Morningside Fourth of July parade participants must check in at the Morningside Firehouse to get their street assignment.

The parade will kick off at 11:30 a.m. from the firehouse, march up Suitland Road, turn left onto Marianne Drive and go straight into Douglas Patterson Park in Morningside where Family Fun Day will be starting.

Family Fun Day activities will continue until 3 p.m., offering games, food and drinks, drawings and Whack-a-Wreck.

Fireworks begin at dusk. They are the best!

An important announcement from Fourth of July Chairwoman Susan Mullins: We ask that people park at the VFW instead of the streets in town, when possible.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month at Darnall’s Chance

July is National Ice Cream Month. And we all love ice cream!

Darnall’s Chance House Museum is celebrating the occasion on July 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. They invite you to join them and make yourself a sundae to honor ice cream’s colonial roots. Enjoy ice cream and music; participate in lawn games, and more. And it’s all free, while supplies last.

No reservation necessary. Darnall’s Chance is in Upper Marlboro, across the street from the County Administration Building, on a hill overlooking scenic Schoolhouse Pond. Info: 301-952-8010.

Neighbors and other good people

Happy 94th birthday to Gloria Grapevine on July 3. She is one of Morningside’s longest residents.

Linda (Ferguson) Sandoval emailed a note thanking Wayne for his memories. She sent a few of her own: “A couple that came to my mind are sleigh riding down Maple, Boxwood and the hill on Suitland Parkway. The town would even close Maple and Boxwood for sledding. When we’d gather at the hill on Suitland Parkway we’d build a bonfire. One time the guys showed up with a hood from an old car and we all piled in that and went down the hill. Another fond memory is sleeping outside in huge tents that we made by draping and clothes-pinning blankets over clotheslines.”

The McHales moved to Skyline Drive in late June 1958, 61 years ago. We moved here before the Beltway, the malls and McDonald’s. Residents knew their neighbors. It was a quieter, friendlier time.

Academia

Maria Farmer of District Heights has graduated with a master’s degree in information and library science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Eric Tyrell Contee II of Upper Marlboro graduated May 19 from Harvey Mudd College in California with a degree in engineering. Harvey Mudd was an engineer who struck it rich on a Greek island. (I visited Harvey Mudd at his mansion out in Los Angeles back in 1951 with my father. Harvey gave us a tour of the estate. He was descended from the Maryland Mudds and is my distant cousin.)

Changing landscape

A black bear has been captured on video making the rounds in Fort Washington, doing brazen incursions into backyards and onto roads.

Behnke Nursery in Beltsville closed last week after 89 years in business. It began as a simple roadside plant-stand run by two German immigrants, Albert and Rose Behnke, in the 1930s when the D.C. suburbs were only getting started.

Payless Shoe Source has closed in Clinton, and all Payless stores throughout the U.S. will shut down by the end of June.

Dallas-based Topgolf International Inc. is about to announce its official opening, near National Harbor at 6400 Clipper Way in Oxon Hill. They’ve been hiring and are expecting between 350 and 500 employees. The three-story venue includes more than 100 hitting bays, full-service restaurant and bars, a rooftop terrace with a fire pit, more than 200 high-definition televisions and private event and meeting spaces.

Unchanging landscape

The Supreme Court ruled this week that the 40-foot Peace Cross, erected as a tribute to war dead, can continue to stand on public land in Maryland, rejecting arguments that it is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The vote was 7 to 2. This World War I memorial is at the junction of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue and Annapolis Road.

Helen Michalco, Senior Lunch Bunch member

Helen Macko Michalco, 93, of Temple Hills, a member of St. John’s Senior Lunch Bunch and the Clinton Senior Center, died April 11 at her home.

Helen was born in Lyndora, Pa., daughter of Peter and Anna Macko. She married Paul Michalco and was a medical secretary before raising her family.

She was preceded in death by her husband Paul and their son Paul, daughter Theresa, and five siblings. Survivors include daughters Marian Luther and Rebecca Michalco, and two grandchildren. Services were at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Church in Lyndora, Pa., with burial at Rose Hill Cemetery in Butler, Pa.

Milestones

Happy birthday to Mike Dudding, Juanita Eppard, Erica R. Webb, EvaMarie Anthony and my granddaughter Leah Katherine Mudd, June 28; Faith “Dycki” Brown, Alexis Schuler and my great-grandson Wesley McHale, June 29; Karen (Beardmore) Ellis, June 30; Ruth LaBelle and Jordan Foster, July 1; Sharon Simms and Megan Frostbutter, July 2; Gloria Grapevine (94th!), Pat Richardson Conlon, Sarah Booth and Jack Hay II, July 3; Grace Carruth, Matthew Ryan White and Nya Nichols, July 4.

Happy anniversary to Jack and Kimberly Hay on their 33rd, June 28; and to Carl and Sue (Stine) Mason, their 34th on June 29.

Happy Fourth of July to all my readers!