What’s important, if anything, about this column is what you remember in and about your own life. I hope that some of my memories, those little things that make life sweet (or interesting) will help you to recall some of yours.
We lived in a modest home at Swift and Third streets in Perry. It was heated by a floor furnace in the little hall between the bedroom and the “other” room, which I could call a dining room or a den, or just a room. When it got cold, it was really cold in our house. What I will always remember is Mother’s warming a blanket on the floor furnace and wrapping that warm blanket around my little legs and feet when I got in that cold bed. Thanks, Mama.
I remember going to Sparta with Papa (I believe in 1950, and I would have been 8 years old) to get a new, black Chevrolet automobile at Davis Chevrolet. How we got there (14 miles), I do not know, but we came back on Highway 15 to dirt Sparta-Davisboro Road in that new car. It was the only one I ever remember my Walker grandparents owning. The car had to be dusty when we got to the house. I wonder if Papa washed it off or if he even had a hose and running water to do the job.
Back to our house. Daddy and Mother let David and me play basketball in our bedroom. We would shoot at the top part of the door frame and if the ball hit the top of the frame in a “certain way,” it would bounce back a “certain way” and that would be a score. David and I must have made at least 1,000 points, each, in our basketball arena.
My parent’s handyman/painter was a person, as they used to say in the country, that “was bad to drink.” Most Perry old-timers know exactly of whom I write. Once, when commissioned by Mother or Daddy to paint our bedroom/basketball arena, he decided to also paint the light fixture in the ceiling and the light switch plates. When Mother questioned him about this he responded, “They look better this way.” At least, he didn’t paint our one bathtub like he did the tub of one of our friends.
I remember my first kiss. I know who it was, where it was and why it was. Of course, a gentleman doesn’t tell, but I will say that I was in the eighth grade, and it was at a prom party. The prom party was “why it was.” Do any of you remember prom parties? And, by the way, it was the only kiss I ever got from this nice girl. But, I do remember it. I’ll bet you remember your first kiss!
I remember the McCroskey twins (girls) who came to Perry High School, but left in about the tenth grade. I remember the Austin twins (girls) who came to Perry High School and, I think, graduated but left, seldom, if ever, to return. I remember John Whitworth, the big football tackle, who came as a senior, helped us to win the region and play for the South Georgia Championship and left the night after Quitman beat us, never to return (at least as far as I know). I’d like to visit with all five of those folks one more time. I doubt it will ever happen.
I remember “pound parties.” You had to take a pound of something (bread, sugar, cake, coffee, etc.) to gain entrance to the party. I guess the “pounds” were given to someone in need or for some good cause. I must have been 12 to 14 years old when pound parties were in vogue. Do any of you remember pound parties? And, by the way, I do not remember what “went on” at the parties -- just talking and visiting, I assume.
I remember playing basketball in the Macon City Auditorium against the Lanier Poets. I believe they, at times, played five left-handed boys (in the days when high school players didn’t dribble with both hands) and ran the “Shuffle” (wasn’t that Joel Eaves’ invention or was it Garland Pinholsters’ -- I can’t remember). Perry lost. I also remember going to rock ‘n’ roll shows in the Macon City Auditorium. This was probably in the late 1950s. How exciting. Both the basketball and the rock ‘n’ roll shows.
I’m just getting started, and I’m out of space. So I’ll stop with a load of memories not disclosed. Sometimes, that’s probably for the best. Still, I hope I’ve stirred up some happy memories that will help brighten this Sunday for you.
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry, Georgia. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly, and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org