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At Lighthouse Senior Living in Ellicott City, a resident turns 100 | Mostly Main column

Sophie Kupstas, one of our beloved residents, celebrated her 100th birthday on May 15th.
Sophie Kupstas, one of our beloved residents, celebrated her 100th birthday on May 15th. (Courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

Alex Parker, with Lighthouse Senior Living in Ellicott City – and a long-time Howard County resident – wanted to share some exciting news.

Sophie Kupstas, one of our beloved residents, celebrated her 100th birthday on May 15. 100!!!" Parker wrote. "Sophie, who was born in Lithuania, apparently was in a movie when she was 6, speaks three languages and is still living large as she closes out her first century. Sophie will be our first 100-year-old here at Lighthouse and, needless to say, her friends, residents and our staff are all very excited. Sophie has touched countless lives along the way and continues to be a cherished inspiration to our Lighthouse family.”

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Happy Birthday, Sophie!

Ellicott City resident Sarah Baumert sent in a heartwarming story about her son Owen’s 10th birthday on May 10. Because they were unable to have a normal birthday party, they set up a “drive away driveway" kind of party. Folks signed birthday wishes on the driveway and donated food for Columbia Community Cares. Sarah said she was very proud of her son for asking for donations instead of gifts for himself. Way to go, Owen, and what a nice Mother’s Day present for Sarah!

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Owen Baumert, 10, set up a “drive away driveway” kind of birthday party, where folks signed the driveway and donated food for Columbia Community Cares.
Owen Baumert, 10, set up a “drive away driveway” kind of birthday party, where folks signed the driveway and donated food for Columbia Community Cares. (Courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

State Del. Courtney Watson commented recently on the resiliency of residents and shopkeepers in the historic district, noting that they have endured two floods and a pandemic in four short years. There have been 15 major floods since people started keeping track in the late 18th century. It’s like the old ad for Timex watches—they take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

They too need to be thanked for their service to our community, continuing to make it one of the best places to live year after year. We need to support them now and when they are able to return to fuller operation.

Right now, most of the restaurants are open for carryout. We have found that they are quite organized in this, with call-in or website ordering and pickup from your car. In addition to menu items, many of them, like Kelsey’s Irish Restaurant on Route 40, are offering items like toilet paper and flour to save you a trip to the grocery store.

The Wine Bin offers a few essentials like that in addition to its beer and wine choices. The Ellicott Distilling Company has been brewing some new flavors, including an interesting sounding blueberry liqueur. Check its website for the pickup schedule. Little treats like that can really raise your spirits (get it?)

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Jaxon Edwin Social House’s barber shop is open for essential workers. An appointment is necessary. Also, it is offering small plates like avocado toast, crudités, dip and oysters along with cocktails for carryout. Tersiguel’s is closed but it features frequent recipes on Facebook. Angie Tersiguel is in charge of cocktails, making treats like Kir Royale, and Michel Tersiguel is sharing recipes for such goodies as asparagus, leek and potato frittatas with seasonal greens in bacon dressing. Yum.

Despite last week’s glitch of freezing weather – I can still see my husband Tom out in the herb garden with burlap and bricks trying to protect the sensitive new plants from the cold and wind – we may finally be on the way to seasonal spring weather. Our peonies are growing like weeds. It will be nice to enjoy the blossoms before the deer eat them.

Speaking of nature, I want to give a shout-out to Geoffrey Baker, Oella resident and nature photographer extraordinaire. I first noticed his Main Street streetscape photos online around Christmas, which were amazing. Currently, I consider his daily photos of the variety of birds along the Patapsco to be a real balm. His captions are fun and informative. I know I am not alone in enjoying them. Thanks, Geoffrey!

Also, since we can’t travel right now, I appreciate more than ever my friend Tom Sheehan, who frequently emails stunning photos of spots he has visited around the world, with commentary to match. We are in Spain one day, Hawaii the next, then on to the blooming poppies in California.

I think I am at the acceptance stage of the pandemic. I don’t like it, but what can I do but obey the rules and keep from getting sick or make other people sick? I loved Mother’s Day. For one day at least, everyone stopped talking about the single topic everyone has been talking about and instead celebrated mothers and families in general. And with celebration can come new knowledge.

My friend Claire Fulton called to wish me a happy Mother’s Day. She called me on my cellphone rather than the land line, and I was surprised that I could answer the phone call on my iPad (I know, I know.) Anyway, I was talking to her on the iPad when the iPad told me we could be talking on FaceTime. Which we did. It was so great to see her. She only lives in Columbia, but it may as well be the moon these days. I plan to “visit” other friends the same way. It’s not just for seeing grandchildren. Who knew?

In the past week, my high school closed its doors, partially a victim of the pandemic. I attended the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore. Other graduates include Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Mikulski. The school was in business for 170 years so we thought it would go on forever. Many of my classmates made their way to Ellicott City after graduation and now live in the suburban neighborhoods of Font Hill, Farside, Dunloggin and beyond. One was Linda Harrison Gardner, whose family built the Enchanted Forest on Route 40, which delighted generations of families from all over the area. A few years ago, Linda and I collaborated on a book about the Enchanted Forest with Martha Clark, who saved many of the iconic figures from the park and installed them in her Clark’s Elioak Farm attraction.

My car’s battery died the other day, a victim of my sheltering in place. We had it towed to Goodyear on Route 40. When I went to pick it up, I was impressed by the safety measures they have installed, including huge Plexiglas sheets suspended at the customer service desk, separating employees from customers. I have taken to driving around the block, just to charge the battery. My neighborhood, Gray Rock Farm, is gorgeous right now, with blooms everywhere. Also, someone is turning rocks into tiny works of art and leaving them around our suburban neighborhoods. Sweet thought.

The Judges’ Bench is famous for its open mic nights. Well, these days the open mic nights have gone virtual. You can find them every Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the @MainStreet Open Mic Facebook page, hosted by Kelly. The next one is on May 26 and will feature multiple performers. It also features a local guest bartender every week.

The Old Town Farmers’ Market has been canceled for this season, but the one at the Miller Library is still being held every Wednesday. Right now, there is no walking around, rather you drive through in your car and get handed your purchases through the car window.

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Speaking of the library, go to its website to find all kinds of interesting things to do for kids and adults. One of my favorites is the Rube Goldberg Bar of Soap Video Challenge, with Goldberg’s granddaughter Jennifer George leading the way.

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Aleta Gravelle has shared that the Whipp’s Cemetery fundraising events for this spring have been rescheduled. The Daffodil Days at the cemetery will be held on April 3, 2021 and the plant sale will be on May 13, 14 and 15, 2021.

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