Remember when: Spring was busy in 1930

Published 1:35 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

The jazz standard “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was introduced in the spring of 1930 in the musical, “International Revue” in the Majestic Theatre in New York City. This could have been a popular hit heard on the radio by AHS seniors of the Class of 1930.

“Get your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep; Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street…. If I never have a cent, I’ll be rich as Rockefeller, gold dust at my feet, on the sunny side of the street.”

     The May 1930 edition of The Andalusia Star provides information of the goings-on of the senior class some 87 years ago – parties, dances, teas, plays, gifts, etc.

Andy High issues annual, first in the history of the school, the ‘Memolusia’ 1930.”

     Miss Rebecca Darling was the first editor. There were several ideas by the students for the name of the new publication, but Miss Darling twisted and turned “Memories of Andalusia” around to “Memolusia,” it is remembered. Miss Darling, a senior in the Class of 1930, later married and became Mrs. Eric Russell and head librarian at AHS. The “Memolusia” is still published in this year of 2017. Only a few years during World War II in the 1940s, it became a financial impossibility to produce. When English teacher Mr. Joe Wingard was the faculty sponsor, he and his student staff published a commemorative Heritage Edition of the “Memolusia” in the 1980s.

“Announcing “Big Time,” the Senior Class Play, Friday, May 9, 1930, 8 p. m., Grammar School Auditorium, 25 cents and 50 cents.”

“The lovely home of Mrs. Sidney Waits was the scene of a beautiful bridge party when she entertained a number of the city teachers and their friends (at the end of the school year).”

I might add here that after the death of her husband, Mrs. Waits offered upstairs rooms in her stately home to school teachers (or school marms as they were once referred to back in the 1920s). My family was Mrs. Waits’ next door neighbor, and I remember well my first grade teacher living upstairs in the Waits home. Her name was Miss Katherine Boyd. Miss Boyd ended up marrying Superintendent Johnson’s son, Bill, and they moved to Huntsville. That was in the early 1950s.

  1. Lewis whose business storefront was on the east Court Square advertised in The Star. “Graduation Gifts – Gifts that last, Diamond ring, dinner ring, wrist watch, bar pin.”

Front page story – “Senior Class of AHS 1930 – Class Motto – ‘Our character is our will, for what we will, we are.’ Flowers – Shasta Daisy; Colors – Yellow and white.” The pictures of all of the graduates were on the front page, similar to our graduation edition today.

Senior Class Votes to Beautify High School Grounds (This was the new high school on Church Street, Circa 1926.)– This is the wish of the class, Superintendent Martin stated. Martin is making arrangements to secure the services of a landscape gardener for the purpose of submitting plans for a blue print. There is at present some natural shrubs on the grounds and steps will be taken to protect it if possible. The embankment near the street will be tapered down and re-sodded.”

The May 1930 Andalusia Star was full of news of social events. The following nuptial write-up should be of interest to Andalusians even today.

“A wedding of cordial interest to many friends in the county was that of Miss Thelma Chapman to Mr. Charles Dixon which occurred at the Methodist parsonage on Wednesday morning of last week. Dr. A. E. Shafer was the officiating minister. Mrs. Dixon has for the past two years been an employee of the Andalusia National Bank. She is a young woman of charm and grace. She was educated in the city schools and is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Chapman of River Falls. Mr. Dixon is a native of this county, he being a son of Mr. and Mrs. N. B. Dixon of Rome and for the past several years has been a businessman of this city. He has a host of best friends throughout the county who are offering hearty congratulations.”

In addition to the history in the various eras found in the old newspapers, I like to “Google” on the internet the songs that were popular on the radio back then. In May of 1930 when the Dixons got married, they might have heard these songs on the radio – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby,” “You Were Meant for Me,” “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Embraceable You,” and Guy Lombardo’s “Sweethearts on Parade.” Does that not paint a clearer picture of the times?

“Enthusiastic Sacred Harp singers are anticipating a grand time at the singing which is to be held at Shiloh, 9 miles northeast of Andalusia, Sunday. Many Andalusians along with sacred hard singers throughout the county are making plans to attend the singing. Dinner on the ground and a big sing is being looked forward to.” (By the mid 1960s, the singings the teenagers had around here were called “hootenannies!” Well, that’s if you were in to folk songs!)

I love those real estate ads of the past. “Homes for Sale – If you want to buy a home or sell one, come and see me. I am now offering some valuable property for sale at panic prices. Don’t delay but come along. L. J. Salter, Office in the courthouse, Andalusia, Alabama.”

     More than likely, the features offered that made the modern property more appealing to sell was running water, a porcelain sink, screen doors and window screens, coal fireplaces, electric lights, a front porch swing, an inside bathtub and water commode, a rain barrel, a root cellar, and maybe an electric GE refrigerator (on legs) like the ones sold at the Andalusia Light and Power Company!

It was said that when the electric oven finally got invented, there were a lot of mothers, especially the farm family mothers, who clung to their method of cooking on the wood stoves, and they often emphatically stated, “I don’t want any of them electric biscuits!”

So many medical ailments back in the 1930s. Here’s one. “Coated Tongue – Often Sign of Biliousness – The Need for Black Draught.”

The Paramount Theatre was a popular place for the young people of the day – “Glorifying the American Girl” was playing in May 1930. I don’t remember this movie ever being shown on TCM (Turner Classic Movies).

Memorial Day in May 1930 found the American Legion sponsoring the sale of poppies – “Buy a Poppy – Help World War Vets. Remember those brave lads who gave their all for our freedom.” I hope to buy a poppy this coming Memorial Day. If not, I’ll wear the one from last year.

“This summer (The Andalusia Star reports) some six thousand Gold Star Mothers will go to France to visit the graves of their sons who gave their lives in the great conflict at arms in the World War. Their expenses will be paid and every provision made for their comfort as they make their journey. The first contingent will sail this week from New York City. Others will follow and in a short time, all who have volunteered to make the trip will either be in France or their way over. Perhaps no single act will tend more to promote good will between this country and the countries with which our soldiers fought than the sending of the Gold Star Mothers on this sad but important pilgrimage.”

So far, I have not found any mention in the old newspapers of local Gold Star Mothers by name or mothers who might have made this trip. Mrs. Jessie Battle and Mrs. Kennie Malcomb who lost sons in World War I (Lee Otis Battle, age 18, and James Malcomb, age 27) were certainly local Gold Star Mothers. Those two young men were the first Andalusia casualties in World War I. Red Level’s Post 8454, the Battle-Malcomb Post is named in their honor.

“A man now in the Covington County Jail was caught manufacturing liquor in a cracker box still. When officers arrived, he ran off and attempted to drink the entire contents of a bottle before it could be wrenched from him. Sheriff H. B. Gantt said he was ‘high’ when they finally got him to the jailhouse. This still is only one of several which has recently been destroyed by the sheriff.”

The advertised prices of groceries at the Jitney-Jungle owned at the time by T. W. Hand & Co. were Coffee – 3 lb. can $1.39; Bacon, Sugar Cured – 22 cents per lb.; Sugar, Standard Granulated – 10 lb. 55 cents.

If you ever take a notion to familiarize or introduce your children or grandchildren to the old radios that gave the news to the nation, that entertained the family with music from Radio City Music Hall in NYC, that mesmerized audiences with mystery, and that thrilled families with stories at bedtime, visit the Three Notch Museum on Historic Central Street where the Speller Moates Radio Collection and other artifacts of days gone by are housed. The past is important. It enables us to have a better appreciation of the present. So let’s continue on this path to REMEMBER WHEN.