Readers of Growing Up in Gettysburg may recall that our story began when my family moved to Gettysburg in 1942. That year, I entered sixth grade in Lincoln School where Nancy was also a student. Since we began our blog, we have written about our experiences through the years in and out of school. Now we look back at a very important event in our lives that occurred in the winter of 1948.
In the fall of our junior year in high school in 1947, Nancy invited me to accompany her to parties on two successive weekends, and I accepted her invitations. From that time until February, 1948, we danced together occasionally, but never dated each other again.
On Saturday, February 21, 1948, all the clerks at Murphy’s 5 & 10 where Nancy worked on weekends were asked to wear a red ribbon in their hair. After work, she still wore the ribbon when she met her friends at the Teen Canteen. I was there with my friends.
Something about the way Nancy looked with a ribbon in her hair lit a spark prompting me to look at her again and again with increasing interest. I asked Nancy to dance three times that night. The last time she had her coat on preparing to leave with her friends, when I asked her to join me once more. In her diary that night, Nancy wrote that I held her “real close.”
I believe that I fell in love with Nancy that February night at the Teen Canteen shortly after I turned seventeen. Nancy would be sixteen for another month.
Incidentally, a popular song in February, 1948 was When You Were Sweet Sixteen by Perry Como. We may have danced to that song that night at the Canteen.