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Four Years at the Mount

An Hour In Emmitsburg

September, 2013

The Month we asked our students to pick a spot in Emmitsburg and spend a hour in it and then write about it ...

The Jubilee

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

We find usefulness in the saying, "Donít judge a book by its cover" each and every day with people we meet, classes we start, buildings we enterÖand sometimes even books. In this case, letís take a minute and take a deeper look at Jubilee Foods. Jubilee is a typical grocery store with anything and everything a shopper could possibly want inside. However, it has a lot more to offer that canít be seen at first glance, or maybe not even during a quick trip inside.

As a freshman at Mount St. Maryís, Iím new to Emmitsburg and am still exploring all of its charming little details. Despite this, I am convinced that discovering Jubilee during my second week here will be my most important find in our town. I started school under the impression that I would have to drive to the Wal-Mart in Gettysburg every time I wanted anything more than a bag of apples or a box of Cocoa Puffs, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned there was a place within a few minutes that I could go to for an ice cream fix or a case of water. With its initial appeal and its sheer convenience being obvious, I pulled into Jubileeís parking lot for the first time at around 8 oíclock on a Thursday night and saw a typical small town grocery store. I went inside, got what I needed, and left. It was nice, a little busy, and filled with many Mount students, but nothing really stood out to me as being different than other grocery stores.

The next time I went I had a slightly different experience. I went around noon on a Wednesday and realized there was something undeniably charming about this place in its noontime serenity, before students got out of class and while the atmosphere was still calm. I noticed things I had missed during my first quick trip Ė the small newspaper distribution boxes out front, the American flag poster on the wall, and the "OPEN" sign blinking in the front window. All of this was more noticeable in the natural calm of a weekday morning, but once again, I got what I needed and left.

It was not until I visited Jubilee on a particular Tuesday morning that I realized the true value the store holds. Instead of entering right away, I decided to stay in my car for a little bit. I was in awe at how much happens outside of the store. I felt like I was witnessing a true "parking lot party." Jubilee is so much more than a grocery store; it is a community center of its own breed. It brings together the people of Emmitsburg like nothing else. The parking lot, strangely enough, is the perfect depiction of a small town. I didnít see a single person walk past another without nodding or waving; some probably know each other, but others didnít. I canít count the number of conversations Iíve seen at the back of cars while people are unloading groceriesósome conversations lasting just a few seconds, and others lasting a few minutes. There are single shoppers, couples, friends, and families. There are children, but mainly adults. The atmosphere is unique and incredible, and coming from a small town myself, I found it very comforting.

Iíll continue to make the easy trip to Jubilee because I have yet to have an experience that I would call anything but pleasant. Each time I check out I have been greeted and told to have a nice day. The most eye-opening encounter I had while at Jubilee was when I asked my cashier how she was doing, and she responded, "Well Iím wonderful! Nothing to be mad about. Even if there was, that wouldnít help anyways now would it?" This simple answer showed a distinct knowledge that not many people have, and even fewer would take the time to share. I didnít know how to respond at the time, but I immediately wanted to be her friend! Folks like that, individuals who can brighten someoneís day, are what really give a small community irreplaceable value.

Walking back outside, I experienced firsthand what I had been witnessing from inside my car. I passed three people on my way out, one who had just stepped out of a "Folly Antiques" van, and two men who were walking in together. I had never seen these people in my life, but as soon as I looked in their direction, not one of them hesitated to smile and say, "Hello." In my opinion, itís the simple things like this that are the best parts of a small town, or in this case, a local grocery store.

Jubilee Foods may seem like just a place to shop with some homegrown food inside and an "OPEN" sign on the outside, but from what I experienced, the people in and around Jubilee make it into so much more. They make it a community center, an experience, and a truly pleasant place to be. Never in my wildest imaginings would I have thought a grocery store Ė a place typically characterized by busy shoppers and maybe some screaming children Ė could brighten my day and make me look closer at things all over. At a glance, it is just a simple place, but if you take the time to talk to the shoppers and employees inside, or smile at the people passing in the parking lot, you will see that it has so much to offer the community.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary


Annandale Road

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

My alarm goes off from my windowsill sounding the start of a new day. With heavy arms, I roll over to turn it off. Pulling up the curtains, I look through my window beside my bed. I can see for miles. The sun behind the mountains is beginning to create a golden light that bounces off the mountains, trees, and buildings in the most captivating way. The colors in the sky create a masterpiece, a masterpiece that could have only been painted by the hand of God. Surely no beauty can be matched.

I hop out of bed half asleep and go through the routine that has become second nature. With the weather becoming chillier every day, I have to dress accordingly. Once I am covered with layers, I sit down on the floor and put on my shoes, making sure to pull the laces tight. Within minutes I am headed down the four flights of stairs and out the front door. The cold air hits me quickly and I shiver in response. After a few stretches, I walk briskly until I am propelled into a run. My feet carry me across the sidewalks until I reach the edge of campus. I stop to check for cars before stepping off of University Way and onto Annandale Road.

The street seems to greet my feet as soon as they touch like the welcoming of an old friend. The chickens and roosters from the cage to the right call, "Good morning!" out to me as I travel past them. Houses with rooms illuminated contain the mysteries of someone elseís morning routine. The birds sing from the trees as I run past. The branches above me are in different stages of the season. Some are holding onto their colorful leaves for just a little longer while others are already bare. These branches intertwine with each other, making it impossible to know where one tree begins and another ends.

My feet carry me on and I travel farther and farther down the street. The sounds of nature are occasionally interrupted as people rush out of their homes and close their front doors behind them. With their travel mugs in one hand and their briefcases in the other, they enter their cars and head off day after day. We nod to each other or wave with familiarity and a smile and then we both continue on.

It wasnít until I looked into it that I realized that Annandale Road was actually named after a family that was very influential in the Emmitsburg community. I had been running down it daily without any contemplation. The information is worth knowing and has given me a greater appreciation of Annandale and Emmitsburg. Here is a brief history and summary of what I learned.

Robert Annan was born in 1742 in Scotland. He migrated to New York in 1761. In 1764, he married Margaret Cochran. William Cochran, Margaretís father, had bought land that is currently west of Track Road and north of Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Samuel Emmit had purchased the smaller eastern part of this area. Later on, William Emmit and Robert Annan both tried to create towns. Emmitís new town was named Emmitsburg while Robertís town was named Annandale. Robert tried to sell some of the lots in Annandale but he was unable to compete with Emmitís success, and he eventually gave up on trying to turn his land into a town. However, the area still maintains the name and the generations that were created.

In 1831, Robert Lewis Annan was born to Dr. Annan and Elizabeth (Motter) Annan. He grew up to be a doctor and after graduation, he came back to Emmitsburg to practice medicine for the reminder of his life. He helped organize the Emmitsburg Water Company and served the Emmitsburg community for fifty-two years. He focused on the welfare of the community and was viewed as wise because of his education. He was married twice and lived in a house in the center of Emmitsburg, adjoining his brother Isaac Annanís house.

Isaac Annan was born in 1833. Isaac went to public school in Emmitsburg and later worked as a clerk in a local dry goods store. After a few years, he became the owner of the same store and was a successful businessman. He renamed the store I. S. Annan & Company. Isaac helped to organize the Annan and Homer Bank in 1882 as the president of the company. He also worked with Robert in organizing the Emmitsburg Water Company, where he worked to provide the community with clean water. During his lifetime, Isaac was extremely well known throughout Emmitsburg. He married Julia Landers. Their first child together was named Edgar L. Annan.

Edgar Annan was born in 1865. He was also a prominent businessman. Edgar was educated in New Windsor, Maryland before giving up his studies. He then began working at Horner & Company in Emmitsburg. He became a cashier and was highly regarded among the Emmitsburg population. He was married in 1884 to Pauline McNair and they had five children.

The history seems to speak for itself and tell the story of a community developing and becoming the beautiful, history-rich town it is today. Annandale Road isnít just a paved path that winds across the hills. It brings you to or from destinations and becomes a part of your travels. As the tires of your car, the wheels on your bike, or the soles of your shoes touch the pavement, what is it that they are connecting with? Is it simply a two-sided road divided by a double yellow line? Maybe on the surface that is all it can be. Or maybe it can be and is more than that. We could choose to see it as a path that makes connections. It connects us to other roads that can take us in different directions and lead us to different things. It is a path that can make personal connections. We can use it as a way to connect to the past and to the Annan family, showing appreciation for all that they did for the Emmitsburg community. We can use it as a way to reach out to our neighbors and even to each other.

Too often I think that we all tend to see Mount St. Maryís as separate from Emmitsburg or Emmitsburg separate from Mount St. Maryís. By doing this, we miss out on the valuable connections that we could make with each other. Annandale may be just a road, but it acts as a bridge. It is a bridge between the community on campus and the Emmitsburg community as a whole. As we turn down the road and come to that fork, too often we choose a direction as if we were choosing a side. If we stay to the right and continue onto Annandale then we turn our backs onto the Mount St. Maryís campus. If we turn left and enter the campus, arenít our backs then turned on Annandale and in a sense on Emmitsburg? It canít be seen like this for we are one community. Together, we make up the Emmitsburg community as a wholeónot as separate parts. We are stronger together; our histories reveal it and our futures rely on it. Annandale unites us.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen


The Seton Shrine

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

Part of the appeal of going to Mount St. Maryís is the businesses and areas shared by our university and the town of Emmitsburg. There are so many institutions that bear great memories for both students and townspeople. Whether going to get a quick bit at the Ott House or stopping by Holy Grounds for a cup of coffee, it is no secret that the Mount and Emmitsburg have a lot of things for which to be thankful. However, itís not just businesses and restaurants that our two worlds share, but also a rich history, specifically involving Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Iíll never forget coming to the Mount and hearing stories about Father John Duboisí journey from France to Maryland in search of a safe haven from religious persecution, and the stories about the many famous people who have walked the same ground and traveled the same wooded trails I had. One of these figures in particular, Mother Seton, a patron of students and education, caught my attention. It was mind blowing to me that a canonized saint has been in the same place I am, and that she harbored the same feelings of love and admiration that I have for my new home. I became aware that there was a beautiful shrine dedicated to Mother Seton in Emmitsburg, The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The building was dedicated not only to telling her life story through artifacts from her lifetime and informational seminars, but also to continuing her work through community service and outreach. It sounded like an amazing place, and I made it my mission to go.

However, freshman year passed and I hadnít had the chance to visit the shrine that I had heard so much about. Like most new college students, I had gotten wrapped up in the myriad of activities that college had to offer me and had put a visit to the shrine on the backburner. I had almost forgotten about that wonderful example of our shared history with Emmitsburg when sophomore year rolled around and I was asked to take part in Campus Ministryís Back from the Dead Cemetery Walk. Every year the Mountís Campus Ministry office runs a free shuttle to the graveyard outside of the Seton Shrine for a Catholic take on the traditional Halloween walk. Rather than be beset by popular monsters and ghouls, participants encounter the spirits of the saints as they travel through the holy graveyard. That year, the Mountís Father Brian Nolan approached me with the offer of a part as the ominous grave-keeper that helped to kick off the walk. I joined, excited at the prospect of being able to not only help a great cause, but also visit the landmark that I had wanted to visit for so long.

As fate would have it, I was going to be closer to the shrine than I thought. The first of the two walks went well enough, despite a slight drizzle and an unusual cold. The students and residents who went through came in a little scared but left with smiles on their faces. By the end of our first run, the rest of the cast, as well as yours truly, were more than excited to begin our second performance. Then the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy hit and the weather in Maryland took a turn for the worse as driving wind and rain meant that the walk would be staged in the protective confines of the shrine itself. The night came and we turned off the lights, set up a few strategically placed candles, and took our positions inside the shrine.

There was something about the place that seemed to lend a strong purpose to what we were doing, attempting to bring God closer to people in a contemporary way. The way the flickering light seemed to fill the cavernous expanse of the marble chapel, the pictures of the smiling saints hung here and there, the rain pattering on the roof, and the looks of wonder on participantsí faces all made for an extraordinary evening in an even more amazing place.

Moments like that make me so happy that we get to share our existence and our little miracles with the town of Emmitsburg. Thereís a danger inherent in treating the Mount or our town as a single world unto themselves, completely independent of one another. Itís hard sometimes to see our own little worlds as parts of a greater integrated whole, rather than as separate entities. However, sitting there in the shrine, with the shadows dancing on the walls and people from around the area having the time of their lives, it made me realize just how important it is to recognize that weíre just part of a greater, shared tradition. So, allow me to end this article a little differently than I end most. Instead of asking that you sit and read with me, I ask that you go out and find some place, whether itís a store, a restaurant, or the spot where you finally did something youíve always wanted to do. Go and rediscover what that place means for you and for others. It doesnít have to be something that necessarily connects the Mount to Emmitsburg, just something that takes you out of your own experience and brings you closer to another deeper life. Take your friends or go alone, but whatever you do, open yourself up to the chance that you might discover something new. Until next time, good luck, and happy hunting.

Read other articles by Kyle Ott


Holy Grounds Cafť

Nicole Jones
Class of 2014

Steam rose from my frothy hot chocolate as the sides of the oversized mug warmed my chilled hands. I sipped at the mugís creamy contents. Mmm, just how I remember it.

The first time I tasted the hot chocolate from Holy Grounds Cafť was two years ago. Even though I had eaten lunch across the street and driven past it on my way to Jubilee, I had never once noticed the yellow and red letters in the window reading "Holy Grounds Cafť Ė Coffee, Pastries, Cold Drinks." A friend and fellow editor of the campus newspaper The Mountain Echo wanted to talk a bit about work over some coffee, which is why I was confused when she parked us out front of the Ott House. As far as I knew, it wasnít much of a coffee joint.

"Weíre going across the street, silly," Alyssa had said while pointing at the small building with three cars filling the spaces out front. I was still slightly confused as the door we walked up to read "St. Philomena Catholic Books and Gifts." Thatís not exactly what we opened the door to, however. Sure, to my left there were Bibles, icons, and rosaries, but to my right were small, polished round tables and a counter filled with mugs. I was taken aback. How had I been at the Mount for two years and never known about this cozy treasure?

The walls were a warm blue and the menu was displayed in colorful chalk on two black boards and continued in marker on a set of round mirrors behind the counter. Coffee mugs and t-shirts displaying the Holy Grounds logo were displayed alongside a newspaper stand. Iíll admit, I was a bit slow at the time and didnít process anything on the menu; I just asked Alyssa what was good there besides the coffee.

I was a little curious that after paying we didnít wait at the counter for our drinks like I was accustomed to at most coffee shops. Instead, I followed Alyssaís lead and promptly took a seat to chat. We claimed one of the round tables in the corner by the window where we could gaze out onto Main Street traffic. A few minutes later, the lone employee behind the counter walked over with a smile and two oversized mugs that could have passed as small bowls. One steaming sip of rich, creamy hot chocolate later, I was in chocoholic bliss.

Alyssa and I werenít at the cafť during a very busy hour Ė I only remember one or two other tables being filled Ė but it was clear that this quiet little corner was a popular place. People hopped in and out of the bookstore or grabbed a muffin to go. The staff was obviously small but extremely friendly. It was the perfect place to facilitate our conversation. I remember a sign advertising open mic nights the first Friday of every month. What a fun, community building idea, I thought. I wondered how popular the event was and immediately determined I would make the cafe my regular stomping grounds.

After a little research I discovered that in 1996, this little joint began solely as a small non-profit bookstore on Emmitsburgís Main Street. After changing hands twice, Bruno and Pam Sielaff came into ownership. The family-owned business has since moved to its current location at 2 West Main Street and expanded to include the Holy Grounds Cafť. I have not had the pleasure of meeting the Sielaffs, but I am grateful to them for preserving this piece of our community. At the Mount, Iím surrounded by a tradition of religion and faith, but it is a sweet and rare occasion when I find this environment away from school and home. It is part of what makes this little shop so special. It is a connection to more than just a good cup of coffee; it is a connection to people and a community of faith. In this way, it was familiar before I even knew of it.

Now back at my old table in the corner, I glance out the window onto Main Street and canít help but wish that Iíd taken the time to follow through on my decision to make this my regular spot just a little sooner than I have. It took me an entire year before I made my second visit to this sweet little shop. Now itís my senior year and Iím all out of "try-it-next-yearís." Itís this year or not at all. But Iím here now, and itís exactly how I remember it. The quiet coming and going of customers, the friendly staff and cool blue of the walls, and, of course, the giant mug of hot cocoa Ė in a year when everything is changing, itís nice to know that some things stay the same.

My recommendation to you, reader, is to take a moment out of your week and visit the Holy Grounds Cafť if you have not already. If thatís not your cup of Joe, then go ahead and stop by that roadside stand you keep meaning to check out or attend that annual street festival you keep meaning to take your friends to. As long as you have the means, there is no point in waiting. Next week, next month, next year will come, but think of all the time youíll have wasted just wishing when you could be doing. Take action and discover a new connection with the world around you. I promise you wonít regret it.

Read other articles by Nicole Jones

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