Cocalico Corner: A time to chill out

By on July 20, 2016

We’re in the dog days of summer and if ever there was a year to feel beaten down by this specific time of the season, it’s this year.

The sporadic three-days-at-a-stretch heat waves with their heavy heat and humidity certainly do a number to our bodies.

But, this year, the events of summer seem to be affecting our psyches even more: terrorist attacks here and abroad getting ever more blatant and horrific; fatal ambushes of law enforcement officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere; the stirring of racial tensions in urban areas througout the nation; a military coup impacting a strategic EuroAsian ally.

Adding to this all are two national political party conventions in two weeks, both of which clearly show &tstr; internally among their own ranks and externally from public demonstrations &tstr; how incredibly divided our nation appears to be.

Though a teen then, the events of 1968 remain vivid to me: race riots, assassinations, chaos in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention. In so many ways, this summer feels to be a repeat of that one 48 years ago.

Some readers of our certain age may share these feelings. I also hope they share something else &tstr; the realization that while we may simultaneously experience news stories, we all continue our daily lives with amazing normalcy.

I can’t recall one specific personal event of that summer of ‘68. I do remember that, like the other summers of my childhood and youth, it was dominated by the needs of farm life. There were fields to be worked, strawberries and green beans, tomatoes and potatoes, sweet corn and pears, to be picked as the season progressed. The roadside stand had to be tended and there were forays into the city with my dad to sell the produce from the back of the pickup truck.

There were balmy summer nights watching the sun set over a hill with a treeline that looked like a train and long hope-filled conversations with friends on the front porch.

I imagine you have similar happy memories. With that in mind, here are some more good thoughts.

Photo courtesy West Cocalico Township No need to shovel snow to get to the mailbox these days -- and that’s something to feel good about!  Just six months ago, this was the scene along Gockley Road in West Cocalico Township.

Photo courtesy West Cocalico Township
No need to shovel snow to get to the mailbox these days — and that’s something to feel good about! Just six months ago, this was the scene along Gockley Road in West Cocalico Township.

We don’t have to shovel the summer away. Take a look at the three-foot-plus snowfall that blanketed Cocalico just six months ago. Precipitation is better as water than snow, don’t you agree?

Speaking of water, some of our Cocalico neighbors just over the Berks line have found that a troubling incident just a few weeks ago at the Ephrata Pool has turned into a lesson about goodness.

Concerns over the swim attire of two Muslim families and what appears to have been some communication misfires between swimmers and staff resulted in a police response to the pool July 9. The families felt they needed to leave the pool and did.

The incident gained some notice on Facebook and prompted lots of responses, some of which did not speak to the angels of our better human nature.

The Berks visitors had nothing but praise for the Ephrata police officers who responded to the scene. They now also have praise for the pool management.

Last week, a member of the Rec Center staff appeared at the door of one of the families. She offered a full refund for their passes as well as an apology for the incident.

That personal effort speaks to both the caliber of the staff as well as the quality of folks in our community.

And in Facebook world, a lesson in multiculturalism played out with a happy ending.

Loyalty is another great attribute of the Cocalico area and there are few folks more true to a friend than Maribeth Petery.

Back in March, Cocalico High School senior Kayla Logar was featured in an article that noted she was just the district’s second National Merit Scholarship finalist. We noted that CHS English teacher Lindsay Sigman, Cocalico Class of 2002, also reached the final stage of the competition, relying on information provided by the school district.

But Petery knew something that neither we nor the school district had on record: her longtime friend Fred Stauffer of Adamstown was also a National Merit Scholarship finalist and went on to win the scholarship back in 1963.

More than half a century ago, Stauffer received the award through Reading-based Carpenter Steel Foundation. He used it for all four years of his attendance at Albright College, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in physics.

A young Fred Stauffer, at left, was a scholastic hero back in 1963.

A young Fred Stauffer, at left, was a scholastic hero back in 1963.

Stauffer was a graduate of what was then known as Cocalico Union High School. The transition in name and long years between the recognitions may have added to the statistical confusion.

Stauffer was good enough to provide the clipping from the April 24, 1963 Lancaster New Era documenting his achievement.

It’s been some time since Petery contacted us regarding acknowledgement of Stauffer’s long-ago achievement.

Our news holes are smaller than we’d like and we need to triage our articles. Petery was patient and persistent, reminding us in frequent e-mails about a clarification.

“He is a close friend of mine, deserving of every honor he got,” she said.

We agree. We’d also say that Petery’s loyalty to an old friend and his achievement is quite laudable and should also merit recognition.

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