Issue #104
Series 2
December 2008

175th Christmas

This fall, Lock Haven turned 175 years old. On November 14th, the LS Kids helped the Clinton County Historical Society with Lou's memorial project, the Rain of Fire.
Nine days after the founding of Lock Haven, in 1833, a meteor shower covered the area. To commemorate this, Lou held an event with candles to represent the meteors, and fireworks. Tiffany Bernard helped to set up, and Kristen Withers, Rachel Mazza, and Bobby Smith set off the fireworks.
"One hundred and seventy-five years ago, Jerry Church came to this area and founded a community. Nine days afterward, there was a meteor shower," Lou said to the audience. "We now know this to be the Leonid meteor shower, which happens every thirty-three years. But that year, in 1833, was the biggest, brightest one on record. The citizens of the new city ran from their homes, thinking they were going to die....And then stopped, and watched, as the balls of light hit the ground harmlessly. Tonight, we remember that. Lock Haven is the only city in the world that was baptized with a meteor shower. Lock Haven is the only city in the world where the founder played the violin in a tree. Lock Haven is the only city in the world where I would ever want to live."


On November 22nd LS Kids Rachel Mazza and Bobby Smith traveled with Lou and Michelle Bernard to Louís fatherís tree farm in Slatington, PA. Along the way, the group stopped in Jim Thorpe to visit the railroad museum and gift shop, and Bedbug Cave to walk through the ruins of an old mattress factory. During this time Rachel and Bobby were involved in an epic stick battle. After a brief stop at Burger King for lunch, they discovered Black Beards treasure during a geocaching expedition in which eye patches and a real silver necklace were retrieved.
Once at the tree farm, Bobby and Rachel were introduced to Louís father, sister and niece before assisting Lou in cutting down trees for the Heisey museum and his house. After exploring the grounds, beautiful country home, taking a ride on the Ďtree tractorí and feeding the Koi fish they were treated to a venison stew dinner with the most amazing homemade ice tea Rachel had ever tasted.
On the way out of town, they visited and dared to test out a local tale of the Ď100 Stepsí. According to legend, if one is to count up to 100 stairs out loud they are supposed to disappear once at the top. Rachel and Bobby, ever the B.A daredevils, were all to excited to try it out but counted only 93 stairs on the way up and 91 on they way down. Needless to say, they did not disappear but had a great time doing it anyway!
-Rachel Mazza

Every year, the children from the Muncy area send letters to Santa through C/S Group Company. And every year, the LS Kids sent letters from Santa back.
On December 21, 2008, the Kids gathered in Lou's kitchen to write Santa letters. Tiffany Bernard, Rachel Mazza, Robin Prescott, and friend Ailish Brundage gathered around the table and wrote letters to the children.
Lou cooked hot dogs for the Kids, and they ate, discussed business, and had a good time.
-Robin Prescott


He taught us to love
And give people a chance.
Now he watches, above.
Come....Join in the dance.

Rudy The Dancing Beagle, 1995-2008

Rudy the Dancing Beagle died this month, at age 13. That's 91 in dog years.
Born in New York, Rudy came to Slatington, Pennsylvania as a puppy, in 1995. He was named after Lou's grandfather. He grew up on Green Valley Christmas Tree Farm, developing several amusing skills, such as dancing for food or sliding down the stairs.
He achieved fame with his dancing, but cut back on the dancing in later years due to arthritis. He wrote feature columns for the Just Juniors Journal, entertaining the Kids and the readers. Rudy was an attraction, amusing kids and visitors on trips to the farm.
Rudy enjoyed chasing rabbits, begging for food, running in the yard, and playing with his stuffed hedgehogs. He leaves behind a master, Louis Bernard; and many friends and admirers.
It is unclear what will happen to Rudy's estate. Instead of flowers, donations to the local SPCA are requested.

I have come home.
I thought this yesterday as I sat out on the balcony of my new apartment building, looking down at Lock Haven from five stories high. It really is a fantastic sight. You can see the whole shebang from up there: the railroad, the courthouse towers, even these little houses and streams tucked along the sides of the mountains. I get a peaceful feeling up there on the balcony, a feeling Iíve rarely had before. Itís almost like everything falls into place for just a few minutes, and I know, at least for a little while, that all my troubles are solvable, that all my worries will work themselves out, and that I will be just fine.
When I think about what brought me here, it seems impossible that I could be so happy now. I came to Lock Haven in July of 2005, scared, hurt, and grieving a lot of losses. At that point in my life, I didnít think Iíd ever be happy again. Sometimes I love being wrong. Thereís something about this place that just seems to heal. I love the people, the history, the beauty. I sit out on my balcony, and my heart is at peace. Itís amazing.
The point to this column is more of a personal testimony than anything else. See, I have discovered something that I think is worth sharing. I have discovered that life is hard, and sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it seems like youíll never be able to run fast enough to keep up with where it seems to be going. The world is a shambles. Husbands beat their wives, parents kill their children, and injustice leaps out from behind every tree. Thereís always a hurdle in the road. And yet, despite all this, life is worth living. Itís worth living because of the lady who smiles at you in the grocery store, or because of a hug from a friend or a glass of iced tea from a neighbor. Itís worth living for a red carnation on Pentecost Sunday, for puppy kisses or the smell of incense or a million other things we tend to overlook or take for granted.
So if youíre going through a hard time right now, as some of you probably are, donít give up. Keep moving forward, even when youíd much rather just quit life and never get out of bed again. It will get better. As a survivor, I know what itís like to feel like youíre drowning in all the pain you carry around. I know that sometimes it seems as if no future, no matter how good, will ever be quite good enough to make life worth the struggle. I also know youíd be surprised at how a hundred little things can make up for one gigantic heartache. Someday youíll find out. Someday not too far from now, maybe even tomorrow, youíll find your balcony and your glass of tea and a town that wraps around you like a hug, and youíll be able to say:
I have come home.
-Tiffany Bernard

The JJJ Is:
Leader: Lou
Assistant Leaders: Tiffany Bernard, Debbie Benfield
LS Core Team: Cris Schedin, Meghan Rockey
Serving In Iraq: Biz Albright
President: Rachel Mazza
Secretary: Ericka Conklin
Quarter master: Kristen Withers
Staff: Shelby Sander, Shantae Hockenberry, Katie Bottorf, Bobby Smith, Robin Prescott, Ida Yost
Distant Correspondents: Shadow Snow, MacKenzie Brundage, Regina Spence, Chelsey Crouchley, Goth Lizz
Foreign Bureau: Janice Marco

This year, it's not only Christmas. It's the one hundred and seventy-fifth Christmas that Lock Haven has had. The Historical Society held events, and the Express put out a 175th anniversary edition. Hard to believe this all started with me sitting in my office with a calculator.
Lock Haven is the only place I'd ever want to live. I've been other places, and had plenty of adventures elsewhere, but Lock Haven has a feel to it, a history, that would be hard to match.
I spent summers here as a kid myself, staying with my Aunt Sandy on the Renovo Road. I didn't know the local term "Renovo Road" at the time; it was just where Aunt Sandy lived. But I ran these same streets and forests as a kid, the same way my Kids currently do. Much later, as an adult, I discovered that Aunt Sandy's home was across the highway from several abandoned ghost towns, all of which are currently mentioned on tours of the museum. Life has a way of circling back on you like that.
As an adult, I moved here in 1990. At first, it was just a temportary thing; I hadn't intended to stay. But I ended up connecting with this city. Now, I can't imagine myself living anywhere else.
Lock Haven has a fascinating history. And the Kids are part of that. On September 11, 2001, we were on the front page at a candlelight vigil. In 2000, we held the first Hands-On project---Also in the paper. The Kids help out at the museum. They're around for most of the charitable events Lock Haven has.
Decades from now, some college student will be writing a paper on some topic. He'll go to the library, look at the articles---And the LS Kids will be there.
Lock haven has a fascinating history. And the LS Kids....They're a part of it, forever.
Happy 175th.
Merry Christmas.
-Through the years, we all will be together....