I’ve been thinking about … losses.
The past few weeks have been hard. First we heard of the death of a friend of over 40 years, Ann Mainolfi. The Sun newspaper did a nice job on her Baltimore life and accomplishments but she had a Carroll County resume as well. Ann and her husband Ferd were theater friends. She directed my husband Joe in a production of “Hedda Gabler” at Spotlighters Theatre in Baltimore and she and I were in a silly musical called “70, Girls, 70” at The Vagabond Players about a band of senior citizen fur thieves.
Ann and Ferd had a beautiful house in the Guilford neighborhood in Baltimore but, to show you what a small world we live in, they also owned a farm in Manchester. There were a lot of great cast parties at both locations. When they retired, they moved to the farm and renovated it as their primary residence. Ann was smart, warm, funny; a talented actor and maybe even a more talented director and teacher. She established a theater program for the North Carroll Senior and Community Center that was a big hit. I helped one year with the Christmas program. It was great fun.
One summer a few years ago, I asked Ann and Ferd to help with a summer program sponsored by The Little Community Theatre at one of the local churches in Union Bridge. She did a wonderful program for the children. I remember it was one of the classic fairy tales. Ferd built the sets and Ann made costumes for all the children. Over the week, they learned stage craft, had a good lunch and put on a good show. The kids wore the costumes for the rest of the summer and I know that because I saw them on the streets of Union Bridge myself.
Jim Reter also passed away earlier this month. Jim was a friend at Kiwanis. He never missed an opportunity to help with a fundraiser whether it was the scarecrow building at FallFest or the beer garden at the Farm Museum. He was a doer. An accountant by trade, he served Carroll County Public Schools and the Carroll County Republican Central Committee. He had a keen interest in local politics, attending many public meeting on topics of interest to him. He was a gentleman and I will miss him.
On Jan. 15, I was saddened to learn of the death of Julia K. Berwager. It was my privilege to interview her some time ago for the Community Media Center’s History Project. Miss Berwager knew everything there was to know about Manchester and it seemed everyone in the town knew her. She loved the town and was very active with the Manchester History Museum. She told me once that because of her father’s work she knew the location of every old well in Manchester. A high school physical education teacher by training, she became the coach of the high school’s boys baseball team when all the men marched off to World War II. A woman coaching the boys baseball team was unheard of in those days. She was still a little indignant about being removed from the job when the men came marching back.
In Daniel Hartzler’s book on the history of baseball in Carroll County, Julia K. Berwager is acknowledged as one of the best pitchers in Carroll County. Notice I didn’t say woman pitcher. That is a really good book. Julia K. Berwager was a woman ahead of her time and I’m glad I got to know her.