IN WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
by Doris Goldsborough
The following are my
"memories" that were printed as a part of the
BICENTENNIAL MEMORIES- Allegany County, Maryland - in 1989:
It seems as though it were yesteryear as I reflect in days gone by..... many happy memories that will live within me forever of my home town... Cumberland, Maryland.
As a child growing up at 224 Pennsylvania Ave., it was quite a thrill for me to have a couple pennies to spend for candy at a store just down the street. I believe half of the fun was to hear the jolly owner, Mr. Bowles, say, "Thank you, call again, come again."
Storms, back then, seemed to be more fierce. I very vividly recall several huge trees being uprooted on the 300 block. The kids on our block couldn't wait for the aftermath of the storm when we could jump in to the water soaring down the street headed for the sewer.
We lived in another generation than that of today. There weren't many cars and we enjoyed going to the top of Pennsylvania Ave. and roller skating all the way to the bottom, jumping the curbs.
South Street was paved by the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to provide work for needy persons in public works projects.) Gosh, what fun it was after its completion riding our bikes up and down the newly constructed street.
Directly behind South Street was an area called Fisher's Woods and it was there we had a lot of fun picnicing and strolling through the woods.
During this time the "bums" jumped on the freight trains taking them to their desired destinations. It wasn't uncommon in South Cumberland to have one or more of them saunter towards the house, rap on the back door, asking for something to eat. My grandmother usually complied with their needs by fixing them some food which they ate while sitting on our porch step. Being a compassionate woman, she noticed one of the men needed shoes so she gave him a pair of my grandfather's good Florsheim shoes which were valued at $10. That was a lot of money in those days.
Tagging along with my grandfather, Harry Hasenbuhler,who was an engineer for the B&O Railroad, to the B&O Round House was something special as I got to see all of the steam engines. It was great fun but we had to dodge the cinders that inevitably got into our eyes. Many times I would watch in awe my grandmother taking a wooden match and turning my grandfather's eye lid to remove a cinder. Frequently I was awakened by a knock at the door in the wee hours of the morning. It was the B&O Caller telling my grandfather the hour he was to report for his "run" to Brunswick, Maryland. Not many people had telephones;those who didn't were notified by the Caller.
I liked to go to Moreland's Grocery Store on Race Street, crossing thru the walk-way of the South End Fire House from Seymour Street, never neglecting to glance in to see if one of the firemen would be sliding down the pole. I thought it was neat to watch them do that instead of using steps.
The bandstand next to the Fire House was used for concerts and other events. Some of my playmates and I used to like to get up onto the platform and pretend we were on stage with hundreds of people viewing us while we were acting out a play, singing and dancing. (We waited, of course, until we thought no one was around to see us up on the bandstand!)
The sound of the jingling and clanking of bells in our alley meant only one thing! It was Dorie Ogle coming down the alley in his horse-drawn cart collecting junk. If I remember correctly, I believe he used to chant as he passed our houses,"Rags, rags, any rags today?"
Every week a lady went door-to-door selling her pies, carrying them in a long basket with a handle and covered by a white cloth. That got me in the notion, and I could never understand why my mother or grandmother wouldn't make some pies so I, too, could go around and sell them.
Periodically the ladies at the Presbyterian church on Seymour Street made soup for carry-out sales.
One of the most memorable places to me was Sam's Candy Kitchen on Virginia Avenue, especially at Easter time. When you opened the door, the aroma of chocolate permeated the air. The bright array of colors of the paper which wrapped the Easter baskets and the beautifully decorated chocolate eggs seemed to me, at my early age, that I was in a fantasy world.
Virginia Avenue was the main shopping area in south Cumberland which included several drug stores, Atwell's 10 Cent Store, Packie's Bakery, a post office, several doctors' offices, two theatres, etc. At Davis' Store, we all had fun buying our Valentines. We couldn't resist the temptation of buying mean, 8-l/2" x ll" Valentines for a penny each. Most of the time the Valentines were taken in good humor by those whom we sent them to, but occasionally someone would get at odds with us, and rightly so.
Going to Dr. M.E.B.Owens on Virginia Avenue, when I was sick, never seemed to bother me as I always felt he was a kindly man. When entering his office I wondered which pills he would give me. He had two huge jars: one contained white pills and the other contained brown pills. Whichever pill he decided to give me always seemed to do the trick, however when he recommended Tonsiline or Cod Liver Oil, I began to cringe. All cuts and other irritations he said to "Wash it off with a solution of Lysol."
One of my playmates on Pennsylvania Ave. was Francis Murphy. He is now Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Baltimore of the Catholic Church. I saw his picture in a publication and he hasn't changed in his looks one bit!
Mother and I couldn't wait for Inner Sanctum to come on the radio. We turned out the lights, listened for the story to begin. It always began with the sound of a screeching door that sent chills up my spine more than once, and we would sit there "living" the story.
As my thoughts continue back through memory lane..high school days at Fort Hill High School in the 40's brings forth a multitude of memories!
Constitution Park was the gathering place in the building (upstairs) beside the pool called the "Casino". There we gathered trying to see who could "out-jitterbug" the other. Broomstick skirts were popular and everyone seemed to own one. That was what they were called because we bought them wrapped around a broomstick. (Mine was yellow). Brown and white saddle oxfords and bobbie-sox went along with the attire, and we would dance until we felt like we were going to drop. But, it was fun!
I got my permanents at Georgia's Beauty Shop on Union Street. The beautician would wrap our hair on electric rods and come around periodically to see if we felt a rod was burning our head. She would blow a little cool air to ease it. Ouch! That did smart!
Walking didn't seem to tire any of us at that age. Many times I would take the opposite route home from school with my friends. Our favorite hangout was the Queen City Dairy where they served the most scrumptuous, thick chocolate milkshakes and White House Ice Cream with big black cherries! It was all calories, but my, was it heaven!
My walk home then took me through Shanty Town. When the carnival would come to town they would set up on the ball field in that area. It was fun to watch them.
Other days, via the usual route home, we would stop at Browne's Store on Williams Street where we drank our chocolate rootbeers.
Walking to school early in the morning, a friend of mine, Georgia Appel (now Sipes) and I would often stop at Kline's Store on Pennsylvania Ave. and get a dill pickle wrapped in a napkin to eat on the way! I didn't like them. I believe we got them to see who would admit first that they were too sour, at least that early in the morning.
The style in the 40's was to wear cardigan sweaters backwards (with buttons down the back) accentuated with a pair of pearls around our neck.
On Turkey Day,the last football game of the season was played between Fort Hill and Allegany. Rivalry ran high. We would fight for our school and team. The stadium at Fort Hill was always overflowing with dedicated followers from both schools.
As a high school usher, I had the opportunity to view the Metropolitan Opera House's producations which were presented at Fort Hill such as "Faust", "La Boheme", and "Rigletto" as well as viewing Joseph Battista, the pianist, Marian Anderson and Lena Horne.
While a high school junior, I worked part-time at Truitt's Drug Store on Virginia Avenue. At that time, the popular fountain drinks were ammonia, chocolate, lemon or cherry cokes. A classmate of mine (who, in later years, became my husband) worked at "upper Keeches." There was also a "lower Keeches" drug store. On my break I would go to upper Keeches and get a coca cola and he would do likewise on his break at Truitts. There wasn't much conversation as he was very shy in those days.
Time has not dimmed the memories during World War II. It all began one day, Dec.7, 1941, with the shrill voices of the paper boys on the street calling "Extra, extra...Japs bomb Pearl Harbor...read all about it."
Not long after that, all young fellows of eligible age were called into the service of our Country by the draft system. One by one, they left for basic training in the Army,Navy, or Marines. Women took over during the war effort performing different jobs. My mother, for one, went out to the Kelly packing shells where each shift was expected to make their quota.
Practice black-outs were made. Unannounced, we would hear the air raid siren, originating from the B&O Shops, which made an eerie sound cutting through the night. All lights were turned out, the shades drawn. Each block had an air-raid captain. If Mr. Kline would see a light he would knock at the door and tell us to douse the light. After a while,another siren would sound meaning all was well and we could turn the lights on again.
Ration books were issued. Meat, canned tomatoes, cigarettes, and nylons were hard to get. An innovation was made for the females since nylons were so hard to find. A liquid leg make-up was devised which we could get in different shades. True, it did look like hose as long as, during a hot day, our legs didn't perspire and then we would have "runs." The nylon was used for parachutes.
I remember the motion picture actress, Loretta Young, standing on a platform on Baltimore Street attired in a white dress and picture hat, selling war bonds. She was even prettier than she was on the screen. War bonds and stamps were also sold at Fort Hill High School.
The Fort Hill A Capella Choir appeared at the platform at the B&O Railroad Station to sing Christmas carols to the service men when the train stopped. I recall that when we went inside the station, several service men were sitting there listening to us. When we concluded, they thanked us. Many troop trains passed through Cumberland during the war. Sometimes my friends and I would make a point to be at the station as the trains chugged by and wave at the soldiers.
I never dreamed that one day I would meet in person Lt. General Lewis B. Hershey, Director of the Selective Service system. He served in that capacity under six U.S. Presidents, and was made a full 4-star General by President Nixon and confirmed in the Senate. It was he who used the famous salutation of "Greetings" to the draftees in his letter ordering them to report to duty. My husband, the late William M. Goldsborough, was the District Commander of the American Legion, and post commander of Post #7l in Oakland. General Hershey was the principal speaker at the Annual Pig Roast of Proctor Kildow American Legion Post #71 in the year 1969. Prior to the dinner, which was attended by 350 veterans at the legion home, my husband hosted a small reception at our home for the General. It was an honor to have met this famous man who appeared to have a deep sense of humor.
Recalling all of these memories brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. They were mostly happy days and times that can never be relived. One thing's for sure, in my memory they will never die.