Just for Fun: Signs around E-town



In June, my sister Jan and I visited our Longenecker kin in Elizabethtown and the village of Rheems close by. One morning we took a stroll around the square in E-Town and found that though the town clock was still planted in place, the merchants we knew had disappeared. Dorsheimer’s News, Bishop’s Photography, Moose’s Five & Ten, The David Martin Store, and Zarfoss Hardware had changed into something else entirely: a bakery, a coffee shop, a train specialty store, and further down Market Street, an antique shop about to open.

These signs caught our eyes at the opening-soon antique shop:

Not-so-discreet advice: Notation reads July 14, 1941 Reno - Las Vegas
Tactful notice: Notation reads July 14, 1941 Reno Hotel Association, Las Vegas


Pay up! Notation reads: Virginia Beach, VA  1943
Pay up! Notation reads: Virginia Beach, VA 1943

Next we visited The Shoppes on Market, brim full of signs and mottoes for sale:


Then we admired the always festive store front of Flowers in the Kitchen Cafe all gussied up for the Fourth of July celebration:

Flowers in the Kitchen Cafe with patio dining. Used to be
Flowers in the Kitchen Cafe with patio dining. Used to be

Greek Gus @ Gus’ Keystone Restaurant tweaks his menu to suit Pennsylvania Dutch palates. Dried beef gravy on mashed potatoes, Wenger’s ham loaf, pork and sauerkraut any day, and pig stomach just on Wednesdays. As I snap this photo, one obliging soul obligingly rubs the belly of the greeter.


Less than a mile from Bossler’s Mennonite Church, the truck on the Kevin Charles farm delivers fresh bounty from the field. We buy 2 boxes of strawberries, a pint box of sugar peas, and 5-6 stalks of rhubarb. (See recipe for rhubarb sauce below.)


Miniature tractors for sale at Darrenkamp’s Grocery Market near Mt. Joy, PA


* Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce Recipe

Soak 5-6 stalks of fresh rhubarb

in water to “cut the bitterness,” Mom says.

Drain off the water.

Add fresh water.

Cut up stalks into 1/2 inch chunks and bring to a boil.

Add sugar to taste   “. . . until it’s sweet enough”

and 2 tablespoons of tapioca  “. . . just what you think,” Mom says.

Mixture will thicken as it cools.

  *  *  *

Have you returned to your home town recently and found it changed?

How have these changes affected your memory, your emotions?


♥ Coming next: Happy Birthday to my One and Onlies

38 thoughts on “Just for Fun: Signs around E-town

  1. It sounds like you had a great day with your sister, Marian! The signs are so funny.

    I’ve never made a rhubarb sauce–what do you serve it with? I made a blueberry-rhubarb crisp a couple of weeks ago that was delicious.

    I haven’t had a chance to catch-up with blogs or post lately, but I thought of you the other day when I saw this slideshow of photos of Lancaster then and now.


  2. I have just looked at the “Lancaster Then and Now” slideshow. Yes, it brings back memories. Mother’s attorney has offices in Penn Square, so we usually go by the Fulton Theatre to get there. Sometimes I feature snapshots from Lancaster on my Facebook page.

    About rhubarb sauce: You would serve it with whatever you serve with applesauce, a side dish that is almost like a dessert. It would go well with a cookie or wafer.

    Again, thanks for being the first out of the gate today and adding to our knowledge of Lancaster history, Merril.


    1. Another commenter suggested vanilla ice cream as a topping for rhubarb sauce. Same would apply to the pie version as well I would think. A reward for reaching your writing benchmarks maybe?


  3. Isn’t it fun to stroll down the streets of E-town and see how things have changed? We sometimes drive thru but you see more when you walk. There is always a train display in the library over Christmas so I get to see a little bit of the streets nearby. I found a good rhubarb recipe that it is almost cakelike when we eat it.


    1. I’m not usually in PA at Christmas-time, but I’d like to see the train display at the library sometime.

      About the rhubarb – it was fresh in PA in June, but when I got back to Jacksonville, it was not available. Good thing Mom made some sauce while we were there. Nice to see you in “comments” today, Shirley.


  4. We had a neighbor and local merchant who displayed a hand printed poster with the 10 Commandments on it in her country store. It was a quiet, yet a faithful, representation of who she was as a person.


    1. Fresh Fields Farms in Jacksonville has a huge sign with a few lines from II Chronicles imprinted. Next time I go I’ll pay attention to the chapter and verse. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I loved your post this week. Can’t wait for the next edition, Traci!


  5. Marian, this is a delight. I’m still smiling, especially at the sign with scripture on one side and the price of rhubarb and onions on the other.
    E-town reminds me so much of the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma towns I discover when I get off the interstate. Some of my favorite craft and pottery pieces were discovered in shops along the way.


    1. Folks in small-town America are not shrinking violets when expressing their views. Close to a farmer’s market, Root’s Sale and Auction, we spotted a sign which read “Impeach Obama.”

      You’re right: local craft and pottery pieces are usually reflect the unique qualities of the region. I still have some a matched pair of American Indian children painted on a sued-like fabric, framed. I brings back memories of my trip to Albuquerque, NM. I’m glad you enjoyed the E-Town tour, Marylin.


  6. the landscape of where i live is changing constantly. I’m always amazed at the change of a block I saw say 2 weeks back, now glass and steel housing fancy cars.
    Thanks for your post Marian-loved all the signs!


  7. It sounds like spots in your area are becoming gentrified. I’m glad I could bring some E-Town, PA flavor to followers like you. Thanks for adding to the conversation, Susan.


    1. Wander around E-Town and you’ll see more, Mary. Thanks for the nod today.

      By the way, let me know when you find a place to insert the irony/paradox quote from Purple Passages. My 10-year-old grandson “got it,” which made me proud.


  8. Marian – Sister Reunions are FUN! My sister visited me a couple of weeks ago and we had a laughter-filled, wonderful time! The signs that you shared made me smile. The recipe looks delicious! A neighbor on one side of us keeps insisting that we have GREEN rhubarb. I’ve assured her (and re-assured her) that’s it’s a weed called Elephant Ears. If it were rhubarb, it would have already found its way into a delicious, mouthwatering pie!

    At a very young age we moved from Scotland to southern California. My father and sister still reside there (my sister on the coast; my dad inland), so when I visit, it’s not to the part where I grew up, but two different locations. Two years ago I specifically went to the town where I attended elementary, Junior high, and high school — my goodness had it changed! And the house we lived in looked completely and totally different (much smaller than I remembered).


  9. Your sister story reminds me of a quote by Christina Rossetti from Goblin Market:
    “For there is no friend like a sister
    In calm or stormy weather;
    To cheer one on the tedious way,
    To fetch one if one goes astray,
    To lift one if one totters down,
    To strengthen whilst one stands.”

    Thanks for your sister story. I imagine that we’ll hear more about your adventures with her in future posts. Looking forward to it!


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the hoot and the holler, Melodie.

      By the way, I believe I have seen a recipe for a rhubarb dish recently on your website, Melodie. Readers, click on her name in blue above and get acquainted with her and her writing. She has published at least one cookbook and regularly serves up wisdom and nostalgia on her blog.


  10. If you sit in the back of the cafe there is patio seating with umbrella tables right next to the herb and vegetable garden. You may not even need those sunglasses, Marie–ha! Thanks for checking in today.


  11. I’d like a sign that says, “Blog Reader Ladies, make Cliff a strawberry rhubarb pie.” I’ll take my pie with a fresh hot cup of coffee, thank you.


  12. A lovely trip through your old stomping ground with all those wonderful signs. You have a great eye for beauty and humor, Marian. Thanks.


    1. Maybe you could write a blog post about how the three could be connected . . . or not. Probably not! My guess in both cases it’s tied to changing times and demographics. That’s the case in E-Town too. Thanks, Jenn.


  13. I loved these signs, Marian, especially the one about “young at heart, older in other places.” Made me chuckle.

    My Mom used to make rhubarb pie – a real tasty treat. I haven’t had rhubarb in years, but your recipe looks wonderful. 😉


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