Hampstead shop helps survivors keep light burning for loved ones


December 17, 1997|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE MEMORY WALL began as Mary Dansicker's heartfelt comfort to others who have felt the deep loss of a child.

The wall is dedicated to Dansicker's son Joshua, a rugged and handsome young man who was photographed near Piney Point Lighthouse less than a year ago.

Joshua kept the grounds and gave tours of the lighthouse while studying anthropology and sociology at St. Mary's College. He was killed in an auto accident 11 months ago.

Dansicker, 21, a senior at the time of his death, became the first student to be graduated posthumously from St. Mary's.

The wall is within Joshua's Lighthouse Angels, a tiny shop at the Charley Horse complex opposite Black and Decker on Route 30 in Hampstead.

"The wall is a form of healing. We want people to come in and post a message. It's to tell people who've lost a child that you can live again, although you might not feel like it," Dansicker said.

Memories of deceased loved ones who are gone but never forgotten are written on angel-shaped paper and taped to the wall. Some are attached to photographs. Messages have been sent from as far away as Great Britain. One reads simply: "See you on the other side."

"It's not like you wear a badge. But we congregate because we've lost someone," Dansicker said.

The Memory Wall is a niche in a warmly glowing room of angelic figurines, crafted of crystal or porcelain, created to be guardians. Some sparkle, some seem luminescent, others tinkle tiny chimes.

"I once collected angels because they were cute. I've found out there's more to it than that," Dansicker said.

The Rev. Jayne Howard, a family friend who is the author of "Commune with Angels," helped the Dansicker family accept new paths after the death of their oldest son.

"I've seen people 10 or 15 years afterward, and they were making it. It means we can, too. People need to know they're not the only ones, that life goes on. You don't get over it, you get through it," Dansicker said.

In the days and months since Joshua's death, they have seen reminders of him -- by spotting the image of a lighthouse on a license plate or a magazine. Throughout the crisis, they have felt the presence of angels giving them strength.

Six weeks ago, Dansicker welcomed friends and customers to Joshua's Lighthouse Angels. Figurines, watercolor paintings and ornaments feature well-known lighthouses and angels. The Baltimore Chapter of Angel Collectors Club of America is chartered here.

Information: 410-374-6302.

Artful Christmas

Fine works of art, sculpture and useful craft items made by local artists are on display at the Hanover Area Arts Council through Dec. 31.

The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and is located at 32 Carlisle St., Hanover. The gallery is accessible to the disabled.

Hampstead sculptor Michael Parameros is showing marble pieces ranging from traditional to interpretive forms.

Sharon Schaeffer of Westminster is showing large baskets with colorful designs for classic decorating.

Wrought-iron items by Manchester blacksmith Michael Kaiser, framed works by watercolorists Suzanne Mancha of Manchester and Lula Thomas of Westminster, and batik by Westminster artist Carolyn Seabolt are among the exhibited pieces.

Information: 717-632-2521.

Pub Date: 12/17/97

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