Patrons of the Coaldale branch of Meridian Bank have provided the old-time items for an exhibit that's different from the bank's normal Thanksgiving displays.
The bank interior has taken on the look of what it was like at Thanksgiving in the 1950s, especially with the traditional football rivalry between neighboring Lansford and Coaldale high schools, which ended more than 20 years ago.
The schools no longer exist, having joined the former Nesquehoning and Summit Hill high schools to become the Panther Valley School District in the early 1960s.
But memories still linger and the bank display brings them back. A long red-and-white Lansford bunting is suspended high against one wall, next to an accompanying orange-and-black Coaldale banner.
The Lansford banner was provided by Bobby Gelatko, former athlete at Lansford who returned after a successful career at East Stroudsburg University to teach and coach at Panther Valley High. Mary Melley provided the Coaldale banner, along with pom poms and an orange athletic award letter “C."
Thelma Martinec furnished a helmet that was worn by her late husband Steve, who was an athlete at Coaldale and later became a PIAA official. Mrs. Martinec also provided pom poms and football programs. A brown and gold sweater and a pennant representing Summit Hill were furnished by Andy Soley.
Also Joe Yanacek of Lansford brought in a white Lansford sweater with the familiar red monogram letter "L." An orange and black jacket that belongs to Izzy Williams is also on exhibit as are trophies, yearbooks and photographs provided by Pat Stahler.
Nancy Fetsurka found a Coaldale sweater and a Nesquehoning maroon letter "N" to add to the display while Joe Fauzio provided Nesquehoning football programs. Frank DeFebo, former Panther Valley high football and track coach, furnished the Coaldale athletic sweater he earned as did Tom Terry, while Nick Teno brought in an orange and black seat cushion.
Marian Catholic High was also part of the same 1950s era and principal Jack Malarkey provided a pair of football shoes and a blue and gold banner for the exhibit. He played football for Panther Valley Catholic, which included the high schools of St. Jerome's, Tamaqua; St. Mary's of Coaldale and St. Ann's of Lansford and later merged to form Marian High.
The exhibit, which was arranged in conjunction with the bank's new Club 50 membership promotion, will continue until the end of the month.