|HOMETOWN ¶ Two Years in the Life of a Small Town Grown Large|
With the exception of the Halloween article, the articles below are reprinted from their original drafts, before copyediting and editorial revisions.
TOUR OF THE NEW COMMUNITY CENTER, 1996
Published on March 21, 1996
"We're back in 1936 now," explains Recreation Department employee Karen Haseley to the people accompanying her on a tour of the Community Center on March 16. The visitors take a quick look at their maps to confirm that they have travelled from the original part of the Community Center to the new wing and back again.
It's hard to tell what is new and what is old, one visitor comments. Another says, "Yes, except for the water fountains, which really stand out."
For many visiting the Community Center on the day of its grand opening, this is a first chance to see the building after its renovation. Informal and formal tours of the building reveal to visitors the ways in which the old and the new have blended to create a new gathering place for Greenbelters.
In the office of the Greenbelt News Review, for example, antique manual typewriters sit at one end of the room, while computer equipment can be seen at the other end. A fax machine and copier is located on original wooden cabinets, while an old adding machine has been placed on one of the staff's new desks. One visitor, who had seen the News Review's old, dark quarters, looks around at the daylight-filled room and comments that the new location is "amazingly different."
Across the hall in the Multi-Media Room, members of the Greenbelt Writers' Group are enticing visitors into their small space by means of desserts. Sue Jordan explains that her group hopes to find people to donate computer equipment for the room. "We're very happy to have a space of our own," she says. "It feels like a home."
These two rooms are located at the east entrance to the building, but most visitors now come in by way of the south entrance, where the Greenbelt Museum has placed one of its display rooms. The room is presently filled with an introductory exhibit to the history of Greenbelt, and includes 1930s furniture, photographs, and newspaper articles. One headline reads, "Greenbelt Wives Blush and Hide/'Til Undies on the Line Are Dried" – an allusion to the early controversy over city rules governing the hanging of washed clothes.
At the end of the exhibit, visitors are encouraged to write their comments about Greenbelt. Comments are both philosophical and grumpy: "I'd like a utopian community without stop signs or speed bumps."
Past the bathrooms – no longer child-sized, but now paved with 1930s-style tiles – is the Senior Game Room. One young boy, wandering in and seeing the pool table, promptly goes over to play with the pool balls. "It's for old people only," explains his parents and pull him away.
The gallery, which doubles as a Senior Classroom and Conference Room, is presently filled with art by Lenore Thomas, the sculptor who created the Community Center friezes. Near the entrance is a fund established for Thomas's Mother and Child statue at the Roosevelt Center; not far away is the newest Thomas statue given to the city.
After passing bulletin boards which are filled with children's art, just as in the old days, visitors reach the Senior Lounge. One senior citizen is sitting there knitting; another is reading a newspaper. Janet Parker, on the other hand, is poised at the entrance, ready to pounce on another visitor and hand out information on the Greenbelt Intergenerational Volunteer Exchange Service. "Have you joined?" she asks. "Well, you'd better."
The door to the Senior Classroom is closed – a group of citizens are listening to a lecture on Maryland's Emergency Vehicle Law – so the next room encountered is the Children's Art Room. Here Barbara Simon is showing a group of children how to create a painting with just a tub full of water and food dye. "I never thought we would make it," she says, referring to the long struggle to establish a Community Center. "It's almost ten years to the day since we started."
Another member of the Community Center Task Force, William Stratton, examines the original wooden cabinets which line the walls. "That tells you how many children they used to think appropriate for a classroom," he comments, then goes over to admire the slide-and-pivot closets.
Haseley, giving her tour, also takes care to point out that the original woodwork has been retained. "Unfortunately, we don't have all the knobs for them," she says. "We're working on this."
Across the hall, the Adult Art Room is filled mainly with children drawing pictures on some of the original blackboards. Elsewhere in the room, artists are spinning thread and drawing in pastel.
A short trip down the stairs takes the visitor to the ground floor of the 1960s wing. Here the Greenbelt Arts Center has its costume room, and Marie Tousignant is busy explaining to a visitor about the computer system the Arts Center has used to catalogue its costumes. "All I've been hearing from people who visit is, 'Do you take donations?'" she says. "Everyone wants to empty their closets. They all think that we need evening gowns, and there are actually very few plays that use gowns." What the Arts Center really needs, she says, are clothes from the 1930s and 1940s for its upcoming play about Greenbelt.
Across the hall, the Greenbelt Nursery School and Kindergarten fills three rooms. Above the miniature furniture, dinosaur art hangs from the ceiling. At one end of the room, a young girl ignores the traditional ironing board and kitchen behind her in order to bang on a computer keyboard. The children have been busy creating snowflake art and pictures of comets and constellations. Space, in fact, seems to be a favorite subject at the school: a long piece of paper displays the pupil's answers when asked whether they wished to go to space. A girl named Kellye replied, "No, there are too many stars."
A similar survey asking what the children like with bread reveals that Griffin likes to squish his bread. The school is filled with many enticing items: a hamster cage, play steering wheels, and books with titles such as "The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars." A father is desperately trying to lure his son away from all the toys, but the boy dilly-dallies long enough to pick up a phone and say, "Hello? Hello?"
Upstairs, Haseley introduces the next room by saying, "One of the biggest rooms that people really like is this dance studio." There are oohs and aahs as the visitors enter the mirror-lined room. A woman says to her daughter, "Wow, this was your first grade?" The girl replies, "Yeah, and I sat wa-a-ay back here." She runs across the wooden floor to pinpoint the exact location of her desk.
A crowd has formed in front of the Code Enforcement office, where brownies and cookies are being given away. Near the bare concrete-floored Rehearsal Room, a couple is consulting the Community Center map. "No, you go this way," says the woman. "I remember the way."
The Multi-Purpose Room is now empty, though it was earlier filled with members of the Greenbelt Concert Band, and the Greenbelt Access Television room has not yet been finished. This leaves the artists' studios, which is where much of the liveliest conversation is taking place.
In one room, Dan Kennedy is busy finishing a painting of St. Hugh's Church. A visitor leans over his shoulder and suggests painting a priest at the entrance to the church. "A priest by himself is no good," Kennedy replies. "I have to have some action, so I'll have him talking to other people."
At the other end of the room, Ann Reiss is surrounded by twigs and pods and other natural items which she has turned into art. She breaks off her work in search of a missing item. "I don't know where my berries are," she says. "Maybe a rose will do."
In the next room, Sharon Lefchick is showing visitors her faux finishes, which she describes as "a playful way of decorating." Nearby are casts of monster arms which were done by her son.
Nancy DePlachett is standing at the entrance to her studio, which is filled with "Centerbum" tee shirts, jewelry, a cornhusk angel, a birdhouse painted with a moon, and the Greenbelt quilt which she designed. DePlachett leans over to speak to a young child who is clutching a handful of pens. "Are you going to color with them?" The child looks up at DePlachett uncertainly, then flees to the other end of the hall.
It is nearly closing time by now. "It will be kind of nice to have the halls quiet again," says DePlachett. "We're exhausted from all the visitors."
Her visitor replies, "I was sitting in the gym thinking about how many gym classes I substituted in there."
"I've had three former custodians come by here," DePlachett says. She moves slightly to the side, revealing that her door is propped open with a stuffed cat.
Next door, the Ceramics Room is occupied by children playing with clay and a woman at the potter's wheel. "We're closing up the room now," she is told, and the potterer reluctantly abandons her work.
Downstairs, the halls are empty except for the pictures of early Greenbelt. "A strong sense of neighborliness has become ingrained in Greenbelt life," says the caption to one.
Just as the last visitors are beginning to exit, a couple enters the building by way of the east entrance. It is their first visit to the Community Center, and they duck into the Dining Hall where the New Deal Cafe makes its home. "Nice!" says the man, looking around at the bright art on the walls. "I'm impressed."
Across the hall, the gym has been emptied of its dedication day decorations. It is once more a basketball court, ready for use when the Community Center opens its doors the following day.
ARTISTS MOVE INTO THE NEW COMMUNITY CENTER, 1996
Published on March 21, 1996
"This is a new German-made tool," says Richard McMullin, and demonstrates the cutting tool to Councilmember Rodney Roberts by punching out a piece of stained glass. Scattered all about him are bits of colored glass waiting to be cut.
In the Brothers McMullin studio, Richard and Michael McMullin are still becoming adjusted to life in their new, light-filled room in the Community Center. "We were waiting in line to get in here," McMullin tells a visitor who has taken advantage of the March 16 open house to visit the Community Cneter. "It's a huge improvement. It's much nicer to have natural light and to have people visit you."
The McMullin's old studio was located in the basement of the Greenbelt Co-op, and McMullin reports that the artists used to be visited by the "Center bums." Now they are visited by rock bands and by girls who wander in and sing show tunes a capella.
McMullin says that their initiation to the Community Center was more daunting. "The thing that happened right away was a posted list of rules," he said. The rules forbade such things as children visiting late at night, alcohol, and nudity. "Of course, all of us were so prone to taking our clothes off," McMullin comments. He says that on the first night, he brought his children to the studio, opened champagne, and "tried to break as many of those rules as possible so that we could get it out of our system."
McMullin notes that similarly tight restrictions are placed on Greenbelters using the Community Center gymnasium, and says with a laugh, "I think sports people should be controlled – artists should be left alone."
His studio is filled with collages, paintings, and a set of "I Married the Wrong Man" Barbie dolls. The last were created by his brother, and they list features such as "Low Self-Esteem" and "Al-anon Membership."
Richard McMullin himself works with stained glass. On the day of the open house, he is busy creating a day-lily window, which is based on a larger design which he once created for a church. Most of his designs are for private homes; McMullin says he grew tired of designing windows for churches, which usually had committees controlling every aspect of the design. He says, "I feel more satisfied in making someone happy in their house than in waiting for the congregation to stop arguing over which way the Mother Superior (in my window) should face."
He works as an architect for the Treasury Department, but especially enjoys the stained glass work he does at his Community Center studio. He likes being able to share the studio with his brother because "working together has been beneficial for both of us – we're constantly criticizing each other's work."
Having a studio in the Community Center does have its disadvantages, he says. For one thing, the center's employees often seem unsure of what will be going on in the building at any given time. For another thing, he says wryly, "If we leave the studio, it's hard to come back. There's always something going on" elsewhere in the building.
McMullin thinks that it is appropriate that the Community Center provides new opportunities for Greenbelt artists. "One of the beauties of (Greenbelt) is this is one of the very few communities where you can grow up and be allowed to be interested in art," he says. "It gets kicked out of you elsewhere."
A visitor, having admired McMullin's work, starts to leave. "Come back this evening," McMullin urges him. "We'll be showing 'Dr. Strangelove.'" And sure enough, there is a film projector in the room, nestled in between all of the piece of art. It's another quiet night at the Brothers McMullin studio.
CITY EASTER CELEBRATIONS, 1996
Published on April 11, 1996
Chilly weather did not deter Greenbelt's children from coming out to meet the Easter Bunny. Those who were eager to find Easter eggs had their choice of three hunts this year.
A bright-vested Easter Bunny with floppy ears and a carrot hosted the Greenbelt Nursing Center hunt on April 2. Children arrived at the nursing center prepared to gather eggs into wicker baskets, plastic shopping bags, and upturned baseball caps.
In a frantic, five-minute hunt, children scoured the lawn for plastic eggs containing miniature prizes. Afterwards, the children compared their findings and recounted their experiences. One group of girls debated whether they would be allowed to keep their eggs.
Larger prizes were given to the children who had gathered the most eggs. In the eight-and-over category, Bobby Kelly was awarded a video tape of Babe for collecting 21 eggs. A three-way tie in the seven-and-under category was settled when the Easter Bunny drew lots. Samantha Meister, who was guarding 14 eggs, received a video tape of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Afterwards, the children and their parents were treated to punch and cookies. One young boy, though, candidly gave his reason why he didn't wish to go near the refreshment table: "I'm afraid of the Easter Rabbit."
As Little Miss Greenbelt checked in the names of the young hunters, Miss Greenbelt leaned over a contestant and said, "Is that your little brother? What's his name? . . . Does Eric want some candy?" The Easter Bunny stood nearby, ready to greet the arrivals with candy.
Greenbelt's second hunt was held at the Greenbriar Community Building on the cloudy morning of April 6. This Easter Bunny had a pink chest and blue eyelids, and a tendency to look shy when he was having his picture taken. He also had a gap in the back of his suit. One boy who wished to be helpful cried out, "Hey, Easter Bunny, your back fly is open!"
The five-and-under hunt was held on the front lawn, with adults giving helpful advice to their children, such as, "Look while you're walking." The six-to-twelve hunt was held in the wooded terrain behind the building.
As one boy left the older children's hunt, he said mournfully, "I didn't find an egg that said, 'Winner.'"
"I know, but you're all winners," the woman beside him replied. "Everyone found something."
The final hunt occurred on April 8, Easter Monday, at "Buddy" Attick Lake Park. So large was this hunt that children were divided into four age groups.
Up near the playground, the fifth- and sixth-graders waited impatiently behind the line dividing them from the foil-covered eggs they could see scattered on the ground. A group of girls tried to entice Recreation Department employee Janet Goldberg into telling them where the coveted golden egg was hidden.
Another group of girls compared their gathering implements: "I've got a Baby Superstore bag." "I've got Safeway."
The Easter Bunny arrived, fresh from his appearance at the Greenbriar hunt and apparently better prepared to deal with worldly-wise children: he now wore a vest to cover the gap in the back of his suit.
As the children began counting down backwards to the beginning of the hunt, Goldberg waved some children back behind the line, saying, "Not yet! Not yet!"
" . . . Seven . . . six . . . five . . ."
"How many minutes left?" cried out a frustrated boy.
A horn blew and the children scattered, snatching up their prizes. At one end of the playground, a girl was stuffing eggs into a bear-shaped backpack whose stomach already bulged with loot. Elsewhere, a boy declared, "If anyone else finds the golden egg, I'll kill him."
The eggs quickly disappeared, and a boy trudged by, muttering under his breath, "Gosh, stupid egg hunt." Then a cry rose from the other end of the playground.
"I found it!" The shout came from Michael Spong, a fifth-grade student at Greenbelt Elementary School, who ran across the lawn holding the "golden" egg – which turned out to be bright pink.
Another boy explained matter-of-factly, "I knew the golden egg was in that pipe, but I didn't look hard."
The children had started to unwrap their eggs on nearby picnic tables. As the Kinderman began entertaining the younger children from the stage, Michael Spong was busy recreating his discovery for an admiring adult.
INDEPENDENCE DAY, 1996
Published on July 11, 1996
This year's Independence Day celebrations were cool, crowded, and colorful. As usual, Greenbelters and visitors from outside the city had the opportunity to attend a picnic at American Legion Post 136 and a firework display at Greenbelt Lake.
Harley-Davidson bikers rubbed shoulders with men in POW-MIA tee-shirts at the afternoon Legion celebration. While the band Oklahoma paid tribute to the United States by singing "God Bless Texas," Sam Hofberg wandered around the lawn holding a cardboard box labelled "Eggs."
"Any little kids want to take part in the egg toss?" he asked, looking around the lawn filled with children riding ponies or bouncing in the Star-Walk. Then, glancing back at the boys already lined up in pairs, he added plaintively, "Any little girls want to take part in the egg toss?"
In the end, he was able to round up an assortment of eager participants, both boys and girls. At the end of the line, Bridget Brennan told a bystander, "Jimmy will probably lose on the first throw."
Her partner, Jimmy Campbell, appeared to share her sentiment, for he insisted that Bridget make the first toss. As mothers on the sidelines shouted helpful hints ("Fall with the egg!"), the first toss was made, and the successful participants shouted with glee.
Hofberg waved the participants back one step. Jimmy, who was wearing a tee-shirt labelled "America," warmed up his throwing arm, prompting Bridget to protest, "Mom, Jimmy's pretending like he's going to throw it in my face!"
At the other end of the lawn, horseshoes clanged, hot dogs sizzled on the grill, and Oklahoma sang, "One for the money, two for the show . . ." The eggs were tossed again.
"They must be darn hard eggs!" commented one mother as it began to look as though the egg-tossers would have to back into the parking lot before any more eggs were broken. Gradually, though, each egg took one too many bounces on the grass. Bridget and Jimmy lasted until there were four couples left; then they mournfully went to inspect the remains of their egg.
The winners were Eric Ellinger, age 8, and Katie Bern, age 9. Eric stomped on the egg to assure suspicious watchers that the egg was not hard-boiled.
By evening, scarcely an inch of spare ground could be found at "Buddy" Attick Lake Park. Drawn to the lake celebration by the cool weather, visitors lounged on blankets, lawn chairs, and benches. One enterprising family strung a hammock between two trees.
In front of a banner proclaiming "God Bless America," Tom Cherrix conducted the Greenbelt Concert Band while wearing a tie depicting the American flag. The concert began and ended with marches by Sousa; in between, listeners heard patriotic and military songs, as well as Broadway melodies, rock songs, and classical music.
In certain areas of the park, the band had to compete with portable stereos, for park visitors had come equipped to entertain themselves during the period preceding the fireworks. Atop the blankets lay boxes of Parcheesi, Monopoly, backgammon, Chinese checkers, and playing cards. Visitors who wanted more energetic activities could play croquet, softball, frisbee, volleyball, soccer, football, or basketball. One group of children was busy creating water balloons. Grills were ubiquitous, and some people could barely be seen behind the piles of food they had brought.
Watermelons were common, and every other person seemed to be wearing clothing that was red, white, and blue. American flags were stuck in the ground or waved by children in time with the music. One woman added a domestic touch to her location with a basket of carnations.
Dusk finally arrived. It took three tries for the "welcome" display to be lit, but the fireworks came rapidly after that. Some were tiny; others spread over the sky like a giant umbrella. They appeared in the shapes of stars and hearts and, as one young observer put it, "sausages." Some screamed through the sky like crackling comets, while others were deceptively silent. "Whoops, that one didn't work," said an observer a second before the firework exploded.
There were pauses for groundwork displays: spinning wheels and cannons which shot pink cannonballs at each other. Then the climax was reached, and the final fireworks shot upwards like a multi-colored geyser.
Then it was over. Visitors gathered together their belongings and placed them in red carts, luggage carriers, and strollers. Long lines of people stretched around the lake, chatting about the display and shining their flashlights into the dark trees. And finally no one remained except the fireflies, who were conducting their own Fourth of July celebration.
LABOR DAY, 1996
Published on September 5, 1996
The greatest difficulty at this year's Greenbelt Labor Day Festival was deciding between the offerings. Visitors to the festival had to choose between face painting and easel painting, browsing through books or browsing through crafts, throwing horseshoes or playing tennis. Friday, the slowest of the festival's four days, gave a hint of the weekend's variety.
The mild weather meant slow business for the usually crowded pool, but in the nearby Youth Center, spectators lined against the multi-colored walls in order to watch the festival's first tournaments. At one end of the room, a competitor at the pool tournament knelt down to examine the balls, made his shot, and then turned away immediately to watch the action at the table tennis tournament. At the other end of the room, a ping pong ball slammed off the table and disappeared behind the food service counter for the third time in the row.
Meanwhile, the Roosevelt Center Mall was clogged with visitors as the Greenbelt Concert Band began its performance. As senior citizens waved themselves with green, cardboard fans, a group of children marched around the benches in an incongruous tribute to a romantic theme from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story."
As the work day ended and Greenbelters began making their way to the festival grounds at the center parking lot, the David R. S. Craig Memorial Softball Game was beginning at Braden Field. It was the bottom of the first, with two strikes and two out, and the crowd gave a collective groan as the batter swung and missed. "Stee-rike!" called out a spectator, while a player from the opposing team joked, "Boy, that fast ball's really something."
The floodlights were on at the field, and the sky behind was beginning to turn bright magenta. The sunset eerily echoed the scarlet background of the stage as the festival's opening ceremonies began. The usually bustling crowd near the information booth came to a halt as people stood for the singing of the national anthem. Nearby, Notlim the Clown was surrounded by children, smiling as he handed out green wigs and red styrofoam noses.
The carnival booths were now open; Greenbelters and visitors rubbed shoulders as they ambled up and down the midway. The booths exhibited their usual variety. The booth for the Committee to Save the Greenbelt displayed a giant green postcard addressed to the city council; the stamp showed a bulldozer about to plow down a frightened tree. Greenbelt Homes, Inc., had also chosen a woodsy theme for its booth, filling its area with wood chips, trellises, and potted plants. The information booth had chosen a more high-tech approach, displaying a computer linked to Greenbelt's World Wide Web site.
At the Greenbelt Nursery School's easel painting booth, a young girl dressed in a yellow smock refused to enlighten onlookers as to the subject of her painting. Over at the Greenbelt Baptist Church's face painting booth, another young girl struggled to choose between an ice cream cone design and a balloon design. She finally chose the rainbow.
The ever-popular food booths were selling such traditional offerings as snowballs, root beer floats, hot dogs, and pizza. But Greenbelters could also sample such bold offerings as rainbow ice cream, a kabob and low mein, white chocolate madacamia cookies, sweet potato fries, and zucchini sticks. As usual, the longest line was at the funnel cake booth.
Though the ferris wheel did not operate this year due to last-minute mechanical problems, many other rides were available for the brave and not-so-brave. The youngest children hopped on the moon walk, while parents enwrapped by boa-constrictor balloons watched from outside. A young boy cautiously spread his arms like wings at the swings ride, while a father and daughter conversed in sign language while waiting for their merry-go-round ride to begin.
The noise and excitement were perfect for some, but some Greenbelters inevitably felt the need for more sedate activities. Even these were available. An older man stared up for a while at the Gravitron ride, which was whirling like a flying saucer. Then he said, "That's for the young people," and turned away in the direction of the bingo benches, where the loudest sound was that of the singing crickets.
TWO HALLOWEEN PARTIES: A CRITIQUE, 1996
Published on November 7, 1996 (final form, with editorial revisions)
Every year, the arrival of Christmas is heralded by articles and newscasts which contrast the holiday's old-fashioned celebrations with modern, commercialized customs. Similar tensions are affecting all American holidays, as demonstrated by two recent Halloween celebrations in Greenbelt.
Greenbriar Community Building regularly provides Greenbelt East children with a chance to celebrate holidays close to home. Greenbriar's October 26 Halloween Party was carefully planned and well supervised, but offered its party-goers little more than a package of passive entertainment.
The Terrace Room was filled with lively decorations such as frowning masks and smiling pumpkins, blacks cats and a white skull. Arriving children were quickly put to work with crayons and coloring paper, but this activity turned out to be their primary form of active entertainment that afternoon. For half of the party, the children watched a video of Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For most of the rest of the party, the children watched the three Misses Greenbelt sing Halloween songs.
Other activities were the munching of treats, such as popcorn and orange cupcakes, and a costume parade to the tune of "The Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Some of the party-goers made up for a relatively passive program by ignoring most of the prepared entertainment and spent their time socializing. By the end of the party, a group of boys were demonstrating martial arts moves to each other against the brick wall, and debating whether Batman, a Power Ranger, or a pirate were better warriors. For these children, the costumes were the real focus for a Halloween party.
A Green Halloween
A very different entertainment was offered that evening by the Committee to Save the Green Belt. At the committee's ninth annual Halloween Tour, videos were replaced by live drama which rivalled anything the television era has to offer.
The celebration, which took place in the woods near the Northway ball fields, was alluring in a number of ways. Though labelled a Children's Pumpkin Walk, the trail through the woods was entertaining for adults as well. The primary attraction was of course the 165 pumpkins, glowing like orange stars over an endless, dark sky. The first pumpkin of all, a giant orb decorated with a delicately chiselled scene of a village, prepared the walkers for what was to come. These were no ordinary jack-o-lanterns – along with the usual grinning or growling faces, the pumpkins were carved to show spiders, ants, deer, flames, stars, and moons. One pumpkin showed a face in profile; another was of a Cyclops creature; another depicted a neat stack of bricks. Yet another pumpkin held a blunt warning: "Go away."
Rather than recorded music, visitors were able to listen to live percussion music echoing through the dark woods, which were lit only by jack-o-lantern lights and occasional red glows which warned of eerie creatures standing next to the path.
A woman rocking her baby moaned, "Remember me! Remember me!" Nearby, a grey-faced man read from a book in – Was it Latin? (Perhaps that is the language of ghosts.) Off in the distance walked a creature composed of blue lights who disappeared and reappeared in mysterious fashion. Other creatures would arrive suddenly and silently at one's side, or would jump out from behind trees shouting an old-fashioned "Boo!"
And then there were the friendly creatures. "Don't be afraid of the dark," the Goat Man cautioned a passing child.
"Okay," said the child matter-of-factly, and then emitted a scream seconds later as another dark figure emerged from the trees.
But as the trail wound to its end, no grievances remained amongst either the visitors or their ghostly hosts. As a group of adults and children reached the pumpkin whose helpful message was "Exit," a ghoul made his farewell: "Y'all come again real soon."
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, 1996
Published in December 1996
New lights were lit at the Municipal Center and a new location was found for the Holiday Craft Show, but otherwise the start of Greenbelt's twenty-fifth annual Festival of Lights was wonderfully familiar from past years.
On the evening of December 6, relatively warm weather encouraged Greenbelters to attend the opening ceremonies at the Municipal Center. The air was chilly enough, though, that adults and children alike gratefully accepted the Recreation Department's offers of hot chocolate and cookies.
Winter was on the minds of everyone, as became clear when Mayor Antoinette Bram mentioned that Hank Irving was "the snow removal guy," causing the small crowd to erupt into cheers. While waiting for Santa Claus to arrive, Greenbelters were entertained by music from the Greenbelt Concert Band and the Greenbelt Combined Choir. Jean Cook of the Combined Choir tried to encourage audience participation by saying, "If you sing more with us, Santa will come quicker."
"Up to the housetop St. Nicholas flew," sang the choir – but in actual fact, Santa arrived in a horn-screeching fire engine. With the aid of Greenbelt's firemen, Santa made his way to the stage, shaking his hands with children as he went.
It was clear that Greenbelt was being visited by a very modern-minded Santa. "See how lucky Santa is!" St. Nicholas declared as he stood surrounded by the three Misses Greenbelt.
Some traditions, however, could not be dispensed with. "If you've been good all year round, put your hands up," Santa commanded. Children's hands promptly shot into the air. "That's not the way I hear it!" Santa chuckled.
Santa was kind, though, and distributed candy canes to all the children present. Even adults were allowed to receive gifts. "Have you been a good person all year?" Santa asked Bram.
"Yes, Santa," the mayor replied in an obedient voice.
"What would you like for Christmas?"
Bram hesitated only a moment before saying, "A fire engine."
"You can have that one right over there," Santa generously declared.
Before the celebration was over, the holiday lights were lit – not only the usual holiday tree lights, but also lights belonging to deer grazing under the tree and to various decorations on the Municipal Building. Up on the roof was a light display of Santa Claus and his reindeer-drawn sleigh – a reminder of how Christmas was celebrated back in the days before fire engines.
Holiday Craft Show
On December 7, the booths of craftspeople spilled out of the Community Center gymnasium and into the hallways. Crafts were also in the process of being made down at the Children's Art Room. Visiting children could construct Santas out of plastic spoons, paint trees with the aid of rolling marbles, and trace the outlines of their hands to create antlers for reindeer. One group of children, though, knew which was the important part of the room. "Okay, let's head for the cookie table," said a girl, and led the rush for the table where children could frost and sprinkle cookies.
Out in the hallway, the Girl Scouts were running a booth which sold such items as friendship tea. One customer joked that the Girl Scouts were being educated through their work. "They're being taught a valuable trade – how to run coffee shops."
At the other end of the hallway stood Santa's Mailbox. Parents could drop into it forms requesting a phone call from Santa Claus to their children. The forms even had a space where parents could ask for "good behavior reinforcement" – reminders from Santa that the child should "Go to bed on time," "Listen to mom and dad," or "Straighten your room."
Nearby, the new Greenbelt Game was being sold – "cheaper than Monopoly," the Greenbelt Lions representative explained. Throughout the rest of the building, though, the theme was Christmas. Visitors could buy a sleigh in stained glass, corn husk angels, a candy cane brooch, birthstone angels, snowmen made of buttons, angel earrings, and a pillow decorated with a Santa by Norman Rockwell.
More unusual offerings entertained alert visitors. Greenbelters could buy a refrigerator magnet featuring the Elvis stamp, a dragonfly in stained glass, lizard earrings, a statue of an African-American Jesus, a wooden kaleidoscope, a clay figure of Eeyore, an oil burner in the shape of a wizard's hat, dragon incense burners, clay cows (complete with clay grass and clay cowpats), an old-fashioned wooden bluebird house, wooden hippo and alligator puzzles, a ring with a happy face, marionette clowns, a Kwanzaa candle stand, a necklace strung with tiny figures of tacos and green peppers, a "Gone with the Wind" switch plate, a Terps bookmark, a quilt that folded into a pillow, and a welcome sign featuring a vulture.
Craftspeople were eager to talk about their work to anyone willing to listen. One craftsperson explained that some brightly decorated objects were zipper pulls: "decorative and functional." Another explained that she had used Windex to spray down part of a decoration. Yet another went to great lengths to demonstrate how his wooden paddle boats worked: he brought to the Community Center a large basin and filled it with water.
Nearly hidden amongst all the decorations was a little needlework sampler which proclaimed "Greenbelt is Great." It was a sentiment with which many visitors to the craft show would have agreed.
SANTA ARRIVES, 1996
Published on December 19, 1996
"It's nice and warm here in Greenbelt," announced Santa Claus as he walked down the hallway of the Community Center. "It was below zero up in the North Pole. I couldn't even take a shower – the water was frozen."
The Recreation Department's chatty Santa – known in his off-duty hours as Joe O'Loughlin – paid a visit to Greenbelt children on December 14. He took on the traditional duty of discovering who had been naughty or nice during the past year, but his conversations with the children who visited him that morning provided much amusement for the adults who attended the occasion.
There was a general consensus among the children that on Christmas Eve they should leave milk and chocolate chip cookies for Santa. "I'm going to open up a milk and cookie factory," Santa declared. The children were also agreed that the reindeer should receive carrots and water, though one girl offered to give the reindeer cupcakes, and another planned to leave a flower.
Each child, though, had an individual manner of approaching Santa Claus. Some children reacted with tears at the suggestion that they should sit on Santa's lap. Others ran eagerly to Santa. Most perched uneasily on Santa's knee, answering his questions in shy voices.
Parents did their best to encourage their children to talk to Santa and face the cameras which were recording the event. "Smile! Say cappuccino!" cried one father.
In turn, Santa urged the children to speak up. "Can you say that louder?" Santa asked one girl. "Santa's deaf."
The girl said obediently, "Santa's deaf."
Santa did his best to promise presents to all the good children, but he obviously had some limits. He explained patiently to one girl that Greenbelt has a law against residents keeping live ponies. To another girl he said, "A saxophone? You want a real saxophone? You going to make enough money with it to support Mommy?"
Some children came well prepared to explain their needs to Santa. One boy hurried up to Santa and immediately began unfolding an advertising brochure to show what he wanted. Another girl was even better equipped. "Holy mackerel!" exclaimed Santa. "A list ten feet long! . . . My reindeer couldn't even get off the ground with that list."
Children who wanted gifts for Christmas discovered that the day of reckoning had arrived. "How's your schoolwork?" Santa asked various children. "Do you boss your brother? . . . Do you hit your sister? . . . I can see by looking at your Daddy that we have a lot to talk about."
Santa's standards were very high, as one boy learned. "Do you do well in school?" Santa asked. When he received an affirmative answer, he added, "That's not what I hear."
"I get almost all A's," the boy said indignantly.
"You have to get all A's," Santa replied.
At the end of each visit, Santa handed each child a candy cane, though he warned one boy, "That may be the most you get." Perhaps the most poignant moment of Santa's visit came during one such presentation.
A boy, who had earlier announced that he wanted a candy machine, was told by Santa that there was only one candy cane left. Would he give the candy to his younger brother, or keep if for himself?
The boy struggled with this dilemma for a moment, then handed the candy cane to his brother. Christmas had arrived.
HOLIDAY CONCERTS, 1996
Published on December 26, 1996
Residents who dislike holiday music were forced to go into hiding on December 15 when Greenbelt was treated to two holiday concerts, one by the Greenbelt Concert Band and one by the Greenbelt Combined Choir. Both concerts offered their audiences holiday music which ranged from cheery carols to stirring hymns.
The Greenbelt Concert Band, which played at the Community Center, also offered its audience candy canes, which were distributed by children at the beginning of the program. After this cheery start, conductor Thomas Cherrix arrived on the stage dressed in a red hat, bow tie, and cummerbund. Ronald Culpepper provided introductions to the music, which included concert pieces such as Bizet's "L'Arlesienne" and recent holiday favorites such as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
The heart of every holiday concert, though, is its traditional Christmas carols. The Greenbelt Concert Band played several medleys of carols in its program, such as "A Canadian Brass Christmas Suite" and "Overture to a Winter Festival." The band even added one more medley at the end. "This was the first time in 35 years that we weren't going to do 'Christmas Festival,'" Culpepper announced. "We decided to do it anyway."
Perhaps because of technical problems with the microphones, the sound of the instruments overwhelmed the sound of the band's four singers, Alice Lynch, Maureen Lynch, James Moore, and Walter Osborne. Only during the quieter passages was the audience able to appreciate fully the singers' presentations of French and English carols and of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."
"Sprightly" is perhaps the best way to describe the band's performance of carols. This resulted in an oddly jolly rendition of the pious carol "Good King Wenceslas," but the band's liveliness did encourage many audience members to tap their feet along with the music. The band was at its best with cheerful numbers such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and its medley of Chanakuh songs was also warmly received.
The Greenbelt Combined Choir also gave an energetic performance later that day at the Greenbelt Community Church. The performance was so well attended that some visitors sought seats in the gallery, and the selections were roundly applauded by those present.
The evening began on a note of unintentional humor as the audience joined the choir in singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Unwary visitors did not notice that the text provided a revised version of the carol, with the result that half the audience sang of "meek souls," while the other half sang of the more modern "yearning souls."
Like the Greenbelt Concert Band, the Combined Choir presented several medleys of old favorites, but it also enlivened the program by singing some lesser known carols: African-American spirituals such as "Mary Had a Baby" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain," as well as "The Huron Indian Carol," accompanied by drum.
The choir was nicely accompanied on piano by Muriel Balzer, and director Jean Cook sang a strong rendition of "O Holy Night." The star of the concert, though, was surely Courtney Hardman. Even her brief solo in "Joy to the World" was stirring, while her powerful performance of the spiritual "A Little Light was Born" was the highlight of the evening.
The concert was supposed to end with everyone singing "Silent Night," but the satisfied audience was not prepared to let go of the festivities that quickly. As organ music ushered the visitors out, several audience members began singing, "Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night" – a pleasant tribute to the Greenbelt Combined Choir.
HOLIDAY CAROLLERS, 1996
Published on December 26, 1996
A stalwart band of carollers braved the cold to bring Christmas cheer to Greenbelters on December 20.
Undeterred by the twenty-degree weather or by the difficulty of keeping a tune in such a small choir, nine carollers set out from Roosevelt Center on Friday evening. As they struggled to keep their candles lit – or at least to keep their flames from burning the styrofoam cups which were catching the hot wax – the carollers made their way along the dark sidewalks of Old Greenbelt.
"Merry Christmas!" cried a passerby.
"Merry Christmas!" called back Cindy Donn of the Recreation Department, who was leading the group. "What's your favorite song?"
It was an exchange which would be heard several times during the evening. The first stop – and, as it turned out, practically the last – was Green Ridge House, where the carollers sang "Joy to the World" while a plastic, rooftop Santa waved at them.
There had been no plans to enter Green Ridge, but when one of the carollers revealed that she had a grandmother living there, there was spontaneous agreement among the carollers that it would be nice to sing indoors. Perhaps it had something to do with the cold. The grandmother, in turn, offered to take the carollers on a tour of the senior citizen building.
The doors along each hallway were decorated with crocheted trees, personalized stockings, woody wreaths, and even magazine cutouts of evergreen trees. Now and then a door would cautiously open, and as time went on, the carollers began to grow in number, joined by Green Ridge residents who wanted to join the fun.
One resident carried her dog into the hallway in order to listen to the visitors. "Yea!" she said at the end of a song. "Clap your hands, baby!" The last remark was addressed to the dog.
By the time the carollers finished at Green Ridge, they were overdue for cookies and hot chocolate at the Youth Center. They trudged back through the dusting of snow, shyly exchanging seasonal information: "Do you know what the twelve days of Christmas are supposed to be? I read it on the Internet. . . ."
One final stop was made in front of the Municipal Building's holiday tree. As the carollers hastily collaborated in an attempt to remember the tune of "Good King Wenceslas," cars slowed down to listen. Then: "Let's do 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' one last time," suggested Donn, and the carollers sang their way past the swimming pool to food and warmth. Only half the styrofoam cups had burned.
NEW YEAR'S EVE 1997
Published on January 9, 1997
The hiss of helium filled the hallway of the Greenbelt Community Center. "What do you want?" asked Laurie Kilroy, tying the long balloon shut. "I can make monkeys, rabbits, teddy bears, dogs . . ."
It was 7:00 on December 31, and Greenbelt was two hours into its first New Year's Eve party. Already the Community Center was thronged with adults and children racing their way among the activities. Several of the younger children were standing next to Kilroy, watching with mouths agape as she twisted balloons into fanciful hats.
"I think it's a long-necked dinosaur," contributed one boy.
"How about a short-necked dinosaur?" suggested Kilroy.
Several of the children were tugged away by their parents, who were eager to take the boys and girls to new destinations: face-painting or mask-making or bingo . . .
7:30. "Keep going. . . . Criss-cross. . . . Half-step. . . . Speed.
. . . Move up some. . . . Right there, right there."
Up in the Dance Studio, the Greenbelt Youth Double Dutch League was busy demonstrating its tricks to a small audience. "You see how easy it looks?" Austin Gibbs told the adults and children. "You try it and see how difficult it is."
The sound of whirring ropes increased as one girl demonstrated how fast she could skip. In contests, Gibbs explained, children would try to skip as fast as possible for two minutes: "The record for speed is 427 steps, only counting the left foot."
7:45. The folk group Bridges to Bliss was finishing its performance in the New Deal Cafe. The door to the Senior Game Room held a sign explaining, "Children's Bingo is Full – Please form a line and seats will be available at 5 min. to the hour." Across the hall, in the Senior Classroom, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School Brass Quintet was performing a concert. Its presentation was very informal.
"This is our favorite piece," said one of the musicians. "I don't know why – it's just our style."
There was a pause as one member of the quintet showed the music to an interested woman in the front row. Then the piece was performed, and requests were taken: "We can play Christmas carols or we can play something we haven't done yet or we can stop."
An audience member requested "Silent Night."
"I messed up on 'Silent Night' the last time I played it,'" a musician commented as she shuffled through her music sheets.
"This is your second chance!" called out a member of the audience.
8:00. In the Gallery Room, children were celebrating the Chinese New Year by performing the Chicken Dance, which involved much wagging of arms and wiggling of bodies. Over in the Children's Art Room, other energetic activity was taking place.
"Welcome to bedlam," said one of the adults to a visitor. All around the room, children and their parents were cutting out paper hats and decorating them with glitter and streamers. One woman helped a girl to try on her new creation.
"You want the moon in the front?" she asked the girl, who already had whiskers painted on her face. "You look like the Grand Pubah."
"We're going to go watch the dancing show," the girl announced to another adult who had joined them. Then, to be sure he understood the importance of what had just happened, she added, "With our hats on."
8:30. The Greenbelt Arts Center play "The Sure Thing" was underway in
the Senior Classroom. In the gymnasium, Fiddlestyx was painstakingly training
Greenbelters in how to contra dance. "All join hands," cried the caller
from the stage. "To the left. . . . All the ladies into the center. . .
. Come on back. . . . Do-si-do. . . . And
promenade. . . ."
Across the hall, it was standing-room only as teenagers crammed into the New Deal Cafe to listen to Lotus. The teen bands scheduled to play upstairs had cancelled, with the result that this young rock band found itself with an unusually large audience.
"How's it back there in the cheap seats?" asked twelve-year-old singer Joe Pugliese before the band launched into their version of "A Hard Day's Night."
8:45. "Jumbo!" cried brightly-dressed Femi Manners. "We're going to turn this into the Village of Greenbelt Community Center."
The Dance Studio was just as jam-packed as the cafe. The attraction was the African Dance Troupe, which was celebrating the end of the year and the sixth day of Kwanzaa. To the sound of drums, a line of girls in African dress wriggled their way across the dance floor; simultaneously, audience members tried to wriggle their way through the crowd.
9:15. Upstairs, Dan Kennedy was one of the artist who had opened his studio to visitors on this night. As one visitor asked about how he attached his animal sculptures to their bases, Kennedy explained serenely, "I use automobile putty. The devil couldn't get those apart."
Downstairs, a bewildered pizza delivery man was trying to squeeze his way through the crowds on the ground floor. He passed the Resolution Wall, where Greenbelters were writing their New Year's resolutions. "My resolution is to get Honor roll and Good stutinte," one Greenbelter had written. Another declared, "I promise not to lick any cold metal poles this winter."
9:45. The New Deal Cafe was busy selling nachos and eggnog cheesecake as another musical group began its performance. "This features an a capella version of an instrumental introduction," one of the singers explained. "You're going to hear the Chromatics' version of a bell ring."
The tables in front of the musicians had been cleared away in order to provide more seating room for the audience. Small children elbowed their way through the crowd in order to reach their parents as the Chromatics formed a kicking chorus line and sang, "Rubber ducky, you're my very best friend . . ."
11:15. By now, over 700 people had passed through the doors of the Community Center. In the Gallery Room, children were celebrating the Latin American New Year by pounding a pinata. Amidst encouraging instructions by observers – "Come on, whack it up, man!" – children struck the pinata with a pole.
"That's enough!" cried a boy waiting in line, eager to have his turn.
A small chip appeared in the much-beleaguered pinata. It was enough. Like locusts feeding off of the land, the children swarmed forward to gather up the candy which had fallen.
A popular Latin American song was supposed to follow, but the adults in charge decided that it should be saved for a better moment.
11:55. In the darkness of the gymnasium, Father Time could barely be heard over the hooting of horns. Behind him, a background of lights wrote out the numbers 1996; nearby, everyone was watching the scoreboard, which told that the home team had 19 points and the guests 96.
Dressed in a black robe and a balloon hat, Father Time (also known as Doug Love) waved his sickle and announced, "According to the law of physics, 1996 can't come again."
A child ran forward and asked Father Time a question. "One year old," he replied. "See how old you can get in one year?"
1997 appeared on the stage, in the guise of top-hatted City Manager Michael McLaughlin. Father Time abdicated his place to the new year, saying, "One other thing you've got to do: you've got to balance another budget."
The crowd had its eye on the scoreboard, which was counting backwards. "Three . . . two . . . one . . ." everyone shouted, and then the horns reached the peak of their noise, and balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling. Up on stage, in front of lights proclaiming 1997, the Chromatics led the audience in singing "Auld Lang Syne." The words were conveniently printed on the back of the evening's program.
But the evening had not yet reached its end. As 1997 began and the Community Center demonstrated its success as a new gathering place for residents, dozens of Greenbelters celebrated the new year by dancing the "Macarena."
YOUTH ROCK GROUP, 1997
Published on January 30, 1997
"All the wine cases, they're empty; here's a party going down. There's a band playing . . ." In actual fact, the rehearsal room is littered with soda cans and granola bar wrappers.
This is hardly surprising, since the band which is playing consists of four seventh-graders from Kenmoor Middle School.
Greenbelters had a chance to become acquainted with this young rock band when it played at the New Deal Cafe on New Year's Eve. The large crowd at that gig, though, only whetted the band members' appetite for public performances.
The band is made up of four long-time friends: Joe Pugliese of Greenbelt, 12, who plays lead guitar and sings; Yashuah Ford of Lanham, 12, who plays bass; Adam Soderholm of Bowie, 13, who plays guitar; and Dru Baldauf of Greenbelt, 12, who plays drums. The band got its start one day in early 1996 when Dru and Joe were discussing the end-of-the-year school dance at their elementary school. "Wouldn't it be cool if we could get a band together and play at it?" Dru asked.
They mentioned the idea to their science teacher, and he laughed at the idea of the boys being able to start a band. He bet them that the idea would go nowhere. He ended up having to pay the band members five dollars each.
"We're thinking of turning him in for illegal betting," says Joe, deadpan.
The first rehearsal took place in Dru's garage – the band members played in their coats because there was no heat. Nor were there any microphones. The boys' parents quickly stepped in. They helped the band to acquire electrical equipment, although the band members paid for their own instruments. Joe and Adam had already learned to play guitars from their fathers, Yash had learned bass from his stepfather, while Dru learned drums so that he could join the band – "in order to gets chicks," Yash says with a grin.
"That's enough motivation," replies Dru.
Before the school dance even occurred, the band had already played twice: once at the New Deal Cafe ("We were kind of raw," says Joe) and once at a school talent show. The school dance itself was a musical disaster because of problems with the equipment. "But we had so much fun we decided to keep going," Joe says.
Finding places to perform is a problem. "We can't play in bars because we'd get arrested," says Joe, "so we play on stage."
"We never actually play on stage," Dru shoots back.
Nor have the band members been able to settle on a name. Although the band played at the New Year's Eve party as Lotus, they have recently changed their name to the Atomic We. Joe describes their music as "the Beatles with a distortion pedal." He quickly adds, "But we can't sing as good."
Their friends have supported them, and the band even has its own roadies. "They're guys that want to be in the band, but they settle for carrying our stuff," Yash explains.
The band rehearses in a small basement room in Joe's Research Road home; on the walls are children's artwork and posters of rock bands. After the band members have performed their current set of songs, Joe takes Adam aside and leads him through the chords of a new song which the singer is composing. Joe is the band's songwriter, and he copies his lyrics into a small spiral notebook which includes suggestions to the other band members such as, "Strive for rage."
"It's waltz tempo," he says, picking at the strings of his unplugged guitar. "For a long time it's E, G sharp. . . . Adam, do you know how to do a palm mute?"
Joe and Adam plug their guitars back in, and Yash returns to the room in order to add the bass line. Before he has even finished doing so, Dru has already mastered the beat of the song and is adding the drums. "It sounds like Cranberries," he announces as the song comes to an end.
"No, it doesn't," Joe replies with irritation.
"Start it out with a drum roll," suggests Adam.
The music is repeated as Joe sings the chorus, the only part of the lyrics he has composed yet. As the music finishes, Dru comments, "It sounds like the Beatles."
From the doorway, Joe's younger sister Monica says, "Dad wants to know what song that was."
"It's an original," Joe replies.
Dru shouts after Monica, "Ask your dad whether it sounds like the Beatles."
The band has now been playing for an hour. Joe, who is dressed in a tee-shirt decorated with pictures of guitars, stretches in his place. Dru uses a wrench to tighten his drums. "Cheap drums," jibes Yash.
The band members go through the set a second time, then take a break, debating the likelihood of their being able to play at a College Park coffee house, Planet X. They have to send in a demo tape of their group, and in preparation for this they have been trying to improve their work. Joe's father videotaped the band's New Year's Eve performance so that the band members could figure out how to make improvements. Beyond that, what is needed for success is "hard work," as Joe says.
The band starts into the set for a third time. The band members' energetic performance causes interruptions: Joe drops his guitar pick twice, Dru's drumstick splinters, a string on Joe's guitar breaks. The band debates whether to pause so that Joe can restring his guitar.
"Restring it!" votes Dru, who has already withdrawn to the adjoining room.
"You guys just want to play video games," Joe complains cheerfully.
A new string is fetched, and Joe loops it around the tuning pegs. "Yash," he says, "one time when Jimi Hendrix was on stage, his string broke, and the roadies came up and restrung it while he was playing. I want to be able to play like that."
"You guys, come on!" Yash calls through his mike to the missing band members.
Joe pulls his guitar strap over his head as he says, "I bet you Dru's going to say, 'He fixed it already?'"
Eventually, Yash lures the missing musicians back into the room by banging on Dru's drums. The band members are now well warmed up; during the next number, they begin dancing their way across the blue-grey rug, hopping over the pink slip which records the songs in the set. As the music ends, Joe comments, "We were jumping around during that last song – we should do more of that on stage. It really pumps people up."
"Joe," Yash replies as the band prepares to finish its rehearsal, "the reason we don't jump around on stage is, there's no stage."
What he means is that the band has so far performed only at small venues. A gig at Planet X or a similar location could bring the band wider recognition and a wider future. All of the band members belong to their school band, and they have been contemplating musical careers. "Don't quit your day job," Joe's father has advised him, but as Yash remarks, the band members are at an age when they are considering their futures.
"That would be cool," Dru reflects. "Get money just for doing nothing."
"Nothing!" Joe exclaims in protest, perhaps thinking of the number of rehearsals which will take place before their next gig. He says that he definitely wants to do some sort of musical work, part-time if need be, but full-time if possible.
"What if you get your fingers cut off and you can't play an instrument?" teases Dru.
Joe smiles in response. "I'll use my teeth," he says.
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text, or a variation on it, was originally published at duskpeterson.com.
Copyright © 1996-1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson. Some rights reserved.
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