From job offers to career counseling, calls to help Diane roll in

THIS JUST IN...

December 20, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Let me give it to you right up front: Diane Griffin might have a job by Christmas.

Her story found its way into this column Friday and, before the day was done, more than 50 people had called here offering to help her out. She has appointments for job interviews today.

Diane, 35, and her two teen-age children live in a rented rowhouse in East Baltimore. Since Diane's husband, whereabouts unknown, moved out last August, the family has had no steady source of income. Diane, trained in secretarial skills, has been taking temporary jobs and applying for permanent ones. To raise money for rent and food, she had to pawn several household items, including some of her kids' prized possessions. A charitable contribution last week helped her pay November's rent.

What Diane wants is a steady job, and Friday men and women from all over the region called offering to help. Some were employers offering jobs -- a lawyer, the credit manager at a fuel company, a health services company, an environmental engineering concern. Some had advice on finding a job. Others offered career counseling. Some wanted to donate money and food.

One man and his wife offered to get Diane's items out of hock. I gave Diane the names and phone numbers of everyone who called. "I've got interviews [today]," she says, "and more during the week. Some of these sound like really good possibilities."

?3 It's a beautiful world. More on this Wednesday.

Wreath is a blast

As Newsweek reported recently, it's either "a hunter's delight a warning to burglars." Or maybe a warning to caroling ducks. Tidewater Specialties of Wye Mills expects to sell about 100 of them this year. It's a wreath made out of multi-colored shotgun shells and a big bow in camouflage cloth. Don Blouch says this is the second year his company, which specializes in "ducks, dogs and golf" stuff, has offered the wreath through its catalog and retail outlet. Sells for $47.

Good guy lost

Too bad Erwin Burtnick no longer works in the city comptroller's office. Burtnick was a smart, honest guy with a nose for deals that smelled bad. As a city auditor, he once helped uncover the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds and he was involved in many other significant audits of municipal contracts. He served as assistant city comptroller under Hyman A. Pressman but, unfortunately for the city, he was one of the good guys who lost his job after -- guess who -- Jackie McLean took over.

Fast finish

Overheard at Only the Best in Ellicott City: A young woman told her friends she had to finish dinner fast and get home in time to "see that Christmas movie, 'Miracle on 33rd Street.' " Must have been an O's fan.

'Highlandtown' verse 2

We heard from a bunch of "boys" from Highlandtown after the words to an old song from that neighborhood appeared here. Charles Stenger remembers the song but different lyrics. He says it went like this:

L Oh, we're the boys from Highlandtown you hear so much about.

All the girlies rally us whenever we go out.

They like us for our funny ways and everything we do.

We're the boys from Highlandtown.

We hope you like us too.

As we go marching and the band begins to play,

You will hear them shouting,

"The boys from Highlandtown are on their way."

By the light of the moon,

By the light of the moon,

If you want to have a good time,

Just go to Highlandtown.

It turns out South Baltimore had a song, too. It was called "Come Around Any Old Time." I received a couple of calls from old Fort Avenue boys, Bill Reiley and Charles Wenger, who remembered the song, though each offered slightly different lyrics. Reiley even had the sheet music. "Years ago I knew a fellow who played the organ," Reiley says. "He used to play in churches and bars. I asked if he had the music and he pulled it out. That must have been 20 years ago." But the song is a lot older than that. "Before television," Reiley says. "Back when people had to entertain each other. There would be parties in houses and somebody would play the piano, somebody would sing. It was potluck entertainment in those days. I don't imagine anyone under 40 would remember the song."

For the record, it appears here (with Charles Wenger's lyric variations in parentheses):

Come around any old time

And make yourself at home.

Put your hat (feet) on the mantel shelf,

Open the ice box (cupboard) and help yourself.

We don't care if your friends

Have left you all alone.

Rich or poor, just open the door

And make yourself at home.

These songs are vintage Baltimore; they're part of the folk heritage of the city, verbal heirlooms that would probably be lost if the men from the old neighborhoods didn't remember them and pass them along. For this, I'm grateful. I'll send the songs along to the city archives.

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