We originally published this post in 2019 BC (Before Covid). The bakery has expanded since then and continues to serve the Littlestown area and surroundings. It was five years ago that Littlestown resident Monique Washirapunya opened her boutique bakery, Gateau Monique, in downtown Littlestown. Since then hundreds of people have enjoyed Washirapunya’s creative desserts, and the bakery has become a fixture in Adams County and the Littlestown community. Washirapunya said her bakery is a small-town business and “a personal thing. I can’t go anyplace without hearing ‘Oh, you’re the bakery lady!’” “I’ve grown to love Littlestown. It’s become my home,” said Washirapunya. The bakery supports community organizations, and partners with local small businesses. Washirapunya said the bakery specializes in retail and wholesale sales and supplying desserts to weddings and events. Gateau Monique is “not super-traditional French, but offers a European style which uses less sugar, but more dark chocolate and butter,” she said. “Some customers were skeptical at first – they wanted to know where the donuts were. But now a lot of families are interested. They trust what we do,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya’s assistant, Mike Warner, said the bakery’s savory offerings, including the onion and shallot pop tarts, were popular on Saturday mornings. “We have a line out on the street waiting for the open sign to flip at 8 a.m.” Warner, who lives down the street from the bakery in Littlestown said he started at the bakery by helping Washirapunya move a refrigerator, and ended up as a baker. Before opening Gateau Monique, Washirapunya attended culinary school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked at Antrim 1884 in Taneytown, and earned a business degree from McDaniel college. “The business education has helped me tremendously,” said Washirapunya. “Every year 100-130 Kindergarten children from Alloway Creek Elementary come through on a field trip. They learn about the baking machines and they bake cookies,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya said the bakery also has close relationships with the Littlestown Little League and girls’ soccer. “We really try to support the Littlestown community.” Washirapunya said she had initially expected to be only a wholesale operation, but when she took a look at the old barbershop building that became the bakery, she decided otherwise. “The windows were so nice I opened for retail,” she said. Washirapunya said she hopes to expand in Littlestown by opening a market selling local produce along with the bakery. Gateau Monique is offering gift boxes with bakery aprons and samples from local businesses for the holidays. “It’s something unique at Christmas,” said Washirapunya. For more information, please visit Gateau Monique’s business listing.
It’s been said that “if you’ve seen one pandemic you’ve seen… one pandemic” and this one continues to fit that pattern. Virologists and epidemiologists are doing their best to make predictions, while doctors, nurses, and politicians are doing their best to keep people safe, but it’s pretty hard, especially when their advice is frequently ignored. It’s been a long road – almost two years and counting – and there is absolutely no way to know what’s coming. There will be new variants (I read about one just today) and we don’t know what they are going to bring. For the moment, the news is at least momentarily better — the Omicron variant, which created a lot of cases, fast, since Thanksgiving, seems to be waning. Cases are down from their peaks a couple of weeks ago. Source: https://data.pa.gov/Covid-19/COVID-19-Aggregate-Cases-Current-Daily-County-Heal/j72v-r42c/data Wellspan Gettysburg Hospital which peaked on Jan. 16 with 56 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the highest of the pandemic by far (last year’s winter surge had as many as 42 patients), is now down to only 28. That’s still a lot, and the hospital is still full, but it is better. Source: https://data.pa.gov/Covid-19/COVID-19-Aggregate-Hospitalizations-Current-Daily-/kayn-sjhx/data Hospital administrators say they are hopeful these trends will continue to reduce stresses on the healthcare system and allow the hospitals to reschedule deferred surgeries and procedures for patients seeking care unrelated to COVID-19. This dip, which was predicted by scientists, is probably in part because the virus has already infected so many people and also because people are being more careful. I noticed the employees at Kennies Market in Gettysburg, after taking off their masks for a while, have them on again. The cost to the county is impossible to measure, but it’s substantial. In addition to the hospitalizations and the 314 deaths, about 1 out of every 5 people (over 22,000 total) has tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began, and that has caused major disruptions, not only to medical care, but also to businesses and schools.
This month, we celebrate a speech that was almost not given. We all know that Abraham Lincoln ventured to Gettysburg on the evening of November 18, 1863 to give “a few appropriate words” the following day, but his presence was fraught with difficulties and almost didn’t happen. David Wills, Gettysburg attorney, and Pennsylvania Agent appointed by Governor Andrew Curtin, invited Lincoln to attend the ceremony and make a short presentation on November 14. His presence was not a foregone conclusion, as presidents rarely left Washington during that period. He had visited the Antietam battlefield the year before, but that was an exception to the rule. Lincoln was mired in myriad tasks, including his annual message to Congress which was due on December 8 and a variety of other paperwork and proclamations. He met with the newly reelected governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Curtin, who urged him to attend, and he probably agreed to do so the following day. Curtin was a strong ally and one the Lincoln could not afford to alienate, especially since his re-election campaign would soon kick off. But there were other, more important reasons for Lincoln to attend. The war was entering a new phase where the losses promised to be even more horrific, and Lincoln sought a platform to explain why the sacrifice was so important. It was also a way to honor the fallen and explain that their last full measure of devotion was not in vain. Lincoln met with William Saunders, the designer of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery on November 17, the day before he was to leave for Gettysburg, probably to gain some inspiration as he penned his remarks. He was set to leave Washington on November 18, probably with the first page of his remarks already written, when his youngest son, Tad, came down with a mild form of smallpox, called Variola. He had already lost two sons, Edward, almost four years old, in 1850 and 11-year old Willie, who died the year before. Now, with Tad gravely ill, Mary Lincoln pleaded with her husband not to leave their son’s bedside. The pull to attend the ceremony was so strong that Lincoln put her objections aside and vowed to make the trip. The trip was not an easy one, as the journey involved three separate railroad lines, and mechanical breakdowns and derailments because of wayward cows, was not unusual. But the trip went off without a hitch and Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg at about 6:00 p.m. on November 18. He quickly made his way to the Wills house, where he would spend the night. A telegram arrived a few hours later bringing the welcome news of his son’s condition improving, allowing Lincoln to breathe a sigh of relief. The ceremony went off as scheduled the following day and we are now blessed with Lincoln’s seminal remarks…a speech that almost never happened.