Pa. couple rides again after 50 years

August 04, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - "We're going to need a little practice," said Charlotte Winters as she and her husband, Ardie, wobbled along Cleveland Avenue in Waynesboro on a bicycle built for two.

The Winters - he's 81, she's 75 - hope to reprise a bicycle ride they did in 1947 during Waynesboro's 150th anniversary parade. The town is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year and a big parade on Sept. 20 will be a bicentennial highlight.

"We're going to attempt to ride again. Put it that way," Ardie Winters said.

The couple managed to stay on a tandem bike during a less-than-perfect practice run last week.

In 1947, Ardie Winters wore his grandfather's long, black, wool serge wedding coat and derby. Charlotte wore a late 19th century hand-made black taffeta dress and hat, the same outfit that won her a $100 gift certificate for taking first place in the 150th anniversary period fashion show.


The dress and hat were given to Charlotte Winters by an elderly friend of her mother's when Charlotte was a child growing up on Frick Hill.

The dress nearly proved to be the couple's undoing in the 1947 parade.

"We were coming down a hill when my dress got caught in the chain sprocket of the bike. I kept yelling `Ardie, stop, stop,'" she said.

"The bike we were on had wooden wheels and only a brake in the front. It was hard to stop but we finally did it," Ardie said.

He said he's tried unsuccessfully to find the old bicycle. "Nobody seems to know where it is," he said.

The couple is borrowing a tandem bicycle from In Gear Outfitters at 100 W. Main St. in Waynesboro.

He said his grandfather's coat and hat are in the attic and still good enough to wear in the next month's parade.

Charlotte has the old dress, but isn't sure it will fit. "I don't weigh 110 pounds like I did in 1947 when I was 26, but I think I can make do with some pins."

Ardie said Allie Kohler, coordinator of the bicentennial events, talked him in to riding in the upcoming parade.

He said he's not nervous about doing it again. "I feel as comfortable now on a bicycle as I did back then, although I think we could use a little more training. We'll practice in front of our house on Garfield Street. It's quiet there," he said.

Winters is serving his third term on the Waynesboro Borough Council.

He said he won't be doing any politicking because he won't let go of the handle bars. "I'm not going to be doing any waving this time," he said.

He met Charlotte Oct. 6, 1941, when she was working in her father's department store on Main Street. Ardie, a Smithsburg native, was working in Waynesboro at the time and he went into the store to buy a record for a girl he was seeing back home. He met Charlotte and decided he liked her better, he said.

They were married Sept. 23, 1942, and had a six-hour honeymoon before he was shipped overseas to Europe during World War II.

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