The year was 1943, and the U. S. was at war. In hopes of helping the war effort, two eighth-grade students from West Main ventured over to South High Street to retrieve aluminum cans from the depths of Cargile Cave. Those two brave little girls, now 88 and 90, were Jane Alexander Knapik and Gladys Ham Davidson.
Knapik recalls, “I don’t even remember how we got down into the cave, but we did and filled our sacks with cans. We didn’t venture very far, however, as it was a scary ordeal.”
Davidson adds, “We had a long history of being told by parents and adults to stay away and out of the cave. Stories of bats and lost souls kept us at bay until, in the eighth grade, we had a good reason to disobey all previous warnings.”
“Jane was the brains of the operation. It was the planning and scheming for weeks to develop the plan that was the most fun. Taking Jane’s family flashlight was the biggest threat to being caught as flashlights were considered a household luxury then. We were scared to death when the day came. However, it was under the guise of a ‘good cause’ and just another adventure in the lives of girlfriends.”
Davidson doesn’t remember how they got down into the cave but was worried how to explain to her mother how she got cuts and scratches on her legs and was so dirty as they were wearing dresses back then.
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