HCC dean draws from various cultures in writing philosophy text ELLICOTT CITY/ELKRIDGE

NEIGHBORS

August 02, 1993|By JEAN LESLIE

Dr. Helen Mitchell, dean of HCC's Department of Continuing Education, had been teaching philosophy part time for 10 years when she got a call in November from Wadsworth Publishing House.

Would she meet with them to discuss the fifth edition of the text she was using? She agreed. By the end of that meeting, all discussion of the book had been replaced by plans to have Helen write her own textbook especially for the community college student.

The book will be published sometime next year.

Her years of experience in the community college setting apparently told her what her students need. While most philosophy texts are written for the traditional, ivory tower student, her book is written for people who have a variety of experiences.

And each semester Dr. Mitchell invariably had to answer this question, usually posed by a young woman: "Why don't we read any women philosophers?" She hopes to answer that question in her book's approach to philosophy.

Helen Mitchell's book will attempt to cover Eastern, African, Western and African-American philosophies, by both men and women. A survey such as this covers a vast amount of material, and she plans to integrate the ideas by topic.

Dr. Mitchell's life has changed in the process.

The book contract she signed in December has since become two contracts, which commit her to a text and a book of readings. To enrich her writing, she has asked for and been granted a full-time position teaching philosophy at HCC. And she'll be spending more time at the computer, trying to make her deadlines.

* Want to learn how to save a life? If you have the time, Janet Rothenhoefer and Ann Mohler will teach you. They're offering a six-hour course in CPR and basic life support on Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Columbia Hills. The course will certify you in CPR and obstructed airway rescue on adults, children or infants.

Janet and Ann have been friends since high school. Two years ago they attended GBMC's course to become certified CPR instructors.

Janet is now a Montgomery County fifth-grade reading and science teacher. She incorporates her knowledge of CPR into her science lessons and hopes eventually to teach her fifth-graders to perform CPR. She teaches CPR during the summer months, mostly at Bon Secours Hospital.

Ann, a stockbroker, thought that the community of Columbia Hills might benefit from having the opportunity to learn CPR.

The course will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays, and the course fee is $20. For more information or to register by phone, call Janet at 964-6466 or Ann at 730-8177.

As you exit U.S. 29 at St. John's Lane and move south on Columbia Pike toward Dorsey's Search, there is a most intriguing notice, handwritten in marker on corrugated cardboard: "Frog Crossing 1/4 mile."

As I drove down Columbia Pike searching for frogs poised to take a fatal hop into the path of my red Nova, I wondered if someone might have been playing a summer vacation prank. Or did a concerned environmentalist see something I didn't? Who wrote the sign, and why?

*

Many thanks to John Albrecht of Wheatfields for the gift of four Orioles tickets for the July 18 game against the Twins. The Orioles won, 7-2, and 7-year-old Zachary Pfefferkorn and his dad, Rob Pfefferkorn of Annapolis, joined 10-year-old Sam Leslie and me for an afternoon of old-fashioned fun.

*

I read one of the novels on my personal reading list -- "Carpool" by longtime Ellicott City resident Mary Cahill. It's the story of a suburban mom who spends her life in the car shuttling kids to nursery and private schools, orthodontist appointments and clarinet lessons, and who stumbles upon a murder victim in the cemetery at St. Obdurator's (read "St. John's Episcopal") church.

What a hoot to read this thinly disguised account of being an Ellicott City mom. The book felt like home. Although Mary Cahill changed the place names, you will easily recognize the locations she's describing. The book even discusses a child who "hadn't done well in the open space classrooms at the public school," and we all know kids like this.

A fun-to-read light mystery that hooks you and finally commands you to finish the book, "Carpool" is a book I recommend for your summer reading.

*

Pink, purple and green banners swaying high in the breeze on a steamy summer night, a mist rising over the lake in the background; the soulful sounds of the blues as presented by some wonderful Maryland musicians, blankets spread with families, each with a picnic dinner -- this was the scene at the Sunset Serenade featuring Rick Serfas and the Soul Providers at Centennial Park on Wednesday.

The acid spill on Interstate 95 had delayed percussionist Georgie "Trapcase" Johnson, unavoidably postponing the concert's start, but he still looked cool, even smiling as the music got started.

Band leader Rick Serfas dedicated the selection "Stand By Me" to his parents, sitting on lawn chairs in the crowd, who were celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary that day.

You have two more chances to join in this fun. This Wednesday, the Sunset Serenade will feature "Renaissance Night" with roving costumed characters who interact with you, taking you back in time to the era of King Henry VIII and his court.

At the final Sunset Serenade, on Aug. 11, the U.S. Army Band Jazz Ambassadors will play pop and patriotic music.

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