Past memories still linger in my mind

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yes, It always whispers to me — those 1940s, 50s and 60s days of long ago.

And, sadly they have all passed from us never to see anymore. Who among you can fondly capture those nostalgic memories as they were in those by gone days? Were you there? Were you a part of it all? Well, I was there and I really know some of you were too.

In the 50s, I can still see George Bowab exiting his Bowab Clothing Store joining up with C. Williams who is leaving his post office post and meeting up with Bud Mason from the Floral Garden — as they walk down to Bristow Drug Store to join the gang for early morning coffee.

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Bobby Griffin’s mother and dad were fixtures in their Cinderella Dress Shop on North Main and Sandy Furney could be seen loading his bread truck in rear of his Atmore Bakery getting ready for his morning bread deliveries. His son Lloyd could often be seen helping him load up.

Count the number of times you parked along Highway 31 watching an L&N train pass under the overpass at the same time a Frisco train passed overhead. And count the number of times you went up to Marshall Robinson’s cucumber soaking vat only to have Marshall invite you over for some mouth smashing raw cukes.

Many back then took their vehicles to R Leon Jones Motor Company for regular servicing while others drove into Gerlach Motors or Bricken Motors for service.
Can’t you see Cliff Bethea standing in his East Nashville Cliffs Cash and Carry grocery store doorway inviting customers in?

And, only once or twice in a two-to three year span, Randolph Maxwell would keep friends spellbound expounding on his foreign travels.

The younger set — as well as some older folks — would be eagerly anticipating new movies coming to The Palms Drive Theatre situated on Pensacola Highway just below the state line.

The day would not be complete without a trip up Highway 31 for a filling breakfast at The Torch Café.
The skillful jeweler, Mr. Skinner would take his lunch break strolling from his Ridgeley Street jewelry store, passing by and waving to Claude Peacock as he stood in front of his barbershop. And Alvin Slay would perch on his favorite bench in front of I G Nichols Clothing Store, bidding good morning to friends who came by to speak to him.

“Nubbin” Davis always took time to hold conversations with patrons who came in to shop for groceries at The Yellow Front Store on North Main Street. By the way, I think that store marketed the best hoop cheese in town.
Those hot summer nights found many of us at the Old City Pool, not just to swim but to participate in old-fashioned square dancing. Joel and Louise Day and Tom and Ernestine Miniard were always the first to get the dancing underway.

Mr. Buxton proudly boasted about his loyal customers who frequented his Jitney Jungle grocery store. And Mr. Marshall and Mr. Nall catered to their customers at respective North Main and South Main walk in “Quick Shop” grocery stores. Hilton Hall and Mr. Malone catered to their favorite customers who came into A&P for their freshly ground 8 O’Clock coffee.

Marshall Patterson, Preacher Wells and Mr. Deakle were instrumental in catering to Irish Potato growers by setting up potato grading sheds along both railroad tracks. It was a tremendous boost to our economy as many found employment at these sheds. (I was one of them, too).

There are many businesses and individuals still embedded in our minds from those bygone days. Some of them are Elmores, Hoehn Trading center, Seven Oaks, Up In Norman Hotel, The Casoloma, Stallworths, The Elec Shop and Western Auto.

Well, I could go on and on with stories like this. And, I might just do that in future columns if you want them. I often wonder who would write these columns after I am gone. Who was there back then and experienced firsthand all those memorable events and people? Who could put it into words? I am just glad to know these scribbling of mine are embedded in our Advance archives for those who are not even born yet.

Hey football fans did you catch that play New England used during the big game last Sunday night? Of course I do not know what the play was but it began with quarterback Brady yelling, “…set … set … ALABAMA … set …” Do you suppose it could have something to do with the Patriots coach and his association with Alabama’s Nick Saban?

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at