Readers share their memories from the last 100 years

September 16, 1999

Many of the events and people that shaped the world in the 20th century are captured in history books, but the images and experiences that shaped many individuals are tucked away in scrapbooks and curio cabinets.

Others are stored only in the mind.

[cont. from lifestyle]

We asked you to share some of the mementos and stories that were most significant to you and your families. You told us about toys, diaries, ledgers, pictures and trinkets that reflect 100 years worth of living.

We chose to highlight 10 people's memories as a tribute to the 1900s as the century draws to a close.

Read on and remember.

- Meg H. Partington, Staff Writer

Nestled in a drawer at Peggie Roscoe's home, a musical legacy lives on.

A 1917 photograph of Washington County High School Orchestra features Roscoe's father, trombonist Harold Heard, and her grandfather, C. Edward Heard, the conductor.


Roscoe's father became a professional musician, playing for eight years in the U.S. Marine Band. From there, he joined the U.S. Navy Band and then became a faculty member at the Navy's music school.

Her grandfather formed the Silverine Band. He was presented with a medal, another token in Roscoe's possession, by Hagerstown Municipal Band in 1936 for pioneering community bands in Hagerstown. It bears his name and an inscription that reads, "Fond tribute and happy recollections."

Another memento Roscoe has is a program from the 1917 Washington County High School commencement at The Maryland Theatre. The program mentions the presentation of a $10 prize from Washington County Historical Society for the best essay.

A print of a photograph of the 84-member graduating class, which includes her father, features girls in white dresses and boys donning dark suits, many with bow ties.

Roscoe, 75, of Hagerstown, is a fan of family history. After doing research for 15 years on her grandmother's family, the Middlekauffs, she published a genealogy in 1992.

The shadow box containing the 1906 photo of her grandmother graduating from DePauw University is a source of pride for Ellen Collins.

The photo, taken after Nelle Barbre earned a master's degree in German, is joined in the box with a handkerchief and pair of glasses that belonged to Barbre.

"Every time I see it, I smile. It's very sad to have a memento like that and keep it in a drawer," says Collins, 54, of Hagerstown.

She has another shadow box holding needlework done by her mother-in-law, Norma Aguglia Collins, along with needles, thread, buttons and a thimble. Both boxes are on display at Howard's Art Supplies & Frames in Hagerstown, which is owned by her and her husband, Roger Collins.

Ellen Collins has some other handiwork created by her mother-in-law, including a sack to hold a brush and comb, dresser scarves and a doily-like cloth. She says Norma Collins and her sisters sold their stitchery to department stores during the Depression to earn extra money.

About 75 years ago, Catherine Appel found a present under the Christmas tree that provided countless hours of entertainment for her and her playmates.

About 85 games could be played with the wooden Carrom board, which measures 29 inches square.

One of the games she and her cousins played frequently was flipping wooden rings into the board's center hole. A player lost if the rings went into one of the net pockets on each corner.

Tops for spinning and tenpins about 2 inches high for knocking down also were included with the game board. Numbered chips could be placed inside the rings, which also could be flicked into the corner pockets like billiard balls.

"We just played it all the time," says Appel, 84, of Foxville, Md.

Christmas in Baltimore provided magical memories

Ginny Atkinson has magical memories of Christmastime in Baltimore.

The major department stores downtown glistened, she says.

The windows of the stores, which are closed now, were decorated with animated people and animals, as well as miniature trains. Santa would sit in the toy department waiting for children to share their wishes.

"It was so very, very special to a child," says Atkinson, 49, of Hagerstown.

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