Good neighbors helped all of us cope with the blizzard NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

March 18, 1993|By JUDY REILLY

Everyone has a snowstorm story. For those who live on Carroll's back roads, a big part of the story is the neighbors with four-wheel-drive vehicles who cruise the county scouting for someone to help, or who go out riding their tractors or snowplows looking for action.

In Uniontown, Bill Quinn shared his time with neighbors who had a hard time digging out of driveways and parking spaces, especially after the county's snowplows threw drifts in front of those cars and driveways.

Sunday afternoon, when the cold wind sent weaker folks indoors, Mr. Quinn was out maneuvering his snowplow, helping older residents clear their driveways and aiding those of us who were hopelessly unprepared for the storm.

To Mr. Quinn and the countless others in northwest Carroll who helped the rest of us -- many, many thanks.

*

Amid the school closing announcements on Channel 13 this week, Sue Albaugh of Union Bridge saw her name flashed across the screen in a "Salute" for being a "second mother to the kids at Francis Scott Key High School."

Congratulations, Sue!

*

The Rev. Duane Combs hoped that the roof on the Uniontown Methodist parsonage would hold its own during the heavy storms. The roof, made of 19th century slate, is in desperate need of replacement, but the tiny congregation can't come up with the money for an expensive restoration of the historic structure.

Mr. Combs welcomes ideas and help. You can call him at 848-6940.

*

Parents who are climbing the walls with the children home from school for the past six days might like to know about the moms (and some dads) whose school-age children are home all the time. They are parents who have decided, for a variety of reasons, to teach their children at home.

Sue Gilbert and Sarah Ritcey of Uniontown Road are two mothers who have chosen the increasingly popular home schooling option for their children.

"It's very interesting," says Mrs. Gilbert, who is teaching two of her seven children at home this year.

"I think it brings people closer together. And it's very interesting to know what your kids are thinking and doing. But it's a lot more work than sending them off on a bus every morning."

Mrs. Gilbert has enjoyed the flexibility of a home-based curriculum and hands-on opportunities for learning. The Gilbert children explored Boston while they studied the Revolutionary War.

Mrs. Ritcey is Mrs. Gilbert's good friend and was a motivating force behind her entry into the world of home schooling. Mrs. Ritcey began teaching her children at home about six years ago, when her daughter Maureen was in fifth grade. Even though Maureen was doing well in school, the pressures of middle school were too many, and Sarah decided to give her some time to learn in a more relaxed setting.

"I wanted her to have the joy of learning, to just have fun instead of all the pressure," says Mrs. Ritcey.

What does she like most about the experience?

"The opportunity to watch the children grow, and to see how information is so integrated -- one thing leads to the other," she said. "And it's a school led by the children."

When her son John became interested in the Crusades, they concentrated on every aspect of that piece of history. When the children were curious about different kinds of shelters, they went in the woods and built their own.

"Sometimes getting distracted provides the best opportunities for learning," says Mrs. Ritcey.

Another bonus for this mother is that "new avenues of learning have opened up for me," she says. She has developed a keen interest in astronomy as a result of her home schooling.

But doesn't she get stir-crazy at times? And where does she get the energy to commit to the task?

"I really enjoy being with my children," she says. "If you're unstressed you can do that.

"And if you feel an urgency to do this [home schooling], then you're probably equipped to do it."

Mrs. Ritcey says county school officials have been helpful and encouraging to her as a home school parent.

*

If the snow has given you a severe case of cabin fever, try to hang on until this weekend. The Enchanted Cottage in Taneytown is presenting a spring open house featuring Easter goodies and new items for your spring decorating."

Enjoy yourselves at the shop on tomorrow and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. And it's inside!

Information: 751-1512.

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