The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
May 1, 2012
into Mt. Gretna's Unique Spirit
knows precisely what it is that gives Mt. Gretna its appeal, but
there's the hunch it has something to do with trees, tranquility and
the tempo of an earlier era.
probably also has something to do with the types of people who choose
to live in Mt. Gretna.
are, in the best sense of the word, different. In addition to a
willingness to put up with no supermarkets, Starbucks or nearby
shopping centers, those who are drawn here share certain traits. A
sense of curiosity, independence and self-reliance, to be sure, plus a
unifying sense that the uplift that comes when we help others usually
starts, and seems to satisfy best, when we help out in the place where
is our annual Volunteer Opportunities issue.
as we might, we can't develop a list that covers everything that our
talented neighbors do to make things better when they put their minds
to it. In fact, we don't even try.
of our best enterprises started as spontaneous acts, launched by those
who never were asked to do anything at all. Their gifts simply emerged,
fueled by unstoppable energies and a sense that something, by golly,
. . they just do it.
asked the late Dale Grundon to straighten up the community bulletin
board each week, or to lead hikes to see the cardinal flowers, or to
teach classes in stained glass-making. Nobody asked Jack Bitner to take
on the task as Mt. Gretna's historian. Nobody, as far as we know, has
ever asked people like Betty Miller (inset, right) and Peg and
John Smith to transform the Playhouse grounds into a glorious garden
that universally admired Summer Calendar? Yes, it's an Arts Council
endeavor. But nobody envisioned what it would take to make it a reality
each year, a labor of love for the entire team headed by Jeff and
who do things like that year in and year out ought to have different
titles. "Volunteers" doesn't quite seem to cover it.
we ought to find different words, words that describe the effects such
people have on our lives.
Hernley (inset, left) isn't a volunteer, but instead of calling
her "Mt. Gretna's flower lady," maybe we ought to think in
terms of the business she's been in here for the past 45 years.
"The cheer-up business," she once told us.
to help? Look over our list in this issue. Maybe you'll find a match
for your unique ideas and energies. And if you don't find something
that suits, delve deeply into that which makes your heart sing and get
started. You'll not only make a difference, but rewards will cascade
across the years to future generations. And that, you may be sure, will
propel a spirit that for more than a century -- combined with the
trees, the tranquility and the tempo -- has helped Mt. Gretna solidify
its enduring appeal.
Gala Summer Premiere May 26
Let the Season Begin!
the past 22 years it's had music, art auctions, good food and
entertainment. But its chief attraction has always remained the same:
a long winter, it's just nice to get out and see people that you don't
see in the wintertime," says Summer Premiere co-organizer Debbie
Clemens (inset, left), who started the whole idea two decades
finishing touch for Dale's last lamp, one of the highlights of this
and daughter Jessica Kosoff, together with a band of energetic
volunteers, are looking forward to what has become the principle event
of the busy Memorial Day weekend and a highlight of Mt. Gretna's social
the Summer Premiere, people didn't have anything special to do on
Saturdays at 4 o'clock on Memorial Day weekend. Now, it's a time that
people put on their calendars. They have a good time, get to meet a lot
of people they otherwise wouldn't have known, and make a difference in
their lives," says Debbie.
a difference? That's Debbie's chief reward too, although this year
she'll be forced to keep a delicate balance. In addition to watching
over details of the Premiere, she'll have to remain alert for the
arrival of youngest daughter Caitlin's first child. To add further
complications, that grand event now appears likely to occur on the same
weekend that Catlin is scheduled to graduate from medical school in
the baby comes first, I'll have to be there. But since Catlin's usually
late," she says with a smile, "it'll probably work out."
of this year's Premiere?
are certain to be two items up for auction at this annual event,
sponsored by the Mt. Gretna Arts Council, which raises money for things
like the popular Summer Calendar, hands down the most
widely-referred-to booklet in town each season.
Artist: Matt Royer
of the most-coveted items will be the last stained glass lamp produced
by the late Dale Grundon. The lamp was under construction at the time
of his unexpected death last June and is a gift to the Mt. Gretna
community by Dale's nephew, Gaye Liddick.
much sought-after item is expected to be the original artwork for this
year's calendar cover. It is an oil painting by Mt. Gretna resident
Matt Royer (inset, left). An environmental attorney who now
heads Penn State's Lower Susquehanna Initiative to clean up the
Conewago Creek and perhaps pave the way for a model solution that could
benefit the entire Chesapeake Bay, Royer began painting during his high
school days, under the guidance of Mt. Joy artist Brad Strohman. He
hasn't had much time to pursue that passion, however, until recently
when he produced some 30 illustrations for two children's books written
by his wife Kerry McGuiness Royer.
of the things Kerry and I love about Mt. Gretna is no matter how busy
it is in the summer, there are those little quiet corners you can find.
I've always liked those pitcher pumps around the Campmeeting. I like to
paint things in natural light and the contrast of light and dark."
taking photographs of a pump near the playground, he set aside a
Saturday this past winter to sketch and paint it all in a single day.
"I paint with oils on a Masonite board and don't like to go back
to resume something once the paint is tacky and starting to set,"
was honored by the invitation to create this year's calendar cover, and
the auction will be the first time he's ever offered a painting for
sale, perhaps lifting the curtain on a possible hobby in retirement
someday. "Perhaps," he says, "but I'd like to save time
for some fly fishing too."
The Mt. Gretna Newsletter's
Annual Listing of
Opportunities for Volunteers
. . . and other ways to
invest your time & talents in 2012
We took a stab at compiling all the things you can do in a summer, but
this list is by no means complete. Some of the best ideas come from
people who were never asked. They just saw a need and filled it.
Have a talent, a service or an idea you think others will appreciate?
See a role where your unique abilities might be helpful? By all means
jump right in. Don't wait to be asked. Lend a hand and make a
We Mt. Gretnans are a tiny boat in a big ocean. But from Timber Bridge
to Mt. Gretna Heights, we're all in this together.
Linda Bell, director: 964-3270 or MtGretnaArt@comcast.net
Art Show coordinators of volunteers: Saturday admission gates:
Sam Bonacci 964-3111. Sunday admission gates: Joe Shay,
964-2209; Office staff: Doug Leiby, 272-8871. Kids' Art Show:
Faith Mummau, 964-2212. Exhibitor traffic control: Fred Seltzer,
964-3763. Soldiers' Field and Philhaven area parking: Bob Dowd,
964-1106. Booth sitters: Stacey Margut, 964-3366.
Zechman: 653-8588 or don@MtGretnaTabernacle.org; also Bruce Gettle
Hostetter and Evelyn Koppel, 964-3412 or email@example.com.
The group meets Fridays at 9:00 a.m., Chautauqua parking lot weather
permitting. Two-hour walk to observe flora and fauna, often followed by
a late breakfast. Not a volunteer opportunity, but an interesting and
enjoyable way to spend Friday mornings and meet others.
(Active November -March)
Max Hunsicker, firstname.lastname@example.org. Max's band of stalwarts
("The few, the proud, the Buzzard Busters") needs volunteers
who can safely encourage migrating turkey vultures to choose roosts
other than the treetops over Mt. Gretna. The emphasis, he says, is to
keep noise to a minimum and fire aerial explosives only at dusk, before
the vultures have a chance to settle down for the night.
Rachel Schmalhofer, 606-9845. Organizers need volunteers to help with
various projects, including the annual carnival June 23, from 12:00 pm
to 2:00 pm.
Snavely, 964-2191 or email@example.com.
Rhoda Long coordinates usher assignments, 304-0248
Stand at Playhouse:
Gary Shrawder, 272-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org, says he needs added
help this year for all performances of Gretna Theatre, Gretna Music and
Who makes the grounds throughout the Campmeeting, Chautauqua and Mt.
Gretna Heights burst with color each year? Lots of folks, all of whom
love gardening, love their communities, and love to share their passion
Bleeding Hearts in
the Campmeeting Madelaine Gray photo
the Campmeeting, Deborah Hurst (email@example.com) coordinates
gardening volunteer efforts. Deb Barnhart and Jane Zellers tend the
Butterfly Garden between First Street and Markwood Avenue. Madelaine
Gray takes care of the garden at the corner of Bell Avenue and Pinch
Around the Playhouse, Peg Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Betty
Miller landscape the grounds (with mulching and watering help from
Peg's husband John). Tending to plants around the post office are Bill
Care and Linda Bell. Shirley Miller nurtures flower boxes at the
Information Center. Carol Morgan maintains the Fairy Garden, located
between the Jigger Shop and Playhouse.
In Mt. Gretna Heights, Charlie Harris (email@example.com) often
organizes volunteer gardening projects.
Illumination Nights: (July 3-4)
Karl Gettle, 964-2292 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A community-wide
celebration of the nation's birthday, as only Mt. Gretna can do it!
This year over two nights, to give everyone a chance to enjoy the
lights and specially-crafted decorations throughout Mt. Gretna,
including Timber Hills, Timber Bridge, Conewago Hill, Mt. Gretna
Heights, Stoberdale, the Chautauqua and the Campmeeting Grounds.
Campmeeting will also hold an additional celebration in August, The
Illumination of the Grove. That tradition began in the 1950s when
youngsters who had finished church camp strolled through the
Campmeeting, illuminated by porch lights, singing newly learned hymns.
Koppel, 964-3412 Volunteers help neighbors who have specific
time-limited needs for assistance in driving, shopping, babysitting and
to host an actor or actress in your home this summer? Who knows? You
may even host the next Bernadette Peters or Charlton Heston, or maybe
someone like Timothy Shew, who became a friend of Mt. Gretnan Tom Mayer
four years ago and now appears in the Broadway revival of Evita
(see last month's issue).
HDR photo by
Renee Krizan says they need homes with private bedrooms and
access to kitchen facilities for anywhere from two to ten weeks.
Gretna Theatre is grateful for the help of Cornwall Manor, which makes
its North Hills Apartment Complex available, "we still need
assistance from the community with housing our Equity Actors,"
says Ms. Krizan. She invites inquiries at 964-3322 or
Dick Environmental Center:
Janie Gockley, 964-3808 or email@example.com.
available throughout the year, including trail maintenance,
light cleaning and graffiti removal.
and Mike Allwein, 964-2352. Concerts that include patriotic music,
bluegrass and swing, country and hits from the '40s through the '80s.
Admission is by donation.
Deborah Hurst, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gretna 9th Annual Got The Nerve? Triathlon:
http://www.getupandmove.org/gotthenerve/volunteer. Volunteers needed
for pre-race set up May 18th from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm as well as on race
day (May 19) from 6:00 am - 12:00 pm including clean-up. Visit the
above website for more information about specific volunteer
opportunities during the race and to sign up as a volunteer.
Gretna Area Historical Society:
Pinsler, 964-3858 or email@example.com, coordinates volunteer
activities and welcomes people who can assist with museum maintenance,
work in the library/research room on Saturday 9:00 am to 11:30 am, as
well as help with other work including service as museum docents on
Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Fred Buch is chairman of the Society:
1-800-242-3901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gretna Fire Company:
Shay, 964-1106 or email@example.com, and Karen Lynch, 964-3505 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers always needed for darned
near everything you can think of!
Gretna Tour of Homes:
Suzanne Stewart, 361-1510. Needed are volunteers to serve as guides and
house sitters during morning or afternoon shifts on Saturday, Aug. 4,
from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Rhoda Long, 304-0248 or email@example.com, coordinates
refreshments at these recitals, held at the Hewitt-McAnney residence on
Princeton Avenue. Contributions appreciated.
Jessica Kosoff, firstname.lastname@example.org and Debbie Clemens, 304-3915
Mike Dissinger, 949-2367, schedules trail clean-up days; John Wengert
(email@example.com) posts e-mail bulletins for other volunteer tasks
-- including public relations, fundraising, and trail development. Also
needed: volunteers to staff the Root Beer Barrel in Cornwall on
weekends May through October. Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails meets first
Wednesdays of the month, Cornwall Borough Hall, 7:00 p.m.
Kathy Snavely, 964-2191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers may also
check in with the summer intern.
(October - April)
Donna Kaplan, 964-2174.
at the Mt. Gretna fire hall on the first Tuesday of each month,* the
Winterites season begins with a noon catered luncheon in October and
continues into April, usually with guest speakers. The only other 12
noon meeting is the potluck holiday luncheon each December. All other
sessions begin at 1:00 pm and include
desserts but no luncheon. Annual dues are $10; both men and women are
Winterites also sponsor Duplicate Bridge games at the fire hall on
alternate Mondays and Thursdays. Volunteers provide snacks, help set up
tables and make coffee at 9:00 (and also help with the 2:00 pm
cleanups). Bridge players pay $3 each for the game that day, with
proceeds going to the fire company.
*Except January, typically
the snowiest month.
On Memorial Day Weekend
68 Years Later, You Can Still Get
a $1 Hot Dog
1944 you could buy fresh meats, cigarettes and grocery staples at this
Campmeeting store. Today, it's the adult Sunday School room at Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church.
door, in the parking lot on Memorial Day weekend, you'll again find
bargains -- including $1 hot dogs with all the trimmings, say Timber
Bridge residents Bob McCullough and Bray Brunkhurst. As they roast
their Heavenly Hot Dogs outdoors, the former grocery will be filled to
overflowing with antique treasures, offered during the giant porch sale
extravaganza throughout the Campmeeting and Chautauqua Saturday, May 26.
self-appointed Chairman of the Federal Hot Dog
Reserve," says McCullough, "it's my duty to strike a blow at
the inflationary cost of escalating food prices by providing the
very best product at a price that may be below actual dealer cost.
Heavenly Hot Dogs deserve their rightful place in the pantheon of
'Greatest Gretna Hits.' Pizza is going up. Jiggers are going up. Even a
dozen doughnuts are now available on a payment plan," he says.
left, with sidekick Brunkhurst: "We flop 'em, you top 'em"
Heavenly Hot Dogs are the real answer to a tight budget. 'Bring a Buck,
and you're in Luck,'" beams McCullough. As anyone who knows this
retired pharmaceutical industry executive probably
however, there is, well, what he calls "a Methodist to our
a nutshell, it's all about "meeting new potential customers for
our local mission. First, we spread the mustard; then we spread the
Gospel. Both are guaranteed to satisfy," he says.
top photo, by the way, came to our attention from former Mt. Gretnan
Sheryl Mellor, who is on an island in the South Pacific --New Caledonia
to be exact--where she's a translator and avid reader of
Mt. Gretna Newsletter. Her parents are Mt. Gretna
Heights residents Jack and Evelyn Yocklovich. Mrs. Mellor, now a
grandmother, spotted this photo in a 1996 historic calendar published
by the Lebanon Daily News.
Edging ever closer to the U.S.
Register of Historic Places
A Crown for the Mt. Gretna
this summer, there's a pretty good chance that Mt. Gretna's Campmeeting
will become a Historic District on the official U.S. Register of
course, that honor still has a few hurdles to jump, namely final
approvals by the Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation and the
National Park Service.
if a pretty Kutztown co-ed hadn't sat down next to Tom Meredith on a
bus over 70 years ago, none of this might ever have happened.
if photographer Madelaine Gray hadn't decided to move to Mt. Gretna,
and if people like Esther Mefferd, George and Chris Resch and Linda and
Jim Campbell hadn't put their energies together
my committee, this wouldn't be happening," says Meredith
(center). Among committee members missing in this photo was Madelaine
Gray, who took this picture and over 250 others to help push the
historic district application closer to success.
photograph, classify and categorize 255 Campmeeting structures --
everything from historic cottages to water pumps that haven't been used
in over a century -- Tom's dream (and the hope of that girl who sat
down next to him on the bus) might never have been realized.
gain historic district status for an area like the entire Campmeeting
grounds is a journey that took about eight years, says Tom. But two of
those years were interrupted by illness -- his own and the girl on the
bus, Marie, who later became his wife. Even as her life was nearing an
end in 2010, she urged him to continue the project. Tom, who will
celebrate his 91st birthday in August, pledged to her that he would.
had been Tom's link to Mt. Gretna. For the first 18 years of her life,
she had spent her summers here with her parents. Tom, as far as he
knew, had no connection to Mt. Gretna. It wasn't until after they moved
here in 1985, following his retirement, that he discovered his
great-grandfather had, in fact, been one of the founders of the
does the historic designation mean? "Not a whole lot," admits
Tom. "Bragging rights, maybe. But it won't mean that your taxes
will go up or that you can't paint your cottage a certain color."
90, fulfilling a pledge.
it does mean, however, is that officials at the Pennsylvania Historic
Preservation Bureau will take a keen interest in the types of
developments that might be proposed for Mt. Gretna.
the historical designation wouldn't have any official impact, people
like Bryan van Sweden, the Bureau's architectural historian and
regional community officer, are very much concerned about managing the
environment around the historic district. So this gives us access to
advisers from the Bureau," says Tom.
of what historic district status will mean for Campmeeting residents
will be explained this Friday, May 4 at a 7:00 meeting in Mt. Gretna
United Methodist Church.
doesn't impose any restrictions on the right of property owners to
paint, remodel or do whatever they wish with their property," said
Tom. "The listing is simply a recognition of the historic
integrity and significance of the district."
So if the Historic District eventually comes to pass, we asked,
"Do you think you've ever done anything you're more proud of,
other than marrying Marie?"
not," he said.
to keep that in mind, the next time a pretty girl sits down next to you
on a bus.
long-time Mt. Gretna resident who normally spends long days at Hershey
into the mysteries of chocolate, including its ancient origins and
uses, just popped in with the announcement of "an exciting
initiative for our community."
he had in mind was a new magazine that fills a need. "With our
cultural heritage, one of the things that has been lacking is a
resource for original contributions," he said. Thus was born The
Mt. Gretna Review -- a publication of original stories, poems, photos
and historically related submissions about the Mt. Gretna area.
Hurst heads a peer-reviewed team that hopes to publish its first issue
this fall, with submissions accepted until Oct. 1. It's another feather
in the cap of the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society.
15-year-old Mt. Gretna high school student with a published book to her
Hannah Fouché, the daughter of Doug and Jaunine Fouché who moved to a
home in Timber Hills a little over a year ago.
kids come home and watch TV or play video games," says Jaunine,
"but Hannah would just write, for maybe two or four hours. She's
been doing that since she was five, whether school was in or out."
Hannah, writing comes with a compelling allure. "To me, it doesn't
feel like anything else," she says. A student at Palmyra High
School, she's already won two Internet-based writing contests and has
just published Wake of Dreamer, a collection of short fiction,
microfiction and poetry, now
available on Amazon.com.
lot of people say that when they're older, they want to have a book
out. But I realized that doesn't really happen. As you get older, you
forget about those sorts of things. I wanted to do something like this
before I lost my chance."
few months before the publication date, a girl in her class asked what
she was working on. "I told her it wasn't done yet; but when it
was finished, I printed one of my stories and gave it to her. When she
finished reading it, she said, 'Your writing is beautiful.'
can still hear those words in my head," says Hannah. "They
made me so happy I wanted to cry." She and her family are now
happily enmeshed in the details of publicity, coffee house readings and
book signings. You can order it online or get a signed copy, $12,
directly from her mom at email@example.com.
about a man who makes a difference. Pastor Mike Remel
(inset, below) roasts hot dogs, reads Billy Goat Gruff to mesmerized
youngsters and injects a buoyant spirit into life at the Mt. Gretna
United Methodist Church.
month, he'll be formally ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist
Church. It's the culmination of a 14-year odyssey that began when he
first heard the call to the ministry. A graduate of East Stroudsburg
University, where he majored in history, he later enrolled in Master of
Divinity studies at Palmer Seminary, near Philadelphia.
now I've been what Methodists call a Provisional Member," says
Pastor Mike. "It used to be called 'Probationary Member,' but that
sounded like we were in jail," he laughs. Provisional status lasts
two years, allowing ministerial candidates and the denomination
"to further discern one's call to the ministry," he says.
he came to Mt. Gretna three years ago, he served as pastor to two small
churches in southern Lancaster County, an experience that placed him in
the national spotlight when he was called upon to conduct services for
the gunman forgiven by the Amish community following the Nickel Mines
school shootings in 2006. Although that was a difficult assignment,
Pastor Remel won international accolades for a sermon that called for
"less violence, less hatred, less evil in the world" and
expressed hope that "the world would learn from the lesson of
forgiveness." Press reports carried that message to a global
ordination service Friday, May 18 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo
Center in Oaks, Pa. is open to everyone and will begin at 7:00
thought Nicole Roberts could energize a band marching
along Route 117 from the Jigger Shop to the fire hall every Halloween,
wait'll you hear her sing. This
audition video just helped her win a spot at Boston's
Berklee College of Music this fall, following in
the footsteps of her dad, Timbers Dinner Theatre music director
Andy Roberts (who's the accompanist in this You Tube video).
plans to study Music Business and voice and build a career in music
production and marketing. She hasn't yet decided just what role the
Timbers might play in her future.
A Cedar Crest High School senior, Nicole was a finalist in the 2012
Lebanon Idol competition and recently appeared at the All State Jazz
Her mentors? Among those she credits are dance instructors Judy
Williams Henry and Kevin Krum, Ronnie Waters "who helped me grow
in understanding and performing jazz," and actor Will Stutts, the
former Gretna Theatre producer who introduced her to the theater world.
winter long we waited. Former Mt. Gretna postmistress
Cathy Dugdale (inset, right) had moved to the normally
snow-covered regions of Wisconsin, to the quaint little city of
Waukesha, to be nearer her daughter.
You want to leave Mt. Gretna for gloomy winters, icy sidewalks and
months of shoveling?" we asked as she packed up to leave last
us a picture when you're up to your waist in the snow," we
agreed. But we waited and waited. Months passed.
showed up in our mailbox. Nothing, that is, until last week, when
finally a photo arrived.
was one that Cathy's daughter took in her mom's new backyard. The snows
never came, said Cathy, so "my daughter put up this sky
chair for me to take advantage of the big trees in my yard
and the incredible weather here. Records set in 1903 were crushed
days in March reached 80 degrees," she said.
A day or
so later, on April 16, former Mt. Gretnan Kim Miller Gardner (inset,
left) posted a message on Facebook: "It's snowing," she
chirped from her home in St. Paul, Minn.
rushed a request to Kim: Please send us your picture, knee-deep in
few hours later she replied. "Sorry," she said, "the
snow pretty much melted as soon as it hit the ground."
let's go over this again, slowly. Exactly why is it that we Mt. Gretna
snowbirds spend thousands of dollars each year for travel, houses and
condos -- not to mention taxes, insurance and upkeep -- for places in Florida,
California and South Carolina?
not just any ordinary band of guys in the parking lot. This, ta-dah!,
is the first gathering of the newly formed Mt. Gretna Sports Car Club.
"Old guys in hot cars or hot guys
in old cars?" It doesn't seem to make any difference.
first outing was April 12 and they've got a followup drive coming this
month's inaugural run saw five Mt. Gretnans in sports cars winding
through the Lebanon and Lancaster farm country on a leisurely Thursday
afternoon. Mel Kaplan, David Wood, Sid Hostetter, Paul Heise and Chuck
Long stopped for lunch at the Brickerville House.
only thing missing were their wives.
must have missed us," said Winterites leader Donna Kaplan,
"because next month we're invited to come along too."
you're a sports car owner and would like to join the group, give Sid
Hostetter a call, 964-3412. The next outing is Thursday, May 10 with a
drive to the historic Reinholds Inn. Don't own a sports car? This may
be the excuse you've been waiting for. Too expensive? As Terry Miller
once told Shirley when she asked if they shouldn't be saving for a
rainy day, "Shirley, the umbrella is up." And as a friend
once told us when we balked at buying a golf cart, "Remember,
you're going outta here in your underwear." There you have it.
Life lessons in a nutshell.
Gretna organist now finishing his first year at The Jacobs School of
Music in Bloomington Indiana, leads off Mt. Gretna's Summer Organ
Recital Series July 5. Also appearing in this year's Thursdays in July
series at the Hewitt-McAnney residence, 1 Princeton Ave., are Russell
Jackson from the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (July
12), Tyler Canonico of the First United Methodist Church in Palmyra
(July 19) and Julie Vidrick Evans of the Chevy Chase Presbyterian
Church in Washington, DC (July 26). All concerts begin at 7:00 pm.
Reservations may be made after May 28 at 864-1830, ext. 3.
not everybody in this photo looks overjoyed with the
idea of wearing funny hats and singing "If I Were A
Butterfly." But it was, after all, the premiere performance of Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church's new Children's Choir, part of an Earth
Day celebration last month. And sometimes, even when it's not exactly
show business, you gotta have an act. They'll perform again this month
at the Mother's Day 10:00 am service, Sunday, May 13.
spot for Mt. Gretnans to catch a glimpse of the Transit
in the late afternoon sun next month?
Probably Soldier's Field (starting around 6:03 pm, June 5), says
Mine Road resident Jim Seltzer. The spectacular celestial show (when
Venus passes directly between the sun and earth) happens
only rarely and comes in pairs eight years apart. Since
the telescope was invented, it's happened only in the 1630s, 1761 and
1769, 1874 and 1882. It also occurred in 2004, and after it happens in June, it
won't be seen for more than a century (2117 in fact). To view the
event, experts recommend eclipse
(1 - 25 for $0.95 each).
Isn't it downright amazing what you can learn by reading The Mt.
A Photographer's Gentle Stroll
Mt. Gretna on a Sunday Afternoon
photographer Madelaine Gray goes walking around Mt. Gretna on a Sunday
afternoon with a camera in hand, we can be sure something good is about
a beautiful final Sunday in April, it happened again:
essay of the season about to begin.
travels took her through the Campmeeting garden, then to a stop
alongside ferns that suddenly appear everywhere in Mt. Gretna.
("To me, they are a symbol of new beginnings," says
visit to a garden angel, and then on to a flamingo, one of her favorites.
those colorful but empty chairs?
photographer's eye is unerring.
are waiting for fun summer times on the patio," says Madelaine,
whose photographs of the lavender
fields of Provence are now legendary.
so are her photographs of Mt. Gretna.
Preservation Group Shares its
the days leading up to their public meeting at the fire hall last
Sunday, Preserve Mt. Gretna's president Marla Pitt had summed up why
she and others formed the group last fall.
It began with a concern for Mt. Gretna's natural beauty, she said.
"To me, the trees lining Route 117 as you come into Mt. Gretna set
a prelude. The trees and roadways set a backdrop and cadence that
create and emulate nature. With more development always a possibility,
especially as sewer lines are built, with the decision to relocate a
pumping station from the Rail Trail down to Route 117, and while plans
for a Regional Comprehensive Plan are being drawn up, we felt there
were too many uncertain variables.
"We didn't want to wake up one day and realize that somehow we had
passed a certain tipping point where we were never going to get back
the Mt. Gretna we know," said Mrs. Pitt, a
lifelong Mt. Gretna resident.
She and others helped lead a campaign last summer to block rezoning of
a 90-acre parcel of land across Route 117 from Mt. Gretna Heights and
the Campmeeting. Land owners subsequently withdrew their requests to
change the zoning from Residential Forest (RF) to R-1 and R-2, which
would permit higher densities of single-family housing as well as
townhouses and garden apartments.
Sunday's meeting, attended by about 85
persons, Preserve Mt. Gretna attorney Dwight Yoder reviewed municipal
zoning regulations and advised citizens to remain alert to plans for
future development. He said that although the PMG remains open to
suggestions, a recent proposal for an alternative approach that would
could allow rezoning of a portion of land now designated as Residential
Forest was inconsistent with PMG's stated aims. He circulated a letter
which stated the group "believes the existing RF zoning...is
the appropriate zoning classification for the area and opposes any
change to a higher classification."
the latest version of the Regional Comprehensive Plan which now in its
final stages of development, RF remains the classification for the
90-acre tract involved in the controversial proposal put forward by
Eastern Enterprises and others last summer.
addition to Mrs. Pitt, the board includes vice president Ned Gibble,
secretary Annie Roach, treasurer Peggy O'Neil, Mike and Pat Allwein,
Pam Bishop, Dr. David Bronstein, Doug Lorenzen, Ted Martin and Dr.
Charles Pitt. Funds are being collected by Preserve Mt. Gretna, Mt.
Gretna, PA 17064.
want to preserve the historical character and integrity of Mt.
Gretna," said Mrs. Pitt."We hope to do that for future
generations, not just the present day. So we intend to be around for a
Coming June 18
Mt. Gretna's Favorite: Big Junk
Bornman has a unique way of taking a good idea and making it even
Junk Day (officially "Large Item Collection Day") got started
in Mt. Gretna more than 30 years ago.
This year, chili
& sauerkraut, too.
in recent years, Thatcher (inset, left) has taken it upon himself to
make the occasion for discarding unwanted
too large for regular trash pickups -- a Sunday afternoon
festival outside his cottage at 108 Lancaster Avenue in the Chautauqua.
by for a hot dog," he calls out to folks out on scavenger hunts to
discover what Mt. Gretnans are discarding. It's an invitation that
stops newbies in their tracks. Who would give away hot dogs to
Thatcher, who's heart is as big as his spirit, and who has kept the
tradition going for nearly a decade.
idea was it to start Big Junk Day in the first place? The plan was
first suggested by former borough councilman Gene Tidwell, an Alcoa
executive who moved here from another community down South, where he
first saw large item collections in practice.
since become not merely a convenience for residents but also a cause
for celebration, thanks to Thatch, who uses the annual rite as just
another excuse for a party (that's a specialty among Mt. Gretnans, of
course) -- one with hot dogs and all the trimmings, including chips,
soft drinks and spontaneous conversation with the 30 or more neighbors
who usually stop by on a Sunday night preceding the start of pickups on
Monday. This year, he's even adding homemade sauerkraut and chili to
the mix. "Chili dogs are my all-time favorite," he said last
used to take us two weeks to collect all the stoves, refrigerators,
furniture and mattresses that people no longer wanted," says Mt.
Gretna borough manager Bill Care. "But now with all the
scavengers, who usually start their hunts around Friday afternoon and
all day Saturday and Sunday," by the time we get there on Monday
most of the stuff is gone."
the service is officially intended for Mt. Gretna Borough residents,
who live in the Chautauqua District. "But some of the stuff gets
dropped off by people who live in other areas, usually under the cloak
of darkness," laughs Bill. As long as that doesn't get out of
hand, nobody seems to mind. Especially since the scavenger patrols do
such an efficient job of trash removal on their own.
Borough recycles any metal objects that remain and also takes care of
freon removal from discarded appliances. Hazardous waste materials are
not permitted, says Care.
than that, it's a simple solution to a community problem that has
worked beautifully for more than three decades.
it's not exactly what you'd find in most places. But this, after all,
is Mt. Gretna, where we do things a little bit differently. . . and
thanks to people like Thatcher, with flair.
This year, a celebration spread
over two full nights
Here Comes a Grand Illumination to
Light Up Mt. Gretna for Independence Day When it
comes to planning something special, nobody's better than Barb
Kleinfelter and Evelyn Koppel. Add Karl Gettle to the mix and you know
you've got something special indeed.
why plans now shaping up for Mt. Gretna's Grand Illumination observance
around the Fourth
Coming up: Grand
Illumination days in July
Tom Mayer photo
July this year are likely to make it a memorable event of
had a great response last year and hope to have even more people
participate this year," says Gettle. "We're encouraging all
areas of Mt. Gretna to take part."
are the planners adding a second night (July 3 and 4)? "People
told us they couldn't get around all of Mt. Gretna after the concert to
see the various illuminations. They suggested an additional night. Plus
there were others who felt a Grand Illumination should have more than
one night of exposure in order for more people to enjoy it," he
With the help of Chautauqua artist Barb Kleinfelter and regional
coordinators like Evelyn Koppel, who lives in Timber Hills, plans are
shaping up for festive decorative touches to celebrate the nation's
will again have Liberty Bell shapes as we did last year as well as two
new ideas we felt people would like -- a garden flag and a wooden Uncle
Sam," says Gettle.
Kleinfelter will hold four Tuesday workshops in the Hall of Philosophy
to help residents paint their four-foot replicas of Uncle Sam or put
finishing touches on the bell shapes. "People won't need prior
experience in painting," he says, "Barb will lead them
through the process." Barb's husband Bill, a master craftsman, has
prepared pre-cut wooden shapes so people can paint them with their own
distinctive touches. Supplies needed for these projects will be $20,
with proceeds divided between the fire company and Mt. Gretna Area
Historical Society. Gettle says there'll be samples on display at the
post office on Saturday mornings leading up to the event as well as at
the Summer Premiere May 26.
to buy other decorations you may need to celebrate the Grand
Illumination Fourth of July? "We'll be giving more ideas later,
but two good places to start are Michaels and Hobby Lobby locally,"
B. Hoffman (1909-2012)
if you didn't know who she was, when you glimpsed her walking across
the Chautauqua grounds she left no doubt that she was a woman of purpose.
She strode with the dignity characteristic of women born in an earlier
era, when elegance and eloquence flowed naturally and evenly from women
of stature in their community.
Mary Buch Hoffman was such a woman. And though she played a major role
in the entire community of Lebanon, Mt. Gretna was where she made her
biggest contribution. "Of all her achievements," said her
daughter Mary Louise Harris, "the ones of which she was most proud
were those she accomplished in Mt. Gretna." It had been her beloved
summer retreat for nearly three-quarters of a century.
Mt. Gretna's theatrical tradition was the centerpiece of her
accomplishments. During the days when its future was darkest, she led
the effort to restore it to grandeur. Energizing everything and everyone
from cookie bakers to bankers, she resolved that the theater would not
During much of that time she also served as Chancellor of the
Pennsylvania Chautauqua, presiding over summer worship services. She
held that post with distinction for more than 20 years. And for 15
years she served on the Chautauqua Board of Managers, with a reputation
for stating her positions firmly and often without compromise.
Compromise, some felt, was not a word in her vocabulary. But that
probably was not true. It is just that people of high standards often
convey their ideas resolutely. It has its usefulness. "Nothing
convinces like conviction," goes the quote sometimes attributed to
Cicero. With her steely glance, no one ever doubted that Mary Hoffman
meant what she said.
A woman of ideas, she was also a woman of intense energy and little
concern for the clock. A night-owl, her friends often remarked that if
their phone rang between 11:00 pm and 2:00 am, they knew who was
calling. "That's Mary," their sleepy spouses would say.
"It never occurred to Mary that other people slept when she was up
half the night," said Nancy Besch, her friend, admirer, long-time
neighbor and successor to the post of Pennsylvania Chautauqua
Always in a hurry, she was a legend in her white VW convertible,
darting around town and reportedly attracting the attention of every
police patrol car in the county. It was said she bought the same model
and color car so police patrols--long wondering "what to do about
Mary"--would resign themselves to getting yet another lesson, and
sometimes, a cup of coffee if they accepted the invitation to join her
for a chat.
Mary Hoffman--energizer, invigorator, innovator and leader-- died April
26 at the age of 102. Mt. Gretna will not likely see her equal again.
She set the highest of standards and was determined to put this
community foremost in her concerns. It was a legacy unmatched, and one
guaranteed to reverberate for at least a century.
A visitation will be held Friday, May 4 starting at 10:00 am at St.
Andrews Presbyterian Church, 600 S. 12th Street in Lebanon. Services
will be conducted at the church starting at 12 noon. An online
is expected to soon be posted at the website of Christman's Funeral
Home, which is handling the arrangements.
Updates & Stuff to
Friday, May 4:
A Public Meeting to explain details of what
establishment of the Campmeeting as an Historic District on the
National Register of Historic Places will mean to residents, in
Fellowship Hall, United Methodist Church, 7:00 pm.
Tuesday, May 8:
Friends of Cornwall Furnace lecture: Lime
Kilns, by retired Millersville State professor Kenneth
Miller, now writing a book about the lime burning process and its
history in steelmaking. Freeman Hall, Cornwall Manor, 7:00 pm.
Thursday, May 10:
Carriage rides, wellness checks and campus tours. Cornwall Manor's "Day Well Spent" welcomes
Mt. Gretna residents beginning at 2:00 pm. A 7:00 pm Dixieland Express
concert with hot dogs, drinks and ice cream treats winds up the affair.
Ham & Bean Soup, Hot Dogs & Fun at the Mt. Gretna Fire Company's Spring Block Shoot,
12:00 Noon to 5 pm. Prizes galore, even if you don't fire a shot. Plus
food and friends in this popular fundraiser that helps put a dent in
Community Shredding Services Available without charge to Mt. Gretna residents of
South Londonderry Twp.; (10 box limit, documents only.) North
Londonderry Twp. Building, 655 East Ridge Road, Palmyra, 9:00 am to
12:30 am. Questions: call 838-1373.
9th Annual Mt. Gretna Triathlon, Mt. Gretna Lake and surrounding area, 6:00 am to 12
Pancake and Sausage Breakfast at the fire hall, 8:00 to 10:00 am.
Community Porch Sales throughout
the Campmeeting and Chautauqua, with some of the best treasures on sale
at the fire hall and church, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.
Premiere to launch the summer season ahead, May 26 at 4:00 pm
Summer Premiere Hall of
Philosophy, 4:00 pm. See story this issue.
Tuesday, May 29:
Earliest date to make reservations for this year's Thursdays in July Organ Series: Call
964-1830. All recitals begin at 7:00 pm, 1 Princeton Ave.
Community Potluck Supper, highlighting Mt. Gretna's summer programs. At the fire
hall, 5:00 pm. Information and reservations: 964-1830.
Saturday, June 9:
Book and bake sale at the fire
hall, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. (Book drop-off at the fire company June 2,
from 10:00 am to noon.
Sunday, July 1:
Breakfast buffet (everything you
could imagine) at the fire hall, 8:00 am to noon.
And don't forget:
Check the Mt. Gretna Arts Counci's new
for events coming up in the year ahead.
Send listings for the new online version to Jennifer
Veser Besse (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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, email@example.com
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
Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events,
schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List"
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society
Newsletter -- Online at http://www.mtgretnahistory.org/newsletter.php
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
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
Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt.
Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at
Campmeeting Newsletter --
mailed to residents.
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter --
e-mailed to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay,email@example.com
the Mt. Gretna Newsletter guy ever take a vacation? Not often. But this
year, for the first time since I began writing this letter as a hobby
11 years ago, I will. I plan to take a couple of months off. Mainly to
spend some time traveling with friends and see a different part of the
world. I probably should say I'm really looking forward to going.
I'm not sure that castles and cathedrals are better than Mt. Gretna
cottages. In fact, I'm pretty sure they are not. If somebody told me
I'd have to spend the rest of my days walking the streets of Mt. Gretna
with my dog Winston, that would suit me just fine. At 71, I don't need
variety to know what I like. Winston doesn't care much for it either.
It's nice to have a dog that thinks the way you do.
you in a couple of months.
Mt. Gretna Newsletter