The Good Old Days
Just a stroll through town the other evening brought back precious memories. Memories of days past; a time when life seemed so long and time stood still. Remember those days?
The walk from main street to the high school had me living in dream land. There I was, like time at a stand still. Nearly as real as the movie ‘Back to the Future’!
I found myself at the alley beside the old ‘Hi Hat Club’, it was 9:15 p.m. and the band had just gone on stage. The music was load, the Golden Tones were blaring out Midnight Hour. Lots of people filled the back room as I gazed through the big plate glass window in the front. I knew them all by name. The long bar in the front was full and four guys were around the pool table.
With plenty of time to spare, I headed on up the street, it was a breezy 60 degrees, I saw lights on at the basketball court. That was my goal, get in a couple games, then head on up to the Charcoal Grill for a late evening snack, before going back down to main street.
I stopped on the way at Tri-City Motors to talk with owner Glen Cline, which was always a treat, but he had gone home. Randy White was working on the carburetor of a 1964 Chevy Corvair. He had just set the timing and was now fine tuning it for a smooth run. I drank a 12 ounce bottle of R.C. out of the pop machine.
Several other guys stood around outside smoking cigarettes. Randy asked me to hand him a 3/4 socket. I had no idea what in the hell he was talking about. I handed him a wrench of some kind and he said, ” that will work” just fine.
I said, see ya later Randy and took off for the ball court. Didn’t make it, some guys were sitting on Garrett”s Steps. We began throwing dimes to see who could get closest to the curb, always a good way to pick up some pocket change. City cop Burl Quinn was on duty, and stopped to remind us of curfew. At 11 p.m. the siren at the city building would sound and we had to be off the streets. Two guys bummed a cigarette off of Burl before he drove off in the towns brand new Ford Fairlane Cruiser.
We had around 4,200 people in town and a lot of kids. I was 16, going on 20, without a care in the world.
Over to the court I headed. Just as I walked past the school the lights went out. That meant a change in plans, walk up to the grill, or go back down to main street.
A lot of action was down that way, but I needed one of those great hamburgers. Heads I went to the grill, tails back downtown. I flipped the coin, heads it was, about that time Grant pulled up and gave me a ride in the Oldsmobile. Up to the Fatboy in New Martinsville we went. From there it was downtown to Jenny’s where you could get a drink with a fake I.D. from the five and dime. After a cold one, it was over to the South Side Inn for a fish sandwich, and maybe a draft, depending on who was working. New Martinsville was great, if Jenny’s didn’t work you had the Welcome Bar, Surf Club, Red Star, M&K, Franks Place, Uptown Bar and a few others. The best might have been the Red Star, but it was hard to get past Ruby!
By now curfew was past, so a stop at Marty’s Restaurant was in order. It was the 24 hour round the clock place halfway between the towns, more excitement and best food this side of Wheeling. My walk had been interrupted, but it was worth the drive. Grant let me out at the red light on Main, one of three in town at the time. .
I was now on borrowed time, so I made my way past Ray’s city snack bar, down past the B&M bar, and a quick stop on the corner of third beside Les Fagerts grocery. Across the street was Seaman’s meat market, I saw the light on in the back where they cut up the steaks.
A lot of kids were still out making laps, down the highway from one end of town to the other. It was easy to catch a ride, but more fun walking. I ran into a couple buddies and we headed on down main past the city building where Burl was stitting with his feet propped up on the desk. We went past Hazel’s grocery and the Bloody Bucket (Silver Star). Next stop was Meeks’ and then the Owls club. At the Owls we pressed the buzzer to get in and Flo Bomby opened the door. One more drink for the under aged before heading home. It was nearly midnight and no one had reported us missing yet. Tomorrow was Saturday, which meant 6-8 hours on the outdoor court, so out we went, back up the street. Once home I joined in for a little music before bed. The music would often go on for hours, but no one seemed to mind, it was just another Friday night, with so much to do. I don’t know how we made it, no phone, no TV stations, no computers, just guitars, record players and Black Label beer. Was it all a dream? Sure seems that way. Ed Parsons, firstname.lastname@example.org