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Remember When

  • Mama's fruitcake always made my Friday nights extra special

    All of us can remember days and times we cherish more than others.During my grammar school days, (before part time jobs, church socials and such), Friday nights during cold winter months were extra special.Aunt Bess and Uncle Harry had long since turned in. Daddy had to be down at the cotton platform early on Saturday morning, so Mama and I had the kitchen to ourselves. Friday night was my free night.

  • Little Ben still comes out to play

    Thank goodness. The cold winter had ended and spring jumped straight into summer.

    School was out until fall. Now, with the daylight hours longer, we found ourselves playing outside awhile after darkness set in.

    Our days were filled with sunshine. You know, it's surprising how a bunch of boys can wake up so early when school is out.

    Why, only the day before, some of us decided that homemade scooters would be our next order of business and it was time to get to work.

  • Capt. Lowe was ahead of his time

    I recently ran into this fella wearing a baseball cap with “USAF” boldly emblazoned on it.

    Being a veteran of that proud branch of the U.S. military, I gave him an immediate “howdy.”

    He recognized me and although I didn’t know him, the airman posed a somewhat interesting question.

    “Did you really know Capt. Lowe?” he asked.

    Gosh, I thought, my old Air Force mentor is still fondly remembered.

  • Mow money, mow money, mow money

    Spring is here again. Up on “the Charlotte Road,” we can tell things are starting to bloom and blossom.

    We’re seeing a few more pickups on the road that are pulling trailers loaded down with string trimmers, lawn tractors and gas cans.

    I guess these folks have begun their annual trek to some of the more affluent homes to manicure lush lawns and trim shrubbery and shape up those ornamental topiaries.

    Times sure have changed; cutting grass has now evolved into mowing and lawn maintenance.

  • It sure pays to be lucky

    For some reason, boys of all ages (including me) have a lifelong fascination and obsession with automobiles.

    It’s something we grew up with, or at least I did.

    In back of our house was a magnificent, full-size garage complete with windows, a wooden floor, workbench and hinged doors.

    To one side of it was a slanted shed where the Model A was kept.

    We called it the “big car shed.” It was home to “Old Betsy,” our big, black four-door Dodge.

    We always kept the garage doors closed up tight whenever Old Betsy was home.

  • I'll ride this storm out under the kitchen table

    Lately, I’ve found myself paying a little more attention to the radio weather forecasts and wondering if we will get caught up in a path of destruction like our friends and neighbors in small midwestern towns.

    You know, it’s kind of a helpless feeling, any time a tornado watch and warning are issued here.

    We don’t have storm shelters in our basement like folks in Kansas where Dorothy and Toto lived.

    A recent report said that a town there was nearly wiped off the map by a violent storm.

  • Fill'er hp meant more than buying gas

    There was a time in Lancaster when filling stations were on just about every corner.We were served by Esso, Pure Oil, Gulf, Spur, Shell and Amoco oil companies through local distributors. Gas was about 25 cents a gallon for regular grade and “high-test” cost about three pennies more.

  • Aunt Bess found a way to help out soldiers

    By 1942, "Uncle Sam" was finally getting his act together when it came to all this war business, or so it seemed.

    So were we.

    At the time, First Presbyterian Church – with its huge silver Mason cap roof – was at the corner of Main and Gay Streets.

    The church became the preferred site of frequently held socials for far-from-home soldiers who were passing through here on maneuvers.

  • Uncle Walter gave up his cows and plows for oxen

    A former classmate is curious about a previous “Remember When” column that chronicles the adventures of some Lancaster boys who erected steel power transmission towers across the rugged mountainous sections of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

    I’ve searched my records high and low, but I just can’t a copy of it for her.

    Not to be outdone, here’s a few details about those long ago days that will hopefully answer her questions.

  • I didn't always listen to my mama

    Mama's words stung.

    "Just because you went to the show and watched another old scary movie, don't think you can jump into our bed in the middle of the night." 

    I understood the message loud and clear as I crawled back into my own bed after having watched a Wolfman movie at the Midway picture show earlier that day.

    And what a glorious screen gem it was!