Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We had fun in Canastota

Can you remember when the Canastota High School band and cheerleaders would march through town with the football team after every win? Do you remember our majorettes with their white and maroon high hats with a visors and feathers? When did they change to gold? Leland Wright would play his bugle and everyone would yell, “Charge!”

Do you remember the old high school on Peterboro Street with its entrance on the north side for boys and on the south for girls?

There was a balcony around the upper floor where you could stand and watch the activities below, especially basketball and wrestling. Many a romance blossomed along the balcony as girls watched their fellows play.

Adult basketball teams that played there, too. It was exciting for the fans as well as the team.

A picnic was held at the end of the year either on the school grounds or nearby. Everyone looked forward to it.

Didn’t we have fun?

Can you remember the Feast of Assumption Days when the downtown streets were lined with booths where so many organizations sold such delicious foods?

How about the one-act plays presented by local people who had talent you never thought they had?

The crowds that would come, and not just on Aug. 15. There would also be block dances where traditional Italian bands would play folk songs and popular music.

The Onion Queen contest that began early in the month would culminate with the crowning of the winner and the parade.
There would be fireworks at the airport. Public displays were rare because of the economy, but home fireworks were still legal, so everyone who could afford them would set them off, especially of the 4th of July.

On Easter Sunday, you would go to church with all of your new clothes, corsages and fancy hats.

At Christmas Mass at St. Agatha’s, everyone dressed in their best attire with furs, diamonds and elegant hats. People got to church early just to watch the arrivals in their finery.

Firemen’s Field Days started on Thursday with a small parade for inspection of the various companies that would on Peterboro Street, Center Street and other side streets.

The grand parade would be on Saturday. Everyone went to the field which was up over the Terrace boardwalk to the vacant field, which now has the Southside School on it for the food, rides and entertainment.

There were several stages with tents, with paid performances. Most people walked to the field back in those days.

If you were near the old fire station you would smell the luscious aroma of onions and peppers firemen were cooking ahead to sell at the field days.

These are a few memories of Canastota back in the 30s and early 40s. What did I miss?

Remembering is fun for the soul, especially when they are pleasant memories. Bad ones should be shelved and forgotten.

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