One recent crisp day, Sally Bright and I spent a morning together on the grounds of Historic Ellicott City's Patapsco Female Institute. Sally, my neighbor from years back, now heads the Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute, which promotes the development of the institute as a historic landmark.
Howard County government is stabilizing the ruins, which will allow the institute to be used once again. Amid the construction vehicles and hard hats, Sally shared with me her visions for the institute.
The institute began as a premier woman's school in 1837 and continued until 1890, prospering especially under the direction of Almira Phelps. After the school closed, it served as a boarding home, hospital, nursing home and theater, and finally was abandoned until its purchase in 1966 by Department of Recreation and Parks.
Plans for the institute, which will open sometime next spring, include a theater, tours, lectures and historic gardens. Are you interested? There is plenty of work to do, and the Friends could use some help. To join, call 465-0804.
If you're interested in visiting the institute's dig area, join Recreation and Parks officials from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for an "Archaeology Adventure." Children over age 10 are welcome if they bring an adult. The fee is $8.
Information: 313-2762 or text telephone, 313-2723.
Don't know where the institute is? Just stand in the parking lot behind the county courthouse, face away from the courthouse and look up. The institute is the ruins on top of the hill before you.
Mount Hebron's Marching Unit has been winning awards again. On Sept. 16, the marching unit marched as the honor unit in the Miss America Pageant parade for the fifth consecutive year. It is the unit's 17th straight year of participation.
In recognition of its efforts, the Miss America Scholarship Program awarded the unit a $3,000 scholarship, which was granted to 1994 graduate Bob Wardwell.
On Oct. 29, the unit participated in the 1994 Alsatia Mummers Parade in Hagerstown for the 20th consecutive year, and took first place in the marching unit competition for the second consecutive year.
The youngsters also perform in their share of community events, most recently the Mount Hebron Community Halloween Parade and yesterday's Columbia Veterans Day Parade.
Seems like the marching unit is on a roll, thanks to the work of the Lancers, Cavaliers, Honor Guard, Marching Band led by drum majors Kathy Oh and Aaron Rader and director Bob Johnston, a total of nearly 150 people.
To help the Elkridge Area Jaycees provide Thanksgiving baskets for the needy, Elkridge Pizza Hut will give a $2 off coupon for a pizza to anyone who brings in a nonperishable food donation.
Come to the Pizza Hut and enjoy your pizza so that others can enjoy their Thanksgiving this year. The deadline for donations is Saturday.
Harwood Park United Methodist Church needs an organist. The church lost its organist to a job transfer not long ago, and the hymns are not the same with no accompaniment. With the holidays coming up, the congregation needs an organist quickly.
The position is salaried, and services are 9 a.m. Sundays. Call Dorothy Baker at (410) 796-2737 for information.
Say hello to Dolly this weekend at Howard High School. On Thursday through Saturday , the school's drama group will produce Thornton Wilder's classic comedy "The Matchmaker," which was the inspiration for the musical "Hello Dolly." It's the story of matchmaker Dolly Levi in New York, who is hired by Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy merchant, to find a wife for him, when she decides she'd like to keep him for herself.
Members of the cast include: Erin Frisby, Brian Pakulla, Risa Binder, Anna Salajegheh, Korey Jackson, Ric Lanciotti, Rebecca Kotraba, Karina Ferry, Lyle Saunders, Rob Watson, Greg Blick, Tisha Gay, Kacey Coffin, Evan Reitmeyer, Frankie Selmo and Eric Martinez.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. You can buy a ticket for $5 at the door or at the front office of Howard High.
Here are a few community events for the coming weekend:
Trinity Episcopal Church "on the pike" at 7474 Washington Boulevard in Elkridge, sets the table for an oyster, chicken salad and ham dinner from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Carryouts are available.
Tickets cost $8.50 for adults and $4 for children. Call Pastor Skip Steiner at (410) 796-7974 for directions.
Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church goes Italian this Sunday with a spaghetti dinner. The menu includes spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. Tickets cost $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and $1 for children under 6.
For directions or to purchase tickets, call Cathy Aballo at 750-3040.
Rockland United Methodist Church will hold a holiday bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday . Homecrafted items and crafts from a Henderson Mission in Kentucky are among items for sale. Church members will serve lunch. Rockland Church is at Old Frederick Road and Chapel Avenue in Ellicott City.
Stacie Griffin, owner of Second Childhood, a children's clothing consignment shop, is marking down merchandise from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, with the proceeds to benefit Ellicott City resident Tracey Carroll.
Ms. Carroll, a single mother, works as a day-care mom. She needs a major operation, but her insurance does not cover the entire cost. Second Childhood hopes that the yard sale will help to fill the gap.
Second Childhood is at 9090 Frederick Road. Call 465-6060 for information.
Tonight's Parent Teacher Association meeting at Burleigh Manor Middle School will feature a panel of experts who work with local adolescents in drug or alcohol abuse. The panel will include Dr. Tom Stacy, a Howard County therapist; Mikki Buchness, adolescent intake director of Sheppard Pratt Hospital; and Joyce Brown, County Executive Charles I. Ecker's special adviser on drug and alcohol issues.
This meeting, which addresses a concern common to parents of teen-agers, begins at 7:30 p.m.
Gary Memorial United Methodist Church invites the community to its monthly "In the House of the Lord" series Sunday. This month, the topic is nature. Dr. Torrey C. Brown, secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, will discuss the fish ladder on the Patapsco River dam at Daniels.
A light lunch follows the 11 a.m. worship service. Dr. Brown's presentation begins at 12:30 p.m.
Gary Memorial Methodist Church is on Daniels Road in Ellicott City. Call 465-7345 for directions.