This message is from the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department website:

“Today, our community came together at our fire station to show their thanks for us. They didn’t just drop off food and wish us well, they brought their families and shared a meal with us.

“At their request, we set a table for our fallen brothers who could not be with us, taken in the line of duty years ago. We will always remember the ultimate price that Kenny and Michael paid to serve. We are thankful that our community values that sacrifice and our continuance of service. We are the hub of this community, and they support us at every turn.”

Those fallen brothers are Michael McCarthy, who died Sept. 12, 1983, and Kenneth Hedrick, who died Jan. 12, 1992. Both in the line of duty.

Neighbors and other people

Judy Waby Hansel, formerly of Skyline, is now living in Bellingham, Wash. However, she never stays long; she writes, “Don’t know how long I’ll be here.” She’s living 15 miles from the border so she can get Canadian TV. Judy sends “greetings to anyone still alive from the old days.” In the old days, Judy was our leading agitator. We miss her.

J’TA Freeman, a senior at Bishop McNamara High School, has been elected one of the D.C. Youth Mayors after participating in the Marion Berry Youth Leadership Institute and getting 75 signatures. One of the most important issues for her is gun violence.

There must be some hunters out there. You might be interested to know that the Winter 2018 issue of Maryland Hunting Quarterly features a friend of mine on the cover. He is Charles Rodney — also known as The Rabbit Hunter. He lives in Camp Springs and is a regular contributor to this, and other, hunting magazines.

Coming up: Morningside’s monthly Town Meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.

Changing landscape

Five statues, representing the five branches of military, were installed at National Harbor on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Each statue was unveiled by a veteran of that particular branch of the service.

Leo Bruso emailed me about the Shop Smart Outlet that closed in Andrews Manor. He reports it has relocated to 6331 Old Branch Ave. in Camp Springs.

Santa’s coming to the firehouse

Morningside is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa at the Morningside firehouse on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m. The fee is $5 but it must be paid in advance. You can go to the Town Hall (6961 Ames St.) or call 301-736-2301 for information.

An old-fashioned Christmas

Enjoy seasonal decorations, antique cards and ornaments, and more, as guides in period attire talk about customs of the Civil War era. Take advantage of holiday discounts in the museum’s excellent gift shop. Regular tour admission fees apply.

The house is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Admission: $5, adults; $4, seniors; $2, children (under 5, free). The Surratt House Museum is at 9811 Brandywine Road in Clinton. Information: 301-868-1121 or

This event continues through Dec. 9. The Surratt House will be closed Dec. 10 to Jan. 15. However, the office will be open Mon.-Fri., 9-5.

Morningside Memories: 18 years ago

On Oct. 7, 2000, the Morningside Sub-teen Club held Reunion 2000. There were 120 in attendance. Versie Carson, the original director, and Tillie Seaman, the third and final director, were there, as well as Mrs. Dickens, sixth grade teacher and sub-teen advocate. Old photos were passed around. One was of an earlier Reunion Committee: Dennis Seaman, Janice Peters, Wayne Neale and Donna Bookhultz.

Eugene Ripka, Alcoholics Anonymous advocate

Eugene E. “Gene” Ripka III, 62, of Fort Washington, a Verizon Communications retiree, died Oct. 1. He was a native of Lewistown, Pa. He attended Barrington College in Rhode Island and Clarion College in Pennsylvania.

This spring he celebrated 11 years of sobriety. As an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, he encouraged those who were struggling and assumed the responsibility of treasurer and set up the weekly AA meetings.

Gene is survived by his wife of 25 years, Anna Louise Stephens; his mother, Betty Ripka; siblings, Valarie DeVecchis and Jeffrey Ripka; and Oxon Hill United Methodist Church where he has been a member for 25 years. His sincerity, quick wit, sense of humor and knowledge will be missed.

Lillian Proctor, custodial supervisor

Lillian Beach “Aunt Lill” Proctor, 87, died Nov. 18 at the Fort Washington Health Center. She grew up in Oxon Hill, the daughter of Moses and Essie Lucas Beach, attended county schools and met and married John Whittington with whom she had four sons.

She was baptized at St. Paul United Methodist Church and in 1951 became an usher there, serving until she was no longer able. In the 1950s she went to work for the Prince George’s County School Board as custodian, rose through the ranks and ended her 40-year career in May 1994 as custodial supervisor.

Lillian was preceded in death by seven siblings and sons Don and Anthony “Bo-Bo” Beach. Survivors include sons Elvis and Marvin Beach, grand- and great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Celebration of Life was at St. Paul’s with burial at Washington National Cemetery.


Happy birthday to Crystal Pruitt and Charles Boxley, Dec. 8; Beth Shipman, Dec. 9; Sharon Fowler and Diane Zirkle, Dec. 10; Michelle Anderson, Dec. 11; Bernie (Barbour) Pace, Thomas Shipman Jr. and Jim Trexler, Dec. 13.

Happy 16th anniversary to Johnny and Helen Richardson on Dec. 14.