Interview of Richard Tritt by Susan Meehan on May 6, 2014. Tritt discusses his life in Cumberland County including Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, Boiling Springs, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Tita Eberly Summary
0 - 5min
Introduction. Born in Illinois but both parents were Texans. Tita was a family nickname that has stuck with her entire life. Adopted by Dr. Hirschner. Moved into the Hirschner house on the Main St. of Mechanicsburg. Childhood memories of growing up in Mechanicsburg. Late 40s early 50s. Small town and knew everyone within a couple of blocks. Movie theatre and five and dime. As a young child able to spend time on the streets with others everyone looking out for you. Went to the movies every few days.
5 - 10min
Only child for the first six years of her life. Then had three younger siblings in quick succession. Friends always remember Tita pushing a baby carriage after school. Father practicing medicine. Grandfather was on the first board at Seidle Hospital and father took his place. Later moved into grandparents home a block away. Father saw patients in a small office. The original Seidle Hospital was a part of Irving College. Eberly took her father-in-law’s place on the board. Was a part of the board when Seidle was absorbed by Harrisburg. Grandmother was an Irving College graduate from the Class of 1906. Music major. Played the piano for the silent movies. Lived in the home of Mary Thomas Brocker before moving into grandparents house.
10 - 15min
Broker's father was very involved in the community. Published a newspaper and involved with the Granger's Picnic. Mary was involved with the Chamber of Commerce so they heard about all sorts of items growing up. When living in their grandparents old home they lived near the school which became a part of their play areas. Charming Catholic Church which was very small. Went to a neighbors first communion and was very jealous. The Church was eventually torn down. Catholic community did not grow until after the war with the naval depot. One of the housing developments after the war is where the current senior High School. Went to Dan Drawbraugh's seventh birthday where his mother used food coloring on the food. Won drop the clothes pin into the milk bottle.
15 - 20min
Drawbraugh's father drove his grandfather's car to visit patients out in the community. Tenth grade English teacher was a very memorable teacher. Taught in the Dillsburg system after he left Mechanicsburg. Jan Wiley a Dillsburg. Attended Carnegie Tech as a clothing and textile major. Had organic chemistry classes and was a broad education. Had an internship at Hoards Department Store. Went away for the summer with sorority sisters. Went to Texas to visit family. Ended up getting a job in Houston, Texas with Niemen Marcus and was transferred to the Dallas store a year later. Then ended up marrying the boy across the street from Mechanicsburg. Got to know I. S. Eberly during her trip to Europe when Eberly was in the service.
20 - 25min
Stayed with the tour group but Eberly would take her to lunch and dinners. I. S. was at her seventh year birthday party. His family had been close with her grandparents and other close ties. Very small wedding. Lived on the third floor of her in-laws house with four rooms and a bathroom. Moved to another house on Main Street half a block from where they both grew up. I.S. had already become actively involved in the family business Eberly Lumberyard. Tita was encouraged to be the family volunteer and it was early on that she become active in the community joining the Seidle Board in the early 1970s. Part of the Mechanicsburg Museum Association's original board. Very involved in downtown Mechanicsburg. First woman on the Mechanicsburg Borough Council. Always busy and doing things with the kids. Junior League of Harrisburg. Was on the Mechanicsburg Borough Council for 12 years. Was a challenge due to the nature of the council at the time.
25 - 30min
Knew a few individuals on the council who she had a good working relationship with. In the midst of this time, I.S. bought an old-fashioned dry goods store called Biddles Dry Good on Main Street. Was a department store and you entered in front of the largest part of the building where there were large staircases up to the second floor. Probably the largest department store in Mechanicsburg. Was the late 1970s when department stores were closing. Had to eventually close the store. One year the West side of Main Street was dug down 18 inches to rebuild the street and the next year the East side was rebuilt. In the early 1980s was talking with Linda Humes an employee at the State Museum mentioned the Gift Shop Manager had resigned.
30 - 35min
Tita took over the State Museum Gift Shop for six or seven years. Belonged to the Museum Store Gift Store Association. Which is how she ended up at the Cumberland County Historical Society at the Gift Shop. On the board at time and knew the need for a gift shop at the Historical Society. Learned quite a bit through State Museum due to networking and contacts. Children all went off to college and left Mechanicsburg. Oldest involved in retailing and currently a VP at L.L. Bean. Middle is in internet marketing. And youngest is an environmental biologist with Stockton University.
35 - 40min
Family always traveled. Those exposures and not being interested in the lumberyard made them look elsewhere. Hard for Mechanicsburg to maintain its small town atmosphere when it is surrounded by large developments. The train was in the alley as a child and putting pennies on the track. Putting in the sewer system when a child. Digging up all the alleys which was a mess but fun to play in. Traveled to Harrisburg on the bus to shop and to have a Saturday out. Deals Drug Store was half a block from the high school. Everyone went there for a coke after school. Tita lived half a block from the store so knew everyone from the high school at a young age.
40 - 48min
Proms were held at the Hershey Hotel which was very glamourous. The Hotel was a place but not much decoration. Decorate the gym for parties. Little social clubs that would have small events. Best friend had a flower shop on Hoover Street and some of the best memories were handing out corsages when younger. Did own lawn not any or known landscaping services. Always had parades. One for every home football game. Football team would be on an Eberly flatbed truck with band and cheerleaders walking in front and behind. Halloween parades. Jubilee Days were always an event. Agricultural animals in front of grandparents house. Mother was appalled but Tita loved it. Kids just went downtown for the whole day. More local commercial items for sale early on. Not any outside vendors. Irving College alumna would meet at Allenberry for years. Railroad was a big part of life then.