Nostalgia is all about remembering the past

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What is nostalgia anyway?

I suppose you could say it is remembering events or people from the past and inserting them in a special spot in your bank of memories.

I often think of those three months back in the 1950s when Atmore police spread a dragnet all over town attempting to nab Willy Smoot, the elusive burglar and finally cornering him in the loft of one of our drug stores. His elusiveness was outlined in several news articles in newspapers from the surrounding area. Each time the officers though they had him cornered he managed to get away. And, the day he was captured reporters flocked here to question him about his many escapades.

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Then, there was that day in the very early 1950s that a large Baldwin County truck filled with freshly gathered monkey grass ran into a bus at Atmore’s Bus Station Café. Crates of monkey grass piled up in front of the main entrance and Ruth Cunningham, the station owner, called on two former Fountain Prison inmates to clean up the the boxes of grass and loose dirt. Those two men had been brought in to catch the bus to take them to their homes. That was the policy back then for newly released inmates to get a free bus ticket to go home.

You can also nostalgically think back to those early days when we all stood up along the sidelines to watch Blue Devil football games played in rear of the high school on Pensacola Avenue. This, of course was before games were played at Byrne Field or Barnes Stadium.

In the 1960s Geraldo Herrera came to town to protest a particular situation involving a prisoner on death row. Local law enforcement officers had to beef up their forces to provide protection from protestors who were against his coming here. It was during this time period that this liberal left wing TV personality identified with causes similar to this.

By the way this guy, still as liberal today as he was back then, is the leftwing wing member of Fox News TV show “The Five”. He became a replacement for the chubby Bob Beckel who was fired by Fox a few months ago. Beckel has now joined the liberal CNN Network.

Some will remember that day when Dr. St Amant’s fishing boat floated off his trailer parked in front of his office. Excessive heavy rains created a “river” of flood causing the boat to simply float away. Ruth Brock, his chief nurse had to send in Joe, her husband, to bring the boat back in.

In 1952, movie fans flocked to downtown Atmore to get a look at touring Hollywood movie star Robert Stack. The popular hero of the silver screen stopped off here for a couple of hours to promote a movie he was staring in.

Now let’s take a look at a dab of news from 1966. A&P had a big winner in its Mystery Cash Contest in the fall that year. a lady from Lottie collected the $500 cash prize. Store manager Hugh Malone made the award to her.

County and State authorities posted big rewards leading to the capture of thieves who stole copper from Southern Pine Electric Corporation.

Local banks announced savings would be insured up to $15,000 for an increase of $5000. This resulted in a nationwide ruling by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Cpl. Larry Sims of Huxford was given a Merit of Commendation award for heroic service in the Viet Nam war. The son of Jeanette Smith, he was recognized for helping rescue Marines in a hostile war zone.

The Atmore Saddle Club brought a big circus to town. Kelly Brothers Circus entertained folks here for two days and nights with thrills from its exciting three rings.

Moving on here is a piece of nostalgia that has vanished from the scene. I am talking about the Crown Victoria Ford automobile. This car was discontinued a couple of years ago after serving America for many years.

It was the car of choice for many TV shows and movies. While it was not a Crown Victoria, a Ford of another description was used on the Andy Griffin Show.

Not only were these cars popular in the movies but many police departments used them in their business. I read where some of these cars are still in use today, just waiting for them to totally wear out.

And, how about my Oldsmobile? You know this car is also out of production. But I see no reason to get rid of it. It is still stylish and who knows it may one day become a collector’s item.

Not only are some automobiles vanishing but so are the bright and colorful gasoline signs and marquees Years ago Gulf, Sinclair, Cities Service and WOCO PEP were quite popular. The Gulf sign was easy to recognize by its large bright orange color. Sinclair was easily identified by its dinosaur, Cities Service had the green and white cloverleaf emblem and Woco Pep was known for the big letters.

I bubble over when I talk about my new 3D/HD Smart TV. It brings out the kid in me. Actually it is a computer built into the TV set. The feature that really unwinds me is voice recognition. I can hold my remote close to my mouth and utter words and “Bingo” up pops what I want to watch. We spent a couple hours the other night “voicing up” old nostalgic show and songs. I would say “Jalisco Rancho Grande’ and then enjoy The Polka Band’s rendition of that song. I wanted to watch some 1950s TV shows and I exclaimed “Mr. Lucky” and “Meet McGraw” and sure enough there they were on my TV screen just waiting to unfold enjoyable scenes from the past. Another show we watched that night was “The Real McCoys.” Fast forwarding, we briefly watched portions of “Shotgun Slade,” “The Green Lantern,” “The Big Sky” with Kirk Douglas, “Tombstone Territory,” Tom Conway as “The Falcon,” “The Shadow” and even “Captain Marvel.”

The 3D feature is equally tranquilizing. It is truly amazing to watch all those characters and scenes literally come to life triggered by the “magic glasses” required to view 3D shows.

And late at night before falling asleep the TV music channels sends us off into dreamland. We particularly enjoy music from the big band and full orchestra days as well as music from the islands.

Next week, I’ll have more from those memorable years gone by.

“… always whispers to me…those days of long ago….”