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Dougherty sisters, Brooke, 5, and Emma, 10, of Clarks Summit, pause during their bike ride Saturday, March 14 at South Abington Park. See pages 6-7 to find out who else was caught on camera enjoying the day.

Pedaling at the park

Portrait in Pen: A Celebration of Women

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was added to our Constitution granting women the right to vote. Just one month later, Clarks Summit led the way with more than 500 women registered by mid-September, more than Clarks Summit male voters registered by that time.

One hundred years later, women in the Abingtons have not only exercised their right to vote, but also run for office, boldly led in business and taken initiative in community service.

One nonprofit at the center of the community wants to celebrate the women who serve, lead and make a difference in the lives of others.

The Gathering Place recently announced an essay contest, “Portrait in Pen.” The contest celebrates women. The public is welcome to write about a woman who has impacted them in an essay of one thousand words or less.

The essay should paint a portrait and be nonfiction, describing a real woman. Essays must be typed, double spaced and have the entrant’s name, email address and phone number. The entry deadline is April 8. Submissions can be dropped off or mailed to The Gathering Place, 304 S. State Street, PO Box 171 Clarks Summit PA 18411 or emailed to GatheringPlaceCS@gmail.com.

The winner will be highlighted at a tea party on Wednesday, May 13. History and High Tea will be held at The Gathering Place at noon. The cost is $15 to attend. The winner of the essay contest will receive a free ticket to attend the tea party and a $100 gift certificate to attend classes at The Gathering Place. The tea party will have a focus on the 19th Amendment and the 100-year anniversary of women having the right to vote.

“When you start talking to people, you realize everyone has a story,” said Dori Waters, president. “Some people can paint a picture of another person with their words. I thought it would be nice if we got some great stories about women to honor women and the one hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment.”

The Gathering Place will compile essays submitted in a chap book, a small publication that will be available for a fee.

“If you notice, our wire statue sitting out front of The Gathering Place is a woman,” Waters said. “I think it has been mostly women – although some men too – but mostly women that have moved The Gathering Place forward from classes in the basement of a church to what we are today. ... The women of the Abingtons are very resourceful, creative and brave.”

Throughout history, women of the Abingtons have risen to the occasion, doing what was needed for their families, their community and their country.

The Gathering Place has several events celebrating women in April and May. Meg Geffken will relay the story of Susan B. Anthony, Suffragette leader through oral interpretation on Wednesday, April 15 at noon. Cost is $5 at the door. Featured in The Gathering Place Art Gallery during the month of May, will be artist Marylou Chibirka of Dalton. Her exhibit will include portraits of women that she has painted.

To register for ‘History and High Tea’ or for information about other events and classes, visit bit.ly/3deJTto.

Julie Jeffery Manwarren is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys reading, writing and historical research. She has called the Abingtons home for more than two decades and resides here with her husband Phil and their two children. Reach her at jmanwarren@gmail.com.

See page 10


Suburban Subplots: It's personal

I paid minimal attention at first. I thought it was one of those things we’d discuss for a week or two then forget until years later when the memes start popping up in our “memories” feed on Facebook.

But as it spread closer to home, I realized the truth: we’re not going to forget about Coronavirus any time soon.

When officials declared the disease a “pandemic,” I consulted the dictionary to confirm my understanding of the word (it’s not one we hear every day):


(of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.


an outbreak of a pandemic disease.

The part about it prevailing over the world got me thinking. “World” can have more than one meaning. Of course, “the world” here is to be taken in a geographical sense, referring to our planet. But a person could use “my world” to refer to the various aspects of his or her life. Family, friends, job, hobbies, religion, education — all of these are parts of a person’s “world.” And all of these are affected by the outbreak, even for those who don’t contract the disease.

Coronavirus is an international pandemic. But it’s also a personal pandemic.

It affects each person’s whole world.

When I started seeing it from this perspective, I started understanding the anxiety and panic I’ve been sensing from so many friends and acquaintances, especially on social media.

Coronavirus now has my attention.

As it should.

But I also realized the best way to get through this without losing our minds is to focus more on the aspects of our personal “worlds” that aren’t affected by the outbreak than on the parts that are turned up-side-down. Take advantage of the activities we can still engage in, places we can still visit, ways we can still interact with our friends and family.

Here are some positive, pandemic-friendly ways to accomplish this.

Visit a park.

  1. Schools, businesses, libraries and community centers are closed – and state parks are closed now — but there’s always a green space somewhere. Get some fresh air and exercise in an environment where you don’t have to touch anything or worry about germs.

Check out a book from the library.

  1. I know; the libraries are closed. But have you explored the eresources available through the Lackawanna County Library System? If you have a county library card, you have access to a vast collection of ebooks, databases and other resources, 24/7. Visit lclshome.org/find. You can also download the Libby app from the App Store and Google Play. You’ll need your library card number to log in.

Play board and/or card games. When was the last time your family sat around a table and played Monopoly? Chutes and Ladders? Clue? Uno? Now is the perfect time to pull your games out of the closet and have some old-fashioned family fun. Are the kids driving you crazy yet? Give them supplies to make their own board games, then play them as a family. Cereal boxes make great game boards. Just cut off the flaps and draw your squares on the inside.

Connect online. Are you part of a club or group that temporarily canceling its meetings? Create a group page on Facebook or another social media website to interact with your members and avoid social isolation.

Get some spring cleaning done.

  1. I know; boring. But think how good it will feel when all this blows over and you don’t have to be stuck at home doing chores when you can finally leave the house. Plus, what else are you going to do with all those cleaning supplies you just stocked up on?

This list isn’t exhaustive; it’s just a start. What other activities would add? Email your ideas to me at ebaumeister@timesshamrock.com for use in a future column.

In the meantime, take the time to enjoy the things that matter most in your “world.” Check in on the people you love, especially those who are most vulnerable. The Coronavirus may have temporarily turned our world upside down, but together, we can flip it back around.