When my family moved to Gettysburg from Hanover in 1942, I was enrolled in the sixth grade at Lincoln School, a two story brick building and former high school which stood at the junction of York and Hanover Streets. Sadly for Lincoln School graduates, it was demolished in 1969.
This was 1942 - 1943, and World War II was raging in Europe and the South Pacific. A newspaper column called With our Servicemen reminded everyone WWII wasn’t just a headline. The war was personal, and each week we learned the names of our local men and women who were in basic training or being transferred from one base to another throughout the world.
To finance the war, the government initiated a national defense bond program, offering baby bonds selling for as little as $18.75 which paid $25 in ten years. Lincoln School students enthusiastically supported the bond program by purchasing 10 cent saving stamps each week in their homerooms and placing them in a stamp book until they had accumulated enough to exchange for a bond.
The school was just a little over a block from my house, so I went home every day for lunch. When I arrived, the radio was playing the Kate Smith show featuring her own popular songs and guest stars of that era like Al Jolson, Jackie Gleason and Dorothy Lamour. It was Kate Smith who introduced God Bless America on her radio show in 1938.
After lunch, if I had time before school started again, I would stop at Sherman’s Grocery Store across from the school. Before large supermarkets, “Mom & Pop” stores could be found within easy walking distance of most homes. At Sherman’s, we bought bread, milk, a wedge of cheddar carved from a huge wheel that sat on the counter, butter in bulk or for a treat, penny candy, a popsicle or a bottle of Coke.
After school, I went home, changed clothes and when the weather permitted, played football, basketball or softball with friends in the neighborhood.