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Residents getting ready for re-enactment

September 09, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Jennifer Sellers, a newcomer to Rench Road, is dreading next weekend's re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam, which, she said, will take over her street, shake the walls of her house and frighten her three dogs.

"I'm not too happy," she said. "Getting woken at six o'clock in the morning by gunshots and cannon fire does not thrill me to death."

Blaine Grove, who lives east of Sellers, a little farther from the battle site, couldn't be happier.

"I think it's the best thing that ever happened to the neighborhood," he said. "To see all those people get together and enjoy themselves, really enjoying life - they really think they're there."

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And the noise? No problem.

"That's what it's all about," Grove said. "I think more people should make more noise."

"We're looking forward to it," said his wife, Susan.

A few other Rench Road residents interviewed recently fall somewhere between those extremes.

They said they'll tolerate the obvious interference in their daily routines - a lot of traffic, a lot of noise - and enjoy the re-enactment activities.

"I find it entertaining and educational," said Doris Rager, who already has circled the events she wants to see.

She and her husband, Joe, will count on food vendors for meals.

"I'm not cooking," Doris Rager said. "We'll go down there and eat."

On the down side, Joe Rager isn't sure he'll get to his job at Central Precision in Boonsboro on Friday because of the traffic and because Rench Road is closed for 10 days.

Doris Rager is concerned how her 2-year-old cockatiel, Prettyboy, will handle the artillery noise. Prettyboy was spooked by some gunshots on television, which Rager interpreted as a bad omen.

"I'll be sure he's covered" in his cage, she said.

Dianne Mills said she and her husband are looking forward to the coming weekend, particularly because Mills' younger sister, Lisa Nave, and her fianc are coming to visit. Mills hasn't seen Nave, who lives in Cape Canaveral, Fla., in two years.

Nave is arriving on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

"She'll put a shining on the day for me," Mills said.

The last re-enactment created a certain hassle, but "we just knew when to leave and when to be here," Mills said.

David Rager, who lives diagonally across the street from his parents, Doris and Joe, remembers the difficulty he had five years ago getting his daughter, Jessica, home from school.

Rager said it took him close to five hours to get from Interstate 70 to his house that day.

"They shut down Sharpsburg Pike," he said.

Jessica went to the re-enactment with her class, but wasn't allowed to go straight home, so her father had to pick her up at school, Doris Rager said. The family hopes to get her an exemption this year.

The experience didn't ruin David Rager's re-enactment weekend.

"You kind of have to expect it ...," he said with a shrug. "The smart thing would have been not to go out."

He plans to attend the coming re-enactment, just as he did five years ago.

"It was neat last time," he said.

Sellers is bracing for the worst, prepared to be trapped at home when she isn't working at the nearby Cracker Barrel, which, she said, is expecting at least 10,000 patrons.

She has lived on Rench Road for only four months, but relatives reported that during the last re-enactment, booming artillery shots knocked pictures from the walls.

When the weekend was over, some of the local loose cats were missing.

After hearing about David Rager's commuting disaster, Sellers decided she'll keep her daughter, Sasha Earley, out of school Friday.

"I told my school bus not to come ...," she said. "That's too long for a child that's only 6 years old. ... My husband has no way to go get her because I'll have the car."

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