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by dave ammenheuser

The call came in the middle of a night in January 1991.

The familiar male voice on the other line told me that I wouldn’t be hearing from him for a while. It was a special code that I had with my brother, Sgt. Robert Ammenheuser of the United States Army.

I knew it meant within the next 24 hours that the Gulf War was about to begin. As a chemical detection specialist, he would be on the front line. Soon, thereafter, the war began in Iraq. There were several tough, sleepless nights until I heard from him again and knew that he was safe and that he’d be returning to Thurmont soon. 

Robert “Bob” Ammenheuser is my hero. Not only for his heroic duty during that war but also for his actions during the past year.

Although we’ve spent much of our adult lives in different states, often separated by hundreds and hundreds of miles, we always knew we could count on each other when the other needed help.

That was never more apparent than in the last year. When my father died in September 2020, my first call was to Bob. He had a much closer relationship with Dad than I did. It was a very difficult conversation.

When our mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, and she didn’t want to spend another minute in a rehabilitation home last fall, Bob and his wife Emily quickly volunteered to care for Mom in her final months. She died in December.

Over the past year, Bob’s been at my side as we cleared our parents’ Creagerstown home. It’s our childhood home, built in 1969 when Bob was 1 and I was 7. The same home that still has the residue from the NERF basketball hoop that hung on the family room closet, where as a young teen I’d play on my knees against my younger brother; the same backyard where I taught my younger brother to play baseball, forcing him to bat right-handed and throw right-handed and ignoring the fact that he was naturally left-handed.

The same home where we spent countless nights over the past year sorting through our parents’ collections and belongings, repairing vintage cars, and catching up on our lives.

It hasn’t been easy. Bob had the uncanny timing to always show when Mother Nature was at her worst: temperatures plummeting below freezing, blinding rainstorms. Those were not exactly ideal times to be outside repairing a 1963 Thunderbird.

Since returning from the war, Bob has lived in Maryland, Alabama, and now in Pennsylvania. I’ve lived in Maryland, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Tennessee, Virginia, and now Delaware.

Our parents’ deaths brought us together again. Face to face. Side by side.

As we close this chapter of our lives, it’s a good bet that we spent more time together in the past year than we will together the rest of our lives.

That’s tough to digest.

But I know he’s only a phone call—or these days, a text—away, and we’ll always be there for each other. And our brotherly love no longer needs coded messages.

Dave and Bob Ammenheuser with their mother, Liz, in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1991.

Bob Ammenheuser as an infant.

Bob Ammenheuser working on his father’s 1963 Thunderbird earlier this year.

There’s Nothing On

by Valerie Nusbaum

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating for this column: Randy and I watch a lot of television. We have premium cable, which offers us hundreds of channels, including all the HBO variations. We also have at least five streaming services, including Netflix, IMDb, Peacock, HBOMax, and the Roku channel.  There may be more channels and services, but if there are, we haven’t figured out how to access them or we don’t even know they’re here.

It’s our preferred mode of watching television and movies to sit at home on the couch in our clean, quiet, uncrowded living room. I stopped enjoying going to movie theaters years ago, mostly because the tall person always sat in front of me, while the talkative person with the cellophane-wrapped candies sat directly behind me. Not to mention that there were usually five empty seats in my row but some complete stranger always came and sat right beside me. My feet stuck to the floor in the theater, and my fanny could never find a seat without a hump.

Randy and I are also both guilty of buying a movie ticket (which isn’t cheap these days) and promptly falling asleep in the uncomfortable seats as soon as the lights dimmed.  I dozed off during City Slickers and also during some movie about a mouse. I had taken my then six-year-old nephew to see the mouse movie, and I swear I only slept for a few minutes, but when I woke up, the rotten kid had covered me in popcorn. That movie theater butter won’t come out of your clothes either. Randy also fell asleep once during a live production of The Nutcracker ballet. He had an aisle seat, and he started sliding out of the chair into the aisle. Thank goodness he let out a loud snore and woke himself. But I digress….

Lately, even though we have literally thousands of movie and television show choices, we haven’t been able to find anything worth watching. Our list of stuff that we’ve tried and turned off continues to grow. It used to be that buying a movie ticket kept us in the theater until the final credits, even after finding out early on that the film was a real stinker. Technically, we could apply the same principle to our television/streaming viewing, but life is short and I’m not punishing myself for two hours with another situation like Godzilla vs. Kong or Wonder Woman 1984. Yep, I turned off both of those puppies after about five minutes of trying to watch.

Conversely, the hubby and I totally dismissed Downton Abbey years ago when the show was new to PBS, but we decided to give it a try earlier this year, and we were delighted that we did. We binged the entire six (I think) seasons, as well as the follow-up movie—and we still quote Cousin Violet and Cousin Isabelle. Dame Maggie Smith portrayed Cousin Violet, or Granny, in Downton. When I discovered that she and Dame Judi Dench were playing sisters in a film called Ladies in Lavender, I knew we should check it out. (Please don’t tell my mother this, but Randy and I have been watching a LOT of British imports. Granted, sometimes it’s hard for me to understand what’s being said, but it does give Randy an opportunity to drag out his considerable skill for mimicking all the accents.) Anyway, I can highly recommend Downton Abbey, but I would suggest you skip that sad tale about the spinster sisters who save a Polish violinist who washed up on shore. Generally, anything starring Helen Mirren is worth a look. We enjoyed The Queen and also the series called The Crown, which didn’t star Ms. Mirren but was another vehicle about The Royal Family who are always fun to watch.

We’ve watched a lot of series and movies about detectives chasing murderers. Poor Randy gets so frustrated almost every time with how silly the protagonists are.  Everybody knows not to go into the killer’s lair without backup, right?  And why do women who run always fall down? We also really dislike the way teenagers are usually portrayed as having parents who are inept and don’t care, while these kids run around and run amok wreaking all kinds of havoc.

Randy chose a movie called The Book of Henry, which was described as “boy genius uses his smarts and skills to help a girl in danger.” We figured that hijinks would occur, but (spoiler alert) Henry was an eleven-year-old extremely intelligent boy who had a brain tumor and died. So many of the movies and shows we’ve seen recently have either started off with a funeral scene or later killed off a main character halfway through. Talk about a letdown. Hey, Hollywood, how about some new plots?

If you’d like a curated list of shows and movies that are actually worth watching, email me, and I’ll send you my suggestions. There aren’t too many movies, but I have seen a couple of series I’d recommend.

I’d offer to send you a list of stuff that’s not worth watching, but that would be a much longer list. Just last night, Randy flipped through all the selections and pronounced, “There’s nothing on.”

by James Rada, Jr.

September 1921, 100 Years Ago

Thurmont Wins Pennant

Well, fellows, it’s all over. The pennant race has closed and Thurmont is on top. The last game was played Monday at Middletown and the terrific slugging and excellent field by the Thurmont team brought home the “li’l old rag.”

The boys were in fine form and played a brilliant game. While no hair-raising plays were made, yet the playing was of the kind that demanded and held the interest of the many loyal Thurmont rooters.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, September 8, 1921

New State Road

Monday, the road leading from Lewistown to Creagerstown, which had been under construction for some time was thrown open to the public. The road is 4.88 miles long and is built of concrete.

The dirt shoulders on each side of the road have not been completed and work is still progressing on them but vehicles can now travel on the concrete portion of the highway.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, September 29, 1921

September 1946, 75 Years Ago

Dr. Cullen Quits Post As Head of State Sanitoria

Dr. Victor Francis Cullen, director of the state sanitoria for the tubercular, announced today his resignation effective next Jan. 1, exactly 39 years after he accepted the post.

The announcement was made by Dr. H. Warren Buckler, head of the Maryland Sanatorium Commission.

Dr. Cullen became superintendent of Sabillasville in 1908, when it was the only hospital of its kind in the state.

                                          – Hagerstown Morning Herald, September 7, 1946

Historic Mount Saint Mary’s College Has Largest Enrollment In Its History

Mount St. Mary’s college began its 139th year on Tuesday with the largest enrollment in its history.

A total of 597 students now attending classes at the famous institution has filled every room in its native stone buildings to capacity and has arranged for lodging some 40 of its men in private homes in Emmitsburg.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, September 20, 1946

September 1971, 50 Years Ago

Harry Hays Named Science Advisor

Dr. Harry Hays, brother of Mayor Samuel Hays of Emmitsburg, a U.S. Department of Agriculture expert on pesticides, has been named Science Advisor to Dr. George Irving, Jr., Administrator of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, September 2, 1971

Mount Has Success With Military Men

The Military Degree Completion Program at Mount Saint Mary’s College began its third semester this month and Academic Dean Bernard S. Kaliss finds its success and popularity most encouraging.

Dean Kaliss, who along with Registrar Guy A. Baker, Jr., founded the program in the spring of 1970, reports that when the program began it had only one participant. There are currently 35 men enrolled in it.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, September 23, 1971

September 1996, 25 Years Ago

Streets and Transportation Committee to Discuss Removal of Parking Meters

Emmitsburg’s Streets and Transportation Committee, a town organization made up of five residents and Streets Commissioners Rosario Benvengi, discussed a variety of issues at their August meeting. The committee considers topics related to Emmitsburg’s walkways and roadways, then makes recommendations to the Town Council.

Commissioner Benvengi made a suggestion to remove the parking meters downtown and asked the committee to give it some thought.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, September 1996

Park Improvements Continue

According to Parks Commissioner Clifford Sweeney, facilities at Memorial Park will continue to be improved. A new dugout will be started this year and completed in time for next season’s opening games. “We are glad the children are using the new fields and happy that we can help the Little League organization,” said Sweeney.

Work on Phase One of Community Park is in full swing. Pavilions and picnic areas are scheduled to be finished by the end of September. The volleyball court should be completed about the same time.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, September 1996


by James Rada, Jr.

Note: This is the first in a series about the “achievements” of Harney University.

Emmitsburg is known for being the home of Mount St. Mary’s University, but for a while, another nearby university regularly made the newspaper with stories of great innovations in science and technology that its learned professors developed.

That university? The esteemed Harney University.

Never heard of it? That’s not surprising since despite all of the achievements credited to its faculty in the Emmitsburg Chronicle, the university didn’t exist…at least not as an educational institution.

A group of residents met regularly at the Hotel Slagle and came up with unusual stories that the newspaper published.

The faculty, as it were, consisted of Jacob Turner, Jerry Overholser, Daniel Shorb, and Bill Snyder, who met regularly at the Slagle Hotel in Emmitsburg. The staff would have also had to include Sterling Galt, editor of the Emmitsburg Chronicle. Whether the group came up with the goings-on at the university or it was something Galt did alone is not known.

What is known is that the stories provided readers of the Chronicle a lot of smiles and laughs in the early 1900s.

Here are some of the fantastical achievements of Harney University and its faculty.

October 7, 1910: The Harney University football team won a game against a team from Pigs Misery. The game was played on Musk Rat Field, which was a gift to the university from Dan Shorb. Shorb was listed as a former professor of “Propaeduetics and a John Glass lecturer on the Theory of Aviation.” The newspaper reported that 11,000 people attended the game and seven different bands played between quarters. One player named Murky Suds made a daring play. “This professional in a daring dash of 90 years with eighteen men on his neck, dislocated the goal post and tore away the gunwale and three hatchways on the port side of his physiognomy,” according to the Emmitsburg Chronicle.

March 15, 1912: Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole. The Emmitsburg Chronicle disputed his claim, saying that Dr. John Glass and Dr. Bill Snyder of Harney University had found the pole two years earlier at 3 a.m., “brought it back to Harney, and preserved it in alcohol.” The paper went on to further note, “Dr. Glass is not even willing to concede that Amundsen got to the farthest point south unless he is able to produce the lawn mower which Dr. Snider left on the front lawn under the cherry tree near the house which they lived while in those southern parts.”

November 15, 1912: Dr. Dan Shorb received the election returns using an intricate machine so that “long before the telegraph instruments of the county had ticked the news, Prof. Bushman, who had his airship anchored on the prairie dog house nearby, was on his way to Emmitsburg with bushel baskets filled with the correct information,” according to the Chronicle. He also claimed not to need his wireless device to get the returns from Thurmont, Harney, and Jimtown. His eyesight was so good, “He simply looked over the shoulders of the clerks, from his private office at Pigs Misery, and wrote down the results. Some slight difficulty was experienced in reading the tally sheet at Poplar Ridge, owing, the doctor said, to a bad wick in one of the lamps at that place,” the Chronicle reported.

November 29, 1912: President Woodrow Wilson was planning on appointing Dr. John Glass and Professor Dan Shorb of Harney University to help revise the tariff code on codfish balls. “Clarence Buckingham, brother of the Duke of Buckingham, will also revise the tariff on dill pickles. In an unrelated note, Col. Stonebottle, one of the most prominent citizens of Emmitsburg, painted his overalls on Saturday,” the Chronicle reported.

December 13, 1912: The Harney University faculty held a pinochle tournament, competing for a trophy. It had been a dill pickle in 1911. “The trophy this year will be a loving cup filled with spinach, presented for this event by the Young Lady Society for the Prevention of the Use of the Denatured Alcohol and Strawberry Shortcake,” according to the Chronicle.

The Slagle Hotel where the esteemed faculty of Harney University met to discuss matters of world-changing importance.

“Helping You Find Plants That Work”

by Ana Morlier

Display the Season With an Autumn Bouquet

The season of pumpkin spice, REASONABLE temperatures, corn mazes, and hot drinks is upon us. It’s finally September, folks! Aside from all of the fun activities and tasty food available in the fall season, the Catoctin Mountains have one of the best views of the color-changing trees. Even with the plants slowly transitioning away from the vibrant emerald colors of summer, we can still look forward to the warm saturation of leaves and flowers.

While taking in the beauty of fall is delightful, sharing the charm of autumn fauna will give you more warmth than any pumpkin spice latte can. Give from your heart—and your harvest! Gift someone a bouquet made out of the flora and fauna listed below. Plants like hellebores, hostas, mums, asters, hydrangeas, daisies, and chrysanthemums grow back again and again. If you do not have any of the plants suggested below, just stick to the basics and use whatever you have available. Your bouquet will still look fabulous!

Bouquet Basics

Choose flowers that are either complementary colors (ex: yellow/purple, red/green) to each other or are generally the same hue.

Extend the life of your bouquet with water and treatment. You can find floral food packets in most grocery stores near the plant and bouquet section. Jill Brooke of Flower Power Daily even recommends Sprite or Clorox! Her secret recipe is: “1 quart water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of bleach.”

Recut the stems at a slant every other day so that the flowers can absorb adequate amounts of water.

Finally, place your bouquet out of the sunlight in a cool, dry place.

Making Your Bouquet

Start your bouquet with twigs and other sturdy, woody materials as a frame, placing them around the circumference of the vase. These do not have to be a uniform length, just as long they are one to two times the height of the vase.

Integrate greenery, such as leaves (myrtle, eucalyptus, etc.), ferns (shield, leatherleaf, cinnamon), ivy, twigs, and grass, into the bouquet, filling in the empty space exposed in the frame.

Add “foundation flowers” or flowers with hefty blooms that are cut short enough to cover the negative space and lip of the vase. Some examples include hyacinths, small clippings of azaleas, Autumn Joy stonecrop, yarrow, phlox, etc.).

Now insert the flowers that are the stars of your bouquet. These may include dahlias, lilies, chrysanthemums, black-eyed susans, coneflowers, helenium, and/or whatever you want to show off!

Finally, add flowers that have weaker stems to fill in any leftover gaps.

And, there you have it! A beautiful, meaningful bouquet. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a bouquet as well!

Have an amazing autumn, everyone!

From: FTD by Design, Clever, BON APPÉTIT, Maryland Grown Flowers, Meredith Swinehart (Gardenista), Veranda, We Love Florists, Caroline Bologna (HuffPost),Jill Brooke (Flower Power Daily), and The Gardening Dad.

My own novice bouquet is made out of ferns, pampas grass, marigolds, azaleas and a dahlia.

by Buck Reed

The Eight Vegetables You Are Not Cooking With

Vegetables are and always have been an important part of our daily dietary needs. They also get a bad rap as being “icky.” Unless they are your favorite, most of the time we don’t give them a second thought. Yet, most of the time, it is a matter of not knowing how to properly prepare them that turns people away from cooking with them.

Eggplant: This member of the nightshade family of vegetables is usually stuck in the Parmesan group, which is a shame. Roasted eggplant can be served as is or can be stuffed. Grilled, it makes a great appetizer,  caponata, that can be eaten with salad greens or added to any Italian sandwich.

Brussels Sprouts: There are many ways to prepare these guys, but the best is probably sliced and roasted. Just drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; roast until well browned and tender.

Turnips: Most people can’t even tell you how a turnip tastes or what they even look like. This root vegetable has a pleasant, bitter flavor,  as well as an underlying sweetness, that works great with roasted meats. I suggest roasting them with your beef or chicken.

Greens: Collard greens are an art form unto themselves but are well worth the effort to learn how to properly prepare them, one healthy way is simply steaming them for five minutes.

Green Tomatoes: Naturally, fried green tomatoes are a part of everyone’s favorite list, but few people actually make them. The secret is to soak the slices in buttermilk and bread them with any good southern-style breading flour. Then, just pan-fry slowly in plenty of oil. The goal is to get the tomatoes cooked through and properly browned on both sides. I would suggest using them in a BLT.

Beets: Roasted beets are an exquisite and unique addition to any meal. Served as a salad, soup, or side dish can brighten and enhance any plate. I also like leftover beets in Red Flannel Hash.

Parsnips: Parsnips look like yellow carrots but pack a punch of flavor. Cooked until tender, they can be smashed and added to mashed potatoes—delicious silky mash. They can also be shredded and added to soups or salads, or you can add them to a potato pancake mix.

Lima Beans: To prepare fresh lima beans, first examine them and discard any with blemishes. Then, soak them overnight in cold water, discarding any beans that float. Discard the water and rinse well. Cover with fresh water and simmer until they are cooked. Use as needed for soups, stews, or as a side dish. I hear good things about succotash!

Let’s face it, vegetables are good for you. They pack an arsenal of vitamins and minerals, and consuming a wide variety of them will only benefit you. Learning to prepare vegetables properly will make them taste better.

by Ava Morlier

Happy September! Today’s dish will be celebrating the rich culture and flavors of Oktoberfest: Soft pretzels!

Brought to America by German immigrants, the soft pretzel carries great German history with it. Used as a symbol of prosperity and good luck, pretzels were enjoyed by both the rich (used as a symbol for undying love for aristocratic couples) and the poor (monks baked and distributed pretzels to those living in poverty). Today, the pretzel reaches many audiences as well, both culturally (enjoyed by Americans and Europeans) and flavor-wise (can be customized with both sweet and savory seasonings, thanks to the minimally-flavored dough).

Pretzels are relatively easy to make, and you can customize them with the flavor of your choice. One step of this recipe may be confusing: boiling the pretzel in baking soda. Why? Boiling the pretzel gives it the puffy shape, and the baking soda gives the pretzel its iconic brown outside. Though it takes a bit more time than simply folding and baking the pretzel, the outcome is worth it: a soft, iconically brown pretzel.

Enjoy your Oktoberfest! May these soft pretzels indeed grant you luck and prosperity, and Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!

by Priscilla Rall

WWII Thurmont Nurse Follows Troops: Part 2

We continue with the story of Mary Catherine Willhide as she nurses wounded American soldiers in Normandy. She noted in a letter home that there was no distinction between officers and enlisted men, with officers often helping enlisted men if the need arose. Mary was in a 400-bed hospital with everything attached; pharmacy, a generator for lights, X-ray equipment, all under tents. They had extra tents for patients in shock and those waiting for surgery. Mary was devastated by the number of badly injured patients waiting for treatment lying on the ground. She noted that they never complained, knowing how many severely injured soldiers were being treated but just asked for some food.

On Monday, July 17, 1944, another hospital temporarily took over their facilities so that the doctors and nurses could get some much-needed sleep. Then, on July 19, Mary’s hospital moved three miles down the road or about three fields over. Every night Mary could hear the American’s flak from the US “ack-ack” guns as the German planes flew over the hospital. “We slept with our helmets on” and “pieces would fly past so close you could hear the whiz,” Mary wrote in a letter to her family. The front was just 7 miles away and American soldiers were battling for St. Lo. Donald Null of Frederick was fighting there with the 115th Infantry and his brother, Austin, with the 30th Infantry, was killed there.

The breakthrough came on July 26, and Mary and her fellow nurses stood on the bank along the field and watched the American planes, 15 in each squadron. They flew from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the afternoon. They reminded Mary of wild geese flying. She also saw five Allied bombers shot down. “They would blow up in mid-air and leave a long black streak of smoke from the sky to the ground.” Tragically, some of the bombers didn’t get far enough over the enemy lines and they bombed our own troops. The casualties were heavy.

“On the night of July 31, we were told at 10 p.m. that we had one hour to be ready to move out. So we went three to four miles east of St. Lo, and the terrain there was the worst so far. We were in a field that our men took three times before we were able to hold it. There were large craters, holes and many mines not yet set off,” Mary wrote. Near our tent were three to four dead cows, plus the bodies of soldiers killed a week before. “It was another horrible sight never to be forgotten.” In fact, 13 soldiers were injured when a mine exploded, and one was killed. “How the rest of us escaped, God only knows because the engineers didn’t demine the place until after we had been there a week.” The smell, hot weather, and flies made life miserable. There were many critically injured soldiers, many with abdominal wounds that required colostomies. Their dressings changed every few hours. Mary and her team stayed there for 15 days.

On Aug. 15, Mary was moved to Mortain and the war was going fast. They were 75 miles behind the front and set up in an apple orchard. They were treated to steak and fresh eggs every day! “We only had a few bad days and then we were finished! We even got to see Reims. On August 31 we traveled 240 miles in two days and we ended up just 20 miles east of Paris at Pierre la Vie. On Labor Day I saw Paris, bought perfume and saw Napoleon’s tomb, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triumph and the Eiffel Tower!” Mary wrote.

Mary’s hospital was in a nice grassy area as the Allied armies raced towards Germany. She went into Paris with others on three different days. Then they moved to Bastogne, Belgium, on September 22, 1944. From there they went to Luxemburg where there was nothing but mud. There was a ridged blackout “so you can imagine stumbling around at midnight going to work. We worked from midnight to noon. We ate only one meal to save time. We were there two weeks. A German patrol came near the hospital and one enemy was captured. One of our ambulances was lost behind the line and was told how to find us! I think sometimes that we were not meant to be captured. We were wearing our nerves on our sleeves,” Mary wrote.

They were near Kleif in Luxemburg on Sept. 25 when the Ardennes offensive started. The Americans didn’t get very far because their tanks ran out of gas and couldn’t get through the Siegfried Line. On Oct. 5, Mary moved to Stavelot, Belgium, which reminded her of home. They rested there a short time before moving on to Malmedy in old Germany, where she first encountered hostile people. “We were told by the soldiers that if the Germans counter-attacked, they couldn’t hold the line. Our first taste of the breakthrough came on December 16 at 5 o’clock in the morning. The buzz bombs averaged 10 to 15 a day from October until it became almost a frenzy,” Mary wrote. She was on night duty Dec. 16, and was sitting around the stove writing a letter when one of the bombs hit so close that it knocked the pen out of her hand. She was in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.

ASK Dr. Lo

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

The lymph system is a network of lymph vessels, tissues, and organs that carry lymph throughout the body.

Lymph is a colorless, watery fluid that travels through the lymph vessels and carries T and B lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.

A poorly functioning lymphatic system is associated with the development of chronic disease.

Lymphedema occurs when lymph is not able to flow through the body the way that it should. When the lymph system is blocked or damaged, it builds up fluid in the soft body tissues, causing swelling. This can have significant negative effects on the function and quality of life.

Lymphedema usually affects an arm or leg, but it can also affect other parts of the body. It can cause long-term physical, psychological, and social problems for patients. 

Parts of the Lymph System

There are different parts of the lymph system that play a direct part in lymphedema, to include the lymph vessels, which are a network of thin tubes that collect lymph from different parts of the body and return it to the bloodstream. The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease, they can be found in many places including the neck, underarm,  abdomen, pelvis, and groin.

The spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow are also part of the lymph system but do not play a direct part in lymphedema.

You can compare the lymphatic system to the drains in your home. When the drains are clogged, water quickly fills the sink basin; the toilet does not flush; and particles such as food, hair, and bacteria become stagnant in the drain. Eventually, when the source of the problem is unclogged, the water and other substances move freely through the pipes again.

   Just like your pipes, the lymphatic system can become congested and lead to adverse health reactions. These can include soreness of the breast, fatigue, eczema and chronic skin problems, cold limbs, bloating, headaches, body rigidity, and weakened immunity.

The following are some detoxification strategies to improve the health of your lymphatic system.

Care for Your Limbs With Lymphedema

Taking preventive steps may keep lymphedema from developing. If lymphedema has developed, these steps may keep it from getting worse.

Keep skin and nails clean to prevent infection. Bacteria can enter the body through a cut, scratch, insect bite, or other skin injuries. Fluid that is trapped in body tissues by lymphedema makes it easy for bacteria to grow and cause infection.

Use cream or lotion to keep the skin moist, and treat small cuts or breaks in the skin with an antibacterial ointment.

Avoid needle sticks of any type into the limb with lymphedema. This includes shots or blood tests. Use a thimble for sewing.

Avoid testing bath or cooking water using the limb with lymphedema. There may be less feeling in the affected arm or leg, and skin might burn in hot water.

Wear gloves when gardening, and wear sunscreen and shoes when outdoors.

Cut toenails straight across. See a podiatrist as needed to prevent ingrown nails and infections.

Avoid blocking the flow of fluids through the body. It is important to keep body fluids moving, especially through an affected limb or in areas where lymphedema may develop. It is a good idea not to cross your legs while sitting and change your sitting position at least every 30 minutes.

Wear only loose jewelry and clothes without tight bands or elastic. Do not carry handbags on the arm with lymphedema. Do not use a blood-pressure cuff on the arm with lymphedema. Do not use elastic bandages or stockings with tight bands. Keep blood from pooling in the affected limb. Keep the limb with lymphedema raised higher than the heart when possible. Do not swing the limb quickly in circles or let the limb hang. This makes blood and fluid collect in the lower part of the arm or leg. Do not apply heat to the limb.

Studies have shown that carefully controlled exercise is safe for patients with lymphedema. Exercise does not increase the chance that lymphedema will develop in patients who are at risk for lymphedema. In the past, patients were advised to avoid exercising the affected limb. Studies have now shown that slow, carefully controlled exercise is safe and may even help keep lymphedema from developing.

Take Care of Your Lymph System

Exercising daily may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost the health of your lymphatic system. Whether you are lifting weights at the gym, dancing around your home with your kids, or going for a jog with the dog, you are encouraging the health of your lymphatic system and improving immune function.

Rebounding (a low-impact exercise, which involves jumping on a trampoline) promotes the flow of lymph through the body and can increase the drainage of toxins from organs and muscle tissue.

Stress reduction techniques encourage the flow of lymph through your body. Some of these techniques may involve yoga, pilates, deep-breathing exercises, massage, stretching, and maintaining good posture.

One of the key mechanisms by which our bodies remove toxins is through perspiration. Participating in vigorous activity, including intense exercise, is not the only mechanism by which you can improve lymphatic function. Infrared saunas offer a non-invasive form of light therapy, which heats internal muscles and organs thereby pushing toxins into circulation for their removal from the body. Infrared technology offers amazing benefits for promoting the detoxification of the body.

Some of the best foods to detoxify the lymphatic system are red fruits and vegetables. These include pomegranates, cranberries, beets, cherries, and raspberries. These foods boost lymphatic function and help thin bile, which is a major component to the regulation of the immune response in the gut. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3s is also critical to fighting inflammation and fighting infectious agents from weakening the immune system. Especially as you age, consuming a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fats is required for moderating immune response. Lymphatic vessels contained in the intestines are easily susceptible to dysfunction because of an unhealthy diet.

One very simple mechanism to avoid the restriction of lymphatic vessels, which may hinder the adequate flow of lymph fluid, is choosing your attire appropriately. Wearing restraining, tight-fitting undergarments, such as wired bras, can cause the inability for fluid to drain from the breast, arms, and chest into surrounding lymph nodes. It is also best not to wear tight-fitting clothes while sleeping.

The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is fundamental for the health of the immune system.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at

jEanne Angleberger

Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

There are nine essential amino acids that the body must obtain through the diet. What are they? How do we get them in our diet? Amino acids are important because they are required for the synthesis of body protein and other important nitrogen-containing compounds, including peptide hormones and some neurotransmitters.

The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Be sure to read the label when purchasing a specific supplement for essential amino acids. Compare products that are designed to give you these important supplements.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found in skin, muscles, ligaments, and bones. It is an important ingredient when considering amino acids.

Some dietary supplements promote the marine collagen. Others contain bovine collagen. There is a difference.

I would encourage you to research each one before choosing a collagen dietary supplement. You want to be sure the product contains the essential amino acids.

Healthiness is always on my mind. Hoping you make it a priority, too. It’s the best way to go!

Congrats To My Son

I want to recognize and congratulate my son, Chad Thompson, for winning the scratch singles bowling in Pennsylvania, with a scratch set of 793 for three games.

There were approximately 3,200 bowlers to compete from the whole state of Pennsylvania.

Chad has been bowling for 20 years and has approximately eleven 300 and ten 800 sets. When he was a youth bowler until the age of 20, he bowled in PJBT, which is Pennsylvania Junior Bowlers Tour. He has bowled in three junior gold tournaments in Indiana and Las Vegas, with the best 2,000 youth bowlers in the country competing. He has been on people-to-people bowling in Australia, New Zealand, and Austria as a youth bowler.

Now, he is a active member of the PBA and bowled in a few regionals tournaments. The cost and lack of sponsorship has kept him from bowling in them anymore. He bowled in college at Shippensburg University and Robert Morris University in Peoria, Illinois. This is a big achievement in his bowling career. He averages a 230 in league bowling. He did win two PBA sports shot leagues at Turner’s Dual Lanes in Hagerstown a few years ago.

Chad bowls at Sunshine Lanes. Sunshine Lanes owners, Shawn and Robin Reed, are his bowling ball drillers, and John Carter of CBI Pro Shop, provides his bowling ball repairs and service.

~ Richard Thompson

Thank You For Being So Kind

My name is Linda Meadows, and I am new to Emmitsburg. My daughter Sarah and I entered the Six of Hearts raffle at the Vigilant Hose Company station on July 2. My soon-to-be-three-year-old grandson, Max, was with us. A couple of the firemen asked if Max would like to sit in the trucks! They also gave him a volunteer fire Jr. hat and let him ring the bell!

They were so kind. Max was all smiles. I wanted to thank the Vigilant Hose Fire Company for being so kind.

~ Linda Meadows

by dave ammenheuser

Clearing a loved one’s estate is never easy. Over the past eight months, I’ve been methodically clearing my late parents’ possessions after their deaths in the last half of 2020.

Many items were sold on Facebook Marketplace, a couple on Ebay, and many more during a spring yard sale. All of those items stayed close to our family’s roots in Thurmont.

Not so for my father’s vintage cars. A Thunderbird fanatic, his cars are headed to Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania…and Australia.

Yep, Australia.

Each of my father’s cars had its own story, from how they each arrived along Creagerstown Road over the past several decades to how each has been sold to other Thunderbird enthusiasts.

A car enthusiast in Victoria, Australia, recently purchased my father’s beloved 1956 Thunderbird coupe. It’s a beautiful car, with just 15,000 original miles. My father bought it from a Hollywood producer in the 1980s. When it came time to sell it, we had a difficult choice.

A week before his death last September, my father had asked me to take the car to my home in Ocean View, Delaware. Although I loved the idea of a classic car sitting in my driveway and the idea of riding along Coastal Highway, I knew that I did not know how to take care of the vintage automobile. And, that it needed to go to the home of someone who would cherish it as much as my father.

I was surprised when I got a call from Joe, some 14 time zones away.

“Hello, mate,” he said, his thick Australian accent vibrating over my mobile phone. Joe’s in his 60s and collects Thunderbirds, too. He must really like purchasing American cars. Buying it was the easy part.  He also needed to arrange to have it shipped via a truck from Thurmont to California, where it will be unloaded. A mechanic will change out the brakes, so they meet Australia’s strict vehicle guidelines. It will then be sent via ship for a month’s ride across the Pacific Ocean. Joe hopes to have it at his home by October.

While I was surprised the ’56 headed overseas, it’s only one of the memorable stories of selling my father’s cars.

Brian, who lives in Pennsylvania, bought my father’s 1966 Thunderbird. He arrived in Thurmont to examine the car. After he and my brother, Bob, took it for a test drive, he agreed to buy it. He loaded it up and took it on its two-hour journey to the Keystone State.

The next morning, I received an email from Brian.

Oh, no, I thought. What could the problem be?

Brian included a video in the email. The video showed a very large black snake coming out from under the motor! Imagine his surprise.

I told Brian that if he had trouble with the car, I’d take it back, but he could keep the snake who decided to hitchhike from Creagerstown to his new Pennsylvania home.

It’s been a difficult year parting with my parents’ possessions. I am grateful that they are going to new homeowners who will appreciate them as much as my parents did.

That said, it’s a tad sad to see them go. A little piece of me hurts every time a treasure (albeit a small porcelain piggy bank or a classic car) leaves the house.

Next up is selling the house. My heart will ache more than a little when that is done.

Dave Ammenheuser is writing a monthly column for The Catoctin Banner in 2021. He can be reached at

Dave Ammenheuser and his brother, Bob, stand next to their father’s 1956 Thunderbird, headed to its new owners in Australia.

John Ammenheuser’s 1956 Thunderbird, getting loaded and prepared to ship to Australia.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Last night I did something that I almost never do. I took a Tylenol PM to help me sleep. I don’t like taking that stuff and here’s why: I can’t find my face this morning; I have had two cups of fully caffeinated tea, which I don’t need because I’m jumpy and jittery enough without it; and I have full recollection of the weird dream I was having when I jolted awake at 6:30 a.m. 

I was dreaming that Randy and I threw a party. Everyone was in formal wear, with the women wearing brightly-colored gowns and the men in black ties. The husband of one of my friends showed up with a packet of pot that somehow ended up in the trash. I won’t get into the part of the dream where a bunch of us were digging through the trash looking for it. I do remember that the guy who brought it was angry with us because it had cost him $8.00. And I kept calling him by the nickname to which we all refer to him behind his back. He was angry about that, too.

When I told Randy about my strange dream this morning, he pointed out that the nickname for my friend’s husband isn’t one that I bestowed on him. The nickname came from one of his own family members, and honestly, if you knew this guy, you’d say, “Oh….I get it.”  They don’t live around here and his wife doesn’t read my column.

That’s enough about my subconscious. You really don’t want to know more about what goes on inside my head, so I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening with us recently.

Randy visited our dermatologist for his annual skin check. This is one of those times when we want a really low score, as in how many spots did the doctor spray/lance/cut/burn this time? Randy’s score was two (yay!), but both of the spots were on his face. The big one is in the middle of his forehead, and he’s calling himself “Cyclops.”  The other, of course, is on the tip of his nose. My mother bragged that she had six spots on her face last month, so Wanda is ahead by four.  However, my appointment is next month, and since last time my score was 27, I’m optimistic that I’ll be the winner. My appointment is also three days before my birthday, so I really mean it when I say I hope there’s no surprise party this year.  After Randy’s appointment, my mother had us over for spaghetti.  Randy always gets spaghetti when he has a boo-boo. Yes, he eats a lot of spaghetti.

Back at home, I finished cleaning my studio. It had been a while since that room had a good deep-cleaning, but, in my defense, I’ve been working in there non-stop for almost two years, cranking out a lot of new paintings. I’m lucky to have even spot-cleaned the counters and cabinet tops. Since the room was finally sparkling, I spent the next two days holed up in there doing a new painting. It’s of the War Correspondents memorial at Gathland State Park. The painting turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Sales have been good so far.

Randy and I have been taking long walks in the mornings on the days when he’s not at his office.  It’s good for me to get outside and away from the treadmill, and this way I know he’s actually walking and not sitting on a rock on the street behind our house waiting until his walk time is up. He told me once, jokingly, that he does that.  I hope he was joking.

My friend, Teresa, had her 60th birthday in July. It’s nice to have something happy to celebrate. I lied and told her that her sixties will be the best time of her life. I’m a true friend. It will do her no good to know the truth about what’s coming.

There was house cleaning, lots of laundry, and more than one piece of pizza from the fireman’s Ambulance Company carnival.  There were also steamers and fries, but we justified it by saying that the carnival only comes once a year.  Then Randy reminded me that we’ve already had the Ambulance Company carnival, which gave us the most beautiful fireworks display (Thank you Thurmont Ambulance Company), which we were able to watch from our bedroom window.  It was so nice to have fireworks in the bedroom again. But, I digress…

We had dinner with our friends Gayle and Jon* on Monday night at Los Amigos. It was margarita Monday at the restaurant. We laughed and laughed, but it wasn’t because of the margaritas. 

I took Mom to the grocery store, too. She hadn’t been inside the store since before the pandemic, as we’d been doing her food shopping for her. She was in for some sticker-shock as she saw how much prices have gone up recently.

The heatwave continues, my car got an oil change, there were lots of Etsy orders to fill, and I cooked some chicken and broccoli. Oh, and our neighbors went away on vacation. We’re keeping an eye on things for them. Randy thinks we should put a “For Sale” sign in their yard and text them a photo. 

That’s pretty much what happened here in the last week.  Next week is more of the same. 

Whatever you have planned for the coming days, I hope you stay cool and enjoy it!

*Names changed to protect the innocent.

by James Rada, Jr.

August 1921, 100 Years Ago

Tied For Second Place

Thurmont easily won Saturday’s game from Emmitsburg by a 11 to 2 score. The visitors drew first blood when they shoved one run across in the second and the locals, in their half of the same inning, retaliated by putting three runs over and from then on it was smooth sailing. Fox, the visitor’s premier pitcher, was touched up for 14 hits, just double the number secured off him on July 4th. Annan’s playing in left field deserves special mention. The main feature of the game was a fast double play by the “three Creeger brothers,” Ed to Roy to John. Thurmont feels that this victory is sweet revenge upon Emmitsburg for their defeat on July 4.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, August 18, 1921

Bridge Afire

The long bridge known as the trestle spanning the second mountain gap above town was set afire early Monday afternoon, supposedly by one of the large locomotives. It was discovered by Dr. Bernard O’Toole, who happened to be passing by.

The Trestle is built of wood and has upon it several barrels filled with water. Dr. O’Toole emptied one barrel on the fire, but to get to the second barrel necessitated his going through the fire. This he did, suffering some slight burns and singed hair. After emptying the contents of the second barrel on the fire without extinguishing it, he went to the night watchman’s shanty, broke open the door and telephoned the train dispatcher in Hagerstown. He was just in time to stop a long freight at Highfield, the first telegraph station west of the bridge.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, August 25, 1921

August 1946, 75 Years Ago

Farmers Field Day And Picnic At Rocky Ridge on August 14

Plans have been completed for the Southern States Cooperative annual meeting and Farmers Field Day and picnic at the Rocky Ridge Park playgrounds on Wednesday evening, August 14. The recreational program will begin at 6 o’clock with the business of the annual meeting set to begin promptly at 8 o’clock.

                                          – The Frederick Post, August 10, 1946

30 Scouts Camping At Weishaar Farm

Thirty members of the Emmitsburg Boy Scout Troop are encamped in a tent village about four miles north of the borough on the Weishaar farm near Fairfield.

Large tents have been constructed for the kitchen and other establishments while smaller tents are being used for the sleeping quarters for the youths.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, August 8, 1946

August 1971, 50 Years Ago

Hagerstown Firm Names As Architect For Remodeling Of Emmitsburg School

At their last meeting, the Frederick County Board of Education appointed the Hagerstown firm of Bushey and Burrey as architects for the new Emmitsburg School. The first has been instructed to commence planning the project immediately with the planning to be completed by July 1, 1972.

The $971,700 project at Emmitsburg involves replacing the oldest section of the building built in 1923 with a new structure and renovation of the present gymnasium wing.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, August 12, 1971

Giant Cabbage Grown Here

Roland Sanders of Lincoln Avenue, Emmitsburg, grew this giant head of cabbage which weighed in at 13 lbs., 2 ounces.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, August 19, 1971

August 1996, 25 Years Ago

Funds Allocated For Flood Damage Repair

The June 19th “Flood of the Century” caused damage extensive enough for federal officials to name three flood-damaged sites around Emmitsburg to be among the first to receive funding for clean-up and repair. Funds from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program will be used to repair the streambanks to protect homes at the intersection of Annandale Road-Hampton Valley Road and Crystal Fountain Road.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, August 1996

Seton Center Day Care Comes Under New Management

After nearly 26 years of service to the children and families in the Emmitsburg area, the Daughters of Charity announced in early July they would no longer be running the Seton Day Care Center. Due to the shortage of Sisters and for economic reasons, the Province has decided to enter into a lease agreement with an outside company for running the Day Care Center. This will ensure the continuation of a service that has proven so valuable to the people of Frederick County.

          Mr. Alfred Opack, owner and operator of three full-service Child Care Centers in Poolesville and Frederick, will assume the responsibility for the Seton Child Care Center as of September 3, 1996. It will be renamed the Emmitsburg Child Care Center.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, August 1996

The Mountain Seaside

by James Rada, Jr.

It was supposed to be a Maryland seashore on a mountaintop.

In 1889, the Buena Vista Ice Company bought 400 acres of land where Fort Ritchie would eventually be built, and set aside 20 acres for a lake.

“The business had counterparts on the East Coast below the Mason-Dixon Line,” according to the Hagerstown Morning Herald.

Perhaps forgetting that the purpose of the lake was to freeze in the winter, so the ice could be cut into blocks and sold, people were more interested in its summertime uses. They began picturing the area as the next Ocean City.

The Catoctin Clarion reported in August 1901, shortly after Lake Royer opened, “They now have a miniature ‘shore’ up on top of the mountain: by feeding at proper intervals, several barrels of fish salt into the stream that feeds the ‘lake,’ sea water may be imitated; by hiring a small boy to teeter a log in the water, modest breakers may be fashioned; high and low tides may be accomplished by lowering into and hoisting from the lake kegs of nails, twice in every twenty-four hours; the rattles taken from the rattlesnake skins that the mountain belles are wearing for belts, might be scattered about the beach to represent sea shells…”

The writer envisioned Blue Ridge Summit becoming the ultimate summer destination. Of course, Pen-Mar was already a popular summer getaway, and the lake would only cement its reputation.

“Lake Royer is a lovely sheet of water, covering about 21 acres, and is located near Buena Vista Station, and within easy reach of Pen-Mar, Blue Ridge, Monterey and Blue Mountain,” the Frederick News reported.

Col. John Mifflin Hood, president of the Western Maryland Railway, created Pen-Mar Park in August 1877 as a way to attract people to use the railroad to get out of the heat of the city during the summer. The park offered a view of over 2,000 square miles and two mountain ranges at an altitude of 1,400 feet. It is located on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, hence the name.

“From here on a clear day, one could see the town clock in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, at a distance of 24 miles—with binoculars, of course,” Frank and Suanne Woodring wrote in the book, Images of America: Pen-Mar.

Pen-Mar Park featured a dancing pavilion and a dining room that could seat 450 people. An observation tower was added in 1878. Lake Royer’s opening in 1901 allowed the park to offer one more attraction.

Trains heading to Blue Ridge Summit left Baltimore daily at 9:15 a.m. and advertised the new lake. Tickets cost $1, plus an extra 50 cents if you wanted to eat dinner at Pen-Mar.

“The popularity of Lake Royer is shown by the big supply of bathing costumes hanging up to dry every day. Last Sunday, nearly 100 were strung up at one time,” the Baltimore Sun reported in August 1901.

Pleasure boats were allowed on the water, and bathhouses had been erected allowing visitors to go swimming. They could even rent a bath “costume” for 25 cents.

The park quickly became a popular destination for tourists who traveled on the railroad from towns and cities all over the East Coast to the Maryland and Pennsylvania mountains. The peak single-day attendance at the park was 20,000 people.

Demand for natural ice declined over the years as refrigeration technology improved, and the Buena Vista Ice Company discontinued operations at the site in the mid-1920s.

In 1926, the State of Maryland purchased 580 acres to establish Camp Ritchie as a Maryland National Guard training area. Acquisition of additional property increased the camp to 638 acres by 1940.

“Camp Albert C. Ritchie was built and the last ice houses razed. One of them was still two-thirds full of ice,” according to the Hagerstown Morning Herald.

The new camp also ended the public use of Maryland’s mountain seashore.

(above) Historic postcard view of Lake Royer.

(below) Aerial view of Lake Royer.

by Ana Morlier

One Person’s Trash Is Another Worm’s Treasure

All About Composting

Happy August, everyone! While we are still melting in the heat, we are nearing a time of cool air and beautiful leaves. I know it’s quite early to reference fall; however, there is a major aspect of gardening that should be considered before the leaves pile up. In fact, you can even start now with lawn clippings. What is this activity? Composting!

While it may not seem desirable at first…“food scraps and plant waste sitting in a bin, right? It’s just as bad as the trash, and it can’t be taken out!” Yet, there actually are many beneficial factors to consider.

First of all, I wish to dissolve the misconception that compost smells. If done correctly, compost should not smell or have rotting or moldy materials in it.

Second, compost cuts down on carbon emissions cost, landfill size, prevents plant diseases and pests from penetrating, and generally helps your dirt to be healthy, among other benefits.

Not everything is compostable. Meat, fish, bones, dairy products, oil, bioplastics, invasive species (of plant), moldy/infested plants, chemicals and/or pesticides should NOT be composted. Not only do meat products attract animals to your compost (and possibly your garden), they do not break down easily. The rest will cause compost to become moldy or harmful if you choose to use compost in your garden (or wherever you decide to put it, for that matter).

What can be composted must be in balance. These are termed as “browns” and “greens.”

“Browns” are hard, dry, and carbon-rich. They are tougher materials, add structure to the pile, and prevent the stench, thus preventing any bugs or critters from coming by. None of the materials listed below should be used if they have been soiled in any way. For example, while cardboard is on the list, you should not use pizza boxes, as all the oil and cheese residue will rot the pile.

“Browns” include:

Paper (napkins, plates, newspaper, parchment paper, toilet paper, tissues, office paper, and junk mail, unused and NOT glossy);

Wood chips (untreated by chemicals);

Sawdust (untreated by chemicals);

Cardboard (egg cartons)

Hey, use hay! (and straw);

Pine needles/cones;

Corn stalks/cobs;

Woody nut shells (these take longer to break down; to combat this, blend them in a food processor or crush them—there is nothing more satisfying than seeing peanut shells turn into dust!).

“Greens” are wet materials, allowing microorganisms to break down materials quickly. They provide the right sugars and proteins for the growth and reproduction of microorganisms.

“Greens” include:

Feces can be used, but only add feces (minimally) from herbivores to get the duty done (yes, I know, manure);

Tea bags/coffee grounds;

Fruit and vegetable scraps;

Trimmings from plants (weeds included, as long as they haven’t set seed);

Plants, themselves;

Grass clippings;

Leaves—jump in that pile, then put it to good use when fall arrives;

Seaweed (you are lucky if you have some—it’s nutrient-rich, and it might mean you live by the ocean).

A good ratio to keep in mind is two browns to one green. But, if you are in doubt, it’s always safer to add more dry materials than for mold to set in. Make sure to stir your compost on a regular basis because microorganisms break down the compost as they are exposed to more oxygen and as the compost is turned. This can be done with a shovel and/or a compost turner. Heat also makes the composting process occur faster.

The formula: Food+Water+Oxygen+

Heat+Structure+Time = The Perfect


You can buy a compost container or make your own—whether it is made from a plastic bin, wood, wire mesh, or palettes is up to you! As long as it is covered to prevent animals from coming by. Finally, keep in mind the composting process can take quite a while. 

I hope you are inspired to become a force of composing and try it out for yourself. Be sure to hang up the list of browns and greens somewhere you can see on a daily basis. While composting may seem degrading at first, if put into practice and done correctly, it can be good for the soul and the soil. Good luck!

This is a wonderful picture example of homemade compost bins made of wood. Not only does it provide the perfect composting conditions, but it also looks stylish!

Photo Credit: Composting by Jen Waller

by Buck Reed

Summer is for Softshells

The heat and sunshine of summer are here, and in other regions of the world, that might mean a lot of different foods. But here in Maryland, summers aren’t summer without crabs. And we know all different ways to enjoy these local “beautiful swimmers.” Crab cakes, crab dip, crab soup, and even big bushels of steamed crabs are always following the namesake of “Maryland,” because of the blue crab of the Chesapeake Bay. For me, summer doesn’t really start until I have had my first soft shell crab.

Soft shell season traditionally starts with the first full moon in May and shuts down in September, so there is plenty of time. During this time is when they are marketed live and fresh, which is the best time to enjoy them. You can find them frozen in January, but I choose to wait. This is when the crabs are molting their hard shells and sporting a new softer one that stays soft once they are pulled from the water. And some people say there is no God!

If you are purchasing and preparing them yourself, they are easy enough to clean yourself or ask the person behind the counter to do it for you. Just make sure they are alive when you do.

As far as cooking, it is difficult to mess them up. Just do not overcook them. One important trick is to poke a few holes in the legs and claws to allow moisture to escape during cooking otherwise they can be dangerous.

But this might be one of those occasions where you might want to stick to ordering when you are out. But you only have about six weeks to find a place that does soft shells well. So, get started!

by Priscilla Rall

During WWII, evacuation hospitals were located only miles behind the front lines. As our troops moved, the hospitals followed them. One young woman from Thurmont was among these brave nurses giving aid to our wounded.

Mary Catherine Willhide was born on July 8, 1915, to Ross Henry and Elsie Catherine Robinson Willhide of Thurmont. She had two sisters, Helen Willhide Flanagan and Lela “Chubbie” Willhide Lillard. Mary graduated from Thurmont High School and then worked as a nurse at the Frederick City Hospital. Later, she attended Charity Hospital in New Orleans, training to be an anesthetist.

Mary enlisted in the Nurses Corp as a lieutenant, and these excerpts are taken from a letter she sent her family on May 25, 1945. Her big adventure began in October 1943, when she sailed from Boston Harbor aboard the Mauretania. For the first day out, Navy blimps escorted them, alert to any menace from German submarines. After that, they were on their own. The captain zig-zagged to avoid subs, and Mary recorded that the “waves were two stories high.” Three days out, the passengers were told that there was a sub following them, but to everyone’s great relief, nothing happened.

British officers and crew manned the ship. Because of the danger, the captain never left the bridge. The ship held four general hospitals, 400 nurses, and 10,000 mostly American troops. Mary slept in a cabin with eleven other nurses. The cabin had only 10 bunks, so one nurse had to sleep on the floor. The ship arrived at Liverpool on October 16. In the pouring rain, the nurses disembarked, carrying their musette bag, gas mask, and blanket roll. According to Mary, they were “tired, cold and wet.” Then they took a train to their hospital, arriving there October 18. After spending several days resting, rolling bandages, and unpacking their instruments, they opened the hospital November 1. Everyone in her unit was from Texas and very cliquish, so Mary decided to volunteer for an evacuation hospital. Not until April 3 did she learn that she was assigned to detached service and to the 67th Evacuation Hospital near Bristol. There, all hands were just “waiting for the invasion.”

“Never will I forget June 6.” She had been up since daybreak, watching the C-47s with their gliders pulled behind them. They were going over in groups of 100. “The sky was black,” and they were flying just far enough apart as to not hit one another. “Then later we saw them coming back. Some OK, and others with pieces of wing missing or other damage.”

D+9 (June 15) was the day for us to go to the marshalling area. Mary sailed from Weymouth and boarded an L.C.I. (landing craft infantry). Her commanding officer had taken in the 29th Division on D-Day, telling them that the dead were floating as far as two miles from the shore. Mary landed on Omaha Beach on June 17 and was fortunate to leave the L.C.I. on a small motor boat. Her unit spent the night sleeping on the floor at the 91st Evac Hospital. “The artillery and the ack-ack sounded like the 4th of July all night long. All along the road, the infantry was marching to the front. Some sight!”

The next day, they traveled to Sainte Mere Eglise. The soldiers were fighting just a few miles away. “I was most scared when a German plane strafed a cub plane field right beside of ours, killing three soldiers. “Never before have I seen so many mangled bodies. Never did I ever think I would actually walk in human blood, but that is what happened.

“From June 13 at 3 PM until July 17 at 12 noon we admitted over 5,500 patients and operated on more than 2,500. In other words, in 28 days we averaged 90 operations every 24 hours.” They had six operating room tables and six nurses shaving and getting the patients ready for surgery. Fortunately, Polish former POWs carried the stretchers in and out. “Many times we didn’t have enough blood, we needed it so badly.” The hospital was severely overcrowded. One nurse oversaw 30 unconscious patients at a time. Each nurse had a ward of 40 patients with two or three corpsman for each 12-hour shift. “Doctors were so busy, we nurses did the doctors’ work too. We gave blood, plasma and medications… ordered or not.”

“We often say that if the soldiers had not been so patient and good in taking it all, we never could have done it. Sometimes it made you want to cry, especially when we saw one with his legs wounded helping one in the next bed with wounded hands.”

Courtesy Photo of Mary Willhide, Taken in Belgium

High Blood Triglycerides

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Lowering your triglyceride level can improve your health. Triglycerides are a type of fat, also called a lipid, that occurs in the blood. Any calorie your body does not convert to energy right away is turned into triglycerides. Those lipid triglycerides then get stored in fat cells and are used as energy later. Like most fats, if you eat more calories than you burn, it could lead to high triglyceride levels. Triglycerides contain double the amount of energy as compared to both carbohydrates and proteins, which also supply energy to the body.

Triglycerides, HDL & LDL

Triglycerides and cholesterol are different types of lipids found in your blood. While cholesterol builds cells and supports certain hormones, triglycerides give your body energy by storing excess calories. High triglyceride levels can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack by thickening artery walls and hardening arteries. Triglycerides can even cause pancreatitis. Many times, high triglycerides go hand in hand with other medical conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, and metabolic syndrome.

Being physically inactive, eating foods high in certain fats and sugars, and drinking too much alcohol may increase blood triglycerides. Some medicines used to treat breast cancer, high blood pressure, HIV, and other conditions may increase triglyceride levels in the blood.

Lipid panels measure total cholesterol, which include HDL “good” (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which works to remove LDL “bad” (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which can build up in the arteries and cause blockage in blood vessels and triglyceride levels in your blood.

Factors That Can Raise Triglycerides and What May Help Lower Triglycerides

Factors that can raise your triglyceride level include eating more calories than you burn off, especially if you eat a lot of sugar; being overweight or obese; cigarette smoking; excessive alcohol use; certain medicines; some genetic disorders; thyroid disease; poorly controlled type 2 diabetes; metabolic disease; and liver or kidney disease.

Triglyceride levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The guidelines for triglyceride levels are normal if less than 150mg/dL, borderline high is between 151 to 199 mg/dL, high levels are 200 to 499 mg/dL, and considered very high if above 500 mg/dL.

Case-control studies have shown that high triglycerides are an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor. Also, a recent study concluded that in younger persons, the highest levels of triglycerides corresponded with a four times greater risk of heart disease and stroke risk compared to similar patients in the study who had the lowest levels of triglycerides. (Tirosh et al, Ann Intern Med 2007).

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends changes in lifestyle habits as the main therapy for high triglycerides. You should focus on fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains, low sugar fruits, and unsweetened dairy instead of simple sugars. 

All people, whether or not they have high triglycerides, should limit their intake of added sugars. If a person has high triglycerides, it is especially important to limit daily calories from added sugar to no more than 5 percent to 10 percent (no more than 100 calories for most women and no more than 150 calories per day for most men). Sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation. They do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in milk (lactose) and fruits (fructose). For those people above 150 mg/dL triglycerides, limit fructose and emphasize more vegetables and fruits that are lower in fructose. People who consume large amounts of beverages with added sugars tend to consume more calories overall and tend to gain weight. Currently, it is estimated that soft drink consumption alone accounts for one third of added sugars intake in the U.S. diet. Those with triglycerides outside the normal range should limit fructose consumption to 50 to 100 grams per day, because fructose raises triglycerides.

The type of carbohydrates that you eat makes a difference. Foods that contain high amounts of simple sugars, especially fructose, raise triglyceride levels. Trans fats raise triglycerides, while omega-3 fats found in fatty fish and avocados lower triglyceride levels.

Alcohol in high amounts increases triglyceride levels in some people. In individuals with very high triglycerides, abstinence from alcohol is best.

If you are overweight and lose weight, it will result in a 20 percent decrease in triglycerides—the magnitude of decrease in triglycerides are directly related to the amount of weight lost.

Physical activity plays an important role in lowering triglycerides. The effects that physical activity has on triglyceride levels vary depending upon baseline triglyceride level, level of intensity, caloric expenditure, and duration of activity. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days, for a total of at least 150 minutes per week.  

Visceral fat is strongly associated with insulin resistance (an inability of the body to use insulin to convert food into energy) and high levels of triglycerides. Visceral fat lies deep inside the abdomen, near the waistline surrounding the abdominal organs. The best way to lose this fat is to lose excess weight by eating a healthy diet, along with getting regular physical activity. Physical activity helps reduce abdominal fat and preserve muscle during weight loss. Also, lowering your stress level helps with losing visceral fat.

Substituting carbohydrates for fats may raise triglyceride levels and may decrease HDL “good” cholesterol in some people. So keep healthy dietary fat to 25-35 percent of total diet. A statement released by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults, suggests that very high intakes of carbohydrates (greater than 60 percent of total calories) are accompanied by a rise in triglycerides. Lower intakes (e.g., 50 percent of calories) should be considered for persons with metabolic syndrome who have elevated triglycerides or low HDL “good” cholesterol.

So, what is metabolic syndrome? It is a cluster of easily measured metabolic factors, which occur together. It occurs when a person has three or more of the following five factors: elevated waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, reduced HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose. Metabolic syndrome develops in the setting of excess calories and a sedentary lifestyle with underlying causes being obesity and insulin resistance. Most studies show that the metabolic syndrome is associated with an approximate doubling of heart disease and stroke risk and a five times greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle modifications are important to reducing risk from the metabolic syndrome, since they improve all of the components of the metabolic syndrome.

   If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

jEanne Angleberger

Summertime is the best time to enjoy a frozen treat, and the good news is that you can enjoy one without feeling guilty. Choose a bar, on a stick, or in a cone. No calculating what one serving is!

What to look for when choosing a frozen dessert? No more than 3 teaspoons (13 grams) of added sugar. The few grams of natural sugar is included under “total sugars.”

Saturated fat: No more than 2 grams. Your choices are yogurt bars, fudge bars, light ice cream bars, and fruit bars.

Low-calorie sweeteners: Avoid acesulfame potassium, aspartame, or sucralose. Stevia extract is safe as a sweetener. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol and maltitol are also safe, but they can cause nausea if you eat too much. You may find some mini-bars that will qualify as a healthier option as well.

If you’re counting calories, you’ll want to know the caloric value when choosing a single serving. Some may be low in saturated fat, but high in calories.

When searching for a healthier option for a frozen treat, ingredient reading is a must. If you’re looking at a low-fat or low-calorie frozen treat, make sure you know what is in it. When a frozen dessert states “low fat,” that sometimes means they add more sugar for better taste. So, it could be less fat, but more sugar, so not exactly healthier for you, and the calories can end up being similar to regular ice cream. Sometimes, a smaller portion of the real thing might be a better choice.

So, if you’re looking for something to beat the heat on a hot summer day, enjoy a frozen treat!

by dave ammenheuser

Returning home after 30 years to take care of my late parents’ estate has given me a lot of time to reminisce about Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I’ve driven over the country roads and through the covered bridges; I’ve returned to Cunningham (to me, it will always be McAfee) Falls; and taken leisurely drives through Foxville, Wolfsville, Sabillasville.

All of those scenes and settings have provided some comfort in a year when I lost both of my parents.

Perhaps nothing has been more therapeutic than returning to 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.

As a youth, I spent hundreds of Thursday nights at that Thurmont address, home of Scout Troop 270. It was the building where I became the region’s third Eagle Scout, and where Scoutmaster Norman Feldser provided leadership and mentorship to hundreds of youth. 

So, it was with great pride that I returned to 26 Elm Street on June 12 to join in Troop 270’s weekend 75th anniversary celebration.

More than 125 current and former Scouts, parents, and friends attended the weekend festivities, which included skills competitions, a pig roast, campfire, and more.

The concrete building has been home to the local Scouts since 1946. The troop was founded in 1942, supported since day one by the Thurmont Lions Club. (A quick history lesson: The original local organization was Troop 11, founded in 1928. It disbanded during World War II; Troop 270 was founded after the war).

Felder is still active in the troop, but he has taken on a larger district-wide role. The troop is now led by Sean Young and Carie Stafford. Sean is the Scoutmaster for the boys Troop 270-B, while Carie is the Scoutmaster for the girls Troop  270-G, which was founded in 2019 when Boy Scouts of America transitioned to Scouts BSA to reflect its policy to allow girls to join separate, gender-specific troops.

“Sean had the idea to celebrate the 75th anniversary,” Troop Committee Chair Julie Bostian said. She told me that it was Young’s idea for the weekend celebration. “He said we needed to do something to celebrate. So, we decided to have a big party.”

One of the weekend highlights was dedicating the new outdoor pavilion to Sherm Pearsall, John and Beth Ruppel, and Feldser. Key long-time board members, they were honored for their leadership for the pavilion project and other endeavors throughout the past half-century.

William Bentz, who became the troop’s first Eagle Scout in 1975, returned for the weekend and was honored at the pig roast. The troop now boasts 75 Eagle Scouts, with a couple more expected to join the elite rank in the coming months.

Seventy-five Eagles in 75 years! With a few more targeted to join the elite rank very soon.

The weekend was so successful that Bostian told me that the troop leaders are thinking of having an annual alumni weekend. However, she and the troop need help in locating many former Scouts (reach her at 301-471-8419).

The troop is constantly fundraising to support their monthly outings and summer camping adventures. 

Boys and girls interested to learn more about Scouting should attend a meeting. They are held each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.

Dave Ammenheuser, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in November 1977, is writing a monthly column for The Catoctin Banner in 2021. He can be reached at

Returning Scouts share stories and look through mementos and scrapbooks that highlight the troop’s history.

Current scouts participate in a competition during the weekend festivities.

Scouts, families, and friends enjoy a pig roast to celebrate Troop 270’s 75th anniversary.

Twenty Tips for a Successful Vacation

by Valerie Nusbaum

Summertime is here and that means a lot of you will be taking vacations. This summer, the beaches, mountains, roads, and airways will likely be very busy since we were all relegated to taking stay-cations last year.

No matter what your travel plans may be, here are some tips, ideas, and suggestions that might help make your vacation more memorable:

(1)  Take someone with you who can carry things. Husbands are especially handy for this task. My Randy proudly tells people that he has three tasks to perform whenever we leave our house: to carry things, to hold things down when the wind blows, and to kill the bugs.

(2) Avoid family at all costs. Yes, I know that a lot of you take annual multi-generational family trips, but I also know that you’re the same people who get back home and vow never to do it again.

(3) Take good snacks. Children and old people love them.

(4) Pack absolutely everything you own and go out and buy new stuff, too.  Pack the new stuff as well.

(5) If all your stuff won’t fit in your vehicle along with everyone else’s stuff, empty someone else’s suitcase and put your stuff in there, too. If your snacks are good enough, your grandparents might never notice that they have no clean underwear and your kids won’t care.

(6) Do not stay in the same hotel room with other family members. Heck, don’t even stay in the same hotel.

(7) If you must go visit family, don’t call it a vacation. You’re only fooling yourself.

(8) For road trips, make sure you have lots of water, Diet Coke, and empty cups in the car. Sometimes, there is absolutely no place to make a pit stop, especially when you’re lost. And even if there is a place to stop, you’ll drive right past it as you’re screaming at each other about who missed the exit.

(9) Be flexible. Plans don’t always work out. Your first-choice vacation destination may not be doable. It also helps to be flexible if you are planning to share a hotel with your family because you might be the one stuck sleeping on the sofa bed.

(10) If you’re traveling with an older person, check their stuff. Before you leave home, be sure to go over the checklist to make sure they’ve packed hearing aids and batteries, glasses, teeth, a cup for the teeth, hair that is not being currently worn, and a shoebox full of medicines and ointments. These items are more important than clean underwear.

(11) Have very low expectations.  Anything good that happens will seem like manna from heaven.

(12) Don’t let your husband choose the hotel. Randy is wonderful about scouting locations, and he’s great at negotiating a discount, but I get the final say on where we tuck in at night. His one exception to that rule was an Embassy Suites in San Antonio, and he hit it out of the ballpark with that one. On the other hand, there was the inn in Kill Devil Hills where we spent our honeymoon and found someone else’s leftover food in our refrigerator. The place actually blew down during a hurricane a few years later. Oh, and Daniels Resort in The Poconos, and the Beachmark in Ocean City, and someplace at Deep Creek Lake with a hole in the wall….

(13) Be prepared for bad weather. If you’re spending a LOT of money on the trip, be prepared for a natural disaster.

(14) If you’ll be flying, assume that you will get the seat next to the person who will take off his shoes for the whole flight. And the person who ate a pound of garlic will be on your other side. If only one or neither of these things happen, enjoy your flight. This may well be the high point of your trip.

(15) Ask the concierge or hourly attendant (depending upon where you’re staying) where the locals eat dinner. The prices and food will be better and you will upset all the local diners by going there. They hate tourists.

(16) Split the driving with your travel companion(s). Randy and I enjoy giving each other a break from driving and a thrill on the road.  With him driving, I never know if I’ll live to see our destination, and with me driving, he says he’s never sure he’ll live long enough.

(17) Don’t depend on GPS. Pack some maps and/or a road atlas and learn how to read them. It doesn’t help if you point out that your exit was a half mile back.

(18) Get your priorities straight. Don’t pass a Dunkin Donuts without stopping for some munchkins. 

(19) Take along some good road trip music if you’re driving but make sure it’s not irreplaceable. See Number 20.

(20) Always assume that things will get lost or broken.

Please don’t think for a second that all of our vacations have gone badly. They haven’t. We’ve had some great trips and made some wonderful memories. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues when the Nusbaums venture out, most of it unintentional.

I also happen to like my family very much. Most of them, anyway.

 I’m actually looking forward to having some new adventures with my hubby this year, and I’m wishing all of you safe and happy travels this summer.

by James Rada, Jr.

July 1921, 100 Years Ago

Sheep Poisoned

Fourteen sheep belonging to Mr. L. R. Waesche sealed their doom when they strayed from their usual grazing land to the roadbed of the H. & F. electric line on Friday of last week. On Thursday the road had been given a treatment of poison to kill the weeds.

The sheep were seen coming upon the track by Mr. Portner, who is employed on the farm by Mr. Waesche. Within not more than five minutes they were driven back into the field, but they evidently had all the time that was necessary, and the fourteen sheep are dead.

Mr. Waesche lost also by death last week two hogs. This, he thinks, was due to too much dry feed.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 14, 1921

Bitten by Spider

Mr. Grayson Shaffer had the unusual experience on Tuesday of being bitten by a spider. He had just put on his coat when he felt a sharp pain, similar to that of a bee sting, on his neck. On investigation he found a medium sized spider between his collar and neck, and a swelling half an inch in diameter with a central puncture about the size of a pin head. An application of iodine relieved the distress.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 28, 1921

July 1946, 75 Years Ago

Bunt Gives Thurmont Victory Over Hanover

Shortstop Duncan bunted on the third strike, to sacrifice in Thurmont’s winning run Sunday, 4-2 over Hanover, in the Penn-Maryland League baseball feature at Thurmont. The daring strategy was pulled in the third inning with home club runners on third and second base. Duncan also pulled the most spectacular fielding play of the stanza with an acrobatic stop and assist from behind the pitcher, in the fourth stanza to stop a Hanover rally.

                                          – The Frederick Post, July 15, 1946

Thurmont To Be Host To Co. Fireman Assn.

Highlighted by the annual convention of the Frederick County Firemen’s Association on Thursday and Friday, the Guardian Host Company’s annual carnival at Thurmont next week Monday through Saturday, bids fair to be the largest yet held in the north county town. The Guardian Host Company is this year’s host to the county convention.

                                          – The Frederick Post, July 27, 1946

July 1971, 50 Years Ago

Town Loses Court

Effective July 1, the Emmitsburg Magistrate Court was eliminated. In the future, the Emmitsburg District will be served by a District Judge located in Thurmont. Other District Judges are located in Frederick.

Mayor Hays said that the change has been a disservice to the Emmitsburg District. Hays said that Judge Guy Baker has done an excellent job in the past and has been considered as having very good judgement and common sense.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 9, 1971

Teen Center Opens in New Location

The Emmitsburg Teen Center moved last Saturday night into a new location at the Emmitsburg Public School, and opening night proved to be a great success. Between 40 and 45 area teenagers enjoyed an evening of quiet recreation. Of special interest was the new pool table that was broken-in by being used continuously until closing.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 22, 1971

July 1996, 25 Years Ago

June 19, 1996 — What a Night!

That night about eleven o’clock I wakened to hear on the monitor that Gettysburg had had four inches of rain in two hours! The Adams County dispatcher reported that people were stranded in cars on many major streets in the town. Many streams and creeks converge on Gettysburg–Middle Creek, March Creek, Rock Creek, Conowingo Creek. There was heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

Within an hour reports started to come in from Emmitsburg. There was an entrapment at Flat Run on North Seton Avenue; another on Flat Run at the end of De Paul Street. Also several mobile homes had to be evacuated. Trooper 3, the State Police Helicopter, flew in the rain, dodging.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1996

Reading Center Introduces New Project

The Marguerite Naseau Literacy Center at Villa St. Michael’s is starting a new project–using computer software to help rehabilitate stroke victims or persons with some brain trauma. It is also very valuable as an Awareness Program to help people keep their minds alert.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1996

Rocky Ridge Woman Becomes POW

by James Rada, Jr.

Edna E. Miller of Rocky Ridge was a young, idealistic teacher in 1940. The graduate of Western Maryland College (McDaniel College) had taught at schools in Rocky Ridge and Thurmont, but her life changed when she joined the faculty of a school outside of Washington, D.C. and was sent to teach at the Brent School in Baguio in the Philippines. Charles Henry Brent founded the boarding school in 1909 for the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States.

The Japanese invaded the Philippines the day after they attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, and Edna’s family and friends lost contact with Edna. The Japanese, meanwhile, installed a Council of State to direct civil affairs in the Philippines. They abused the civilians, forcing many young women to act as “comfort women” for the Japanese soldiers.

Edna escaped this fate, but the Japanese imprisoned her. The Brent School closed during the war. It became a Japanese hospital and officers’ residential area. The Japanese Army sent the Brent School faculty and staff to a concentration camp called Camp Holmes in La Trinidad, according to the Brent International School website.

Back in the United States, “An attempt was made to learn of her whereabouts through the International Red Cross, but without success. She had been in the Philippines about three and a half years,” the Frederick Post reported in 1945.

Edna later told the press, “In all that time I received one 25-word message from my family and one package from the Red Cross.”

That 47-pound package came near Christmas 1943. “You should have seen the children scamper out on the green in broad daylight dressed in pajamas and shoes, the first they had had for many a long shoeless month. And Bagnio (sic) is not a place to be without warm clothing with its 200-inch rainfall and its coolness-70 degrees or less,” Edna said.

More importantly, the packages contained food and medicine that helped keep the prisoners alive in 1944, when their daily food allotment from the Japanese was 800 grams of moldy rice or corn.

“Conditions were so bad in camp with no medicine to stem the diarrhea, dysentery, anemia and malnutrition that even the doctors and nurses were sick. What those vitamins and sulfa drugs did for us, only the thousands of suffering internees could tell you,” Edna said.

The prisoners used the food and medicine they had received in their Red Cross packages sparingly since no one knew if they would receive another package.

Edna said the women shed tears over receiving bobby pins and powder, things they considered luxuries at the time. They were having to hammer out homemade pins from old iron on a forge or use bamboo pins.

Although the Millers hadn’t heard from their daughter in years, they prayed she was still alive.

The tide of the war began turning. American forces began retaking the Philippines in late 1944. Most of the Japanese in the Philippines surrendered on February 23, 1945. However, Gen. Douglas MacArthur continued routing the Japanese from other parts of the country until it was declared free of the Japanese on July 4, 1945.

In the meantime, the War Department announced on February 21, 1945, that Edna was one of the American prisoners freed as the American forces took Luzon. The Frederick Post encouraged friends and family to write to her, care of the Red Cross, but they cautioned people to mail more than one letter because getting mail to and from the islands still took weeks and could be unreliable.         

“The night that we were liberated we had to leave our Bilibid prison to escape the fire surrounding it, and we were asked to leave all, save a handbag and we would come back for our other things,” Edna said.

It was during this time the Red Cross impressed Edna. The volunteers stepped in to help take care of the freed prisoners. They had even arranged for them to cable their families and let them know they were safe.

Edna was so impressed that she didn’t return immediately to the United States. She stayed to volunteer with the Red Cross and help others.

According to information the United States released years after the war, U.S. casualties in the Philippines were 10,380 dead and 36,550 wounded; Japanese dead were 255,795. Filipino deaths during the occupation was estimated to be 527,000 (27,000 military dead, 141,000 massacred, 22,500 forced labor deaths and 336,500 deaths due to war-related famine).

Prisoners liberated from a prison camp in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, line up for their first square meal in over three years of Japanese imprisonment.

Courtesy Photos

“Helping You Find Plants That Work”

by Ana Morlier

Houseplants that grow in water

Happy July everyone! I hope everyone is taking the proper precautionary measures to stay cool—and not just figuratively. After my last article about shade trees, I decided to find another project that would ensure a refreshing feeling from the summer heat. You can now bring style, elegance, and plant friends together with houseplants (that can be grown in water)!

All of the ones listed below can be kept inside and look fashionable no matter where you put them. You can also look for fun containers—beakers, cups, vases—whatever you want to use. It is generally a good idea to change the water out once a week.

Lucky bamboo: I’m sure we’ve all heard of it at this point, but upon closer inspection, it is actually a type of Dracaena. It doesn’t require a lot of attention; just remember to check on it once in a while. It prefers indirect light. Pebbles can be used to line the bottom of the container to promote growth (and it looks like a little aquarium!). You can even unlock your inner bonsai mater and train the bamboo to grow in spirals, heart shapes, woven together to make a living basket, or however you want to grow them. Copper wire is usually required, and experimenting with the light it receives can encourage different shapes.

Begonia: This is the kind of flower I picture in a garden, but it does well in water, too! Begonias have succulent-like leaves and stems that make them very durable. Wax Begonias are best to use when starting out. They do well in any light condition; grow continuously; and come in white, pink, red, and yellow.

Heartleaf philodendron: I feel posh just reading the name! If you are worried you’ll cause the downfall of even a succulent, let your worries cease with this plant. It is rumored to be harder to get rid of than to grow. The leaves cascade down beautifully, with glossy, green leaves. The heartleaf philodendron is more so a tropical plant, so it is advised to keep it in a room that is at least 70 degrees (or just keep it outside).

Spider plant: Probably one of my favorite plants. This tiny plant grows quickly, beautifully exploding out of the container. Even if I can’t have a dog, I can have a plant pup, as the offspring of spider plants are called “pups.” Isn’t that adorable? They can survive in water for long periods of time, out of direct sunlight. Make sure to change the water once every two weeks or when the water gets cloudy.

Paperwhite: As the name suggests, this plant produces delicate, thin flower petals with a sweet scent. I was able to attain seeds after the flowers shriveled up, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Be sure to line the bottom with pebbles or even seashells for a beach theme.

Tradescantia pallida: A tough plant that does well in warmer temperatures. Described as a weed for its hardiness. Towering high with green, purple, and white striped leaves, it makes a perfect addition to any terrarium!

Coleus: With bold stains of vibrant red and dark purple complementing the green leaves, this plant makes a perfect centerpiece for your kitchen table, as it doesn’t require much light. They even survive during the hard winter months.

You can begin to grow the following plants in water, then they have to be sent back to the ground.

Vegetables such as carrots, celery, bok choy, spinach, and cabbage;

A surprising amount of crops such as mangos, pineapple, avocados, sweet potatoes, ginger, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic; and

Herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, mint, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and fennel.

Most of these, such as celery, carrots, peppers, and mint, can be grown from simple kitchen scraps of the crop! It saves you money when you can enjoy the fruits of your efforts and reduces food waste. All you need for growing any of these plants is water, a cute container, and a little patience. Don’t let your plants have all the fun in water—get out and enjoy a nice swim!

Lucky bamboo makes for a wonderful centerpiece at our table!