Thursday, July 2, 2009
Long ago summers
Summertime! It’s here! Summertime used to be my favorite season when I was a child. There were all these neighborhood friends to play with and games to play. Sometimes we made play houses, sometimes we played dolls, sometimes we cut out paper dolls and in the afternoons we would go swimming in the fenced-in city pool which was located on the west hill of Spring Hollow Park and it was great.
However, each Monday, that water was changed when the pool was cleaned and on Tuesday the pool was too frigid to swim in, as the good, fresh, clean spring water was straight out of that underground river below Holly Springs and the temperature of it was probably 56 degrees, although I’m only guessing.
We had a lifeguard who was a high school boy. At each end of the pool were dressing houses and at the front side was a screened- in “office.” At the end of the summer it would be piled up with “lost and found” objects. The swimming pool lasted through the 1950s I think, because I used to arrange for the Red Cross to give swimming lessons at the first of the summer. For a lot of kids, it was their only opportunity to learn the invaluable lesson of swimming. My children learned to swim like fish because of it.
Spring Hollow had a huge oak tree down the hill from the pool and I would take my kindergarten class that I used to teach down there and we would have a “pow-wow” under that spreading oak tree just like the Indians before us. That basin of Spring Hollow would make a natural amphitheatre. Have the people sit on the hill and have a stage close to the springs for the show. For those of you who are away and don’t know, Spring Hollow is really beautiful now. It has lights and walkways and is wonderful.
Everybody walked everywhere; we weren’t chauffeured anywhere, except Tommy Stewart. He lived in the vicinity of the pool and every day he was chauffeured to school, home to lunch and back to school. One day his mother said, “Tommy, you could walk to school and back,” to which Tommy replied, “I could roll, too, but I’m not!” I always thought that was so funny. Tommy was always so clever.
We walked to the pool from home, where ever that was and in doing so we passed the ice house which was located on north Center Street. Often, we would stop by and ask for a bit of ice. They always gave us a little. Later in the 1960s, Holly Springs built two pools. One on Valley Street and another behind the school east of Falconer Avenue. It was torn away to build a school building on the site. The Valley Street pool is still there.
Hosey Wells was the last “manager” or “guard” at the pool. One morning he went to work there and nearly had a heart attack, as, in the pool was what looked like a little boy’s body fully clothed in blue pants and red jacket, but actually, it was an iron boy stolen from Mrs. Fant’s yard. I always wondered how the thieves got the iron boy over that tall fence. It wasn’t too long after that that the pool was torn away to build a school building.
Earlier, Mr. Mackie had a swimming pool on College Avenue down the hill from Gray Gables. It was still there when I lived in Gray Gables, but in my lifetime it was never used. I don’t remember Mr. Mackie’s first name but shall always remember him. He always was dressed up. Each day he wore a suit, a high collar that was detachable (for washing) and a bow tie. When he went outside he wore a derby hat, round on top. He had a candy store in the last building in that block. His two-story antebellum house was next door. About 1939 or 1940, Mr. Mackie died. His property was taken over by Leo Leibson for a shoe store. His home and the adjoining Elks Club were taken over by a hotel. Mr. Mackie’s home and the Elks Club were connected by an annex and the compound became Van Dorn Hotel. We had our high school party there. Mrs. Rowan was the manager. It had a dining room, a lobby and I don’t know how many bedrooms. It was great. Sometime along the way, the antebellum house of Mr. Mackie’s was torn away to leave an empty lot.
Back to summertime, the intense heat of the 1930s didn’t seem to affect kids. There was no air-conditioning. We raised the windows, opened the doors, hooked the screens and went to bed. We didn’t worry about burglars. One night at my house, we forgot to hook the back screen and one of Mr. Holbrook’s hound dogs came in and walked over my bed and woke me up, but, we shooed the dog out and hooked the door.
At the Square Museum we are open every day except Sunday. Our Mississippi Shop is great and we sell souvenirs, T-shirts, flags, books, local books, artifacts, postcards, jams and jellies and candles. Come to see us soon; 111 Van Dorn Ave. 662 252-3669. At the “old-new” museum we need volunteers to work inside where it is cool. We’ve made a lot of headway but still have a long way to go. Hope you can help.
Our television show is always marvelous. We use local talent and it is so incredible to discover the talent we have in Marshall County.
It is aired on Thursday evening on TV98 at 6 p.m. and shown again Monday at 6 p.m.
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