Tuesday, October 25, 2005


(Run originally 4/19/04 on our old site)

Ann Shannon Snodgrass

Speaking of phone booth stuffing—

Does anyone remember our stuffing a phone booth with band members (probably 1956, 1957)?

Were we in Batesville?

How about arm wrestling, using the top of the tympani drums? You can tell that I remember the "important" things.

(Phone booth stuffing? No. Arm-wrestling on my kettledrums? YES, because I’d have to do a major league re-tuning every time they were used for that purpose, despite the cardboard and canvas covers protecting the stretchable heads. –tlp-)

Harold Gene Sullivan

I have loved reading about the memories of Latimer Grocery. His name was Lester, but I don’t remember hers: it was always Mr. and Mrs. Latimer to us.

The store was on the same block we lived on and I could go down there by cutting through several back yards and then going in their back door. The back yards I cut through were those of Charles Ward’s grandparents, James Louis Wyatt’s parents, Don Thompson’s grandparents, and Bobby Latimer’s parents. We, too, kept an account there, which Dad would pay off every time he delivered Pepsi to them. It was really convenient. When Mom would need a little something, she would just send me down to get it, it took only a few minutes. When I made these trips, I never really thought much about how it got paid for. Of course, I always asked mom if I could buy some candy. Had to ask because, any time I asked for candy at the store, Mrs. Latimer would always ask if my Mother told me I could have some. Boy, those Mothers really stuck together.

After Lester died, and long after they had closed the grocery, my Mom and Dad would still stop by and visit with Mrs. Latimer. I remember Bobby Latimer’s dad bringing home a bobcat kitten. It was really cute and they kept it around for several weeks. However, even though it was friendly, it could never learn to play with its claws retracted, and so it kept everybody all scratched up. Finally, Bobby’s dad took it back out to their farm.

Another store I remember … after Bobby Scott’s dad left Kroger, he opened a store at West Race and Hwy 16. I loved to watch him cut meat; it always amazed me how he knew what to cut. I loved the minute steaks from there. Mom would buy them every once in a while. If I remember right, they were put through some sort of machine that really made them tender. They cooked real fast, and were great on a sandwich.

I usually rode to school with my Mom, since she was teaching and going the same time I was. Often, we would pick up Mary Beth Cook and Carthal Mac Angel, who were walking. However, I always walked home, since Mom would stay after school to do some work.

Those are some great memories, walking up Vine or Academy Streets with neighborhood kids. Seems like we always found something interesting to do, often getting home long after my Mom did. But, as you remember, in those days kids were free to wander anywhere in town: no one ever worried about them.

I think one of the biggest changes in society from those days is that kids’ misbehavior is taken care of much differently. When growing up, if someone caught you doing something you shouldn’t, they just called your folks.

I remember one Halloween, several of us had been all over town causing mischief. When I got home, Dick Hart (the policeman, not Anita’s dad) had already called my Dad and told him about it. Dad was waiting for me and, believe me, I would have rather been arrested than face my Dad. That was sure more effective that all the juvenile courts.

Tom Pry

The minute steak machines more-or-less punched pinhole-sized holes through the otherwise rather tough meat. My mother and grandmother accomplished roughly the same thing by pounding it with the edge of saucers, although they were never quite as tender as those minute steaks.

As for mischief .. it and “teenager” seem to be different parts of the same word. Biggest difference, I suppose, is that we didn’t use Uzis and, what we did do was merely annoying or inconveniencing, not deadly or even particularly malicious.

The thing that most sticks out in my mind, though, was our relationship with the local police: we regarded them, at worst, as acquaintances and, at best, as friends. We spent more than one Friday or Saturday night, too broke to go anywhere but the armory at Race and Main, then stand around the parking lot watching our bumpers rust while we discussed, usually, physical attributes of various of our classmates .. female. If it was a quiet night (always), invariably the night shift cop would stop by, get out of his car and join us. He was NOT “checking us out,” he was just doing what we were doing: visiting.

Wouldst cops today get their butts out of their RPCs and get to know the kids a bit better, too, and let themselves be known to the young people (equally important). Our relationship with the night shift cops kept OUR butts out of trouble more than once.

Of course, this relationship had its drawbacks: you couldn’t get away with a thing. One bunch, one boring night, went out in a pickup truck and raided someone’s watermelon patch. They filled the truck so full that, on the drive back to town, their low beams were shining into the treetops. That was borderline enough but, to add insult to injury, after they and various kids had gorged themselves on watermelon hearts, they decorated the square with the leftovers. I saw the mess, and it WAS a mess.

I was not around for the denouement, though. As it was given to me, right or wrong, the police bided their time for a few hours (it hadn’t taken them long, apparently, to identify the culprits) and then, when the perps had had a chance to go to sleep, they were rather rudely awakened by the Boys In Blue, who stood and supervised while, in the wee small hours, the guys who MADE the mess were made to clean up the mess.

I love it when the punishment exactly matches the crime.


Post a Comment

<< Home