I also found out, through the grapevine, that Peggy Newcomer was distantly related to Daphne’s family. Someone said they were second cousins twice removed, whatever that means.
Anyway, the day before the dance, I asked each of the students who their guests would be for the event. When it came to William Douglas, he said his mother and his cousin, Daphne Newcomer, would be attending. It was all I could do to keep from yelling, “Yahoo!”
On the day of the dance, the students and I spent the day preparing for the event. We moved the desks out behind the house and put a tarp over them for protection. The young ladies placed the cut out decorations throughout and swept out the room. The young men suspended lanterns from the ceiling, provided by Mr. Throckmorton, and gathered wood for the fireplace.
In addition to the lanterns, Mr. Throckmorton provided a table, a punch bowl, ladle, punch, plates, silverware and cups. Hattie donated a set of knives for cutting the pies and cakes. She also baked cookies for the event. I understood that a few of the parents were bringing cakes and pies. My desk was to be utilized for any overflow of food.
After school was dismissed, I went back to Hattie’s place. She had consented to help me serve the food and punch during the dance. We dressed in our Sunday best, and she provided a wagon for us to travel back to the school.
She and I were too uptight to eat. She was anxious about being amongst all the supposedly “landed” gentry of the Shepherdstown/Sharpsburg area. I was chomping at the bit to see Daphne.
We got to the schoolhouse before people started arriving and in plenty of time to get the fire started and the lanterns lit. Mr. Hentz and his two sons showed up right on time with their instruments. They brought their favorite stools, took their seats, and began tuning up almost immediately.
I have to admit, the old school house was all lit up from the lanterns; warmth permeated from the fireplace, and joyful music emanated from its interior. It could have been a cover from a Currier and Ives Calendar.