Life on the last day of the millennium

January 01, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

While people on the other side of the world were already welcoming 2000 with fireworks and frenzy, Friday afternoon was a typical easygoing holiday for many in the Hagerstown area.

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"Life's too hectic and chaotic from 9 to 5," said Sam Coldsmith, 35, of Hagerstown, who was watching the ducks swim at Hagerstown City Park.

Coldsmith said that when midnight rolled around he expected to be at home where it would be quiet and safe.

With the temperature an unseasonably warm 56 degrees Friday afternoon, Dentist Ed Beachley left his office early and went bicycling in the parking lot of North Hagerstown High School with his two children, Christie, 10, and Teddy, 5.

"When you get days like this in December, you have to take advantage," Beachley said. He said his family planned to spend a quiet evening at home with friends.


The mild weather drew people to car washes and tennis courts.

A few were preparing for possible problems due to the Y2K computer bug.

Kelly Sarno, 41, of Hagerstown, was filling a container with gas to use in a generator, "just in case."

Tia Waltemire, 19, was filling up the gas tank of her Ford Explorer, but not because of Y2K fears.

She was heading to Berkeley Springs, W.Va., to visit her boyfriend and party with some people from Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., where she'll soon be studying secondary math education.

Warren Fraker, 82, of Hagerstown, was loading dog food into the trunk of his car at Kmart.

When asked what he was doing, he replied, "I'm thinking about how old I am and tomorrow I'll be a year older."

Fraker said he would spend this New Year's Eve as he has many others, eating his wife's pot pie. Today they'll feast on sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and dumplings, he said.

At the Hagerstown Regional Airport, Ruth Ramsdell of Berkeley Springs was working a crossword puzzle while waiting for her sister-in-law's 3:30 p.m. flight to arrive.

Lynn and Kathy Pittman of Hancock were there to rent a van so they could drive to Fredericksburg, Va., and pick up their six children, who were visiting relatives.

Richard Davis, 70, of Hagerstown shopped for groceries Friday evening at Martin's on Dual Highway in preparation for a quiet night alone with his wife.

He picked up a package of shrimp - eating seafood is a tradition for his family and others for the holiday. Around 25 people crowded the store's seafood counter clamoring for the latest fresh fish delicacies.

He said he will spending the evening watching football on television and the ball drop in New York City.

For others, Friday was just another day at work.

Mike Molinari, 39, a mechanic at Virginia Avenue Shell, tuned up a couple of cars and tried to figure out why another wasn't running. Someone was supposed to bring a car in for a state inspection.

"They wanted to be the last vehicle inspected in 1999," he joked.

Friday was a popular day to shop for cars, said Tex Miller, 55, a salesman at Hagerstown Ford.

For one of his customers, a farmer who was test-driving a truck, a 1999 purchase would mean a tax deduction next year, Miller said.

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