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Traveling basketball team was a highlight

In the past we have looked back in remembrance of friends and acquaintances we have known since the 1940s.

Today, we remember these: James Warren, Luther Fountain, Ralph Gibbs, Cliff Bethea, Clarence Bryars, Cecil White, Jark Ammons, Roy White, Houston Wolfe, Jim White, Silas Ganey, Carl Barnette, Earl Dewitt, Ray Lavalle, Claude Bouler, Julia Bryars Gibbs, Jeff Cochran, Keel Brown, Hubert Brown (Bratt area),Chester Barton, Joe Maxwell, Will Vaughan, Joe Mahovich, Earl Barbarow, Bill Bartel, Loraine Byrd, Claude Steele, Mrs. Sterlin Fancher, Arthur Weekley, Hiram Cabiness, Babs Bryars, Morgan Little, Dolphus Jones, Taylor Faircloth, Ollie Baker and Bill Showwalter. These are only a handful of friends from years back who have passed on. Perhaps some of them were your friends, too.

Now let’s take a look at some news from the year 1954.

A group of Atmore and area young women organized a “traveling” basketball team in 1954. They called themselves “The Red Devils.” Playing in a semi-pro league, they played teams from Cantonment, Pensacola, Baldwin County and Mobile. Fans always came out to watch them play because they were all good ball players. The Mobile and Pensacola newspapers often wrote of their accomplishments.

The taller, rebounding players were Lorain English and Voncille Madison. Playmakers included Pauline McCall, Helen Hoehn, Marie Faircloth, Mary Lou Nall, Shirley Amerson, Thelma Pitts, Glennie Wiggins, Polly Cooper, Rita O’Ferrel and Betty Jo Smith. Delbert Copeland was the team manager and E.C. Copeland was the chief referee.

They played in an era prior to TV growth and fans found these games offering good entertainment back then.

Ladies discovered a sale on hair dos in early 1954. Elsie Rhodes and Alley Taylor, who operated Atmore Beauty Salon, ran a special on permanents for $7.50 each.

Strand Theatre, which was the longest running advertiser in the Advance, came up with a free grocery giveaway for everyone who came to the “picture show” on Friday nights. Many times there were not enough available seats to accommodate all those movie goers.

Twentieth Century Business College announced plans to begin a school here in town. It would afford many to earn high school certificates and learn an assortment of business trades, such as speedwriting and shorthand. Representatives were stationed at the Burton Hotel and the chamber of commerce office. That hotel was located near where United Bank is now located. It was either a two or three-story sprawling frame structure that towered skyward.

Area farmers got a big scare when a virus swept over sweet potato growing lands. Actually, quarantine was placed on the yams. Fortunately, our farmers escaped it as it extended from south Baldwin County to near Perdido.

Also, back then, Adams Coffee Company ran neck in neck in sales of their popular coffees. A&P Grocery store was the hub for the Eight O’ Clock brand and Adams countered with its Dixie Blend. Most coffee shops and cafes served both brands in an effort to keep all customers happy.

As some of you know, I went to a Mobile hospital last week for what was supposed to be a quick change out of my pacemaker battery. But that was not quite the case. The fact is…it was not quick.

I went into the prep room at 8 a.m. and was told the procedure would begin in one hour. That was good information because I laid back very comfortably waiting for my turn. Now, one hour later, a nice nurse came and told me I would have to wait one more hour. I asked the nurse if I could take her word for it and she told me that I could.

In the meantime, those curtains surrounding my cubby area seemed to be closing in on me as claustrophobia was setting in. She told me she was not allowed to give me anything for this condition. So I waited one more hour.

Then another nurse came in and told me my procedure would begin in one hour. Seems like I had heard this before. At this stage, I asked the nurse who was scheduling my procedure. I told her that someone is telling you to lie to me. She then walked out without telling me how much longer I would have to wait. One hour later, a man identified as the cath lab honcho walked in spewing his apologies for my wait.

I suppose he became so frightened by my demeanor that he simply walked away. So, another hour passed and a different nurse came in and before she began her spill of apologies, I simply asked her “at what time did ya’ll know my procedure would not be on time? She reluctantly admitted she knew of it at the time I came in.” She then said the surgeon, who had been on vacation the previous week had booked quite a few patients for this day. At this point, I asked her “you mean ya’ll have actually overbooked patients?”

I got no answer from her and she rushed out. Another hour went by and still no surgeon came in. No one came in an hour later, as had been promised. But about 10 minutes later, a huge male nurse came in and wheeled me away. The surgeon, who I knew, then saw me and did not like my attitude. I told him I valued his skills as a surgeon and I appreciate his reputation as an excellent surgeon. But I also told him I could not appreciate his failure to manage his appointments on this day of surgeries. I even accused him of “overbooking” patients.

As it all ended as one very nice nurse whispered in my ear as I was leaving.

“I am so very sorry of your having to wait so long today.” I do not know who she was, but I did sense she was aware of all these long waits I experienced.

One good thing coming from this experience is the fact we never have to be concerned of this happening here in Atmore. Our doctors, surgeons and our hospital are all held in the highest regard. We can always depend on them for all of our medical problems.

More next week.

Contact Lowell at exam@frontiernet.net.