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Lonaconing was a good pick for a lottery win | READER COMMENTARY

Store owner Richard Ravenscroft talks on a phone inside the Coney Market in Lonaconing Md., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, where a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket worth $731 million was sold this week. (Colin Campbell/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Store owner Richard Ravenscroft talks on a phone inside the Coney Market in Lonaconing Md., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, where a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket worth $731 million was sold this week. (Colin Campbell/The Baltimore Sun via AP) (Colin Campbell/AP)

Thank you, Sun reporter Colin Campbell, for the nice article about the Lonaconing $731.1 million Powerball ticket (”$730 million Powerball jackpot a rare thrill for tiny Western Maryland town ravaged by job losses, coronavirus,” Jan. 22). I am so glad this sweet, homey town is in the news again.

My grandmother — Baltimore artist Ruth Bear Levy (in Coney, they called her “Teddy Bear”) — grew up there. She always talked about and painted her memories of life in that little town in Western Maryland, a place she called “God’s country.” She painted her memories of George’s Creek, The Western Maryland Railroad, the iron furnace, Lefty Grove — all of which were mentioned in the article. Many of her paintings lovingly captured everyday life in a small town. Images of her oil paintings along with her written memories were published in a book by the Maryland Historical Society (with her paintings as illustrations) called “A Wee Bit Of Scotland: Growing up in Lonaconing at the turn of the Century.” The society got interested in her art because Lonaconing used to be a thriving coal mining town when my grandma lived there — a piece of Maryland history that no longer exists.

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Today, many people move out and away from Coney for opportunity. But it’s a town that has spunk and backbone. I recall when things were in economic downturn with businesses closing down across the country, Lonaconing managed to build and open a new library. When it opened, we donated some of some of my grandmother’s paintings to hang there. In Lonaconing, my grandma grew up as a child with Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Grove (whom the writer mentioned in his article). She even tossed a ball with him when they were kids. Personally, I recall the home-cooked ham supper held in the church there when my family attended the induction of my grandmother into the Lonaconing Hall of Fame. She couldn’t have been prouder!

This lottery win is a great boom for that place. Although my grandmother died in 1994 at 94 years old, if she were alive today, no doubt she would paint the Coney Market — and if the winners ever reveal themselves, she’d put them in the painting, too.

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Elizabeth Levy Malis, Baltimore

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