In the past, I have discussed the value of small town life in respects to the closeness and companionship that we share with one another. As with other summer activities, socials and lawn parties allow for the fellowship and friendship that people in these small towns share to strengthen and be enjoyed by all, young and old. These days, towns have community days, churches have coffee hours, and neighbors have marshmallow roasts that can be enjoyed and celebrated. In this sense, not much has changed in the last century.
Socials and gatherings can be a chance to meet with old friends, as well as a chance for fundraisers to draw a crowd. In 1918, in Halcott Center, there was a “water-melon social”, and this seemed to be a great fundraiser for the Red Cross of the time. (8/16/18. Page one)
The guest at L. VanValkenberg’s homestead at Halcott Centre held a watermelon party last Sunday evening, August 11th.
The watermelons were bought in New York City and donated by Julian Offendorf in honor of Miss Katie Van Van- Valkenberg.
Jerry Lyons of New York had the honor of cutting it up and the guests all had the privilege of paying for each piece they ate.
Everybody agreed that it was ‘some’ melon and the Red Cross box at the homestead was made substantially heavier.
Red Cross lawn party
The Arkville Red Cross also held a lawn party with the goal of raising funds, and although we read the article and think that the $6.10 raised does not sound like much, when putting inflation and the change of monetary value into account, we can understand why the article seems please with this amount. (8/9/18, page one)
When out-of-town friends visit, it is always a good excuse to hold an event to celebrate. When Miss Ernestine French of Elmira came to Margaretville, it was no exception. Several gatherings were held in her honor, and all seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed. (7/5/18, page one)
Several social affairs have been held during the past few days in honor of Miss Ernestine French, a charming young woman of Elmira, who is the guest of friends. Last Friday afternoon Mrs. F. L. Greene gave a delightful luncheon in honor of Miss French and the occasion proved a very pleasant one. Saturday evening Mrs. J. J. Welch and Mrs. J. H. Gladstone entertained the Minerva Club at a theatre party and later at a collation at the home of Mrs. Gladstone; also in honor of Miss. French and the ladies spent a merry evening. Monday evening Mrs. Harry Belden followed the French class with a delicious supper with Miss French as the guest of honor. The ladies conversed in French and the evening was very much enjoyed.
Moving out of 1918, and into the turbulent 1943, people still enjoyed their get togethers and parties, even with World War II looming over them. The Ladies’ Social Society held an ice cream social, and once again this proved to be a grand fundraiser, with “over $82” being raised. The description of the beautiful church lawn on which the social was held shows us just how much effort was put into this event. (8/20/43, page 7)
The Ladies’ Social society of the Reformed church held a most enjoyable and successful ice cream social Wednesday afternoon and evening on the church lawn. The lawn was beautifully decorated with Chinese lantern, which was lighted at night. Mrs. Rudolph Gorsch and Mrs. Glenn W. Young were co-chairmen…over $82 was cleared.
Like in 1918, when guests came calling, it was an opportunity for people to get together and enjoy themselves. Miss Doris Abbott of Kingston’s arrival gave this chance to the people of Big Indian. Games, food and music must have made this event one to be at. (July 30, 1943, page 6)
Friday afternoon, Miss Vivian Kellenberger entertained with a pretty lawn party in honor of Miss Doris Abbott, who is visiting her from Kingston. Games were enjoyed outdoors and music around the piano. Refreshment from a beautifully decorated party table were served.
Churches as well had events that people could come and enjoy, such as the O.S.B. meetings in July of 1943. At the time when this piece was written, it is said that this is already a century and a half long tradition. (July 30, 1943, page 2, O.B.S. Meeting Sept. 15-18).
The Lexington-Roxbury Old School Baptist church will hold the association Sept. 15 and 16 at Shokan. Seven churches will comprise this association. Free entertainment will be furnished all guests and it is expected several ministers will be present. These annual gatherings have been held more than a century and a half.
In 1969, people did not cease to find reasons to get together and enjoy companionship with one another. This short announcement shows that socials were still going on and were likely events to get excited for. (July 17, 1969, page 10).
The Andes United Methodist church is having a pie social July 22, starting at 5 p.m.
When the B’nai Israel Auxiliary group used a card party as a fundraiser for the Margaretville hospital, they successfully raised $200. Card parties such as this were most likely something quite fun to attend and drew a big crowd. (July 3, 1969, page 2).
The ladies of B’nai Israel Auxiliary held a card party June 24 at the Synagogue Center. A profit of $200 was realized, and proceeds went to the Margaretville Memorial hospital fund.
It is in human nature to desire companionship and community, and people throughout history have found ways to satisfy this thirst for friendship. Small town get togethers and parties show how just how much people value their time with their friends and neighbors, and how such events help keep these human ties healthy and strong.