The McGinniss Family of eleven children grew up on Main Street with Hagersman Run in their backyard, Hurr’s Dairy horse stable on one side and the brewery on the other. Her father operated a taxidermy on their property in front of their home that he built in 1929. He operated his business until he became too ill and then served as the Janitor for the Mountain Avenue Elementary Grade School.
Helen remembers damming the Hagersman Run so they had a swimming pool in the summer and she even caught a few fish with her bare hands. When she and her siblings were older, nearby Mountain Beach swimming and hiking were their summertime adventures.
The McGinniss Family, like so many South Side families, were affected by wars. Her father, George L., Sr., served in WWI; two of her brothers, Raymond and George, Jr. served in WWII, and shortly after Helen was married, her husband John was drafted during the Korean War. Stars were displayed in windows to represent the number of service men and women from that family in war. In school, air raid practice was routine. All the children were moved to the center of the building, the windows were darkened and the children sang songs. Helen remembers that the music was soothing. Air raid wardens supervised home practices when dark blinds covered windows and all house lights were extinguished. Another community activity during wartime was collections of scrap metal and grease.
Helen’s father suffered from tuberculosis and died at an early age, so her mother became a single parent of a large family. “We were never poor” because of a caring community, their church membership and the veterans’ group. She does remember that Sunday dinner was usually beef roast and creative meatless meals during the weekdays.
Notes: her uncle Will McGinniss owned and operated a greenhouse and florist shop next to the Dixie BBQ that was operated by Jim Casey (daughter Orvin Opp?)
Mark Restaurant on Southern Avenue was her destination on weekends when her older sister worked at the South Williamsport Bank. Her job was to take her sister’s lunch order to the Mark.
Remembers that the first area drive-in movie was at Mountain Beach.