That the Statute of Limitations is Up . . .
I lived on the road that goes west to
the Pa. line, about a mile into Pa. Zora was at the intersection of 16 and
116. My mother had bought an old stone house in Zora for $800 in the late
twenties, and that's where I was born, delivered by Dr. Rodman Cadle, who
had his practice right in his home on the main street.
In 1941, my mother entered me in a one room school
house in Zora (population 36). I can remember that in those one room
schoolhouses the teacher taught all eight grades, and I was always
eavesdropping in on the higher grades. I remember the day the Japanese
bombed Pearl Harbor, and that was the main topic of conversation on the
school bus on Monday morning, Dec 8, 1941.
We did all our shopping in Emmitsburg. My parents
patronized Bernie Boyle’s grocery store on the east side of town. Bernie
and his whole family worked their ‘everlivin’ butts off in that store,
talk about your Mom and Pop stores. This store was not set up like a super
market of today, instead, you were waited on for every item. Because few
families at the time could afford freezers, Mr. Boyle had a freezer dept in
the back, so his customers could keep meat in there.
We also shopped at Frailey’s on the west end of
town. Here we bought squabs (young pigeons), and other assorted things.
American stores opened a super market self service type with the check out
registers, and this probably was the beginning of the end for mom and pop
grocery stores, although in a town as small as E-burg, they probably hung on
for along time.
Farther down that street was Hayes
son, James T. Hayes, went to the same prep school (Mercersburg Academy) that
I graduated from, although Jim was considerably older.
Dr. Cadle, who delivered me on 9-6-31 in our house,
practiced in the house that the family lived in. Later he acquired a country
home near Kumps dam.
that the statute of limitations has expired, I guess I can finally tell the
story about the day Mrs. Cadle, who had bought one of the very first
convertible Corvettes, drove out to our house to see my mother. They went
shopping in my Mom's car. Since Mrs. Cadle was nice enough to let the keys
in the ignition, a fraternity brother of mine and I took the Corvette for a
We had it up to 110 on the sunset trail going to
Blue Ridge Summit, but made sure we got it back before the ladies
returned. Ah, youth and life in Emmitsburg! [Pictured to the left is
Jay and his 49 Buick]
But going back to the early days, I still remember
with great pleasure going to the Gem theater every weekend to see the double
feature, plus a serial and a cartoon, for about 10 cents. It was in the Gem
theater where I got familiar with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and all the other
western movie biggies. I saw Casablanca and Gone With the Wind in the Gem.
Many times I walked all the way to Emmitsburg,
unless someone passing by would give me a lift, and then walk back in the
I met a farm girl named Ruth Miller, and we went to
the movies together, holding hands all thru the show, true love at 12 years
of age. I've often wondered if she is still around, and how her life went.
There was a bowling
alley with a soda fountain in
front, right across from the Gem. I also remember Houser’s drug store. On
the street going to Frederick, the Ford dealer, a liquor store and Welty's
where they shoed horses.
On the street going north to Gettysburg, the legion
was on top of the hill, and then down at the bottom before going into the
country was a beer joint and dance floor, which did a lot of business on
Sunday with Pennsylvanians ,who could not drink on Sunday, because of the
Pa. blue laws, but Maryland was wide open!
Speaking of beer joints, on the road to Zora was the
infamous Blue Duck Inn, which also was very busy on Sunday.
My mother acquired a plot on the cemetery on the
hill, and she and two other aunts are buried there, under the same
tombstone, with their maiden names of Cain.
I had not seen Emmitsburg from 1953 until just
recently when we drove thru there on the way to Gettysburg. We had lunch in
a nice restaurant just south of the square, spending 37 bucks for two of us
including tip, and the thought that went through my mind when I paid the
check was---holy cow, I used to go to the movies for 10 cents, and then go
across the street for a coke and a hamburger for another 35 cents!
And I can
remember Bernie Boyle delivering 5 bucks worth of groceries to our house a
couple of times when my mother was sick in bed, and my stepfather was in the
Asiatic theater with the 40th division.
I eventually went to Gettysburg College, and went
into the Marine Corps in 1951. When I returned for Korea, I dropped into the
Legion for a beer before driving back to Lejeune on a Sunday Eve. Lo and
behold, Ruth Miller, now married, was there, and we danced a few numbers,
and I then faded into the sunset . . .
After that, I began a career that took me all over
the country, and Emmitsburg became a fond, but distant memory. I have been
in Fort Myers, Florida, now for 24 years. But the years have not dimmed
my fondness for Emmitsburg and the memories it gave me.
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