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Ella Mae Ritchie was 96 years old when the corners of the afghans began giving her trouble. At that age, your fingers are not as nimble as they once were.

Ella Mae Boone, her daughter, would help her mother by tearing out the crochet and redoing the corners.

That, to put it mildly, infuriated Ella Mae Ritchie; she quit.

It takes a strong-minded woman to be a farm wife all her life and raise four children. Ella Mae Ritchie did not take kindly to being interfered with in her crocheting.

Ella Mae Boone is just one of her children and lives in Woodbine; Virginia Brothers, another daughter, lives in Gamber. One son, Thomas, is deceased. The last child, her son William, resides in Missouri.

Until she was 93, Ella Mae Ritchie lived with her daughter, Ella Mae Boone; now she resides in the Golden Age Guest Home in Sykesville.

Ritchie and her husband, Andrew, a native of Ireland, farmed the old Harding place in Ellicott City, Howard County, until 1939, when they moved to another farm in Carroll County. Andrew passed away when he was 91.

"Mom may be a little forgetful at times," Ella Mae Boone said, "but she still has a lively sense of humor and she still enjoys good health."

That's true. Except for a little extra calcium, Ella Mae Ritchie doesn't even take any medicine. And she still visits her daughter's home at least once a week.

Now you're asking yourself, "What does this have to do with bowling?"

Good question.

A couple of years ago, when Ella Mae Ritchie was 98, the activities director at the Golden Age Guest Home, Dale Porter, took a few of the residents to Thunderhead Westminster for a few frames of duckpins. That's when Ella Mae Ritchie began her bowling career, at the age of 98. Come May 25, 1991, Ella Mae will celebrate her 100th birthday.

Can she bowl?

"It's hard to take when you get beat by mother," Ella Mae Boone said.

"But it's really hard to take when you get beat by your mother and she's 99 years old."

On Nov. 29, at Thunderhead Lanes in Westminster, Ella Mae Ritchie's 88 duckpin score beat her daughter's 83.

That will never happen to me.

I ain't bowling against her.


From time to time I have bowlers who are upset because honor scores are not sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress.

That's understandable. When someone throws a high game or a high series, it is often a once-in-a-lifetime thing, then to have it disqualified is very upsetting. The bowler asks, "Why?"

The key point is whether an honor score is earned through the skill of the bowler or aided by illegal lane conditioning or equipment. The ABC cannot recognize the illegal score and they cannot reward the bowler, based on rules made by the bowlers, and will continue to reject those in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.

The ABC wants to continue to honor those members who achieve a spectacular score, such as a 300 game or 800 series, but these honors and awards must be earned honestly and legally.

Rejecting an honor score is one of the most serious problems ABC deals with, and, unfortunately, the bowler is the victim when an honor score is aided through illegal means,whether intentional or inadvertent, because the rules prohibit any other decision. When a proprietor accepts ABC/WIBC certification, he/she agrees to abide by the rules of the game of which lane dressing is included.


Bowling Tip: Want more snap on the back end?

Use positive weight and/or top weight to make the ball go farther down the lane and then finish.


The American Bowling Congress Board of Directors was informed that the ABC/Women's International Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications Committee is forwarding legislation to their delegates calling for one lane dressing rule. The proposal requires a minimum of three units of dressing at any point on the lane where dressing is applied.

Example: If dressing is applied 35 feet, at least three units must be applied across the entire lane for 35 feet. However, there is not any mandated distance; that will be left up to the bowling center.

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