This group of young men above called themselves the "gang", but in NO way can they be associated with the connotation of the word today. They gathered together in their "shack" to plan their activities and just enjoy each other's company. A big agenda they created was travel. As Elizabeth Cooney Hanna, a friend of Bill McNamee's sister, Elizabeth McNamee Ringler, recalls; she and Bill's sister saw them off on one long trip. There will be snaps of this trip forthcoming.
This little shanty, told to me by my dad, Mort McCardell, is the one where the young men spent much of their time, after work, of coarse. It seems they made their parents very happy by spending their time together planning trips and worthwhile persuits instead of hanging around in the pool room. The pool room was considered very bad for young men. People smoked cigarettes and said bad words in those places. Bill and six of his friends, bought this structure, which resembled a motor home. As he paused to think, he concluded that it was a reporter, probably working for the "Whig", from whom they bought it. They paid $7.00 a piece to call it their own. They borrowed a truck and moved it to their chosen spot. It was a cozy place with a stove and couch, a place where they could stay out of trouble.
The location of this little building was at the bottom of Stubbs Hill coming into Rising Sun. Turning left into Brookview Cemetery Lane, it was located next lot on the left along the little brook that ran through the property. At the time of Bill's writing this, he states, "only one person is still alive.....Mort McCardell. Mort died in 1989.
left to right: Arthur "Pud" Ryan, Unknown, Carlton Nichols, Wes Ferguson, Mort McCardell
Photo from Mort McCardell Collection
Standing left to right: Howard Wilson (Bill's uncle), Emma McNamee (Bill's Mother), Miss Pocohontas Reed and Frank Davis (family friends). Seated front to back. Bill McNamee, Katherine Kirk, and Maude Kirk (Maude Ashby). Photo above was gleaned from Cecil County Historical Society.
After 83 years of his life, Bill McNamee's reminiscence of his early years takes him back to the family farm in Upper Principio, where he spent the first nine years of his life. Like a lot of farm kids, Bill recalls, "I had an animal to take under my wing and raise. I loved that little calf. I even built it a house. Then one day a man came along to buy my little calf. It broke my heart!" Being able to laugh at it, as he told of his heart break, years later; he said "I took croquet balls and threw at him." Bill still remembers his first day of school. Marion School, a one room school house, was located on Red Toad Rd. As many old-timers lamented to their children, they had to walk a mile to school, Bill did also; one mile each way. The teacher gave him a slate and a slate pencil..........no tablets in those days. He remembers how the pencils on the slates sounded like a pack of woodpeckers pecking away. At recess young Bill and his friends would play with clay marbles, leaving behind traces of black knuckles. Everybody carried a lunch bucket and it always contained a hard-boiled egg. In order for the boys to show off for the girls, they would crack their eggs on the top of their heads.
In 1915 the McNamee family moved to Rising Sun. Bill attended the Tome School in Port Deposit. In order to catch a train for his desired schedule of the day, he had to rise early enough to wash, dress, and eat before catching the 6:02 A.M. train. He would arrive in Port Deposit at 6:35A.M. and that would leave him with two hours to fill, before school started.
What to do? Like most boys, he and his friends made very wise decisions. They had forthought enough to slip in their bathing suit, along with their other school paraphernalia, and they had a golden opportunity to take a swim in the Susquehanna River. When the weather was not so appealing for a dip, they would fish, play tennis, or just hike around. The school day was long and they would not arrive home until 4:45 P.M.
Bill said his teachers were all great, but he remembers Cedric Lewis fondly. He was patient with Bill and when Bill took his college entrance exam he made a 95 in a subject, "I thought I'd never learn.....math!"
This information was taken from notes Bill McNamee himself has left with the town of Rising Sun, Md. to hopefully someday be published.