Days Gone Bye – Loan Me A Dollar

Published 8:03 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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By Tom Boggs

You could near ‘bout get a loan for a dollar back in the days. Hometown folks helping out hometown folks, although a heap of hometown banks are sliding away from us, and I reckon in twenty years or so we’ll see a heap of mom-and-pop banks selling out.

Naturally, most of my boyhood memories are centered around “The Old Reliable” First Bank of Linden founded in 1904. Daddy sent me in to see President H.E. Scott when I was about fourteen. Daddy ushered me into what I thought was the throne room, and I was struck dumb when Mr. Scott, chewing that gum ninety to nothing, leaned over and said, “What you need that money for, Boy?” I do remember he okayed that loan for about twenty dollars or so to my surprise. 

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Now, you couldn’t separate your thinking when you heard anybody mention Sweetwater Bank. You just naturally thought “Lewis.”  Sorta like bread and butter, salt and pepper and such. Still is. Then, you hear mention of Planters Bank and Trust in Thomaston, and you natural born think… . ”Pritchett”. Still do. 

I don’t remember much about Watkins Bank over in Faunsdale, ‘cept it was there, and got robbed a time or two.

Now, then, we head on north to The City of Rivers where seems like there’s always been Robertson Banking Company and Commercial Bank. Mr. E.H.C. Bailey and Frank Ward were the ones I first remember at Commercial, but that was after I got grown, and paid off that twenty bucks I owed Mr. Scott down at the county seat. 

I reckon I’ve known some gentlemen in my day, but none to top Mr. Wallace Harper over at Robertson.  We moved back to Demopolis after law school, and I got up the nerve to approach Mr. Harper about a house loan. Mr. Harper asked me what collateral I had for a down payment, and I just flat told him that the GI Bill and part time work got me through law school, but now I only had hope and a prayer.  He was so nice but couldn’t see any way to make me that loan.  I left with my tail between my legs.

In less than an hour, Mr. Wallace called me up, and asked if I had any insurance.  I reported that I only had GI insurance with no cash value. There was a pause on the phone, and that dear man said, “All right, Tom. Assign that to the bank in case you die, and come on back to sign for your loan.”  I never will forget that “til the day I die, and I never missed a payment. 

Folks willing to take a chance on character or potential rather than what we did or did not own right at that moment. I’m glad to report that there is still some of that good will going around yet. 

Don’t many folks buy Savings Bonds these days, but do y’all recollect going in the post office to buy a savings stamp for your bond book, and when you had filled that book with $12.50 worth of stamps, you could trade it in for a sho nuff holding in your hand United States twenty- Five dollar Savings Bond. 

Talking about high finance,  I found an old bill of sale my daddy had made up years ago from me to my brother.  It stated that I was selling my one half interest in our Cocker Spaniel to Billy for one dollar.  I reckon Daddy loaned Billy the Silver Certificate Dollar bill. 

Have you hugged your banker today?