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Saint Anthony Shrine and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Parishes

by Theresa Dardanell

A Pastorate—two churches with one pastor. Saint Anthony Shrine (SAS) in Emmitsburg and Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) in Thurmont began as independent parishes; the dedication of the church in Thurmont was held on June 5, 1859, and the dedication of the church in Emmitsburg was held on October 26, 1897.  However, in 1987, they joined together to become one pastorate, with Father Edward Hemler as the pastor. He was succeeded by Father Leo Tittler in 1992, Father James Hannon in 2001, and Father Colin Poston—the current pastor—in 2016. Each church maintains a historic cemetery; the cemetery at Saint Anthony Shrine includes the graves of several members of the family of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. 

Both parishes work together as one. The mass schedule gives parishioners the option to attend mass at either church. Mass is celebrated at SAS on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 a.m., and celebrated on Sundays at OLMC at 7:30 a.m. in the church and at 11:00 a.m. in the parish center. The Catholic Mass includes readings, prayers, a homily, a chance to share a greeting of peace, and communion. Music is an integral part of the service, with a choir or a cantor and organist leading the congregation in song. 

Members of both parishes share religious education, social outreach programs, and fundraisers.  Funds donated by parishioners are distributed to organizations, including the local food bank, the Seton Center, the Catoctin Pregnancy Center, the St. Vincent DePaul Society, and Catholic Charities.  Volunteers visit homebound parishioners. Once a month, members provide casseroles to the Frederick Rescue Mission. The parish youth have the opportunity to serve by participating in the Baltimore Work Camp, where they spend a week during the summer refurbishing homes for people in need, in and around the Baltimore area. This program, which is open to youth in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is organized by Saint Anthony Shrine parish.

Religious education includes classes for children and adults.  Students in kindergarten through grade eight meet on Sunday mornings. Students in ninth grade participate in confirmation preparation. Vacation Bible School is open to any student in Kindergarten through fifth grade, and will be held this year in July. Middle school and high school students who are members of the youth ministry meet regularly for faith discussions, as well as social activities like paintball, bowling and ski trips. Adult Bible study is held on Thursday nights. RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process for adults to prepare to be fully initiated into the Catholic faith. This process is open to adults who have not been baptized, who have been baptized in a non-catholic denomination and wish to become Catholic, or baptized Catholics who have not received Eucharist and/or Confirmation. 

Everyone in the community is welcome to attend the many fundraising events held at both churches. Food and fun are the ingredients of these activities. You can enjoy delicious food provided by the Knights of Columbus at the community breakfasts, the Shrove Tuesday meal, and the Lenten fish bakes. Don’t miss the Colorfest food stand or the Labor Day picnic at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. Try your luck at Bingo or look for hidden treasures at the yard sales that are held at Saint Anthony Shrine at various times during the year. Look for information about upcoming events in The Catoctin Banner.

Father Colin said, “We are a very welcoming community in the Catholic tradition. People who come here seem to enjoy it and find a family here. Everybody is welcome to come here and be a part of our family and to grow in the Lord and experience the beauty of the Catholic Faith.” Deacon Joe Wolf added, “It is a community. It is where you can turn to in time of need and in time of joy. We try to share all of that with each other.”

Saint Anthony Shrine is located at 16150 St. Anthony Road in Emmitsburg; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is located at 103 North Church Street in Thurmont. The parish office is located at SAS, and their phone number is 301-447-2367. Their very informative website at provides additional information about the history of both parishes, the patron saints of each church, the sacraments, religious education, special events, and much more. 

Pictured from left are James (Rex) Davis; Father Collin Poston, holding Otto; Deacon Joe Wolf; Karen Davis; and Cindy Wivell in front of Saint Anthony Shrine in Emmitsburg.

                                                                                                                                Photos by Theresa Dardanell

By James Rada, Jr.

May 1919, 100 Years Ago

Smith Escapes From Jail

Ross Smith, one of the two Smith brothers who was arrested for stealing meat at Thurmont, and was sent to Frederick County jail because he could not furnish bail, escaped from prison Tuesday night. Another prisoner, Horace Johnson, a negro, escaped with Smith, and the two are still at large.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 1, 1919

Must Attend School

No little commotion was caused last week among patrons of Catoctin Furnace and Blue Mountain public schools when 20 or more families were  summoned to appear before Justice Cadow of this place, on complaint made by school attendance officer, Franklin Harshman.

The reports sent to the School Board by Miss Edith Brown, teacher at Blue Mountain School, and by Mr. Howard Bussard and Miss Lillian Kelly, teachers at Catoctin, showed that many children enrolled were not attending school, one being present but 18 days during the school year to April 1st.

Under the law, every child is requested to make at least 100 days if its health permits.

It is well known that due to the Flu schools were closed last fall, but since January 1st there has been no epidemic of special reason for children staying away from school.

Some of the reasons given by parents for their children not being in school were, that the teacher told their child to go home and stay home, some had to help wash, some pasture cattle, some were sick or had sick brothers or sisters, some no clothes and several fathers had no excuse whatever.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 1, 1919

May 1944, 75 Years Ago

Thurmont Firemen Will Purchase New Equipment

At a recent meeting of the Guardian Hose Company, approval was given by the members for the purchase of a booster tank that would carry a sufficient amount of water to put out a fire where there was not stream or plug to draw from.

Several months ago, when the firemen had to stand by, helplessly, and watch the home of Raymond Putman, near Creagerstown, burn to the ground because the water supply gave out at a critical point, they realized how handicapped they were and how badly they needed a tank that would carry more water, and immediately they began an investigation for a new pumper.

The pumper, which the firemen feel would meet their needs, would be mounted on a ton and a half truck, with a tank that would carry 500 gallons of water, together with two 250-foot lengths of 3/4 –inch highly tested hose, with two nozzles or guns.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, May 12, 1944

Thurmont Future Farmers Win Paper Drive Contest

The Thurmont Chapter of the Future Farmers of America won first prize in the scrap paper collection contest, sponsored by the Frederick County Salvage Committee, in which they participated. They will receive a cash award of $20, as announced by the chairman, Dr. David G. Everhart.

The chapter collected a total of 12,170 pounds during the month of April. Two weeks ago, a house to house collection was made by the boys at which time they gathered 5,070 pounds and previously they had brought in 7,100 pounds, which gave each member an average of over 500 pounds.

Emmitsburg school won second prize in the contest, collecting 9,555 pounds, and will be awarded $15. Other winners were Elm street school, Frederick, 7,075 pounds, and Johnsville, 3,615 pounds. They will receive prizes of $10 and $5, respectively.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, May 12, 1944

May 1969, 50 Years Ago

Firemen Spend Busy Week

Efforts of a group of men to prevent a forest fire led to the Vigilant Hose Co. being summoned to a field and brush conflagration Friday afternoon at 4:08.

Friday afternoon a committee of men visited the camp site preparatory to a group of boys being brought there for an outing. In order to avoid any spread of flames when a large campfire was ignited for the boys, the group of men determined to burn off the grass in the area where they planned to have the bonfire.

Chief McGlaughlin said the effort was proceeding well when a “a gust of wind came along and the fire scattered all over the place.”

The Emmitsburg firemen held the resulting field and brush fire to an area covering an acre.

The blaze was the second in two days for the firemen, who were called Thursday when a lawn mower burst into blaze at the property of Alice Balmer on DePaul St.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 2, 1969

Police Dept. Operates Smoothly; Hire New Officer

Emmitsburg’s Police Dept. is now operating at a full complement of two officers.

The Town Council appointed W. Henry Filler as officer last December 20. In recent months, he has been promoted to Chief of Police. Chief Filler is a Korean War veteran and was overseas 18 months. Following his discharge from the military, he served in the classified documents department at Ft. Detrick for several years. His most recent employment was a two-and-a-half year stretch of service with the Thurmont Police Dept.

Chief Filler resides at Mt. Manor Motel and plans to take a police review course sometime in the future.

The newest addition to the Police Dept. is Thomas F. Colliflower, Jr., 22, Frederick. Colliflower accepted employment on May 6.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 14, 1969

May 1994, 25 Years Ago

Emmitsburg Jumpers

The Emmitsburg Elementary School held Jump Rope for Heart on March 10. The children raised nearly $4,700 for the American Heart Association. Over 100 children, parents and faculty jumped rope for 180 minutes. Refreshements were provided by the Emmitsburg Jubilee. Fifteen children individually raised over $100 each, with Ying Li raising the most, $500.

                                          – The Frederick News, May 7, 1994

Group Seeks Cullen Probe

A citizens’ group has asked Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, to launch a federal inquiry into Victor Cullen Academy, a reform school for boys that opened in September 1992.

Concerned Citizens, Inc. has fought having the school here since it was proposed in 1992, and at one point sued the state Department of Juvenile Services, attempting to close the facility.

The suit was rejected by a circuit court judge last year, and according to Dr. Bartlett’s press secretary, the latest assault by Concerned Citizens is also in trouble.

                                                – The Frederick Post, May 25, 1994

by Anita DiGregory

“Building Cathedrals”

On April 15, 2019, a massive fire destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The devastating fire took nearly 15 hours to extinguish. Within that time, the roof and exquisite spire were destroyed, collapsing into the cathedral’s interior ceiling. When sections of this stone vaulting collapsed, the marble floor below was littered with burning roof.  Historic arches were damaged, and pews were destroyed. More than 400 firefighters fought to save the cathedral, while 100 more labored to save priceless relics and artifacts.  Stories of bravery, courage, and faith surfaced, detailing the heroes who worked tirelessly to save the cathedral and her treasures. In the end, the Blessed Sacrament was saved, as well as the two towers and most of the artifacts. Later, photos of the sunlight streaming through and illuminating the miraculous, surviving cross and altar appeared across social media outlets.

Perhaps one of the most captivating aspects of this tragic event was the reaction of not just the French people, but people young and old around the world.  Almost instantly, local crowds gathered in prayer and song.  Meanwhile, people around the world watched, waited, and prayed, shocked and saddened.

It seems obvious why such a tragedy would cause such great sadness for Catholics, who were mourning the loss of such a treasure of the Church: the sacred site of conversions, healing, prayer, and sacraments. But this tragedy reached across age, gender, and faiths, touching so many. One could surmise that the reason it has touched so many is because it means something deeply personal to each of us. Whether that reason was seeped in faith, memories, history, beauty, art, or something else, this devastation united us in thought, prayer, and reflection.

Personally, as I reflected on the tragic events, I was reminded of a short story I had read once. The Invisible Mother by Nicole Johnson details the story of a mom who was experiencing a bit of an existential crisis, as it seemed she had become invisible. It all started to make sense to her one day when her son referred to her as “nobody.”  A crossing guard had asked the youngster who was accompanying him; but instead of acknowledging his mom, he said, “Nobody.” 

This, she reasoned, was why no one ever listened to, acknowledged, or payed mind to her advice, comments, or commands…why no one ever offered to help…why she could be there serving, helping, managing, loving 24/7, but never really be seen.  She surmised she must indeed be invisible.

She continued to feel invisible until one night a girlfriend gifted her with a book on the Europe’s great cathedrals, and it was signed, “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

As a result, Johnson states: “I discovered what would become for me, four life-changing truths: (1.) No one can say who built the great cathedrals—we have no record of their names; (2.) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished; (3.) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit; (4.) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.”

Being a mom is hard, labor-intensive work. Whether you are a sleep-deprived new momma, a single mom trying to cover all the bases, a dedicated stay-at-home mom, an empty-nester trying to figure out where to go from here, a working mom struggling to do all you can at home and at work, a mom of littles or of not-so-littles or of both, a grieving mom, a step or foster momma, a grandmother, a mother caring for a sick child or a child with special needs, whatever the momma…this job is not for the faint of heart. The hours are long, and the work is intense. There will be newborn sleepless nights; there will be waiting up for a driving teenager sleepless nights; and there will be tossing and turning, praying, and worrying over your young adults sleepless nights.  There will be moments of sheer physical, spiritual, and emotional exhaustion, and moments of utter joy and elation. At times you are gonna feel sticky, smelly, exhausted, scared, anxious, embarrassed, unsure, and, yes, even invisible.  But be assured, you are not invisible. God sees all you do and so do others. Your work may be hard, but what you are doing is so very important. You are building a human. So, continue building in love; the reward is immeasurable. 

Johnson adds, “As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right—which is why we may feel invisible some days. But one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.”

“Love of a Mother” by Christina DiGregory.

by Valerie Nusbaum

The Nusbaums aren’t gamblers.  However, we do enjoy winning something every now and then, and as the saying goes: “You have to play to win.” That’s why whenever the jackpot reaches $500,000,000, we each buy a lottery ticket.  Neither Randy nor I have ever won anything in the Lotto, but there’s always next time. In fact, I don’t believe either of us has even had one number that matched the drawing, but hope springs eternal.

Once in a great while one of us will buy a scratch-off lottery ticket. We stick with the cheap $1.00 or $2.00 tickets. Those denominations have lower payouts; but, because we tend not to win anything—ever—our losses are smaller. I’d feel horrible if I invested $10.00 in a scratch-off and didn’t at least win back my investment.

Case in point: It was Randy’s birthday, and I wanted to stick a little something inside his birthday card, so I bought one $2.00 scratch-off ticket from the machine at the grocery store. I put the ticket inside the card, and he was tickled when he opened it. Never one to delay gratification, Randy (who refrains from eating leafy greens whenever he can because he knows that any of us could die at any time, and he doesn’t want his last meal to be a salad) grabbed a quarter and began scratching.  Scratching the ticket, I mean. The other scratching is a story for another time. When the smoke cleared, Randy held up his ticket and showed me that he’d won back my two dollars. He was happy. I was happy. I thought it was all over.

We were out running errands a few days later, and Randy decided to cash in his winning ticket. He trotted into the convenience store and came back out with two $1.00 tickets. He handed one to me and I tried to give it back, saying that he should scratch both since he bought them with his winnings and, besides, I’m never lucky. He wouldn’t hear of it, and he quickly scratched off his ticket and said a bad word. He hadn’t won anything.  I resignedly scratched off my own ticket and saw that I’d actually won $10.00. I was elated that we’d won something, but I still felt that Randy should keep the winnings.  He took the ticket back inside the store. I figured he’d come back out with the $10.00, but instead he came back with $8.00 and two more tickets. There is something to be said for quitting while one is ahead, but I’d forgotten to say that.  Neither ticket paid off, so we lost my initial two dollars and came out eight dollars ahead.

That was when Randy looked at me and said that we should give Bromstadt a call. For those of you who don’t know, David Bromstadt is a home designer. He has a show on the HGTV network called, My Lottery Dream Home. Each week, Mr. Bromstadt works with a person or family who has won a large lottery purse to find them the home of their dreams. The prize winnings range from half a million dollars to ten or fifteen million, but most weeks, David is working with a million dollar jackpot. Most of the winners give David a modest budget to work with, usually in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. A million dollars doesn’t buy what it used to. Randy and I are fascinated to see what qualifies as a “dream home” in those price ranges.  Granted, most of the lottery winners are regular people like us, so they’re not looking for garages for their collection of sports cars or for in-home bowling alleys, but my jaw still drops when they settle for sharing a bathroom with a spouse.

Randy was joking, of course, that our $8.00 would buy us a dream house. He just thinks it would be a great social experiment to have David Bromstadt come to Thurmont, wearing his red shoes and fur coats. I think David is pretty cute, but it would be funny to give him a list of our demands for a home if money were no object. We’d want to live in this area because we like it here. The house would need to be a rancher since we’re getting old and stairs will be an issue one day. Maybe we’d ask for a separate wing for my mother or a guest house, along with a workshop for Randy and a studio for me. The kitchen would have to have tons of storage, and I’m talking serious closet space all over. Privacy is important, but I’d want to be within five minutes of a grocery store and a McDonald’s—I love my Diet Cokes. And, unlike the couples on the TV show, we’d need separate bathrooms for everyone. That’s non-negotiable.  Also, Randy thinks we should buy the adjoining property so that Steve and Brooke can still live beside us.  I know what you’re thinking. If we want that to happen, we’re going to need to buy more tickets.

In the meantime, we’re pretty happy where we are, and we already have most of our list covered or can make do with what we have. I really should go out and buy a ticket, though, because my left palm has been itching up a storm.

by Christine Maccabee

Vitamin “N”

Spring is springing! All the dead looking trees and shrubs are budding and leafing, as are the multitude of wild plants. My specialty is habitat for wildlife, and so this is my time of year to be outside observing as much as possible. Today was no exception.

Thinking I would take a short walk down my lane and back, I became immersed in everything natural. I picked up some really nice dry kindling wood for my fire while listening to the excited calls of hawks, which are busy mating and/or hunting. Both of us are hunting in our own ways.

On the way back to my gardens, I checked on young saplings  of dogwood, hawthorne, and others growing in my field, which I am protecting from the nibbling habits of deer with chicken wire fences. Reaching the garden gate, I entered the inner sanctum of my gardens. I knew of one area where I needed to pull the wild ground cress before they go to seed and before the coming storm. Using the wild cress as an excuse to stay outside to get some more Vitamin “N”, I procrastinated going into the house to type this. Thanks, cress!

I knew my wild black raspberries were inundated with the cress, so after spending a little time in the gazebo with my garden cat, Golden Boy—who loves me and whom I love—I stretched and readied myself to weed the cress. I love its tiny white flowers, which are some of the first wild flowers to bloom in the spring; but, it matures quickly and spreads with equally tiny seeds that fly off  two- to four-inch stems like little bullets. So, it needs controlling, like many other problems in or out of the garden. Luckily, land cress is very shallow rooted and easy to pull.

I love the spicy flavor of cress leaves in salads or eating it straight; yet, today, I felt an urgency to pull it before it went to seed. In some ways, certain wild native plants can actually become invasives. I leave land cress and the violets and clovers in my lawn and pathways, but not in my vegetable and berry beds! Finding a short stool, I began pulling and made some discoveries. New raspberry shoots are growing and must be protected. I also found the rosette of a rare plant, the wild native mullein, which I love. I do allow certain wild plants to grow wherever I find them, especially endangered ones.

The wild native mullein has been loosing a foothold in our landscapes due to roadside mowing and gardeners weeding them out. They are in peril, but not in my sanctuary. It does take research to discover what wild natives look like in early spring, or by someone like me, who has been studying and saving wild plants for most of my life. I consider one of my highest callings to be  a plant savior and a caretaker of wild things. Not everyone can do this—or even cares to—but it is not just curiosity that gets me exploring, though that is a big factor. As anyone who reads about habitat loss and the crisis our pollinators and birds are experiencing, I also am very concerned, so that is a primary motivator.

I take my care-taking calling very seriously, and encourage others to grow wild native plants as well. It is not as hard as one might think. The key is to get outside and get curious. It is also important to get regular doses of Vitamin “N”, as Richard Louv puts it, to increase our own health as well as one’s appreciation of  and empathy for all living things.

I welcome this lush spring, and summer coming, as a cure for depression, for leaving behind the noise of machines, as well as the fast-paced life on the road and indoor activities behind a screen. Please do watch for my invitation in next month’s article for you to come to an event at my hideout in the Catoctin Mountains, as a chance to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of my Mystic Meadows. Or, be in touch with me if you want to come by at any time to get a dose of Vitamin “N”and learn more about native plants as you immerse yourself in the wonder and beauty of the natural world!

by James Rada, Jr.

The End of Rocky Ridge

Rocky Ridge disappeared in 1913. “So far as railroad matters are concerned, Rocky Ridge does not exist and hereafter that station will be known as Emmitsburg Junction,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The Western Maryland Railroad (WMRR) station had opened in Rocky Ridge in 1870, with Sheridan Biggs serving as the first freight agent and telegraph operator. He served in that position until 1907. Over the years, he had had to deal with confusion over passengers knowing that they needed to switch trains in Rocky Ridge in order to get to Emmitsburg on the Emmitsburg Railroad. They boarded a small train made up of an engine, baggage car, smoker/mail car, and parlor car.

Though only a few miles long, the railroad was well run. The Adams County News noted in 1916, “…there is to-day a short distance from Gettysburg a railroad planned, built and financed through the efforts of women, a road which was built some 40 years ago and which to-day untroubled by strikes and other unpleasantness, is paying steadily 4 per cent on the original investment.”

The Daughters of Charity owned 70 percent of the stock in the railroad, according to the Adams County News. This is not surprising since one of the stops on the line was at St. Joseph College. Students traveling to Mount St. Mary’s College also used the railroad traveling to and from school.

“It is probably the only road in existence where the possession of an ordinary ticket entitles one to parlor-car accommodations,” the Adams County News reported.

But something about the location confused passengers, despite the conductor often calling out, “Rocky Ridge, change for Emmitsburg.”

A.V.D. Watterson, Esq., a Pittsburgh attorney and president of the Mount St. Mary’s Alumni Association, lobbied to the Western Maryland Railroad for years to change the name of Rocky Ridge to Emmitsburg Junction to make it clearer that the station was a changing point for passengers.

In 1913, he wrote the directors of the WMRR again. This time, he noted in his letter, “Since a through line is now established from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, which will permit of persons going through to Emmitsburg with only one change of cars, it is important to your Company to make a change of this kind, and I, therefore, again call your attention to it.”

This time, the directors agreed with his reasoning and renamed Rocky Ridge Emmitsburg Junction on all of its documentation and schedules. However, the post office remained Rocky Ridge, so anything being mailed to Emmitsburg Junction had to be sent to Rocky Ridge.

The Clarion noted that the change might have come too late. Thurmont might soon become the transfer point for rail travelers if the Frederick and Hagerstown Railway continued to grow.

“It is hoped a trolley road will soon be built from Thurmont to Mt. St. Mary’s for the benefit and convenience of the hundreds of students attending college at that place, and also for the benefit of the many people residing between these two points,” the newspaper reported.

This did not happen, but with the growth of automobile travel, so few people were using the Emmitsburg Railroad by 1935 that it became freight only. It ceased operation in 1940.

Even then, not all the stations along the Western Maryland line were alerted to the change.

In 1959, Mrs. James Tucker and her daughter, both from Boston, traveled to New York City, where they purchased a ticket to Emmitsburg via Emmitsburg Junction. They boarded the train for the five-hour trip to St. Joseph College.

When the New Englanders arrived at Emmitsburg Junction, they found a worn out railway station but no railroad, not even a track,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Luckily, they met Guy Baker, who was driving a mail and express truck. He offered to take the ladies to the college.

Emmitsburg Junction still continues to pop up on modern maps from time to time, although it should have ceased to exist along the railroad. A 1992 Frederick County trash map showed Emmitsburg Junction as north of MD 77, while Rocky Ridge was south of the highway. Even today, if you type Emmitsburg Junction into Mapquest, it will take you to Rocky Ridge.

Rocky Ridge WM Station.

by Priscilla Rall

Sniper Wings Seiss

The Seiss family had settled in the Frederick area in the mid-1700s. Born in 1925 in Graceham, Sterling Seiss was a descendant of these first settlers. The family home, where he now lives, was built in 1825, near what is thought to be an ancient Native American trail. Sterling found many arrowheads in the fields by the house. The original stone spring house near the old home still stands. Sterling had six brothers and six sisters, and he remembers that his grandmother kept butter and milk cool in the spring house. When the kids were sent to get milk from there, they were allowed to bring up one bottle of homemade root beer that was also stored there.

Sterling’s father worked as a barn builder for Ralph Miller, and also farmed. The children were kept busy with daily chores. Sterling gathered kindling and eggs, while his older brother filled the wood box. The other boys cared for the horses, Prince and Bob, as his father never owned a tractor. For Christmas, the Seiss children got hard candy, oranges, and sometimes a new pair of socks. They enjoyed the many church festivals nearby. Family was everything to the Seisses. Their cousin, Russell, had lost his mother at an early age and he often stayed with the Sterling family; it was not unusual for the children to stay with aunts and uncles or grandparents for a time.

Sterling left school after seventh grade and worked for a time at the Gem Laundry in Frederick, helping to pick up and then deliver the cleaned clothes. At this time, he lived with his brother in Frederick and earned $6.00 a week. When the laundry closed, he rode his bicycle back to Thurmont, where his parents were living. At that time, Thurmont was quite a hopping town, with a movie theater that charged 17 cents a ticket. Even Graceham had a store, a warehouse, a post office, and, of course, the Moravian Church.

However, as the Depression loomed over the country, it affected the Seiss Famly. They lost all of their savings when the Central Trust bank folded and, consequently, lost their farm. Sterling’s father took any job he could find, and they moved from one rented farm to another. Sterling remembers hobos who rode the rails and would split wood for a meal. At one point, Sterling worked for John Zimmer on his nearby farm. He also helped deliver milk on a horse-drawn wagon.

When he turned 18, although he could have asked for a farming deferment, he decided to join the Army. He was inducted in January 1944, and after training, he shipped out to New Guinea. There, with Company F in the 34th Infantry, they searched for any Japanese still remaining in a “mopping up” operation. They were warned to beware of snakes and “head hunters.” Sterling recalls thinking “that doesn’t sound very good to me!” Thankfully, they found no enemy soldiers, snakes, or head hunters. Then they sailed off for the Philippine Islands, landing in Leyte, where again they were in a “mopping up” operation.

On December 11, 1944, as the company was digging in for the night, Pvt. Seiss felt a stinging sensation in his left shoulder. When his buddy called for a medic, the captain quickly came; stripping off Seiss’ jacket, he found a bullet hole through his shoulder and a burn mark made by the enemy sniper’s bullet across his back. He was ordered to report to the field hospital, but he had no idea where it was! Just then, a young Philippino boy spoke up, “Me know.” So, Sterling left his company and reported to the field hospital, where the doctor told him that he was going back to the states. The doctor told Sterling how lucky he was—an inch lower or an inch higher and he would be dead. After his recovery in Georgia and then at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he was discharged in May 1946, with a Good Conduct Medal and Purple Heart.

Sterling had always loved working with animals, so it is no surprise that for the rest of his life he was involved in farming. He had a brief first marriage that produced a son. He then married the love of his life, Mary Jean Harbaugh, in 1952. Together, they had three children, and farmed, raising heifers and pigs. Finally, in 1972, he was able to buy the home place where he lives to this day.

In the 1980s, I was one of many who bought piggies from Sterling, and I remember seeing him in his red pickup filled with crates of outdated milk he got from local dairies to feed his hogs. Sterling Seiss is one of the dwindling number of the “Greatest Generation,” to whom our country owes a great debt.

This quiet hero survived a Japanese sniper to return to his beloved Frederick County, where he lives out the last of his life in anonymity, few realizing the sacrifices he made in WWII.

Eric Smothers thanks Sterling Seiss for his many years of commitment and service to Graceham Volunteer Fire Company, during the company’s annual banquet held on April 27, 2019.

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Food allergies happen when your body’s defense system, called the immune system, triggers immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to bind with a food protein (the allergen). This activates cells throughout the body to release large amounts of chemicals such as histamine. Allergic reactions can occur throughout the body: the respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, eyes, ears, throat, or cardiovascular system. Reactions usually occur within a few minutes to an hour after eating the offending food. You may first feel itching in your mouth as you start to eat the food. Other symptoms include stuffy, itchy nose; swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other parts of your body; vomiting; diarrhea; sneezing; itchy, watery eyes; stomach cramps; red, itchy skin; or a rash. True food allergies usually begin in the first or second year of life; childhood allergies may be converted into other “allergic” conditions like eczema or respiratory illnesses. About four percent of adults and up to eight percent of children have a food allergy.

What Foods Commonly Trigger Allergic Reactions?

The foods that most often cause allergic reactions in adults are the same for women and men. They include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, milk, eggs, wheat, and soybeans.

Food Allergies Can Be Life Threatening

For some people, an allergic reaction to a food is uncomfortable but not serious; for others, an allergic food reaction can lead to death. A life-threatening reaction caused by an allergy is called anaphylaxis.

For these people, even the smallest amount of exposure—eating a food or even touching someone who is eating the food—can be dangerous. If you have anaphylactic reactions to certain foods, your doctor may give you a prescription for injectable epinephrine. You need to carry this medicine with you at all times so that you or someone you are with can give you an emergency injection, if needed. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hoarseness; throat tightness or a lump in your throat; wheezing; chest tightness or trouble breathing; rapid heart rate; dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp; and clammy, grayish, or bluish skin.

Should I Stay Away from Certain Foods During Pregnancy?

Avoiding peanuts or other highly allergenic foods during pregnancy is not necessary, unless you are allergic to these foods. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, avoiding certain foods in pregnancy does not prevent food allergies in children, though breastfeeding may prevent or delay food allergies. Also delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond four to six months of age does not prevent food allergies. Some people have also thought that food allergies can be prevented if parents delayed giving their babies certain solid foods (such as fish, eggs, and milk). However, current medical research does not support this idea.

Babies can have a reaction to a mother’s breastmilk, but this is due to something the mother is eating. Babies who are highly sensitive usually react to the food within minutes. Babies who are less sensitive may still react to the food within 4 to 24 hours. Symptoms may include diarrhea; vomiting; and/or green stools with mucus and/or blood; rash, eczema, dermatitis, hives, or dry skin; fussiness during and/or after feedings; inconsolable crying for long periods and sudden waking with discomfort; wheezing or coughing.

These symptoms do not mean your baby is allergic to your milk, but rather to something you are eating. If your baby ever has problems breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Are All Symptoms a Food Allergy or Could it be a Food Sensitivity?

You could be experiencing food sensitivities. Some health problems cause the same symptoms as food allergies, but are really food sensitivities. This can make it hard to know for sure whether you have a food allergy.

Food sensitivities can cause symptoms similar to allergies, but reactions are slower and milder. It can take hours or even days before symptoms appear. Immunoglobulins A, G or M (IgA, IgG, IgM) are often involved. Sensitivities may contribute to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, depression, sinusitis, GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), rashes, lactose intolerance, and more. Inadequate digestion or digestive disturbances like inadequate digestive enzymes or damaged intestinal walls with increased intestinal permeability are often involved.

What is Food Intolerance?

If your symptoms come from a food intolerance, it means the immune system is not directly involved and reactions are not life threatening, though health and quality of life are usually affected. The symptoms of food intolerance can be indigestion, bloating, fatigue, migraines, memory problems, toxic headache, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Digestive symptoms usually predominate. A common intolerance is lactose intolerance: difficulty digesting milk sugar, resulting in symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Insufficient lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose, is involved. Some people do not produce enough lactase. Pasteurization of milk destroys lactase and changes milk sugar into another form. Some intolerances are due to food additives rather than a food. Common culprits are sulfites (inducing asthma in some people) MSG, aspartame, other artificial sweeteners, preservatives, yellow dye No. 5, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Reactions always arise from individual susceptibilities. While an allergic reaction is triggered by small amounts of a particular food, a food intolerance may occur only with a large amount of frequent consumption. Symptoms can be chronic or delayed by hours or a couple of days. Addiction to “offending” foods is common, as they sometimes relieve symptoms for a while. Far more people have food intolerances than true allergies. Most allergies involve the eight foods mentioned above, but intolerances can involve any food.

Do You Think You Have a True Allergy?

A study from Bastyr University has shown that a single person’s blood sent to a number of laboratories for food allergy testing had very different results, depending on the lab the blood was sent to. Unfortunately, this kind of testing can be inaccurate. Dr. Lo, at the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center, uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. Call 240-651-1650 for a free evaluation to see if you have a true allergy or not. We also offer free seminars held at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

by Theresa Dardanell

Fellowship Sunday…a truly unique experience.  On the first Sunday of each month, the members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church attend a service that combines worship and hospitality. One long table in the Fellowship Hall is lined with pastries, donuts, fruit, coffee, and other breakfast treats; members sit at round tables throughout the room and are invited to enjoy breakfast before and after the service. Worship begins with announcements and a prayer; “Sharing of the Peace” gives everyone a chance to walk around the room and greet one another; the service continues with hymns, prayers, scripture reading, a conversation about the scripture by Pastor Matthew Beers, and communion. Since breakfast continues after the service ends, nobody is in a hurry to leave.

A more formal traditional service is held on the last Sunday of every month in the church. Sunday services on the weeks between Fellowship Sunday and Traditional Service Sunday are also held in the church. Pastor Matt wants St. John’s to be a place where people can encounter God and find answers to the questions: “Why am I here, why do I do what I do, why do I live the way I live?”And they leave St. John’s knowing that “God loves me and cares about me so that I can go about caring about others and loving others.”

St. John’s history actually began in 1760 at Apple’s Church in Thurmont, when the Lutheran and Reformed congregations shared the building. In 1858, the Lutheran congregation built a new church and moved to the current location on Church Street in Thurmont (known at that time as Mechanicstown).  Over the years, the Mechanicstown Lutheran Church was remodeled and modernized extensively and also expanded to include an educational wing. In 1958, the name of the church was changed to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

As a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), members support various charitable causes. They participate in the ELCA Good Gifts Program, which supplies communities overseas with items like pigs, goats, seeds, and farming equipment to help lift people out of poverty with sustainable living. They work with the Thurmont Ministerium to help meet local community needs, collect canned goods for the Thurmont Food Bank, and make an annual Thanksgiving donation to the Seton Center in Emmitsburg. Pastor Matt said that although the congregation is small, they “try to make a meaningful impact with the funds that we have.” 

Proceeds from annual fundraising events help to support the church. If you find yourself at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center (between CVS and Dollar General) on the day before Easter, you will find delicious baked goods and lovely potted flowers for sale by the fundraising committee. Look for hidden treasures during their Colorfest yard sale at the church. In the fall, watch for the banner in front of the church advertising the “Party of Parties” that is held in October. Attendees enjoy a buffet lunch, while home party consultants demonstrate their products.

St. John’s Christian Preschool classes are held in the school rooms in the church building. Classes are open to everyone and are all inclusive. Classes for two-year-olds are held Monday and Friday mornings. Three- and four-year-old children attend classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings or afternoons.  The website describes the school’s mission as “providing a program developed and centered around God’s love of children. Our belief is that the total person must grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually in order to experience life to the fullest.” Classes for two- and three-year-old students have three teachers; classes for the four-year-olds have two teachers. Tammy Tigler, who is the administrative assistant and one of the teachers, said, “Every child is unique. We strive to meet their needs. We love our jobs; we love our kids.” Registration for the 2019-2020 school year is open now. Call the preschool at 301-271-4109 for more information or to schedule a visit.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 15 N. Church Street in Thurmont. Sunday services begin at 9:00 a.m., and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, visit the website at

Pastor Matthew Beers (front row, on right) and members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

by James Rada, Jr.

April 1919, 100 Years Ago

Capt. Sterling Galt Again In Casualties

The mailed first of the war god has fallen on a relative by marriage of Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, Captain Sterling Galt Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Sterling Galt Sr., Emmitsburg. He was wounded and gassed. Captain Galt’s father was a brother of Mrs. Wilson’s dead husband.

In yesterday afternoon’s overseas casualty list, Captain Galt was reported as slightly wounded in action. His father, interviewed last night, stated that he had received word from the War Department recently, stating that his son had been slightly wounded in action on October 18.

The letter stated that he Captain Galt had been wounded on the Verdun front on October 18 by shrapnel. His wound, he said, was slight and was in his leg. At the time of his writing, he was convalescing at Nice.                                         

                                          – The Frederick Post, April 11, 1919

New Phone Rates

The C. & P. Telephone Company announce that the rates heretofore charged subscribers do not pay for the upkeep of their property, and hence rates must go up.

The raise in rates take effect May 1st, and almost every person having a phone or wishing to talk over a phone will be touched up for the privilege, the increase being from 5 to 20 cents and 5 cents additional war tax.

After May 1st, to talk to Frederick, we pay 15c plus 5c tax, total 20 cents.

A charge of 10 cents will be made to Emmitsburg and Walkersville from Thurmont, no War Tax added.

To talk from Emmitsburg to Frederick will cost 20 cents plus 5 cents tax, or 25 cents.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, April 17, 1919

April 1944, 75 Years Ago

Thurmont Selected for Experiment

Thurmont has been selected as one of three Maryland communities where an early attempt will be made to look after the interests of returned members of the armed forces. At a recent meeting in the library of the Thurmont School, it was decided to affiliate with the town committee already set up with the purpose of attempting to secure employment for men from that community when they return from the armed forces.

Dr. R. Floyd Cromwell, Supervisor of Guidance for the State of Maryland, explained that Thurmont was selected with two other communities in the state, in an attempt to give guidance to returning young men that they may find employment upon their return, or secure information that will lead to employment. This would be done through a counselor, to be appointed, who would be familiar with all the opportunities that would be open to men upon their return, as well as for those who have been employed in civil war work.

It was explained that the belief is that twenty or twenty-five per cent of the population will need some sort of employment adjustment after the war.

                                          – The Frederick Post, April 10, 1944

167 Pints of Blood Given

Navy V-12 boys in training at Mt. St. Mary’s College gave the major portion of 167 pints of blood secured at the college on Monday through the cooperation of the Frederick County Red Cross Blood Donor Service and Mobile Unit 2 of the Baltimore service.              

Lieut. R. J. Richards, of the Navy staff had arranged for the visit and in addition to a great many of his boys, three State Police and about 25 other civilian volunteers had been line up as volunteers by Mrs. Harry S. Boyle, who did the recruiting in town.

It was the most successful engagement yet in Emmitsburg.

                                          – The Fredrick News Post, April 18, 1944

April 1969, 50 Years Ago

Cable TV Proposed at Thurmont

Cable television for Thurmont was proposed at the Wednesday night town meeting. Lynn I. Decker, president, and John Hanly, vice president, of the American Telecable Services, Inc. of Silver Spring discussed installation of cable service here.

The company would install cable service for the entire corporate limits, plus areas outside the town where a population density of twenty houses per mile exists. Hanly told the town council there would be no installation charge at first, with charges being established as the service grows.

Monthly rates would be $495 and a competent company lineman would be brought to Thurmont by the company to install and maintain equipment, Hanly said.

                                          – The Frederick News Post, April 3, 1969

Graceham Firemen Are Idle As Thurmont Fights Fires

A fire company traveled more than eight miles to several brush fire scenes on Monday, while another company with three pieces of apparatus sat in an engine house less than two miles from the first due company and approximately six miles from the fire scenes.

Harry O. Miller, chief of the Thurmont Fire Company, said Monday evening that the reason the Graceham Fire Company was not called in for the Thurmont fire alarm was a lack of manpower. Miller noted that Thurmont has four pieces of apparatus, three pumpers and a tank wagon, which can handle most alarms in the area, however, when a second alarm is sounded manpower is usually the most important request.

Emmitsburg, which is second due, the second company called, if needed, on almost all Thurmont area fires, has the highest average turnout for volunteer firemen in the area, according to Miller. In 1969, the Emmitsburg unit averaged 30 men per fire call.

Graceham is not due on any fire calls for which Thurmont is first due, although the station houses are two and one-half miles apart and the town limits are a mile apart.

                                          – The Frederick News Post, April 29, 1969

April 1994, 25 Years Ago

Emmitsburg Takes Out Loan to Fix Spillway

Town commissioners Monday agreed to establish a $100,000, three-year line of credit with Farmers and Mechanics National Bank.

The commissioners said they need money to finance Rainbow Lake spillway renovation and for well development. Repair for the concrete spillway has been mandated by the state Department of Natural Resources. Work will begin April 18.

                                          – The Frederick News Post, April 5, 1994

Youth Charged in Fire

A 16-year-old from Victor Cullen Academy was charged with malicious burning in connection with a fire Monday night in his dormitory room, officials at the school said.

The youth, who suffered smoke inhalation, was taken to Washington County Hospital, Hagerstown, for treatement, officials said.

He allegedly lit a roll of toilet paper and placed it under a heater, officials said.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Jim Woods charged the youth with the misdemeanor and referred the case to the Department of Juvenile Services, officials said.

                                          – The Frederick News Post, April 8, 1994

“Spring Cleaning”

by Anita DiGregory

Well, it’s that time of the year again! We made it through another winter. Spring has sprung. It is staying lighter later. The temperatures are slowing climbing, and the kids are just begging to get outside and break free from the cabin fever that set in over the winter. But it would not be spring without one other time-honored tradition: Spring Cleaning. 

Do the mere words strike horror in the hearts of your family members? Would your kids, young and old, rather feign the flu than even imagine themselves spending a weekend cleaning out the garage? At times, does it seem more difficult to actually get the kids to help than it would be to just do it yourself? 

If that’s the case, you aren’t alone. A 2014 study conducted by Braun Research, Inc., found that out of 1,001 U.S. adults surveyed, 82 percent of them had regular chores to do as a child; however, only 28 percent required their children to complete chores. And, who doesn’t get that? With all the homework, sports, and extracurricular activities, who has time for chores? But are we doing a disservice to our children?

Consistently, scientific research has proven that having even children as young as three help with chores is actually extremely beneficial to them (and, no, I am not making that up…even if the kids think I am). A paper published by the University of Minnesota states, “Research by Marty Rossmann, emeritus associate professor of family education, shows that involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. By involving children in tasks, parents teach their children a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.”

According to American Psychology Association (APA) Divisions Leanne Arsenault, “Within the family system, childhood chores have been shown to have a positive developmental impact on children of all ages…Chores and housework are linked to happiness in children as they feel they are making meaningful contributions to their families.” She further adds, “…one way to encourage children to want to do chores is to present chores as not only a contribution to the family but a way of showing that all the members of the family care for each other by expressing support through action.”

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, author, psychologist, speaker, and mother of four, adds that chores are an essential life skill. Kennedy-Moore states that in addition to contributing to the good of the family, “Research tells us that children actually feel happier when they make a meaningful contribution to the family.”

Here are some tips from the experts on how to make spring cleaning and overall chores a success.

Make a Chart. Put some time and thought into age-appropriate tasks that the children can complete with minimal help. Have realistic expectations. “The tasks should not be too overwhelming,” states Rossmann. In order for children to gain a sense of accomplishment, the tasks should manageable. Making a chart makes it easier for children to grasp.

Be Specific. Give specific instructions. Instead of instructing your children to clean their room, it is more helpful (especially for younger children) to be specific as to what exactly they should do to clean their room. For example, it is easier for them to understand if you tell them to (1.) Make their bed, (2.) Put their toys away where they belong, and (3.) Put their dirty socks in the hamper.

Lead by Example. Work together as a family. Children learn best by observing. In the beginning, it is often helpful to show children how to perform certain tasks like folding the towels correctly or sweeping the floor.

Be Proud. Tell your children how much you appreciate their hard work. Thank them. Tell them what a huge help they have been to the family. Little ones love to help and take pride in a job well done.   

Reward a Job Well Done.  Motivation is key to helping children complete household tasks. However, studies have shown that monetary payment is not always the best motivator. Rossmann suggests, “They should not be made to do the tasks for an allowance.” When children are encouraged to help for altruistic reasons, such as positively contributing to the family, they receive more satisfaction and higher self-worth as a result. However, because everyone is working together for the benefit of the family, offering a fun family reward is both motivational and valuable. Some fun ideas include a family outing, a movie night, or homemade sundaes for everyone.

Unless you are Marie Kondo, spring cleaning isn’t usually a fun or easy task. But working together with your children to tidy up the house is not only beneficial to the family, it helps teach them life skills and gives them a strong and healthy sense of accomplishment.

So, as you sit there trying to resist the urge to refold all the towels so lovingly done by your six-year-old, just breathe, relax, and realize you are doing so much more than tidying up; you are raising healthy, happy little humans who are learning the importance of thinking of and helping others.

The Posse Rides Again

by Valerie Nusbaum

My husband and my mother will always be my best friends, but I’m blessed and happy to have a group of close women friends as well.  Randy refers to my friends as “The Posse.”

The posse is made up of eight women, and it’s a very diverse group. Four of the women are older than I am, one is exactly my age, and three are younger. There’s an age span of nearly twenty years. Three of the women are grandmothers, two have sons in college, and two have stepsons.  One of these ladies is the mother of quintuplets. Seriously.

One thing we all have in common is that each of us has a husband. We girls could spend hours trading stories about our spouses, but we don’t because that wouldn’t be right. Randy, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. I didn’t tell any of my friends about how you licked maple syrup off your shirt the other morning.

I became friends with three of these ladies through my arts and crafts adventures. Of the eight, three own and operate very successful businesses, three have full-time jobs, three are retired from the education field, two are partnered with their husbands in business, two have crafts businesses, and all of them volunteer and do charity work. If you were to add up the numbers I’ve just given you, you’d come up with more than eight, but these ladies are ambitious, hard-working and inspired to make the world a better place, so they do more than one thing. 

One friend makes purses, one makes soap, one makes absolutely everything, and one throws mega-parties. All of them are great cooks and bakers, which is probably why we talk about food so much and go out to eat a LOT. One of my friends and I attempted to visit restaurants that feature foods from all over the world, but after about twenty different places and cuisines, we settled on Mexican and Chinese.  In an aside, I’d like to advise you to never, ever eat something called “oily chili.”

One friend lives in Pennsylvania, and one in Virginia. One lives in the metro area and one in West Virginia. We make the time for each other, even if it means traveling.

Two of my friends have known me all my life, one began first grade with me, one married my cousin, and one dated my brother. One of my friends is my actual cousin, and two members of this group are sisters. These women are as different from each other as day and night; yet, I know that when I need a friend, at least one of them will be there to provide a shoulder or a laugh.

An added bonus is that our husbands get along well, and we’re able to double-date or have couples’ outings. Randy does occasionally feel as though he’s cheating on Wayne with Frank, but it all works out. I worry sometimes when I see Randy and Lou with their heads together, and I fear what might happen if the whole group of husbands got together to build something.

Of late, one of our topics of conversation is the fact that we’re all getting older and forgetting things. We blame it, alternately, on having too much to think about and on menopause.

Menopause is a great blame-all, isn’t it? No man alive will argue with us if we tell him we have “female” problems.

I was having lunch with my mother earlier this week at one of her favorite restaurants. The place is decorated with a lot of artwork and handmade items, and I happened to spy a framed piece of embroidery on the wall that hit home.

One of my friends and I had recently discussed the fear of really losing our memories. The little sampler was embroidered with the words “We’ll be friends until we’re old and senile. And then we’ll be NEW friends!”

I took a photo of the sampler and texted it to each member of the posse. Their responses were typical of each of them.

Joanie responded immediately with a smiley face and “I love that!”

Teresa was next with a laugh and “You got that right!”

Gail warned that “That could be sooner than we expect.” Then she texted about a movie she’d seen and a previous discussion that I don’t remember.

Linda agreed that “This is us!” and she loved it.

Susie agreed “So true” and added a separate thought about a note I had written her and we discussed her upcoming trip to Italy.

Cathy asked, “Where are you?” and then we discussed the restaurant.

Tricia (my cousin) responded that she loved the sample and me.

I didn’t hear back from Anita right away, but I knew that she was at work and could possibly be in a meeting or traveling. Two days later, I got this response:

“So old and senile that I forgot to respond. Hope you have a great day my old and new friend!”

I told Anita not to worry about not responding right away to the funny photo I had texted her about being old and senile. I’d turned off my phone and forgotten where I put it.

Better Living Through Chemistry

by Christine Maccabee 

I am finding it difficult to decide what to write about during this magical time of year, when the crocuses are beginning to bloom and when the grays and browns of trees and fields will again become green. This is the time of year we all wait for with eagerness and joy.

At the same time, no sooner does the first bug appear and dandelions begin popping out on our lawns that a sort of warfare begins against the natural world. Bug zappers, which are helping diminish insects we deem as pests, have actually contributed to the depletion of vital food sources (bugs) for birds such as swallows and other birds, dependent on insects for food and survival. Frogs, toads, and dragonflies—even fish—need insects to survive.

Dandelions and clovers are also critical early-season food for our bees, so why poison them? Weed them out if you must, but don’t use chemicals. You may ask “why not?”

Actually, multiple herbicides and pesticides that consumers use regularly are killing both “bad” and “good” insects, as well as threatening the health of soil micro-organisms and human beings. Awareness of such problems in these difficult, even perilous, times is important. Aware consumers can be a powerful source for healthy change and a healthy planet.

Surely everyone has heard of the decline in honey bee and bumble bee populations, globally, and we wonder and worry as to why. Asking “why” is one of the first questions as we come into the world and start to observe the world around us, one of many questions we must continue asking into adulthood in order to learn and to come up with better solutions to our many on-going problems.

You may have heard of the detrimental effects of herbicides and pesticides to insect, bird, and human populations. According to the recent book White Wash by Carey Gillam, agrochemical industries such as Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, and others, have taken over the west side of the Hawaiian island Kauai, popularly called the “Garden Isle.”  However, now that these agro-chemistry corporations have bought thousands of acres to experiment with their chemicals, there is a toxic soup poisoning this piece of paradise— air, water, and human. Serious health problems, such as cancer, are occurring in communities that live near what residents are now calling the “poison valley,” and alarm has spread as more and more people are sickened by such secret testings. I became horrified when I read the details of this misled corporate effort to get rid of unwanted insects and plants.

Similar experiments are carried on by Monsanto out west, the most popular product being Roundup, which contains glyphosate. It was embraced by everyone as the wonder herbicide until unintended impacts on the environment and human health were discovered, and now Roundup Ready crops are all the rage, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms….no space to write about that here, nor the heart.

Worldwide, chemicals in commonly used herbicides and pesticides are silently doing more harm than people know. Sadly, ever since DDT and Agent Orange were banned from use in the 1970s, other similarly potent chemicals with different names have taken their place. Chloropyrifos, a neurotoxin, which along with many other problems are linked to Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. Enlist Duo and Glyphosate are highly toxic herbicides used on corn cotton and soybeans in thirty-four states. They are potent weed killers, wreaking havoc on all insects by killing vital host plants such as milkweed (though they also poison insects and birds, too). As for the bees, Neonics confuse their ability to navigate back to the hives. Once they do make it back, they contaminate the entire hive, creating problems with grooming themselves that, in turn, makes them more vulnerable to mites and disease. Also, because neonics disrupt bees’ gut bacteria, thus weakening their immune systems, the entire hive dies.

Since reading Rachael Carson’s intelligent research and book called Silent Spring (1962), I have not used any chemicals on my property. Instead, there seems to be a wonderfully balanced ecosystem here on my 11+ acres, with a wide diversity of insects, birds, and plants. However, I cannot control what others are doing, and so I am also affected—as are we all—by agrochemical farming. Traces of Glyphosate are found in far too many foods commonly sold at local stores, so I buy organic as much as possible.

 Better living through chemistry? Perhaps we should all continue   asking the question “why?”.

The Huckster Vs. The Highwaymen

by James Rada, Jr.

By the time the sun cleared the horizon in the east on March 27, 1899, J.T. Waesche was already at work. Waesche, who was a huckster, had harnessed his team and set out to cross Catoctin Mountain to sell his goods in Washington County.

He traveled along the unpaved road that would eventually become MD 77 in the 1950s, moving slowly as his team pulled his wagon up Catoctin Mountain.

Waesche was about 2.5 miles west of Thurmont when he heard two voices call out, “Halt!” from either side of the road.

“Upon looking up, he found that two men, partially hidden by large rocks and with masks over their faces were covering him with their revolvers,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

Although Waesche didn’t tug on the reins of the horses, they stopped at the sound of voices.

“Surrender. Throw up your hands,” one highwayman ordered.

Waesche should have expected something like this to happen at some point.

The newspapers had run stories about highwaymen robbing people along this road, but Waesche wasn’t armed. He remained calm. He stared at the men, trying to get a read on them and deciding what he should do.

“Well, I’m not going to do it,” he finally said.

He flicked the reins to start his horses moving. The highwaymen stepped from behind the rocks and moved toward the wagon.

“Stop or I’ll shoot you!” one bandit warned.

Waesche saw the man pointing his pistol in Waesche’s direction, but he also noticed that it was aimed over his head.

“One of them fired, and one of the horses, being a very nervous animal, ‘she went up into the air and came down running’ as Mr. Waesche put it,” according to the Clarion.

Waesche urged his horses to gallop, and the wagon hurried past the two highwaymen.

“They fired as many as a half-dozen shots, but they were either very poor marksmen or hoped to cause a run-away and smash-up, thus catching their man, as not one of their shots struck the wagon,” the Clarion reported.

Waesche drove to F. N. Wilhide’s house, which was the first house he came to a half mile up the road, where he could get help.

Besides the reported robberies along the road, the Clarion reported that three young men had been traveling along the road around midnight the night before. They saw a fire in the woods and walked over to see if it was a campfire or the beginnings of a forest fire.

“Upon approaching the light, the young men saw two men seated near a fire and they were engaged in making and fitting on masks,” the Clarion reported.

One of the men approached the three travelers. They exchanged pleasantries and the three men continued on their way. They thought nothing of the encounter until they heard about what happened to Waesche. They told the Deputy Sheriff Anderson of Thurmont that they could identify the men if they saw them again.

The Frederick Post reported that Anderson had an idea of who the two men were. He traveled to Hagerstown looking for them, but could not locate them.

The Frederick paper also reported a very different version of the story. The newspaper reported that Waesche was armed with two revolvers, and he drew them when the highwaymen challenged him.

“The would-be robbers, seeing they had run against the wrong man, took to their heels across the country,” the Frederick Post reported.

Either way, Waesche protected his property and put the highwaymen in their place.

A shot of MD 77, near Sandy Hole, when it was still just a dirt road in the early 20th century.