A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Self Promotion Friday: Ten Things About Me

I've been seeing them for the last week or so, those ubiquitous Facebook posts in which people tell little-known facts about themselves.  Fascinating, they are, truly; I have enjoyed reading them.

So, since I have been so short of material for this blog lately, I'm taking my cue from Facebook and posting...

Ten Things About Me

1.  I have not thrown up since 1977.

Perhaps the accomplishment of which I am most proud.  I was in college at Arkansas Tech, living in prison-like conditions in a facility called Paine Hall.  Caught a stomach bug, middle of the night, made the tortuous trip down the hall to our community/prison bathroom.  Decided afterwards that the experience was far to unpleasant to repeat, and determined that I would not throw up again.  Has worked for almost 37 years.

2.  I did not see a movie in a theater until I was 21 years old.

I am very thankful for the way I was raised, but some of you youngsters today might have considered it to be a bit on the conservative side.  In my little church, going to the movies was considered a no-no.  So, I didn't go.  But, at age 21, I decided that I really wanted to see my favorite musical group, The Bee Gees, in their new movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The movie, considered by critics to be possibly the worst movie ever made, I found to be quite good.

3.  I Own Every Episode of The Andy Griffith Show.

On VHS tape, so what good is it?  But, I am a huge fan and in fact, the only area in which I consider myself to be near expert is Andy Griffith trivia.  I'm even a member of an official organization called The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Association.

4.  I am a twin.

Yes, most of you probably know that already, but I'm trying to come up with 10 of these things, ok?  I have a twin sister, Janet, who is 10 minutes younger than me.  What you might not know, however, is that my mom didn't know she was having twins!  So, when I was born, everybody was all excited and happy and then somebody happened to notice that my mom was not finished.  So, they sat me down in the corner somewhere and proceeded to assist into the world the first female to be born into the Yates family in 50 years or so.  Eventually, after the excitement settled down, someone remembered that there were two of us and, after a brief search, I was located in my corner and reunited with the family.

5.  I once worked on a garbage truck.

For a summer, in college.  Pretty sweet, actually; anything I found of value I got to keep.  That is, if the driver didn't want it.

6.  I like to do magic tricks.

For kids.  Only simple ones though.

7.  I've been to the World's Tallest Thermometer.

In Baker, California.  During a drive my wife and I made from Las Vegas to Oceanside, California.  Which brings me to my next item...

8.  I love the desert.

Although my wife hates it.  I was enthralled with the beauty of the desert on our drive; at times it seemed like we were driving around on the moon.  I guess I like it because the landscape is so different there than it is here.  But I do love it.

9.  When I'm introduced to new people, they almost always mention Bill Gates.

Which allowed me to come up with a good little laugh line, which I use whenever I speak to a group.  "The only difference between me and The World's Richest Man is one letter...and 9 zeroes!"  (Pause for laughter)

10.  I can't swim.

In fact, I'm quite afraid of the water.  My beautiful wife Marilyn can swim.  Our son Ross and his wife Maegan are excellent swimmers, as well as our daughter Laura and her husband Kip.  Even little granddaughter Kate, age three (almost), is totally fearless of the water and is on her way to swimming.  But not me.  I did, however, buy a snorkel and mask in the spring.  I thought about it all summer, and in September, on the last day Marilyn and I got in the pool, I donned my snorkel and mask, put ear plugs in my ears, and submerged my head underwater for what seemed like several minutes but was clocked by Marilyn at four seconds.  

Gotta start somewhere...

Monday, November 11, 2013

100 Grand

The Growing Up In Waldron blog has been around since July 23, 2010.  In its heyday, I normally posted one or two times a week, and then I ran out of memories, so posting has been sporadic at best for the last year or so.

In spite of the lameness of recent postings, I'm happy to say that the little GUIW blog has now reached the milestone of 100,000 pageviews!  I find this particularly gratifying; I had so much fun living those stories and I'm pleased that others have enjoyed reading about them.

So, what do we do to celebrate 100,000 pageviews?  I thought about holding a party, but my wife said I had to limit the invitees to 50,000 and I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

So, I've decided to just have a chocolate malt for myself and, for everyone else, I'd like to share a few of my favorite pictures of the town that will always have a place in my heart, Waldron Arkansas...

I paid an exorbitant amount for this old postcard, but it was worth it.  This is the oldest picture I have of Waldron.  I don't know the year, but I think the old bank building in the background is still standing.  Can you imagine what life was like for these folks?

This old postcard fascinated me as a child; the time-lapse photography is amazing.  Sadly, the original postcard is lost; maybe when my Dad took it to the Waldron News for publication he never went back to pick it up.  I would give anything to find another copy!

 When going through some of my Dad's possessions after he passed away, I came across this incredible find; the shirt he wore when he was a projectionist for Waldron's only movie theater.  For most of it's existence, it has been known as The Scott Theater, but when it first started it was The Pines Theater.  My wife had this precious find professionally framed for me.

I love this old picture of Waldron from the 30s.  I don't own it; I borrowed it from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture website.  Not a lot has changed in the past 80 years.

Here's another wonderful picture from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website.  This one is looking south down Main Street.

One more from the same website.  My mom used to talk about how the sidewalks of Waldron would be so crowded with people on Saturday that you could barely make your way through the crowd.  

One place that at some point almost everyone in Waldron visited was Crutchfield's Restaurant.  I remember the booths with individual jukebox selections, and Madge's pies were a town favorite.  

Although taken a few years before my time, this was my church and most of the people in this picture were an important part of my childhood.  Precious Memories, how they linger.

The Methodist Church, foreground, and Baptist Church, background, were major Waldron landmarks.  I passed both when I walked to school or town, and in fact we kept a permanent trail cut through the Methodist churchyard where we cut the corner.  

I love this view of Main Street; it's one of my most prized cards.  You see the Baptist Church at the far end of Main, and I love the trees in front of the courthouse.  Lots of people in town that day, and one fellow making his way up Main Street on his bicycle.

Another great card, but nobody is really sure what was going on when this picture was taken.  One person told me that Charley Forester was giving away a plow at his store, but I don't know if that's right or not.  I hope there weren't any pickpockets in the crowd.

I got this picture from Herb Wilson, and I love it.  Maybe the only time a buffalo has been seen on Main Street.  I imagine this would have been quite a show to see.

So that's my Waldron, at least a quick view.  If you're from Waldron, these pictures may bring on a few memories of your own, and if you're not, your hometown might have looked a little like this too.  

And thanks for looking at this blog.  All 100,000 of you.  Now go get yourself a chocolate malt.

P.S.  In my candy store days, we called it the "hundred thousand dollar bar"...