Days Gone Bye – Before The Half Century Passed

Published 9:58 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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By Tom Boggs

Before The Half Century Passed (Retread from 17 Jan. 17, 2001)

We find ourselves flat dab in a new century, but there are a few of us codgers around who recollect how different things were before we got to the halfway mark of the last century. 

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In 1949, things would pretty much stay the same for seven or eight more years, and they would be pretty good ‘uns. Shucks, you could get you a four-door Buick Sedan for a little mor’n $2,000, and a good men’s suit went for $39.95.

Don’t forget the five-cent co cola, and the one-cent sales at Rexall Drug Stores, when Moose and I could get two milk shakes for 26 cents, and if you got traveling on your mind, you could ride the Greyhound bus from Linden to Tuscaloosa for a dollar and a nickel.  

The king of the cowboys on the big screen (we didn’t have little screens) was Roy Rogers, along with his hoss, Trigger, and his girlfriend, Dale Evans.  Oh, yeah, Crimson Tide All American Johnny Mack Brown was also riding the big screen as one of my best cowboys, after he and the Tide rolled out yonder in the Rose Bowl. 

I was thinking recently about a bunch of us boys gathering up in Linden for pickup football games, kick the can or rubber gun fights.  Don’t see boys gathering up on city squares and such these days. 

Hey, Demopolis Coca-Cola Company was producing that cola in its own bottles.  Remember how we’d bet to see whose bottle was made the furthest away by looking at the writing on the bottom?  Disgusting to see “Demopolis” printed on the bottom of your bottle, but sure would like to see that name on the bottom of bottles today. 

You’ve heard me speak about how tough it used to be to get outer Linden when the Demopolis and Jefferson Bogue bridges would both be flooded out, along with Watkins Creek headed east toward Selma, so’s you could only head south out of the county seat. You also had to contend with the old drawbridge over the Black Warrior River headed from Demopolis to Eutaw, and the old Rooster Draw bridge crossing the Tombigbee heading west toward Sumter County. Pretty smooth sailing nowadays.

Don’t reckon sister cities like Sweetwater, Thomaston, Magnolia and Vineland ever had too much trouble with bridges and such. Hey, as late as the seventies, my boy, Tadd, and I used to cross over to Sumter County on the ferry situated and running just below the lock and dam .  Sho saved some driving time to Spidle Lake Hunting Club at Belmont.  

Nobody but menfolk served on juries in 1949. Some of the fellows I saw listed on juries back then were the likes of Sam Neilson and William Traeger from City of Rivers, helped out by Charles Allen, Jr from Gallion, Jim Norris from Jefferson, Cephus Holliman, Thomas Miller and Jasper Tucker representing Linden, Dutch Noland representing Myrtlewood, along with Buddy Pritchett and Rex Crocker filling in for Thomaston. 

Finally, I will report that I won a blue ribbon at a Cub Scout pet show for, of all things, the furriest pet.  My claim to fame was my rabbit, Oswald.