A gathering of Devils from the 50s

Published 7:40 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sixty-one years ago used to seem like a mighty long while…a mighty long one, but daggum if that was just a hop, skip and a jump in my mind’s eye these days. Cudie Hinson called me last week talking about an upcoming event down in Linden Town, celebrating Linden High School classes from 1950 through 1959. That get-together is goner be on the last Saturday in April.

I’ve already talked to Fab Little Wallace out in Texas, and she has got it booked to be here, bringing one of her grandchullun with her. Moose guarantees he’ll be traveling from Virginia, and danged if Ol’ Mack Nichols way out yonder in Colorado didn’t tell me he’s goner make an extra effort to make it himself.

Spickey Chadwick’s been emailing me from Tennessee, and he plans to re-enact being our principal in 1950, George F. Platts. Shucks Mr. Platts looked like a principal ought to, I reckon. Long and tall, big round glasses, hair combed over across an otherwise pretty bald head, and a thin smile on his lips. Most of our teachers got their education at Alabama. Livingston State Teachers College and Alabama Polytechnic Institute, but Mr. Platts received his learning from West Virginia and Michigan. That sorta set him apart down in the county seat area.

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I’m remembering some of the seniors in that 1950 class, althought a bunch has graduated on high. All Sports Red Devil Earl Burge married fellow senior and cheerleader, Emily Tyler, and they both still live there in Linden, as does cheerleader Geraldine Tucker and several other seniors.

They’ll be leading the parade with help from Juniors Roy Jordan and Justine Barnwell and sophomores Marvene Coats and James Barnes.

The third grade bunch from 1950 will be the youngest class at the reunion. That includes the two Bobby Joes…Glass and Hall, Jane Drinkard, Newton Allinder and that host.

It’s sad to think about not only the students who have passed on away from here, who graced the halls of Linden High and that old grammar school, but there are so very few teachers still around to reunite with us. Here’s hoping we’ll see Billy Qunniey, Alyce Hartzell, Homer Wesley, Frances Crocker, Betty Jean Tucker and maybe a few more that slip my old mind right now.

As we older folks reflect back on those days…whether we went school at Linden, or any other place…we have to remember different times. That was before football face masks up until real late in that era. We took typing with no electric models on hand, and the tests were run off on those messy purple ink mimeograph machines.

You only had to have a dime at recess, and that would get you a co cola and a candy bar. (Mr. Platts didn’t worry about our having too much sugar at recess). Very few students had cars, and we still rode bikes at school. At the beginning of this period, many schools, including Linden, played varsity basketball games on an outside clay court.

When you went downtown, there were merchants standing in the doors to greet you, and all the storefronts were filled.

Little Drug Store had funny books for a dime and a Blizzard for 30 cents, except on the 1-cent sale day when Moose and I saved up 31 cents and got two Blizzards.

Except for the war in Korea, these were mostly days of peace and simple times, and the best music that has ever been written, played and sung. Elvis came on the scene, and The Platters provided the background music for riding around or parking with that favorite girl.

Yep, folks who lived those times are heard to say, “I’m so glad I was raised in the fifties,” and younger people who know about those days are heard to say, “I wish I had lived back then.”

To coin a phrase from a famous Alabama politician of those days…to the class members from 1950 through 1959…Y’ALL COME!.

Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times.