Families make day memorable


below: Gennie Mason, left, and her sister, Marle Triggs, both of Martinsburg, WV relax on a swing Monday while listening to music at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg.

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

see the enlargement

War Memorial Park

Raymond Prince likes to spend Memorial Day with friends, celebrating good times.

He wants the day to be a happy time. He spends a lot of the other times remembering his fallen comrades in Vietnam, where he served as a helicopter door gunner.

--cont. from front page--

"I don't like going to ceremonies," said Prince, 51. "I get too choked up. I'd rather spend it having fun with my friends."


Prince sat next to his son, Larry Prince, and friends from church, Sheila McCoy, and her daughter, Katie Donnelly. Larry Prince was working the grill, barbecuing ribs.

"It's so nice out. It's a beautiful day," McCoy said.

Throughout the Tri-State area, families and friends gathered for the annual kickoff of summer fun and activities, including picnics and yard sales.

A special gathering

The Downin family of Mont Alto, Pa., celebrated its last holiday together for three years with a traditional Memorial Day cookout under the shade trees at Renfrew Museum and Park in Waynesboro, Pa.

"This is a special one," said Karen Downin, 43, whose daughter, Robyn Murphy, 20, will leave next month for a three-year stint in Japan with her new Marine husband.

"We're trying to spend as much time as we can with everybody, take a lot of pictures," said son-in-law Jerry Murphy, 23, who was glad the park allowed their dog, Ruckus, to enjoy the holiday with them.

"We're really glad it didn't rain today because we wanted to have this last picnic together before they leave," said his new sister-in-law, Amanda Downin, 18.

Since they were dieting, Frank Shockey, 66, said he and his wife, Joyce Shockey, decided to forgo their standard cookout and do something different for Memorial Day this year.

The Smithsburg couple planned a full day of sleeping late, planting flowers, visiting an aunt and duck pin bowling at Long Meadow Bowl in Hagerstown with sister A.J. Stewart of Leitersburg, Joyce Shockey said.

After bowling, Stewart said, she planned to go visit her father's grave.

'Junk' sale

At War Memorial Park in Martinsburg, W.Va., Emily Sensel, 8, and her best friend, Olivia Orr, 8, sat behind tables filled with assorted stuffed animals, dolls, clothes, flower pots and knickknacks.

"It's almost all my sister's junk and my mom's," said Sensel.

The freckle-faced, strawberry blonde youngster added that her 2-year-old sister would not miss the items.

The two friends have had yard sales before, but this was the first they ever had one at the park.

"I wanted to make some money for Ocean City," Orr said. "These were things we didn't want anymore."

"It's a really good place to have a yard sale," Sensel said.

Emily's grandfather, Bob Deneseus, 56, also of Martinsburg, said they drove a pickup and a station wagon full of items to the yard sale. They set up at 6:15 a.m. Monday.

"I'm their adviser," he said.

Hagerstown resident Jeremiah Giles, 17, spent the early part of the afternoon duck pin bowling with his mother and sister.

"It's something to do," said Giles, who said he was hoping to go swimming with his friends in Halfway later.

"We try to do things together, and we haven't done this in years," said his mother, Pam Giles, 36, who said that's probably because they're not very good at the sport.

Giles said she wanted to spend the weekend camping with her family but couldn't because she and her husband had to work Memorial Day morning.

The Rev. Haru Carter and his wife, Celestine, sat on a bench at Hagerstown City Park watching their visiting grandsons go up and down a small slide.

Living in built-up Suitland, Md., the boys, Haru Carter IV, 7, and Jaqune Carter, 5, really enjoy the open spaces, said Carter, 51, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Hagerstown.

"They like the fish in the pond," said Celestine Carter, 49. "They like coming here whenever they visit us."

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park was packed throughout the weekend, said Ranger Chuck Dennis.

Charlotte Thompson, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., stood outside her house on West Washington Street.

"We spent the weekend in the shop, working," Thompson said.

Once her shop closed at 6 p.m., she planned to start her Memorial Day festivities.

"I'll work 'til the customers leave, but then I'll make potato salad because I'm traditional and we'll have hot dogs," Thompson said.

August Amurao, 37, of Ashburn, Va., and Lauren Sayer, 32, of Arlington, Va., said they spent part of the weekend on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, then drove to Harpers Ferry to spend Monday at the park.

"It's such a nice day. We're going to do a little hiking and sight-seeing. We were in Annapolis yesterday," Amurao said.

"From the ocean to the mountains in one day," Sayer said.

"That's the great thing about living in this area," Amurao said.

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