Remember when: Teens spent ‘hot summer nights’ at roller rink

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ricky Nelson was a singing star of popular music heard on the radio back in the late 1950s. Many of his 45s and albums were sold locally at Don Parsons’ Record Shop on East Three Notch Street where the teenagers hung out after school. “Lonesome Town” was one of his hits in 1959. I can just hear it played at the downtown skating rink on Church Street where all of the older high school boys sported that same celebrity look and hairdo like Ricky Nelson with hair a little long and slicked back with Vitalis and sideburns extending down below the ear lobe – really good looking and stylish for a teenager of the day! If boys put too much “grease” in their hair, we called them “hoods” short for hoodlum!

     “There’s a place where lovers go to cry their troubles away, And they call it Lonesome Town, Where the broken hearts stay. You can buy a dream or two to last you all through the years, And the only price you pay, Is a heart full of tears.”

     “Goin’ down to Lonesome Town where the broken hearts stay. Goin’ down to Lonesome Town to cry my troubles away.”

     “In the town of broken dreams the streets are filled with regret. Maybe down in Lonesome Town, I can learn to forget.”

My classmates and I started to high school in 1959 as 7th graders or “junior worms” as we were called back then. Even though we were taught in classes in the AHS “little building,” we thought we had hit the big time as high schoolers, the upcoming Class of 1965!

In August 1959, the Star-News reports these words in a caption under a photo: “They are having a world of good clean fun in the teenage set these hot summer nights at the Andalusia Roller Rink on Church Street. A ‘tacky party’ was a recent highlight of festivities for the skaters.”

The sports program in Andalusia has always been important to the citizens of the community. This article from the StarNews in August 1959 caught my attention: “Andalusia’s baseball program that provided organized recreation for 285 boys during the summer months was conducted with an outlay of an estimated $3,000. This statement was made by Fred Taylor, Little League Commissioner, in an address Tuesday night at the Methodist Men’s Club. Taylor was presented by Mayor Bill Baldwin whose assistance through the municipal recreation program was lauded by Taylor in his talk. Taylor said that he did not believe Andalusia would be interested in returning to Class D baseball, because the rebirth of the professional sport in this area would curtail youth baseball. A prediction was made by the former AHS Athletic Director that youth baseball programs would be expanded in future years.”

School news continued. “Through the foresight and wisdom of that patriarch of Andalusia City Schools, L. E. Brown, Sr. and the late Mayor J. G. Scherf, Sr. along with other civic leaders, Andalusia has three school plants and campuses that are the equal of any city its size in the South. The public should understand that the Covington County Training School and Southside School, while they are situated within the municipal boundaries of Andalusia, are operated within the framework of the Covington County School system. What is praise-worthy is that the Andalusia City fathers and city school leaders recognize that Andalusians owe an obligation to help provide monies for new facilities for these schools, an attitude that is shared by the tax-paying public. There are better things in the making and citizens are urged to exercise full patience until building plans can be finalized that are now within the foreseeable future.”

Alabama alumni are expressing concern over Mal Moore, the Dozier boy who promises to be a strong candidate to quarterback ‘Bear’ Bryant football for the next three years. Moore is rapidly recovering from shock and muscle injuries sustained when he narrowly escaped with his life in a dirt cave-in on a sewer project several weeks ago. Moore has lost some weight, but he is slated to report to the University of Alabama next week for the start of football training. The Dozier lad won a numeral as a Freshman quarterback last year at the Capstone.”

“At the upcoming Homecoming program, the church mortgage of the Southside Baptist Church will be burned, Rev. Woodrow Plant has announced. (August 1959)

The Andalusia Public Library has several books on the best seller list. Of the books on last week’s list, the APL has eleven of these books. How many of these books have you read? Go by the library and check out one today! Wanted: Readers for all types of books – adventure, science, history, and do-it-yourself. No cost or obligation. Apply at APL between the hours of 2 and 5, Monday thru Friday.”

“For the best in flowers and gifts, call or visit the T-P Flower & Gift Shop. Mrs. R. P. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Darwin S. Pippin. CA2-3174. 120 East Three Notch Street.”

“Sing a Song of Savings at Bell’s Super Market, River Falls Street. Hugh King, Owner.”

“We Cover the Student Body for Back to School. Thrifty Stores. Use Thrifty’s Easy Lay Away Plan. South Three Notch Street.”

Homes for Veterans – We are building four 3 bedroom brick houses on Henderson and Montezuma Streets. VA loans already earmarked for that construction. Andalusia Development Co., General Contractors.”

Dry Cleanng – Keep your clothes brighter and fresher. Pruitt Cleaners and Laundry. South Cotton Street. CA2-1720.”

The red carpet will be rolled out for the Andalusia school teachers on Thursday night when the Andalusa Rotary Club entertains at the County Club in their annual dinner for instructors of the Andalusia City School system. The occasion is expected to fete some 175 teachers, their husbands and wives, and school officials. Approximately 300 persons are expected to be present at the dinner.”

Shop and Save at Woolworth’s Bedding Sale – Sheet $1.49 for Full Size.”

Mrs. Merle Jones, owner of Town and Country, left Wednesday for New York City on a buying tour.”

Six quilts have been completed by the Rose Hill Home Demonstration Club. With the sale of these quilts, the club is now able to buy a new chair for the parsonage at Macedonia Church. Mrs. Bertha Bryant is the club president. The September meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Minnie Bell McBryde.”

Harmon Proctor returned to his studies at Emory University after spending the summer at home and at Blue Lake Methodist Camp. A junior this year at Emory, Proctor is majoring in history and social studies. Mr. and Mrs. George Proctor drove their son to Atlanta on Sunday.”

Football was in the air at the Tuesday luncheon of the Andalusia Rotary Club. ‘War Eagle’ (Bellaire) Krudop called the signals for Auburn and ‘Bear’ (Griffin) Sikes countered with praise and salutations to U of A Coach Bryant. Krudop opened with a bang with the ‘War Eagle’ yell and proceeded to knock the Auburn professors who have declared ineligible two Auburn stars. Sikes offered in his rebuttal a high tribute to Coach Bryant whom he termed the greatest coach in America.”

90 Covington Countians are enrolled as Troy Collegians.”

Jet Age Sewerage System Replaces ‘Horse and Buggy’ Facility – A million dollar modernization of the Andalusia sewerage system, the first improvement in the sewerage disposal plants since the Depression days of the WPA is thwarting the danger of epidemic. This project is simply insurance to ward off any future epidemics.”

“Full use of the new chapel and education building of the First Baptist Church will be made on Sunday, October 4, 1959, Rev. George Gay has announced. Promotion Day will be observed. A new Hammond spinet organ will be placed in the new chapel presented by the men of the Baraca Class. The organ is of walnut finish and will harmonize with the furnishings of the chapel. Louise Barrow is the organist. (Items salvaged from the old downtown church building were installed in the new chapel including the center lectern, the pastor’s chairs, the communion table, and several pews.) The new chapel will be used for funerals, prayer meetings, weddings, and Sunday School class meetings.”

“A state legislator has been nicked by a water moccasin and has lived to tell the story. This is an incomplete report at this time.”

Mathews Guest House – Modern & Comfortable Overnight and Weekly Reasonable Rates. 119 Sixth Avenue. Mrs. C. B. Mathews, Owner and Manager.”

Plagued Night and Day with Bladder Discomfort – Get Doan’s Pills Today!”

It seems that the readers who kept up with the newspaper advertisements in the 1930s were concerned about their liver problems. Moving into the 1950s, people were seeking relief from their bladder ailments!

     “In the Andy Swing” was the editorial column written by the colorful and beloved editor of The Andalusia Star-News, Ed Dannelly. That was always the portion of the weekly paper that folks looked forward to reading with much interest. If one had “trekked” to Pensacola on a shopping trip or “gone under the knife” in Montgomery, it was newsworthy for the reading public!

REMEMBER WHEN Dannelly and his popular wife, “Twinkle,” researched and compiled a history of the First Methodist Church? That booklet can be found at the Three Notch Museum so plan to visit the local history museum on Historic Central and Tisdale Streets soon where the past comes alive and charts our way to the future! Linda Castleberry is the docent on site, and she can schedule tours for your club, school group, or class reunion. Call 222-0674. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 9 – 2, and Sunday afternoons, 2 – 4, are the opening days and times. See you there!