Reminiscing about a different world, times

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, September 8, 2004

By Staff
Chuck Bodiford
In my column last week I asked the question, what were you doing half a century ago, and got an answer. While here at the office on Monday I received an email from a gentleman named Bill Arnold who told me what he was doing in that timeframe. The world Bill described in his email was both hard to imagine and fascinating.
The following are some of Bill's memories taken straight from his email. "To answer directly, fifty years ago I was entering my Senior Year in the School of Electrical Engineering at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University.
Being an active member of the Barnes' Boys annual gathering in Atmore, I am reminded of many High School activities and incidents, even a few from the days at the original Rachel Patterson Grammar School.
"For instance, I recall going to school in the fourth grade the Monday after Pearl Harbor occurred. Everyone was very somber and kinda scared that day. We knew that we had been attacked and a bunch of our sailors had been killed. Our teacher, Ms. Youngblood, was very kind and understanding. That day she introduced us to geography, i.e., where Pearl Harbor was located. She used a globe and we were impressed with the size of the ocean, the Pacific, which we came to know. As the war went on, we came to know about other far away places.
"Another lasting impression of the era was the Troop Trains that used to come through Atmore. School turned out for this event several times. We marched down Trammell Street to Highway 31 and stood alongside it as the trains went through town. We stood by the Ford Place across from the old Cotton Gin and sometimes near the Frisco Railroad overpass. The troop trains always slowed down and we would wave at the soldiers hanging out the windows. And, they would wave back at us.
"Of course, I cannot stop reminiscing without mentioning the Rationing Programs. The Government issued stamps to buy food, coffee, sugar, meat, shoes, gasoline and other items I don't recall. When the stamps for the items came there was always a flurry of activity with neighbors and friends to trade stamps for items not used by some families. Seems like stamps for shoes, coffee and sugar were always in short supply."
Now on Thursday we will as a community will be remembering that awful day in America's history known simply as 9/11. This single event took place more than 1100 miles from our town has impacted us each, especially with our local National Guard unit called overseas to assist in the war on terrorism. To Mr. Arnold, thank you for sharing with us your memories and to the citizens of Atmore, I urge you to come out and show your support of Company A remember those that lost family members in the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
Chuck Bodiford is an Atmore native and publisher of the Advance. He may be reached by calling 368-2123 or by email at

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