Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Bale a Day was the Objective

-click to enlarge-

Some of you may not appreciate the photo, but I'm sure some will. This was a way of life that many of us moved on from, but didn't forget. Handpicked cotton and hand pulled corn has been a thing of the past for many years, except in the smallest farm operations.

The men and ladies of the photo were hard-working and honest people. Their best pickers could easily pick 300 or more pounds of cotton in a long hot day; even some ladies could almost do that, too. If they could keep that up, they could get 4-5 bales a week to the gin. Remember-all hand picked.

In the season start, the first bale ginned reaped some kind of recognition - either the prestige, or maybe there was a prize of some sort. The McCarthy and the Outlaw-Lewellyn gins ran all day and all night in the peak season.

Does anyone remember what the Pratts community cotton picking was? Neighbor helping neighbor?

Thank goodness for modern harvesting machinery.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Blind Baldwyn Auto Mechanic

Pictured here is a man we have talked about on the blog before. Some of you probably can recall Mr. Taylor - he had a lot of satisfied customers who came back to him for work when he was an auto mechanic in Baldwyn many years ago. He once did some work for me on an old blue Buick; and it was a good, reasonably priced job if I remember correctly.

He was driven to and from work and assisted by his son, Billy Joe, during his work day. However, he did the work with little or no assistance. I heard that he may have had some jobs that he did at home, after dark, and needed little or no lighting for that ( that may have been a pun).

I recall that Mr. Taylor worked for C. A. Houston at his garage on Twitchell Hill. That was where I had my work done.

These days, technicians, as they are now known, rely on computers and on-board diagnostics to determine a problem with an automobile. Wonder if a blind technician could do as good a job as Mr. Taylor did???

Incidentally, John Melvin, do you remember once you pushed me all the way back to Baldwyn when that same old blue Buick broke a fuel pump arm in front of Ruff's dairy just north of Tupelo in the middle of the night? If I didn't thank you at that time, I do now!

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Polka Dot"

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When I saw this old newspaper article, I almost fell outta my chair. I remember the guinea fowl that rode around with James very well. As the story shows, he would ride on the handlebars, on James' shoulder and most anywhere. He would run along and flap his wings to keep up if necessary.

The bird was a sight! He came into the poolroom, sat on parking meters when told to, and would stay where he was put until time to go. When James started to leave, Polka Dot had better be on the bike, or he would start his "poderacking" sound and take off from his perch and get under way.

Some other kids had unusual pets from time to time; raccoons, possum, and a goat or two was seen accompanying folks around.

Can you remember anyone with pets as such?

Clipping from an old album from an anonymous donor.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May all you Baldwyn Bearcats and your families have the most joyous Christmas and New Year.

We wish the most bountiful blessings to you for the coming year.

Thank all of you who have made this a good year for remembering our heritage and the good times we had long ago.

We sincerely offer our gratitude to you for your help in making the BBB a success.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More old Photos from Readers

Thanks to those of you who have sent old photos, they are always appreciated.

Aaron and Linda - Dean on Main Street in front of Shellnut's - Cynthia and Betty - and:

Care to guess who is the pretty girl in the next to lower photo? We know.... and:

Who is Martha Jo's "admirer"??? We don't know....


Middle photos courtesy of Betty Massengill and Cynthia Mink. Top photo courtesy of Ellis Wayne Christian.

(before you correct me on where Dean is, remember that M. Gorden's in the background is across Main street.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baldwyn Christmas Parade

-click to enlarge-

Here is jolly old Santa Claus on his sleigh during a parade in the early 50s. The location is on Clayton Street, power office on the left, water office behind him, and Cunningham's to the right.

The parade was winding down at this location when I took the photo. It started and eventually ended in front of the Baptist Church, with Santa "taking orders" from the younger children waiting there.

I recall one other Christmas when Santa was in a small enclosure in front of M. Gorden's store. We were trying to determine who was "Santa" and that time it turned out to be Mort Gardner.

Those Christmases were some of the better ones of our lives.

The guy to the second left of the truck rear appears to be Ellis Christian with a child on his back. Can you confirm this, Ellis?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not your typical farmers - John and Helen Wesson

This couple's life was fascinating a half-century ago. While going through an old scrapbook recently we discovered this article, tattered and faded, but that brought their story back very vividly. They loved to mentor to younger prospective ham operators and pilots, and many of the readers of this blog will recall additional stories about John and Helen, I'll bet.


From an old scrapbook loaned by an anonymous reader.

Click on images to enlarge. Please pardon the missing words on the frayed edges.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Old Wooden School Bus and Taxi?

The vehicle shown in the photo with Cynthia Mink and ??? is strangely familiar... I seem to remember it, but can't really recall its' purpose or owner. Several Baldwyn men had vehicles similar to that and charged people to ride to destinations, like a Mr. Morris whom I rode to school with in a modified Ford "woodie" on bad weather days. He charged just a few cents per trip or a dollar or so a week.

School children, Blue Bell workers and others that needed a ride were patrons of these "taxi" operators, long before Otis Mink and The Adams' taxi service. Also, I remember a Mr. Reynolds that had such a service with a wood-covered-bed truck, as did my uncle, Bob Bartlett, before he moved to New Orleans in the late 40s. They both were in the "taxi" business.

Does anyone recognize the rig? It appears to be on a new-looking Chevy pickup truck, and is apparently home-built to slide in and out like some of the more recent camping units.

In the Claude Gentry movie clips of the 1940 decade, there are quite a few of these wooden buses shown transporting kids to Cedar Hill school.

Can anyone identify the background and home in the photo?


Photo sent by Cynthia Mink

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Young Royalty

Once, Baldwyn had beauty and personality contests for the youngsters.

From the middle 40s, the above photo from Sue Downs Houston shows her and Tom Shellnut as "Little Mister" and "Little Miss Baldwyn".

Sue writes:

"We were 5 years old, and that year Tootsie McCary Morris was Miss Baldwyn. Tommy said that David Gentry was first runner up. I can't remember who the girl was."

Can anyone help with that?

Thanks, Sue. Ya'll were a very cute couple!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another familiar Baldwyn Vehicle from the 50s

Shown is the familiar Cushman motor scooter that belonged to J. M. (Melvin) Duke in the 50s. (Incidentally that is not Melvin sitting on it!) Betty Smith is ready to take off for a spin, it appears.

The old scooter came from Chicago or somewhere, and was really utilized for transportation by J. M. and friends.

A little research IDs it a "50-series" model, produced first in 1946. Compare the two photos. The Buick trim (the round "portholes") were added by J. M. Also, my recollection of the scooter (which I rode several times) was that it had plenty of power and ran good, but the handlebar throttle broke and no replacement was available. For a long time it ran on the streets in idle position, but Melvin would reach down between his feet and open the throttle "butterfly" valve to get more power when needed to get up the hill in town and elsewhere. He finally added a throttle cable and handle that had to be pulled straight up to accelerate and pushed down to slow the machine. It was mounted on the side of the body, and worked well.

Melvin, let me know if that about sums it up....

If anyone has a photo of the old 3-wheeled scooter that Darrel "Dog" Mathis rode, please send a copy, preferably of him doing doughnuts in the center of town, trying to get the front wheels off the ground.

Wallis Nelson, do you have a photo of your scooter?

Photo courtesy of Betty Smith via Cynthia Mink
Made in the Duke front yard on West Main Street. The driveway in the background is to the Roy Rogers' (Frieda) home.