Jody Edwards Karantonis paints Greencastle memories

— By PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Jody Karantonis, a Greencastle native, with a painting of her brother Les Edwards. She created scenes of Greencastle on notecards, which are on sale in town to benefit Allison-Antrim Museum. Some for sale during Old Home Week will also benefit the triennial celebration.

A Greencastle native has imprinted childhood memories onto watercolor cards, to be sold locally to benefit Allison-Antrim Museum. During Old Home Week cards sold at the headquarters will benefit the triennial celebration.

Jody Edwards Karantonis grew up at 59 Spring Grove Ave., now the home of her brother Les and his wife Jean. Back in the day, the family business was right out the door — Edwards Hatchery and Poultry Farms. Natural playgrounds were nearby, just two fields and a grave yard away.

Now a retired art teacher, Karantonis, 67, has the time to indulge in her favorite pastime, painting. Living in Harford County, Md., with her husband Zack, she brings her memories alive in watercolor, but since that medium is "less forgiving", she sometimes turns to oils.

Four scenes from the Greencastle area are the focus of cards Karantonis has for sale at the museum and the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce. She calls the series "Off the Beaten Path" because that describes her hometown and the particular views she put on canvas.

The first is her old playground at Moss Spring. She, Les and neighbor kids spent many hours at the small dams, rode horse on the flat ground, and sledded down the hills.

Sixty years ago the land was different than it appears now, with thickets and dry stream beds and houses filling the once open space. Even the rocks at the spring are no longer intimidating.

"Back then we called it the cliff and jumped off," said Karantonis during a visit home. "Now it doesn't look nearly so high."

She painted the underpass as West Madison Street. She still enjoys the drive through it.

"There is something rather nice about waiting a turn to occupy the single lane, and a bit thrilling to be going through simultaneously with a train overhead," she wrote on the back of the card.

Karantonis painted the root cellar of her mother's birthplace at Canebrake on Leitersburg Road. Her great-grandfather Henry Stickle Walck had a grain cradle factory on the property, and her grandfather Lester Ralph Walck put his first hatchery there.

Martin's Mill Bridge is pictured from the inside out. The nearby banks of the Conococheague were where she and her future husband planned their wedding.

"It's nostalgia," Karantonis said, "remembering my youth."

She graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 1963, inspired to pursue art by teacher Charles Witmer. She graduated from Shepherd College with double majors in art and physical education. Most of her career was spent teaching art to grades K-8 in Baltimore City.

Today, Karantonis paints for herself. She took refresher classes from Zoll Studio of Fine Art and studied under other experts. She is a member of Harford Artists. When she and her husband built a two-car garage, the single car one was converted into her studio. She creates under her own rules, choosing to give paintings away or to donate them to charitable causes.

"It's my relaxation. I just love it," said Karantonis. "And I can paint what I like, not what you expect other people to like."

She hopes Greencastle residents are stirred by pages of her past, and will buy the cards to mail on to someone else, or to frame.

And as for her "big time hobby", she will continue to devote the brush to rural landscapes and portraits of her favorite people.