When $2 worth of gasoline would last nearly a week?
When school children marched around the Square and on to the Confederate Cemetery on Southern Memorial Day? Most of the kids carried flowers, usually hydrangea, for the graves? (The parade was led by Mrs. Regina Rambo Benson, who taught the kids to sing “Dixie” as it should be sung.)
When kids were playing baseball or football all around town with nary a grown-up in sight?
When it took a half-day to go to Atlanta and back — more if any shopping was to be done?
When steam-powered trains stopped to fill up at the water tank behind Romeo Hudgins Welding shop and near the City Cemetery?
When downtown stores had pneumatic tubes from sales areas to central cashiers?
When parts of present-day South Marietta Parkway were known simply as Clay Street?
When the Marietta Police Department consisted of four officers and one patrol car?
When everyone went swimming at Davis Pool off Sandtown Road? Its water was mostly muddy but it had a slide to equal anything Whitewater Park has.
When the local funeral homes operated the only emergency ambulances in town?
When City Hall, the Fire Department and the Teen-age Canteen were all in the same building on Atlanta Street?
When young boys pushed ice cream carts, cooled with dry ice, all over town, selling Eskimo Pies, Popsicles, Fudgesicles, ice cream sandwiches and hunkies?
When the old guard house at the end of Fairground Street was converted into a restaurant called the Drive In and Eat? There was another guardhouse near the underpass on the Access Highway/South Cobb Drive.
When there was a fair held on Fairground Street each year (actually a carnival)? It was on the present site of Perry Parham Field. On the Sunday morning after the fair left town, lots of kids from Marietta Place would rake through the sawdust left behind in search of coins dropped from pockets of those riding the most daring rides, i.e. the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Bullett, etc.
When the corner of Sessions and Rose Lane Streets was the site of Holeproof Hosiery, one of the town’s major employers, not upscale loft apartments and condominiums?
When the powers-that-be thought a hogwire fence would prevent adventurous young boys from crawling all over and through the old B-29 bomber parked on the East side of Bell Center on Fairground Street?
When neighborhood grocery stores around town flourished? I remember Pete Steele’s on the corner of S. Waddell and Wayland Streets, Mr. Yancey’s on the corner of E. Waterman Street and South Avenue, Mr. Garrison’s Country Store in Marietta Place, Mr. McConnell’s on Roswell and Fairground Streets, Joiner’s Market on Cherokee Street, Kirk’s on Powder Springs Street and others on Maple Avenue, Sessions and Campbell Hill Streets, Butlers Crossing, Paige Street and Allgood Road.
When we looked forward to the Rat Skats of Marietta High holding their initiations each year? You would witness some very strange sights around town and some very embarrassed young men afterward.
When the county high schools had their annual basketball tournament at Larry Bell Auditorium? Austell High, Acworth High, Kennesaw High, Fitzhugh Lee, Mt. View, McEachern and R.L. Osborne among others engaged in many exciting games.
When Paul Varner managed the local baseball team that played its home games at Larry Bell and night they played the Atlanta Crackers, who had a player named Howie Bowles who hit one over the outfield lights?
When the late Joe Mack Wilson and his cronies met at Peewee’s City Café. You always knew when Harold Willingham arrived because of his high-pitched voice that carried like a foghorn.
Bill Kinney is associate editor of The Marietta Daily Journal.