Thursday, March 31, 2016

62. Gettysburg Prepares for the Summer of '46

In the spring of 1946, officials connected to the tourist trade in Gettysburg where Nancy and I grew up in the Forties, expected the busiest tourist season since before World War II.

In April of that year, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Park, J. Walter Coleman, reported that travel over the battlefield in 1946 was expected to be the same or above pre-war averages.

In preparation for the thousands of tourists, additional staff was added to repair fences and signs and restore roads to pre-war condition.

The biggest event in Gettysburg in the spring of 1946 occurred on May 27 when General Dwight D. “”Ike” Eisenhower, Chief of Staff of the United States Army and the former supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, spoke at the Gettysburg College Commencement. 

One special feature of that event was the dedication of a plaque honoring the 60 men from Gettysburg College who gave their lives during World War II. 

In the spring of 1946, Nancy played intra-class field hockey and I lettered in varsity track. That year, the track team won all the meets and the Conference Championship by an average of  30 points.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

61. More Slang from the Forties

In one of our most popular posts on this blog, Nancy and I wrote about the slang words people used when we were growing up in Gettysburg  in the Forties. Here are a few more words and phrases from that decade that we don’t hear any longer

One slang word I will never forget, because I heard it often is knucklehead. According to the Urban Dictionary, a knucklehead was a “person of questionable intelligence whose brain was the size of his knuckle.”

I was familiar with the word because it was  the favorite expression of the Gettysburg High School football coach when someone, like me, failed an assignment. Strangely, I don’t remember what we were called when we did something right and well. I don’t think he had a word for that.

Back in the Forties, people were permitted on the Battlefield after dark, and Nancy and I remember a night when we parked on Oak Ridge to discuss the  news of the day. When we were ready to leave, I turned the key to start the car, and it broke off in my hand. In that awkward situation, I might have said, "Now this is a fine kettle of fish," meaning, "We have a problem!” No one talks about fish in a kettle in  situations like that any longer.

People don’t talk about jalopies any more either. Back in the Forties, an old car in poor condition was referred to as a jalopy, and there were a lot more on the road than we see today.  

We have barely scratched the surface remembering  slang from the Forties, so our readers can look forward to more posts on the subject in the future. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

60. Discovering Gettysburg

In 1953, Nancy and I left our hometown of Gettysburg where we grew up in the Forties, but we return several times each year to see old friends and to participate in the National Wreath Project sponsored by the Sgt. Mac Memorial Foundation. 

When we were growing up in Gettysburg, one of our favorite pastimes was to hike areas of the Battlefield few tourists ever see.  

When we were young, we explored the woods south of Williams Avenue below Culps Hill where we discovered a small quarry.  We have also wandered along Rock Creek from Third Bridge on East Confederate Avenue to the Baltimore Pike..  

For Nancy and me, the Gettysburg National Park was, and continues to be a place of discovery. Over many years, we have discovered a wide variety of birds and flowers, trails, meadows and memorials to individuals and units who fought there.  

Millions of people learn important lessons of history when they visit Gettysburg each year. When Nancy and I were growing up there in the Forties, we had many experiences, but our greatest discovery was in 1948 when we realized we were in love.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

59. New Cars Are Back

An article in the February 28, 2016 issue of Automotive News revealed that within two months of the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the last civilian car came off the assembly line, and auto manufactures began making tanks, halftracks and numerous other vehicles for the war effort. 

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg in 1945, World War II was coming to an end, and in July of that year, wartime restrictions on automotive production ended. Once again, factories throughout the country, began concentrating on making cars for the general public.  

In March of 1946, one of the first  cars to arrive in Gettysburg was the new DeSoto Deluxe with fluid drive. It was on display at Phiel’s Garage on York Street, and it was the first new model since 1942.

An article in the Star & Sentinel in  March of 1946 reported that more than 400 people visited the Glenn C. Bream car dealer on Chambersburg Street in Gettysburg to see the new Plymouth and the new Chrysler. 

The earliest mention of a new Ford in the Gettysburg area we discovered  was a report of an accident in May involving a 1946 model. 

The end of the war meant new cars and the end of gas rationing. As a result, the local Chamber of Commerce reported that inquiries more than tripled in the first two months of 1946 compared to the same period in 1945. The tourists would soon return to Gettysburg!