Cumberland County Edition
Vol. 15 No. 2
Expanding Minds, Broadening Horizons Discussion Group Coordinator Sees World through Great Writers, Travel By Chelsea Peifer The moment you finish a great book is the moment you want to tell someone about what you read. Certain books stir questions and create a desire for discussion. But after high school and college, many people lose the groups and resources they previously had at their disposal to share about what they are reading. Book clubs can be a good fit for some readers, but a club tailored to deep discussion is something of a treasure these days. One such gem exists in Cumberland County. For the last five years, Lower Allen Township resident Dan Tepsic has had the privilege of coordinating the Great Books Discussion Group at the New Cumberland Public Library. “It’s an opportunity to read all of the great thinkers in the past,” explained Tepsic. “You get to read a vast selection, including economics, classic literature, poetry, politics, and religion. “You realize after reading all of these things that while the context has changed, human nature has not,” he said. The themes in historical literature are the same themes found in stories please see HORIZONS page 14 Dan Tepsic seated in the second floor of the New Cumberland Public Library, the meeting place of the Great Books Discussion Group.
How to Guard Against Wintertime Heart Attacks page 6
Salute to a Veteran: Gene George page 10
My 22 Cents’ Worth
Editing Our Given Names Walt Sonneville
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hy did FBI Director John Edgar Hoover not use his first name? He went by the name “J. Edgar Hoover.” Edgar? One explanation is that his cousin, John E. Hoover, who also lived in Washington, DC, had a bad credit record, and J. Edgar did not wish to be mistaken for him. It was not a case of J. Edgar being confused with his father, whose full name was Dickerson Naylor Hoover. Comedienne Lily Tomlin referred to Hoover as “Jedgar,” a name not likely to create confusion with someone else. Her creativity accords with the choice made by John Ellis Bush, son of President George Herbert Walker Bush. J.E. Bush merged his initials and is known as “Jeb.” This is a great country. One can edit the first and middle name without applying for official approval by a court or raising the suspicions of the secret police. Several of our political figures have jettisoned their first names, using only their middle name to be recognized. Would you know, if their middle name or nickname was not indicated, any of the following: President Stephen Grover Cleveland, Vice President James Danforth (“Dan”) Quayle, President Hiram Ulysses (“U.S.”) Grant, Governor James Richard (“Rick”) Perry, Governor Willard Mitt Romney, and President Thomas Woodrow Wilson? There are non-political figures, too, that are more easily identified when their middle names are stated. Among them are publisher William Randolph Hearst, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, civilrights icon Martin Luther King, historian John Hope Franklin, musician James Paul McCartney, and CNN founder Robert Ted Turner. The first name of James has been spurned by Perry, Quayle, and McCartney. Is there an implication here that the name is a career liability? Occasionally, celebrities discard both their first and middle names, using only initials. Circus impresario Phineas Taylor
(“P.T.”) Barnum and poet e.e. cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings) come to mind. Cummings, being impoverished, possibly had a typewriter that could not produce capital letters. Less likely, he had an overwhelming sense of humility that he believed was best expressed by using only the lower case. A single name suffices for some whose fame is legend, but not for ordinary people. We have the examples of Prince, Liberace, and Madonna. Elvis did not need his last name to be recognized. Single names evoke a royal lineage. No one should address Queen Elizabeth II by her full name, which is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. If one were to do so, a chilling grimace can be expected from Her Majesty’s entourage. Europeans did not begin to adopt last names until the 11th to 13th centuries. The Irish were among the first, but they were centuries behind the Chinese. It was open season then on the crafting of family names. The opportunity will not return on this scale again. Editing the last names of immigrants passing through Ellis Island was unintentionally done by officials incorrectly transposing names onto entry records. As a result, two adult siblings named Smith may have records showing one as Smith and the other as Smyth. Such errors generally became permanent changes. Families in our Southern states have the charming custom of calling their children by somewhat lyrically paired names. Fans of the television series The Waltons may recall John Boy and Jim Bob. Betty Mae, Eddy Joe, Mary Alice, and Lila Sue are further examples. Names given to infants decades ago are rarely selected today. Understandably, Adolf (or Adolph), which is Teutonic for wolf, is a name most Americans abhor. Wolf Blitzer can be thankful he is not of Teutonic ancestry. He may not want please see NAMES page 14
Resource Directory This Resource Directory recognizes advertisers who have made an extended commitment to your health and well-being.
Emergency Numbers American Red Cross (717) 845-2751 Central PA Poison Center (800) 521-6110 Cumberland County Assistance (800) 269-0173 Energy Assistance Cumberland County Board of Assistance (800) 269-0173 Eye Care Services Kilmore Eye Associates 890 Century Drive, Mechanicsburg (717) 697-1414 Funeral Directors Cocklin Funeral Home, Inc. 30 N. Chestnut St., Dillsburg (717) 432-5312 Health & Medical Services Alzheimer’s Association (717) 651-5020 American Diabetes Association (800) 342-2383 Arthritis Foundation (717) 763-0900 CONTACT Helpline (717) 652-4400 The National Kidney Foundation (800) 697-7007 PACE (800) 225-7223 Social Security Administration (Medicare) (800) 302-1274 Healthcare Information Pa. HealthCare Cost Containment Council (717) 232-6787 Hearing Services Duncan Nulph Hearing Associates 5020 Ritter Road, Suite 10G, Mechanicsburg (717) 766-1500 Pennsylvania Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (800) 233-3008 V/TTY
Home Care Services Home Care Assistance Serving Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties (717) 540-4663 Safe Haven Quality Care Serving Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry counties (717) 582-9977 Senior Helpers Serving the Greater Harrisburg Area (717) 920-0707 Hospice Services Homeland Hospice 2300 Vartan Way, Suite 115, Harrisburg (717) 221-7890 Housing Assistance Cumberland County Housing Authority 114 N. Hanover St., Carlisle (717) 249-1315 Homeland Center Cumberland and Dauphin counties (717) 221-7727 Property Tax/Rent Rebate (888) 728-2937 Salvation Army (717) 249-1411 Insurance Apprise Insurance Counseling (800) 783-7067 Pharmacies CVS/pharmacy www.cvs.com Retirement Communities Homeland Center 1901 N. Fifth St., Harrisburg (717) 221-7902 Services Cumberland County Aging & Community Services (717) 240-6110 Meals on Wheels Carlisle (717) 245-0707
National Council on Aging (800) 424-9046
Mechanicsburg (717) 697-5011 Newville (717) 776-5251 Shippensburg (717) 532-4904
Organ Donor Hotline (800) 243-6667 Passport Information (888) 362-8668
Toll-Free Numbers Bureau of Consumer Protection (800) 441-2555 Cancer Information Service (800) 422-6237
Smoking Information (800) 232-1331 Social Security Fraud (800) 269-0217 Social Security Office (800) 772-1213
Consumer Information (888) 878-3256
Travel Wheelchair Getaways Serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey (717) 921-2000
Disease and Health Risk (888) 232-3228 Domestic Violence (800) 799-7233 Drug Information (800) 729-6686
Veterans Services American Legion (717) 730-9100
Flu or Influenza (888) 232-3228 Health and Human Services Discrimination (800) 368-1019
Governor’s Veterans Outreach (717) 234-1681
Internal Revenue Service (800) 829-1040
Lebanon VA Medical Center 1700 S. Lincoln Ave., Lebanon (717) 228-6000 or (800) 409-8771
Liberty Program (866) 542-3788
Veterans Affairs (717) 240-6178 or (717) 697-0371
Medicare Hotline (800) 638-6833
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Our Wacky House of Cats Saralee Perel ur cat, Dennis, opens drawers. We put a hookand-eye lock on the bathroom cabinet, which he quickly unhooked. He pulled on the knob, opened the door, and ripped the toilet paper to shreds. Dennis swings from lampshades. He chucks objects off tables—at 3 a.m. Last night, he knocked over my guitar. I heard screeching noises and found him bouncing around on the strings—trampoline style. My guitar is now in the attic. Yet every night, Dennis sleeps on his back between my husband’s knees, purring while Bob rubs the happy cat’s belly. “Sweet Dennis,” Bob says, “you have an amazing joy for living. I couldn’t love you more, my little friend.” Murphy is our orange cat. He’s not smart. This cat would just keep walking off a ledge without looking down. When we have plastic bags in the house, I grab them or he’ll scarf down the plastic. He’s endearingly simple. He’ll walk straight into a closed door, turn around, and do it again. Yet when Murphy wants attention, he sits in front of the computer screen. Bob never pushes him away. Instead he gives Murphy the attention he wants. “Goofy Murphy,” he says, “I will keep you from harm’s way. I love you just the way you are.” While I was reading on the couch, Jordy, our kitten, trotted in with Bob’s underpants in his mouth. He flung them in the air and then settled down to teethe on the waistband. Instead of buying cat toys, we should just strew Bob’s drawers everywhere. That night, while we were watching TV in bed, Jordy was wiggling under the covers. When his little head popped out, his binky (Bob’s underpants) was in his mouth.
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Murphy needs attention.
“Can’t he keep them, Bob?” “No. They’re mine.” And so ensued the most ridiculous-looking tug of war one could ever envision. Yet Jordy looks up at Bob with the innocence of a newborn. “Jordy,” Bob says, “you are more fun than Disneyland. You teach me that toys are not something we buy in a store. They’re whatever we imagine them to be, my silly, lovable kitten. Your tenderness melts my heart.” We once had a cat named Eddie who set off two fires, causing the police and fire trucks to arrive— sirens blaring. His first case of arson was to turn on a gas burner. The second involved a flaming lampshade.
One time, he pushed our burglar alarm, sending police to our house again. My claim, “The cat did it,” was wearing pretty darn thin. Yet Eddie will always be a part of me. I still see a hole—a space that moves around the house where his form used to be. As heart-wrenching as endings are, they’re only so painful because the love was so grand. But love never goes away. And so, I asked Bob why we keep winding up with wacky creatures. “Because we’re lucky,” he said. “But they’re unpredictably insane.” “I married you, didn’t I?” Why do Bob and I adore these little beings of mischief and chaos, who worry us with their exploits, who break things, who need extra care? Why do we love them so much? Because everyone who has a fourfooted family does. Saralee Perel is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist. Her new book is Cracked Nuts & Sentimental Journeys: Stories From a Life Out of Balance. To find out more, visit www.saraleeperel.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February The land lies dreary before the eye, Often under a blanket of snow. No birds sing now, just the caw of the crow, And the sun shines low in the winter sky. Cornfields are bare, broken stalks are brown; While naked trees stand rigid and bold. Frost whitens the ground, the air is cold; Blue haze of smoke floats over the town. The timeless rocks and the frozen creek Have often seen this yearly routine. Although the land seems barren and bleak, Something hides in the lonely scene, Waiting for the warming sun they seek; Tiny buds and seeds will soon grow green. Written and submitted by John McGrath
Older But Not Wiser
Almost a Saint Sy Rosen y mother is 91, blind, and has diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s, mild dementia, and heart problems, but besides that, she’s in perfect health. I visit her three times a week at her assisted living facility. Sometimes I only stay for a few minutes, but I still count it as a visit because I want to think of myself as a good son. And when I bring her the Depends and the caregivers say, “Oh, you got the good kind,” I feel like I am almost a saint. I know, I’m an idiot trying to build up points for myself, but that’s who I am. I’m worried that the dementia is getting worse. My mom tries to hide it, but she sometimes gets confused about what’s going on around her. To help keep her mind sharp, I always try to have a conversation with her to jog her memory. I don’t mind doing it. Like I said, I’m almost a saint. We usually talk about Brooklyn. That’s where my mom was born and I grew up. “Do you remember what we did there for fun?” I ask. My mother nods but doesn’t answer. “We went to the movies,” I tell her. “In those days, there was double feature and a cartoon, and I remember I got in for a quarter.” “Movies are $2 now,” she says. Of course I don’t correct her. Like I said, I’m almost a saint. “We also saw Broadway plays,” I tell her. “Yes, we went to plays.” I could tell she was just repeating what I said, so I asked, “Do you remember what kind of plays?” She was thinking but didn’t come up with an answer. “Musicals,” I said. “Musicals,” she repeated. “Yes,” I said, “we went to musicals like Oklahoma! and South Pacific.” I then started to sing “OOOklahoma…”
“You’ve got a terrible voice,” she said and laughed. My mother had a biting sense of humor, and I’m glad that she still has it. And she’s right; I do have a terrible voice. “Do you remember the name of the tuxedo store that you and Dad owned?” I asked. She shook her head no, so I said, “Ace Formal Wear.” “Ace Formal Wear,” she repeated “Why’d you name it Ace?” I asked. “So, uh, it would be first in the, uh, phonebook.” “Right! And everybody who came was happy because they were renting a tux for a wedding,” I added. “Yes, it was only later that they got miserable,” she said while laughing. As I said, my mom has a wicked sense of humor. As she talked she became more and more engaged and remembered a bunch of stuff. I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was almost a saint. Unfortunately, as I was leaving, she told me that Sy came yesterday. Uh oh. “I’m Sy,” I replied. I hated that she got mixed up and didn’t realize that all this time she was talking to me, her son. “You’re Sy?” she asked. “Yes, Mom, I’m your son Sy.” And I could see by my mom’s face that she knew she blundered. That her sometimes jumbled mind had betrayed her. I should have stayed longer, but it’s hard seeing my mom like this, so I said I had work to do, kissed her on the forehead, and left. On the way out, I was stopped by an elderly man. “Are you Flora’s son?” he asked. I nodded, trying to get out of there as quickly as possible, but he kept talking. “She’s a very nice lady. I spoke to her yesterday. By the way, my name is Sy too.” I may be almost a saint, but I’m a complete idiot.
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CCRCs offer a tiered approach to the aging process, accommodating residents’ unique and often changing needs.
CCRC Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Healthy adults entering a CRCC are able to live independently in a home, apartment, or condominium of their own within the community. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they can move into personal care, assisted living, rehabilitation, or nursing care facilities. Some CCRCs have designated dementia areas within the community. These units address the progressing needs of people who have any form of dementia. With a wealth of available resources, these communities give older adults the option to live in one location for the duration of their lives, with much of their future care already figured out — which equals both comfort and peace of mind.
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How to Guard Against Wintertime Heart Attacks Jim Miller Dear Savvy Senior, When I had a mild heart attack about six months ago, my doctor told me I needed to be extra careful during the winter when recurring heart attacks are more common. Is this true? How can the seasons affect your heart? – Leery Senior Dear Leery, Everyone knows winter is cold and flu season, but most people don’t know that it’s also the prime season for heart attacks too, especially if you already have heart disease or have suffered a previous heart
attack. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips to help you protect yourself. Heart Attack Season In the U.S., the risk
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American Heart Month
of having a heart attack during the winter months is twice as high as it is during the summertime. Why? There are a number of factors, and they’re not all linked to cold weather. Even
people who live in warm climates have an increased risk. Here are the areas you need to pay extra attention to this winter. • Cold temperatures: When a person gets cold, the body responds by constricting the blood vessels to help the body maintain heat. This causes blood pressure to go up and makes the heart work harder. Cold temperatures can also increase levels of certain proteins that can thicken the blood and increase the risk for blood clots. www.50plusSeniorNewsPA.com
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Woodcrest Villa Mennonite Home Communities 2001 Harrisburg Pike Lancaster, PA 17601 Connie Buckwalter Director of Marketing (717) 390-4126 www.woodcrestvilla.org
The CCRC Communities listed are sponsoring this message. This is not an all-inclusive list.
• Snow shoveling: Studies have shown that heart-attack rates jump dramatically in the first few days after a major snowstorm, usually a result of snow shoveling. Shoveling snow is a very strenuous activity that raises blood pressure and stresses the heart. Combine those factors with the cold temperatures, and the risk for heart attack surges. If your sidewalk or driveway needs shoveling this winter, hire a kid from the neighborhood to do it for you or use a snow blower. Or, if you must shovel, push rather than lift the snow as much as possible, www.50plusSeniorNewsPA.com
during the holiday season and winter months, all of which are hard on the heart and risky for someone with heart disease. So keep a In the U.S., the risk watchful eye on of having a heart your diet this attack during the winter and avoid binging on fatty winter months is foods and alcohol. twice as high as it is
stay warm, and take frequent breaks.
• New Year’s resolutions: Every Jan. 1, millions of people join gyms or start exercise programs as part of their New Year’s resolution to get in shape, and many overexert during the themselves too • Shorter days: summertime. soon. Less daylight in the If you’re starting winter months can a new exercise cause many people program this to develop seasonal winter, take the time to talk to your affective disorder or SAD, a wintertime doctor about what types and how much depression that can stress the heart. exercise may be appropriate for you. Studies have also looked at heartattack patients and found they usually • Winter weight gain: People tend to eat have lower levels of vitamin D (which and drink more and gain more weight comes from sunlight) than people with
So stay warm this winter, and when you do have to go outside, make sure you bundle up in layers with gloves and a hat, and place a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
healthy hearts. To boost your vitamin D this winter, consider taking a supplement that contains between 1,000 and 2,000 international units (IU) per day. And to find treatments for SAD, visit the Center for Environmental Therapeutics website at www.cet.org. • Flu season: Studies show that people who get flu shots have a lower heartattack risk. It’s known that the inflammatory reaction set off by a flu infection can increase blood clotting, which can lead to heart attacks in vulnerable people. So, if you haven’t already done so, get a flu shot for protection. See www.flushot.healthmap.org to find a nearby vaccination site. Jim Miller is a regular contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior Book. www.savvysenior.org
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Travel Appetizers: Stories that Whet the Appetite for Travel
Panama: the Country, the Canal, and a 100th Anniversary By Andrea Gross ’m standing on the deck of a 24passenger catamaran, watching the sun rise over the Pacific. Yes, that’s right. The sun is rising over the Pacific. Here, in the Central American country of Panama, which is positioned between two continents and two oceans, I can see a bit of the Pacific that juts to the east, poking into a portion of the Atlantic. So when the sun rises in the east, it appears over Pacific waters. I find this intriguing but at the same time unsettling. But then, many things in Panama force me to rearrange my mind. The hot-pink hibiscus, the brightbeaked toucans, the swirling skirts of the dancers … Everywhere I look, the country pulsates with the psychedelic colors that inspired Paul Gauguin, and I’m on sensory overload for the first part of my trip. Then, bingo, I board the MS Discovery for my cruise through the
My husband and I are in Panama with Grand Circle Travel, precisely because their tour offers country culture as well as canal cruising. After all, there’s no doubt that the famed waterway has made the country a place to be reckoned with. One hundred years ago this year, on Aug. 15, 1914, the SS Ancon made the first official canal passage between the High-school students perform traditional Panamanian dances. Atlantic and Pacific. By eliminating the The canal is largely responsible for making long trip around Cape Horn, the Panama City a hub for international ocean-to-ocean journey was shortened business. by more than 8,000 miles. It was a feat that transformed both global commerce and the country of Panama. Women of the Embera indigenous In 2015, after a $5.2 billion community make baskets from the fibers expansion is completed, the canal will of plants that grow near their village. be able to handle larger ships, thus further fueling the country’s economy and increasing its importance. We begin our tour in the capital of Panama, Panama City, which has Panama Canal. The bright colors often confined by the gray, cement bricks morphed from a 15th-century settlement disappear as I enter a more ordered of the locks. The right side of my brain (now evident in the ruins of Panama La world, one that’s muted, mechanical, and wars with the left.
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Viejo) to a 17th-century Spanish colonial town (quickly becoming the go-to neighborhood for after-hours fun) to a 21st-century metropolis that is both an international business center and a popular tourist destination. The city’s history is fascinating, the atmosphere electric, but still, I’m glad when we head out to the rural areas. In line with our travel company’s philosophy that meeting local people is as important as seeing historic sites, we stop at an agricultural cooperative where farmers work together to bring their produce to market, a sugar cane farm where a husband and wife have a small candy-making business, a school where youngsters perform traditional dances and their mothers serve us a homemade lunch, and a private home where the owner teaches us to make one of his grandmother’s favorite dishes. At each place our hosts talk freely, giving us insight into their daily lives. I emerge from these visits well fed and well informed. We learn about yet another Panamanian lifestyle when we meet the Embera people, members of one of Panama’s seven indigenous tribes. I step out of our dugout canoe to find a village of thatched huts perched on stilts, an open-air schoolhouse, a soccer field, a meeting hall, a woman weaving baskets,
There are several species of spider monkeys in Panama, and it is special, but not unusual, to see troops of 20 or 30 swinging from tree to tree.
The gates open to allow the MS Discovery to enter the Gatun Locks.
and an entire community of people in traditional attire. The tribal spokesman explains that opening their village to outsiders allows the Emberas to earn a living while
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Photos © Irv Green unless otherwise noted; story by Andrea Gross (www.andreagross.com).
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continuing to live according to the ways of their ancestors. It’s a Margaret Mead experience, and I love every minute. In between people visits, we take mini treks through the rainforest. Unlike the
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Keel-billed toucans that live in the Panamanian rainforest often make forays into villages.
men who built the canal, we’re slathered with sunscreen, protected with insect repellent, and our only goals are to see a monkey, spot a toucan, and track a capybara. We aren’t charged with digging a path through a thick jungle where the temperature is often above 80 degrees and the humidity above 90 percent. Of the 80,000 men who worked on the canal, more than a third died of yellow fever or malaria. A normal trip through the canal takes 10 hours, but we have arrangements for a full daylight passage. Therefore, we enter on the Pacific, head northwest through two sets of locks that raise the Discovery 85 feet above sea level, cross the Continental Divide, and spend the night on Gatun Lake. The next morning we go ashore to visit the Gatun Dam and take our final rainforest trek, which reminds us of the travails that went into building the canal. Then we re-board our ship, go through the final set of locks, and descend to sea level in another ocean. I go to the upper deck and look to the west. Yes, the sun is setting over the Atlantic. www.gct.com/pma
• Efficiency and onebedroom apartments with many amenities • Located in beautiful downtown Carlisle • Maintenance-free living • Elevator in building • Laundry facilities on-site • Small pets welcome (pet rules apply)
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Two West Penn Apartments Two West Penn Street • Carlisle, PA 17013 or call (717) 245-0516 • (717) 249-3484 Tues., Wed., Thurs.
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Salute to a Veteran
He Saw Up Close the Havoc from the A-bombs on Nagasaki and Bikini Atoll Robert D. Wilcox So they Sanctuary, a were old brand-new friends, and hospital ship that led to that was George’s headed for being the Pacific. assigned to a He says he cushy job in was in the the “broom Brooklyn closet,” as the Navy Yard, guy who helping to passed out load The band put together by Charles E. (Gene) George the brooms supplies for (second from right, first row). and mops the ship, rather then when a the guy who had to lieutenant asked him if wield them. he could form a band After basic, he to perform on the ship. trained at the Naval How did he even Medical Corps know that George was School in a musician? Portsmouth, Va., “I don’t know,” where he studied George says. “I suppose anatomy and first he spotted my aid, learning to give saxophone that I shots and bandage carried with me. In any wounds. And that led case, I rounded up a to an assignment at talented 17-member the naval hospital in group, some of whom Portsmouth, where had played with the big he served in the bands. The drummer, orthopedic ward. for example, had “I made a lot of played with Glenn lifelong friends Miller and was a good Gene George in 2003 while serving there,” he says. “The friend of Glenn’s.” in a local honor guard. head corpsman there The Sanctuary was my best man passed through the when I married.” Panama Canal and His next assignment was to the USS arrived in Hawaii four days before the surrender of the Japanese on Sept. 2, 1945. “We then sailed to Nagasaki, Japan,” he says. “Our band played every night on the promenade deck before the movies Join the 2014 One Book, One Community campaign by reading were shown. In Nagasaki, I remember The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan that we played at an afternoon tea at the Consulate. 85 libraries in Berks, Dauphin, Lancaster, “I looked out the windows of the Lebanon, Perry, and York counties and their Consulate and saw everything simply community partners present the regional flattened, from the Mitsubishi Aircraft reading campaign: Factory to the rest of Nagasaki. Everything was just a wasteland. The blast went north and south and, for some Get a copy at reason, not so much east and west where your local library the camps holding American POWs or area bookseller Visit www.oboc.org were. or your library to learn more “We picked up sick, injured, and
hen Gene George was in high school in Watertown, Mass., in the early 1940s, nobody had ever heard of a nuclear bomb. The fact that we were secretly working to develop one was perhaps the best-kept secret of World War II. But for George, those were carefree days, with the greatest challenge being to play the saxophone in his high school’s marching band and playing in a small combo that performed weekends at a Chinese restaurant. When he graduated from Watertown High School in 1942, however, the draft was in full swing. And in September 1942, he was drafted. A friend had told him of the wonders of service in the Coast Guard, so he thought he’d give that a try. But problems with his teeth caused the Coast Guard to turn him down. The best they could offer him was to suggest he try the Navy. When he did, he found that the Navy was glad to have him. Soon he was on his way to Sampson Naval Training Base in New York state, a huge, 2,500-acre base where more than 400,000 men were to train during the war. George was part of a company that was assigned to KP (kitchen police). Remarkably, the Navy chief who was assigning men to specific jobs was Bob Daughters, who had played second base for the Boston Red Sox. More importantly, he had been one of the men to whom George had sold newspapers as a high schooler.
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ambulatory cases to bring them home. I remember that the captain who was our chief medical officer told our skipper that we had room for 1,100. The skipper, who was only a commander, said flatly, ‘We’re taking them until they quit coming.’ And we left for San Francisco with 1,176 aboard from six different POW camps. “On the way, we were hit with a typhoon, and I have to say that I would never want to do that again. We had two destroyer escorts, and they tucked in close behind us so we could break the mountainous waves and prevent their taking water down their stacks and sending them to the bottom. “We were doing 21 knots, and the waves were coming at 22, so we were barely holding our own. I believe I might have been the only one on our ship who wasn’t sick during that blow.” George later was assigned to the troop transport ship, the USS Wharton, when it sailed in the spring of 1946 to take observers to the Bikini Atoll for the first nuclear bomb tests since Nagasaki. The Navy needed to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval ships. One bomb named Abel was detonated at 500 feet above the atoll, and another named Baker was detonated 90 feet under water. Each was the equivalent of 23 kilotons of TNT, and the radiation contaminated all the target ships. Wasn’t George concerned about the effects of the radiation? “Not then,” he says. “It was a question of ‘ignorance is bliss.’ None of us knew anything about what radiation could do.” And did he have any effect from it? “Well,” he answers with a shrug, “I’m anemic, and that might have had something to do with that.” George retired from the Navy in July 1963 as a chief hospital corpsman. In civilian life, he worked as safety officer at the Naval Supply Depot in Mechanicsburg and is proud of having long served in his local honor guard, which honors our fallen heroes. He now lives in an area retirement community—and still fits in his World War II uniform. Colonel Wilcox flew a B-17 bomber in Europe in World War II.
Calendar of Events
PA State Parks in Cumberland County
Senior Center Activities
Feb. 9, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Stressbuster Hike, Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Big Spring Senior Center – (717) 776-4478 91 Doubling Gap Road, Suite 1, Newville Fridays, Feb. 7 through April 11 – Income Tax Help by Appointment Feb. 14, 11:30 a.m. – Valentine’s Day Friendship Dinner Feb. 26, noon – Free Blood Pressure Checks
Programs and Support Groups Feb. 4, 7 p.m. CanSurmount Cancer Support Group HealthSouth Acute Rehab Hospital 175 Lancaster Blvd. Mechanicsburg (717) 691-6786 Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m. Too Sweet: Diabetes Support Group Chapel Hill United Church of Christ 701 Poplar Church Road Camp Hill (717) 557-9041
Free and open to the public.
Feb. 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Carlisle Area Men’s Cancer Support Group The Live Well Center 3 Alexandria Court, Carlisle (717) 877-7561 email@example.com
Feb. 18, 1 p.m. Caregiver Support Group Mechanicsburg Church of the Brethren 501 Gale St., Mechanicsburg (717) 766-8880
Feb. 12, 1 p.m. Parkinson’s Support Group HealthSouth Rehab Hospital 175 Lancaster Blvd. Mechanicsburg (717) 877-0624
If you have an event you would like to include, please email information to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Free and open to the public.
Mondays and Wednesdays, noon to 12:45 p.m. Silver Sneakers Class: Muscular Strength and Range of Movement Living Well Fitness Center 207 House Ave., Suite 107 Camp Hill (717) 439-4070
Feb. 5, 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays in Winter: “The Tractobile” by Randy Watts Cumberland County Historical Society 21 N. Pitt St., Carlisle (717) 249-7610
Feb. 12, 11:30 a.m. NARFE West Shore Chapter 1465 VFW Post 6704 4907 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg (717) 737-1486 www.narfe1465.org Visitors welcome; meeting is free but fee for food.
What’s Happening? Give Us the Scoop! Please send us your press releases so we can let our readers know about free events occurring in Cumberland County! Email preferred to: email@example.com
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Southampton Place – (717) 530-8217, www.seniors.southamptontwp.com 56 Cleversburg Road, Shippensburg Feb. 6, 11 a.m. – PCN Nutrition Speaker Feb. 14, 9:30 a.m. – Valentine’s Party and Potluck Feb. 26, 1 p.m. – CPR/AED Training Please contact your local center for scheduled activities.
Cumberland County Library Programs Bosler Memorial Library, 158 W. High St., Carlisle, (717) 243-4642 Feb. 3, 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. – Monday Bosler Book Discussion Group Feb. 4, 11, 25, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Upstairs Stitchers Feb. 7 – Music at Bosler Cleve J. Fredricksen Library, 100 N. 19th St., Camp Hill, (717) 761-3900 Feb. 7, 7 p.m. – Shea Quinn Sings The Beatles Feb. 11, 7 p.m. – Fredricksen Reads Book Discussions: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss Feb. 28, 3:30 and 7 p.m. – Film Fridays: The 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films New Cumberland Public Library, 1 Benjamin Plaza, New Cumberland, (717) 774-7820 Feb. 11, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – Book Review: Social Animal by David Brooks Feb. 12 and 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Great Books Discussion Group Feb. 15, 11 a.m. to noon – Couponing for Extreme Savings: “How to Plan Your Shopping Trip in Advance”
Some Facts about Groundhogs In honor of Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, here are a few fun facts about groundhogs gleaned from the official site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (www.groundhog.org), which celebrates the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil: • The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. (Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.) www.50plusSeniorNewsPA.com
• Groundhogs are covered with coarse grayish hairs (fur) tipped with brown or sometimes dull red. They have short ears, a short tail, short legs, and are surprisingly quick. Their jaws are exceptionally strong. • A groundhog’s diet consists of lots of greens, fruits, and vegetables and very little water. Most of their liquids come from dew on leaves. • A groundhog can whistle when it is
alarmed. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they begin courting. • Insects do not bother groundhogs, and germs pretty much leave them alone. They are resistant to the plagues that periodically wipe out large numbers of wild animals. One reason for this is their cleanliness. • Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate.
Hibernation is not just a deep sleep. It is actually a deep coma, where the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, the blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops. • Young groundhogs are usually born in mid-April or May, and by July they are able to go out on their own. The size of the litter is four to nine. A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub.
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Fragments of History
The Man Who Taught the World to Sing and Swing Victor Parachin n New Year’s Eve 1913, a 12year-old boy celebrated the night by firing his mother’s .38 caliber pistol. He was arrested and sent to the Negro Waifs Home for 18 months. What could have been a devastating experiencing for a young boy proved to be an auspicious, life-changing time. The juvenile home had a band master who took an interest in the boy, giving him a bugle and teaching him to play. Louis Armstrong fell in love with the instrument, learned to read music, and, before a year ended, was playing the cornet while leading the home’s brass band. Though the introduction to music was important, perhaps as vital was the sense of discipline he picked up and carried with him for the rest of his life. When Armstrong was released from the Negro Waifs Home in 1915, he
wasn’t old enough to work with a band, By age 16, Armstrong and his horn so he earned money from a variety of were inseparable, and he was playing sources: delivering coal and beer, selling nightly. Within five years, he glided bananas, through the peddling tiers of musical February is newspapers, establishments, delivering moving milk, and through foraging in nightclubs and garbage cans riverboats to for food to become one of bring home the top brass or sell to musicians in restaurants. the area. Saving as Then, in many pennies 1922, his as he could, teacher and Armstrong mentor, Oliver, began to take invited trumpet Armstrong to lessons from Joe “King” Oliver, the join his Creole Jazz Band in Chicago. outstanding exponent of jazz in the New Though he spent less than two years with Orleans area. Oliver, the time was a huge boost to Armstrong’s morale and provided him with greater experiences in public performance. During this time he switched from the cornet to the trumpet. Additionally, while playing with Oliver, Armstrong met and married his second wife, Lil Hardin, who convinced him to form his own band and to start making phonograph records. In 1925, Armstrong learned that 50plus Senior News is available Chicago’s Okeh Records wanted to each month near the entrance assemble a small combo of New Orleans transplants to record jazz, and Armstrong of your local CVS/pharmacy. invited a few friends to join him in Pick up a free copy with your cutting some records. shopping basket! That group—called the Hot Five and later the Hot Seven—revolutionized jazz. Armstrong and his group developed the melodic, rhythmic style that all the big bands of the 1930s and 1940s would adopt. He brought swing dancing to the world, and the world loved him in return. Armstrong became the first black crossover musician, whose music appealed widely to black and white audiences. He also brought scat singing into existence. Armstrong created scat during a recording session for the Okeh. After dropping his sheet music by accident, he had to improvise vocally until the recording director returned the sheets to him. As a result, Armstrong’s rasping,
erican History Mo m A n a c nth Afri
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gravelly voice would eventually become as famous as the luxurious sound of his trumpet. In 1932 Armstrong made his first European tour; it was wildly successful, with Europeans gladly embracing his ebullient personality, talent, and natural public charm. It was during that European tour that he acquired the nickname “Satchmo” because a London music writer named P. Mathison Brooks inadvertently garbled his original nickname of “Satchelmouth,” which was given to him because of the size of his lips and teeth and the huge bellows his cheeks made when he played. As Armstrong became better and better known, an illustration of his lips and teeth on a billboard were enough to announce one of his coming performances. As his musical fame and reputation expanded, so did his opportunities. Armstrong began appearing in movies and Broadway shows and made guest appearances on various television shows during the 1960s. In 1964 his recording of “Hello, Dolly” became a huge hit, selling 2,000,000 copies and displacing The Beatles from the top of the hit list of bestselling records. Though Armstrong was not on the frontlines of the civil rights movement, in his own way he tried to make a contribution. “There has always been a misunderstanding of Armstrong and his unbelievable courage,” says filmmaker Ken Burns. “Here he was, refusing to go on a goodwill tour at the height of the Cold War, and people like Sammy Davis Jr. and Adam Clayton Powell denounced him. “You have this guy considered a throwback showing courage few AfricanAmerican entertainers were willing to do at the time.” Louis Armstrong died of heart failure July 6, 1971, at his home in Corona, N.Y. The house is now maintained by Queens College as the Louis Armstrong Archives. Very few people have ever risen as far in life as did Louis Armstrong. Beginning at the very bottom of American society, he emerged to become one of the most famous entertainers in the world. www.50plusSeniorNewsPA.com
Solutions for all puzzles can be found on page 14
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from page 1
told and written in the present time. Group discussions commonly return to timeless themes of reality versus imagination, lust for greed, and so forth. The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at the library, and there are usually anywhere from six to 14 people in attendance. Each reading selection is between 20 and 40 pages, so the amount of reading required to be a part of the group is not overly intensive, said Tepsic. The Great Books Foundation in Chicago sponsors the discussion groups. The foundation began as a nonprofit organization in 1947 to promote critical thinking and to encourage the development of well-rounded individuals. Today the foundation continues to sponsor programs throughout the entire country, including some at high schools and colleges. Tepsic’s group is mostly retired individuals, but people of all ages are welcome to join the biweekly discussions. Variety makes the discussions more interesting, so people with all different backgrounds and personalities are encouraged to attend. “You can contribute as much as you want, or nothing,” said Tepsic. The group includes professionals ranging from a dietician to an accountant to lawyers, professors, and government managers. “Everybody brings their own expertise
Food is a portion of the Tepsics’ retirement as well—not because they are suddenly indulging, but because they spend time each week delivering it to others through Meals on Wheels. Patricia is a coordinator and Dan is a driver. A natural outflow of their service has yet again been friendships. For some of the people Tepsic delivers to, that small interaction might, unfortunately, be the most social part of their week. “We wanted to give something back, and it’s just our way of contributing to the community,” Tepsic said. Playing tennis is another great joy in Tepsic’s life, and he has continued competing on several local teams even after having open heart surgery in 2004 and hip replacements in 2006 and 2008. He picked up the sport after serving in the Army for two years after college and has been competing in doubles ever since. Last year the team he is part of through the Harrisburg Academy went to the Eastern Regional Finals in Princeton. Having major surgeries has not slowed him down at all in tennis or in life. “I’ve been given a new lease,” Tepsic said. For more information on the Great Books Discussion Group, call New Cumberland Public Library at (717) 774-7820 or visit www.newcumberland library.org.
names for girls: Dagmar, Fannie, Fifi, and Gretchen. When these names reemerge as popular choices, subsequent editing of them can be anticipated. Senior citizens with archaic given names reveal their age group when communicating with strangers. To avoid potential age discrimination, they may
use an age-neutral nickname, such as Skip, Buck, or Cookie. Teens who dislike their given names soon edit them. Timing is critical. If seniors wait until they enter their golden years, others may regard name editing as a sure sign of dementia.
Walt Sonneville, a retired market-research analyst, is the author of My 22 Cents’ Worth: The Higher-Valued Opinion of a Senior Citizen and A Musing Moment: Meditative Essays on Life and Learning, books of personal-opinion essays, free of partisan and sectarian viewpoints. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Puzzles shown on page 13
their wish list of places to visit are Turkey and Greece. “I enjoy travel within the United States as well,” he said. “Out West is some of the most beautiful country in the world, such as Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon.” A lot of their travels are coordinated through the Harrisburg Area Friendship Force, an organization founded by former United States President Jimmy Carter to promote personal relationships between different cultures and nations. It is a division of the People to People Ambassador Programs. The program sets you up with a family to stay with when you are in another country, instead of sleeping in a hotel or hostel. The people who host you are able to show you much more of the area than you would get to see without the friendship of locals, said Tepsic. He and his wife have made friends around the world through the Harrisburg Area Friendship Force. They have seen their friends from New Zealand several times since they stayed with them there, when they both happen to be visiting other countries and when the couple comes to stay with the Tepsics on their trips to the United States. The Tepsics love hosting others at their home in Camp Hill and taking them to local sites like the state capitol building and Gettysburg. “You really get to learn about people and their cultures and food,” he said.
from page 2
either to be identified by his middle name, Isaac, had he been given the Teutonic “Adolf.” There are perfectly good names for boys not commonly used today. They include Horace, Floyd, Seymour, Leonard, and Winthrop. Not likely to regain popularity soon are these venerable
to the discussion,” Tepsic said. “It’s interesting how different people interpret things.” One person is assigned to lead the conversation at each meeting. They provide some background on that particular selection or author and steer the discussion when need be. The foundation sends out a catalog with different genres for local groups to choose from. Tepsic’s group’s recent readings have included works from John Locke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tepsic himself is just the sort of “wellrounded individual” the foundation is looking to cultivate. Now 71, he retired at age 62 after working as the human resources coordinator for the Department of Corrections. He and his wife have two children and two grandchildren. They have always enjoyed traveling, but retirement has afforded them the time to take more trips than ever before. When it comes to world traveling, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one favorite, as each destination presents new experiences to savor. But if he had to choose, Tepsic said that New Zealand would be one of their favorite places to visit. They have traveled to about 20 nations so far, including Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Still high on
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50plus Senior News — a monthly publication for and about the 50+ community — offers information on entertainment, travel, healthy living, fi...