Everyone who is familiar with Gettysburg remembers that four main streets converge in the center of the village which locals call the “Square.” Those of us who grew up in the famous historic town, lived within easy walking distance of that Square, the center of commercial activity.
When we were in eighth grade at Lincoln School, Nancy lived at the bottom of the Baltimore Street Hill, so she and her friends walked “up-street” to get to the Square. I lived on East Middle Street, and I called the trip going “uptown.”
Nancy’s diaries from 1944 and 1945 reveal that she went up-street a lot, mostly with friends and most often to eat! Her favorite places were the Delecto and Britcher and Bender on Chambersburg Street, Shuman’s on Baltimore Street and Faber’s and the Sweetland on the Square.
After school, sporting events, the teen canteen or just for an evening snack, teenagers gathered at such places to drink cherry cokes, eat hamburgers or dine on special treats like CMPs (Chocolate, Marshmallow, Peanut) sundaes.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the older high school boys gathered in front of the Sweetland “Watching All the Girls Go By.” Some girls were embarrassed when the boys ogled or whistled but most obviously enjoyed the attention.
Eighth graders weren’t driving yet, so out-of-town eateries were not included on our social schedule until a few years later. Then we were eager to drive to our out-of-town favorites where we could not only eat but enjoy dancing to jukebox music.
Nancy and I loved growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, and we make nostalgia trips back to our hometown two or three times each year.