Many share memories of Maugansville

May 01, 2006|by KAREN HANNA


With no televisions or organized ball leagues, few cars and house after house inhabited by children, the generation that came of age in 1950s Maugansville fought, played, chased, bullied and grew up.

And, on Sunday, they got back together again.

"I fought with them and got black eyes with them, the whole bit," Ed Shaffer, a 1954 graduate, said during a reunion of men and women who were children in Maugansville more than a half-century ago.

According to the event's organizer, Ken Ebersole, more than 100 people said they planned to turn out Sunday at Maugansville Ruritan Club for a reunion with people they had played with as children.


Participants recalled dog fights, drive-in movies, football games and summer competitions to kiss the most girls.

Don Risner, a 1956 high school graduate who lives in Hagerstown, said he remembered riding sleighs pulled by horses in the winter, while Ebersole recounted drawing water from his grandfather's well.

Ebersole, 68, who lives in Greencastle, Pa., said he was in a hardware store in November when another customer asked him if his name was "Red," his childhood moniker. When Ebersole got home, he listed the names of other neighborhood friends who had fallen out of touch.

One friend led to another, Ebersole said. In organizing the reunion, he said to talked to about 115 people throughout the country.

"Some say they're coming, some say they can't, and all wish they could," he said before the reunion.

Gene Knable, who traveled more than 700 miles from his home in Alabama to see his old buddies, told stories at a microphone of playing hide-and-seek and "Mother, may I?" and watching "The Lone Ranger" at the home of a friend lucky enough to own a television.

Knable, 68, was able to recount some stories he probably had tried to hide from his parents. He recounted a turkey dung-throwing fight and recalled a passion for mayonnaise and sugar sandwiches.

"One time, my dad had a whiskey bottle he hadn't quite finished ... and we ate that atop our mayonnaise and sugar sandwiches, and you know, we got sick," Knable admitted to laughter.

Amid the effects of gravity and gray hair, one woman said she still could see the adults as the children they once were.

Florence Hartle, now almost 92, taught many of the adults as children some 60 years ago.

"He looks exactly the same," Hartle said after talking to one former first-grade student.

Hartle wiped away tears as she accepted a plaque from reunion participants thanking her for making a difference in their lives.

"You were a generation of innocent childhood and simplicity. You learned the basics from a reading primer which read, "I walked and walked and what did I see? I saw Dick, and Dick saw me," Hartle said.

As Hartle recited the words, a chorus of adults joined in, remembering Jane and Spot, as well.

"And, now I look and I look, and what do I see? I see a group of wonderful, spectacular adults such as these. You have truly enriched my life," Hartle told the crowd through tears.

Though he no longer sports the fire engine-red hair that inspired his nickname, Ebersole, a first-grader in the 1944-45 school year, said he still carries thoughts of his childhood days.

"You know, we have such a crazy world today. I think the Bible says we have to come aside and rest awhile. There's nothing like resting awhile in a place where you had peace," Ebersole said last week before the reunion.

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