Remember When: Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Christmas TreeUnless you were the ambitious sort that got your Christmas tree up after Thanksgiving, you might be working on that task this weekend.  We asked the editors of The Bloomsburg Daily to think back to putting up their trees and recall the good, the bad, and the ugly of the event.

Kristin Camplese doesn’t really remember where her family would get the tree, just the arguments (or “discussions” as parents call them) about getting the tree in the stand.  “Pre-drilled stands didn’t exist and it required parents holding the tree and screwing in the stand simultaneously, which inevitably ended up with a crooked tree and some not-so-magical holiday memories. It was all good in the end when the tree was decorated and my dad’s train was circling around it, but there were always some pretty sketchy moments leading up to that.”

Bob Rush said this: “My dad would always have a tree. Being in business he had friends that sold them. He would always put it up on empty egg cases and put the train around it. I alway liked the bubble lights. In the 60s my mom got a new aluminum tree! They were the thing then. They shined a lite on it with rotating colors. I was always more interested in what was under it!”

Not all trees were the kind you had to cut down. Cole Camplese recalls going to the attic in his Grandmother Camplese’s house in Wheeling, WV where they would pull out a fully decorated (lights and all) aluminum tree. “It was a spectacular silvery blue color, to this day I’ve never seen anything like it!”

What are your Christmas tree memories?  Real or fake tree? Where did you go to get it?  What adventures did you encounter?  Were you a colored or white lights family?  Which ornaments do you remember in particular?  Did you have tree drama (a victim of it tipping over, perhaps?), or did you have interesting or fun traditions?  Tell us all about it!

Remember When: At the Movies

Remember when Bloomsburg had a Drive-In Theater? How about when there were movie theaters on Main Street? Did you know that not only was there the Capitol and Columbia, but at one time there was also a Nickleodeon on the west end of Main Street? This week we share our memories of being At The Movies.

My earliest movie memories are all tied to the Capitol. Remember when it was all one theater with a balcony instead of two screens? The ceiling had the most beautiful and intricate medallion on it — probably a leftover base from a chandelier that was before my time. I always got to the theater early so I could get my favorite seat (the middle of that center row, the row that had no one in front of it so short people like me could never get stuck sitting behind a tall person). I must have spent hours over the years, staring up at that medallion, listening to that tape they played before the movie started. Do you remember it? “I’ve been to Paradise (But I’ve never been to me),” and “The Age of Aquarius” were on there. Does anyone remember any of the other songs they used to play before the movies at the Capitol?

And remember that side exit they would open when the movie was over? Remember the mask that hung in the alleyway?  

The first movie I ever saw was Star Wars at the Capitol. I was only five years old so I fell asleep before the Death Star blew up. But I went back to see it many many times after that and was so in love with movies because of it, I knew I wanted to work on them when I grew up. And now I do! What was the first movie you saw in town? Which theater was it in? And does anybody remember when the Capitol showed “The Molly Maguires” (see this column’s photo)?


I only have one memory of the Columbia Theater. By the time I was a movie-goer, that theater had fallen into quite a state of disrepair but they showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” so I had to go there! About…14 times!


Dave Henrichs has these Bloomsburg movie memories:

“I remember waiting in line for the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton.  The line was down the street to get into the Capitol!!!  But the first movie I remember seeing there was the first Muppet Movie with my mom, sister and grandmother….


Cole Camplese has these Capitol memories to share:

“I remember when Kramer vs Kramer was there and the lines were around the corner. The same thing happened for ET, the Muppet Movie, and Jaws. All movies I saw at the Capitol!


And Jack Edwards learned a valuable life lesson at the movies in Bloomsburg:

“There was a movie I wanted to see at the Capitol, ‘Green Mansions’ I think it was. It was a beautiful summer afternoon so I emptied my piggy bank, and with my life’s savings in my pocket I walked out to Old Berwick Road and waited for the next North Branch to come by. I got off at the corner of East and Main and headed towards the Capitol theater, window shopping along the way. About three doors from the theater, there in a store window, were two new hot rod model car kits, “The Green Hornet” and “The Black Widow”. It was a tough decision, but I chose the Green Hornet, $1.49, and counted my money one more time. I had it made! But when she gave me the total, there was this thing called ‘sales tax’! Now I was a nickel short of the 25 cents it took to get into the movie!

I needed a loan, so I walked down Main Street to Grammy Edwards’ bake shop. Grammy wasn’t there! She was running an errand and Nola, the lady who worked for her, was taking care of the store. Now what?

Nervously, I explained my predicament to Nola and asked if she thought Grammy would mind loaning me a nickel. She laughed and said, “Of course not”, and handed me a dime from the cash register.

After the movie I walked down to my grandparents’ house on Railroad and Third where I was to meet my parents. I had to explain my financial obligations to my mother. She wasn’t too happy about it. She looked me in the face and said, ‘Don’t you ever again buy anything you can’t pay for!’”

What are your Bloomsburg movie memories? Add on to the conversation below.

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards)

Remember When: Downtown Shopping

Welcome to week two of “Remember When…” The response to our first column was overwhelming and very entertaining! While some of us lamented the loss of The Texas, Peking Restaurant and Letterman’s Bakery, others had fond memories of Ash & Naunas, Moyer’s soda fountain, and Herr’s. And check out the comments to find out what folks are saying is the connection between Charlie’s, Stuccio’s, and Grotto’s pizza. I still haven’t figured out what the name of the bakery on the corner of West & Main was, though… All that and more are still open for discussion at: “Remember When…Main Street Eats.”


For this week’s column, I’m taking the lead of one of our readers, Dave Henrichs. Last week Dave wrote:

“Remember the huge portrait of J.C. Penney (the man) that used to hang over the stairwell of the Main Street store? I’ve often wondered what happened to that picture….I wonder if it is still in Bloomsburg somewhere….”

I remember being quite intimidated by that painting and nearly tripping several times in an effort to keep my eyes on it while going up or down the stairs as a child. It was one of the first pictures I saw where the eyes had that uncanny ability to follow you wherever you were.

Remember When…Downtown Shopping


Cole Camplese has this downtown shopping memory:

“Remember that we had a Sears downtown that was multiple floors? The part I remember the most was the catalogue pickup area in the basement. We’d order my St. Columba uniform from the Sears Catalogue and then go to the basement of Sears to get it after they called!”

I remember that basement well, Cole. My memory is of standing in line with my Sears Wishbook, looking at all the toys, waiting for our turn at the window to get our packages.


Melanie Strickelis was impressed that at Woolworth’s:

“…you could get anything…real goldfish, parakeets, hamsters, clothes, shoes, food, keys made, anything you needed!!!”

And Jeremy Harvey remembered this about the old five and dime:

“I remember saving up my weekly allowance to buy 45s (records) at Woolworth’s. Some favorites I bought include Eddie Rabbit’s ‘I Love a Rainy Night’ and Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney’s ‘Ebony & Ivory.’ I also remember buying albums at Record & Jeanswear.”

Jeremy, I bought the K-Tel “Rock 80” 8-track at Woolworth’s! And I learned how to decorate my walls by taping album covers on them from Record and Jeanswear!

What was your favorite record shop in town? Woolworth’s? Record and Jeanswear? What about Pro Audio or Record Review?


Remember all the clothing stores that used to be on Main Street? Que Pasa, Jolly Jean Giant, Racusin’s, Arcus Dress Shop, Eudora’s Corset Shop…and what about The Small Mall?

And how many shoe stores did we have? J.S. Raub’s, Endicott Johnson’s…what else was there?

Kristin Camplese remembers a male employee at J.S. Raub’s:

“…who was very friendly, not too tall, and had very curly hair.  Anyone remember him?”

I think I do but he never helped me. I was always helped by a nice, white-haired lady, but I only remember her name as Winnie because that’s what she always called me. I had a yellow shirt with a small embroidered logo of Winnie the Pooh holding a balloon…I probably only wore it once to buy my new school-year sneakers but I was “Winnie” for ever after that to her. Does anyone remember her real name?

I got the fastest pair of sneakers in the world from her one year. They were so awesome that, after walking uptown to watch the new Superman movie at the Capitol with my grandmother, I ran leaping home, convinced that I too, could fly.

Speaking of the Capitol…well, that’s a whole other “Remember When…”


Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Downtown Shopping” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at:

-Jen Ralston, The Bloomsburg Daily
Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards

Remember When: Main Street Eats

This is your column. It is our hope you will use it to tell our stories: Bloomsburg’s stories. It will grow and meander,  just like a conversation. It is a conversation: our conversation with our past. Where is this going? We’re not sure yet. It’s up to all of us.

I’ll start:  

My name is Jen Ralston and I was born at Bloom Hospital in 1971. I moved to New York City in 1989 to attend college and stayed there to pursue a career in sound editing for film. I still work in that field and because of that, I usually have to be somewhere other than Bloomsburg for work. But I come home whenever I can and I still call Bloomsburg my home.

Today, I am in San Francisco and I’m hungry, so my memories are tending to be food-related…

Remember When…Main Street Eats

I remember watching a soft-spoken man named Charlie hand-toss fresh pizza dough at — where else? Charlie’s Pizza.

We were a Charlie’s family, for sure, but I loved Luigi’s thicker crust. And, of course, their arcade room and all the different pinball machines! Remember the one that was named after a card game? The goal was to use the flippers to knock down tiles that looked like cards. Was it poker? Blackjack?

Which was your favorite pizzeria on Main Street?

Do you remember the Texas Lunch? Chili cheeseburger with mustard and onions – that was my favorite at Texas. They had great fries, too. The only fries I’ve had since (outside of the Bloomsburg Fair, of course) that compare are from In-n-Out Burger.

I also remember their jukeboxes – one in each wooden booth. Most of the selections just had the artist’s name and two songs (the A and B sides of a 45…remember those?), but for some reason, Linda Rondstadt had a single on the juke with a tab that was a tiny picture of the cover for the Living in the USA album – a photo of her in roller skates.
Do you remember Woolworth’s soda fountain? I used to love their vanilla Cokes and floats. What about their candy selection? Candy cigarettes and bubble gum chewing tobacco? Pop rocks, wax soda bottles, and pixie sticks?
And finally, do you remember the bakery on the corner of West and Main Streets? What was it called? I loved their whoopie pies. I remember the night it burnt down. We lived in an apartment building two doors down. I didn’t realize I was a deep sleeper until I slept through the fire alarms and woke up in the morning to the charred remains of the shop. No more whoopie pies! As Nature Intended opened up in that place next. I started eating alfalfa sprouts. I also remember they sold Haagen-Dazs. I loved the coffee ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. Remember when ice cream was considered health food? (Me neither!)
That oughta be enough to get us started! Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Main Street Eats” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at:

Photo by rob_rob2001