‘When clothes are dirty, call two thirty’

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I really enjoy writing about the 1940s and 1950s. Apparently some of my readers enjoy this era, too, because I get a lot of response from them requesting stories from back then.

Oh, by the way, before I get into that “golden” era, a dozen folks responded to my question on the phone number last week. Of course the answer was John’s Cleaners having 230 as its phone number back before the telephone office got away from the “plug in” system. Remember that punch line, “When clothes are dirty call two thirty?”

Several thought that number was associated with the Strand Theatre and a couple thought it was the phone number for The First National Bank.

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Three of our readers, Preston Solomon, Wilbert Peters and Bonnie Latino correctly answered the question.

Back then, several landmarks were very noticeable. Bobby Davis told me he remembered a pyramid shaped cement post in the middle of intersecting Highways 21 and 31. He said there was some type traffic direction sign on this post but he could not remember the lettering on the sign. Incidentally, he is trying to come up with a photo of this location. If you have one or have knowledge of this give him a call.

Another familiar landmark was the wooden family style building with a big front porch located directly across the street from the Strand. This was the office for Dr. Peavy, a prominent physician.

Patients waiting to see the doctor would sit on the porch waiting their turn.

A tall, three-story hotel was popular back then. “Up in Norman’s Arms’ was lettered on a sign at the entrance. It was located in the general vicinity of United Banks’ present location.

Other landmarks were six or eight potato sheds situated adjacent both railroad lines. And, as I mentioned in an earlier column the store allegedly situated on Florida and Alabama properties drew customers from near and far. Some say, however, this building was situation only in one state and not right on the state line.

I should mention right here my appreciation for input of this time period from other readers such as Junior Roberts, Gordon and Jettie Everett and Troy Byrd.

In 1952, Atmore Advance Publisher Martins Ritchie received some well-deserved recognition from the Alabama Press Association that year for his unique coverage of the Alabama Prison System.

Making news also was my wife’s pretty sister, Doris (Troutman) Cooper. You know her today as the wife of the late Lawrence Cooper. Doris was selected as the 1952 Escambia County Maid of Cotton. She was selected over a field of eight beauties from Flomaton, Atmore and Brewton. That event, which was sponsored by the Escambia County Farm Bureau, was one of the most popular beauty contests in the county back in those days.

The alternate MOC was pretty Margaret Dixon of Flomaton.

In other news from that 1952 edition, Minnie Hanks was named to the Dean’s list at Florida State University, and six Atmore Boy scouts participated in “Camp Big Heart” near Pensacola. Those scouts were Davis Findley, J.L. Johnson, John Parker, Joe Webb, John Barnette and Bert Jones. Sponsored by Atmore First Baptist Church, they were members of local Scout Troop 21.

A gala shower was held, and Hubert and Annie Laura Lambert Guy lost their home and furnishings in a fire. The family resided in Vocation.

Atmore Mayor H.H. Dees was reelected to his post without opposition. In the City Council race winners included Randolph Maxwell and Grady Rhoad.

Sadly there were two notable deaths. Henry Maddox and Ollie Thompson passed away that year.

The Atmore Truckers Association welcomed their first bale of cotton for the year. It was grown by Roy Chance of Jay, Fla.

Buddy Vickery prepared to lead his crack Atmore Jaycees baseball team against an All-Star group from Mobile. Ace Doc Vickery was pegged to take the mound in the Byrne Field contest.

Two young hoodlums made off with two large baskets of golden, succulent peaches from a roadside vendor located near Preacher Well’s Hwy. 31 South potato shed. But it didn’t take long for county deputies to nab them down at Perdido Creek. A tip from a friendly Nokomis resident aided the officers in making the arrest. Actually, the vandals were found under the bridge in the creek chomping on the tasty fruits.

The state health department reported 20 new polio cases in the state. Fortunately, none were discovered in Escambia County.

Three locals made military news. Pvt. Willis M. Ray completed basic training at the Medical Replacement Training Center at Camp Pickett, Va.; Pvt. Ernest Wilson completed processing for relief from active duty at the Army Separation center at Ft. Jackson, S.C.; and Lt. George Coker reported to active duty at the Signal Corps Base in Ft. Monmouth, N.J.

McMurphy’s Dairy added a colorful neon sign on their front wall at their Hwy. 3l north location.

Also in the 1950s and 1960s square dancing was very popular. Locals actively involved in this form of dance were Chuck and Linda Laue, Jimmy and Earline Biggs, Jack and Catherine Edwards, Raymond and Dianne Jerkins, Ray and Myrna Hodgen, Vickie and Jamie Black, Cherry and Marie Blackwater, Joe and Louise Day, Tom and Ernestine Miniard and Daphine Sims.

Next week, I’ll be back with some more news from days gone by. Not sure what, but be sure to “stand by and stay tuned.”

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

Contact Lowell at exam@frontiernet.net.