Well my reminiscing time is just about over. By 1958, many of us were back from the service, and had to have a new ride. Seems like most of the young people were listening to Dina Shore. ‘Cuz they was seeing the USA in a Chevrolet. Part of the old gang came back and some just moved on somewhere else. Those who came back were “Mouse” Gregory, who traded his ’55 Stude for a ’57 Eldorado convertible. “Web” Pierce had a ’59 Bonneville convertible, Dick Morgan a ’59 black Buick convertible, and “Crazy” Tom Bell a ’58 Bonneville fuel injected hardtop. Than there were the younger set all of these had ’57 Chevys. Bob Baker, Homer Milligan, Daryl Ayres, and Willie Clark, (he died in his. He was going over a hundred, missed a curve and rolled it 11 times). Bill Browning was driving his brothers Austin Healy 3000, got run off the road. Seems like a lot of them died that summer. Even Charlie Spahn, had a heart attack working on a car in his Texaco station. All the hot rodders turned out for his funeral. That’s enough bad news.
The girls were affording new cars too. Jackie Gilmore, a ’56 Merc hardtop (turquoise and white), Janet (spindly limbs) Davis – “Man she was skinny” a ’57 red T-Bird, Jackie Gamble a Kaiser Darwin roadster, the Hill sisters drove a ’56 Ford and a ’57 black Sunliner convertible. My new squeeze was Coleene Sharp, she had a ’57 Pontiac Starchief convertible with a connie kit.
I had traded my ’49 Olds for a ’54 Corvette with a Blue flame six eng. “No Power”, so I traded that for a ’53 Caddy Coupe Deville with a Dynaflow trans. (That was the year the GM Hydramatic plant burned down, ya know).
I was buddies with a couple younger dudes. Earl Lathrop in a ’49 chopped Merc. with an Olds grill and a big CB antenna on the back. He could pick up the police calls on it so we knew when they was coming when we were drag racing. One of my best friends was Ronnie Lipscomb. His daddy had a successful farming business and Ronnie took advantage of it. In three years his daddy bought him 3 cars, a ’56 Chevy, ’58 Impala convertible, and a ’59 Corvette. When he didn’t have any bread (money), he would raid his old man’s corn silo or the deep freeze and sell a truck load of corn or a side of beef.
Every Friday and Saturday night we would go to Hamilton, Ohio where all the nightclubs had the latest rock and roll entertainers. (‘Course that was after ‘The Untouchables’, or ‘Have Gun Will Travel’. Everything stopped for those two TV shows). No one but no one wore jeans and tennies. You went decked out. You had to have a high roll Mr. “B” (Billy Extine) collar open at the neck. A one button roll long lapel jacket, (powder blue was the coolest) pegged pants and cool shoes. (Preferably in a color that would match your tie or shirt). Elvis was coming on strong now and he wore those kind of outfits. Speaking of Elvis, Alan Hawkins was packing them in doing Elvis imitations at the Blue Mill on Friday and Saturday nights. He had girls standing in line to go out with him, and guys standing in line to kick his butt, for going out with ’em.
Rock and Roll was here to stay. For a dollar or two cover charge at Spatz, or Noleene’s Bean Pot we were seeing The Coasters, The Diamonds, The Silhouettes, The Impalas, Bo Diddly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ivory Joe Hunter and H-Bomb Ferguson. They were bringing the house down with One More Time, Whole Lotta Shakin’, Honky Tonk, Little Darlin’, Since I Met You Baby, Get a Job, What Am I Living For, and many, many more. I could run on for hours relivin’ it.
Well with Charlie gone, the new owners of the Texaco station didn’t want a bunch of derelicts hanging around. Whites sold their drug store. It was turned into a book and fabric store and we sure didn’t want to hang out there. The Powerhouse closed, and White Castle became a take out Pizza for a while, then a dry cleaning place. Hangin’ out places were getting slim.
Summer was hot so we spent most of our day’s swimming in the stone quarry or Springwood Lake and a-lookin’ at the girls in bikinis. They was just becoming popular. Not as drastic as the Fredrick’s stuff! Wow that book was almost as interesting as a car mag. Nights were spent cruisin’. They made a town mall outa the main street, So, you could only walk down there. That meant there was a one way street going opposite directions east and west. Ya couldn’t wave at your friends, ‘cuz you didn’t know where they was. That ended as soon as Bob’s Big Boy came to town.
Man everyone was there at night. You would park backed in so as you could watch everyone drive through and wave at them. Of course, you had to have your hood up so as everyone could see your chrome engine. Coleene was pretty, but she shore could eat. Every night she would have the same thing. A Bobs’ Big Boy, French-fries, large coke, and a piece of strawberry pie with whipped cream. Hell, I never heard of strawberry pie before that. I finally had to give her up. (Couldn’t afford her) Besides I was wanting to trade cars again, and did. It was a white on white with white 58 Olds ninety-eight convertible. I made it through the winter. Spring was coming and I was getting restless. Ya know like Old Jed Clampett. One day, I put the top down, said good-bye to my parents, put on my black leather jacket, the rest of my belongings were in the trunk. Drove west outa town, waved at anyone I knew, turned my radio up loud so as to hear Dion singing The Wanderer, and headed for California.
I went back once for a class reunion but, things weren’t as I remembered them. Trees had gotten bigger, the town had gotten smaller, the girls had gotten wider, and the boys were fat and bald. None of the old things were like they use to be. So now I do my reminiscing in the garage where I haven’t quite grown up yet. And still listen to the 50’s music. ‘Cuz that’s the way it was. – By Ray Yedding