Montgomery was nearest town to the Solomon farm. When Aunt Marina was a child, she probably made the 5-mile trip into town with her parents in a horse and buggy. By the time she was an adult, the family would have had a car (a Model T??).
Today Montgomery is a shadow of place it once was. Many of the factories closed years ago–and most people shop at malls in outlying areas rather than downtown. When my husband and I recently visited Montgomery, the front window of the Montgomery’s Pharmacy contained a display that showed the town’s proud 125-year history. Aunt Marian was born in 1899–so she would have known the town when it was in its infancy.
The farm where Aunt Marian grew up is located very near U.S. Route 15, which is a major north-south highway in Pennsylvania. The intersection near the farm is right before the road starts to ascend the mountains south of Williamsport. (An aside: Williamsport is where the Little League World Series is held each year.)
When I take photos of the Solomon homestead, I’m always surprised how near it is to various commercial establishments that line the highway. It is probably less than half a mile from the farm to a Family Dollar store, a Subway, and a surplus outlet.
According to Joan Wheal Blank in Around Montgomery:
Now known as U.S. Route 15—a major highway that extends from South Carolina north into New York—the section referred locally to as the Montgomery Pike opened in October, 1930. Before the road was improved, tolls were collected at the top of the mountain to fund any repairs or grading that was needed to make the dirt road passable.
I don’t think linearly. As I struggle to get my head around who Aunt Marian was, and what she was like, I think about the years she was in the military—but I also think about the first 45 years of her life.
Aunt Marian was the born on a farm near Montgomery in southern Lycoming County, Pennsylvania in 1899. She was the 6th of 13 children. I have a few very low quality pictures of the farm that probably date from the 1930s.
It’s changed a lot over the years. The barn is long gone—though the silos are still stand silently guarding the landscape.
When I recently walked past the farm, if I squinted a little, I could almost see a pre-teen Aunt Marian laughing and chasing her siblings around the yard playing tag on a lovely spring day . . I could also almost see a huge vegetable garden at the side of the house waiting to be planted as soon as the soil dries out a little. . . and cows in the pasture. . . and . . .
Aunt Marian was born in 1899 and was the sixth child of Frank and Carolyn Solomon. In all there were 11 children. Another way of putting it is that Marian was the middle child in a family of 11 children.
Marian had six sisters (the oldest, Lillian died of the flu in 1918) and three brothers (though one, Leroy, had died before she was born).
The family lived on a farm in central Pennsylvania. The farm was located in the southern part of Lycoming County near Montgomery.
Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)