For years a team of reindeer graced the holiday scene on the Square in Carlisle.
Photographs from the 1960s show the decorations hanging in an arc from a tree or adding a warm glow to the frigid winter night while towing Santa in his sleigh.
“We were wondering where are they now?” said Glenn White, recalling the research he had conducted in the fall as executive director of the Downtown Carlisle Association.
“We’re always looking at doing something different,” White said. “This is a great way to give respect to Carlisle’s past and to raise awareness and money for the events that we [the DCA] are doing.”
The idea was for staff to examine photographs of past holidays to determine what, if any, of the old style Christmas decorations could be found, restored and revived. The intent is to put the vintage decorations back on display and to use them as models for commemorative ornaments celebrating the heritage of Carlisle.
Staff members were reviewing images at the Cumberland County Historical Society when they came across pictures showing the reindeer decorations. Curious to learn their whereabouts, staff posted messages on Facebook and other social media asking the public for leads on how to locate the reindeer.
One lead led the DCA to contact Jen Smith, owner of two of the plastic reindeer. Smith lives on land her late grandmother Mary K. Barrick owned on Airport Drive in North Middleton Township.
Barrick was the local tax collector for 47 years, Smith said in an email to The Sentinel. “Each Christmas she hung two reindeer on her house. When she passed, I offered to take them to keep the tradition going.
“My family doesn’t have a lot of details about the reindeer,” Smith said. “I saw photos at the historical society last Christmas that indicated they were hung in 1966. Just prior to that, we were unaware of their use in Carlisle.”
The family believes the two reindeer are from a set made by Smith’s great uncle Philip Lear for Lemoyne Borough. Lear had a neon sign making business and had served on the Lemoyne Borough council when that municipality decided to discontinue the use of the reindeer as holiday decorations.
Lear managed to salvage some of the reindeer, two of which ended up in the possession of Barrick, his sister-in-law. The family had put the reindeer out on display each holiday season for at least 15 years, White said.
White has no information on how the reindeer became part of the downtown Carlisle holiday display. He was not sure whether the reindeer were first displayed in Lemoyne or Carlisle or for what years.
This holiday season, the family decided to loan out the two reindeer to the DCA, which is working with Carlisle Borough to put up the decorations on the Square after Thanksgiving.
While one reindeer was working, the other was not, so the DCA asked Doug Detweiler, co-owner of DeRock Electric, to have both decorations rewired, White said.
Electrician Tyler Rittenhouse said the work involved replacing the main power cord and changing the bulbs. One of the cords had been cut in half while the other had been spliced together.
The plastic of each decoration is getting fragile, Rittenhouse said. “They could use a new paint job.” He thought it was neat to work on something different that for years was part of the downtown Christmas scene.
A design depicting one of the reindeer decorations will be on the first in a series of downtown Carlisle heritage ornaments, White said. “It’s great to look back and remember the times of our parents and grandparents around the holidays.”
Ornaments cost $15 apiece and will be sale from Friday, Nov. 24, to Friday, Jan. 5, at the DCA office, 53 W. South St., and the following locations throughout downtown Carlisle:
Create-A-Palooza, 11 E. High St.
The Greatest Gift, 117 N. Hanover St.
The American Artisan Gallery, 35 N. Hanover St.
Whistlestop Bookshop, 129 W. High St.
Helena’s Chocolate Café and Creperie, 36 W. High St.
Comfort Suites Downtown Carlisle, 10 S. Hanover St.
Marjorie’s Gems, 44 S. Hanover St.
Pat Craig Studios, 30 W. Pomfret St.
Camellia’s Sin Tea Parlor and Gift Shop, 36 W. Pomfret St.
The Downtown Carlisle Association ornaments will also be sold at the Hershey and Harrisburg performances of the Nutcracker by the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments will be reinvested back into DCA holiday events and decorations. “We are looking to more in the series,” White said. “We are very excited about it.”
The DCA seeks information on other holiday decorations seen in vintage photographs of downtown Carlisle. These include the Santa sleigh that was grouped with the reindeer, wooden cut-outs of Santa and candles; and four emblems depicting Santa faces that were hung over the intersection of Hanover and High streets, each facing a different direction.
Kirk Wilson was supposed to keep his eyes forward, but the future mayor of Carlisle had never been in New York City before.
Marching down the center of Manhattan streets flanked by towering skyscrapers was like a wilderness trek through a canyon for the high school senior.
“My head kept going left and right all the time,” said Wilson, recalling a Thanksgiving Day 50 years ago when the Big Green Machine played in the Macy’s holiday parade.
“I was taking in the sights,” he said. “It was really exciting to see it in person … to be there in person. The marching was good. The music was good. Everything was pretty much second nature.”
For weeks, the Carlisle High School band had practiced the 90-second routine it was scheduled to perform in front of cameras next to the flagship department store at Broadway and 34th Street.
Band Director Clyde Barr had lines painted on the high school parking lot matching the street width and store frontage within which the band had to maneuver to play its numbers for a nationally televised audience.
“There was a real sense of pride to be selected. … The pride was on Carlisle,” said Wilson, who played the tenor saxophone and served as the band president during his senior year. In that capacity, he chaired club meetings and represented the ensemble at official public events.
“In many regards, we were very comfortable about performing in front of large crowds,” he said. In July 1967, the band participated in the Lions International parade in Chicago. That September Carlisle won the first annual Festival of High School Bands in Middletown.
Still, Wilson was worried the slightest misstep by any band member could cause an embarrassing chain reaction in the Big Apple. “I was nervous,” he said. “I was afraid my horn was going to squeak and not play music.”
Band members were up by 3 a.m. that Thursday, Nov. 23, for a quick rehearsal next to the Macy’s store. It was cold with a mist that gave way to clouds and sun by midmorning.
“Everybody was really tired at first,” Wilson said. “But you could feel the energy and the momentum picking up. By the time the parade started, we were at 105 percent of our ability.”
Don Mowery played the tuba his junior year at Carlisle High School. He remembers a busy schedule of daily practice for weeks on end until the band had mastered the routine.
“We could have done it in our sleep,” Mowery said. “We had a job to do. I remember being lined up and seeing the TV cameras on booms and platforms. We started marching and playing the music. It really happened fast.”
“As I remember, our performance was flawless,” Wilson said.
Mowery described the experience as almost surreal. “The streets were just lined with people.” He said the musical numbers that day were “Jingle Bells” and “I Love a Parade.”
Clyde Barr and his wife Lyn have kept a scrapbook of photos and newspaper clippings detailing the lead-up to the Macy’s parade. The band received word of the invitation in late July 1967.
The band boosters held its first meeting to plan for the Macy’s parade on Sept. 11. That same day, The Sentinel reported that band members would meet at 7:30 every morning through November for an hourlong practice.
While much of the money for the New York City trip came from funds leftover from the Chicago parade, there were a number of fundraisers held from September to November.
Local residents could pay to have their birth date advertised on a community birthday calendar, Lyn Barr said. She said an Oct. 4 Sentinel photo shows Kirk Wilson stopping Carlisle Police Chief Frank Giordano in his squad car while majorettes Susan King, Emily Stover and Kathy Cohick attempt to make a sell. Wilson would later serve as borough mayor in charge of the police department.
She said another popular item among Carlisle residents was Prom Peanuts. They were sold raw but could be roasted in a home oven.
The band at the time consisted of about 60 players and 20 auxiliary members. Most everyone signed on for the trip to New York along with 46 adult chaperones and officials.
They departed Carlisle High School on three chartered buses at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22. Cumberland County Sheriff Robert E. Failor led the motorcade in his patrol car accompanied by Mayor Charles E. Wise. There was a two-way radio placed in each bus.
The motorcade was scheduled to arrive at the Statler Hilton Hotel across from Penn Station by 11 a.m. Wednesday. By 12:15 p.m., the students and their chaperones were on their way to the United Nations building for a tour and a briefing by a representative from Israel.
“To fudge an extra day out of the school board, we had to make the trip educational,” Lyn Barr said referring to the visit to the United Nations. A strict dress code was in place for the briefing and tour. Boys had to wear a coat and tie while girls had to wear dresses.
Band members were urged to go to bed early on Wednesday. After the early morning rehearsal, band members ate breakfast before assembling at the parade staging area in the vicinity of Central Park West and 77th Street. They had to be in position by 8:45 a.m.
From there, the parade moved down Broadway through Times Square before it terminated at the Macy’s store where the grandstand and TV cameras were set up. The Carlisle band was told their position was toward the end following a float carrying singer Vicki Carr.
“They were given fine reviews by Lorne Greene and Betty White, Hollywood stars who narrated the colorful parade,” The Sentinel reported on Nov. 24. “Heavy applause was noted as the band completed its snappy routine.
“Out of a total of 223 high school bands which applied for the honor to take part in the parade, the Carlisle unit was one of only nine selected,” according to the newspaper.
Following the parade, the band was treated to a Thanksgiving Day dinner in the famous Haymarket Restaurant of the Statler Hilton Hotel. The students then left the hotel for a tour of NBC studios and the Radio City Music Hall, where they saw a holiday performance of the Rockettes.
For Don Mowery, the visit to Radio City Music Hall marked the start of his courtship with Marjie Miller, the woman he would marry. In 1967-68, Miller was a high school junior who played the clarinet in the band.
After breakfast Friday morning, the band went on a bus tour of New York City and toured the Lincoln Center. They had lunch at the hotel before boarding the Italian cruise ship Cristoforo Columbo. Following dinner, the students had the opportunity to shop at the Macy’s store before they left New York around 9:15 p.m. Nov. 24.
The motorcade returned to Carlisle around 3 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25. That afternoon, the band marched again — this time down the streets of Carlisle during the annual Christmas parade. They repeated the very same routine several times along the route.
The band picked up three trophies for its participation in the Macy’s parade. One was a three-by-five-foot flag that read “Macy’s Parade 1967.” Another was outstanding performance.
The third honor was a “Rollie,” a statuette presented by Macy’s officials in honor of the founder Roland Macy. The “Rollie” was described by The Sentinel as a handcrafted bust of a clown done in red terracotta that bears the name of the band at its base.
The mood was celebratory at Monday’s South Middleton Township supervisors meeting as Save the Lake Foundation representatives were presented with checks totaling $50,500 for engineering repairs to Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs.
This year, South Middleton procured the $400,000 needed to begin the project’s design phase, including $150,000 from the township’s local design funds, $25,000 from F&M Trust, and $12,500 each from Allen Distribution and R.S. Mowery & Sons. This, along with $200,000 pledged by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, is enough to cover engineering costs for repairs to the lake that Supervisor Tom Faley called “the heart of our community.”
Tim Henry of F&M Trust, Gary Heishman of Allen Distribution and Don Mowery of R.S. Mowery & Sons presented donation checks to Brad Group and Dallas Bailey, of the Bubbler Foundation, and Jorie Hanson, who co-chairs the Save the Lake Foundation with Liz Knouse. Boiling Springs Lions Club president James Compton presented an additional $500 check gleaned from collection jar donations.
“This is a full-circle moment for me. It’s amazing the number of people who came to help,” Hanson said.
Faley said on Tuesday that $2.4 million has been appropriated for Children’s Lake repairs, but “Gov. Wolf has to sign to release the money.”
If all goes as planned, Faley said, project engineering will begin in 2018, followed by dam repairs starting in 2019.
Township Manager Cory Adams said on Tuesday that officials haven’t yet determined if it will be the township or the state that reviews engineering and construction contractor bids for the project. “We’re still working out the specifics to that,” Adams said.
For the second year in a row, Boiling Spring’s Christmas tree lighting will take place on a gazebo on the shore of Children’s Lake next to the Appalachian Trail. Traditionally, the village’s Christmas tree floats on a raft in the lake, but Faley said that isn’t possible this year due to the lake’s lowered water level.
Save The Lake was formed this year with the backing of the Bubbler Foundation where charitable, tax-deductible donations can be made by the community and corporatate sponsors. Since its inception last spring, Save The Lake has raised upwards of $10,000 through the sale of merchandise and donations.
“It’s not very often you see so many groups come together for one cause,” said township supervisors chairman Bryan Gembusia. “You usually see it during a tragedy, but this is before a tragedy happened (to the Children’s Lake dam). Let’s get those (Save the Lake) signs in the yard so the governor can see it.”
Adams also credited the work of township solicitor Bryan Saltmann in “pulling all of this together.”
Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed a deficit patch measure for state’s $3.2 billion budget that includes a $2.4 million appropriation to the state Fish and Boat Commission for repairs to Children’s Lake. Wolf’s office, however, hasn’t yet released the appropriated money. Officials said they hope it may happen within the next few months.
“We’re working to release the money from the governor’s office,” Sen. Mike Regan told Monday’s crowd of around 50 Save The Lake supporters. “We’re so close to getting this done, but we’ve got to keep up the fight. We’ve got to reach out to our governor. The money’s there and it’s earmarked for this, but it could go for somewhere else. ... I’m very optimistic about this, though.”
Asked/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:
Marijuana is the most prevalent illicit drug used in the United States. More than 40 percent of individuals 12 years old or older in the United States reported in 2016 to using marijuana at some point in their life in, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
More than half of all individuals age 18 to 25 in 2016 reported using marijuana at some point in their life and more than 30 percent reported using in the previous year, according to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
For comparison, more than 80 percent of people reported drinking alcohol, more than 14 percent reported using cocaine, and less than 2 percent reported using heroin.
In Cumberland County in 2015, nearly 15 percent of sixth through 12th graders reported using marijuana, according to Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
While that is a small percentage of all students, the numbers increase dramatically as students get older, going from less than 1 percent in sixth grade to more than 30 percent by 12th grade.
Possession of a small amount of marijuana remains one of the most prevalent drug charges filed in Cumberland County courts and is included in more than half of all drug cases, according to an analysis of court record conducted by The Sentinel.
As of Nov. 16, more than 700 cases have included the charge. Of those, 250 were for cases where misdemeanor possession of a small amount of marijuana was the highest charge.
Roughly 70 percent of the people charged with just possession of a small amount of marijuana were white and about 26 percent were listed as black. Men were charged with the crime 73 percent of the time, while women were charged about 27 percent of the time, according to court records.
There were only 255 of these cases in all of 2016.
Look for a closer look at marijuana policy and marijuana decriminalization in The Sentinel beginning Dec. 16.
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