WESTMINSTER — Even if she didn't think it possible, "lightning" did, indeed, strike twice for Dorothy Goerke, winner for the second year in a row in the "Maryland You Are Beautiful" Senior Citizens Creative Writing Contest.
"Lightning doesn't strike twice," the 81-year-old resident of Carroll Lutheran Village exclaimed upon learning that her essay received Carroll County's top honor.
She said she encouraged others to submit their thoughts for the fourth annual contest.
"I really hoped someone else would win," Goerke said. Nonetheless, she decided, "I'll just throw one in."
Her winning entry, "Striking the Rock," about "the problems my father haddigging a well to get water" was selected from among 11 others by a panel of three judges.
She will be recognized on May 2, along withthe other contestants, by the County Commissioners.
The 24 winners -- one from each Maryland county and Baltimore City -- will be feted at an awards luncheon and ceremony led by Gov. William Donald Schaefer in Annapolis. Winners receive a Maryland Getaway Weekend for Two donated by hotels and restaurants across the state.
Goerke said she often writes about the past so her family -- a daughter, three granddaughters and one great-grandson -- will know what life was like years ago.
"I write things down for my granddaughters because they always want to know what things were like when I was young," said Goerke, who lived in Howard County except for the last six years, which she spent in Carroll.
Goerke said she "compared yesterday and today"in exploring this year's theme, "Maryland Through Your Eyes."
When she's not penning her memories, "I love to play in dirt," Goerke said. She hopes to have a patch again at the Lutheran Village in which to grow sunflowers "for seeds to feed the birds," tomatoes and pepperplants.
When her hands aren't working the soil, they are busy knitting the 30 small, white sweaters she donates to the World Service Center at New Windsor. The sweaters, designed to fit 2-year-old children, are "my main project," she said.
Judges in the Carroll County competition were Ron Laczkowski, an English teacher at Westminster High School; Dr. Edward Ruch, a member of the English department at Carroll Community College; and Patti Bair Price, a reporter for the Carroll County Times.
Brenda Lerner, Community Services Program Coordinator for the Department of Aging, and Maggie MacPherson of the county Public Information Office coordinated the local contest.
Each year since 1987, senior citizens have been asked to participate in the creative-writing contest by composing an essay on an assigned theme. During last year's contest, hundreds of entries were submitted -- along with Dorothy Goerke's on "Maryland Corn" -- as senior citizens shared their fondest memories of Maryland.
Carroll's winner said she loves the state.
"It's one of the best there is," Goerke said. "Naturally, I'm prejudiced."
Said Schaefer: "Seniors are excellent role models for all generations, with their wealth of wisdom and experience. Each of the entries tells a new story, shares a special idea,proving that the insight of our senior citizens should be shared with everyone."
This year's contest was sponsored by the Maryland Office on Aging, Schaefer's "Maryland You Are Beautiful" program, WJZ-TV13, Azzam, Jordan and Geer Advertising and Public Relations, the Marley Gallery of Contemporary Jewelry, area agencies on aging and destination marketing organizations throughout the state.