Ask Joan: Smithsonian and National Geographic edition

As you read today’s Ask Joan, I’m probably wandering somewhere in Washington, D.C., with Sarah and Chris. We’re down here for four days of museum-going awesomeness.

Our plans include several Smithsonian museums, the National Geographic museum and possibly the spy museum. It should be fun – if the weather cooperates!

I’ll be sure to share a picture or two in next week’s Ask Joan.

Today, I’m trying to clear out some follow-ups I had sitting on my desk!

What’s inside
1. Even more on Dotti Roffe
2. Phone numbers of the past
3. Memories of air-raid wardens

1. We last talked about dance teacher Dotti Roffe in this February column, and after that, I received a letter from Shirley Shiller of York Township.

Shirley writes, “Your column… brought back fond memories of Dotti Roffe and her dance studio. I was a student there in the late 40s and early 50s. The studio was located in the first block of North Beaver St. (near my parents’ deli). We worked hard, had lots of fun and learned a lot.”

She continues, “Dotti drove us to NYC to ‘the Dance Master of America’ convention, where we took dancing lessons for several days. We did this the next couple summers. Dotti Roffe had a special group of dancers, ‘The Roffettes,’ of which I was a member. We danced for many events around York. Later when my daughters were you, I enrolled them with Dotti Roffe Dance Studio at Hartley Street and I also taught them. Thanks for the memories.”

Thank you, Shirley!

2. In this December Ask Joan, I shared a question from Donna Miller. Donna had found an old cookbook from Glen Rock and the phone numbers were quite short – 1 letter and 2 numbers – and she was trying to get a ballpark date on when it might have been published, based on that fact!

While I didn’t get a specific answer to when that might have been in Glen Rock’s past, I did have a letter from Larry L. Schroll of Jackson Township, who writes, “I can remember from the mid 1940s when my father and mother, Russell and Edith Schroll, lived in the Pigeon Hills, their phone number was 53R21 and each neighbor had their own ring. Mother’s was two short rings and one long ring; we always had to wait to hear how many rings short or long there were before we answered.”

He adds, “You could always tell who got the most phone calls in the neighborhood, if you were home all day. If only like all other things and places if we could only go back for just, just one day. From this to cell phones. Wow! Wow! WOW!”

Larry, isn’t it amazing? I am only 29, and yet I remember that one of my friends, growing up north of Dover, still had a party line phone when I was in elementary school. Now, how many of us don’t even have “home” phone numbers due to cell phones? Wow indeed.

3. It wasn’t “officially” an Ask Joan question, but back in a January post, I shared memories of air-raid wardens during World War II from Marl A. Rohrbaugh Jr., and I’d asked if anyone else had memories of the same.

Bonnie Yoder of Dover Township wrote to me, “Back in the 40s while I was still in high school (I’m now 87 years old), I can still remember the air raid wardens. My father, James Chantiles, had a hair shop on the corner of Phila. and Beaver Sts. The address was 108 W. Phila. St. Many of the shop owners from those 2 streets congregated at my father’s shop for their air raid warden meetings. We were just children but those meetnigs were very serious stuff for these men. All lights were out and draperies were drawn over the windows.”

She continues, “One of the men was the owner of Ettline Grocery Store. There were others but I can’t remember them now. My father immigrated here from Greece 100 years ago. He took this very seriously because he had seen war in Greece when he was younger. Also I had 5 brothers. He was worried about them going into the service. They all went into the service and thankfully, they all came back fine. He was so proud to serve his new adopted country.”

And Bonnie concludes, “By the way, 108 W. Phila. is now razed. A Gulf station was on the corner, then 108. Since my dad owned all the property, on that side of the street, down to the alley, the Gulf offered him their property to buy. He operated a parking lot on that corner until his passing in 1984. It is now owned by the White Rose Bar & Grill.”

Bonnie, how neat!! And I am so thankful to your dad and the other wardens during wartime!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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One Response to Ask Joan: Smithsonian and National Geographic edition

  1. max r. stump says:

    The comment about Air Raid Wardens brought back memories!! I was a Boy Scout in the 40’s and we had the job of making sure people had their lights off when we had Air Raid practice. Also the story about Camp Betty Washigton Road —- I used to ride the Ma & Pa from the train station in Red Lion to Spring Wood Park to swim when I was a teen. Really enjoy Ask Joan!!!!

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