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Summer in Emmitsburg

Cheryl Ashbaugh-White

In the 60's there was not a lot to do in Emmitsburg for teenagers, or so I thought. On a typical Friday evening my cousin, Carole Weidner and I would hang out around the Bowling Alley and watch her Dad bowl on his league. Teenagers could forget about renting a lane on Friday or Saturday evening for bowling. The lanes were all reserved with leagues. If there was a good movie we would go to GEM theatre. Of course, by the time the movies came to the GEM they were several months old.

That was okay; it was our first time seeing the movie. Carole and I weren't allowed yet to go to the drive-in movies, but we always found a way around the rule and a bunch of us would pile into a car and go. Occasionally, I would sneak into the pool hall, which was on the corner square. My Grandma didn't like me going into the pool hall. When she found out, I would get into BIG TROUBLE. I got my first lesson in shooting pool from Dick Hartman.

In the summer there was a carnival every weekend in a surrounding town. My Grandma, cousin Carole, and I would pile into Grandma's station wagon and Aunt Tiny would drive us to Rocky Ridge or Taneytown. I would spend the evening hanging around the carnival riding on the rides, watching the grownups play bingo or just shooting the breeze with the carnival employees. The swings were my favorite and I would ride them for hours letting my long hair blow in the wind and daydream. When the carnival came to Emmitsburg, Carole and I would go down in the morning and watch them setup the rides and game booths.

The carnival was always setup on the field next to the shoe factory. We would spend hours talking (or maybe it was more flirting) with the rough looking young guys that were setting up. We usually got free rides when the carnival would open that evening. I thought how adventuresome it would be to go from town to town all summer on a job. I even thought it would be fun to run away and join the carnival.

Then there were the regular St Joseph's bingo games on the front lawn of the church. They were attended by the older generation in town, but Carole and I would usually go over and listen to the grownup's gossip. I even played one time and won a cake tin holder.

Carole and I spent a lot of our summer days sitting in the rockers or on the railing of Grandma's front pouch watching the cars go by. Back then, they didn't have the bypass around Emmitsburg and all the trucks and cars going across the Pennsylvania line towards Gettysburg would pass Grandma's house on North Seton Avenue. Carole and I would sit in Grandma's old rockers on Saturdays and Sundays and count the out of state license plates. We especially liked watching the military convoys go by. The soldiers would yell and wave, and of course we would yell and wave back. We would also watch the local boys cruise around in their cars. I still remember Jimmie Wastler 's two-toned turquoise Chevy BelAir and Johnny Knott's black Ford Fairlane. Sometimes they would stop and pick us up to go cruising with them.

There wasn't a lot of work in town in the sixties for teenagers however, when summer came around a lot of the boys would go fruit picking. The cherry orchard paid fifty cents a bucket. Well, I had this bright idea that Carole and I could do it too. See, I was and still am, one of those girls that think they can do just as much as the guys can. My Grandma was totally against it, but like usual, I could talk her into about anything. One day during the summer of 1965, Carole and I went cherry picking up at Catoctin Orchards. We got up around the break of dawn to catch the old jalopy looking truck that would take us up to the orchard. There were about ten guys piled into the back of the truck and we were the only 2 girls that day. We knew most of them, so it was okay.

So, off we went to climb ladders and pick. In the morning it wasn't too bad, but by midday it was so hot with the sun beating down on you. The sweat was rolling off my forehead and I could hardly keep it out of my eyes. I had cherry juice all over my clothes, arms, and legs. Not only that, but the bees were swarming around. It seemed like it took hours to fill a bucket, for us it did. I think we ate as many cherries as we put in the bucket. By the time the truck came to pick us up and count the buckets we had picked that day, we had a total of two! This was a lot of work for only a dollar. I look back on that time and we probably did more talking, goofing off, and flirting than picking. That evening on the way home we decided we really didn't need the money. The next morning we slept in.

Like so many young teenagers, both boys and girls in the 60's I had to try cigarette smoking. You were cool if you smoked, and everyone wanted to be cool. I had been warned by my Dad and Grandma not to smoke. But of course, I didn't listen. One summer afternoon, Carole had gotten some cigarettes and we were going to try smoking. We didn't have any matches so we went to her house to use the stove. I bent my head down over the gas-stove burners to lite the cigarette. The next thing I knew my bangs had caught on fire. I quickly jerked my head up from the burner and starting patting the fire off of my bangs. You could smell the Burnet hair; my bangs were badly singed. I was terrified that my Grandma would notice my Burnet hair.

I tried to go unnoticed that day, but my Grandma who put the fright in me discovered my Burnet hair. She told me she was going to tell my father and I knew he would but me on restriction and probably make me come back home to Wheaton for the summer. I pleaded, for her not to tell Dad and even promised that I would never try smoking again. As I said earlier, I could talk Grandma into almost anything and I won out. She didn't tell Dad and it wasn't until I joined the Air Force in 1970 that I tried smoking again. I never acquired the taste for cigarettes and smoking is differently not the cool thing to do.

I had a crush on Bobby Myers every since I could remember. But to him I was a kid, a friend of the family. His parents lived behind my Grandma's house and he used to go hunting and hung out with my cousin, Billy. One Saturday afternoon Bobby had come into the Ashbaugh's store and I was in there helping out. My Uncle Tick started teasing Bobby and I about each other. Boy, did his face get red. The next thing I knew, my Uncle joking said, " why don't you take her to a movie". To my shock, he said, "oh sure". I couldn't believe it; Bobby was going to take me to the movies. I couldn't wait to run down to Carole's house and tell her I was going out with Bobby. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I wanted to make sure I really looked extra grown up, so I teased my hair as all the girls did during the 60's, or as my Grandma would say, "why are your ratting your hair?" and put enough makeup on to look twice my age.

My heart was pounding as I waited for Bobby to pick me up at Grandma's store. I was beginning to think he wasn't coming because he was late. He did show up and as we walked down the street towards the movie theater, I thought this night would be special. He didn't hold my hand, but that was all right, I was going on my FIRST date with Bobby. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was about this date. Not knowing that after the date, I would want to curl up and hide from everyone. My wish had finally come true; I was going out with Bobby. I was sure then, he must like me, or why would he agree to take me out. When we got up to the big glass ticket window at the theater and the lady sitting behind the window said," how many tickets", Bobby said, "1 child's and 1 adult". I wanted to die. I couldn't believe my ears. Did he say, 1 CHILD ticket? No, I must have heard someone else say that behind us.

There was no one behind us, it was Bobby. My Uncle always said he was tight with his money, well this proved it. Why else would he embarrass me and buy a child's ticket. Of course I was under the age limit for an adult ticket, but still, I looked older and if he really liked me he wouldn't embarrass me. He bought the tickets and we went in. There, sitting in the theater, was my cousin Billy and several of the other guys Bobby hung around with. They had heard that he was taking me out and wanted to come and see. We went over and sat next to them and the rest of the evening he talked and goofed around with the guys, never paying any more attention to me. So even today, over 35 years later, when I see the Elvis Presley movie," Girls, Girls, Girls" I still think about my first date and Bobby.

Read other stories by Cheryl Ashbaugh-White

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