IN HIGH SCHOOL, Vicki Wisner was the girl who refused to take home economics where mostly girls were taught to sew and cook.
Instead, the Taneytown woman who has spent the past two decades making ballgowns, wedding dresses and Civil War attire for re-enactors, felt more at home taking shop class.
"The way they taught sewing in high school was so uninteresting," Wisner said, thinking back to her high school days. "I hated home economics. I took all the shop classes instead."
But Wisner was involved in theater in high school and got to know Dorothy Elderdice, who sewed all the costumes for area high schools' musical productions.
"I went to her house in the early 1970s when I was in high school and putting on productions," she said. "We would tell her what we needed. She was a legend. She was the only one around who did the costumes."
That got Wisner interested in sewing, though she didn't learn until after high school graduation.
"A girlfriend taught me," she added.
But sewing for Wisner, real sewing, didn't begin until she moved next to a couple who owned a costume shop in Westminster.
"They are the ones who got me started," she said. "They did costumes and theatrical makeup, dance attire, just about everything."
She added floral design to her list of creative pursuits, though sewing would remain one of her greatest loves.
"I don't follow all the rules," Wisner said. "With Civil War costumes, you have to make your own patterns."
One of her favorites is her Scarlett O'Hara dress on display in front of her shop, Countryside Farmhouse.
"This is Scarlett O'Hara's afternoon picnic dress," she said. "I just watched the movie `Gone With The Wind' to figure out how to make it."
Another of her favorites is a 1912 Victorian tea dress that took 7 yards of French voile and 7 yards of lace.
"I displayed that one for Taneytown Days," she said.
One dress she no longer has, because it was sold with the shop she used to work for, was a 1900 Victorian wedding gown.
"The bodice had 10 pieces. I had a lot of hours in that dress. I would get so aggravated working on it I would have to set it down. That was probably my first work-of-art dress."
Wisner sews wedding gowns, though she said most people have no idea the amount of time and material that goes into them.
"They go to a seamstress and complain about the cost," Wisner said. "But they don't understand, there aren't that many seamstresses out there."
Community Bible school
It's not too late to register for this year's Union Bridge Community Vacation Bible School, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Monday to June 30 at Union Bridge Church of the Brethren, said Betty Caricofe, the director.
The school will be sponsored by Church of the Brethren, United Methodist Church and St. James Lutheran Church, all in Union Bridge.
"The theme is 2000 Ark Avenue: God's Great Get-Together," Caricofe said. "Children who will be 4 by June 30 through completion of the eighth grade are invited to attend."
Parents may register their children by calling the church office between 9 a.m. and noon during the week or they may register Monday.
Anna Lease, a Church of the Brethren member who is helping with the school, said attendance in the past has been good.
"Last year we had more than 120 kids," she said.
The school will be held at 118 S. Main St. in Union Bridge. Information: 410-775-2717.
The Youth Group at Messiah United Methodist Church will hold a carwash from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the church, 25 Middle St. in Taneytown.
"They are having the carwash to raise funds for an array of projects," said Linda Warehime, who is the Youth Group leader with her husband, Karl. "For example, they sponsor a child in Brazil."
The youth group also supports the Heifer Program, a nonprofit group that purchases cattle and other farm animals for farmers in underdeveloped countries, such as Honduras, Warehime explained.
An average of 12 high school-age youths participate. Information: 410-756-6092.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.