Did you get hot dogs from Peppi's on Thomas Street? Spend hours playing video games at Replay Arcade in Tollgate Mall? Did you shop at Mammoth Mart before it was an Ames? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you may have grown up in Harford County.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,572 people ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s, had joined a group on Facebook called "You may have grown up in Harford County, Maryland if …" to take a trip down memory lane, posting tidbits from their childhoods and sharing stories of growing up in HarCo.
Go to the page, facebook.com/groups/229680413742855, and you'll find posts from group members such as "Does anyone remember Montgomery Ward at the mall?", "Who can forget the long lines at the filling stations during the gas rationing?" and "You spent most of your summers in a tube floating down a creek!" It's memories and tales like these that has the group quickly gaining popularity. The number of group members is constantly increasing and wall posts frequently earn "likes" and numerous comments from other members.
Reading favorite — and sometimes not-so favorite — stories from others who grew up in Harford County has spurned thousands of people to join in on the fun, connect with others they've never met outside of the Internet and catch up with people they've lost touch with over the years, like a large online reunion.
Going through the wall of posts is like looking at a time capsule of the county.
One person posted, "How bout Eney's (sp.?) store in Pylesville. I used to get a Coke in a glass bottle and a Marathon candy bar," to which another group member replied, "Used to work there when I was in [high school]. I miss those 16-ounce returnable bottles. At least some had a date on the bottom and some of those were really old. I think I remember coming across at least [one] that was from the '30s or '40s."
High school is definitely a hot topic of conversation on the Facebook page.
"Remember when there was no Joppatowne [High School]?" posted one woman. Another person shared that you may be from Harford County "if you remember Hickory Elementary as a segregated school." Several people did. One man asked how many people still had their class ring. After 43 years, he still had his and it "still looks good."
Similar in name and concept, "You know you're from Harford County when …" is another Facebook group — facebook.com/groups/2410031442 — where locals have been reminiscing about the good ol' days. With 2,572 members as of Tuesday afternoon, the group's wall is updated often, though not at the same speed or frequency as the other group.
One poster asked, "Anyone remember when there was no Hickory Bypass?" Another posted, "Remember how awesome Discovery Zone was?" One group member declared that Uncle George's on South Bond Street— now MaGerks — was the place to go to for the best crabs.
Old photos posted on the page have also been jogging people's memories: a black and white picture of Main Street being repaved in 1978; Bel Air High School's enormous marching band; mangled remnants of car in front of a Shell gas station on Route 1 (just 33 cents a gallon!) that was part of the attempted courthouse bombing in 1970.
The good, the bad, the fondly remembered — it's all a part of Harford County's rich history. And for those who never got to swim at Delta Quarry, miss those nights spent at Harford Glen or never knew Havre de Grace had a movie theater, this page is for them and all the memories that have yet to be made in the county they grew up in.