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Ask Joan: Memories of Sears, and a Gitt family update

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful to be able to share memories of York with you.

What’s inside

1. A brief Gitt family update
2. Memories of Sears, shopping center

1. Last week, I shared a photo from Judy Weaver of West Manchester Township, wanting to know the name of the woman in the photo below.

Judy Weaver of Manchester Township sought information on the woman in this picture.
Judy Weaver of Manchester Township sought information on the woman in this picture, later determined to be Elizabeth Moul Gitt.

I posited it was Elizabeth (Moul) Gitt, the wife of former Gazette and Daily publisher J.W. Gitt, and I was pleased to get a letter this week from three Gitt grandchildren confirming this was so, and even providing more information on the photo itself.

From the letter:

“We hereby confirm the photo of Philip A.L. Glatfelter shows Mrs. J.W. (Elizabeth Moul) Gitt, sitting in the library in her home on Hershey Hill on Route 194, just outside Hanover, Pennsylvania. Elizbaeth was the granddaughter of P.H. Glatfelter, paper plant founder. She was a cousin of the gentleman pictured in the photo with her. The three of us… offer our confirmation. We find it ironic you found it problematic to determine Granny Gitt’s name as she was very much a character in her own right, winning the distinction of having her name on Nixon’s Enemies List, the Women’s Golf Championship at Hanover Country Club in the 1920s and 1930s, and as operator of the Hanover Day Nursery from 1938 until her death (in) 1993.”

The letter is signed by Bruce B. Rebert, Jeffrey G. Rebert and Sandra L. Rebert. I’m so happy to be able to share those additional details, and I thank all three of you very much!

2. Some time ago, I receive a letter sharing memories of the York County Shopping Center that I’ve been meaning to publish for some time, and I’d love to do so today!

It comes from John “Jack” Krug of Springettsbury Township, and he writes:

“Do you remember ACME, Feller’s, Food Fair, McCrory’s, Joe the Motorists’ Friend, to name only a few. Later Roger’s Toys, Ray’s barber shop, the bowling alley, the music store and Jack Horner Shoes… Yes sir, the shopping center was the place to go on hot evenings. You could just walk through Sears and enjoy the air conditioning. The Sears store soon became one of the best stores in the chain and it was my good fortune to be promoted as the general manager. That was in 1969. I had been with Sears in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. I mention this only to point out that Central Pennsylvania was different and my family and I really loved it. This is evidenced by the fact that 30 years later we are still here.”

Jack continues, “Now the shopping center lasted well over 30 years and it needed a face-lift, so from that beginning we now have the York Mall, York Galleria and yes many more. If you stand in front of the fruit section of the Giant grocery store and let your mind wander back you would be in the hardware department of the old Sears.”

He added, “The York County Shopping Center employed hundreds of young people. Many of you in the audience worked there either full or part-time; it was a great way to meet people and at the same time learn the value of work. In just 50 years the township has exploded. Look around, many of the old names are now gone but so many more have taken their place. If you want to learn more about the history of the township, I suggest you read the township centennial book. In this book you will read the interesting contribution made by Mahlon Haines. This is truly a great story.”

And Jack concludes, “Now before I close I want to ask just one question. How many of you remember the Sears hot dogs? Memories come and memories go. Each of us can look back to enjoy what was and we can look we can look forward to what will be.”

Well, you know I loved Sears hot dogs! Those were a treat for me growing up and one I remember fondly and have talked about many times. So I was very glad to recall them in today’s column!

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!

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