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Letter from the Editor (All)

That’s what we do by telling your stories

Every summer, usually around the All Star break, we watch our favorite baseball movie, Bull Durham. Many of the lines in that good-hearted and now only slightly daring 1988 movie have become quotable, at least by fans.
    Lines like How come in former life times, everybody thinks they were somebody famous? How come nobody ever says they were Joe Schmo?
    That line paired, spontaneously and irreverently, with my reflections as we headed to Orange, Virginia last weekend. That’s Civil War country and Revolutionary War country, too, where everything is named after patriotic heroes of war and independence.
    How much devotion is lavished on so few people, I reflected. How little we know, or care, about the Joe and Jane Schmos who were trying to get by — and incidentally making the nation — while the big names were making big decisions that might well crush them.
    That’s not how it’s done, silly, Susan Sarandon laughs back at Kevin Kostner, who shines as bright as the full moon reflecting her sun.
    Except at Bay Weekly, that is how we do it.
    Our chronicle of life in Chesapeake Country isn’t ­fixated on the half-dozen big names repeated in

48-point type

across most pages of our big newspapers. Washington politics we don’t mess with; celebrity either.
    You don’t have to be famous to appear in our pages. Yes, you might meet the governor. But you’ll meet him as you would anybody else, as a citizen of Chesapeake Country engaging with the world.
    Not all of us are setting the course of our state, and not all of us got to figure out how to spend $43.5 billion last year.
    But all of us are making human history, in ordinary and extraordinary ways.
    This week, for example, we feature Greg Kearns who each year invites hundreds of people to close encounters with hawks so fierce they can knock eagles out of the sky.
    “I try to accommodate everyone,” Kearns says of his trips to band juvenile osprey. “It’s important to get people excited about nature. When they’re out there getting their hands on a bird, it’s a totally unique experience.”
    One of those who got excited was reporter Sarah Jablon, who tells that story to you and thousands of other readers in this week’s paper.
    That’s extraordinary.
    At the other end of the spectrum is Charlotte Delaney, whose claim to fame so far as we know is as the mother of oddball Allen Delaney, Bay Weekly’s resident humorist. Spurred on by the many brides and grooms who sent us their wedding pictures for our July 13 Wedding Guide, Charlotte sent us her story with photos (below).
    Most Americans — about 75 percent — get married. So weddings are an ordinary story. Yet each one meant the world to a couple of us, and when we read those stories, the top-of-the-world expectations are as clear as on the very day.
    Certainly they are in Charlotte’s story of marrying on “June 4, 1944, during the war years. We had three weeks together before he, who was the pilot, flew off with his crew to Italy.”
    We especially like to tell the stories of young people’s engagement with the world.
    Last week, you’ll remember, it was the Elkie girls of Deale finding their way into the world with cameras.
    This week, reporters Kathy Knotts and Pam Shilling tell the story of two ensembles of young actors and dramatists, The Talent Machine and Twin Beach Players Kid ­Playwrights. Both reporters let the kids tell their own stories, so you’ll hear their voices loud and clear as they “say what they’re thinking.”
    If this is who Joe and Jane Schmo are, I’d be them for a life or two.
    Enjoy their stories.
    And remember, you can see those kids at play this weekend and next in North Beach and at St. John’s ­College, Annapolis.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Photoplay for the 21st century

Ever since people could snap pictures, we have.
    Brownies (1900-1960) … Polaroids (1948-1998) … disposables (1986) … digitals (since the mid-1990s) … cell-phones (since 2000) …
    Technology by technology, we’ve covered our lives, our vacations and the world around us as determinedly as one-man, woman- and child- Life and Look Magazines (if you know what I mean). Those grand photographic page-throughs of our world published once a week. Smart phones in hand, we today publish instantly in the universally accessible life-stream of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
    So maybe it’s time to learn how to take good pictures.
    In our pages this week, you’ll learn just that.
    We’ve taken advantage of Chesapeake Country’s dynamic photographic corps to tell and show us how. The place we call home has long been blessed with visionary photographers. Nowadays, shooters like Jay Fleming and Mark Hendricks and the photographers of Muddy Creek Artists Guild — plus many more — have stepped into the supersized shoes of greats like Marion Warren and Aubrey Bodine.
    Making his first appearance in our pages this week is Mark Hendricks. You’ll learn from his Take the Best Pictures Ever. And you’ll see why he’s worth learning from in my review of his first book, Natural Wonders of Assateague. Because summer is vacation time, and because Assateague, our own barrier island, lures so many of us (me included) to vacation amid its wonders, Hendricks has focused on taking pictures on vacation. His tips, he assures us, work just as well any time, any place, any subject.
    Already in our pages you’ve met Jay Fleming, introduced to us along with his first book, Working the Water, by Mick Blackistone a couple of months back (www.bayweekly.com/JayFleming-051817). When Fleming taught a class this month, our aspiring shooter Audrey Broomfield attended. In this issue, Audrey shares key lessons she learned from Fleming in shooting on the water. With plenty of that all around us, these lessons (like carry lots of lens wipes) are especially apt.
    In How I Learned to Take Photos: Confessions of a Jay Fleming Pupil, you’ll also see a couple of Audrey’s shots.
    Other aspiring photographers show us the world as they’re learning to see it. They are the Elkies, eight middle-school photographers equipped under a grant from the Deale Elks Club and mentored by Muddy Creek Artist Guild photographers. The Secret Story of Photos showcases the group’s experience and images. This week’s Creature Feature is based on a photo by one of the Elkie girls, Holly Lanzaron, who snuck up on a bird nesting in one odd place.
    I know you’ll enjoy the images made by all these shooters. I hope you’ll learn a few lessons on taking better pictures, too. Send us your results, along with a sentence or two about how you amended your shooting, for publication in these pages.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

That’s a question for Congressman Andy Harris

The sturgeon is not the star of Chesapeake ­osteichthyes, the bony fish of the world. That limelight falls on striped bass, the rockfish.
    Atlantic sturgeon — finning around the bottom of rivers sucking up aquatic macroinvertebrates, freshwater mussels, snails, crustaceans and small fish — barely make the cast of characters.
    They don’t make anglers’ hearts race in anticipation of fight and feast. As Atlantic sturgeon are an endangered species, you couldn’t catch one even if you wanted to. And you probably wouldn’t, though in colonial times they were much eaten, for flesh and roe.
    They are not pretty. Atlantic sturgeon and all their brethren have long snouts, whiskers and saurian rows of spines. Evolved with the earliest dinosaurs, they still get awfully big, ours up to 14 feet and 800 pounds; others bigger still. They live for decades, taking time slowly. The males don’t reach reproductive maturity until they are at least five years old, females perhaps three times that.
    But they’re ours. Atlantic sturgeon have been returning to their natal Chesapeake rivers to spawn since who knows when, in ever decreasing numbers.
    Thus our environmental protectors both state and federal are invested in saving what sturgeon we have and encouraging more.
    At the state level, sturgeon are raised in hatcheries and in captivity in hopes of re-populating the species.
    At the federal level, designating some Bay rivers — and  stretches of Atlantic coast all the way up to Maine — as Critical Habitat would give these ancient fish more protection.
    Miles of red tape are involved in achieving Critical Habitat designation, which then promises broad protection: “the use of, all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this Act are no longer necessary.”
    Finally, and with plenty of public comment time, sturgeon critical habitat protection has come to our national Congress.
    There, Maryland Congressman Andy Harris is prohibiting funding sturgeon Critical Habitat anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as “an unnecessary and burdensome regulation.”
    The House Appropriations Committee has adopted the amendment Harris calls — without explanation — “a victory for both the conservation of the Bay and the Eastern Shore’s economy.”
    There goes sturgeon Critical Habitat protection, killed by a congressman whose district, the First, surrounds the Chesapeake on Maryland’s eastern and northern sides and encompasses all of the Eastern Shore.
    We interviewed Harris when he first ran for Congress, back in 2010, and part of Anne Arundel County was in his district. Lately, he’s said he’s interested in hearing only from people in his remapped district. More lately still, he’s shied away from public meetings even with his voting public.
    So he’s unlikely to answer the question that logically flows from his amendment: Congressman, what have you got against sturgeon?

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

It’s a big production

No matter how times keep changing, people keep getting married.
    Bay Weekly went to two last weekend, for a total of six so far this year. July also brought the news that our junior reporter from two decades ago, Ariel Brumbaugh, got engaged, so I’m anticipating an invitation for a date yet to be determined. Were I to count the number of love stories touching Bay Weekly over our 24-plus years, I’d run out of fingers and maybe even toes. I haven’t heard of any second-generation weddings yet, but I know some children-of getting close to eligibility.
    There may be other businesses that have a more reliable stream of customers than the wedding business, but writing — or reading — about them wouldn’t be as much fun.
    Modern weddings are dreams come true. Brides and grooms nowadays become producers of a show as complex as a Golden Age Broadway musical — with smart and well-stocked entrepreneurs cooperating to make it just right.
    As to the stage itself — well, the whole world is, potentially, your wedding chapel. Church, courthouse and family back yard are forever fashionable, but they’re no longer inevitable. Here in Chesapeake Country, many a charmed vista has sights on your wedding. Crab house to hotel, park to winery, marina to historic mansion — even the Town of North Beach courts you. Pastoral scenery, historic halls, the maritime music of sails in the wind, spectacular sunsets: All are included in the package. Imagine the field trips you can have checking them all out.
    Good as Chesapeake Country is the world can be your altar. The honeymoon often begins with the wedding nowadays, sweeping not only bride and groom but also family and many friends off to exotic destinations for days of fun in the sun or urban adventuring. Travel agents you’ll read about in these pages pledge to help you plan your wedding just about anywhere on the seven seas or continents. Locations you used to have to be an explorer to see, now host your wedding. Places you used to have to be privileged to enter, now invite you in. If the Sistine Chapel isn’t open to weddings yet, maybe yours can be the first.
    Exotic or close at hand, the stage must be set. Did you know that a whole class of businesses exists just to furnish your set in any way you want it? You can hire not only tables and chairs but also entire themed rooms of furnishings. You can have linens in any style, and not only for tables but also for flourishes. Tableware, glasses and dishes are all matters you can dictate on your one special day.
    What to put on those plates? Whatever you like best.
    Cakes are a category all their own in taste and appearance.
    Then, of course, there’s entertainiment …
    Yet we haven’t even touched on the actors, especially the starring roles, whose dress and pampering is nowadays what used to be reserved for queenly courts.
    Yes, weddings are a production, and this issue is here to help you make yours the best you can imagine.
    But we’re not writing for just you brides and grooms. Bay Weekly’s Wedding Guide makes good reading no matter what your stage. It’s good luck to see a bride, so all those brides and grooms who’ve sent us their wedding photos will more than cheer your heart. If you’ve been one yourself, their images will bring back memories. If being a bride or groom is in your future, this Guide will help you (you, too, Ariel and Patrick) make memories.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

The Case for Oyster Sanctuaries

As you’ll see down the page in Your Say, reader Fred Millhiser continues the discussion opened by my Editor’s Letter of June 22 — “Gov. Hogan: Champion of the Chesapeake? With the title comes accountability”.
    I quoted the governor as sharing watermen’s conviction that “rotational harvesting” is good for oyster sanctuaries as well as their own interest.
    On the other side, Millhiser recommended a recent commentary in Bay Journal, independently published with grant funding to inform the public about issues and events that affect Chesapeake Bay. The commentary — “Abandoning Sanctuaries Means Giving up on Oyster Restoration” — was written by Bill Eichbaum, chair of the Maryland Oyster Advisory Commission from 2007 to 2011.
    If you’ve watched Bay restoration and oyster repopulation as I have these 25 years, you know both Bay Journal and Eichbaum present ideas worth considering.
    So this week, with Bay Journal’s permission, I share Eichbaum’s case for keeping sanctuaries closed.

    An animal, he writes, is likely to have the maximum capability to develop genetically based resistance to disease if certain conditions are met. First, it must be given the most hospitable environment possible so that individuals in the population thrive physically. For the oyster, this means providing opportunities for the re-establishment of the historic reef structures. This can only be done in the long-term absence of harvesting.
    Second, the animals must be allowed to live out their full life expectancy, especially in the presence of disease. Animals that live long lives in the face of disease are likely to do so as a function of genetic and other factors disposing them to resistance. And they pass those traits on to future generations.
    Sanctuaries need to be distributed throughout the Bay. This distribution will assure that as weather and other environmental conditions change and impose transient stress on particular sanctuaries, others not subject to that stress can help carry the whole system through such periods, especially in regard to the reproductive processes. Also, the distribution of sanctuaries across the Bay means that larval dispersal from sanctuaries will benefit adjacent non-sanctuary oyster habitat.
    Finally, sanctuaries need to be large, for enforcement purposes. Only large areas — an entire water body, such as Harris Creek or the Little Choptank — are on a scale that allows efficient law enforcement. In a 10-acre sanctuary, a scofflaw can easily slip across the line without being spotted. That’s impossible where an entire creek or river is the sanctuary.
    The Maryland Oyster Sanctuary Plan envisages only covering 25 percent of good oyster habitat. That leaves 75 percent for traditional oyster practices. The sanctuaries are the only logical way to assure native oysters are eventually able to resist disease and again play an important role in the ecological life of the Bay. They will also significantly improve the probable success of thriving oyster populations outside of sanctuaries. To abandon this vision for the contribution of sanctuaries in Maryland is to abandon the native oyster.

Did It Rain on Your Parade?    
    Bad enough that July Fourth’s rain fell on the Annapolis Independence Day Parade, drenching city plans to conclude the patriotic holiday with fireworks.
    Worse still, in the big picture, is the torrent of sediment such storms discharge into our waterways.
    You might have seen the morning-after evidence just after reading in July 5’s Washington Post that the Conowingo Dam is close — much closer than we hoped — to reaching its full sediment containment potential.    
    In the Conowingo silt dam, just as in oyster sanctuaries, we share a collective stake.
    Sedimentation of our waterways is a personal problem for each one of us, for it begins in our own front and back yards, our own roofs and driveways.
    We stand on higher ground in solving our collective problems when we take care of the problems that begin at home. What am I doing to stop my share of the stormwater flood? What are you doing?

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Read on to find out

Seek and you shall find is the journalist’s creed.
     So I was anticipating a full mailbox after I asked in the paper of June 15 for your help in identifying my grandfather’s car.
    You came through.
    First, on the afternoon of the very day Bay Weekly was delivered throughout Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, was William Hopkins.
    REO Speedwagon, he wrote. Likely a ’27 Flying Cloud, he later added, specifying that 1927 was the first year for Flying Cloud. 1936 the last. Patterned after their fire truck.”
    That was the first of a litany of early auto makes.
    “I think it’s a 1927 Chevrolet Touring model,” wrote Barry Scher.
    Packard, Alice Dunlap called in, basing her supposition on pictures from her parents’ youth.
    John Overholser agreed. “It looks like a 1927 Packard Six touring car to me. Cool photo!” he added.
    Lois Noonan, a fellow Billiken from St. Louis University, also guessed, “A Packard?”
    Packard, a Detroit company, built luxury automobiles from 1899 to 1958. Look them up. Packard is definitely in the ballpark.
    Ford Model A was Kevin Moran’s vote.
    Mike Kress of Marlboro Tire & Automotive, Inc. had another opinion. “I believe your grandfather’s car was a 1924 Studebaker Big Six with a Rex-equipped all-season top,” he wrote. “Keep up the good work.”
    Well gosh! It was looking like I’d have to call in an expert.
    Then Mike Lechlitner got out his magnifying glass. Sherlock Holmes-style, he studied the car point by point.
    “I believe the auto pictured is a 1924 Hudson Super Series Six for the following reasons,” he wrote.
    “1. Most purchases in those days were regional. Hudson fits.
    “2. From the front of your picture to the back:
    “A. Side louvres do not surpass the height of the front wheel fender. This is uncommon with the exception of Hudson’s and Flint automobiles.
    “B. The side engine louvres end right at the cowl fairing, not before (a Hudson characteristic).
    “C. Cowl fairing is slightly scalloped, and reflective sheen shown in your picture matches.
    “D. Windscreen and front awning over front windshield match exactly (Hudson awnings were shorter than others).
    “E. The door handle for the driver’s door is located forward on the vehicle. Most other manufacturers had ‘suicide doors’ with the driver’s external handle behind driver’s left shoulder.
    “Now, continuing to the rear of the vehicle:
    “3. There are no roof pillars in your photo. However you’ll note two shiny spots along the roofline where the roof pillars would be mounted. These were removable and are close to where they should be for a Hudson. I’d guess the pillars were removed for this summer golf excursion.
    “4. Missing rear passenger door handle, the gap between driver and rear door matches a Hudson, but it may have not shown up due to sun angle.
    “5. Your photo has a sharp 90-degree turn at corner of the rear roof pillar to the body of the vehicle. Not quite similar to a more rounded and thicker back-end pillar on a Hudson.”
    Pretty convincing evidence. Is he right?
    My arbitrator appeared in the form of a motorhead we hadn’t seen since he was a high-schooler delivering papers for Bay Weekly one summer in the mid-1990s. Stopping by our office out of the blue, Russ Pellicot took on the challenge.
     “Could it be a Biddle?” Russ wondered, explaining his thinking.
    “Apparently Biddle was a small luxury auto maker out of Pennsylvania. At www.earlyamericanautomobiles.com/1916.htm, scroll about three-quarters of the way down and look in the right-hand column for the 1923 Biddle Sedan.
    “I’m looking at the size and shape of the vents in the side engine cover, the profile of the windshield, location of front door handle, contour of the cowl, and the lack of any vertical posts in the side window openings as my clues.”
    So the plot thickened.
    Pellicot dug a little deeper, finding his answer in an online conversation among car buffs.
    “It seems,” he wrote, “that Hudson was using bodies built by an outfit named Biddle and Smart up until about 1930, hence the confusion. It makes sense, because the other pictures of Biddle vehicles that I found didn’t look enough like this one for it to be the same manufacturer. All that being said, it is my belief that your grandfather’s car is a Hudson.”
    So I conclude I have two winners to take to lunch. Mike Lechlitner and Russ Pellicot, you’ll be hearing from me.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

With the title comes accountability

As Gov. Larry Hogan revs up his reelection machine, he is burnishing his credentials. In the two weeks since Bay Weekly’s Father’s Day interview in his office, he’s been buddying up with fellow Republicans, “delivering on his promise to transform transit in Baltimore” and carefully styling himself an environmental, and particularly a Chesapeake, champion.
    Hogan’s well-timed ascension to leadership of the Chesapeake Executive Council  — the chairmanship rotates among the Council members, heads of the EPA Bay Program states — puts him in a catbird seat.
    The Executive Council coordinates the collaborative Bay restoration efforts of Delaware, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Maryland. As chair, Hogan extends his visibility throughout the region.
    In taking on that role, he promised to “remain passionately committed to this cause.”
    At home in Maryland, he says he has honored that commitment by funding, executive order, regulation and legislation.
    In funding, he calls himself the first governor in Maryland history to fully fund the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. “We have invested the most ever — nearly $145 million — in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. Last year was the first time it has ever been fully funded in our state’s history, and we fully funded Bay restoration efforts again this year,” he said.
    In Program Open Space, he makes another case for following talk with money. “After years of raiding by the previous administration,” he says, “the Hogan administration has also fully funded the state’s premier land conservation and recreation program.”
    By executive order, Hogan this month created Project Green Classrooms, which he calls “innovative ways to engage our youth … by promoting outdoor experiential activities and environmental education through Maryland’s schools, communities and public lands.”    
    In legislation, this year he proposed a 2017 Environmental Package including increased dollar and technology incentives for electric vehicles. He also signed The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, requiring Maryland to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2006 levels by 2030.
    A year earlier, he gave coal-fueled power plants choices of ways to achieve mandatory reduction of their emission of smog-forming gasses in summer.
    Above all, Hogan seems proudest about negotiating a compromise phosphorous management solution. “We brought all the stakeholders together — farmers, community leaders, the poultry industry and environmental groups — in what has been called the most significant step to clean up the Bay in a generation,” he says.
    The governor told me in our Bay Weekly conversation that he uses that achievement as a model in working with watermen, who are so important to Maryland’s economy, history and culture that they appear together with farmers on our state seal.
    In planning for oyster restoration, “watermen have been ignored, demonized,” he said. “We don’t want to put watermen out of business. We want to do like we did with farmers. We want to bring everybody together and say watermen need to be a part of the solution as we work to help the business and industry while working together to restore oyster populations.”
    One step, watermen have told him, is to open sanctuaries to rotational harvesting.
    “Sanctuaries are just getting covered over with silt. There’s so much sediment coming down, mostly from the Susquehanna River and Conowingo Dam, that some of these sanctuaries no longer function and oysters are dying. It’s like harvesting a crop. They need to get in there and be harvested. There’s no question that the science works.”
    You might differ with that — and scientists have told me they do — just as you might with any of Hogan’s claims. You might, like Maryland Democrats from the rank and file to Congress, also wonder about his apparent indifference to the U.S. Climate Alliance of states in support of the standards set by the Paris Climate Accord repudiated by the president.
    If so, Hogan seems to have made himself accountable. By identifying himself as a champion of the Chesapeake, he’s asking, so it would seem, that advocates and researchers hold him to it.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

How much — or how little — do we know about the man behind the role?

Who was this man I know as my father?
His coincidence with that term is a big deal to me.
    To him, fatherhood was one of a long life’s many roles.
    In the 36 years before I was born, he was son, grandson, nephew, brother, student, rail-rider, card player, bartender, shore patrolman in the Navy, husband and, as I am now discovering, many things it was not my business to know.
    I shared my half-century with him with people dearer and occupations more pressing.
    Yet there’s nobody left to know him better. Nor anybody more curious to know the man who was more than my father.
    History is a story surmised by survivors. The last living witness, I have set out to summon ghosts.
    Prodded out of its Rip Van Winkle sleep, my memory has lots to tell. Starting with the anthology of semi-tall tales my father told when I was a little girl full of the same questions I’m asking now.
    When I was a little girl, he’d say. When I was a fireman … When I carried my crippled brother on my back … When I rode the rails and rods … When I slept riding a Greyhound bus to my father’s funeral and woke to find my shoes gone.
    In those pre-transgender days, my father had ­probably not been a little girl. How, from all the wisps of memory thinned and tossed by time, am I to sort out the probably true from the probably false?
    With glee, like Sherlock Holmes with the game afoot, I’m turning the craft I’ve learned in four decades as a reporter, telling thousands of people’s stories, to telling my own.
    The fact that all my sources are dead is less trouble now than it would have been at any other point in history. The World Wide Web puts the answer to almost every question at my fingertips. Genealogical references including Ancestry.com and Find A Grave pinpoint who was where when.
    Every inkling is a question that can be confirmed or denied and set in context. Was it the Chicago Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry the boy who was my father watched rising?
    In minutes I know that the Field Museum, though on Lake Michigan, was too far north of my father’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The Museum of Science and Industry, in the right place, opened too late, in 1933. Except that the great structure was repurposed from 1893’s Columbian Exposition. With a trip to Chicago, I rank my father’s awed watching of its reconstruction very likely true.
    My best source in my quest are the words of the dead, preserved as fresh as the moment they were written in the correspondence received by my saving cousin Cora Smith over her long life. 
    That’s where my father’s story begins.
        Arrived 7:30pm
        this 26th day of November 1907
        Albro Jean Martin
        Weight 11.
    An engraved card is a reliable source. Especially one that bears the Official Seal of the Stork. This stork-certified notice is small, 33⁄4 by 21⁄2 inches, but it reports all pertinent information.
    Mailed to maternal first cousin Cora Smith on November 29, from 5452 Calumet Ave., Chicago, Illinois, the birth announcement confirms both facts — as I believe them — and legend.
    My father was reputed to have been a big baby. Eleven pounds is a very big baby.
    Nearly 110 years after Elmer Martin mailed his first son’s birth announcement, the tangibility of his little card and its return address make it a talisman. Anchored on that certainty, my wisps of memory are taking shape as stories.
    To be continued …

Your Help Wanted

    What’s this car? In about 1927, grandfather Elmer Martin and four friends went golfing in southside ­Chicago — perhaps Jackson Park — or Flossmore. What were they driving?
    Identify the car positively (and first), and I’ll take you out to lunch: editor@bayweekly.com.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

With your help

Has the world ever looked more beautiful? Probably, in some pristine past, but in the eye of this beholder, these late days of spring sparkle with perfection — and when the sun doesn’t come out they give us moody skies reflected in shady green.
    Who doesn’t want to be out in times like this?
    Somebody who does is the Eastern box turtle. That beloved little fellow with the high domed shell crawls out of the leafy cover of the forest floor this time of year to see the world. There’s a lot to see and do after months of hibernation. Like all of us, turtles have their ranges, within 250 yards of the nests where they were born, according to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. That’s home, where they forage, mate and lay their eggs. If a road cuts through it, turtles take it in stride.
    Unless we have the luck of a turtle visitor, a road is where we’re most likely to see them, carrying their camouflage-patterned shell on little clawed feet. Stop to check one out, and you’ll see how it got its name, for it snaps its shell closed like a box. Inside is a safe place to be, so box turtles have little to fear from predators — except us.
    Taking a box turtle home for a pet is a bad idea. You cannot manage for them so well as they can for themselves. Unless you do careful research into what to feed them and how to keep them, they’re likely to starve. Certainly they won’t be making any more baby turtles.
    The loss of just one adult box turtle from a local population each year could wipe out that population, for box turtle reproduction is a lengthy, tenuous and oftentimes inefficient process.
Females typically produce small clutches of only three or four eggs a year, and temperature extremes, heavy rainfall, fungus and predators frequently destroy the eggs.
    Even when an egg does hatch, the hatchling — again having to struggle against weather, predators and other hazards — has a slim chance of reaching adulthood.
It takes years to fully develop the stronger, protective adult shell and years of habitat familiarity to attain some degree of relative safety.
    A female who is able to survive her first several years, reaching reproductive maturity, can produce a few hundred eggs during her lifetime, which can be 75 to 100 years. From this lifetime of egg production, only two or three hatchlings may reach adulthood to sustain the population.
    When you see a turtle crossing the road, the right thing to do is help her or him across in the direction it was traveling. (You’ll know it’s a him if you get a glimpse of his eyes, as males have red eyes.)
    The other day, a woman driving in front of me stopped her SUV, hazards flashing, on Rt. 2 approaching Aris T. Allen Parkway and ran, arms flapping, to save a box turtle.
    If the turtle you hope to rescue does not snap into a box shell but remains exposed, pointy bill snarling at you, it’s likely an aptly named snapping turtle. Cautiously — very cautiously — pick it up by the shell, not the tail, but well back so it can’t turn its long flexible neck to bite the hand that rescues it.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Honor the holy day. Then celebrate the holiday.

Memorial Day is both a holiday and a holy day.
    On the far side of war, it’s the holiday beginning summer’s season of outdoor living, welcomed with barbecues, crab feasts and pool openings. I’m eager to plunge into that season this week or next, weather permitting. Imagining you are too, all of us here are preparing Bay Weekly’s indispensible Summer Guide to tuck inside your June 8 paper.
    On the near side of war, Memorial Day is a holy day. Dating back to the Civil War, it began as Decoration Day, when a mourning nation decorated the graves of its lost sons with the flowers of spring.
    World War I gave Memorial Day a great boost. America entered the Great War, its working title, 100 years ago, calling 4.7 million into service and sending four million men to fight along war-weary French and British soldiers.
    All must have feared what American poet Alan Seeger predicted:

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air —
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

     The feelings of one of the 4.7 million, Illinoisan
A.L. Dixon, survived the century. I read in his own hand ­lonely, newsy letters he sent to my grandmother’s first cousin, Miss Cora Smith, during his 18 months of ­service. Safe from the German barrage, spared by spinal meningitis and influenza, Dix served an easy war as a quartermaster sergeant in Camp Taylor, Kentucky. But of course he did not know that going in.

December 13, 1917
    Me thinks we will soon see France and I hope so, just to get this over with. I have taken out $500 insurance and Mother may find herself rich some day soon …

April 19, 1918
    There are three stars in the home service flag now and I am some what proud of it — there will be a chance of some of us boys in the Dixon family getting shot I think. I can’t say that Mother is proud of her best soldier sons, but they are all insured for $40,000 and she had better wish us good luck in this scrap.

November 4, 1918    
    The flu was sure bad here and some few of our boys “kicked off.” It failed to land me this time so you and others will still have to keep on sending letters to Camp Taylor and trust the Huns to get me when I go across.

    Then the war was over. Dix and his brothers were lucky. Others were not. America suffered 306,000 casualties.

December 31, 1918
    There are lots of the oversea boys here in camp all wounded and all quartered at the base hospital, they must make me bawl every time I see them for some are in bad shape and one can see just what war means.

    Of the 306,000, 53,402 died in action. Among them was the poet Alan Seeger. An early volunteer with the French Foreign Legion, he kept his rendezvous with death on July 4, 1916, nine months before America entered the war.
    Disease, including the war years’ terrible flu, and other causes took 63,114 more lives.
    The War to End All Wars did not live up to its billing. Since 2001, 6,886 American warriors have died according to http://thefallen.militarytimes.com. The ­Religious Society of Friends’ count is higher.
    Memorial Day seems to serve a lasting purpose.
    In this week’s paper, we continue our remembrance of World War I, introducing storyteller Elloise Schoettler, who you can hear in person Saturday, May 27 as she recounts Unknown Stories of 64 World War I Nurses from Maryland at Chesapeake Beach’s annual Stars and Stripes Festival.
    You’ll also learn what Dix meant by three stars in the home service flag. For that, turn to Crofton Library’s Blue Star Memorial: One of an All-American Chain of Monuments to Peace, also by Diana Dinsick.
    Honor this holy day. Then celebrate the holiday.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com