Wednesday, September 28, 2016

85. Spring Sports, Dates and Dances

The spring of 1947 was a time for spring sports, dating and dancing for Nancy and me growing up in Gettysburg as sophomores in high school

The 1947 baseball season was a first for Gettysburg High School since 1936, and it began with a 10-6 convincing win over Shippensburg on the home field. Our classmate, Ronnie Kump who went on to play professional baseball, went 2-4 with a home run in the fourth inning.

The Gettysburg track team began the season with a win over nine Class A schools in the Shippensburg State Teachers College Invitational. Throughout the season, I participated in the 110 yard low hurdles with success and the high jump and broad jump with a few victories.

In the spring of 1947, Nancy participated in a softball program sponsored by the Girls Athletic Association and a club team sponsored by a Youth Group,

Nancy’s diary for 1947 reveals that In March of that year, she asked a boy to the Leap Week Dance and then the  Sadie Hawkns Day Dance the following Saturday. Nothing shy about this sophomore girl. In May, the same boy invited Nancy to be his date at the Spring Prom. Incidentally, this classmate just happened to be the boy she played Post Office with back in February at a Valentine’s Party.

Undoubtedly, Nancy danced to songs by the most popular singers in the Spring of 1947 who were Vaughn Monroe, Dick Haymes, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Nancy’s favorite, Perry Como. We still hear their music on several channels on Sirius Radio.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

84. We Were a Hearty Bunch

In her diary for Thursday, February 20, 1947, Nancy wrote, “It snowed all day today. It’s real deep and it’s drifting.”  The following day, she wrote, “The snow is from 15-18 inches deep. Only 50% of the kids got to school today, but we had classes anyway!”

On Friday, the Gettysburg Times reported that “schools throughout the County were closed in the afternoon as a result of the snowstorm.” Yet Gettysburg High School remained opened with 50% of the students attending, and Lincoln School for sixth, seventh and eighth grades was open with 85% of the students in attendance.

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, “Townies” walked to school or hitched a ride with someone who drove. Those who walked to school on Friday, February 21, battled huge drifts and wind described by the Times as “twisting and biting.” Obviously, we were a vigorous and hearty bunch back in the Forties. 

On Friday, the Times also reported that “All County schools announced that basketball games scheduled for tonight have been postponed until later dates.”  According to Nancy’s diary, the Times was wrong. The Gettysburg basketball team played Waynesboro and beat them 45-36. It was our tenth win in 19 games. 

Following the game, there was a dance which Nancy attended “for a little while” with friends. By 1949, the Friday night dances after basketball games would be a normal routine for Nancy and me as a couple.

An article on the sport page of the Times on February 22 reported that Stan Musial, the National Leagues’ batting champion and most valuable player has not yet signed a contract because the St.Louis Cardinals refused to pay him the $30,000 he demanded.

Bryce Harper , the current MVP in the National League, is playing for the Washington Nationals with a two year contract which will pay him $3,750,000 this year.

Monday, September 12, 2016

83. A Valentine Party in 1947

Nancy’s 1947 diary reveals that on February 14, she attended a Valentine Party where ten boys and girls were present. Her diary also notes that they danced, ate and played Coffe Pot.  Then they enjoyed playing the kissing game, Post Office.

We recently mentioned the party and the games at a family gathering and were greeted with blank stares. We were particularly surprised that no one heard of Post Office. It is time to enlifghten our grandchildren and great-grandchildren about the games we played when we were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties.

In Coffe Pot, one player is separated from the others who are asked to come up with a noun, for example, house, dog, tree, shoe. The separated player returns to the group and by asking a series of questions using “coffee pot” in place of the noun, the player has to guess the word.

For example, "Can you eat a coffee pot?" “Is a coffee pot alive?” The other players answer “yes” or “no.” If the guessing player correctly identifies the word, the player who last answered the question is the next guesser.

At the Valentine Party in 1947, it was time to get down to more serious interaction in an exciting game of Post Office.  To play, a boy is chosen to be the postman, and that person leaves the room. Then a girl is chosin to “check her mail.” She knocks on the Post office door, and when she is admitted, they kiss. Nancy remembers checking her mail often when one particular boy was the Postmaster.

We wonder how many boys and girls experienced their first kiss playing Post Office?

Monday, September 5, 2016

82. Our Historic Church

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg, we were members of the historic Evangelical and Reformed church on South Stratton Street. We went to Sunday School, attended worship services and sang in the youth choir.

On July 1, 1863, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union troops fighting north of the town were overwhelmed by Confederates under Jubal Early. As the defeated units retreated through Gettysburg, wounded men were brought to the church which served as a hospital.

Sgt. Reuben Ruch wrote that at least ten operating tables were set up in a lower room where holes were drilled in the wooden floor to let the blood drain.

There is also evidence that the bell tower of the church was used by Confederate sharpshooters, probably men from the Louisiana Tigers who occupied that area of Gettysburg until July 4.

On Tuesday, May 21, 1936, when she was five, Nancy was bride in a Tom Thumb Wedding in the church involving more than more than forty children. The wedding was so well attended, an overflow crowd required a second performance the following day. 

Seventeen years later, on May 30, 1953, Nancy and I were married in our  church giving her the unusual distinction of being married three times in the the same church to two different grooms.