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by Lisa C. Cantwell

Sam Tressler invited me to his home near Emmitsburg, recently, to share his collection of antique salesman’s samples. Tressler, an antique dealer who offers informal appraisals, exhibited several of these beautiful samples at a community event that I attended over a year ago. It was a thrill to finally see all of his collection, which amounts to a small museum of rare treasures!  Pictured are four of his favorites.

Sled Salesman’s Sample-Little Paris Manufacturing Co., mid-1860s

Tressler’s pride and joy is this one-of-a-kind hand-painted sled, made of maple and ash woods with brass fittings and steel runners. The detailed motif is of a hunting dog with a dove in its mouth. This sample measures 9 ½ inches by 3 ¾ inches, and is so rare it is featured in the authoritative resource, Great Sleds and Wagons by Joan Palicia. The manufacturer of this sled sample was America’s most prolific sled maker and first opened in 1861 in Paris, Maine. Children’s sleds to full-size sleds and wagons were produced, and, before the turn of the century, branch stores sprang up in several major cities. Tressler purchased this treasure from an antique dealer near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In today’s market, he values it between $6,500 and $11,000.


Other Sleds and a Tin Sign

Tressler’s collection began thirty-one years ago, with a tiny sled purchased at an antique store in Frederick for a mere $67.00. There were many sled samples in his showcase, including Flexible, Champion, and Fleetwing brands.  Two salesman’s samples were of “summer sleds,” which have wheels. Their full-size counterparts were made between the 1880s and 1920s.

The bright orange Bendex Racer tin sign was purchased at auction and is the only one in existence.  Tressler said he has yet to find an actual Bendex sled.

Feed Grinder Salesman’s Sample

A curious and exceedingly rare piece is “The Sherman Cutter,” or feed grinder, that Tressler found on a popular online auction site. It was misidentified as a “tobacco cutter” and needed some TLC, so he acquired it at quite a bargain. Tressler cleaned and shined the large piece to reveal brass, iron, and American black walnut in excellent condition. Although not a patent model, an inscribed plate reads “March 24, 1885.” This salesman’s sample runs smoothly. Measuring 21 inches wide and 14 inches high, the mini served as a demo for the larger product, where corn stalks, hay, or straw could be ground into fodder or feed. Tressler values this exceptional feed grinder sample at $1,500 to $6,000.

Hand-Cranked Sausage Stuffer Sample

The last rare salesman sample dates to 1890, and Tressler knows of only one other, which brought $4,600 when it was sold to an auction company in Indiana. Made of cast iron and steel, the 7-inch-high sausage stuffer was made by the National Specialties Co. of Philadelphia. The full-sized product would have been manufactured for farm use only and was obsolete by the 1930s, when electric models became common. Tressler bought this treasure at an antique show in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. He said to expect this sample to fetch anywhere from $1,600 to $5,000.


If you have an interesting collection of antique items that you wish to share with our readers, or would like me to research an item to determine whether it’s a “trinket or treasure,” please e-mail me at

Thanks again to Sam Tressler for sharing his rare and beautiful collection of saleman’s samples!

Tis the Season

by Valerie Nusbaum

It’s September as I’m writing this column. The kids have gone back to school, and summer is pretty much over. I can hardly wrap my mind around those facts. Thanksgiving is only two months away, Christmas is closer than I care to imagine, and Halloween is almost upon us.

September and October used to be very busy months for Randy and me because early autumn is the time when all the fall festivals and outdoor arts and crafts shows are held. Back in the day, we used to participate in at least four or five festivals and shows annually.  It was a fun way for us to spend time together, as we sat in our tent and sold our handmade wood items, watercolor prints, potpourri, jewelry, candles and floral arrangements. Over the years, we’ve handcrafted everything from holiday ornaments to wall hangings and yard decorations. Christmas trees, crab mallets, greeting cards—you name it, we’ve made it.

Last year, we more or less retired from the arts and crafts business. The work involved in setting up and tearing down for a two-day show is very hard on our old joints. Not to mention that two or three days of dealing with people wears a body out.

I don’t know how those of you who work in retail manage it.  Shoppers and lookers can be very rude, sometimes without meaning to. Plus, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and it’s no fun in the rain.

In November, Randy and I said goodbye to Catoctin Colorfest, after many years of setting up our tent in the Community Park. Yes, we’ll miss all the shows and our friends, but we will still be able to attend and do some shopping, and we’ll finally be able to get something to eat! Who knows? We might miss it so much that we’ll find ourselves wanting to get back into it. Maybe when Randy actually retires, and we have some time on our hands.

If you’re a person who enjoys getting out in the beautiful fall weather and looking at all the interesting items for sale, I’m giving you a helpful list to make your craft show experience a happy one. Read on.


Eleven Things You Should Never Say to an Artist or a Craftsperson


“I/My husband/My kid could make that.” FYI: We don’t care.


“I saw one of those at Walmart, and it was cheaper there.” Good for you. Chances are the item you saw at Walmart wasn’t handmade. That’s probably why it cost less.

“Did you make/paint/draw that?” Most juried craft shows or art fairs require that the items for sale be handmade and that the person who actually did the making be the one selling. So, yes, I made it. Duh.

“Will you give me a discount or take less for it?” Craft shows are not flea markets. Most of us vendors never get paid for the amount of time we spend making our art. We can’t afford to give discounts or offer sales. The really good shows prohibit price haggling or sales.

“Can you give me directions for making that?” Sure, but why would I do that? I have a whole table full of things I’m trying to sell.

“That’s very nice, but I don’t know where I’d put it.” On Saturday morning, I might respond with a “thank you,” but by Sunday afternoon, I might have a few suggestions for where you could put it.

“Would you make one for me?”  See #5.

“You remind me of my grandmother.” Unless your grandmother was Georgia O’Keeffe or Frida Kahlo, I might be a little offended by that statement.

“I really need to start selling my own work.” Please do, so I can come by your booth and make you feel bad.

“I don’t have the time to craft/paint/sew.” Then what, pray tell, do you do with all that free time? Sleep?

“Yes, but this isn’t, like, a real job.” No, it isn’t. I work much longer hours for lots less money and even less appreciation.

So, as you can see, I really did need a little break from the business. I’m still selling online and doing an occasional exhibit or small indoor show, and I’ll probably always paint or make some crafts for the sheer pleasure it gives me. I just found selling it in-person is too exhausting. Randy has had so many other things going on in his life in recent years that he, too, needs some time to regroup.

We’ll carry with us many pleasant memories of our vending days. One, in particular, still makes me smile. It was during Catoctin Colorfest, and it had been a long day. A young father came into our tent with his small son. The little boy was looking at some of my prints and seeming to enjoy himself. The father came over and whispered that his son loved to draw and paint, and asked if the boy could ask me a question.

“Sure,” I said.

The boy was about five years old, and he very seriously asked, “How do you stay inside the lines so good?”

I answered him honestly when I said, “I don’t always, and that’s OK.”

Happy Fall, y’all!

Christine Maccabee

Birds in Paradise?

Most of us are quite aware of the problems birds and aquatic animals are having with plastic objects in our oceans and waterways. However, there are details that most of us would just as soon ignore because they are so devastating. I personally make a point of watching pertinent films and reading books and articles because, in a real way, I need to know all the facts, no matter how gruesome. I need to know not only what is right, but also what is wrong, and then I hope to convey some of this information to others.

Birds are indeed amazing survivors, and according to Jim Robbins’ book, The Wonder of Birds, many scientists think of them as “the dinosaurs that made it.” Robbins says that chickens and turkeys are genetically the closest dinosaur relatives with their “beast feet,” not unlike the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which is a theropod.

Theropods brooded eggs, had bones filled with air pockets to make them lighter, and some had feathers and even a wishbone!

At this time of year, and even earlier in the season, many birds are migrating to their winter homes. How a tiny bird like the hummingbird, which weighs no more than a paperclip or two, can travel up to 3,000 miles annually, at speeds up to 30 mph, dodging hurricane-force winds and rain, is for me nothing short of a miracle. Here’s a fact that may blow your mind: “the record number of heartbeats in a hummer is a whopping 1,260 times a minute,” according to Robbins.

There is a wonderful film you can get at the library called “The Great Migration,” which I wish everyone could see. In it, multiple species are followed closely as they migrate, and the distances they travel by air defies belief—and to think they don’t need metal protective coverings and seat belts to travel as we humans do. They just wing it as they are, with awesome communication between one another to safely get where they are going, eating wild food along the way (hopefully not plastic).

As wonderful as all this is, worldwide, many species of water birds, as well as water turtles and whales, etc., are in trouble. Many are dying from starvation due to stomachs full of plastic objects, which they innocently see as food. In the film BAG IT, (which will be shown to the public in Thurmont this November and December), I witnessed the dissection of stomachs of Condors and out spilled the reason for their starvation. Birds, as innately intelligent as they are, are also innocent victims of the throw-away society that we, as humans, have created. Some people may discount this by saying, “Oh well, it is a dangerous world we all live in,” or “life is messy,” both of which are true, but it is also an equally amazingly miraculous life and one worth taking better care of.

Actually, many people are beginning to use cloth shopping bags and, of course, most of us recycle. Ideally, in a more paradisiacal world, we could use less plastic; however, just about everything we buy is wrapped in plastic! So, what to do? Perhaps there is no one answer, except to continue cleaning up our messes, and to try not to create  more. I heard recently of 800,000 people participating in a worldwide beach cleanup, and this is just one of many other efforts to help wildlife and the ecology by good-hearted, caring folk. Of course, no matter where we are, there is an ongoing need to pick up trash along walkways, in streams, or anywhere we see any.

It is impossible to write about all the perils facing birds, and there are many. Due to limited space in this column, I simply will end by quoting another wise person in history who said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do unto me.” I believe “the least of these” implies not only human beings, but all other sentient beings as well. I am certain Chief Seattle would agree. Most of the holy men and women in the world owned very little and had utmost reverence for life (St. Francis, Ghandi, Mother Theresa). I am also sure they did not “heap up treasures on earth,” or use plastic bags when shopping!

Yes, we all can do something, and we all can do better.

Mount St. Mary’s Movie Star Alumni

by James Rada, Jr.

You probably won’t recognize his name, but Thomas Meighan was once as big a movie star as Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise, and he was an alumnus of Mount St. Mary’s. He was one of the leading actors in the country in the 1920s, at one point earning $10,000 a week (about $125,000 in today’s dollars).

According to, Thomas “Tommy” Meighan was one of the rulers of the Hollywood roost, between the years 1915 and 1928.

In May of 1924, if you flipped through the pages of the newspapers, you would see Meighan’s name on the entertainment page in ads and reviews for his latest movie, Pied Piper Malone. Then, in the local section, was the news that Meighan had returned to Mount St. Mary’s College.

“Thomas Meighan with brother James drove to the Mount and threw the first ball across the plate in a game between Western Maryland College and his alma mater at Echo Field on Wednesday,” the Gettysburg Times reported. “He smiled his famous smile even as he watched the team representing his alma mater go down to defeat.”

He also attended a bazaar being held at the college and led the march at a dance. Students from Hood College in Frederick, Goucher College in Baltimore, and St. Joseph’s College also attended the bazaar, so Meighan drew quite the crowd.

A reporter asked Meighan when he had attended the Mount. Meighan told him, “Not a chance. That would be too embarrassing to tell. I was there for three years and they were, perhaps, the happiest days of my life.”

Meighan had been born in Pittsburgh in 1879 to a well-off family. His parents encouraged him to attend college, but Meighan stubbornly refused, so his father made him get a job shoveling coal. That changed the young man’s mind, and he enrolled at St. Mary’s College, studying pharmacology.

Despite enjoying his time at the college, Meighan knew that an academic life wasn’t for him. After three years at the Mount, he decided to pursue acting.

He dropped out of Mount St. Mary’s in 1896 and took a job with the Pittsburgh Stock Company, earning $35.00 a week. His performances earned him positive reviews, and he debuted on Broadway in 1900 and found even greater success.

Despite his success on the stage, he decided to try films in 1914. His first film, Dandy Donovan, the Gentleman Cracksman, was shot in London. His first U.S. film, The Fighting Hope, came the following year. He played across from some of the top film actresses of the day, including Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson.

By 1919, he was considered a star. One of his last silent films, The Racket, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1928.

Meighan’s first talkie was also released the same year and was called The Argyle Case.

The Gettysburg Times noted that Meighan was humble and gave the credit for his success not to himself but to the writers of his movies.

His last film was Peck’s Bad Boy in 1934. After that, he decided to retire from acting at age fifty-five and go out on a high note. Another reason for his early retirement was that he was diagnosed with cancer.

He went into real estate with his brother, but his second career was short lived. He died on July 8, 1936.

by Jim Houck, Jr.

VFW Auxiliary 6658 Celebrates 70th Year

VFW Memorial Post 6658 was chartered in 1946. Harold Hoke was one of the organizers and a charter member. The following year (1947), Harold’s wife, Mary Higbee Hoke, said she would like to start an Auxiliary to Post 6658. Mrs. Hoke went to South Seton Avenue, the home of Gertrude Joy—who, at the time, had a son, Robert, in the Army, and another son, John, in the Navy—to ask Mrs. Joy to help recruit members for a charter for an Auxiliary to VFW Memorial Post 6658. Mrs. Joy said she and her daughters, Gloria and Delores, would be glad to help.

They needed fifteen members to receive a charter. Mrs. Hoke, Mrs. Joy, Gloria, and Delores were able to recruit twenty-three signatures for the charter in a month’s time. An application for the Auxiliary Charter was approved on June 2, 1947, by then Post Commander Charles J. Rowe. The Auxiliary Charter application was sent to the VFW National Secretary, along with the fee of $25.00. The Auxiliary Charter was received at Memorial Post 6658 in October 1947, with twenty-three members’ names in good standing.

As of September 2017, seventy years later, only three of the original Charter Members are survivors. The survivors names are: Etta Mae Norris, Genevieve Zacharias, and Gloria (Joy) Bauerline.

Recently, at a regular monthly meeting, Gloria received a plaque and a seventy-year pin for continuous service and thirty-five continuous years as Auxiliary Chaplain. Inscribed on the plaque: “Gloria, you have set an example for others with your extraordinary and exceptional leadership in the Post 6658 Auxiliary. Your dedication and perseverance the past 70 years with our veterans, Post members and community are beyond words. Your endless hours as Chaplain for 35 years have touched people in many ways that will last a lifetime. From our hearts we thank you.

The original Charter Members of VFW Auxiliary 6658 are as follows: Carrie Long, Mary R. Bell, Rose M. Beall, Marion Boyle, Genevieve Kugler, Clara R. Combs, Madeline Rightnour, Pauline Rosensteel, Anna Mae Topper, Mary C. Sanders, Gloria (Joy) Martin, Gertrude Joy, Delores Joy, Grace A. Ryder, Louise B. Brammer, Mary N. Rowe, Anna B. Stoner, Mary H. Hoke, Eunice N. Bouey, Joanna S. Eyler, Etta Mae Norris, Jane Gingell, and Jean B. Bower.

Please, when you see Gloria the next time, give her a hug and thank her for all the time she has put into this Veteran’s organization. Gloria is a fine example of what this great organization is all about. Thank you, Gloria!

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

Gloria (Joy) Bauerline receives a plaque and pin for her continuous service and years as Auxiliary chaplain of Auxiliary Post 6658.

Fall Into Cooking

by Buck Reed

With the changing of the seasons, we see many trends coming our way. The changing of the leaves from green to an endless variety of colors, as well as the cooler temperatures, is a sure sign that the change in season is coming. One recent trend that is gaining a foothold is pumpkin spice everything. We cannot do anything about the leaves or the weather, but I believe if we all band together, we can absolutely put an end to this whole pumpkin spice thing. Here is a start: Let’s agree not to buy anything with this seasoning, unless it is actually added to pumpkin.

Next, we see soups are making their way back to the table. Not just soups for lunch or a cup of soup as a start to a cool evening meal, but soup as a meal, by itself. We see beautiful soups made with wonderful fall vegetables, as well as seafood chowders, thick with shell fish and potatoes. I know many people who would wonder what else is for dinner after a weak soup, so you want to make sure your soup is worthy of being called a meal.

I saw my first pie or sugar pumpkin today and am looking forward to roasting a few for the chickens, as well as some for soup or bread. Other squashes include acorn squash as well as butternut, which can be found in abundance. If prepared properly, with enough flare, they can be a memorable part of any meal. Local corn and tomatoes may be set aside, but that just makes more room for root vegetables. Rutabagas and turnips make great side dishes for this time of year, and leftovers can be added to hash for breakfast or brunch.

If you want to try a variety of apples, you can look in your grocery store, but think about hitting a farmer’s market or going directly to the orchard. Cider is also gaining popularity, and hard cider is making a respectable comeback. Drinking cider is obvious, but consider cooking or baking with it as well. Baked apples cooked in cider makes a great side dish for poultry, pork, or game dishes, and are also great in soups as well as desserts.

And don’t overlook sweet potatoes. Although available all year, they seem to only shine in the cooler months. Try a Hispanic sweet potato soup, flavored with peppers and spices, to warm up your day. Or just roast them up for a delish side for just about anything you can put on a plate.

Fall foods are more than one-dish wonders. Most are easily incorporated into every course in your meal. Don’t be afraid of cooking extra and adding the leftovers to your next meal.

Going from summer to fall is all about change, so why not do a little changing of your own and try a new technique with fall ingredients.

Did you like this article? Please send any comments, questions or story ideas to me at

by Theresa Dardanell

Thurmont Public Works Department

Everyone in the Thurmont Public Works Department believes in the importance of cooperation, teamwork, and flexibility. These standards ensure that the residents of Thurmont can depend on the department, which is headed by Superintendent Butch West, and consists of several divisions with seventeen full-time employees. I recently met with West and department heads: Water Superintendent Harold Lawson, Streets and Parks Supervisor Tim Eyler; Electric Supervisor Lee Hanvey; Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Randy Eyler; and Zoning and Utility Inspector Kelly Duty.

Teamwork is important.  Although each department has separate responsibilities and all employees perform individual duties, they are all willing to work together, especially during emergency situations. West said that if someone in town does not have water or electric, they stop what they are doing and get to it right away. Lawson would like residents to know that they try very hard to work on a maintenance schedule, but emergencies require that they respond immediately.

Flexibility is required when daily jobs are put on hold so that employees can work on special events. Almost any activity in town involves members of the department.  Colorfest is the event that requires the most staff, but employees are also essential during the carnival, parade, concerts in the park, Halloween in the Park, Christmas decorating, Fun Fest, and more.

Cooperation is apparent between Public Works Department employees, the town office staff, the elected town officials, the Police Department, and the residents.  The departments work together to help citizens of the community stay informed and keep safe.  Information is available on the town website, Facebook page, and channel 99. Emergency help is available around the clock by calling 301-271-7313.

West believes that experience is also an important factor in the success of the department. He has been with the department for over forty years. The other supervisors have also been with Public Works for many years: Randy Eyler for thirty-four years, Tim Eyler for thirty-nine years, Lawson for twenty-seven years, and Hanvey for eleven years.


Water Department

The Water Department consists of Superintendent Lawson, along with employees Lynn Bass and David Stevens. They maintain and repair twenty-five miles of distribution system piping, as well as 2,500 residential and commercial water meters; they treat approximately half a million gallons of water a day from five wells and three treatment plants to ensure that the water meets state and federal drinking water regulations. Their goal is to provide residents with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water.


Streets and Parks Department

Supervisor Tim Eyler, along with employees Steve Nicholson, Colby Savage, and Russell Sanders, work together to maintain and repair twenty-three miles of paved and unpaved streets, as well as sidewalks. They also maintain Community Park, East End Park, Eyler Park, Carroll Street Park, Pleasant Acres Park, Orchard Hills Park, Ice Plant Park, Woodland Park, Memorial Park, and the Square Park with the help of seasonal employee Josh Sevario. These parks provide residents with athletic fields, picnic pavilions, hiking trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, and other recreational facilities.

“There are people who travel for miles to come up and enjoy the Community Park. They bring their kids and let them play on the equipment. They say they are well maintained and that we are doing a good job,” said Tim Eyler.


Electric Department

According to Supervisor Hanvey, the job of the Electric Department is “to make sure the lights stay on.”  Hanvey, Garrett Ridenour, and Joe Lucas work as linemen, and Brad Weddle is the meter technician.  West said that Thurmont is one of the few municipalities to have their own electric company. The department serves approximately 6,000 residential and commercial customers. Jobs include reading meters, installing electric service, and trimming trees around power lines.


Electric Department

Superintendent Randy Eyler, Diana Willard, Troy Wastler, and Jeff Kilby work together to maintain the treatment plant, which has the capacity to treat one million gallons a day, as well as the collection system, which consists of about 2,700 taps. They make sure that all state and federal regulations are met, and do all paperwork and required lab testing in house.



Zoning and Utility Inspector Kelly Duty performs inspections, handles building permits, maintains records, and supervises contractors working with the Public Works Department. She is also the project manager for many of the special projects handled by the department.  Some of the recent projects include the Moser Road bridge near the library, the food bank parking lot, and the Eyler Road Park improvements.

Upcoming projects include the Trolley Trail paving and the Moser Road sidewalk project.

Pictured from left are Randy Eyler, Harold Lawson, Butch West, Lee Hanvey, Tim Eyler, and Kelly Duty.

by Lisa C. Cantwell

There were no questions submitted about trinkets or treasures this past month; so, my friend, Elaine Gladhill of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, recently invited me to her home to view and research some of her collections. You never know what trinket or treasure may be gathering dust or rust around your den, attic, or shed. Take a second look and contact me at, and I’ll feature your item(s) in a future article.

The first item Elaine showed me is a metal box of “Wayne Reamers” and is of regional interest.

This set of tool accessories was a gift from a friend, who originally purchased it at auction from an old home in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.  The wooden box has clear lettering of “Wayne Tool Manufacturing Co.” printed on its lid, with a pasted paper insert list of reamer types and pricing. Wayne Tool was founded in 1917 as a maker and seller of reamers and drill bits, and is still in operation today.  An extensive internet search did not reveal another Wayne Tool Manufacturing box like this one, complete with original products and prices. Similar boxes of other makers were valued between $14.00 and $62.00 on internet sale sites, but none were as old or as stocked with tools, nor did they have clear labeling. This box dates anywhere from 1917 through the 1920s, and is in very good condition!  Its value would be in the $75 to $125 range, and possibly more, due to its rarity in the current market.

The second antique is a Singer hand-crank sewing machine, dated 1888.

Elaine is a member of the Summit Stitchers, a sewing and quilting group that meets at the Blue Ridge Summit Library. She has used this little sewing machine to make beautiful creations. The needles are rare, so she keeps extras when she finds them. Her old portable Singer, imprinted “12k” on its base, is encased by the original oak cover and mounted on a fiddle-shaped base. It was originally marketed as the “Singer New Family Sewing Machine,” and in 1888 alone, over eight million were sold!   “Singer” became a household name in America. Just as fascinating as this beautiful work of machinery is its inventor, Isaac Merrit Singer. As a child, he ran away from a troubled home and, literally, joined the carnival. He became a giant of a man, standing 6’5”. He fathered twenty-four children, and was one of the wealthiest men of the time.

In addition to the Singer sewing machine, he invented a digger for rock excavation, a rock drilling machine, a wood-cutting and carving machine, and a printer’s type cutting machine. Internet research revealed that a Singer 12k brought $1,681 at auction in April 2011.

Elaine’s not planning on parting with her treasure that she bought at auction (for a much smaller amount)anytime soon.

The last item is a vintage chair table that sits in Elaine’s foyer.

Of all the interesting and old things she showed me, including Civil War relics, antique furnishings and books, this table caught my eye because of its design. This style of table dates to 1620 and was in use by colonials and early settlers in the New England region until about 1780. Also known as a “chair hutch,” it was a space-saving, duo-purpose furnishing, made of available hardwoods, such as hickory, oak, and pine. The table simply flips forward and rests on the chair base. A painted version dating to the early 1700s had an asking price of $1,950 on one internet site. Reproductions that were made between 1900 and 1950, bring $260 to $400, depending on the craftsmanship and the maker. Chair tables are not being made en masse today by furniture companies, so they are difficult to find “new.”  A search on a popular internet site yielded a new, handcrafted chair table with a square top by an independent craftsman. It’s cost was $975! Unique vintage furniture from the 20th century certainly has a following and is gaining value.  Knowing which styles and makers are in demand gives buyers and sellers an edge in the market.

-Plumb Crazy-

by Valerie Nusbaum

“I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but you really need to fix your toilet.  It never shuts off quite right,” I wrote in an email to Randy last week.  He was at work and I had just attempted to get his toilet to stop running yet again.  This problem had been going on for months and as I pointed out in my email, “I’m sure it’s not helping with our outrageous water bills.”

Maybe I wrote the magic words, but when we got up last Saturday morning he announced that he was going to fix the toilet first thing and then he’d replace the faucet on his sink.  We’d bought a new faucet a couple of weeks ago and he hadn’t had time to work on it.

“Sounds good,” I said, “but if the faucet is too much of a job, we can call a plumber.”  Those are fighting words in our house and I knew it.

“Why would I call a plumber and pay him hundreds of dollars for a job that will take me twenty minutes?” asked my hubby.  I’ve been down this road before, more than once, and I knew what was coming.  To my credit, I kept quiet and went along.

At nine o’clock that morning, Randy made a trip to ACE Hardware to buy a toilet kit.  I was cleaning out a closet in my studio and couldn’t hear what was happening in his bathroom but the job seemed to go well and in a little while, he announced that he was finished.

“I’m glad that’s fixed,” I said.

“Oh, I just said I was finished.  Whether or not it’s fixed remains to be seen,” was Randy’s reply.

Somewhere around 10:00 a.m., he crawled under his sink and started cussing.  I swear, I didn’t know there were that many variations of one word.  Apparently the valves weren’t going to come off in any way that would be reusable, so Randy needed another trip for parts. This time, he decided to spread the wealth and he visited Hobbs Hardware.

Randy asked if he could turn off the water to the house before he left because he needed to take a valve with him in order to match it.  I’d been planning to do some cleaning and scrubbing but without water, I had to find something else to do so I wrapped some birthday gifts for my upcoming lunch with my cousin and Mom.

I heard Randy come home before I saw him.  He stomped into my office and announced that he was a dope and was sure he’d bought the wrong piece.  I wanted to point out that he’d said he was taking a piece with him to the store, but I let that one go.  He looked under the sink, unloaded some more swear words and went out the door again.

When he got back home, he informed me that Mr. Hobbs had laughed at him.  I told him that I felt sure Mr. Hobbs laughs at a lot of the men in town.

At noon, Randy asked me if I wanted him to stop for lunch.  I couldn’t cook anything without water and had no leftovers in the fridge to warm up, plus he hadn’t given me time to wash the breakfast dishes and the sink was full, so I told him that we’d have to get some takeout salads for lunch but I could wait a while.  I figured I’d give him time to finish the job.  There was so much grunting and groaning coming from the bathroom, it almost sounded like the night before a colonoscopy.  At one point, I saw him take his phone into the bathroom, so I know that YouTube was involved.

I walked on the treadmill and did some work on the computer, both of which are in my office.  The office is right next to Randy’s bathroom, so he was doing all his cursing and muttering under his breath.   I avoided turning on the television while I walked as I know that Lifetime annoys him when he’s already annoyed, and I didn’t dare put on a home improvement show at that point.  Randy kept saying, “Really????”  I’m pretty sure he was talking to the pipes.

I could see him referring to the directions that came with the faucet.  His bathroom isn’t very big, so each time he threw the papers they were still within easy reach.  And, of course, the directions were incorrect.  They always are, aren’t they?

At 1:00 p.m. he turned the water back on.  Evidently, water isn’t supposed to spray all over the inside of the cabinet, so the water was promptly turned off again.  There was more straining and grunting, some words I hadn’t heard before, and at 1:30 I was called in to help check the seating of the stopper.  Success!  Everything seemed to be working properly and there were no more leaks.  The new faucet is very stylish, too.  Just to be on the safe side though, Randy suggested that we not put the towels and toiletries back inside the cabinet for a while.

As we finally ate our salads, Randy pointed out that he’d saved us quite a few dollars.  He’s right about that.  This morning, I noticed that the towels are still in the guest room.

by Christine Maccabee

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Once the gardening bug bites, you will never be the same again. Most of my best friends are gardeners, and each one has a long tale to tell of their gardening ventures. Each one could write a book, and each book would be as unique as the person writing it. Naturally, each garden is unique as well.

I think of my friend, Frances, in Westminster. Many years ago, she lived in the New Windsor countryside, atop a grassy knoll with a view. Her home was one of the oldest log houses in Maryland, and Frances had multiple gardens surrounding it, from clematis dripping off an arbor to herb and flower gardens just out her back door, to a veggie garden between the cabin and the garage. Her love of her gardens and their beauty directly reflected her beauty and determination, for gardening is not always a bed of roses, as most gardeners know!

To say that gardening is in her blood is putting it lightly. Frances eventually had to leave her precious cabin and gardens due to debilitating illnesses, but she now has new gardens surrounding her home in a suburb of Westminster. These gardens are a source of joy and healing for her, and she literally could not live without them. Whenever I visit her, I am amazed at the diversity of plant life she has in such a tiny area. The birds, butterflies, and bees are also a joy to watch, as we sit on her back porch for a visit.

Thurmont also has its share of garden lovers, whether they grow borders along the sidewalk, in small areas around the base of the house, in planters, or even in larger backyard areas. I remember how my parents had a victory garden after World War II, raising vegetables galore and raspberries from the old country. Of course, they would have done this without the war, as gardening was in their blood on both sides of our German families. They also had wonderful roses of many varieties, which sadly disappeared when my mother had to sell her property and move to a retirement home. Not all stories end happily.

There is much emphasis these days on raising wild native plants, and I am but one advocate. If you were to visit my property, you would see bumble bees of every size and variety and other interesting tiny pollinators, such as the tiny green metallic bees and the bee fly. One day I saw the green metallic bees flying from one purple comfrey flower to another, their green bodies shining in the sunlight, loaded with pollen on their undersides. Also, I am astounded at the variety of pollinators, such as the fascinating hummingbird moth that visit the lavender flowers of wild bergamot every summer. Also, the Japanese beetles seem to prefer the wild evening primroses that grow in abundance, instead of my roses, thank goodness. Every day, I go around to the primroses and capture the beetles in a container with one inch of water in the bottom. I feed these crunchy little morsels to my chickens that eat them enthusiastically. Good protein source!

I have seen beautiful gardens come and go in Thurmont, mostly because the gardener dies or must go to live in a retirement home. One such garden on Hammaker Street was the admiration of many. The owner grew vegetables and flowers in abundance, with just enough lawn to stroll. Another garden on Church Street across from Good Will had the most beautiful rose hedges and arbors, but sadly they are no longer there. Things change—not always for the better—so now it is our turn to create a place of beauty with the little piece of earth we own or rent. You may have seen the gardens full to overflowing on Carroll Street, especially the one on the corner, just before crossing the railroad tracks. Every inch is filled with plants, overflowing across the street around the telephone poles. Ah, such love.

So, how does your garden grow? Sometimes, it is a real effort to continue on in the heat of the summer, but most committed gardeners labor on, though they may occasionally complain about the bugs and the heat. Harvesting and canning, freezing or drying, the vegetables, herbs, and fruits of our labor takes time and patience, but, oh, the reward when the winter cold comes! Gardening is not all fun and games, but when the gardening gets tough, the tough get gardening.

So, guess it is time to stop writing and go catch me a few bugs for the chickens. I wish happy gardening experiences to all my gardening compatriots. You are one of a kind!

Emmitsburg Family Drowns in the Bay

by James Rada, Jr.

It was meant to be a pleasant outing, fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, on Sunday, July 17, 1960. The Haley family went out on the waters, but the boat was overloaded and sitting low in the water. The water was rough, and the “14-foot outboard motor boat in which they had been fishing floundered north of Tilghman Island in Harris Creek at the entrance of Dun Cove, according to Maryland state police,” the Gettysburg Times reported. After the two 5 1/2 horsepower motors quit, the boat could do nothing but float. The waves from passing boats finally swamped the motorboat. It capsized and sank, throwing the passengers into the water.

They flailed around searching for something to hold onto. The motorboat surfaced, and they tried to hold onto the hull, but then it sank again only to finally bob back to the surface and stay there.

The water in Harris Creek, where the boat went down, was 14 feet deep, and the currents were strong.

It was about an hour before the Haleys saw a boat, but it was too far away to hear their calls for help. It was another hour before a boat came close enough to hear the Haleys shouts.

Only four people were rescued, clinging to the upended hull of the boat, but three Haleys were missing. Scovey Sells, age thirty, of Taneytown, was credited with saving all of the rescued passengers. He kept them afloat, along with himself, and helped them get into the boats that came to offer assistance. The three rescued women were Joseph Haley Sr.’s sisters, Rebecca, age sixteen, and Susan, age fourteen, and Joseph’s daughter Josephine, who was only six years old. The incident left her an orphan.

A search was quickly started for the missing Haleys. Edward Whipp, a pilot for the Tidewater Fisheries Commission, spotted the body of Joseph Haley Jr., age four, on Sunday evening around 9:00 p.m. The search was then called off for the night at 10:30 p.m.

When the search resumed on Monday morning, with boats and skin divers helping, Mary Haley, age twenty-seven, was found around 7:00 a.m. Joseph’s body was recovered on Thursday morning, about a mile from where the boat had sunk. Sells told police that he believed Joseph, Sr., had died when the boat went down because he never saw him after it sank.

Joseph was a contractor who worked for his father Joseph Merl Haley in Emmitsburg. He was also a member of the Vigilant Hose Company, and the family was members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

The family was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Thursday, July 21, four days after the sinking. Rev. Martin Sleasman officiated.

by Andrea Myers Mannix – A Thurmont native, who resides in New Paltz, New York

Hudson Valley Honor Flight – Honoring America’s Military Veterans

In Washington, D.C., Saturday, April 8, 2017, it was a beautiful, early spring day with clear blue skies. This was the day that I served as a guardian to accompany ninety-one-year-old World War II Navy Veteran, Francis Farnsworth of Woodstock, New York, on Hudson Valley Honor Flight’s Mission 15.

Hudson Valley Honor Flight (HVHF) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that “Honors American Veterans” for all of their sacrifices, and transports these heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials, at no cost to them.  As a local hub of the National Honor Flight Network, which consists of over one hundred independent non-profit hubs in forty-five states, HVHF flies multiple times a year out of both Newburgh New York’s Stewart International Airport and Westchester County New York Airport. HVHF serves Veterans from its seven surrounding counties.

Mission 15 consisted of ninety military Veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and several terminally-ill Vietnam Veterans, who traveled with their guardians, along with HVHF’s volunteers, safety/medical team, and staff.

My experience with the Honor Flight started in Summer 2016, when I submitted a guardian application, as I had read several local newspaper articles about the organization and its past honor flights. This was an experience in which I wanted to participate.  Guardians pay a fee for their flight, while Veterans deservingly have no cost. In early March 2017, I was notified that I had been selected as a guardian (or “guardian angel” as Francis referred to me!). Next, I received a letter with my Veteran’s name, Francis, and his phone number. I called Francis, introduced myself, and we talked for a while. On March 18, 2017, I visited Francis at his home that he shares with his daughter and grandson. Over coffee and muffins, Francis showed me on a map where he served in the Pacific in WWII. His late twin brother, Frank, was also a WWII Veteran, and passed away several years ago. Francis shared his WWII experience with me, as well as many old family photos. We had a wonderful visit.

All guardians were also required to attend an Orientation Session, where we learned about the Hudson Valley Honor Flight history and mission, and our role as a guardian on flight day.

On March 26, 2017, a “Meet & Greet” event was held for all the guardians and Veterans who would be on Mission 15; we also met our bus leaders and safety team members. In two weeks, we would be going on our Honor Flight!

Finally, April 8, 2017, arrived, and in the early morning, I drove us to the Shop Rite grocery store in Montgomery, New York. Shop Rite is a major sponsor of HVHF. A police escort and a procession of over one hundred and fifty motorcycles—many driven by military Veterans—led the way for our coach busses to take us from Shop Rite to Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport. The Vails Gate Fire Company had both of its fire truck’s ladders fully extended, with an American flag flying underneath, as our busses passed under it.

Upon arrival at Stewart Airport, cadet candidates from West Point were lined up and saluted. Bagpipers played, and people were outside welcoming the Veterans with signs and waving American flags! As we exited our busses, we walked through a processional area lined with military Veterans, holding American flags. These Veterans shook Francis’ hand, thanked him for his service, and wished us a great day in Washington, D.C.

A pre-flight patriotic ceremony was held inside Stewart Airport, and we then proceeded to board our American Airlines charter flight. Our plane was decorated inside with red, white, and blue decorations, and everyone was very excited. A little over an hour later, our plane arrived at Reagan National Airport, with a water cannon salute.

As Francis and I walked up the jetway, we could hear the crowd cheering, and I said to Francis, “Those cheers are for you and all the military Veterans!” Many greeters were at the gate. Then we met Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon in July 1969. As we walked through the airport, people stood up and applauded, then shook Francis’ hand and thanked him for his service to our country.

Our busses in Washington, D.C., were escorted by the Park Police, and our first stop was the WWII Memorial. Former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who was instrumental in getting the WWII Memorial built, shook Veterans’ hands and spoke with us. Our next stops were the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, where a Veterans’ group photo was taken. Francis’ birthday is the same day as Abraham Lincoln’s, so he enjoyed spending time inside the memorial by Lincoln’s statue and reading the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inauguration Speech, which are inscribed on the memorial’s inside walls.

Our last stop was Arlington National Cemetery for the very moving Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Our busses then drove past the Iwo Jima Memorial, as we headed for dinner near Reagan National Airport. We boarded our plane, saying goodbye to Washington, D.C., after a wonderful day.

One more surprise was in store for all the military Veterans: mail call! Family and friends, local schools and organizations, all had helped to make, or gather, cards for the Veterans ahead of time. One of the HVHF staff members spoke on the plane’s loudspeaker, and announced each Veteran’s name for mail call. A big envelope full of cards and greetings were thoroughly enjoyed by each Veteran.

We arrived at Stewart Airport around 9:00 p.m., after a day full of many memories. Francis was handed a patriotic quilt as a keepsake. Crowds of local citizens were inside the airport to welcome us home, and our local New Paltz Boy Scout Troop 172 had a dozen scouts and leaders in attendance for Francis and me!

I was very honored and proud to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime patriotic experience, and to watch throughout the day as people showed their respect and thanked our military Veterans. A huge thank you goes out to the Hudson Valley Honor Flight officers, board of directors, staff, and volunteers, who ran a first-class, well-organized memorable experience for Veterans and their guardians.

For more information: Mission 15’s April 8, 2017 photo slideshow and 10-minute video:; Maryland’s Honor Flight website:; information on how citizens can greet honor flights arriving at Reagan National Airport:; and National Honor Flight Network at

Francis Farnsworth and Andrea Myers Mannix, entering the airport greeting line.

Francis Farnsworth, Andrea Myers Mannix, and Senator Bob Dole are shown at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

by Buck Reed

September brings us the Great Frederick Fair, and we all have our favorite memories. If you are younger, you might remember that fried funnel cake or some other ingenious food that shouldn’t be fried, but is. Or you might have a special fondness for that one ride that calls you like a siren call every year. Many remember the smell of the pens of animals from the local farms, and, if you are lucky, you might remember the first time you petted a baby cow or goat.

For me, I remember the beer and wine competitions held before the Great Fair, in the Home and Garden Building. It was a fantastic yearly event, filled with lots of good things to taste, friends you didn’t seem to be able keep up with during the year, and just enough agony and intrigue to make it all interesting. I always judged the wines, but when it comes to the beer judging, one name seems to come up as a favorite: Jim Sawitzke.

Dr. Sawitzke has a PhD in molecular biology, which he uses in his job now in Rome, Italy, at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory facility.

Jim began brewing beer in 1992 in Oregon, and he really enjoys introducing people new to homebrew to his beers. “I love how after a hard day’s work, in a few weeks you have something delicious to share with family and friends,” Jim said. He especially loves the look on a skeptic’s face when that person realizes that what Jim created is actually really good.

Later, he moved to Frederick, where he started getting interested in beer competitions. He began judging beer at the Great Frederick Fair in 2008, where he volunteered to be a steward, but was called up to judge, instead. This experience stirred his interest, and he considered the Beer Judges Certification Program (BJCP), a program where you collect points for judging and are moved up in rank by taking tests. After a year of study, he gained the rank of “recognized” judge, and eventually moved up to “certified” and then “national” rankings. He even went on to help found a club dedicated to teaching the BJCP and helping members pass the exam.

In 2015, Jim moved on to his new job in Italy and took his homebrew shop with him. He is still making beer and has even taught three people there how to create it. But fate would also work in his favor, in that the BJCP wanted to expand into Europe. He has helped organize two competitions in Italy, including the first one ever held in Italy. “Since I moved to Europe, the BJCP has been very interested in expanding around the world,” Jim explained. “I am currently the highest ranked BJCP judge that lives in all of Europe. Thus, when there is a new exam, they often offer me to proctor since it is cheaper to fly me there than somebody from the states. In the past year, I have proctored exams in Spain, Italy, Israel, and Poland.”

Jim has a passion for zymurgy, the art and science of producing beer and wine. Although he claims to have a deep interest in the science part of this hobby, I suspect he also has the heart of a poet/artist.

Jim Sawitzke, with the brewing rig he uses to make beer in Rome.

On Thursday, September 21, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., a very special inspirational film called The Man Who Planted Trees will be shown at the Thurmont Regional Library. It will be the first of three films sponsored by the Sierra Club and the town of Thurmont. A repeat showing of this film will be on Saturday, September 30, at 2:00 p.m. at Thurmont’s Main Street Center.

This first one in the fall series is a critically acclaimed film with breathtaking animation about a man who single-handedly reforests drought ravaged land with thousands of trees. Though fictional, it is a powerful parable for all ages. For more information write or pick up a flier at the library