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Savage resident's 97th birthday filled with well-wishers, friends


EMMA MILES celebrated her 97th birthday last week with the help of well-wishers and friends.

She's been living with her son, Ray, since April. He's taking care of her with the help of Hospice of Howard County volunteers, members of First Baptist Church of Savage and others who lend a hand.

She came to Savage at age 9 from Virginia and has lived in Savage ever since. Her family had come to work at Savage Mill, the town's main employer. Soon, she was was employed there. She worked in the cotton mill from 1917 to 1941.

Miles is a charter member of First Baptist Church of Savage. The mill and church have been important elements in her family's life. Four decades after she stopped working at the mill - and the mill had become a retail space - she posed for photographs there with her son. Music director of Savage United Methodist Church, he was directing a charity performance of Handel's "Messiah."

Until April, she continued Sunday school classes. Since then, she has become too weak to attend. But the week before her birthday, her former classmates brought a cake to help her celebrate.

On her birthday, a stream of well-wishers visited. The most spectacular gift might have been from neighbor Linda Pitetti: 97 yellow and white roses. Because it was too many to put into a room decorated with bouquets, Ray put bouquets throughout the house.

Church play

Bethel Assembly of God has a beautiful new church at Vollerhausen and Savage-Guilford roads.

In use since October, the church has been the scene of an Easter Cantata and of various large school functions. This weekend, the sanctuary will not only resonate with the sounds of worship, but with directorial comments as well. A volunteer cast of 40 will rehearse for next week's performances of "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames." This short, dramatic series of vignettes dramatizes the consequences of life choices on the soul's eternal fate.

Senior Pastor E. Don Cox invited Reality Outreach Ministries to present the play. This group has 32 traveling teams that visit churches to performe. The ministry brings the set, music, costumes and lighting, but the cast members are always local.

"It's the most awesome play I've ever seen. We did it before at the old church," said Joy Hemler, family life pastor at Bethel. The congregation put on the performance when the church was on Woodward Street. That building is now the site of St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church.

"It's very dramatic - life changing. We encourage people to bring friends and loved ones," Hemler said.

It's a congregationwide undertaking. The new associate pastor,Johnny Green, and the Rev. Jim Collver, the minister of music, are coordinators of the drama. Forty members of the congregation signed up as cast members, with three days of rehearsals before performances - starting at 6 p.m. Sunday. Performances also will be at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Hemler is coordinating child care for infants through 7-year-olds so parents can attend.

Information and directions: 301-498- 3344.

Baseball clinics

The Savage Boys and Girls Club organizes baseball, basketball and soccer teams. The club will hold fall baseball clinics this month.

Extra Innings, a baseball school, will come to Savage Park to instruct youngsters in fielding, catching and the subtleties of defense. The instructors are current and former baseball professionals: Tim Donnelly, pitching coach for Riverside Baptist High School; Scott Wade, who had a 12-year career in major league baseball; Jeff Palumbo, a former head coach at Bowie State; and Mike Bielecki, a 14-year-player with the Braves, Cubs and Pirates.

Space is limited. The camp will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16, 23 and 30.

The cost is $75. The club is picking up part of the cost.

Information: 301-464-9449 or 301-262-4553.

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