Midsummer ocean `fun' fosters thoughts of fall


July 14, 1999|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MY RECENT trip "down the ocean" was supposed to be relaxing. I anticipated introspective walks on the beach, visits to my favorite used bookstore, a cooling dip in the surf and lots of tennis. The reality was different.

In years to come, I'll refer to this trip as the vacation of the plagues. There were three, starting with the heat. I've never been one to complain about hot, humid weather. It used to be that during July and August, while the rest of my family crowded under the beach umbrella I'd spread out my towel. This year, either the heat was more intense, or my internal thermostat was readjusted, but the weather was down-right oppressive.

The outside thermometer hit 105 degrees and the heat found its way onto Ocean City's sand. The unprepared (and un-shoed) could run no more than 20 feet en route into the cooling surf before throwing down their towels and jumping on top.

The second plague was worse. Anyone who has visited Assateague Island knows about biting flies. I'm convinced that's why the beaches there are largely vacant. Maybe the heat prompted the thousands of pests to take a little vacation north. After the 10th bite in 10 minutes, I realized there was a problem. These flies were vicious. Even a coating of insect repellent didn't deter them.

Plague three was the ants. Ready to try anything to stop the relentless, hungry bugs, we left a bunch of overripe bananas in a trash bag outside. In less than an hour, our beach house was ant-free. If only all plagues could be so easily solved.

Looking ahead

If all this summer fun has you daydreaming about fall, local preschools are accepting registration for the 1999-2000 school year.

Messiah United Methodist Preschool offers classes for children ages 2, 3 and 4. The registration fee is $20 a child. Tuition for children in the 2- and 3-year-old programs (two days a week) is $62 a month; children in the 4-year-old program (three days a week) pay $85 a month.

The school features an academic program that includes religion and monthly themes. Children spend time talking with the pastor, selecting books from the library, playing on the outdoor equipment and exploring learning games on a new computer. The school is at 7401 Furnace Branch Road. Information: Carol Orme, 410-768-9468 or Lucy Feliciano, 410-760-8696.

Harundale Presbyterian Preschool, beside North County Library on Eastway Road, has classes for children ages 3 and 4. Classes meet from 9: 30 to noon. Three-year-olds meet on Tuesday and Thursday; tuition is eight payments of $76. Four-year-olds meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; tuition is eight payments of $100. Registration is $30.

Students in the 3-year-old program learn about colors and shapes, as well as topics like transportation and holidays. During the year, children begin the first steps toward learning phonics. In the 4-year-old program, students are introduced to one letter a week. During "A" week, students make applesauce and put together a recipe booklet on making it. Once a month, a parent visits the classes to read a Bible story. The classes take part in field days and seasonal walks. Information: Pat Messmore, director of the preschool, 410-766-4338.

Keeping it fresh

Learning will continue during the summer for some local students, thanks to a program at Freetown Elementary School. The Omicron Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will work with students entering kindergarten through fifth grade in reading and math.

A welcome arch

By the end of summer, Glen Burnie will have a distinctive landmark at its town center -- a brick arch towering about 13 feet.

Al Brandt, president of the Glen Burnie Kiwanis Club, said the project started in an unusual way. "For many years, we tried to put signs up on Ritchie Highway, saying, `Welcome to Glen Burnie,' listing the service clubs and meeting times. But the state would come along and tear it down." The Kiwanis and Rotary clubs proposed the idea two years ago, and other organizations were quick to come aboard. Along with the original groups, other supporters include the Lions Club, North Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, Glen Burnie Improvement Association, Anne Arundel County Optimists, the Moose, American Legion Post 40 and Knights of Columbus Council 3413.

Professor Michael Ryan, department chair for the architectural program at Anne Arundel Community College, challenged his students to design a monument. Lance Edwards, an AACC student and resident of Glen Burnie, submitted an arch, suggesting that while the St. Louis arch is called the gateway to the west, his arch would symbolize the gateway to Glen Burnie's new town center.

"The idea of an arch is very appropriate," Brandt said. "Glen Burnie was once the gateway to Annapolis, Southern Maryland and the ferry boat to the Eastern Shore." Local residents may purchase memorial bricks, which will be set into a walkway surrounding the arch. Information: 410-766-5396.

Pub Date: 7/14/99

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