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by Lisa C. Cantwell

Dear Reader: This is a column to help you determine the history and value of your heirlooms, attic finds, flea market purchases, or antique items. Please send a picture and description of your piece, such as how you acquired it and any details about its history, to I’ll research any item, whether it’s a piece of furniture, a painting, a tool, a doll, a figurine, or an article of clothing.  An approximate value will be determined to inform you if it’s a “Trinket or Treasure.” Please submit all pictures and questions by the preceding 15th of the month for possible publication in the next monthly issue of The Catoctin Banner. All inquiries will be answered; however, only those selected for publication will include approximate value assessments. Furthermore, not all submissions may be published in the Banner due to space considerations.  Please include your name or initials and where you reside. Thank you and happy treasure hunting!

“My mother-in-law gave me this hitching post that she found in an antique mall. It’s 42 inches high and has some rust. Is it old and does it have value? Should I display it outside?”

— Leigh L., Waynesboro, PA

Hitching posts date from very early days of iron-making to the early 1900s, before the automobile really took off.

It appears that your post does have some rust on the base, but the head has been replaced, as it’s different in tone and doesn’t match the base in the quality of iron. In other words, it was likely added later and spray-painted. The base is very smooth, lacking the granular pock marks found on reproduction casts, so that is a sign that it’s older. Also, check the screw mountings; if they jut out, have Phillips head screws, and are not concealed, it’s likely a reproduction. I love horse hitch posts and recall seeing them as a child during the 1960s on the grounds of antebellum homes in southern Kentucky. One home in Todd Country, known as “The Pepper Place,” had as many as six hitching posts directly in front of the cast iron fence that encased its grounds. The house still stands, but the hitching posts are long gone. If you intend to keep your treasure, do display it outside and paint it with a protective coating suitable for cast iron. If you wish to sell it, don’t paint or remove any rust. Consider keeping it under a patio awning or covered area outside. Taking into consideration that the horse head is not original, your hitching post is worth about $125 to $150 on the current market. Its value would be much higher if it had the authentic head.


“I bought these glass pictures at an antique mall. They are framed in wood. The back label reads: Sungott Art Studios, New York. How old are they? Are they worth anything?”

— Clara Gray, Frederick County, MD

This pair dates to the early 1950s and features prints of Victorian ladies surrounded by intricately hand-painted borders of flowers, birds, ribbons, and foliage on glass.

Your pair is a fine example of a technique known as “gravure,” featuring subtle, sepia tones of rose, brown, gold, green, and blue. The marbled gold glass trim and gilded octagon-shaped frame further enhance the illusion of great art value, but the truth is, Sungott was not an art “studio,” but a distributor of affordable art. These paintings and prints were found in department and furniture stores, gift, and decorative outlets for about two decades. They aren’t exactly treasures, but neither are they trinkets. Consider them a charming vintage pair, with a value of $19.99 to $25.00 each.

“I inherited this vase. What can you tell  me about it?”

— Beth Helmick, Thurmont

It’s a two-handled small vase with a beautiful floral scene reminiscent of the hand-painted Nippon (Japan) style seen on porcelains from the last century.

The gilded birds are a Victorian touch, helping date your little piece an approximate timeframe of either late 19th or early 20th century. Much of the gold is missing on this vase, and the medallion at the base is very worn. The “F” mark is etched, not painted or printed, making it difficult to identify. This vase was likely half of a pair that probably looked very regal perched at either end of a mantel or piano. A similarly-shaped, taller vase on eBay sold for $39.99. Given the lapse in interest of antique or vintage porcelain vases of a non-specific maker, value your treasure at approximately $20.00 to $30.00. In terms of heirloom value, which includes the associated memories and stories, it’s priceless!


by Theresa Dardanell

Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company

One of the questions I asked the administrative members of the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company was, “Why do you volunteer?”

Some of the responses were, “It lets me help other people,” “It gives me a great feeling,” and “Volunteering is in our blood.”

There are currently sixty-two members that serve in an operational, social, or administrative capacity. Operational members run the ambulance calls, while the social and administrative members take care of the fundraising and the business aspects of the organization.

Because there is always a need for more Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), and ambulance drivers, the company plans a mentoring program for new recruits. Free training is provided right here in Frederick County for anyone who is at least sixteen years old. The process begins with the application that is available on the Company website at, or you can stop by the station and complete an application.  After the application is accepted, training begins with the Frederick County “Gear Up” class, in which trainees learn CPR and how to put on the gear and also visit the 911 center. The final steps to become certified are a hazmat class, along with other EMT or EMR classes.

Currently, Bingo is the only fundraiser that supports the Company, evidence of extraordinary community support.  Large crowds join in the fun on Wednesday afternoons and Friday evenings. Because payouts are based on the number of people who attend, the jackpot can be as large as $750 on Wednesdays and up to $5,000 for the progressive jackpot, along with a guaranteed jackpot of $1,000 on Fridays. Company President Mary Lou Little said that money from additional 50/50 drawings is donated to local non-profit  organizations “…as a way to give back to the community for all of the support they give us.”

The Emmitsburg Ambulance Company has been in operation since 1946. They were a part of the Fire Department until 1986, when they became a separate company and moved to South Seton Avenue.

In 2007, they moved to 17701 Creamery Road, their current location. They are equipped with two ambulances and a utility vehicle. Their mission statement is: “The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company is dedicated to providing the Emmitsburg community and surrounding areas with professional pre-hospital and medical services.  The Company is committed to providing quality care in a timely manner with a highly trained and certified staff.”

Their record of safety is impressive: Serving the Emmitsburg and surrounding community since 1946 with a 97.7 percent success rate, a two minute average career response time (four minute volunteer response), 100 percent EMT BLS certified operational members with an estimated 1,100 calls per year.

Operation Officers are: Acting Chief Lisa Eichelberger and Sergeants, Beth Ruppel, John Ruppel, and Brandon Murdorf.

Administrative Officers are: President Mary Lou Little; Vice President Eric Stackhouse; Secretary Vicki Long; Assistant Secretary Linda Miller; Treasurer Pam Bolin; Assistant Treasurer Beth Ruppel; and Directors, Bob Dinterman, Pam Ellison, Ed Little, and Donna Miller.

The website provides additional contact information for membership inquiries, social hall reservations, and Bingo.

Members of the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company.

Human Nature

by Valerie Nusbaum

As a writer and an artist, I’m fascinated by humans. I tend to sit quietly and observe how people move and interact with each other.  I notice their bone structures and coloring, and I spend a lot of time pondering their actions. Why do people do and say the things they do? What are their motivations? The psychology of it is quite interesting to me, and I’m constantly amazed by our differences and similarities.

I love conducting impromptu surveys and asking many individuals the same question. It’s both amusing and informative to learn about how we’re different and, yet, so alike. I’ve included some of my recent findings.

I posed the question “What is your favorite breakfast cereal?” and thirty-five people weighed in.  As you can imagine, their answers were all over the place, but the common thread was that most people try to make a healthy choice.  Oatmeal was the big winner, but only homemade oatmeal, not the stuff in the packets; although, one or two people did admit to eating the packaged stuff. Cheerios and bran were popular, as most of my social circle is people of a certain age and fiber is our friend. I learned that one person has a gluten allergy. A few very honest people copped to eating the sugary kids’ cereals—face it, folks, those are the only ones that really taste good. I like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and I’m not afraid to say it. Interestingly, no one asked me why I wanted to know.

A magazine article that I read suggested that women should be drinking 91 ounces of water each day. I asked a group of people to tell me how much water each of them consumes on a daily basis.  Responses from fifty people varied greatly, with some folks drinking as little as 24 ounces, and one person chugging a whopping 144 ounces each day. One person postulated that drinking any liquid counts because everything contains water, which led to a discussion about whether wine consumption should be included.  The person who brought up the other beverage issue is the same person who eats dinosaur eggs oatmeal. Another person sent us all an article about the perils of drinking too much water. Again, no one wanted to know why I asked the question in the first place. In fairness, a lot of people know that I collect data for stories and articles. Some people just think I’m odd.

I asked the question, “In the movie of your life, which actor would play you?” and the responses I got were everything from Herve Villechaize and Don Knotts to Judy Densch and Sandra Bullock (me).  Melissa McCarthy was the big winner, with her name appearing three times. I asked Randy this question and he replied, “That guy who played Earl’s brother on that show.” I knew exactly who he meant.

A lot of people weighed in on the question of whether they install their toilet tissue roll over or under.  The vast majority of responders use the “over” method. Only three out of the seventy who answered the question pull their paper from under.  Those rebels! Two people cited the toilet tissue patent, where it is clearly stated that the tissue roll is to be placed in the “over” position.  One person stores her tissue in a wicker basket, and another has an up and down holder. Several people have absolutely no idea and a few don’t care as long as the roll isn’t empty. No one wondered why I was asking.

“Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?” prompted a lot of discussion. Most people prefer to read. Only three would rather watch the movie. Some said that reading the book first and then watching the movie aggravates them. On the other hand, watching the movie first and then reading the book doesn’t bother anyone. I generally can’t see the movie if I’ve already read the book. I spend too much time looking for the differences. Randy referenced The Girl on the Train, and said that he’d have preferred more information on the train in both the book and the movie. I didn’t point out that we haven’t seen the film.

What did I learn from my polling? Nothing really, except that bit about the toilet tissue patent.  I’ve always known that people like to take part in things. We’re curious about each other, and we try to help when we can. We like to share information, and, frankly, we like talking about ourselves and expressing our thoughts. If we see a big group of people clustered around something, we want to know what’s going on. We’re curious and we like to belong. We have markedly different opinions, likes and dislikes, but we share a lot of thoughts and feelings, too. Heck, maybe we’re all a little odd. Or maybe I’m not as bad as you think. Most importantly, no one cares why I ask the questions.

by Christine Maccabee

What is Delawnification?

First of all, delawnification is not a word. However, its meaning should be pretty clear. At the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., this April, one of the speakers talked about the importance of creating and allowing more habitat for native plants and reducing the size of our lawns.

Considering that land as habitat for wildlife is being swiftly devoured by development around the world—turning forests into expansive grassy areas, or into plantations for palm oil, or into parking lots, or you name it—the idea of delawnification is a good idea.

Now, before I offend lawn lovers of the world, I want to say I am not anti-lawn. I understand the need for lawn areas for children to play and adults to play golf or croquet and other polite games of society. Lawns do have a place in our lives. The problem with huge expansive lawns of extravagant size, acre upon acre of lawn, where no one walks or plays, is that those lawns gobble up millions of gallons of gasoline, polluting the air as well as the peace and quiet we all need. Noise pollution is a very real thing in the suburbs, and even the countryside where I live.

When I first moved to my country home twenty-eight years ago, I went crazy with grass seed in order to control erosion of the soil around our home. Being on a slope, it seemed essential. I remember being horrified by the interminable rain that threatened to wash away all of our topsoil, so I was out in the rain throwing grass seeds like a maniac.

However, after stabilizing the slopes, I began to see possibilities of creating large areas of wildflowers, and so began my personal process of delawnification. I killed off grass by putting down black plastic on those same slopes I had sown in grass years before. Leaving the plastic on for one year, I was amazed how wonderfully rich the soil had become underneath it. This actually is a great time for one to put plastic down. By the autumn, you can lift it and find nothing but friable, rich soil. Then, throw a nice mix of wildflower seeds in the soil, and voila! The following spring, there will be flowers galore as habitat for bees and butterflies. There will always be volunteer plants as well, such as daisy fleabane and golden rods, perhaps queen ann’s lace (a non-native, but then, so am I) and maybe even wild wine berries (yum!).

In my meadows, I learned to identify and make teas using medicinals like yarrow, vervain, purple clover, and St. John’s Wort. On one bank, I began growing cucumbers and squash, mulching them with straw and manure from the goat pen and, yes, grass clippings! Grass clippings make a wonderful natural mulch. Also, planting trees on large parcels of land creates shade, as well as multiple advantages for birds and insects, even hummingbirds. I have many gorgeous mimosa trees now, which are a magnet for swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds. If one allows wild plants to grow between the trees, mowing but once a year in the fall, amazing plants may emerge. Flowers such as black-eyed susans, phlox, even fern in wet areas, may come forth without trying. I have not mowed my old four-acre hay field for two years now due to the small dogwood trees coming up. Once I identify any small trees and protect them from deer, then I will mow in between all trees in the autumn.

The mowing of old fields once a year is especially important to keep the invasives controlled. I learned the hard way why that is important (no details here).

Enough advice as to how you can delawnify your lawn. It does take effort, and, yes, it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one definite way to contribute to the health of our precious planet. Some people dedicate a small portion of their yards to flowering plants—native and non-native—and the result can be lovely. Indeed, I have seen some amazing yards around town this year. Yes, you have something very valuable (not in dollars and cents) if you own land, so have fun making a plan to expand your botanical haven.

As I always say, every little bit helps…and Mother Earth thanks you!

Well-thrown Lasso Saves Boy from Icy Death

by James Rada, Jr.

Charlie Jones, a twelve-year-old Thurmont youth, spent one December afternoon in 1915 walking through the forests around Thurmont, gathering pine boughs and other greens to use to make Christmas decorations. With his bag full of greenery, he headed home.

Though young, Charles was the man of the family. His father had died in 1911, leaving Mary Ann Jones a widow to support four children. She taught high school, and Charles helped in the care of his two younger brothers and younger sister. He had wanted to do something special for his family and decorate their home.

It had been cold out; ice had formed on most of the creeks in the area, and it appeared thick. Charles decided that he would take a shortcut across the pond formed by the Thurmont Electric Light Dam. He started out onto the ice, carefully easing his weight onto it to make sure it would hold. It did, and he grew more confident and walked further out.

Suddenly, the ice cracked and disappeared beneath his feet. “As the youth shot toward the bottom of the dam, he flung his hands outward, grasping the jagged edge of the broken ice,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Luckily, the ice held. Charles screamed, but he was alone, and the nearest house was half a mile away. He tried to pull himself up, but his clothes were sodden with water, and his legs were starting to go numb in the freezing water.

He couldn’t swim in that condition, and if he let go, he would sink into the pond that was thirteen feet deep at that point.

His only option was to scream and hope that someone heard him before he lost his grip on the ice.

Charles had been in the water around fifteen minutes when Frank and Albert Harne of Foxville came riding along in their buggy. They heard Charles’ screams and saw the boy struggling to stay out of the water.

Frank jumped out of the buggy and unclipped the harness from the horse; he quickly fashioned a lasso. Then he edged himself out onto the ice, knowing that if it couldn’t hold the weight of the boy, it would give way under his weight at some point.

“Cautiously, but quickly, the man walked over the ice toward the youth, who gave indications of exhaustion and of relinquishing his grasp on the ice,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Eventually, he was close enough to throw the lasso. It landed around Charles’s neck on the first throw. The boy grabbed hold of the leather. Frank began backing up, pulling Charles out of the water.

The Harne Brothers bundled Charles up and took him to his grandmother’s house, who lived a mile away. He was so cold that his clothing was sticking to his body and couldn’t be removed. He was placed in a warm bed and kept warm to help bring up his body temperature.

Charles recovered from his ordeal and was soon as good as new.

He grew up to become a salesman who lived in different towns around the state. When he retired, he returned with his family to Thurmont. He died in 1977 at age seventy-four and is buried in Wellers Cemetery.

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Richard (Dick) Fleagle

Sons of AMVETS

Richard (Dick) Fleagle is AMVETS Post 7 Thurmont’s AMVETS Son of the YEAR 2013. Neighbors, I am honored to have him as a friend and comrade, and one of the most respected men I have had the privilege of knowing.

Dick Fleagle—known by many in our Veterans organizations as Uncle Dick—takes pride in serving all Veterans and is an asset to the many Veteran organizations in which he is a member. Dick is the heart of Thurmont AMVETS Post 7, and if anyone at the Post needs something done, Dick is the “go to man.” Dick is 1st Vice Commander of The Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 Thurmont, and part of his job is taking care of membership. This is a job that he does not take lightly, as he pours his heart and soul into making sure everything is done right in aiding our membership. Dick can probably tell you the names of all of our members and, unless they have recently moved, their addresses, also. Dick puts hours and hours into keeping the membership straight. When he knows he is right about something, and someone tries to change his mind, the five-foot-four-and-a half-inch dynamo cannot be budged. Dick has great integrity and will follow the rules set by our parent organizations to the letter.

The functions given by our family of Veterans, Auxiliary, and Sons, knows that Dick will be there helping in any way that he can, if possible. Dick will only miss being at any of the events if he had already committed to another event before that one was scheduled, or if he or one of his family becomes ill.

AMVETS Post 7 held their 1st Annual “Member of the Year” awards in 2013, and Dick was the Sons of the AMVETS recipient of the award. Dick was very deserving of the award and was very proud to accept it.

Dick is a member of our Post 7 Honor Guard and doesn’t miss many functions that the Honor Guard participates in. He also belongs to the musical group “The Catoctin Hollow Boys,” and, folks, you will just have to go see them when Doctor Mudcat does karaoke and DJs at various functions at the Post. The group is well worth coming to see. The members at Post 7 are all so proud of Dick, and it doesn’t take much to get them talking about what a great person he is and how much he has helped AMVETS Post 7.

Dick is a member of the Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS and is their Chaplain. He belongs to VFW Auxiliary 6658 in Emmitsburg. Dick also helps with many functions that the Auxiliary sponsors. He also belongs to Sons of the American Legion Squadron 121 Emmitsburg, where he is Chaplain and aides in SAL functions. Dick is a man of many talents and wears a lot of different hats at different places. He is a man of integrity and energy that never seems to fade.

I am proud to call this man my good buddy, and hope we can remain friends for a long time. The next time you see Dick, shake his hand and tell him you are proud of the things he has been doing for our Veterans. You will find out how humble this man is, someone who just wants to do things the right way.                                                                                                                   Thank you, Dick!

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the U.S. Veteran, and God Bless You.

Richard (Dick) Fleagle

Food Pro

Buck Reed

Urban legend tells a story of a young woman in the late 60s and early 70s, who upon graduating college, decided to hit the farmers market scene. Her booth in New Jersey had a single apple pie that she had placed at the audacious price of $100 (that’s $12.50 per slice). It took her most of the day, but she finally sold it. No word on whether the purchaser felt it was worth it or not, but she went on to build an empire of magazines; to appear on television shows; and to sell her goods in K-mart, Target, and Macy’s. But no matter how easy her success seems today, Martha Stewart is the story of what an amateur “foodie” can obtain if they work hard, appreciate the business, and get unbelievably lucky to become a successful culinary pro.

In my career in the food service industry, I have met a fair number of people who have never marketed, prepared, plated, and served a single meal for profit in their lives. But if Chef Boy-R-Dee, the McDonald Brothers, and even Paula Deen all did it, these same people think: why can’t I? If passion is a key ingredient in these pursuits, then one can acquire the rest of the qualities needed to become successful. Obviously, they are the grill master of their backyard or the neighborhood cookie queen, but following through can get a bit dicey. Getting your ducks in row can be a daunting task.

Case in point: Dave Peters. Peters, the co-founder of a small family software business, clearly has the first element: a great love for producing great food. “I just love cooking in general, but the most rewarding is producing something that is of high quality,” Peters said. Making cured and smoked meats for his family and friends has given him a deep understanding of the process needed to make and produce these products.

The next element is acquiring the equipment needed to create his masterpieces. Although he has the equipment needed to produce his products as a hobby, he may need to upgrade to equipment that is geared more for professional use and approved by the health department.

So far, he is planning to start his venture by selling sausages and Canadian and American bacon under his company’s name, Peters’ Gourmet & Artisanal Meats. These are all considered cooked items and will be easier to get a license for producing. “The government regulations can be pretty strict; once you mention curing, you tend to get a lot of attention.”

Although it will take time to get his full project up and running, Peters is hoping to get all of his products in a farmer’s market soon. Getting the overwhelming paperwork needed to get a charcuterie license is almost a hobby of its own. And maybe someday his hard work will build a business that will inspire the next group of culinary hobbyists to take the plunge into the deep end in which food pros thrive.

David Peters with some of his masterpieces.

by Anita DiGregory

Conquering Spring Fever

With spring break over, and the end of the school year in sight, this time of year can be especially challenging. Final testing, graduation ceremonies, weekend team games, teacher gifts, and other end-of-the-year demands require added energy and motivation; however, the warmer weather and mere exhaustion from the year can lead to the exact opposite. It seems that just about the time allergy season kicks in, so does the dreaded and very overwhelming “spring fever.” Symptoms include uneasiness, sluggishness, lack of motivation, and inability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Worst of all, spring fever seems to be very contagious, spreading from child to child, and child to parent, quite effortlessly. Since the CDC has yet to offer a vaccine for this motivation slayer, here are a few tips that may help you to reach that light at the end of the tunnel, otherwise known as summer.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff 

With all the added demands of the end of the year, things can feel a bit overwhelming, while our energy tanks may be pretty close to empty. Prioritize your to-do list. Try focusing on those events that are the most important, and letting the others slide a bit for now. When you are busy running your kids to different activities and team sports games, while also trying to help them complete end-of-the-year projects and study for finals, now may not be the best time to take on other big projects like remodeling or reorganizing the house.


Set a Schedule 

During these last few weeks, a little planning may prove helpful.  Recording events on a large calendar, and displaying it where everyone in the family can regularly see it, can be a powerful tool for effective time management. Prioritize your schedule to include only those events most necessary to accomplish. Displaying the calendar for all to see helps to instill family teamwork.


Schedule Free Time

It is especially important during stressful times that families take time to just be together and have fun.  Former Director of the National Park Service and Board Co-chair of the U.S. Play Coalition Fran Mainella said, “Families that play together, stay together…so when tougher situations come up, the fact that they’ve played together makes it so they can better communicate in those situations, too.”

With the nicer weather, spring is the perfect time to get out and enjoy a family hike, picnic, or outing together.


Plan a Family Vacation 

By planning a summer adventure, parents and children alike have something exciting to look forward to, and that in itself can be a great motivator. According to a scientific study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, the effect of anticipating a vacation boosted happiness levels for eight weeks. With more than 1,500 individuals evaluated, the study concluded that happiness was higher in anticipation of travel than even after the trip. In fact, there was little difference found between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ post-trip happiness. By planning the getaway together, family members can, therefore, find that extra incentive to accomplish all those not-so-fun, year-end tasks.

If all else fails, remember that you’ve almost made it! Summer is almost within reach…and look at all of the amazing things you accomplished this year!

by Lisa C. Cantwell

“When I was young woman, I visited an antique shop in Hanover, New Hampshire.  The elderly owner of the shop asked me if I was attending Dartmouth College there. I told her no, that I was an actress. She shared with me that she had been a silent film actress and a Ziegfeld Follies girl.  She then showed me this dress that she’d worn in a film in 1920. She also told me that she and the other actresses of the day swallowed tape worms to stay thin! I regret that I don’t remember her name. She was so excited about my acting career that she gave me the dress!”

— Holly O., Cascade

This lady gave you a remarkable TREASURE of a hand-beaded shift dress that hangs from the shoulder to just above the knee.

This authentic, early flapper dress is in very good condition with no holes in its mesh fabric. It also doesn’t appear to be missing any beads! There is some loose threading here and there, which needs to be trimmed and secured so as not to cause fraying. The silver and clear glass beads are in a lovely, swirled pattern throughout the dress. A silk or chiffon chemise would have been worn under this see-through garment, with its dropped waist and scalloped hem. Although the color has faded to a nice sepia tone, it probably began as a much lighter, ecru tone. As for the swallowing of tapeworms to lose weight, I hope she was kidding! There’s evidence that the “tapeworm diet” was marketed in the 1900s, when beef tapeworm cysts were advertised in pill form, but the idea never took off because of lethal side effects. Tapeworms grow up to thirty feet in length and cause headaches, eye problems, meningitis, epilepsy, and dementia, just to name a few ills. It’s likely that the owner of this dress didn’t use that method of weight loss for long, or she wouldn’t have lived to give you this dress. Beaded dresses from the 1920s are highly sought after in the vintage market. Similar treasures bring $500 to $1,200.  Thank you for sharing it!


This clock belonged to my great grandparents, Harvey and Alice Tyson, from Norristown, Pennsylvania. My mother, Catharine Anderman, spent many summers with them, and tells me that it was located in the sitting room on the second floor of their home, on top of an oak roll top desk.  She was born in 1926, and has no idea how they acquired it.  She inherited it and passed it on to me. What can you tell me about it?”

— Beth Helmick, Thurmont

Your heirloom TREASURE dates to the 1850s and is a Royal Bonn, “1755” porcelain clock.

The maker’s mark on the back has the characteristic crown and denotes the style “LaVar.” It is in very good condition, save for a hairline crack between the 10 and 7 hour on the face.  There are several of these hand-painted beauties that date from the late 19th and early 20th century, on various internet auction sites, but yours is definitely a rarer, early type.  Royal Bonn was the 19th and 20th Century Trade Name used by the renowned craftsman Franz Anton Mehlem, who produced pottery in Bonn, Germany, from 1836 to 1931. Fine porcelain and earthenware were also manufactured in the factory, to include dishes and vases. These clocks were imported to America by the Ansonia Clock Company of New York. In 1921, the firm was purchased by Villeroy & Boch, and closed in 1931. The value of these clocks ranges from $299.95 to $3,500. Based on the age of your clock, and taking into account the face crack, consider its value between $800 and $1,200.


TRINKETS…Some We Just Can’t Part With

So far, all of what readers have shared in this column have been treasures. Yet, we all have trinkets, those heirlooms that have little to no value, that we cannot part with. Things like Dad’s felt letter from his high school football jacket, Mom’s butterfly pin, Grandma’s baby spoon, Granddad’s pen knife, an old key to the family farmhouse, Great Uncle Joe’s dog tags, and so forth.  These items often end up in junk drawers or are stored in boxes stashed in a basement, only to be forgotten.

Why not display your trinkets in an old store case? Pictured is one that sits on a counter or table, has a red felt bottom and a lid that can be left open or closed for viewing. Your trinkets will turn into family heirloom treasures, each with its own unique story, which can be passed from generation to generation. If you have an abundance of doodads, whatchamacallits, and thingamajigs from times past, then change up your display with the seasons. Table top size, old store cases in good condition can be found for $50 to $125. Search your stuff for conversational, precious trinkets to determine the size of case you might need. If it’s too sentimental to throw away, why not display?!

Maxine Troxell

When you visit a website, if the web address starts with http://, all the information that your browser sends to the web server, and receives, is in open text. So, for instance, if you log into your WordPress admin panel, your user ID and password are transmitted across the internet in clear text that anyone could read. So, it’s entirely possible that someone who is watching the web traffic to your website could grab your user ID and password as it was sent.

But if you have set up an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate correctly on your web server, the URL becomes https:// (the “s” for “secure”), and all data transmitted back and forth is encrypted. This is especially important if you’re collecting any private data on your website such as credit card information. You don’t want someone snagging your client’s credit card information.

If you visit a website that is not secure and is asking for a credit card to subscribe, immediately back out and go somewhere else.

Current PCI banking standards require that all credit card transactions are done on a secure website.


What can happen if a Hacker gets access to my site?

Can you imagine a stranger—or even worse, a thief—sitting in front of your computer, going through your files and doing whatever they want?

That’s what happens once a hacker has used Sub7 to take control of your computer.

It’s as if they are sitting in your cozy computer chair, using your computer and seeing all of your data and files on your computer monitor. And you have no idea that this is going on.

The hacker could be across the street or across the country. No matter where they are, they can copy photos from your computer onto theirs, or delete your tax records. They can steal your personal data or delete the programs you have on your computer.

Worse yet, they can download more viruses.


Why set up a SSL certificate?

Many websites are informational and don’t actually sell things online. So why would you want to set up an SSL certificate? Security.

As mentioned before, it’s remotely possible that someone could sniff your user ID and password and gain access to your content management system. If you haven’t changed the login alias, it’s actually pretty easy to find your login ID. So, if I have that information, now all I’d need is your password (if I were a hacker looking to break in).


What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results.

Google says that it’s actually a ranking factor. They’ve backed away from all the “usual” SEO factors like links, and so on. But they are telling us we need three things: (1) A mobile-responsive site; (2) A fast website (small graphics); and (3) A secure website. They want peoples’ experiences to be secure.

I personally believe that people are looking for the green padlock in the web browser. It’s a small, subtle sign of trust. This seems to ring true for some of my clients who are getting pushback from their clients because they don’t want to schedule online appointments or interact on the website without it. This is smart. Therefore, we’re getting more requests to set it up for our clients.


How do I set up an SSL certificate?

There’s a little bit of a process to get your website set up with an SSL certificate. You don’t just change the web address to https://, and you’re done. In a nutshell, these are the steps you need to take:

Generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) from your web host, which identifies your web domain and your company information. That gets uploaded to the certificate generating authority.

Obtain a trusted certificate from your domain registrar (like GoDaddy) which will cost you about $200 for 3 years (or more). I prefer to buy the certificate for as long as I can so that I don’t have to reinstall the new certificate each year when it expires.

You will need to install the certificate after you purchase it.  Your hosting company can give you instructions on how to do this or you can hire someone to do this for you.  That person would need your hosting login credentials.

Test all pages on your website for a green padlock. If the https:// version of your web address is working, but you’re not getting a green padlock, you’ve got some more work to do. ALL graphics, files, JavaScript and so on have to load with https:// and not http.

It’s interesting to me that a large number of websites that I have visited don’t have an SSL Certificate, which means they are not secure.

If you are not sure if your website is secure or if you want more information, please Contact E Plus Graphics, Printing, and Promotions at 301-447-2804. We would be happy to assist you.

Can’t Live Without Them

by Valerie Nusbaum

We can pick our friends, our seats, and, well, our noses, but we can’t pick our families (other than our spouses, of course). Randy and I have had some amusing family encounters recently, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

There’s a bit of Irish in my family on my dad’s side; but even if there weren’t, we’d still enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—green shamrock-shaped pancakes and all. It’s been a tradition for years that Mom and I have lunch on St. Patrick’s Day at the Shamrock Restaurant. We love the decorations, the music, and the food, and it doesn’t hurt that everyone is there with the intention of having a good time. Last year, Mom and I invited our cousin, Pat, to join us; and, this year, we gained Pat’s husband, Keith, and Randy.  My hubby had never participated in the celebration because he was always working, but he took some time off to be with us this year and was glad he did. He particularly enjoyed the corned beef, and he even wore his two-foot-tall beer-mug hat.

After lunch, we all came back to our house for dessert. I had made a green coffee cake and shamrock brownies, and served them with green mint chip ice cream. We had a good time and shared lots of memories and laughs.

About a week after that celebration, I was in the kitchen getting things ready for dinner. I’d decided to have baked potatoes, and when I went to my potato bin to get them, I discovered that the bin was full of trash. Huh? Then I recognized some of the wrapping paper from a gift that Mom had given to Pat. Cousin Pat evidently thought my potato bin was a trash can. I’m just glad there was nothing stinky in there!

Not long after that, our nephew, Andrew, came up from Florida for a long weekend. The only thing more entertaining than a Nusbaum man is TWO Nusbaum men. Andrew was here to help his Uncle Randy clean out the garage at Randy’s parents’ house. That small, delicate little boy with the big glasses has grown into a 6’5” strapping linebacker-of-a-man, and we were glad to have his help with all the lifting and carrying. I don’t mean to imply that Andrew ever played football, or even basketball. The athletic prowess of the Nusbaum men runs in other directions. They are outdoorsmen and excel at fishing, hunting, and picnicking.

I went over to the house at lunchtime on Saturday. I’d been assured that the two of them had been hard at work for hours. When I called Randy to ask if Andrew liked sloppy Joes, there was an awful lot of giggling going on; I was happy that they were finding some fun in a rather dismal task. The men were at the landfill when I got to the house, so I went inside and got things ready for lunch. I saw Randy’s truck come up the driveway, and I walked out to the garage to tell them that lunch was ready. I found the pair of them in the garage, each wearing a huge sombrero, playing with toy trucks.

Andrew headed back to Florida with a truckload of stuff and two sombreros. Actually, he was wearing one of them as he waved goodbye.

My husband is the only family member I actually chose. Mostly, I’m glad I married him, but there are some times when all I can do is sigh and get on with it. Randy had to return to the eye doctor’s office three times to repeat one of his tests. His results were always inconclusive, but bordering on something serious.  The technician was thoroughly perturbed with Randy, because he had so much trouble clicking the button when certain lights came into view. It was finally determined that there was nothing seriously wrong with Randy’s eyes. His hand/eye coordination could use some work, though. He also needs to work on concentrating and not letting his mind wander during important life-saving tests.

That leaves my mother. Mom’s landline was out of order. I had been calling her for hours and kept getting a busy signal. This didn’t alarm or surprise me, as Mom has a lot of friends, and she talks on the phone often with her next-door neighbor, even though they live twenty feet apart. When we finally realized that Mom’s phone wasn’t working, Randy called the phone company and reported it. The next morning, I still wasn’t able to reach my mother. She has a cell phone, but doesn’t turn it on unless she’s going to make a long-distance call. I knew that eventually Mom would think it was odd that she hadn’t heard from me, since I check on her several times each day. I hoped that Mom would use her cell phone to call me, so I went and got my own cell phone. I knew that my dear mother would assume that she couldn’t call my landline with her cell. I was right. My cell phone rang shortly after that.

It could be worse.

I’m sending a big shout out to Susan Storer this month. “Susan, thanks so much for your kind words about my columns and for all your help.”

by Christine Maccabee


To say that spring is my favorite time of year is putting it mildly. I love spring and can barely keep myself indoors on a beautiful day like today. Every morning, the birds create a symphony of music, too incredible for words. Then, as early evening approaches, the frogs and toads begin tuning up for their cascade of mating sounds, which to my ears is music—profound music of the spheres and an expression of our earth’s on-going mind-blowing beauty.

Several years ago, I began recording bird songs, notating them on staff paper. Luckily, I have a good ear and lots of training in timings and keys, as bird songs can be very complex; each bird, usually the male, has a repertoire unique to itself and the occasion of calling for a mate or declaration of territory. However, I am of the opinion—and am quite sure it is true—that sometimes birds simply sing on and on just for the joy of it!

To say that I live for spring is true for me, and likely many others. No longer do we have to pull on heavy boots, layers of clothes, hats, and gloves. Devoted mothers no longer have to make sure their children are dressed for twenty-degree weather as they wait for the bus. And the elderly, who sometimes struggle just to get dressed, are freed up as well. Things are lightening up, you might say.

Yes, keeping me inside today will be next to impossible, so I will take a break from typing and go out to plant onions. I must have my store of onions for the winter. See you soon…

Well, I am back, but I only got so far as hanging out the laundry; no onions planted yet. I have so many thoughts, so many feelings today because of spring; I am not certain which song to sing first. I am like the mockingbird with his repertoire of untold numbers of songs, twittering about today. Maybe I have spring fever. It has been known to happen.

As I chased the cat away from the bird feeder, while hanging clothes, I thought of my good friend Walter. Whenever I would ask him if he knew what sort of bird was singing, he always would reply, “Oh, that’s a Tweety Bird!” Funny. Guess that’s me today, twittering away about everything, and nothing.

Now it’s time to get serious, right? Or maybe not. After days and days of stress and worry, we all need time off to go take that long walk or simply plant petunias. I could go on and on about the wild edibles you can put in your salads (violet and dandelion flower petals are so rich in vitamins and minerals). I could instruct you as to how to build a cold frame, so as to eat salad greens all winter, or inspire you to be a seed saver. Or I could tell you the secrets of planting onions properly (I once had a caretaker here who insisted that he knew how to plant onion sets; he told me to leave him alone, and that year, we had no onions because he planted the bulbs upside down!).

However, I need this downtime today to simply enjoy the beauty of this incredible springtime; time to renew my spirit after some rough times. Every day, there are things to deal with: some simple problems and some seemingly insurmountable. But, somehow, we surmount them. I just finished reading a book called Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, and I now have a new heroine, who surmounted far more problems than I ever had. After far too many years of horrible abuse by her husband and devotedly raising eleven children, in 1955, at the age of sixty-seven, she completely turned her back on it all. Setting out in Georgia with a 15-pound sack of essentials, thrown over her shoulder, and wearing tennis shoes, she hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. She even did it two more times and became renowned for trailblazing in Ohio.

I figure if Emma Gatewood could do that, I can deal with my little problems. Think I will just plant those onions and then go take a nice long walk!

1971: The Mount Goes Co-Ed

by James Rada, Jr.

Although Mount St. Mary’s University was named for a woman, she wouldn’t have been able to attend the college until 1971. It was only in its 164th year that the college decided to admit female students.

Some females from nearby St. Joseph’s College had been attending a limited number of classes at the Mount beginning in 1970. The two colleges had entered into a cooperative agreement that allowed students from either school to take a class at the other school if it wasn’t offered at their home college. The schools even provided transportation between the two campuses to aid the students. During the 1970-71 school year, 119 men from the Mount attended one or more classes at St. Joseph’s, and 100 women from St. Joseph’s attended one or more classes at the Mount.

While the agreement seemed to address the educational reasons for the Mount going co-educational, it didn’t address the cultural or financial issues.

St. Joseph’s College announced that it would close in 1973. This caused concern at Mount St. Mary’s, which had also seen its enrollment dropping. The school had 1,100 students during the 1970-71 school year.

“We are, of course, saddened by the Saint Joseph announcement but we do not feel that the wave of bleak prophecy which has pervaded our own campus is justified. Our situations are in no way similar even though we face the same serious problems of most of the nation’s private colleges,” Mount President John J. Dillon Jr. said during a speech.

In June of 1971, it was announced that the Mount would begin admitting women as non-resident students beginning with the 1971-72 school year. They would be admitted as resident students the following year.

To ensure that students from St. Joseph’s College wouldn’t be delayed in their graduation because of the transition, the Mount also waived some of the curriculum requirements at the Mount for students who needed it, according to the Emmitsburg Chronicle.

While admitting female students helped the women of St. Joseph’s College, it also helped the Mount, which had been seeing fewer applications.

“I feel that the tragedy at Saint Joseph can make us a stronger college if we all work in that direction,” Dillon said. “Mount St. Mary’s is, after all, your college.”

The Mount student body celebrated the decision. David Fielder wrote in the Mountain Echo, “This year, however, we have witnessed the emergence of the Mount into the twentieth century with the administration’s radical new policy concerning co-education. We actually have female names listed in the registrar’s office, and, come next year, Mounties may even find men and women living near each other within the campus grounds. Thus one might conclude that we’ve been granted the other half of what it takes to have a student body.”

While the males were certainly happy to see women on campus, the Mountain Echo pointed out that it was a good academic decision for the school. According to the newspaper, in 1969, 40 colleges and universities had gone co-ed. It was a move being made to attract high-caliber students, of which, 81 percent said in a Princeton University survey that they wanted co-educational schools.

However, not everyone was happy. Women who were losing their college with the closure of St. Joseph’s College lead the way with this group. One woman wrote a letter against the move in The Valley Echo called “Better Dead than Co-Ed.”

The overlapping between the admittance of female students and the closing of Mount St. Mary’s allowed for a gradual transition. Today, women make up the majority of the student body (55 percent) at the Mount.

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Lance Corporal Paul Joseph Humerick

U.S. Marine Corps

Born at Annie M. Warner Hospital in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in June of 1947, was a son to Paul E. and Ida G. (Brawner) Humerick. They named him Paul Joseph and gave him the nickname “Sonny.” Paul and Ida took Sonny home to Emmitsburg, where they resided in a house on North Seton Avenue. This is where Sonny spent his entire childhood. He said it was the best of all places to grow up. Right below his house ran Flat Run creek, where he and his friends could go wading and fishing, and there were nearby woods to hunt mushrooms. They had many fields to run and play in. All-in-all, Sonny had a very happy childhood growing up in Emmitsburg.

Sonny said he had two very close friends that he grew up with: Mike Shorb and Billy Weidner. Sonny had a part-time job during the summers mowing grass out by Natural Dam and helping his dad mow at the Sharpe farm. This gave him a little spending money, and Sonny, Mike, and Billy could hardly wait until the week’s end to go and listen to Wayne Sanders’ band play some rock and roll music. Wayne Sanders had a rock and roll band called “Dwayne and the Sounds” and was the hometown entertainment; they had a lot of local followers. When Sonny turned sixteen, he was at the Tropical Treat in Taneytown, where Dwayne and the Sounds were playing. There, he met Linda Wetzel; and, although he knew Linda’s brother, he did not know her. They hit it off that night, and that marked the beginning of a fifty-four-year relationship, married fifty-one of those years. They got married the April 15, 1966. Sonny says he kinda took a “liking to her” and she kinda took a “liking to him.” I would think it was kinda more like a “loving to each other.” What do you think?

In February of 1966, Sonny got a notice from the Draft Board to report to Fort Holibird in Baltimore. Sonny, Denny Staley, and Leroy Shealey were all on the bus to Fort Holibird. Leroy passed the physical, but Sonny and Denny did not. So, they put Sonny and Denny in a big room—about the size of two basketball stadiums combined—and a sergeant came in and walked up and down and looked them over and said, “I’m going to tell you right now, you have thirty days to take care of any business you have, because the Army has you.” Well, Sonny and Linda had plans of getting married in April; they also had a piece of ground cleared and were planning on building a house. When Sonny got home from Holibird, he told Linda and his mom and dad that he had been drafted and he was going in the Army; it wasn’t his choosing but that was the way it was. Sonny said that a few weeks later he received some papers from the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps that said “congratulations, you were accepted in the military.” He explained that the Marine Corps had a ninety-day plan, and that meant that if he joined, then he wouldn’t have to go for three months. That meant one thing to Sonny: he could still get married. So, Sonny and a friend of his, Johnny Eckenrode (who worked with Sonny at the Provincial House), decided to go to Frederick and join the Marines. The recruiter sent them back to Fort Holibird for another physical and, from there, they were sent to Gay and Lombard street to be sworn in. That was on the March 3, 1966, when he became a Jarhead, and he was going to wait to get married in April. Johnny didn’t want to wait, so he volunteered for Vietnam and went in right away. When it was time for Sonny to leave, he went from Baltimore to Georgia, and then arrived at Parris Island on June 2, at 2:00 a.m. The drill instructor got on the bus and was talking to the driver and then turned to Sonny and the rest of the recruits. Sonny said you never saw such a commotion, with forty-five guys trying to get out of that little bus door at one time. Sonny remembers thinking to himself “What in the world am I doing here?” He made it through boot camp and got twenty days of leave, so he went home. After his twenty days of leave at home, he was sent to Camp Lejeune for Infantry Training; in the meantime, he had a MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) as a cook. He was sent to Camp Gardner and went through cook school. Sonny was then shipped to Camp Pendelton in San Diego, California, where he spent his entire Marine career; he was Honorably Discharged from there. Sonny got to visit several of his friends and relatives while at Camp Pendelton: his cousin, Jerry Wagerman; friend, Johnny Knott; friend, Jimmy Wastler; and friend, Phil Mort. Sonny and Linda never had a honeymoon, and he really missed her and his mother and father, so he was very happy to be going home.

After he arrived back home, he went back to work at the Provincial House, where he worked before he joined the Marines, and remained there for forty-seven years.

Sonny is now retired, and he and Linda are still living on the mountain and are very happy with their family-life. They have two children: Stacy and Stephanie. Stacy has a son and a daughter, Zachary and Samantha; and Stephanie has a son, Riley. Sonny regrets that his parents didn’t survive long enough to meet their great-grandchildren; he lost his mother in 1972 and his father in 1992.

Linda and Sonny still go to the Rock and Roll dances at the Ambulance Building in Emmitsburg. They are active and love to get out and about! So, if you meet them at Jubilee or anywhere around the neighborhood, say “Hi” and thank Sonny for his service.

I really enjoyed the little chat I had with Sonny and Linda. I tried to get Linda to put her two cents worth in, but she was not having any of it.

They are the perfect example of a very happy couple and family, who stay positive and enjoy their lives together

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the U.S. Veteran, and God Bless You.

Lance Corporal Paul Joseph Humerick, United States Marine Corps.