emergencies,"
says chief Bob Dowd,
the Mt. Gretna Fire Company volunteers hope that someone may have a
serviceable SUV or similar vehicle they're willing to donate as a
replacement. This one, a gift of Mt. Gretnan
Sam Bonacci, needed some transmission work
when he gave it to the fire company four years ago.
Yet after a few repairs, it served well as
Station 38's Command Vehicle. That's the unit which is usually
first on the scene in emergencies and the central coordinating point
for other volunteers and equipment. If you have a vehicle you'd
like to donate to the firefighters, contact Bob (email@example.com) or
fire company president Joe Shay (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 964-1106.
Who knows? Your gift could save a life.
The tradition goes
back at least three decades. Not the biggest parade by any measure, but
certainly one where it's difficult to tell who has the most fun: parade
watchers (who number perhaps 30 or 40) or parade marchers (whose ranks
this year may have swelled to nearly 200). The spectators enjoyed every
scintillating moment as police cars, three fire engines with flashing
red lights, snazzy farm vehicles dressed up with cobwebs and pumpkins
passed by in this annual "over-in-the-blink-of- an-eye"
"It was my first Mt. Gretna Halloween parade," said Village
Lane resident Cathryn Amdahl. "As the
music played, I marched behind a devil and an angel, singing 'Be Kind
to Your Fine Feathered Friends' at the top of my voice. It was
The parade made its way along Route 117 to the fire hall, where Super
Pumpkin, witches in tall hats, spooks, princesses and assorted goblins
combined to make this occasion one of the best things that happens in
Mt. Gretna all year long.
by Bill Shoals
and Susie Afflerbach
& Stuff to
3 Days Later
Tuesday, Nov. 1: Winteries, Mt. Gretna fire hall, 1 pm
Thursday, Nov. 3: Regional Comprehensive Plan meeting, 6 pm. So. Lebanon Twp
Munic. Building. See "meeting
Friday, Nov. 4: Nocturne at Governor Dick Tower, 6:30 pm. Sing-along, bonfire. Registration & fee required, 964-3808.
Saturday, Nov. 5: Organ Recital, Harmonia
Club; American Music Program, 3 pm, Hewitt-McAnney
home. Millersville University professor of music Ross Ellison.
Sunday, Nov. 6: Fire Company breakfast, 8 am - noon. Mt. Gretna fire hall (See
story above for details.)
Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 5-6: Art Studio Tour in Mt. Gretna and surrounding counties.
(See story above for times and other details.)
Saturday, Nov. 12 Bouldering Competition. For beginners and advanced climbers. 9
Sunday, Nov. 20: Thanksgiving Breakfast, at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church.
Open to all, this event combines the church service with a delicious
breakfast, starting at 9:30 am.
Tuesday, Nov. 29: Canadian Brass. Gretna
College, 7:30 pm
For the latest updates throughout the year,
click on the Mt. Gretna Arts Council Calendar of Events: http://artscouncil.mtgretna.com/
Public Meetings of Interest
to Mt. Gretnans:
PLANNING MEETINGS FOR CORNWALL-LEBANON SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Scheduled for Thursday, Nov.
3 and Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 pm in the South Lebanon Twp. Municipal
Building,1800 S. 5th Ave., Lebanon) To confirm meeting times, locations
and agendas, see http://www.cornwall-lebanonplan.com/
MT. GRETNA BOROUGH
Borough Hall, Mt. Gretna, PA
17064 Tel. 964-3270
Council Meeting - 2nd Monday
of each month, 7:00 pm, Board Room behind Post Office
Water & Sewer Authority
Meeting - 1st Monday of each month, 7:00 pm, Board Room behind Post
SOUTH LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP
(Timber Hills, Conewago Hill, Timber Bridge)
20 W. Market St., Box 3, Campbelltown 17010 Tel. 838-5556
Supervisors: (Meeting - 2nd
Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm, Municipal Building)
(Meeting - 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm, Municipal Building)
Zoning Hearing Board: (4th
Tuesday of each month 7:00 pm if needed)
Authority: (Meeting - 1st
Thursday of each month, 7:30 pm, Municipal Building)
WEST CORNWALL TOWNSHIP
(Heights, Stoberdale, Campmeeting)
73 S. Zinns
Mill Rd., Lebanon 17042 Tel. 272-9841
2nd Monday of each month, 7:00 pm, Township Building
Planning Commission Meeting
- 4th Wednesday of each month, 6:00 pm,
Township Building - as
Sewer Authority Meeting -
1st Tuesday of every other month, 7:00 pm, Township Building
Other newsletters of
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, email@example.com
Mt. Gretna Arts Council
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
South Londonderry Township
Newsletter -- of
primary interest to Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills,
Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at http://southlondonderry.org/
Newsletter -- Available online and mailed
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed
to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay,email@example.com
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, crossword puzzles or
fishing might be for others. It produces no income, but huge
quantities of personal satisfaction since it keeps us in touch with
people around the world who have come to be 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. (In that way, we
occasionally learn things. Those elongated Philadelphia sandwiches
are called hoagies, for example, not hoagys.
Bet you didn't know that either.)
We don't cover everything.
Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV and others with
greater skills, resources and insights. We also must decline the
often thoughtful suggestions from readers to run items that lack ties
to our community.
Generally speaking, we try
to cover stories that readers may not have already read elsewhere.
Yet since the majority of our readers live not in Mt. Gretna but in
other cities, states and countries, we sometimes summarize stories
that appear in local newspapers. We also depend on our readers to
alert us to news, including obituaries, 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 living a life.
We've been writing this
newsletter since January 2001, usually once a month unless we're
traveling, ailing or attending to household duties that sometimes
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. and New Cumberland, Pa.
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 sometimes proves helpful to people planning to
move here who 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."
P.S. Constant Contact is the commercial
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