Decking the halls.

Issue #36
Series 2
December 2002

"So even though it might be hard on me, how could I let them down?
So Santa Claus is coming back to town."
-Reba McEntire

A Merry Little Christmas

On Decmeber 7, 2002, there was a Christmas parade in Lock Haven. It began at six PM.
The LS Kids were in the parade, dressed as misfit toys. The cast included the Bedtime Debbie Doll, Marjorie-In-The-Box, a Mia-type gift, a porcelain Krystle doll, a chocolate Julie Bar, Hilaire the Fairy Princess, a Ginger Dreidel, G.I. Lou, and Sam, who was basically a Debbie accessory.
Michelle drove the van, and President Brenda Geyer was there on Main Street to cheer them on. DCS Bureau Members Rachel Wykry, Kazlynn Otto, and Amber Fleming had phoned in the night before to wish the Kids luck.
This made the second year the Kids were in the Christmas Parade. Last year, they helped the American Cancer Society hand out flyers.
The city of Lock Haven planned the parade, and had asked the Kids to attend in November.
-Marjorie J. Shelley


On Decemver 14, at one PM, Debbie Benfield, Staci Wyland, and Lou went down to the Ross Library and wrote letters to little kids, posing as Santa Claus. The little kids had written letters to Santa at the library, and we wrote back to them.
There were a lot of cute ones, and a few sad ones. We ate pizza as we made the little kids happy.
We stayed until three PM.
-Debbie Benfield

Every year in Berwick, Pennsylvania, a mile-long Christmas display is set up on the median strip along Market Street. This year, some of the LS Kids took a trip to see the display.
On December 15, Ginger White and Hilaire Reese went to Berwick to look at the Christmas display. With Lou, they walked along Market Street, pointing at some of the decorative items set up in the street. Displays included religious items, Harry Potter, Santa Claus, SpongeBob, and other things. Hilaire took an entire roll of film walking along the display.
"This was worth the trip," said Hilaire. "This is a fun thing to look at....Look! Reindeer!"
The display is set up by the Berwick Jaycees. Lou first discovered the display in 1998, when he was asked by the Jaycees to come out and help set it up.
-Ginger White

On December 21, 2002, the LS Kids rang the bell out in front of the Dollar General on Main Street in Lock Haven for the Salvation Army.
They did it for three hours, from one to four PM. It was cold and snowy, so to take their mind off of the cold, they took turns ringing the bell, drank cappucino, and sang Christmas carols.
Lou, Hilaire Reese, Debbie Benfield, Staci Wyland, Krystle Welch, and Ginger White all attended the project. Temperatures dropped to thirty-six degrees during the day. "Why can't the weather ever be good when we do this?" Lou asked.
This was the sixth year the LS Kids participated.
-Krystle Welch


The LS Kids helped out with a Thanksgiving dinner at the Great Island Presbyterian Church. On Thanksgiving, November 28, 2002, Debbie Benfield, Staci Wyland, Krystle Welch, Hilaire Reese, Lou, Michelle, and Ginger White all went to the church, served dinners, and cleared and set tables.
The dinner began at eleven AM, and continued until one-thirty PM.
Pastor Ken Page of the church stated,”Any person who wishes to come [is welcome]. Whether they have nobody to eat with, or they don’t have the money to prepare their meal, they will be greeted and accepted.”
This is the third year the Kids helped out at the dinner. They began in November 2000.
-Staci Wyland

On December first, Lou and Michelle held a post-Thanksgiving dinner, due to the fact that they had left to visit Lou’s parents on Thanksgiving. It was attended by Debbie Benfield, Mia Shelley, Staci Wyland, Marjorie Shelley, Ginger White, and the hosts.
We sat around and talked, and ate the dinner Michelle had made. Then we went ahead and had our meeting, during which I wrote this article.
-Debbie Benfield

Since Staci Wyland had such a good time coming to my place for Rosh Hashanah, I invited her over for Hannukah. "Is there food and presents involved?" she asked.
Hannukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, is actually a very minor holiday in the Jewish religion, having achieved its fame because of it's proximity to Christmas. This year, Hannukah began on November 30. Staci came over to light the menorah, a candle-holder for nine candles.
We lit the candles, starting with the shammus, the candle in the middle. One by one, each night, we lit the next candle. (Staci was with us for the first.) The candles are for pleasure only, except for the Shammus, the higher candle in the middle. This one is placed higher than the others so that, if a candle becomes necessary, we can find that one easily.
We said Berakhot, blessings, as we lit the candles. And then, for dinner, we had latkes, potato pancakes. Fried foods are a part of Hannukah, representing the Holy Oil of Judah.
Then I taught Staci to play Dreidel, a gambling game played with a square-shaped top. We gambled for cookies, and came out about even.
-Ginger White


During the month of November, Erica Shatzer, Lock Haven University student, was assigned to write an article on a community service project for her journalism class. So she chose a project attended by the Lost Solace Kids.
Erica wrote about the Thanksgiving Dinner that we helped out at (see corresponding article, this issue). After she was finished and handed it in, she ended up with a 94 on her article.
“I was pretty happy with that grade,” said Erica.
This is the second time someone from LHU wrote an article on the Kids. The first one was written by a girl named Shauna Goodling, in February 1999.
-Marjorie Shelley

Six years ago, when the JJJ was first established, it was written by a completely different set of kids. One of these kids was Tara Fulger, fifteen at the time.
In early November, Tara and Lou encountered each other again. Tara, now twenty, was hired by LBI, the market research firm that Lou works for. They bumped into each other in the hallway on Tara's first day.
"I'm pleased," said Lou. "Tara was a good kid, and I'm looking forward to working with her as an adult."
LBI is on the third floor of the Piper Aviation Museum, which, ironically, was partially set up by the kids in 1997. Lou and Tara both were part of the project that day.
Tara Fulger served in 1997 as the JJJ's first Ethical Advisor, before Vesta Jones.
Lou and Tara have plans to get together for lunch and talk, and for Tara to drop by and see how much the Kids have changed since she was a member six years ago.
-Ginger White

A birthday party was held for Faith, niece of President Brenda Geyer, when Faith turned four on November 9, 2002. Lou and Brenda both arrived at the party, had hot dogs, cake, and ice cream, and watched Faith open her presents.
The party was held at the house of Faith's mom, Brenda's sister. Relatives and friends came to wish little Faith a happy birthday.
-Ginger White


PENNSYLVANIA- Nine of the remaining residents of Centralia, Pennsylvania cast their votes November 7, 2002. Another sent in an absentee ballot. That's a good turnout, considering there are thirteen registered voters there.
Centralia used to be a town of approximately a thousand people. Due to an underground mine fire, the population rapidly dropped to fewer than twenty residents. Centralia became a tourist attraction, rather than a residency, in under forty years.
The Lost Solace Kids visit Centralia quite frequently, to see the attractions caused by the fire. Centralia has become a favorite of the Kids, a field trip at least five times within the past year.
The town is currently so small that the votes were cast in the living room of one of the remaining residents of Centralia, where the voting booth is kept.
-Staci Wyland

PENNSYLVANIA- On November 23, some of the Lost Solace Kids, Mia Shelley, Julie Rote, Lou, and Michelle all went to Renovo to a dance.
It was to raise money for the family of Mike Adams. In September, Adams got into a car accident. He has two kids, a girl, 4, and a boy, 7. Adams is not expected to be out of the hospital until after Christmas.
“He’s doing better,” said Adams’s wife. “He’s in rehab now, and making progress. We’re hopeful.”
The dance was held at the Renovo Fire Hall. The LS Kids Renovo Bureau, Sarah and Meghan Wilson, told us about it.
If you would like to donate money to help Adams’s family for Christmas, make checks payable to the Renovo Fire Department. Send your donation to: Renovo Fire Hall, Renovo, Pennsylvania, 17764.
-Mia Shelley

PENNSYLVANIA- I attended Slatington’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1, 2002. It was held on Main Street, by the bank, and attended by many of the citizens of Slatington. I went with the Junior High Chorus, and we sang carols while the tree was lit.
The tree was put up earlier in the day, and decorated. At seven o’clock, the tree was lit up. The Mayor made a speech, and some carols were sung.
-Amber Fleming
-DCS Bureau


Christmas is also celebrated in the Phillipines, where Janice Marco, the International LS Kid, lives. The Lost Solace Kids adopted Janice earlier in the year, and send money to sponsor her.
For Christmas, the Kids sent Janice a present of twenty-five dollars. This money will be spent to buy Janice something special, for her Christmas gift.
Janice says,"Maligayang Pasko! Ang aking mainit na pagbati ngayong kapaskuhan at sa daratung na baging taon!" In English, this means,"Warmest wishes for the holidays, and throughout the coming year."
The LS Kids sponsor Janice through an organization called Children International.
-Ginger White


Lou, Michelle, Hilaire Reese, and Ginger White went on a trip to Black Moshannon State Park on November 17. We walked along the boardwalk through the swamp. We also saw a flock of ducks by the lake.
On the way home, we got lost in the park, and told some scary stories while we asked for directions. We got out and stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home.
-Hilaire Reese


By Sarah
I always return things to the store just after Christmas. I don’t just mean Christmas items, I mean everything. It doesn’t matter if you have a receipt. Or the original box. It doesn’t matter if the item looks ten years old. You can return anything the day after Christmas.
Try Wal-Mart. They’re great for this stuff. Trust me. If you have something that breaks in late January, save it until next year and then return it right after Christmas. You can get a brand-new one, no questions asked.
Trust me. Would I lie? Well, to Wal-Mart, maybe, but not to you.
-Sarah Wilson
-Renovo Bureau

By Rudy
Dear Santa Claus,
I have been very, very good this year, unless you count trying to run away once, and chewing on stuff I wasn't supposed to, and begging for food a lot, and barking all night. So since I've been good, here is my Christmas wish list. I don't know if you deliver to dogs, too, but I have nothing to lose here.
I want a BIG box of Milk-Bones, and somebody to share them with. I want food, lots of food. And not just crummy dog food. I want people food, and lots of it!
I want attention! Pet me! Play with me! Love me! Worship the glory that is a Dancing Beagle!....Sorry, got a little carried away there.
And I want toys. Things to chew on, and stuffed hedgehogs, and fuzzy toys that I can chew out the squeaker and eat it!
Thank you, Santa. And if you come to bring these things for me, I promise to let you down the chimney. I won't even bark.
-Rudy The Dancing Beagle

By Ginger
Adore It: Here she comes---Miss America! Miss America Erika Harold, despite protests from pageant officials, insists on promoting abstinence. She claims she feels this is an important cause, and will not be swayed from discussing it. Miss Harold should be commended for having a worthwhile belief, and standing up for it.
Deplore It: Okay, it's unusual for a teenager to bust on a music channel, but VH1 has crossed the line. Their new program, "Music Behind Bars", features musical groups in prison. The mother of a murder victim accidentally saw her daughter's killer on VH1.
Those men, some of them murderers, are in jail to be punished, not begin successful music careers. I don't even think they should be allowed to watch TV, much less be on it.
-Ginger White

The Just Juniors Journal Is:
Editor: Lou
President: Brenda Geyer
IVP: Staci Wyland
EVP: Marjorie Shelley
Secretary: Debbie Benfield
Quartermaster: Mia Shelley
Staff: Julie Rote, Krystle Welch, Hilaire Reese, Ginger White
Renovo Bureau: Sarah Wilson, Meghan Wilson
DCS Bureau Head: Vesta Jones
Distant Correspondents: Amber Fleming, Kazlynn Otto, Rachel Wykry

By Lou

Standing out on Main Street with the Kids. Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettle program. The final project of 2002.
Every year, this is kind of an entertaining project. Every year, we stand for hours, without much to do besides ring the bell. The Kids always have to amuse themselves.
Fortunately, my kids are good at that.
This year, it was Christmas carols. Debbie started it---She had wanted to go caroling, so she combined that with the bell project. She began singing, and one by one, the others joined in. More or less.
We went through "Jingle Bell Rock", or what Debbie knew of it; did some of "O Christmas Tree"; and an almost decent rendition of "Jingle Bells", complete with real bells. Hilaire and I sang "Silver Bells". For the sake of the readers, I'll spare you our lyrics to "The Twelve Days Of Christmas."
There was, however, one fun one---You know it. Everybody knows it. My kids know it, and we sang it on Main Street.
"Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Our performance was kind of entertaining---It did get everybody who passed to shell out a buck or two for the Salvation Army. And it was fun---This is the kind of day I enjoy spending with my kids. This column is in print rather than seeing it live, but I thought I'd try and recreate what I can remember of our performance here.
(Having read through this in the rough copy, I realize you'll have to use your imagination a bit here, but it's sort of fun anyway. And I got a deadline, and can't afford to come up with a new column idea. Sing along, if you like.)

Performed by the LS Kids

Debbie: Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer....
Hilaire: Reindeer!
Debbie: Had a very shiny nose....
Hilaire: Like a light bulb!
Debbie: And if you ever saw it....Come ON, you guys!
Hilaire: Saw it!
Debbie: You would even say it glows....
Hilaire: Light a....uh....Light bulb!
Debbie, Staci: All of the other reindeer....
Krystle: I don't know you guys.
Debbie, Staci: Used to laugh and call him names....
Hilaire: Like Pinnochio!
Lou: Pinnochio? I always heard Potato-Head.
Debbie, Staci: They never let poor Rudolph....
Krystle: Boy, Lou, you'll let anyone in this group, won't you?
Lou: Well, you gotta be a teenager, but otherwise, yeah.
Debbie, Staci: Join in any reindeer games!
Hilaire: Like football!
Debbie, Staci: Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say....
Hilaire: In his underwear!
Staci: ALVIN!
Debbie: Wrong song, genius!
Hilaire: Take it, Krystle!
Krystle: Rudolph, with your nose so....Red....Um....Come here and guide my sleigh tonight....
Staci: Nice job, Krystle.
Debbie, Staci: Then all the reindeer loved him....
Hilaire: Loved him!
Debbie, Staci: As they shouted out with glee....
Hilaire: Yippee!
Debbie, Staci, Krystle: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer....You'll go down in hi....sto....ry!
Lou: Like Attila The Hun!

Well, I thought it was cute. Maybe you had to be there. But anyway, to all of you reading this....Consider yourselves caroled by the LS Kids. Now, we're gonna go have some hot chocolate. Merry Christmas, everybody.
-And a partridge in a pear tree