“We roamed the fields and river sides,

When we are young and gay,

We chased the bees and plucked the flowers,

In the merry, merry month of May.”

— Stephen Foster

 

THIS WEEK IN U.S. HISTORY

May 20, 1927: Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old aviator, took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, in the Spirit of St. Louis attempting to win a $25,000 prize for the first solo nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. Thirty-three hours later after a 3,600-mile journey he landed at Le Bourget, Paris, earning the nickname “Lucky Lindy” and became an instant worldwide hero.

May 20, 1932: Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed Newfoundland, Canada at 7 p.m. and landed near Londonderry, Ireland completing a 2,026-mile flight in about 13 hours. Five years later, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, she disappeared while trying to fly her twin-engine plane around the equator.

 

20 YEARS AGO (2000)

The Danville Moose Monday Night Ladies Bowling team held its season-ending banquet. The Pub won the league title, placing first in roll-offs. Team members: Christine Hendricks, Kendra Rupp, Ruth Moyer, captain, Shirley Badman, league president, Tina Mowrer and Michelle Herman were pictured in the local newspaper.

Candy Roberts received Bowler of the Year honors from Shirley Badman.

The Danville High School tennis team’s top doubles pair, Mark Miller and Tyler Hennessy qualified for states at Penn State University by finishing at second seed at the District 4 Double Tennis Championships.

The Danville boys’ track and field team ran away with the Class AAA District 4 title against Montoursville. Senior Geoff Dieck qualified for states in three events, meeting the PIAA qualifying times in both hurdle events. Senior Mike Finn repeated as the district champion in the shot put, beating the 14-person field by nearly two feet.

 

40 YEARS AGO (1980)

Geisinger Medical Center recognized Gail Carr, Linda S. McGrail and Amy Flora as Employees of the Month for May. Carr and McGrail were Danville residents, and Amy Flora was from Shamokin.

 

60 YEARS AGO (1960)

Monsignor Francis Conrad, pastor of St. Joseph Church was pictured in the local newspaper along with the young students who participated in the annual May procession. Susan Maier, Sally Maise, Linda La Mother, Patricia Cahill, Christine Fallon, Janine Ward, Eileen Mayan, Alberta Wargo, Michael Mahoney, Michael Brady, May Queen Susan Lechner and Paula Stroh walked in a formal line from the school to the church for the ceremony.

Candidates for the title of Junior League Queen to reign over opening-day ceremonies of the Junior Baseball League at the YMCA field were: Donna Cohen, representing the Thompson Jets; Gene Fleming, Danville Manufacturing; Anne Guarna, Elks; Carol Beacher, Washies; Donna Strausser, FMEU, and Louise Cotner, Moose. Donna Strausser, a junior high school student, was chosen to be Miss YMCA Junior League. Ray Mordan, president of the Junior League, presented roses to the queen at the ceremonies held at the field prior to the game. Chief Burgess Francis P. Rooney threw out the first ball to open the season. Danville Mfg. opened their win column 6-3 defeating FMEU.

 

75 YEARS AGO (1945)

“The long but happy road home from prison camps in Europe began for many American boys.” Three Montour County families of young men listed in government records as prisoners of war in Germany received word the soldiers were liberated. The three who returned to American military control were: Lt. James Cannard, who was reported a prisoner of war on July 2, 1944; Staff Sgt. Arthur Lamberson, a prisoner since February; and Staff Sgt. L. A. Ashton, who was reported a prisoner of war on December 11, 1944.

The fate of another Danville boy who had been confined to a Nazi prison camp was disclosed to his mother, Dora Haas, who received a telegram from the National Home Service Correspondent of the Red Cross. It stated that Charles Haas, a prisoner since last November, was the sixth Danville war prisoner to be liberated.

A headline read “Draft Age Limit is Lowered All men over 29 are Draft Free if Active in National Welfare.” Those over that age were to be deferred indefinitely if local draft boards found they are engaged in work contributing to national welfare; another promise, most fathers over the required age would be exempt — just because they are fathers.

The new policy stemmed from two causes, first the fact that the July draft quota was reduced by 25 percent and secondly the demand by the Army and Navy for younger men.

Many men in the 18-29 age bracket would be called upon in the near future even if they held essential jobs. Draft boards also had been ordered to review the cases of 4-Fs and limited-service registrants in the 19 to 25 age groups.

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The General Eisenhower Shell Casing Award for collection of waste paper was presented by the Rev. John M. Danneker and accepted by Al Mayan at the Court of Honor meeting of Troop No. 31 of St Hubert’s Catholic Church.

Cpl. Thomas McDermott Jr., a former Scout of the troop and a member of the parish, was the guest of honor. Cpl. McDermott who had spent 31 months in the European theater presented the General Eisenhower pin to the Scouts; he spoke of his experiences overseas and praised the opportunities Scouting gave to the boys.

Four hundred and three Scouts, Cub Scouts and leaders throughout the council territory were presented with the General Eisenhower World War II Shell Casing Medal for extraordinary patriotic achievement for collecting 506,413 pounds of waste paper during March and April. Twenty-six units from seventeen local communities participated in this project. The Scout Executive stated that this was by far the most outstanding general participation in a service project in the council’s 22-year history.

 

100 YEARS AGO (1920)

The Danville High School graduating class was in demand according to J. DeWitt Jobborn, teacher of the commercial branch who received a letter from the Philadelphia office of the Underwood Typewriter Company stating that the demand for stenographers in Philadelphia was far ahead of the supply; assuring him that the company would do everything possible to promptly place those who decide to take advantage in lucrative positions.

Another letter received by Professor Carey from the foreman of the car shops of the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad Company at Philadelphia requested stenographers.

Many local business offices also made inquiries.

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I spent last Saturday afternoon sitting in my living room in front of the television listening to the commencement speakers of West Virginia University congratulating their graduates on their success and giving them words of encouragement about their future. It was my wish that I would be looking at my granddaughter, Sophie, crossing that stage in her cap and gown with two sashes accepting her diploma that she worked so hard to attain. I realize that I am far from alone with this wish knowing there are thousands of others with a similar one.

Sophie’s sister, Annie, a high school graduate, had planned to attend prom this weekend. So with a prom gown hanging in the closet waiting for this event that would never come; her parents bought her flowers; took her to a grand garden park and took beautiful photos to be placed in an album for future memories.

Thanks to cellphones and television, I could feel part of both events.

Another daughter also has two graduates, both boys, Sam, college, Will, high school. I expect that I will spend another weekend in the same manner as this one.

Sis Hause is a Danville historian. Her weekly columns appear in The Danville News.

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