Saturday, December 20, 2008


Back last January I did a post on the name Adolph. Another name you do not often come across today is Clarabelle. In doing family tree research it is a name you come across with some frequency. Altho it does not occur as often as the Marys and the Elizabeths etc, Clarebelle, or some variation of it, did occur often enough that almost all of us have someone in the family tree with that first name. So why did parents stop giving this name to children in the 1900’s?

As those of us who are in their 60’s are aware the popular Howdy Doody TV show had a clown named Clarabell Hornblow. The show ran from 1947 to 1960. I can’t think of any girls in our class who were named Clarabelle, but I do know of a couple who had mothers with that name and they lived in fear that someone would let the cat out of the bag and tell the class their mother was named Clarabelle. Clarabell, the clown, didn’t talk and ran around with a horn he honked, sort of like Harpo of the Marx Brothers. There was a little song sung on the show about Clarabell.

Who's the funniest clown we know?
Who's the clown on Howdy's show?
His feet are big, his tummy's stout,
But we could never do without,
Clara, Clara, Clarabell!

Who has fuzzy-wuzzy hair?
It's partly red but mostly bare.
And since the day that he was born,
He's honked and honked and honked his horn.
Clara, Clara, Clarabell!

There was also a Clarabelle the cow who was a Walt Disney cartoon character that was started in 1928. I think however Clarabell the clown was the death knell for that name from the 1950’s forward. Perhaps the name will return as the baby boomers die off and a new generation will find this variation of Claire to be THE new baby name.

Happy Birthday Elbert

Today is the birthday of noted Laurel blogger Elbert. Happy Birthday Elbert!!!

Today is Delmar's Birthday

Today in 1859 the town of Delmar was founded. Happy 149th Birthday Delmar!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wicomico Day School Christmas Show

Wicomico Day School gave their Christmas Pageant entitled "Around The World At Christmas Time" today at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church and the place was packed.

My niece's son, Gavin Dennis, had a piano number he did with Cami Lasley, thusly the reason why I was there.

I did enjoy the show. There is something about tots and pre K kids in a Christmas pageant that you just have to enjoy watching. As the title implies they did little skits from countries around the world.

Naturally everyone had a digital camera or camcorder going thru out the show. A DVD was to be made available on Monday.

One of the instructors (or older student)with her group was dressed in Swedish dress as Santa Lucia (without the candles in her headdress). Sainthood is an odd thing as it usually involves dieing. The story on St. Lucia is "she became a saint because a man loved her whom she didn't like, Lucia's mother asked her to marry the man but she refused so the man heard about this and he said he would burn her. But Lucia prayed to God to have the power to survive the fire. Because of her kindness to others her wish was granted. The man tried to burn her but she had the power to withstand fire so the man got a sword and stuck it into Lucia's throat. Still Lucia survived for three more hours speaking beautiful words." Anyway the image of a young girl dressed in white with a crown of greenery and candles on her head is a nicer image than the story.

I had to leave half way thru but it looked like it was going to be a good two hour production.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Planning and Zoning Commission December 2008

The Delmar Planning and Zoning Commission had their December meeting tonight. The members that were there were; Vice Mayor Michael Houlihan, William Boyan, Carl Anderton, Jr., Joe Dixon and Joy Slabaugh. Ed Ferro and James Henderson were missing. My usual disclaimer is I am not part of the commission and what I write is my personal views, not the minutes, of the meetings. It is also just the parts I want to comment on or write about. If you want to know the real story go to the meeting.

Michael Houlihan gave a certificate of appreciation to Joe Dixon and Joy Slabaugh for volunteering their time to serve on the commission. James Henderson and William Boyan had received their certificate of appreciation at the Town Christmas Party.

Danny Maszara came before the commission to request an extension of approval for the Pheasant Lake development on the Maryland side of town. The original approval extended to September 2009, however, he says with the down swing of the economy he did not see starting the development in 2009. The Commission gave him an extension until September 2011 which coincides with the extension he received from Wicomico County.

David Contera from Delmar Commons LLC came before the commission for Monument sign approval for the new building being constructed on Pad Number One. The monument Sign was approved.

Tim Bourcier, Project Manager and Alex from Davis, Bowen, and Friedel, Inc came before the commission to talk about the upcoming comprehensive plan for the Maryland Side of Town. He presently expects for it to be done and approved by August 2009.

Lou Alberti came before the commission with a concept plan to subdivide the Hastings property at North Maryland avenue and State street. He would like to add two houses with the existing house on this property. The Commission felt adding one additional house would be acceptable. He said he would talk to the property owners about this.

John Bajger, via his daughter Wendy, request approval for a house be build at 702 E. Walnut Street. the approval was given.

The meeting was over about 8:30 and the commission went into executive session.

The Bridge On the River Kwai

Today in 1957 the movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai" made it's New York City premiere. Much like Christmas carols, the theme song is one that is hard to get out of your head once you heard it. So whistle while you work.

1958 Jimmy's Market

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keith Dennis Turns 40

Keith Dennis, that legendary accountant at Perdue Farms, turns Forty today. Happy Birthday Keith!!!!

Forty really is a turning point so along that line let me print Forty Thoughts On Turning 40.

1) At 40 you are no longer the young and upcoming fast track person but now the senior member of the team

2) Your next boss will be younger than you

3) New hires, straight out of college, are coming into the firm with salaries at 99% of what you earn.
4) At forty you are where you are going to be for the rest of your life, there is no longer any rapid advancement, if you are not successful by now you will never be.

5) You are no longer tolerant of anyone or anything.

6) You are more inclined to tell people to shut up.

7) When your boss asks you when you can do some urgent task, you feel more free to say: "How about never? Is never good for you?"

8) Gardening is suddenly good.

9) You realize that you are old enough to be the father of most of the models in the Victoria Secret Catalog.

10) Within weeks of turning 40 you will lose the ability to read anything close up; lose part of your hearing; lose much of your short term memory; and apparently, lose most of your humor. You will find reading a ”turning 40” list is not nearly as funny as when you read it at 25.

11) Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size and to add to that the Discovery Channel says those brain cells you have left, starts to slow down at 40.

12) The growth gene for Nose hairs and ear hair will kick in at 40.

13) Your younger colleagues think your libido requires chemical enhancement, or that it's OK to make jokes about the probability that it does.

14) You realize there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.

15) You argue with the television. You always win.

16) Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember
them either.

17) You can only call your self middle age if you really think you going to live to be 80 and with your life style that seems remote.

18) People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"

19) People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

20) Things you buy now won't wear out.

21) You can eat dinner at 4 P.M.

22) You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.

23) You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

24) You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

25) You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

26) You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into
the room.

27) You sing along with elevator music.

28) If you were to ever get on "Dancing with the Stars", you'd be one of the 'older' contestants that the judges will marvel at your ability to still move well.

29) Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

30) Nothing good really begins with the letter "F" - fat, failure, freak, faulty,
foolish, falling-apart...

31) You don't get smart-alecky black balloons and snarky cards in your 30's.

32) Whoever said you can feel like two 20 year olds, is clearly a liar.

33) People expect you to have some sort of "wisdom" when you get this old,
and clearly, you don't have it, however you are thinking about starting a blog.

34) You are called "Sir" with a lot more frequency.

35) When someone says "You still look so young" - it lacks the sincerity that it
used to have.

36) You have to check a different box on some applications or survey when asks your age.

37) You can't really fit 40 candles on a cake - unless it's a really BIG cake. Then
you're laughed at if you can't blow them all out! Plus 40 candles on a cake creates a really big fireball!

38) In another ten years AARP will start sending you applications to join them.

39) There are new "tests" that the doctor wants to do when you hit 40

40) You are that much closer to death.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hamm Brewing Buys Gunther - 1959

In December 1959 the Theo. Hamm Brewing Co. announced the purchase of Gunther Brewing Co. of Baltimore. I think this started the downward slide of great Baltimore beers. Gunther Brewing was once the most popular brewer in Baltimore and in 1950 was the largest. Gunther Brewing, originally spelled 'Guenther' was founded by Bavarian native George Guenther in 1881 soon after he reached the U.S. Hamm was attempting to expand its territory into the East and bought Gunther as its first outpost. Rather than continue to brew Gunther for local customers and introduce it's own brands over time, Hamm's instead eliminated Gunther's brand immediately (negating all the local loyalty). Hamm's only stayed for three years before selling the brewery and brands to Schaefer, a large Brooklyn-based brewer. Schaefer reintroduced Gunther as one of its budget brands and won back some of the local customer base. Schaefer itself continued in operation until 1976, when its operations and brands were sold.

Gunther Beer Baltimore rival was of course the National Brewing Company which brewed Natty Boh (National Bohemian)and Colt 45. National started the whole "brewed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay" campaign after Gunther was sold to Hamm's. Hamm's was from the Twin Cities, and Hamm's used "from the land of sky blue waters" as its jingle. National, of course, tried to emphasize their local roots. The Hoffberger family owned all of National and a big chunk of Gunther. National Brewing was sold and resold and resold. Today I think it is owned by Pabst Brewing Company and the beer is made in North Carolina.

I think the 1960's and 1970's was a low point in this country for beer making due to all the takeovers and buy outs of regional beers by national beer companies. Once brought, the quality of the beer went to some generic taste that could be made anywhere and shipped here.

Howard S. Beach Promoted to Sargeant - 1955

From the Bi-State Weekly December 16, 1955

Howard S. Beach of Delmar entered military service in April 1954. He received his basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After completing his training, he went on to the clerical typist school at Fort Jackson.

Sgt. Beach has been in Guchan, Korea, since November, 1954, and is now with the Military Police Section as personnel clerk. He was promoted to his present rank in October, 1955.

Sgt, Beach expects to return to this country in March 1956, when he and his family will return to their home on Eighth Street in Delmar.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tipping and Gifts Received

It’s that time of the year again where everyone has their hand out expecting something. Be it auto companies, newspaper delivery people, or charities who want money or canned goods. As many are aware in a previous life I was an accountant so giving money away is not in my makeup. Once again we are faced with Christmas Tipping. There are several internet guides as to how much to tip and the only thing I can say is; what world do those people live in? The only gardener, maid, parking attendant, building supervisor, doorman, or dog walker around my house are the people who live here. The media is controlled by New York City and they seem to think the rest of America lives the same life they do so you end up with these stupid ass tip guides. Are you really going to tip your child’s teacher? Hell she makes more money than you do, works half the time and has a hell of a retirement plan. Are you going to tip your day care? You are paying them an arm and a leg now to take care of that precious bundle of joy, Hell no you don’t tip them. Your mail carrier? In town they are Federal employees, why would you tip them? For Rural mail service they are usually contractors. Again why would you tip them? Frankly the only one I am tipping this year is my newspaper delivery guy. In spite of his heavy handed tipping suggestion I am aware they don’t make that much money and they are out there way before dawn driving in the ice and snow all so I can look at the cartoons in the Daily Times or News Journal over my coffee in the morning. Frequently the cartoons are the only thing worthwhile in both papers.

While I am on tipping at Christmas lets talk about some gifts I have received over the years. First, why would anyone think that I would want a card wrapped up in Christmas wrapping paper that say “Good for one Hug”? Do I look like a hug type person? I am sure the person that gave it thought they were wonderfully creative but keep your damn hug to your self. Second, Gift cards - why don’t you just put a ten dollar bill in the gift box, it has as much thought behind it as a gift card. I don’t know of anyone who would get excited over a gift card (Okay maybe a little excited if it was to the Canton Inn in Seaford). Third, a card that says $100 dollars has been contributed to the “Save The Whale Foundation” in your name. Need I say where you can stick this card? If I wanted to give to a charity or non-profit let me select it. Plus who gets the tax deduction on this me or the person that gave it in my name? Fourth, a star in a galaxy you are never going to see has been named after you. Are those people for real? Why don't they just throw their money out the window and what in the hell am I going to do with the damn framed Star certificate? I guess put it with the useless ass college degrees and training certificates I have accumulated over the years. I am sure over the years the people who have gave me these gifts thought they had came up with THE ideal Christmas gift ideal for a scrooge of a person. Trust me they did not. HO HO HO

The Auto Makers Bailout

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Living with the Blue Laws

Sunday shopping, in a few hours stores will be opened (some already are) and everyone will rush out to shop on Sunday. WalMart and the Centre at Salisbury, like many retail outlets, is a crowded place on Sunday. It is hard to think that twenty-one years ago the Mall in Salisbury was closed on Sunday and the grocery stores and the lumber yards of the time like Lowes and Moores were also closed, but that was the way life was on Delmarva. Back then Delmarva had what was called “the Blue Laws.”

Blue Laws were laws promulgated to ensure we observed Sunday as a day of worship or rest. They simple said you could not sell anything on Sunday unless it fit a certain narrow classification. As I recall the items you could sell on Sunday were; drugs and medicines, gasoline and oil, tobacco, prepared meals, milk, bread, fruit, confectioneries, newspapers and magazines. It seems strange, today, that tobacco products would be allowed to be sold but not other items like food. Each county could modify these laws to allow the sale of other items or to allow entertainment. I think Wicomico County was one of the more strict counties. The only businesses I remember being open on Sunday were Drug Stores, Restaurants and gas stations.

The general concept of what could be sold on Sunday revolved around Sunday being a day of rest for the family. So items of limited recreational use for a family which might take a Sunday ride into the country and they would need gasoline for the automobile and may wish for a soft drink or fresh fruit or a meal at a restaurant or those who go to the beach may wish ice cream or some other item normally sold there and of course newspapers and drug products should always be available to the public. The Sunday ride was an institution in my family.

Because a Drug Store could sell medicine on Sunday the Blue Laws created the modern Drugstore as we know it in America. The reason they carry all those items beside drugs was because they could stay open on Sunday and they had no competition, now they legally were not allowed to sell most of the items they had in the store but some drugstores did, others didn’t. Reads, Central, Gordy’s, and Salisbury drugs are the main drug stores I can think of in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Later Dart drugs and the rest of the chain drugstores would come to town. I can remember going in to Salisbury Drugs on a Sunday and seeing most of the aisle marked off with rope preventing Sunday sales of those items. Come Monday the ropes were removed and business was normal. Sometimes there was simply a poster that said these are the items we can not sell on Sunday. I read somewhere that the Ice Cream Sunday was created due to the Blue Laws that prevented selling “soda water” on Sunday. I asked Dick Dykes about the drug stores at the time and he said “ I remember the Peoples Drug Store always sold anything on Sunday and then suddenly they weren't allowed to by law! I think the downtown merchants in Salisbury were responsible for this. They were a pretty powerful bunch in town then you know. The Benjamins, The Hess's, The Powells and a few others.”

Maryland has always been known as a corrupt state where favors can be purchased, so it was no surprise that lobby efforts were made to have products moved into one of the exempt from Sunday Blue Laws classes. The medical supply classification was popular as was the the other strange exempt class of novelties and souvenirs . Items such as shampoo, body soaps, tampons, toothpaste ( I have second thoughts on toothpaste, I think toothpaste may have been an item they couldn't sell on Sunday - I just don't remember) etc were available on Sunday. As time moved on into the 1970’s even more exceptions and exemptions were made to the Sunday Blue Laws.

Along a similar line the Blue Laws created today’s convenience store. Since Gasoline Stations could stay open on Sunday they started selling Bread, Milk and newspapers and evolved into today’s convenience store. Certainly in the 1950’s Bank’s Cash Market on College Avenue and Division Street in Salisbury was a busy place because of that. The Banks Market would form the center of a chain of Banks Convenience stores later, and in turn, they would be bought by the Shore Stop Chain of convenience stores. Others market stores of these type were; the Tony Tank Market, Campbell’s Market, Bob’s Cash Market on Baker street and Price’s Pickup Store on Alabama Avenue.

Back in the 1950’s there was a limited number of chain stores. As I have said in previous posts Woolworth, Wards, Sears and Penneys were the main ones in Salisbury with Safeway, Colonial, A&P, and Giant being the chain grocery stores. The rest of the stores were Mom and Pop operations and I think they must have liked the blue laws as they worked six days a week in their store and the only way they could get a day off was by way of the blue laws. They knew if they were closed, the chain grocery stores such as Safeway, Colonial Store, and Giant Food would also have to be closed thusly the chain stores would not have an unfair competitive advantage over them by staying open on Sunday. It was also a time when you were known by your reputation and a store owner had to pretty much be in church on Sunday otherwise he would get a reputation as a heathen who didn’t believe in God and no one would come to his store.

As for entertainment some places (bowling alleys) could be open from 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. it was assumed you would be in Church before that time and after that time. If you lived in Wicomico County and wanted to see a movie you went to Delmar, Delaware because Delaware allowed movies to be shown on Sunday - if they were in the corporate limits of a town. Because of this Blue Law, Delmar Delaware added an odd town limit boundary line. When the Drive In wanted to open in Delmar they requested they be put in the town limits due to the Blue Laws. So Delmar annexed a narrow ten foot wide strip of land by the railroad tracks and ran it North to the Drive-in movie where it was extended to their land creating a hatchet head effect on the town limits. Later Wicomico County relaxed the laws on entertainment and movies etc could be shown after 2 PM until midnight.

Living under the Blue Laws was like everything else - you adjusted to them. You had to plan ahead for what ever items you would need on Sunday. It may have been lumber for a home repair project or food for the Sunday Dinner or car parts for a home car repair project – you had to buy it Saturday. If you did need some item on Sunday and didn’t have it you had to find someone who did have it so you could buy it or borrow it until Monday (dare we say the blackmarket). The image of the housewife running next door to borrow a cup of flour came about in part from the Blue Laws. In the case of alcoholic beverages there was none sold on Sunday but there was always the local bootlegger. In this case bootlegger didn’t mean moonshine but simply pint bottles and half pint bottles of regular liquor that the person sold on Sunday or after liquor store hours. They would also make home deliveries the same as the milk man. I understand there was a bootlegger that hung out at Reuben Holden Pool Hall in Delmar.

So why put up with them? In 1960 a case was bought before the Supreme Court against Maryland Blue Laws. The case was known as McGowan vs Maryland, in it the
“Appellants, employees of a large department store on a highway in Anne Arundel County, Md., were convicted and fined in a Maryland State Court for selling on Sunday a loose-leaf binder, a can of floor wax, a stapler, staples and a toy, in violation of Md.Ann.Code, Art. 27, § 521, which generally prohibits the sale on Sunday of all merchandise except the retail sale of tobacco products, confectioneries, milk, bread, fruit, gasoline, oils, greases, drugs, medicines, newspapers and periodicals.”
The end result of the case, in 1961, was the Supreme Court decided in favor of Maryland and held .

“Art. 27, § 521 does not violate the Equal Protection or Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or constitute a law respecting an establishment of religion, within the meaning of the First Amendment, which is made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.”.
“The present purpose and effect of most of our Sunday Closing Laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens, and the fact that this day is Sunday, a day of particular significance for the dominant Christian sects, does not bar the State from achieving its secular goals.”

So the courts said the Blue Laws were fine and legal.

The reasons why the Blue Laws went away are many; shopping pressure from the wife in the family taking a job, the divorce rate going up so there was only one adult per family, and the replacement of Mom and Pop Stores with chain stores. I think I can say when the chain stores replaced the small stores, shopping became more convenient but family values eroded. No law can be enforced by government if the majority of the people are not in favor of it. As long as Wicomico County remained isolated, the prevailing powers could enforce the Blue Laws. Once the “outsiders”, in this case, Chain stores, started moving into the county, Wicomico County was no longer able to control the enforcement of Blue Laws. No longer was there a “day of rest” in which all family members were home at the same time. I think in the last election there was some talk of a “Day of Rest” once a week by Obama and Clinton, were they talking about a return to the Blue Laws?

In July of 1987, the State of Maryland repealed the Blue Laws everywhere in the State except Washington, Allegany and Wicomico countries. So on Sunday, July 5th the Malls were open, there was an extra day of shopping and an extra day of work for some people in all of Maryland except for those three countries. As I recall shortly after this, maybe in the fall of 1987, Giant Food told Wicomico County they had had enough of the Blue Laws and starting on Sunday they intended to sell everything in their store the same as they would any other day. There was no legal action taken against Giant Food and the enforcement of the Blue Laws collapsed in Wicomico County which ended most of the Blue Laws.

Today; you can still see the effect of the Blue Laws more in tradition than actual law. Banks, the Post Office, Government offices, Chick-fil-a and other stores, are closed on Sunday or have hours that are after Church. In some cases it is law as in Car Sales, the signing of contracts, the hours and dates you can hunt wildlife, etc. look around you, you can see some Blue Laws and the aftermath of the Blue Laws still.