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I still miss Pennsylvania and all my friends: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 5/26/20

Hello, folks! The very merry month of May is about done. How was it for you? It really flew by me, down here in Florida. I guess I have had too many distractions ... all of them good.

I heard …

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I still miss Pennsylvania and all my friends: LaVonne Ackerman


Hello, folks! The very merry month of May is about done. How was it for you? It really flew by me, down here in Florida. I guess I have had too many distractions ... all of them good.

I heard news from two readers this past week (which was actually last week). It was very pleasant.

Doris Clave called to tell me how she enjoys reading this column. She especially likes how all the birthday greetings are always different. That brought me a smile. I thanked her for reading and asked her about her birthday. This spry lady turned 90 on April 1. Her parents wanted a boy, so they were fooled on that appropriate day.

Happy belated birthday to you, Doris! I do hope you get to visit Helen, 101 years young, very soon.

A little birdie told me that Mr. Pettis reads this column every week. Scott, are you still teaching in the Middletown Area School District? When school is in session, I mean! He is a favorite teacher for many and has made lasting positive impressions on hundreds of individuals. I remember him for his snazzy wardrobe and his huge heart for the students. I’ll never forget his classroom, just full of clippings and articles covering every inch of the wall. Of course, this was in the old high school. Thanks for reading, Scott!

This past year would have been my 20th year of subbing for the school district. I subbed at Kunkel, Demey, Reid, Fink, Feaser, the new middle school, and both the old and new high schools.

I met such wonderful people through the years and always felt valued and appreciated. The students were helpful in answering the Question of the Week. The teachers were encouraging, especially when I felt like the task at hand was beyond me.

I never really had a chance to say goodbye to the administration, staff and students. Things happened pretty quickly last spring, and then we found ourselves in Palm Beach Shores, Florida. God had his hand in the timing and location. Things are working out wonderfully. I’m so very thankful he has led us on this journey and continues to guide us.

The blessings are tremendous and unexpected. I miss Pennsylvania ... so many wonderful people and the beautiful area, but I am embracing the now, down south. My husband recently shared with me he always wanted to live in Florida, near the ocean. Who knew?

I appreciate all of you, readers. I have heard from numerous people thoroughout the years, and you always have been friendly and encouraging. Thank you.

I appreciate the Press & Journal. Little did I know that a short sample column and quick interview with Janet Pickel, the editor 20 years ago, would yield such joy and satisfaction. Thank you, Jason, Joe and Louise, for allowing me the chance to share my heart.

We really don’t have to look too hard to see the many blessings that surround us. We just have to remember to look for them! Have a wonderful week.


Double birthday wishes are sent to Raymond and son, Ryan Baer, of Lower Swatara Township. Hopefully you guys get to do some manly man stuff together on Wednesday, May 27!

Happy big-deal birthday to Judy Stare on May 28. This lovely lady marks 80 years on this Earth on Thursday. Judy, enjoy and keep smiling, God bless!

Ny’Zier Arango of Lower Swatara celebrates his happy 17th birthday on Friday, May 29. Hope the day is full of sunshine for you!

Anthony Paul celebrates his final teener birthday on May 29 as he turns 19. Wish him a fabulous birthday if you see him on Friday!

Happy landmark legal-eagle birthday to Carley Waters of Middletown on Friday, May 29. I hope 21 wonderful things happen to you on your day!

Joseph Harkins marks his quarter-of-a-century birthday on May 29. Congrats and many blessings in all you do, on Friday and for many years to come! Enjoy your weekend, Joe.

Bailee Koncar of Lower Swatara celebrates her 23rd party day on Friday, May 29. Have a fantastic weekend celebration, Bailee!

Here’s a shout-out to Craig Mosher of Lower Swatara on Saturday, May 30. Here’s hoping your cake day is full of your favorite things! Enjoy 61 things, Craig.

Happy June 1 birthday to Al Tomalis of Lower Swatara on Monday. I hope your week is simply marvelous!

My dear friend Pam Morsberger of East Hanover Township celebrates her confetti-popping day on Monday, June 1. Sending you bright colored streamers and hugs on your big-deal 60th cake day!

Happy birthday balloons are flying for Miss Andrea Harvey on Tuesday, June 2. I hope all your dreams come true this birthday, Andrea!


Happy 17th wedding anniversary to David and Eileen Beaston on Sunday, May 31. Best wishes to you both for a super blessed day!

Happy June 1 anniversary to Nathaniel and Rachel Perry of Middletown on Monday. Best wishes on your sixth anniversary. Gift ideas: candy, iron, wood. Flower: calla lilies. Have a lovely week celebrating!

San Fran Chops

pork chops

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

5 Tbsp. soy sauce

5 Tbsp. cooking wine

2 tsp. olive oil

dash red pepper

dash of salt

dash of pepper

Sauce mixture:

1 tsp. cornstarch

4 Tbsp. water

Cut off fat from chops, then brown in pan in olive oil. Mix next seven ingredients and pour over chops. Cook until done, 10 to 15 minutes at medium-high, then 10 to 15 minutes on medium, flipping occasionally (according to thickness). Remove chops from pan. Add mixture of cornstarch and water to pan. Cook until thickened. Pour over sauce over chops in serving dish. Serve with apple sauce and stewed tomatoes.

Congrats, college students

One hundred thirty-two students have been named to the Mansfield University President's List for the spring semester.

To be named to the President's List, a student must attend the university full-time and attain at least a 4.0 quality point average for the semester.

Students who made the list include Hannah Swartz of Hummelstown, a graduate of Lower Dauphin High School.   

Dean’s list

Slippery Rock University has announced its dean’s list for the spring semester.

The dean's list consists of undergraduate students who earned an adjusted semester grade-point average of 3.5 or higher, based on a schedule of at least 12 newly attempted and earned credits.

Those on the list include Brendan Dintiman from Middletown; Hannah Ferrara from Hummelstown; Ella Hickey from Hummelstown; Nicholas Iagnemma from Hummelstown; Aneesa Jones from Middletown; and Alison Murray from Middletown.

Quote of the Week

“Sing for the promise in each new morning. Sing for the hope in a new day dawning. All around is beauty bright!” — Sarah Quarte, author.

Question of the Week

What is a favorite June activity you hope you will not miss this June?

“Having a beach day!” — AJ Gambino, Miami, Florida.

“I always enjoy reading books, especially about the Amish. Hopefully I will be able to visit my sister Helen Houliston at the Middletown Home, soon.” — Doris Clave, 90, Middletown.

“ I actually look forward to when the snowbirds go home, and then it’s really nice here!” — Jan Peterson, Palm Beach Shores, Florida.

“Teaching swim lessons!” — Janelle Dukes, Lower Swatara Township.

“I know I will miss NBA Finals and Stanley Cup, rafting on New River Gorge, PRIDE parades and block parties. I still have the early birds chirping to wake me up, and my memories of friendships. I can be thankful that my friends are safe, and patiently understand that there will be more good times.” — Dutchie Graves, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Proverb for the Week

The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts (20:27).

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