Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturdays in Baldwyn 1930s-40s


James "Jimmy" Cunningham

Baldwyn was a lively town in the late 30's & early 40's. Mr. Audie Coggins owned the Ritz Theater on Main St., and he usually had something special going on Saturday afternoon and night. He had a stage in front of the screen, so he would have a stage show of some kind if possible. There were singing groups, boxing matches, or even movie stars. Tex Ritter came with his group, and Mr. Audie had him to draw the lucky ticket for the Saturday drawing at 3:00 p.m.

Top attractions were the boxing matches in an elevated ring in the center of town. Local boxers were Sam Patton, Ed Wallis, Johnny Conlee, Raymond Easterling, "Curly" Copeland, Hasten Joyner, "Pee Wee" White & his twin brother Loyd, Mike Richey, Johnny Agnew, and Jess McGee. Most were amateurs who had never trained, but were pretty good boxers. "Curly" Copeland was fairly well trained and could usually win his matches even though outweighed in most cases.

For the finale on boxing nights ten or twelve boxers would enter the ring at the same time, and the last three standing would get the prize money. This was called a "Battle Royal".

Aud's admission tickets were fifteen cents to everyone on movie nights, but when he brought in "Gone With the Wind" it had to be $1.20 each. This movie lasted four hours with a 30 minute intermission.

Claude Gentry's theater (the Lyric) at Main & Front St. brought in the Jessie James movie which showed all night until 4 o'clock the following morning. These tickets were eleven cents to everyone, which was regular price, but only lasted a little over two hours.

Cars were not owned by many rural people in those days, and around fifteen school buses would bring people in to town around 10 o'clock on Sat. morning. They would shop until after the town drawing, go home and milk their cows, and then come back to town to the movie and visiting until after midnight. The stores would remain open until that time. I have worked in the grocery store until 12:00 p.m. and then gone to the barber shop for a haircut.

Hope this enlightens you about early Baldwyn. Normally on a week night, the GM&O Rebel passenger train going North at 10:51 was my signal to head home.


Images exerpted from "Around Town" film by Claude Gentry. Click to enlarge.

Thanks for the memories, Jimmy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

1942 BHS Senior Class

Some time ago, someone asked if we had a photo of the 1942 senior class.

I recently noticed this framed photo on a restaurant wall and took it with the best clarity as possible.

Hope you can make all the images out well enough. The ceiling lights are reflected and a glass over the photo makes it distorted somewhat.


Image used with permission of Lana Sue McVey Kesler and Agnew's Restaurant in Pratts, MS. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

People and Places from Long Ago

TOP: A photo of a possible funeral procession with the casket on display in the center of town (M. Gorden's in the background). This is about 1944-45. Some have thought that it might be the funeral of Uncle George, the porter at the Home Hotel, but that would have been 1949. Any ideas from the more senior readers?

SECOND. The Ritz theater. How much of our time did we spend in there?

THIRD. Marie Evans takes a break from her duties at Tom's Drug Store.

FOURTH. "Hizzoner" the mayor of Baldwyn for many years and Mrs. Heflin at their home patio with homemade furniture.

LOWER. Jimmy Cunningham and Alton Wallis (Wallace?) and the grocery delivery truck from Cunningham's store. About 1954.

Photo credits: Clips from "Around Town" video by Claude Gentry. Third and fourth photos courtesy of Clarene Evans and David Heflin. Lower photo courtesy of Jim Greene.

Friday, August 21, 2009

FFA Members Photo

Photo of mid 1950s FFA guys. Not sure of person on left, but others are L-R - Bobby Corbett, Bobby Nichols, Maxie Ramsey, and Frank Norman, Jr.

The FFA was a very good organization to belong to even if you weren't intending to be in farming as a vocation. I used my affiliation to learn to weld, some basic mechanical knowledge, and some other things I was able to use throughout the years.

As far as I know, from this group only Bobby Corbett actually had a career in farming. He is still owner of Corbett Farms in the Pratts area.

Photo from the Betty Smith Massengill collection. Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Bearcats Football Clippings

-click to enlarge-

Some old clippings from the Baldwyn Weekly News we thought you might like to see. I restored them as best I could, getting the yellowed pages to black and white.

I would guess the dates at 1954-57.


Submitted by Betty Smith Massengill.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Yesterdays

My yesterdays, they haunt me so
and will not turn me loose
remaining as if almost a part
white forged into this bleeding heart
grasping fingers of times gone by
have aged throughout the years
in lonely hours do I live out my days
with my dreams and thoughts and fears
but these old times are the same old times
and if only they could be renewed
but we both know this cannot be so
for our lives we've at last reviewed
and find that what had once transpired
and kept us so far apart
was the very thing that we threw away
that love within our hearts

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Doors of Opportunity

-click on image to enlarge-

The above photo of the west (front) school doors from an old annual is representative of a golden opportunity we had when we last went through them. I recall going through them many times; to recess and then back to the "grind", streaking to the bike stand to get to my paper route in the afternoon, and the hurried exit to Summer vacation each year.

I had no idea when I last walked through them that 52 years later, looking at this photo, I would stop and think what magnitude the knowledge and learning I had gotten from the classes inside that building would have upon my life.

Many of us had only a few short years left after graduation. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice in the military, others went on to have distinguished public careers or just be public service workers with good homes and families. Without the desire of the teachers at BHS influencing us, it would have been much more difficult after we finished school.

To all of those whose devotion to teaching us necessary skills in language, math, science and the arts, and to the coaches who helped with our athletic abilities, we salute you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1958 BHS Class History

-click on images to enlarge-

This is a very condensed history of the '58 class. Hilarious as it may be, it has some very great memories, especially to those mentioned by name.

I am sure there was quite a bit more that could be written about those years. Please add any other things you can remember to the comments!

Submitted by Cynthia Mink. I wish I knew who the author of this is in order to give he or she credit. This is an excerpt from the Baldwyn Weekly News, I assume.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Some Prominent Baldwynians of Long Ago

TOP: If you ever shopped at M. Gorden's department store, you will recall these friendly clerks who assisted you.

CENTER: Members of the Baldwyn Order of the Eastern Star. This probably is around the late 1950s or early 60s.

LOWER: Some of the local folks who have grown or started growing beards and wearing period clothing for one of the many centennials or reenactments in the Baldwyn area. Standing, L-R Jimmy Tapp, Haddon Palmer, Doug Boxx, Jim Weeks, Bernard Coggins.

Kneeling - Douglas Waters, Charles Weatherford. I think this is around 1964.

Photo credits: center, Tom Shellnut. Others courtesy of Robert Palmer.

Click on images to enlarge.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BHS Class of '39

-click to enlarge-

Had a request to post this montage of the graduates of 1939, their associates and sponsors.

I apologize for cutting off some of the data at bottom; the article was larger than my scanner bed. I scanned it in 3 sections, but it absolutely would not stitch together, no matter how hard I tried.

Bet some of you have relatives in the photo, or can recall some of them.

Trivia: What was Armour Lee Gentry's nickname that he carried with him all his life?


Courtesy of Betty Smith Massengill.