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Avoiding Hurricane Dorian leads to new friends: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 9/11/19

Hello, folks! I hope your September is going well so far. Mine has been quite different, and exciting.

While in Riviera Beach on Singer Island in Florida, we watched expectantly as reports about …

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Avoiding Hurricane Dorian leads to new friends: LaVonne Ackerman


Hello, folks! I hope your September is going well so far. Mine has been quite different, and exciting.

While in Riviera Beach on Singer Island in Florida, we watched expectantly as reports about Hurricane Dorian were being televised. We survived Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago while staying in the panhandle with no problem. Surely, we could watch Mother Earth’s power unleashed while on the 11th floor, because we were hopeful the eye would turn and it would be safe.

As we prepared with extra water, food and flashlights, we were constantly warned by family and friends up north to flee. After all, officials put out a mandatory evacuation announcement for 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1. Many people were staying. On Friday afternoon, the condo main office informed us we were among 22 people remaining in our building. The police would not come to our aid, but would check on us after the disaster hits.

We spent that Sunday enjoying soft breezes and sunny skies while bike riding. We noticed restaurants and stores being boarded up. We kept to the belief we would be OK. However, the strong pleadings from David, my brother, and friends Lori and Terry of Lower Swatara Township made us take a pause.

What if? What if the storm comes straight for West Palm Beach (basically where we are)? We put our vehicles up in a parking garage, but what if 185 mph winds would blow them off? We were told our building, Phoenix Towers, has a sturdy structure built to sway (“so don’t get alarmed when you feel that”). We have hurricane windows able to sustain 175 mph winds. The models said Dorian was going to lose strength and go north! Why worry?

We caved early afternoon on Monday. Dorian was moving slowly. A friend said, “It’s like being stalked by a turtle!” The mph report wasn’t calming down, and the concerned voices were louder. We even got an offer to stay with Mimi over in Cape Coral, a 2 hour-and-45 minute drive west.

Dolly Eshenaur, formerly of Harrisburg, is Lori’s mom. The grands call her Mimi. The great-grands call her “old Mimi.” This adorable, kind woman and I met each other briefly throughout the years, but we were not much more than acquaintances. Yet she flung her door open wide and we gladly received her lovely hospitality.

We arrived Monday night. She wasn’t home from a Labor Day picnic yet, but gave us her code in order to let ourselves in. We were told where the guest room was, and when she arrived home, she embraced us. We spent a couple of hours talking and felt right at home.

On Tuesday, she took us to lunch at Rumrunners on the water, after more hours of gabbing away ... she is an awesome listener. Later on we visited with her friend and neighbor, Thea Rosenbaum.

It was a treat to meet Thea. She is an author with a remarkable story to tell.

“No Place for a Lady” is her book, which describes her life starting at age 4. She signed a copy of it for us, which includes how she met Michael Jackson and Muhammad Ali, and experienced the “logistical nightmare” at Three Mile Island, on page 175. She talks about Diane Sawyer being there, and using Geiger counters. She was great friends with Ted Koppel in Saigon as they covered news for their countries during the Vietnam War.

Thea shares about being a journalist, and a producer for ARD German Television for more than 20 years in the United States. She met several presidents as she attended press conferences through the years and traveled extensively. She became a U.S. citizen in 2013. What an exciting life.

Later, for dinner, Thea drove Dolly, Scott and me to a nearby restaurant in her golf cart. We soon found out it was trivia night and what a blast we had trying to figure out the answers. We only hung around to play two rounds, but were pleased to win a gift card to the restaurant for having the highest score for the second round!

It was such fun to hang with these older and wiser ladies. We were blessed to be in their presence.

Dorian brought us something special, two new friends and fun memories. We arrived back to the condo Sept. 4 and were pleased to find no damage. The beach showed erosion and turtle eggs did not fair well, however.

As of this writing, on Sept. 4, Dorian is only just leaving Florida. Praying for our East Coast as well as the Bahamas. By the time you read this, hopefully, Dorian will be long gone and the devastation is minimal.

Have a lovely week!


Best wishes to Tegan Rider of Lower Swatara Township on Wednesday, Sept. 11. I hope your Sweet 16 honk-beep day is tip-top!

Happy third birthday to Sadie Etter of Elizabethtown on Sept. 12. May your Thursday be filled with love and lots of treats!

Ellis Conrad of Middletown marks his 99th cake-and-ice cream day on Thursday, Sept. 12. Have a very special day!

Happy birthday greetings are sent to Dottie Bowman of Lower Swatara on Sept. 12. I hope 76 thrilling things happen to you on Thursday.

Mark Etter of Lower Swatara celebrates his rootin’ tootin’ cake day on Thursday, Sept. 12. Have a wonderful day!

Happy to you, Christine Hevel of Lower Swatara! Hope your Saturday, Sept. 14 cake day is super!

Joseph Peterson of Lower Swatara turns 10 on Sept. 14. Have lots of cake on Saturday and keep smiling!

Happy 19th last teener birthday to Brian Hutchinson of Middletown. He celebrates on Sunday, Sept. 15. Enjoy!

Hey, ToniAnn Noss of Lower Swatara! Have a super-duper Sunday birthday on Sept. 15. I hope it is full of sweetness!

Mason Reigle marks his decade-old birthday on Sept. 15. I hope it is sunny on Sunday just for you!

Patrick Metz of Hummelstown observes his frosty-filled day on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Make it terrific, Pat!

Hayli Akakpo-Martin celebrates her final teener birthday on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Happy cupcake day to you!


Happy 32nd wedding anniversary to Scott and Kim Thompson of Lower Swatara Township. Their special day is Thursday, Sept. 12.

Best wishes to Kevin and Jackie Kelly of Swatara Township for a wonderful Sweet 16 anniversary on Friday, Sept. 13.

Tim and Becky Carpenter celebrate 18 years of wedded bliss on Sunday, Sept. 15. Have fun!

A big bouquet of fall flowers to Eric and Deb Breon of Lower Swatara on Sept. 17. They celebrate 36 years on Tuesday! Congrats, kids!

Cool Layered Salad

1 head lettuce, broken in pieces

1/3 to 1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. chopped celery

1 small can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 c. tiny frozen peas

1 1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. sugar

4-5 slices bacon, crisp and broken

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 c. shredded sharp cheese


Mix sugar into mayonnaise. Layer all ingredients in order given in 9-by-13-inch pan. It can be put in any container of the approximate size. Cover with plastic wrap. You may prepare a day ahead.


Everyone is welcome to a roast turkey dinner that will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16 at Evangelical United Methodist Church, 157 E. Water St., Middletown.

Dinner includes stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans,cranberry sauce, beverage and dessert.

You may dine in or take out. There is a charge. A handicapped entrance is available. For more information, call 717-944-6181.

Halloween Parade time

The Kiwanis Club of Middletown’s 66th annual Halloween Parade is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21.

Parade information and registration is now open at

Registration will close Oct. 8. Questions about the parade may be emailed to

There are several spaces available for registrations in the Cutest and Original Individual cash prize categories.

Quote of the Week

“Through Christ you have the opportunity to unload all of the baggage from your past and present and move forward with a lightness and joy that come from within.” — Anonymous

Question of the Week

How do you encourage a sad friend?

“I let them talk. I listen more than talk. I invite them out to do something culturally inspiring.” — Wendy Weiss, Aledo, Texas.

“Ask if they are OK, play with them.” — Ryan Benkovic, 5, Lower Paxton Township.

“I would give her a basket filled with her favorite things!” — Ayla Windows, 8, Susquehanna Township.

“By giving them a hug.” — Luca Ryan, 5, West Hanover Township.

“Just listening, try to inspire some hope for the future to them.” — Sallie Evans, Hummelstown.

“Say a prayer for them and offer them a glass of wine.” — Dolly Eshenaur, 84, Cape Coral, Florida.

“Tell them I love them and give them a hug.” — Jonah Cooper, 5, Susquehanna Township.

Proverb for the Week

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is to his glory to overlook an offense (19:11).

Reach LaVonne Ackerman at 717-649-7366 or by email at