Wednesday, July 22, 2015

32. More About the Summer of 1945

In our most recent post about  summer activities in 1945, we referred to our unproductive attempts to earn money by picking cherries That reference prompted a response from our classmate and good friend Bill Snyder. Bill’s name must be in the Cherry Picking Hall of Fame for his exploits in the summer of 1947 when he picked 432 quarts of berries in one day.

For that remarkable achievement, Bill earned $17.28 or the equivalent of $1.44 per hour, substantially higher than the average hourly wage in the country in June of 1947 of $1.10 an hour.  

Bill also reminded us of one of our favorite summer activities growing up in Gettysburg ___swimming. Gettysburg can be very hot in the summer, and low cost window air conditioners were not available until 1947, so we frequently looked for opportunities to go for a swim.

Jack’s Pool was an easy bike ride downhill and south of Gettysburg on the Baltimore Pike. The return trip on our bike was not so easy. Our bikes, like everyone else’s in 1945, were single speed bikes, so the ride back up that hill after a swim left us needing another swim to cool off.  

If you didn’t mind the slugs and snakes, a six mile bike ride to Marsh Creek Heights, south of Gettysburg on Route 15 was a natural swimming hole and free. Unfortunately, there were many hills on that road but none as steep as the Baltimore Hill.

Caledonia, a half hour west of Gettysburg by car, was a great place to picnic by a mountain stream or swim in a public pool where the water was always beautiful and clear. Laurel Lake at Pine Grove Furnace State Park north of Gettysburg was also a little over a half hour drive. Both Parks are still in use today.

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