I went to a grade school in New York state that took special pains not to channel girls' interests strictly into traditionally girl-type activities.
Sports weren't offered, they were required, and the competition for a place on the girls' soccer and lacrosse teams was just as hot as for the boys' teams. (An 8-year-old California boy, a new soccer addict, recently said when I mentioned having played it myself at his age: "But you're a GIIRRRL!")
If he saw me using a saw or chiseling out the slot for a shutter hinge, he might say the same, and I'd give smug thanks to that school, which required that girls as well as boys take shop. In the sixth and seventh grade, we had hands-on experience with hand and power tools, learning how to use them effectively and safely.
I had a little experience then with a wood lathe, and was entranced and excited by the process of making something by taking away, turning a hard-edge cube into a round bowl, or a log into a lamp.
Unfortunately, I ignored a wonderful opportunity to build on that excitement. My stepfather -- with whom I lived for three years of high school and three of college, then lived near for another 15 years -- was an avid woodworker. He was talented, he was careful, he respected his tools and materials . . . and he had a lathe.
He would, I think, have loved to share his knowledge and that time with me, but I just talked of wanting to learn. Other (mostly girl-type) interests took over, and suddenly years later, my stepfather was dead, his extraordinary shop had been sold at auction, and I still had only a child's understanding of the techniques involved in an art I admire.
Enter Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, which offers three wood-turning classes this fall. I'm looking into Basic Wood-turning, meeting noon to 3 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 5. The course is taught by Frank Amigo.
Amigo has scheduled two instructors for advanced wood-turning classes this fall: David Ellsworth and John Wilson.
David Ellsworth will present Hollow Turning, a four-day intensive workshop in early November, focusing on the techniques of turning hollow thin-walled vases. John Wilson returns to Maryland Hall to teach Shaker Oval Boxes, a two-day workshop in October.
For more information on hours, course fees and other Maryland Hall offerings, call 263-5544. Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts is a nonprofit, multicultural, multidisciplinary arts center at 801 XTC Chase St. in Annapolis.
The Annual Maryland Seafood Festival, a major activity of the Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, raises more than $250,000 each year for nonprofit and charitable organizations benefiting elderly, youth, disabled and homeless people.
This year's festival is scheduled for Sept. 8 to 10 at Sandy Point State Park, and you can be part of making it happen.
Volunteers are needed to sell food tickets, and work at the gate and the refund booth. Volunteers receive an admission ticket and $8 in complimentary food tickets.
To sign up for a full day, or a four-hour shift, call Shawna Simmons at 268-7682.
While adult tastes are stimulated with the many food offerings at the Seafood Festival, kids are courted too, with a wide range of free children's activities, from a hands-on art tent on the (P beachfront to the state Department of Natural Resources' popular Scales and Tales program, featuring live hawks, snakes, ducks and other creatures native to the bay area.
Other children's activities include beach bingo, beach golf, a children's fishing pond, daily treasure hunts, beach-ball croquet and performances by Kindermusik of the Chesapeake Children's Museum.
For more information, or to volunteer, call 268-7682.
The Annapolis Chorale is holding auditions for its 1995-1996 season Aug. 29 through 31 and Sept. 5 and 7. Appointments are necessary, and can be made by calling the chorale office at 263-1906.
The season includes a Pops Series and a Classics Series, inaugurated by "Broadway Center Stage!" on Sept. 23 at Maryland Hall.
Subscription information is also available at the chorale office. Information: 263-1906.
Folks who would like to win the lottery but don't want to be greedy and don't like the odds have a more realistic chance at a windfall through the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society's raffle. Two-thousand tickets will be sold at $10 each. The winner will get $10,000, and the society will pay its annual mortgage on the Captain Salem Avery House Museum.
The winner will be drawn Oct. 7 at the society's annual Working and Sporting Dog Exhibition. Society literature says half the cost of the raffle ticket may be considered a charitable contribution for income-tax purposes.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 867-2660, or (301) 261-5234.
As you're gearing up for fall activities through your club or nonprofit organization, keep this column in mind to spread the word. Call me at 626-0273, with a couple of weeks' notice.