Monday, November 28, 2016

92. More Memories from November, 1947

An article in the Gettysburg Times on November 10, 1947 reported on the schools and stores that would be closed on Armistice Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Few people today will remember a National Holiday called Armistice Day which honored those who died  in service to our country during World War I.  On June 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day honoring all veterans of all wars.

Another article in the Times on November 10 reported that Secretary of State, George Marshall asked congress for 597 million dollars to be used to rebuild the war torn countries of Europe. In what became known as The Marshall Plan, eighteen European countries received a total of 12 billion dollars in economic support. The United Kingdom, France and Germany were the largest recipients.

November was also the month that the people of Adams County were asked to donate food and cash for the starving people of Italy and France. Contributions were delivered to the Shetter House on Chambersburg Street then trucked to Harrisburg and placed on the Friendship Train headed to New York City.

In November, the first call went out for basketball candidates for the 1947-48 season at Gettysburg High School. Twenty-seven students responded including three lettermen from last year, Kenny Fair, Bill Eisenhart and myself.

Finally, the Yankees beat the Dodgers in seven games in the first televised World Series, and Jackie Robinson, second baseman for Brooklyn, became the first African American to play in a Series. November, 1947

Sunday, November 20, 2016

91. President Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Nancy and I grew up in the Forties, is famous for the Civil War battle that occurred there in 1863. The village is also widely known, because it was there on November 19 of 1863 that Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the best known speeches in American History___ The Gettysburg Address. 

On November 19, 1947, the students at Gettysburg High School were excused early so we could witness the eighty-fourth anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery and President Lincoln’s enduring speech.

Unfortunately, we remember very little about the occasion with one exception. Claude Rains, the famous English film star who was nominated four times for an Oscar for Best Supporting actor recited the Gettysburg Address at the ceremony.  

Many people who assume that Lincoln delivered his speech with a rich baritone are surprised to learn his voice was high pitched. In the award winning movie Lincoln, Daniel Day Lewis did his best to impersonate the sound of that voice as he spoke the Gettysburg Address. Here’s a link to the actor’s speech:

Currently, on November 19 each year, the Gettysburg National Cemetery is rededicated and Lincoln’s speech is remembered in the annual Dedication Day ceremonies and Remembrance Day Parade.  The parade attracts thousands of spectators and reenactors alike.

The Annual Remembrance Illumination ceremony occurs in the evening on November 19. The ceremony features luminary candles on each of the 3,512 Civil War soldiers’ graves, and the names of each of the known deceased are read throughout the evening.

Friday, November 11, 2016

90. Our First Dates in the Fall of 1947

In Nancy’s 1947 diary, my name is mentioned several times prior to October 24, but with no hint of anything other than a casual relationship. We danced a few times at the Teen Canteen, and we were officers in the sophomore class, an association that was all business.

All that changed on October 24, 1947 when Nancy wrote,
“I asked Bruce to go to Darlene Kennell’s party tomorrow night. He said, “Sure.” 
Apparently, I didn’t have to think much about how I would respond to Nancy’s invitation. I said, “Sure.,” and we had our first date.

A fire was kindled at Darlene’s party that chilly night in the fall of 1947, but it would take another six months before it burst into flame

Matter of fact, after going on a hay ride together the following week, we only saw each other socially at school dances.

One month after our first date, Nancy went with girlfriends to the movies and the Teen Canteen. That night, she wrote in her diary:

“ Bruce wasn’t even there. I don’t think I like him anymore.” 

In October of 1947, an editor for  our school newspaper, the Maroon and White, asked for students’ reactions to how the girls’ skirts were going “down, down, down.” Our classmate, Bill Eisenhart, offered the most straightforward answer. Bill said, “No, I can’t see enough of the leg.” 

As I recall, that was my thought exactly.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

89. The Maroon and White and the Fall of 1947

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, our school newspaper was the Maroon and White, and it won a first place honor award in 1947 in competition sponsored by the Quill and Scroll International. The judges called the paper “an enterprise providing worthwhile and exciting experiences for its staff.”

The Wednesday, September 17, 1947 issue of the Maroon and White had two full pages of girls’ and boys’ sports including an article about our first football game which we lost to Delone Catholic 25 - 6.

The team won only three games the previous year, and expectations were high that the 1947 team could improve on that record. I was one of only six lettermen returning to the team. 

In a small box on the sports page under the heading, Attention Sports Fans, there was an appeal for suggestions for a name for our teams which were alternately referred to as, “The Little Bullets,” the “Junior Bullets and the “Maroons.” A vote sponsored by the Student Council in our senior year finally created the Warriors, the name teams still use today.

The coming attractions at the Majestic Movie Theater were advertised in the same issue of the Maroon and White, and as usual, three different films were offered within a week. Going to the movies at the Majestic or the Strand  was a popular pastime in the Forties before television. No wonder Nancy mentions it so often in her diary.

When the 1947-48 academic year opened at Gettysburg High School, enrollment increased over the previous year by nearly one hundred students.  As a result, high school enrollment of 660 students set a new record.  Today, enrollment at the Gettysburg Area High School exceeds 1,000.