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Featured essay # 1:


  As is my habit, I was nested in the courtyard with my after dinner coffee when a young neighbor wandered over. She remarked that she was earning a Master of Liberal Arts degree at Johns Hopkins University This is a fun type of degree where you take ten courses in History of Ideas, across a broad range of subjects. I told her that I had taken the same degree a number of years before. (In point of fact, the year was 1969!) My neighbor asked which professors I had. I stuttered and stammered. So many of the Evening School professors were emeritis that I doubted whether any were now living.
  "Well, there was Dr. William McClain," I said. "He was the most brilliant of all the teachers I have ever encountered. And I know he is dead."
  No one could wrest more feeling out of German literature than Dr. McClain. One's heart churned with longing as he re-created the internal tug of Thomas Mann's artist heroes, torn between the discipline of their craft and the inexplicable pull of the darker side. Or Hesse's Harry Hailer, lulled by the domestic smell of his polished furniture lodgings but lured to the nocturnal pleasure domes in search of his animal nature. Or--the biggest paradox of all-- the tortured chords of Tristan and Isolde.Liebestod. Love and death Did McClain himself feel such a tension, I wondered? The shy, unassuming man's eyes glittered as he related such tales, his countenance was vibrant.
  For the next quarter century I was a McClain watcher. I would spy him walking along St. Paul Street from his home in the Marylander to the shopping area three blocks south. I would see him boarding the bus for the Rotunda. So far as I knew, he had no car. When we passed on the street, he remembered my name. If I were with a companion, I would murmur, "There goes the most brilliant professor I have ever had."
  Eventually Dr. McClain moved to a house in Oakenshaw, the small community bound by University Parkway, Calvert St., Southway and Barclay St. My last glimpse of him was his waiting at a cold and crowded bus stop at 33rd and Greenmount near Christmas time perhaps three years ago.
  A couple of months after that, Dr. McClain's picture appeared on the front page of the Sunpapers. This is almost never good news. This marvelous mind--so mortal! The professor had arrived home one night from the ballet. He was mortally mugged as he stood on the porch of his Oakenshaw home. (Beladoro)

Featured essay # 2:            
  Crab Feast
  Maryland is well known for the Chesapeake Bay state and it's blue crabs. Eating Maryland crabs and catching them is a great experience. I, Robin use to catch crabs when, younger in Annapolis at my Aunt Betty's and Uncle Norman's house. They had a pier and I would put out about half a dozen lines with chicken backs and necks. You could tell if a crab was on the line, when it pulls out and gets taught as before it would just dangle. I would also catch doublers on the pilings. Doublers were a male and female crabs mating. The female crabs have aprons or bibs, as the males don't. To keep male crabs, they have to be five inches or larger. The best time to crab is when it's raining or overcast. This weather brings them to the surface. I would have a large wooden basket, that I would place crabs in as I caught them. I would dip them in the water from time to time to keep them alive. I remember this so well, because my Aunt Betty would be nice enough to cook them for me. During the cooking time my Uncle Norman would be out of the house, because he not only didn't like the smell of crabs, but is allergic to them. If you have not tried this Maryland delicacy, you really don't know what your missing. It's worth the visit. The season for crabs is usually the end of June through the end of September.
   This article or essay is By: Robin
Featured essay # 3:    
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
  Charles Carroll(1737-1832) at the time of his death was the oldest surviving member of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He played an important role in the successful outcome of the Revolutionary War.
  Charles Carroll was born in Annapolis to a substantial family. His grandfather came here from England in 1688 as Lord Baltimoreís Attorney-General for the Province of Maryland. He owned about 60,000 acres of land and operated a banking business lending money at interest. Charles Carrollís father was educated in France as was Charles Carroll. He had a Catholic education and as a Catholic was furious at the ban on the Catholic religion in Maryland. He later made sure that the new state of Md.granted civil and religious freedom to Catholics. Charles Carrollís father added to the wealth that he inherited from his father until he had one of the largest fortunes in the colonies. Charles Carrollís father was known as Charles Carroll of Annapolis and it was to distinguish himself from his father that he became Charles Carroll of Carrollton taking the name from the name of his plantation in Frederick County.
  Charles Carroll was active in the Continental Congress where he served from 1776-1778. He became the wealthiest citizen in the U.S. and gave liberally to help feed, clothe, and arm the Americans during the Revolution. He helped defeat a plan to oust George Washington as Commander. Had this plan succeeded, the Revolutionary War probably would not have been won.
  Charles Carroll was a Federalist and represented Md. as senator in the first federal congress from 1789-1792. He ended his political career to manage his estate of 70-80 thousand acres. In common with the Federalist Party he opposed theWar of 1812.
  He believed that slavery was wrong and against the principles of the new government. He was in favor of gradual freedom because it would be less damaging to the nations agricultural system and because he believed freed saves had to be trained for jobs and given land.
  He spent his last days in the home of his daughter on Lombard and Front. Sts. in Baltimore which is open to the public. He gave his son money to build a home which is located on the site of John Hopkins University, although there was nothing there at the time. It was not even part of Baltimore. His son spared no expense and the house is an example of federal architecture. The house is maintained and is open to the public. There are tours of the house for a fee of $5.00.    -Jane 
Featured essay # 4

connect.gif (940 bytes) The Internet -Network of Networks 

As the word itself suggests, Internet is basically a network of networks.
  In other words, it is the 'inter-connection' of thousands if not millions of computers.
  Though many people think of it as something mysterious, the entity is very similar to the telephone system, which we are all very familiar with. One telephone instrument can connect to another over long distances making use of many exchnages and switches. This facilitates communication, transfer of intelligence and exchange of ideas across the globe. The Internet can be considered as an enhancement of the same principle.
  Though I have compared the telephone system to the Internet, the similarity stops at the basic concept. As a mode of global communication, Internet offers endless possibilities with regard to the kind of intelligence that can be transferred from one computer to another. It is evident by looking at various Web sites, that multimedia presentations abound in highly impressive ways.
  It is up to everyone to take advantage of this technical marvel to enhance our knowledge and exchange views without any barriers.
Internet Philosophy...
There has been considerable number of debates with regard to the usage of this wonderful communication medium called the Internet. They cover topics from "almost sensible" to utter stupidity!
  Whether it is to with pornography, or e-mail spam, one has to use common sense and realize that it is entirely up to the individual traveler to filter out what he or she likes to see. When you have already accepted the ritual of throwing away junk mail that arrives at your mail box every day, how difficult can it be, to click-and-delete unwanted email?
  Mere availability of material that one may consider decadent is not a grave problem in itself. Just like books, magazines, movies, and TV channels, the Internet also serves the cause of every interest and curiosity of a fertile mind, albeit an infertile one!   

Featured essay # 5

 The Real Baltimore?

 The Real Baltimore?

  Tale of Two Baltimores

  Greenmount Ave., the longest street in Baltimore, runs north and south. Further north in Baltimore the name changes to York Rd. which goes through Northern Baltimore County and into Pennsylvania finally ending at York Hospital in York, Pa.
  The 4300 block of Greenmount Ave. divides the haves from the have nots. On the east side are the have nots. This neighborhood comprises aging row houses many in need of repair. Income is low, unemployment is high. There is drug dealing, shots heard in the night, schools where little learning takes place, and children who are not always nurtured since so much effort goes into just getting through the day. There are some community activists who work hard at improving the quality of life. Some good people live here.
  On the west side of Greenmount Ave. are the haves living in the community of Guilford. Wealthy people live in old, large homes with spacious gardens. Children living here go to private schools. On one corner are several acres of land where hundreds of tulip bulbs are planted every year. Each May sees a dazzling array of colors which people from all over the city can enjoy. However, few people come from the other side of Greenmount Ave. The welcome mat is hardly out for them and indeed they are feared by this wealthy enclave. This is reinforced by the barrier that has been placed at the entrance to Guilford. The ostensible reason is to prevent people from who are driving from taking a short cut through the community to reach other streets.
  The fear and distrust that exists between the two sides of Greenmount Ave.was epitomized in an incident that occcurred about three years ago. A retired doctor and his wife were stabbed to death in their large home. Initially the people of wealth thought someone from the other side of Greenmount Ave. had killed them and they made their views known. That is when the barrier was erected. It was soon learned that the couples grandson, who lived with them, had killed them. The people of Guilford as well as the people on the other side were relieved, but the damage had been done.
  This pattern of rich and poor living near each other, but separate from each other, is repeated all over Baltimore with the poor gaining on the rich as many people who can afford to do so leave the city. Baltimore has similarities to a Third World Country with many of the social ills. How long can this continue before the city is an enclave of the impoverished? Broken economically, morally and spiritually. Will the last person to leave turn out the light or will all of us find it within ourselves to light the light? -JG

Featured essay # 6   

Bad Orb   

  On our way to Bad Orb this summer before leaving for Frankfurt and home, we hit the start of one of Europe's worst heat waves. Neither our car nor any rooms were air conditioned, so upon arriving in Bad Orb we chose one of the really nice looking hotels across from the main park which was full of big, green, leafy trees and shade. Ernie wanted me to have good memories of Bad Orb, so he rented an apartment for us which consisted of a bedroom, bath, and sitting room with balcony and chaise lounges. He mentioned to the desk clerk that we were visiting Bad Orb because my family had come from there many years ago.The next day I mentioned my family name, Prasch, to a hotel clerk, and next thing we knew the manager of the hotel was telling us what an "Ehrename" it was, a very honorable and prestigious name, etc. She told us that she was attempting to reach the mayor of the town in order that we could be officially greeted. "Ehrename" means very old, ancient, or respected in German, and is not used lightly. It denotes people of honor who were probably among the nobility and who were persons of means.
  Meanwhile, we strolled through the town several times, really enjoying the beautiful flowers, crowds of people on the streets and in the stores, and listening to the many fountains. Ernie took many pictures, but John Klein, also, has snaps of the same sort of thing. Late that afternoon, about 6 pm or so, we walked up to the cemetery which was filled with Prasch graves. It was so hot and humid that walking was very tiring, and we didn't do as much as we would have ordinarily. One of the places we visited had a bench in the shade and we sat looking at glass enclosures of one of the wells which supply the town with water. The stone walls of the ancient town formed the back wall of houses and businesses. We guessed them as dating from medieval times.
  Upon returning to our hotel room, we were informed that the mayor of the town, the Burgermeister, wished to meet us at the town museum the following morning before we left for Frankfurt. Upon arrival, there was a photographer who spoke excellent English and who interviewed us. Herr Burgermeister spoke only German, but talked for some length to Ernie who, of course, understands and speaks fluent German.
  Bad Orb was once a salt town and huge structures were erected which looked somewhat like giant barns filled with innumerable twigs stacked to the ceiling and over which water was trickled. These sheds are an architectural feat in themselves, being very tall and long. Running in the middle of each shed was a walkway through which people can walk and observe the water falling over the twigs.
  The King of Bavaria cancelled the salt contract with Bad Orb after better salt mines were discovered near Salzburg, which left the people of Bad Orb in desperate straits. They were so impoverished that in the 1850's or so, the king took up a collection from the citizens of Bavaria in order to keep the populace from starving.
  The Bad Orb museum has a movie of what the town looked like during that era, and I can't begin to describe be the difference between then and now. Then, the buildings and people looked impoverished and unkempt; now, the town is immaculate and abloom with flowers everywhere. It was after the salt contract was cancelled that the citizens of Bad Orb decided to make their salty water a health spa, and have promoted it thus ever since. My relative, Jacob Prasch, came to America before the salt contract was cancelled.
  Herr Burgermeister told us that the Prasch name was one of the three oldest names in the town, dating before the plague in the 14th century. His family name was Metzger, I believe, and his family, also, was one of the three. I'm sorry, but I do not know the name of the third family, as my understanding of German isn't THAT good, although I could understand most of what Herr Metzger said.
  In all the excitement of being greeted by Herr Metzger and packing our luggage and the car, Ernie forgot his camera, so the only pictures I have are the ones the photographer sent me, which are black and white. Since I don't have the negatives, I'm not making copies; John Klein, also, has color pictures of the town and of the art works of Hans Prasch, a leading sculptor from Bad Orb
  Next year or the year after, we are planning on taking three of our grandchildren to Europe, and Bad Orb is one of the places we will visit with them. It truly is one of the prettiest little towns we've ever been in, and we've been in a lot of beautiful Swiss and German villages. We emphasized this and told everyone how proud I was to be a descendent from Bad Orb. I picked up about 25 stickers from the tourist office and will take some to the family reunion in August of '95.
  Things I would visit in Bad Orb: stroll through the town and have espresso at a Konditorei (pastry shop); sit on a bench and admire the beautiful flower beds and fountains before the entrance to the park; stroll through the shady park and visit the salt sheds, and sit on a bench to perhaps watch a game of chess being played with giant chess pieces; admire the tile work within the glass-enclosed wells; note the age of the town walls; visit the museum and view the film about Bad Orb "Then and Now," noting the difference in the way the houses are now decorated; visit the well-kept cemetery where someone can always be found tending a family gravesite; visit the Catholic church which had burned at Xmas several years ago and which has since been rebuilt following the old style; walk along the stream which bisects the town and over which there are many pedestrian bridges with decorative wrought-iron railings; study the lines of Hans Prasch's sculptures, particularly the "Salt Worker" which, particularly, appealed to me; admire the industriousness of Bad Orb's 14,000 people for restoring and maintaining this town, making it one of the most attractive we have ever seen. Bad Orb made me welcome and proud to have been one of its descendants!
         -Patricia Prasch Belden

Featured essay # 7
      New Year's Traditions 

           contributed by Robin

Do you have a New Year's tradition? There are many;†
I thought we'd share a few of them with you this week.†
  The first person to enter your home must be of male†gender. This tradition is still followed by some,†even if it means the husband of the family will leave†via the back door and enter through the front door to†ensure no female enters first.
  Along the same lines as the last tradition is that the†first visitor of the New Year would bring good luck.†
  The luck was especially phenomenal if it was a tall,†dark haired man.
  Various foods eaten on New Year's Day are believed to†bring good luck. Some cultures believe that anything†in the shape of a circle is lucky. For this reason,†the Dutch believe that eating donuts the first day of†the year will bring good fortune. Cabbage is a good-luck†vegetable, and most know about the southern traditions of†eating black-eyed peas and maybe hog jowls to accompany them.
  Some families celebrate with a special cake that is baked.†When the cake is cut, the person who finds a coin in his or†her slice is promised luck for the year.
  Other families hold money tightly clinched in their fist†for the first 12 minutes of the New Year, each minute†symbolizing prosperity for a month of the new year.
  Some believe you do not wash clothes on New Year's Day!†If you do, it could mean someone in your family will die†that year. Start the New Year with clean thoughts and clean clothes; all to be washed before New Year's Day arrives.
Eating pork as the first meat of the New Year is yet another†tradition to bring good fortune.
  A well-known tradition is the New Year's resolution. Millions†of Americans contemplate what they want to modify during the†next twelve months, and then commit to that change.
  Whether or not you have a tradition for the New Year, we hope†that you have read these in good spirit, and respect the†belief of others. 
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