Mt. Gretna E-Mail Newsletter

"A Bulletin For Folks Who Love Mount Gretna. . . Wherever They Happen to Live"
Newsletter Home
Join Our Mailing List
Email: The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
No. 69 March 6, 2007
A brief news item in this month's issue reflects memories of Mt. Gretna in an earlier time. Pat Attwood, who first moved here 72 years ago during the Depression, recalls winters when snows piled high—blanketing trees, cottages and roadways in mounding drifts—and creating breathtaking scenes that Lebanon photographer Luther Harpel captured in postcards she'll display in a presentation at the fire hall next month.
Most people, Pat tells us, are surprised to see just how much snow fell in Mt. Gretna in those days—a time when snowplows were nonexistent and ordinary snow shovels were the backbreaking norm. It was also a time when power failures were almost a nonevent. In a world of kerosene lanterns and wood-burning stoves, the flow of electricity—lighting an occasional, solitary streetlamp—didn't much matter.
Mt. Gretna has changed, of course. But less so than most other places. One reader, a woman in her 90s who moved to California but recalls days as a teenager, skating down the 'concrete highway' today known as Rte. 117, says that whenever she returns, Mt. Gretna appears much as she remembers.
We're more electricity-dependent, of course. Many of us now have generators that kick in automatically whenever a power failure lasts longer than 60 seconds. But in its essentials, Mt. Gretna's core values remain unchanged. "There's something special about it," says Pat, who turned 80 last December. "Something that draws people back. More and more of my friends who've moved away tell me they want to return."
The allure seems almost mystical. No one we've met has yet been able to put their finger on it. The late Marlin Seiders, a retired Navy chaplain, probably came closest. "Mt. Gretna," he once said, "is not a place, but a spirit."
Other stories in this issue also reflect that: A haven where writers, artists and musicians find creative inspirations; a place where children will come this summer to explore a world through the magic of music; a community whose driving engine is the unbounded energy of volunteers; a setting that impels us to preserve the best of our buildings, artifacts and traditions; even the surrounding hills, which seem to thwart the cellular signals of modernity.
Technology-resistant? Not really. "Pro-spirit" is the term we'd likely prefer—nurturing impulses that lift, inspire and soothe the soul. Perhaps that's why, as years pass and the world grows increasingly complex, those who've lived here yearn to return.
The Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society, now mulling over plans for a capital campaign, seeks to enlist the support of others not only in collecting artifacts but also in making prospective cottage buyers aware "of the unique environment of our community." The aim, says society president Fred Buch, is "to preserve our way of life and the unique architecture of our buildings."
Located on Pennsylvania Avenue next to the Playhouse, the society's new headquarters will both display artifacts and "make available renovation and restoration materials to those wanting to find authentic architectural designs and materials to use in their projects," Fred says.
"As far as the cottage is concerned, Ruth and I still own it. We are optimistic that the funds can be raised to purchase it at our cost less our contribution to the project. Therefore, we have been restoring and renovating the cottage with the Historical Society in mind."
So far, workmen have lifted the home 12 ft., excavated a basement, and gently set it back onto a waterproof cement block foundation. They've also built a concrete vault under the porch and formed a room to house the heating and air-conditioning system that will also provide humidity control for archival areas.
When spring comes, says Fred, "we could use some volunteers to help with backfilling ground around the foundation and doing some landscaping."
PennDOT engineers now say the Rte. 117 improvement project they've planned this year probably won't include raised reflectors along the highway, blinking lights at the edge of town reminding motorists to slow down, or lowering the speed limit to 25 mph in areas where midsummer pedestrian traffic is greatest.
Why not? As for the reflectors (called Raised Pavement Markers), Mt. Gretna's "crash records" don't fit PennDOT's standard criteria—meaning, we suppose, that we haven't had enough accidents to justify the added expense. And their conclusions about lowering the speed limit through town? They were based on studies PennDOT conducted last month—in February.
We asked if they ever looked at traffic here during July and August? Whether at least two fatalities involving pedestrians walking along Rte. 117 show up in their records? Or if they ever stopped to consider that Playhouse audiences are mostly seniors—discouraged from attending plays and concerts if they must travel home along dark, twisting roads through state gamelands on rainy, foggy nights? Not to mention, of course, that the percentage of Mt. Gretnans over 65 is nearly twice the national average.
PennDOT engineers, apparently, took none of these considerations into account. But so far, they insist on adhering to their conventional yardsticks, which are "by-the-book."
Mt. Gretna artists—and those whose works depict Mt. Gretna scenes—are signing up to include their names, areas of art emphasis, and contact information in the Arts Council's new online gallery, a service they'll offer at no charge.
Intended to list all the more than 40 (by our count) area artists with ties to Mt. Gretna, the Web reference is now being assembled and should soon be making its Internet debut.
The aim, of course, is to make it easy for art buyers to find, in a single, convenient location, all the artists living or working here, as well as those whose works reflect Mt. Gretna traditions, scenes and inspirations.
The Arts Council website won't sell artwork, of course. It merely will give buyers a convenient, all-inclusive site to find painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, weavers, potters and other artisans with ties to Mt. Gretna. That should make it easy for anyone looking for that "perfect gift" for friends and relatives who simply love Mt. Gretna, as well as those who—now living elsewhere—enjoy surrounding their homes with reminders of a spot where they, or their parents or grandparents, shared rich experiences and fond memories.
Mt. Gretna Arts Council member Jessica Kosoff is heading the project and hopes to sign up as many artists as possible. There's no cost to be included in the online gallery, and council members want to display as many names and varieties of art as possible.
If you're an artist, or know of someone whose works should appear in this consolidated online listing, drop a note to Jessica at Names and addresses—with links to artist Websites, when available—will be added as they are received and updated as necessary.
The most reliable cellular services in Mt. Gretna, our readers report, are Verizon and Sprint. That's because both have antennas stacked on that 160-ft. tower just off Mine Road, sandwiched between hills that confound most other wireless companies.
Is it possible to use cellular services other than Verizon and Sprint? Apparently, but it's not easy.
Chautauquan Jim Erdman has been struggling for over a year to get his Cingular phones to work here. The company has been cooperative, yet insists that its tower along Rte. 72 (near the RV sales outlet) provides all the coverage Mt. Gretna needs. But, in Jim's experience, it rarely does. Searching for a solution, Cingular has been letting him try different types of phones.
So far, nothing has worked. But Jim is not giving up. Especially since he recently saw a visitor use her Cingular "Pentech" phone from his own living room. "For over two hours, she carried on an uninterrupted conversation with friends in Arizona," he marvels.
So with the right equipment, Cingular's signal into Mt. Gretna seems to work. But finding that will-o'-the-wisp wireless combination—telephone equipment precisely tailored to the carrier's signal strength—remains, for Jim, a conundrum.
Of course, cellular solutions are often slippery. Sprint, for example, has a strong Mt. Gretna signal. But Nextel, which is now affiliated with Sprint, does not. Engineers tell us that's because even though the two companies are now linked, they use different a telecommunications protocol and can't share antennas. Nextel users tell us their reception here is sometimes spotty.
Clearly, many folks are still seeking a cellular solution they can count on. And for now, from all that we can gather, Verizon and Sprint remain the best choices.
Warm praise greets that new book by Princeton Avenue resident Bill Gifford. "Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer," was an "Editor's Choice" selection at The New York Times Feb. 18. Glowing reviews have also appeared in The Washington Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Harrisburg Patriot News, among others. Meanwhile, Bill is making the rounds of book readings and tours, when he's not in Mt. Gretna or New York, where he is a magazine editor.
Never heard of Ledyard? Here's how The New York Times describes him:
"John Ledyard's first full-scale expedition would have persuaded most men never to leave home again. As a 25-year-old sailor on the British ship Resolution, which set sail in 1776 in search of the Northwest Passage, Ledyard contracted venereal disease, was served a roasted human arm (and willingly tasted it, as he had lately been reduced to eating "fricassee of rats") and lost his captain, James Cook, when a group of angry Hawaiians ran him through the back with a spear. These horrors were a fitting start to a strange and exciting career — one that, like Cook's, would be cut short by a lust for fame and a streak of bad luck.
"For a largely failed explorer, Ledyard has been the subject of an impressive number of biographies. His life, however, merits the attention it has received. At a time when most of his fellow countrymen were simply getting used to being American, Ledyard set out in search of distant lands — and the other side of his own mostly unmapped continent. His travels took him from the wide Pacific to the bleakest stretches of Siberia to an untimely death in Egypt. He was arrested as a spy by Catherine the Great and formed friendships with the most powerful and influential men of his day. Ledyard was, as he once wrote of himself, "damned to fame."
The Times calls Bill Gifford's work "an important contribution" and says the author "paints a fascinating portrait…of this restless American wanderer." See (
[] A new development initiative at Gretna Theater is being headed by Carol A. Keating, whose credentials include 30 years' experience in raising over $80 million for private foundations, school districts and universities. Her firm, Hummelstown-based C.A. Keating Consulting, is associated with former NBC vice president Peter A. Andrews, who has served as an adjunct professor at Yale University's School of Drama. He is also a former senior vice president of both MGM Studios and Columbia Pictures and now runs a Philadelphia-based education management group emphasizing the arts. Their combined efforts should help provide the underpinning needed to strengthen Gretna Theater's financial foundation and better assure its future.
[] Want to get the jump on Cicada tickets even before summer begins? The box office doesn't open until June 1, but you can reserve tickets now. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis according to earliest postmark dates. (See
Cicada's entertainment lineup this season includes vintage rock and rollers Phil Dirt and the Dozers (Aug. 7), Hershey Big Band's Radio Show (Aug. 8), Lee Alverson's tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John (Aug. 9), Bill Haley's Comets (Aug. 13), and "Shades of Blue," billed as "one of the best bands in the Mid-Atlantic region" (Aug. 14). All tickets are $8. Mail orders to Cicada Festival, P.O. Box 637, Mt. Gretna, Pa. 17064. But don't expect to hear from anyone until June.
[] Mt. Gretna's Easter Egg Hunt starts promptly at 11 a.m. Mar. 31. "Parents and grandparents should have their youngsters at the area behind the Jigger Shop before 11 a.m.," Mary Blackburn tells us. That's because they blow the whistle at 11 a.m., and the hunt is usually over by 11:05. ("Well, maybe not quite that quick," she says, "but it does go fast."). Ron Jones has been coordinating the event for the past dozen years or so. Prizes go to children in five different age groups. Rain date: April 7, 11 a.m.
[] Like to volunteer at Mt. Gretna's Information Center this summer, greet visitors and answer their questions? Jessica Kosoff is signing up folks to do just that. She's looking for people who'd like to staff the Information Center (near the gift shop and Jigger Shop) for a couple of hours during afternoons or evenings. Let her know that you're interested:
[] Electronic applications from artists hoping to exhibit at the 33d annual Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show Aug. 18-19 are now arriving at a steady clip, via the ZAPP online application system officials began using for the first time this year. Coordinator Linda Bell has received 220 applications so far. That's up from about 150 at this point last year. The deadline is April 1. Overall, judges will select about 285 exhibitors (including 2006's Judges' Choice winners, who receive automatic invitations to exhibit). About 500 artists normally apply.
Art show proceeds go to public service projects throughout the Mt. Gretna area, fire and ambulance companies locally and other communitywide efforts.
[] Mt. Gretna's volunteer firefighters, you may never have realized, don't all come from Mt. Gretna. Many live elsewhere, drawn to service in this community by friendships, family traditions, and a deep sense of commitment.
Lauren and Josh Thies, for example, live in Manheim. They recently welcomed a baby boy to their family, adding to a team that also includes Lauren's father and brother, Brad and Tim Yeingst of Timber Hills. "We're excited to have a new little firefighter in the hall," says Karen Lynch, one of many active volunteers who help keep things humming at the fire company.
[] Readers looking over last month's list of books written by or about people in Mt. Gretna reminded us of one we missed: Michael Schropp's "Mt. Gretna: A Postcard History," published in 1977. Now living in California, Michael is the brother of Jack Schropp, author of "Unbeatable: Live Your Life As Extraordinary Using Secrets of a Navy SEAL."
Their mom, a Hollywood actress (the former Diana Gibson, who came to Mt. Gretna and never left), is best remembered for her starring role in "Tillie the Mennonite Maid," one of the most popular plays ever staged here.
[] Dr. Patrick Thomas, a Hershey Medical Center professor and radiation oncologist—and one of Mt. Gretna's newest residents—presented the prologue to the Sarasota (Fla.) Opera Guild's recent performance of "Halka," by Stanislaw Moniuszko. In the audience was the Campmeeting's Anne Shemeta, who sent us a "small world?!" note.
Anne reports that Patrick, a British native, was first invited to Mt. Gretna by Dorothy Gray, also a Campmeeting summer resident, who heads the Sarasota guild's distinguished winter series. Patrick and wife Fran liked what they found here and bought a cottage last year. An opera lover, he is a former Philadelphia Opera Guild president, an education coordinator for Opera Volunteers International, and, like Dorothy herself, often lectures on operatic and musical subjects.
Mount Gretna's widely acclaimed summer book series (Tuesday mornings at 10) resumes June 26 with Gary Grieve-Carlson's review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick. Grieve-Carlson, a professor of English at Lebanon Valley College, is coordinating the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy series.
Other books on the summer program: (July 3) Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, reviewed by Mark Mecham; (July 10) Bruce Feiler's Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion, reviewed by Paul Fullmer; (July 17) Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962, reviewed by David Rudd; (July 24) Donna Leon's Through a Glass, Darkly: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, reviewed by Diane Iglesias; (July 31) Gordon S. Wood's Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, reviewed by Jim Broussard; (Aug. 7) Gyles Brandreth's Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, reviewed by Jean-Paul Benowitz; (Aug. 14) Jeff Faux's The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future, and What It Will Take to Win it Back, reviewed by Mt. Grentan Paul Heise, a retired LVC professor of economics and writer of a weekly political column; (Aug. 21) Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza and the Fate of God in the Modern World, reviewed by Jeff Robins; and (Aug. 28) Charles J. Shields' Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, reviewed by Timber Hills' Howard Applegate, retired chairman of LVC's history department.
[] Kindermusic Kamp, a new summer music series for children, will offer opportunities for both parents and youngsters to "discover new ways to appreciate the world's most respected music" at Chautauqua's Hall of Philosophy this June.
Depending on the age group, sessions will help youngsters learn about animals, take imaginary trips to favorite spots, and explore dance, crafts and readings from throughout the world – all with the aid of musical themes.
Starting June 1, the classes will be grouped by age: newborns to 18 months, 18 months to 3 years, 3- to 5-year olds, and ages 5 to 7. They will be held on Fridays and Saturdays throughout June. Pre-register by May 18. For details, call 964-1310.
[] It's hard to tell which is more popular--the handcrafted earthenware crocks introduced as a fire company fundraiser last year or those "postcard" afghans displaying historical scenes from Mt. Gretna's past?
Year-rounders and summer visitors alike have snapped them up in record numbers. Collectors will find several of those popular items still remaining at Gretna Computers (next to the pizza shop). Stop in or call, 964-1106. All proceeds go to our firefighters.
[] The Georgia Guitar Quartet—offering "some really hot pickin' and strummin'"—comes to Gretna Music's winter venue, Leffler Performance Center at Elizabethtown College, Mar. 24. The concert "spans the gamut from classical to jazz, bluegrass and world styles," says Gretna Music impresario Michael Murray. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a preconcert discussion at 6:30. Tickets: ($18 and $25, half-price for those 19-26 and $1 for everyone 18 and under). Call 717-361-1508.
[] Even with Le Sorelle's two chefs expecting back-to-back babies during March and April, the café intends to follow a normal wintertime schedule (Fridays-Sundays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) during most of the next two months. An e-mail bulletin suggests there'll be only one weekend when they'll close temporarily to "transfer the golden spatula" —probably sometime around mid-April. Sisters Tiffany Lamont Winters and Stephanie Lamont Bost plan to share kitchen duties on overlapping shifts as their summertime schedule (daily except Mondays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) continues, starting Memorial Day weekend. Since babies are not exactly predictable, we suggest you keep tabs on all café events at
[] Finishing its production of Lucia di Lammermoor last week, Center Stage Opera company now turns its attention to the June 2 performance of scenes from Verdi's "Falsataff," at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse. The Harrisburg-based group is returning to the Playhouse for its second consecutive year. Also on the touring company's 2007 schedule (at other locations): Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana. See
[] Winter lingers, but ideas for summer fun are starting to pop up like crocuses. Ceylon and Karen Leitzel report that orders for tickets ($18) to the Aug. 25 Big Band bash at the lake are rolling in, with many regulars already reserving tables for eight. Wine tastings are planned. Patrons can also bring their own food and nonalcoholic drinks. Proceeds go to Mt. Gretna nonprofit groups. Details: 964-1829 or 717-866-4272.
[] Billed as one of the best breakfasts around, Colebrook Trinity Lutheran Church's annual feast is coming up Mar. 17. There, you'll likely find Mt. Gretna neighbors enjoying the pancakes, sausage, ham, scrapple, scrambled eggs, hash browns, chipped beef, fruit and pastries—including chocolate cake with peanut butter icing—for which this annual event is famous. It just doesn't get any better, declare breakfast gourmands John Hambright and Dale Grundon, who last year awarded it their coveted five-fork rating. Time: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
[] Pat Attwood, who moved to Mt. Gretna in 1935, will be the speaker at the Winterites' meeting next month. She'll show pictures that she first discovered in the late 1940s, when the owner of Harpel's photography store invited her to sort through his third-floor storeroom of photos taken during Mt. Gretna's earliest days. "People are always impressed by the snow scenes," says Pat. "Mt. Gretna had a lot of snow in those days, far more than today. And Mr. Harpel's pictures were beautiful. In the summer, he ran a little photo stand near where the gift shop is today, selling film and inexpensive cameras. Those where days when Chautauqua was a gated community, a nostalgic time that brings back memories," she says. Pat will share her recollections in a presentation that includes over 100 photos, beginning at 1 p.m. in the fire hall April 3. Everyone is welcome to attend.
[] South Londonderry Township's new website ( includes a PDF version of its latest newsletter. Among items of interest: a neighborhood crime watch program Mar. 14. Police chief Jeff Arnold encourages attendance at the 7 p.m. session, held at the township's building, 20 W. Market St., Campbelltown. (South Londonderry Township encompasses the Mt. Gretna neighborhoods of Timber Bridge, Timber Hills and Conewago Hill.)
[] And lest you think we don't cover all the news. . . Sparky, who lives on Yale Avenue with Tom and Carol Mayer, is a winner in the Lebanon Daily News' "Pet of the Month" contest, which benefits the Humane League. "Thanks to votes cast by the many friends he's made on his walks around Mt. Gretna," says Tom, Sparky—who placed eighth among 251 competitors—will be one of 12 pets featured in the coming year.
[] Any news on the wireless Internet service for Mt. Gretna? I thought it may be up and running by now.
<> Gretna Computers' Bob Dowd says they're currently "struggling with some programming problems in the software that manages the wireless service," and their supplier is busy working out solutions.
When the Wi-Fi system is finally ready, sometime this summer, it probably will be used more by visitors than by full-time residents, he points out. "If you want to be able to take your laptop around Mt. Gretna, it will be worth buying some time, but it's not going to be a replacement for permanent residents' home Internet connections," he says.
Bob tells people asking whether they should get DSL now or wait for this system, "If you live here, you'll still need to have your own home Internet connection." The Wi-Fi system "will not be as fast or as reliable as your home connection. Instead, it will be similar to something you'd see at a coffee shop or Internet café, but on a larger scale."
He's giving first priority to areas such as restaurants, the Playhouse, and community buildings, and hopes to have coverage for "at least the lower parts of Mt. Gretna by summer."
JOAN D. TALMADGE, 1932-2007
Few Mt. Gretnans may have noticed the obituary for Joan Talmadge, who died Feb. 14 at the age of 75. Newspaper accounts listed her as a Millersville resident, but some of her fondest memories undoubtedly resided in Mt. Gretna. The wife of Fred Talmadge Sr., who preceded Bill Care as "Mt. Gretna's caretaker," she lived here during the early 1970s.
Known as an excellent cook, Joan prepared breakfasts when they were offered at The Jigger Shop. Her carrot cake was a favorite. She also was a mother, a "woman of strong faith in her church," and active with Mt. Gretna's Election Board, friends recall. She prided herself on near-100 percent election-day-turnouts.
Charlotte Allwein remembers sharing grocery-shopping duties with Joan during the gas-shortage era of the 1970s. "We'd stuff my Volkswagen with groceries for both families so we wouldn't have to return to Lebanon for two weeks," she says. That overstuffed Beetle "provided many laughs," says Charlotte, recalling a "lovely lady whom I will miss." Joan is survived by her husband, four children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
2 Conewago Hill resident Val Sarabia is holding on to second place in The Wall Street Journal's Investment Dartboard contest. One of five national contestants, Val is competing against the Journal's stock picks—all chosen by random tosses of the darts. Usually, the darts win. But as of the Journal's last report, Val's team was still in the lead. His pick: Conoco Phillips.
50 Mt. Gretna, Pa. turns up in Men's Journal magazine's 2007 listing of the "50 best places" to live. Among the 49 others making that list -- and cited in the April issue, now on newsstands -- are Truth or Consequences, N.M., Ojai, Ca., Basalt, Co., and Dahlonega, Ga.
190 Competitors signed up so far for Mt. Gretna's "Got the Nerve" May 26 triathlon. Race organizer Chris Kaag (whose efforts over the past three years have raised $64,000 for the Myelin Project's research into nerve damaging disorders that have crippled young people such as himself) expects about 600 athletes will compete in this fourth annual event. Chris seeks Mt. Gretna volunteers to coordinate the 500-yard swim, 14.8-mile bike race and five-kilometer run. To help with pre-race setups, registrations, parking, and coordinating the race itself, see
400 Miles driven through the streets of Mt. Gretna by two snowplows attempting to cope with that rugged two-day winter ordeal last month. That's twice the mileage those trucks normally rack up in a typical winter storm. But the Feb. 14-15 onslaught—which brought thick layers of snow, sleet and ice—was anything but typical. A final layer of sleet, piling up five inches, froze fast to the asphalt, making the plows useless. Over the next 48 hours, Bill Care's crews put down 50 tons of salt, everything left over from their 2006 stockpile. Throughout the next several days and nights, with temperatures hovering in single digits, Bill, Joey Wise and Scott Cooling switched to backhoes and a Toolcat, chipping away at the frozen streets, but often stopping to help Mt. Gretnans extract cars that had been immobilized in the ice. It was, says Bill, "one of the most difficult storms I've seen in 30 years."
Imagine having a neighbor who, noticing that you are likely to run short of food for a party, magically stocks your refrigerator the day before your big event. Or brings in free beer for a fundraiser. Or lends dishes, tables and silverware whenever you're having a big group over to your place.
A neighbor who blows leaves away from your front door, supplies extra ice when you need it, lends chairs and tables at the drop of a hat, and opens your front door when nobody's home so vendors and contractors can deliver their goods.
Like to have a neighbor like that?
The Mt. Gretna Fire Company does. "He does many things we don't even know about," says vice president (and firefighter) Joe Shay.
That's why, at their volunteers' party last month, top honors went to the modest man few people really know, fewer still ever hear about—Mt. Gretna Hideaway owner Jason Brandt, who, without fanfare, knows what it means to "give back" to his community.
Kindest regards,
Roger Groce
P.S. Our continuing appreciation to all who help us gather the news, forward copies of this letter to friends and relatives around the world, and help keep us on track with all that's going on here. Thanks also to Gretna Computers' Bob Dowd, Joe Shay and Keith Volker who not only keep our equipment perking, but also post back issues of this bulletin on their community website at (We mention that so whenever your housemate accidentally deletes this letter before you've had a chance to read it, you'll always know where to find a backup copy.)