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Vivid memories of the CH in the 1940's

John Slike, Class of 1947

Having lived on North 20th Street during World War II in the 1940's, some of my vivid memories are of the trolley which ran down the center of Market Street  that we rode to Harrisburg. The operator sat on a stool at the front of the trolley and would switch to the stool at the back for the trip back. We kids would take turns riding the empty stool.

During the war, small planes would practice bombing by dropping paper bags filled with flour along Market Street... to what purpose I don't know. Taking slivers of ice off the ice truck that delivered blocks of ice to your house for your icebox was a favorite refreshment, as was homemade root beer and ice cream. Another favorite memory was playing "kick the wickie” ( a small stick) at the corner of 20th and Walnut on balmy summer  evenings.

Sledding down 20th Street in the winter was wonderful. The Borough would barricade 20th at Walnut and a good run from the top of the hill at High Street  would take you the whole way to Market Street, if you had a good sled ( I didn't but my brother did) and hooking sleds together as trains to go down the hill.

There was no TV, no computers or video games, no cell phones or text messaging or twitter, but what fun we had and freedom to go anywhere at young ages (nine and up) without our parents being concerned for our safety. We were children growing up during a severe depression and a terrible world war, but we didn't really worry. I suppose we were fortunate to have a roof over our heads, heat in the winter, food to eat and our families and friends and that was all that we needed.

Editor's note: for more on sledding, read Richard A. Stender's contribution, The Toboggan Slide.

A note of appreciation: I enjoyed this immensely, John! I found it just by chance, but I've already been into Richard Stender's' "Memories", thanks to Becky Simmon's sister, Doris Gulden and Richard himself. Thank you both for sharing with us. -- Ann Barnard Neithammer

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