YOU MOVE to western Howard County for the feel and life of a closely knit neighborhood.
Soon after you move, you discover that your letter carrier knows your kids, your dog, and your first name.
You must live in Dayton, where Tom Brown has delivered the mail for 30 years.
Brown recently received recognition from the United States Postal Service for his years of service.
"I just outlasted them all," Brown says modestly. He has lived in Dayton all his life.
In June 1966, when he started his 78-mile route, the only local post office was in Mauck's Market, in Clarksville, at Ten Oaks Road and Route 108.
Though the post office has moved twice and, the market has given way to a car dealership, Brown has kept the same core route.
A tiny post office in Dayton became his home away from home for many years.
He was transferred to the larger Clarksville office recently, and misses seeing his Dayton customers who used to drop in to mail a package or buy stamps.
Brown graduated from Glenelg High School, where he met his wife, Connie, in 1965.
He attended Catonsville Community College for a year after high school.
When his mother went to the post office in Clarksville one summer day to pick up the mail for her employer, the old Citizens Bank, a postal worker told her they needed a new mail deliverer. Brown said he would do it for the summer.
"It's been a long summer," he says.
Brown built his house on land formerly owned by his grandfather. He lives near his parents, Francis and Catherine Brown, and his 90-year-old aunt, Mildred Brown.
In addition to his mail route, Brown has worked a few part-time jobs, including bartender at a watering hole in Dayton.
He started coaching baseball as a volunteer in the Western Howard County League when his son Jeff, now 22, was 7.
Son Jason, now a senior at Glenelg, has kept him busy with coaching until two years ago.
Brown takes great pride in serving his customers.
"This is my mail route, and these are my people," he says.
His route, which has been divided several times, now measures 28 miles. And he brings more than the mail.
He knows the people he serves and is always willing to go beyond the call of duty.
When he brings your package and your mail to the door in nasty weather, you always get a smile and hear a kind word.
He's the guy next door who used to hunt rabbits where your house stands. He's the kind of man who ruffles your 7-year-old's hair as he says hello. He's the one who makes you feel you belong in Dayton.
That's why you came to western Howard County.
River Hill -- it's academic
Congratulations to freshman Andrew Chen, sophomore Heather Doyle, and junior Jeff Jew of River Hill High School.
These young scholars make up River Hill High School's first "It's Academic" team."
In the Feb. 8 taping of the weekly competition, which will be telecast March 15, these youngsters came in a close second.
Barbara Jewett, chemistry instructor and instructional leader of the science department, coached the team.
River Hill High School's bands invite you to a free concert, beginning at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday.
River Hill's four new ensembles, under the direction of Steve Wampler, will show how much they have accomplished since their formation in August.
River Hill's Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Jazz and Percussion Ensembles will perform several pieces.
You'll be pleasantly surprised at how well these groups have developed in such a short time. Information: 313-7210.
Get your taste buds ready for Glenelg High School's Marching Unit's submarine sandwiches.
Eileen Myers reports that students are taking orders for the $4.50 12-inch subs.
Your student sales person will deliver your sandwiches, lTC containing four kinds of cold cuts, American and provolone cheese, and lettuce and tomato on rolls, March 22.
Order your sandwiches with or without onions.
Call Myers at 489-7026 or Denise Riley at (301) 854-6178.
All profits from this fund-raiser will help support the music students' spring trip.
Count Basie's orchestra
Count Basie's highly influential band was nearly 50 years old when he died in 1984.
Today, the sounds of the jazz pianist and bandleader continue, as the Count Basie Orchestra presents a powerful yet relaxed style of jazz. Thanks to Glenelg High School's band director, Barry Enzman, you can hear this legendary group at 8 p.m. March 11 at the school.
Tickets are $15. Send a check and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Barry Enzman, Glenelg High School, 14025 Burnt Woods Road, Glenelg.
Sign up soon for the River Hill High School Golf Classic.
Athletic Director Don Van Dusen is accepting registrations for the 1 p.m. June 12 shotgun start at Turf Valley Country Club.
A fee of $75 a person or $300 a foursome includes greens fees, golf cart, soft drinks on the course, a light dinner and prizes.
The field for this tournament is limited to the first 30 foursomes to register. Information: 313-7114.
St. Louis Church dinner
Mark your calendar for March 16. That's the day students in the Catholic Youth Ministry at St. Louis Church in Clarksville hold an Italian dinner in the school auditorium.
You'll enjoy homemade sauces and meatballs with pasta, lasagna, garlic bread, salad, and homemade desserts.
Eat an abundance of good food for $7; $8 if you choose lasagna; and $4 per child, age 10 and under. The family rate is $30.
The feast begins at 1: 30 p.m. and will end at 6: 30 p.m.
Clarksville craft show
Don't miss the big Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fire Station in Clarksville.
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Fifth District Fire Department will offer crafts by 24 artisans.
Have a homemade lunch, including barbecue, ham sandwiches, bean soup and hot dogs. Purchase homemade baked goods from the kitchens of the auxiliary members.
Information: 531-3984 or 531-3310.
Pub Date: 2/27/97