John F. Kennedy comes to Lancaster

Democratic U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy speaks in Penn Square, in Lancaster, Pa., on Sept. 16, 1960, several weeks before defeating Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon in the November presidential election.

Remembering John F. Kennedy in Lancaster

I started working at LNP in 1958, right out of high school. I was there when Sen. John Kennedy came to Lancaster. Most of us in the business office (mainly the girls) went out to see him and take pictures. I was right there when the woman fell in front of his car and he went into the Fulton Bank. When he got back in the car, he reached his hand out, as did I, and we were only 1/4-inch apart. I was so in awe seeing him that I wrote him a letter. I received one back that read, “With support such as yours, we will have victory in the fall.”

I was only 19 at the time and couldn’t vote for him or anyone. I also came from a Republican family. A workmate said he didn’t write or sign the letter because he had someone else do it. Boy, what a killjoy. She ruined my day. I was also there when a co-worker’s mother called to tell us of the shooting of President Kennedy. There was an eerie silence and tears in the office. I had gotten on the elevator to go deliver files to the fourth floor when Dan Cherry, editor of the New Era, got on with an assistant to discuss putting out an EXTRA edition.

I left LNP in 1974 to have children. I did come back and worked for Steinman Stations in the newspaper building until they sold the TV stations. I also worked at Showcase of Fashions, first at home and then at the store, as a bookkeeper for 32 years until I retired in 2003. Always have fond memories of working with the Steinman organization.

— Jean Mable Smith, Lancaster Township

Delivering the news

I began my first job as a Lancaster Newspaper’s delivery boy when I was just beginning seventh grade. I took the afternoon shift in New Holland to deliver the Lancaster New Era. I also delivered the Sunday News. I eventually became a weekday morning fill-in for a friend who delivered the Intelligencer Journal and had the neighboring blocks adjacent to mine. I had my own purple bicycle with a large basket in front. Most times I would park the bike and walk five or six papers to the front door. Sometimes I would throw them on the porch. Had over 100 customers covering six blocks.

My parents started a savings account at New Holland Farmers Bank in my name. I had a money bag for collections. The first two years my dad would take me around in his orange VW, I suppose for support but also to protect the money bag. I learned the value of work, responsibility, money and getting to know the neighbors. I delivered for five years and gave it up before the summer of my senior year in high school.

I made lots of tips and received unexpected Christmas gifts over those years. One customer was a grouchy Grinch year-round and it was always difficult to get my monthly payment from him, But he always gave me $5 for Christmas. I thank my dad and mom for their support during that learning experience.

— Raymond R. Shahowski, Lancaster

Thank you, and here’s to 225 more years of telling your stories [opinion]

A life linked with the newspaper, Steinman family

I was a summer student employee (these days I would be an intern) who worked alongside the New Era staffers pictured on the front page of your Jan. 6 (2019) edition. The man with his back to the camera is Elmer Curry. The others, from left, are Mart Rudy, Jean Bollinger, Carl “Doc” Netscher and Henry Hertzler, father of retired LNP photographer Richard Hertzler. Behind them, at her desk, is Mary Kroeger, the social editor. I saw Doc at home as well as at work because he was my dad.

He, Curry and Rudy were called “deskmen” and worked at that big desk editing copy and writing headlines. The desk was later moved to the other end of the room, near the big windows that overlook the first block of West King Street. I visited this newsroom many times, either with my mother or later by myself. We always remembered to stay away when the staff was facing an imminent deadline. The first two summers I spent as a part-time New Era employee in the late 1940s I worked for George Kirchner, the sports editor.

I recall how thrilled I was when he gave me my first byline. The third summer I was a general assignment reporter, answering to city editor Henry “Brugie” Brubaker. At the time, I was a journalism major at Penn State, hoping to follow in my father’s footsteps. It never happened. After graduation and a tour of military duty during the Korean War, I decided I would prefer working for broadcast rather than print media. I could do that without leaving the Steinman organization, finding a job first with WGAL radio and then with WGAL-TV, both of them Steinman enterprises. My father was not my only relative who worked at 8 W. King Street. Two uncles did likewise.

Also, I met the woman who would become my wife when we both were on Channel 8’s payroll. We’ve been married 62 years. I remember when people in the Jan. 6 picture used the “morgue” as their first line of research. Today, I imagine it is called the library. I remember the deskmen counting paste pots and scissors among the tools of their trade. I remember them using a pneumatic-tube system to send copy back and forth with the composing room. [This is still in use today.]

I was a newspaper carrier while in my early teens, distributing copies of the Sunday News while astride my faithful Rollfast bike with my close friend and fellow cyclist Alan. Our route took in West Lemon Street from Mulberry Street — where we picked up our papers — to College Avenue, plus the first block of the streets that touched Lemon on the north. We rode our bikes from our homes in Grandview Heights. In a later year, I delivered the Sunday News by myself in Glenn Moore Circle. My life has been linked with the Steinmans for many years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the relationship.

— Nat Netscher, Lititz

A thank you from LNP's publisher, president as we celebrate 225 years: You inspire us

Late nights with Dad in the newsroom

My late father Don Crownover, an educator by vocation, also was employed by Lancaster Newspapers Inc. in 1958-76. He began as a copy boy, and then from 1960-67 he was a “stringer” for the two dailies, the Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era. While there, he even had the honor of writing his two daughters’ birth announcements. From 1970 to 1976 he was a sportswriter for the Lancaster Sunday News under two sports editors: the first, the late George Crudden, then, beginning in 1971, Bill Fisher.

Whenever my mother, a registered nurse, had to work on a Saturday night, my dad would bundle up the two of us in our pajamas and take us along to LNP when he went in to finish and file his stories. We were always excited to go to the newspaper office with daddy. We’d fill a book bag with whatever activities we thought we’d need and, once situated at a vacant desk, we’d color and do connect-the-dots or play with Colorforms and paper dolls, with the click-clack-ring of daddy’s manual Royal typewriter and the teletype machine providing the perfect soundtrack.

Of course, once our work was completed, we’d enjoy a visit to the vending machine, where daddy would buy us a pack of Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. To this day, I can’t see Peanut Chews without thinking fondly of our father-daughter bonding time at Lancaster Newspapers. And I have no doubt that my father’s moonlighting helped inspire his two little girls in their love of the written word, too.

— Deb Crownover Gilgore, West Lampeter Township

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