Thursday, August 31, 2017

121. Warriors Voted In: Maroons Are Out

When Nancy and I were seniors at Gettysburg High School in 1948-49, we were involved in what was the most durable decision made by the student body at that time.

The high school colors were, and still are maroon and white, and prior to February 10, 1949, sports writers referred to our football, basketball, baseball and track teams  as the “Maroons.”  Before 1945, teams were occasionally referred to as Little Bullets, a nod to Gettysburg College teams called the Bullets.

Early in 1949, members of the high school student council decided it was time to select a name for our teams chosen by the students and not the sports writers. The student body was canvassed for suggestions, and among the names mentioned were Warriors, Little Bullets, Picketeers, Lancers, Owls, Rams, Minute Men and Buccaneers.

The  names suggested most often were placed on a ballot and on Thursday, February 10 during club period, the name Warriors won by a student body vote of 257 over the Cannoneers which was second with 178 votes. The new name was used by the media for the first time when the Gettysburg Times reported our win over the Mechanicsburg basketball team on February 15: Warriors Lace Mechanicsburg 44-26 in South Penn Contest

In 1949, four Gettysburg High School teams  were referred to as Warriors. Today there are six boys teams and six girls teams. That’s progress, but the name remains the same.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

120. Christmas, 1948

Nancy and I enjoyed our first Christmas together in 1948. How could we possibly know that sixty-nine years later we would return to Gettysburg with thirteen family members and eight friends to participate in the Christmas Wreath Project in the National Cemetery?  

Christmas in Gettysburg in 1948 was synonymous with American values at the time. Political Correctness was not yet a concept, and our school choir sang carols all over town, window displays featured scenes from the Nativity and friends and strangers wished each other Merry Christmas when meeting on the street.

Early in December, Nancy was appointed chairman of a school committee to order and distribute name cards for seniors, a tradition that apparently continues to this day. We collected cards from everyone in the graduating class and placed them in a book we lost ago.

At a Christmas Dance following a basketball game on Friday, December 23, we danced to  Buttons and Bows by Dinah Shore, A Tree in the Meadow by Margaret Whiting and Nature Boy by Nat king Cole. The latter was so slow, we could fall asleep dancing before the song was over.

On Broadway, the Musical Kiss Me Kate opened just after Christmas and ran for 1,077 performances in New York City. The following year, it won the first Tony Award presented for for Best Musical, and sixty-nine years later, Nancy and I attended a performance of the musical presented by our local theater group. We call that durable.

Monday, August 7, 2017

119. Gettysburg in Rich Farm Country

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, many of our friends at Gettysburg High School were members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Reports in the school newspaper and the Gettysburg Times revealed our fellow students were active in the FFA in Adams and Franklin Counties and in the State as well.

In our senior year, eighty members of the Gettysburg Chapter of the FFA participated in the Farm Show in Harrisburg where three GHS students won State-wide honors.

Many visitors to Gettysburg who come to study the battle, may not realize that our famous town is located in some of the richest farm and orchard country in Pennsylvania. From the town square, you can drive in any direction and you will immediately realize that farming drives the local economy. 

North of Gettysburg, in the South Mountain Fruit Belt, there are 20,000 acres of fruit orchards, and when I was a teenager, I picked cherries in the  late spring and peaches in the summer.

Today, the Adams County Fruit Growers organize the annual Apple Blossom Festival in early May of each year. In 2017, the 62nd Festival was celebrated with a full schedule of entertainment at the South Mountain Fair Grounds in Biglerville north of Gettysburg.

On July 1, 2 and 3 1863, many of the farms surrounding Gettysburg were the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Civil War. The fact is that the battle is named for the town, but  most of the fighting took place in the farm fields and woods surrounding Gettysburg.