Sunday, April 23, 2017

108. A Memorable Date in 1948

On one of our most memorable dates in the summer of 1948, Nancy and I traveled to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Today, you can drive from Gettysburg to Hershey in less than an hour, but back in 1948 there were very few four lane highways and the trip took much longer.

In the Forties, Hershey Park was one of the most popular and entertaining amusement parks in the northeast featuring a roller coaster (Today there are ten.), bumper cars, a merry go round and numerous other rides for kids and adults.  My favorite park attraction was the penny arcade, a Forties version of a video game paradise. The arcade was filled with dozens of game machines testing your strength, skill and patience or predicting your future and even judging your personality.  

Nancy and I always enjoyed a walk through the Hershey Zoo followed by a rest in  the shade of the beautifully landscaped  Sunken Garden.  On a warm day, visitors to the Park could cool off in the swimming pool, before heading to the Ballroom.

On a typical weekend, the featured attraction was in the Hershey Park Ballroom where popular big bands of the Forties entertained their fans.In our most memorable visit to the Ballroom, we danced to the music of the Tex Beneke Orchestra.  Beneke led the Glenn Miller Band after Miller disappeared in 1944.  In 1948, Nancy and I danced to songs that would remain our favorites for the rest of our lives ___ Moonlight Serenade, In the Mood, String of Pearls and Long Ago and Far Away.

It was a romantic, memorable evening.

The cars we drove in 1948 didn’t have bucket seats or safety belts,  and typically, I drove with my left hand on the wheel and my right arm around Nancy who was snuggled up against me. I’m certain that’s how we motored back to Gettysburg that night. Undoubtedly, there were a few stops on the trip so we could talk about our enjoyable day at Hershey Park.


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