THE TEENAGE YEARS – 1957 to 1963

Growing Up in Greenwood, MS

I sometimes hear people talk about their childhood memories, things that happened to them when they were 2 or 3 years old.  Not me, I don’t seem to have any of those, at least not many.  My earliest memory is my Dad coming home from work in some kind of old car (don’t remember the model – it was just a black car, with running boards), and as he pulled into the driveway, I would run out to meet him.  He would stop, let me climb up on the running board, and then ease on up the driveway. It became a daily routine for me, to wait outside around 5:15 PM.  I guess that’s why it stuck with me.  It must have been about 1951, when I was 6 years old, cause Freddy Carl’s dad  built our house on Jefferson St. in 1950.  I just can’t pull anything out of the memory banks earlier than that (I must have had a pretty mundane childhood).  I do remember my brother out in the yard chipping a golf ball around (also when I was about age 6) and he smacked one that caught me square in the forehead, knocked me out cold, and I came to, just in time to see my Mama switching the crap out of his legs (he was 16 at the time, way too old to switch, but he got it anyway)!

Most of my childhood memories start up around age 7 or 8.  I remember watching Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on TV in 1952.  The old gal is still hanging on.  I guess she doesn’t trust her son Prince Charles to make any big decisions, so she’s probably gonna die on the throne (wearing one of those wild hats she likes).

One of the things that is seared into my memory like a hot branding iron happened in about 1956, when I was 11.  My Dad took me to the Kiwanis Club for lunch one Thursday.  The Kiwanis Club met at the Hotel Greenwood Leflore, on the Yazoo riverfront.  They always had a decent plate lunch, and some sort of program.  That day the program was Hite McClean (the one that was a year older than me, not his lawyer Daddy).  Hite did an Elvis Presley routine, “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog”, I believe, complete with a box guitar and some sort of painted on sideburns, and a pompadour hairdo.  Now I had seen Elvis of course, on TV.  Maybe he had already been on Ed Sullivan by then, I’m not sure, but he had certainly gotten my attention.  But Hite’s performance absolutely changed my life.  I was galvanized, eaten up with a fever that burned like a blast furnace inside me.  I started in on my Dad that night with a campaign to acquire not just a guitar, but an “ELECTRIC” guitar.  It took almost a year of whining and pleading, but finally one Christmas morning I discovered that Santa had left a black Silvertone electric guitar, complete with two pickups and a Bigsby tailpiece, from the North Pole warehouse of Sears Roebuck.   Not only that, he also left an amplifier so big I couldn’t even pick it up, I had to get Daddy to move it back to my room.

Well, that guitar and amp was the gasoline that fueled my musical fire for the next 55 or so years, and it still smolders today.  But what a journey it sparked.  I’ve never been anything more than just an ordinary amateur musician, but I’ve enjoyed it immensely.  Hite McLean has no idea to this day that he launched my musical odyssey!

Between the discovery of rock n roll at age 12, and the transition from Miss Kathleen Bankston’s Elementary School to Greenwood Junior High, the “picture show” took up a significant amount of a young man’s 13th and 14th years, since that’s where young ladies might be found on the weekends.  Greenwood had two movie theaters, the Rebel, on South Howard St., just past the Episcopal Church, and the art deco Leflore Theater, set at a rakish angle on the corner of Washington and Fulton.  Of course, not yet old enough to drive ourselves, we had to suffer the indignation of being dropped off, and then picked up by parents, or older siblings.  A small price to pay however, for the opportunity to sit in a darkened venue with a female!  The Rebel Theater was older, and in addition to the main feature (or double feature) would also have serials, such as The Adventures of Lash LaRue (“the cowboy king of the bullwhip”).  I remember one year Lash Larue made a live appearance at the Rebel, for a Saturday matinee, and I have never been so disappointed in my life.  He looked pretty seedy, and seemed to be wearing some sort of  bourbon after shave lotion as he signed autographs.  I quickly abandoned him for Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, and Johnny Weismuller as the fabulous Tarzan, King of the Apes!

Leflore Theater, Fulton & Washington Streets, Greenwood, MS (1942)

The Rebel was finally outdone with the opening of the Leflore Theater.  It was the talk of the town, with it’s artsy look, and was easily twice as large as the old Rebel.  With a modern concession stand that featured every kind of pogey bait known to man, including giant Dill pickles, it was the pride of the Delta for many years,  until local juvenile deliquent Lay Turner decided to hurl a jumbo dill pickle through the screen one afternoon, leaving an unsightly rip nearly dead center where Roy Rogers had just sent some Indian to the happy hunting ground with his twin silver plated six shooters.  This of course brought down the wrath of Mr. Harry Marchand, the owner, always dapper in his suit,  with the local blue-haired Nazi “George Washington” in tow, with her feared six cell flashlight, searching for the miscreant.  We called her George Washington because she looked actually like George Washington on the dollar bill, although she was probably a sweet old lady.  Just not when she was on patrol at the theater.  Her pet peeve was someone talking in her movie theater, and she would cruise endlessly up and down the aisles trying to catch someone speaking above a whisper, and when she discovered a violator, would bath them in the beam of her torch, accompanied by a withering look that would silence any chatterboxes in attendance.  We junior high boys would of course revert to acting like grade school kids, each one trying to impress the other, and whatever females might be present by punching the bottoms out of popcorn boxes, and wearing them as sleeves on our arms, and also blowing on empty Red Hot boxes to produce the most annoying horn-like bleats, whenever George Washington would turn her back.  But the young jr. high ladies were not impressed. They were dreaming of tenth or eleventh graders.

I can also remember purchasing my first 45 rpm record at Coleman Craig’s Flower & Gift Shop (records in the back).  Of course Malouf’s Music had a much bigger record store over by the train station, but we weren’t allowed to ride our bikes “down there”.  The inaugural piece of my record collection came in the form of “Short, Fat Fannie” by Larry Williams (1957).  I had gone by to make my purchase on my bike, on the way to the Rebel one Saturday just after lunch time.  Mr. Craig put the record in a bag, collected my 50 cents, and sent me on my way to the newly discovered territory of rock n roll.  Swinging the bag just under the handlebars as I approached the Rebel, my knee came up and caught the record in a perfect bind against the handlebar, snapping the vinyl disc in half.  Some buddies were gathered outside the Rebel, so I couldn’t cry, but I sure wanted to.  I immediately rode back to the record shop, where a kind Mr. Craig took pity on me, and gladly gave me another copy free.  I still had enough to get in the Rebel (10 cents I think was the admission those days, but it might have been 25 cents for the Saturday Double Feature with cartoons and serials).  For years, whenever I would see Mr. Craig in the Episcopal Church, putting out the flowers on the altar, I would remember his generosity.

The next giant step in my life was of course getting a driver’s license (you could still get a license at age 15 back then), and on August 19th 1960, I made Daddy take me to the Highway Patrol station to get it done. I managed to pass, and although he let me drive home, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t just hand over the keys right then. I guess I was expecting the recently purchased 1958 Ford Custom 300 to become mine.  Didn’t quite work out that way!  Daddy had bought that car (the first NEW car he ever purchased) a year earlier, from Hambrick Motor Company, located where the Viking Cooking School is now situated, at the corner of Front Street and Main Street.  Years ago, after Daddy had died, my brother and I were going through boxes and boxes of his stuff (he was a pack rat – had every cancelled check and every receipt for everything he ever bought), and I found the receipt for that car).  He paid $1,850.00 for it in 1959. Amazing!  It had a manual transmission (a “stick shift”, which naturally I thought was the coolest thing ever).  I remember when he brought it home, and me pestering him quite unsuccessfully, to get a set of fender skirts and dual swept-back radio aerials to go on the back deck.

He would let me drive it some, usually on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, and it didn’t take me long to succumb to the temptation to try some “speed shifting”.  I believe it was Leland Russell riding shotgun with me the day I stripped out all the gears in the transmission, except for reverse and maybe third.  I was able to limp home in third gear, and try to explain to Daddy what had happened.  I believe I walked a lot after that, for a pretty fair period of time.  It was pretty damn fast too, for a six cylinder.  Leland’s dad had a 58 Ford as well, and he never could beat me in our drag races on Money Road.  That stick shift was just the ticket for getting off the line!  Of course, we weren’t in the same class with local drag kings William Ellis or Matt Dale, but we still could burn that rubber!

I guess I would have been a 15 year old freshman at Greenwood High in 1960, when I got my driver’s license.  I remember that my class was the first class to enter the new GHS when it opened, and the first class to complete 4 full years there when we graduated in 1963.  It was brand new!  You walk through GHS now, and it looks 50 years old – hell it IS 50 years old, I suppose, or will be in 2 more years!

I rode in a car pool I think, my whole freshman year, driven by different moms or dads from friends in our neighborhood.  Billy Boy Bowman, Kirk Carter, John Hony, maybe others who were the same age.  By the summer before my junior year (1961), my brother Jimmy had come home from the Navy, and married Mimi Garrard.  He had an old 1951 Studebaker, and when they got married, his in-laws, David and Ethel Duncan, gave them a new Mercury Comet for a wedding present, for them to take to New York, where they were headed to begin their married life.  He gave the Studebaker to me, and a door to a whole new galaxy opened before my eyes!  Unfortunately, all that I could see on the other side were demons and wicked temptation!

My 1951 Studebaker Commander 4 dr sedan – “The Blue Bomb”

(note reverse-opening rear doors)

By then the car pool had fallen into our own hands, and Billy Boy, Kirk and I were joined by Judy Colvin, Eileen Pachter and Davo Pittman, and we drove to Greenwood High each morning in one or the other’s car. I think Davo referred to the group as “hard rollers”

Lunchtime was a daily adventure, usually to the Cotton Boll restaurant on Johnson Avenue, about 3 or 4 blocks from the school, for one of their famous foot long hotdogs. Other days we went to the Frost Top, sometimes the bowling alley.  On rare days, we would venture over to Park Avenue, but we only had 30 minutes for lunch, so we usually got in trouble for being late when we made that trip.

The Studebaker was a unique beast, with bizarre styling, and a constructional peculiarity that featured rear doors that opened backwards from a normal 4 door sedan.  We would use this feature to attempt to scoop up dogs foolish enough to chase us, although I don’t remember that we ever caught one.  We certainly scared the crap out of a few, when the back door would fly open and a hand would reach out to snatch them.  That usually ended the pursuit of the vehicle.

Having one’s own set of wheels opened up vast opportunities to get in trouble.  Principally, hanging out at either Lackey’s, Serio’s, Giardina’s or Carnaggio’s parking lots.  Or either riding from one parking lot to the next, over the course of an evening, just to make sure we weren’t missing something.  It was not unusual to put 75 or 100 miles a night on a vehicle, “making the circuit” covering 4 or 5 joints, repeated several times a night.  Gasoline was not much of a problem, at 25 cents a gallon.  As long as someone had enough money for a few cold beers. Cold beer was readily available at all of these establishments (Pabst Blue Ribbon being one of the more preferred brands, prior to the ascendency of Budweiser to the throne), via a system of carhops.  I don’t know when the system of checking ID’s came into use, but it certainly had not been thought of in the early 60’s.  If you could drive a car, or even ride in a car, you could purchase all the beer you wanted.  The carhops would bring beer, and hamburgers out to your car, all you had to do was toot your horn for service (except at Serio’s.  They were situated in a mostly residential neighborhood in South Greenwood, at the corner of Mississippi and Alabama Avenues, so they probably got complaints from the neighbors).  They had a big sign outside that said “Don’t Blow Horn – Flash Lights for Service, and that would do the trick.

I remember my favorite carhop at Lackey’s was Bobcat.  Bobcat was a jovial young black man, and wore a paper cap provided by his employer, upon which he had written his name with a ball point pen, “BOBCAT”. At some later date he appended that with a statement in reference to a girlfriend I suppose, “love one gril”

Lackey’s Café, Park Avenue, Greenwood, MS

(with Carnaggio’s Restaurant in the background, across street)

Spelling was obviously not Bobcat’s forte, but we figured it out that Bobcat was claiming to be monogamous, but I never understood if the claim was for our edification, or to make himself taller in his girl’s eyes.  At any rate, he became forever known to us as Bobcat Love One Gril.

There were many carhops over the years, but a few I remember fondly were Joe (sometimes known as “Virgo”), who claimed to be the lead singer of a black R&B group who had a hit record named “Dear One” in the early 60’s.  He was a soft-spoken, quiet young man, always friendly, and I think he worked at Serio’s for a while, and then later at Lusco’s, where I’m sure he made more money than shagging beer at Serio’s.  Also at Lusco’s was Dan.  Dan was a fixture that had been at Lusco’s as long as I could remember, and probably died there as well.  Who knows how long he worked there, but he WAS Lusco’s to me.

Lusco’s Restaurant, Carrollton Avenue, Greenwood, MS

There were countless others, but they have faded into the mists of time for me.  I think they may have been the inspiration for the name of my band I have had for the last 30 years, “The Curb Service Band”.  I guess folks younger than age 30 don’t have any idea what “curb service” is (or was), but it was just the way drive-in restaurants worked back then.

I think Lackey’s might have been the most popular of the four or five hangouts we frequented, if only because it was centrally located, and had a big shade tree out front, in the center of the gravel parking lot.  Other than that, there wasn’t much difference in any of them, and you could always find two or three carloads of kids on any of them at any given time, and on a Saturday night, around 9 PM, there might be 40 or 50 cars crammed in there, with kids draped everywhere.  There were others as well, such as King’s, Tucker’s Truckstop, Short’s, but these were a little more on the “dangerous” side, maybe not your first choice to take a girl friend.  Maybe better for later in the evening, when the girls had gone home? Well, you know.

Serio’s Restaurant, Mississippi & Alabama Streets, Greenwood

(“Don’t Blow Horn, Flash Lights for Service”)

Lackey’s also had arguably the best hamburger on the face of planet Earth.  I thought so, anyway.  I asked Mrs. Lackey one time what made them so good (her husband made them) and she said, “He cuts the meat with light bread, honey”. I guess my puzzled look gave me away, for then she added, “You know, it’s like a filler, makes the meat go further”.  Made them really greasy too, but so damn good!

I think they had great fries too, not like the thin, hard little sticks you get nowadays from McD’s, but meaty, and crisp, cooked in 100% real lard!

There were other spots around town that bring a fond memory to me as well, places like Mr. Sam Scroggins Store, just west of Mrs. Braden’s house on the corner or the Boulevard and Park Ave., and the Neighborhood Grocery (where the Exxon station is now on Park and Walnut – it faced out towards Walnut Street, just a little hole-in-the-wall market). Then there was Folbe’s Courts Motel, a strange little place with an office on Park Ave, and a string of connected rooms running back away from Park, each one with it’s own little private garage, with a pull down garage door, so you could hide your car.  Wonder what sort of things went on there?  And not far from Folbe’s was Windham’s, a kind of honky tonk, I guess you would call it.  I don’t think I ever went in Windham’s, but some folks did obviously.  I remember they had a big glass window, with the words “Vital Juices” neatly lettered across the bottom of the glass.  Hmmm?

Downtown there was Gelman’s Cafeteria, where we sometimes went for lunch, and the Post Office Café, part of the old Irving Hotel (now the Alluvian).  One of the kids favorites was Thompson-Turner Pharmacy (actually I think it was “Drug Store”), with the only known soda fountain in the Delta, with a lunch counter,  stools and maybe a few booths, where you could get a pretty good cherry coke.  A favorite with the girls, as I remember.

The favorite with the guys had to be the Rex Billiard Parlor, or “the pool room” as it was called.  It was originally located up on Howard Street, about a half block from the river.  They had 5 or 6 pool tables, a couple of snooker tables, some domino tables that seemed to be perpetually occupied by guys in coveralls and train engineer hats, who would play for hours and hours, and a row of pinball machines (the old fashioned kind, with the 25 holes for the balls to roll down and fall into).  The most popular were the ones with the “OK section”, where if you could get three balls in a row, then the OK section would open up to offer large bonuses for either “two in the green” or three in the green”.  I remember a certain Greenwood physician would come in every single day and stick at least $100 in nickels in one of these machines.  Occasionally he would win $20 or $50, and on rare occasions maybe $100, but most days he won zip!  But he came every day.  He just liked to play, didn’t need the money.  I can still hear his voice, when he would run out of nickels…   “Gimme another roll, Sonny”!  Sonny was Sonny Tominello, one of the three Tominello brothers that owned the place.  They were the closest thing to real gangsters we had ever seen in Greenwood, Mississippi!  I think Sonny was the baby of the bunch, and Frankie and Tony were older twin brothers.  I couldn’t tell ‘em apart, just two peas in a pod.  They would let us play the pinball machines (as long as the cops weren’t in there), but strangely enough, you couldn’t buy a beer in there unless you were 21.  About the only place in town that was like that.  You did have to watch your step in there, and the Tominello boys didn’t put up with a lot of foolishness.

I also remember Johnny John’s, the combination gas station/bootleg liquor store, on the curved western approach ramp to the downtown Keesler bridge (the only downtown bridge back then).  This was before liquor was “legal”, and lots of local people would call a cab and send them by Johnny John’s to pick up a half pint or a fifth, and have it delivered to the house.  The cab drivers had a booming business going, collecting tips from their delivery customers.

During our first year or so of High School, we had the Youth Center, officially named TAC.  I was never exactly sure what TAC meant, but I think Teenage Attendance Center may have been the formal name.  I know that once we had access to cars, attendance at TAC was fairly far down on our list of things to do in Greenwood.

More enticing were some of the “real” joints, where al sorts of music could be sampled.  Like the National Guard Armory, somewhere out behind Williams School and the Odd Fellows Cemetery, where occasional big dances would be held.  I will never forget the night Bo Diddley performed there.  I think I was 14 or 15, and snuck out there to see the awesome Mr. Estes McDaniel (his real name).  My Mother would have killed me, right before my Daddy would have killed me a second time, but a large time was had by all, and I lived to tell about it.  There were also the VFW club, out on Hwy 82 towards Carrollton, where the Red Tops used to play (actually a little before my time, but I remember their records).  The Elks Club downtown, and of course the Legion Hut, by the North Greenwood Fire Station.  I cut my musical teeth in the Legion Hut, playing with two or three high school bands on numerous occasions.  I remember we would always rent it from John Lee’s daddy, who was a functionary in the American Legion.  Until the night we had “The Blowout” there, and we were told that it would no longer be available for us to rent after that.  “The Blowout” was one of our parting gifts to Greenwood, as we were all going off to college in a couple of months, but I am told that we left behind something called “the Parent’s League”.  I guess we better save the true story of the Blowout for another blog post.

You know, it was a special time, growing up as a teenager in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  We were fortunate that we didn’t have marijuana or crack or cocaine then, to mess up our lives.  We did a pretty good job of it with just beer and the occasional drink of whiskey, but all in all we made it through, with God’s help.

I ride around Greenwood today, and realize I don’t know most of the people I see on the streets (because I am an old man now), and the town has changed a great deal, but there are still plenty of places to bring back a special memory of a person or an event that happened, as George Lucas once said, “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”!

– – Joe Seawright

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84 Responses to THE TEENAGE YEARS – 1957 to 1963

  1. Robert says:

    Joe your only as old as you feel, i’m the same in the area i grew up in, would know who’s who even though i haven’t really left the area

  2. Wow! What a ride! Great memories. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Judy Foushee says:

    I bet you don’t remember coming to my house to eat and we would have salmon croquettes. Well, you said you didn’t like fish so we told you it was chicken. LOL You did an amazing job on the blog. Brought back a lot of forgotten memories.

    • Judy Foushee says:

      One more thing. Mom is over 100 and I printed this out for her. You would have thought I gave her a diamond ring. She was so very excited to get it. It is nice to give her something that will take her mind off being bed ridden. Thank You.

  4. Bud Keirn says:

    Joe: TAC stands for Teen Activity Center where every Friday night after a home football game, I strutted around celebrating a mighty Bulldog victory, being the stud quarterback and defensive safety. Actually, I was very humble, a skinny 145 lbs. and was damn glad I had not just been killed!

    • Fulton Young says:

      Bud, I remember rooming with you, Billy Ellis, and David Fleming on football trips. One thing I can say for you, you could really dance. We would watch American Bandstand and you would put on a show. We should have won the North Big 8 that year. An intercepted lateral cost us dearly.

    • aliallen says:

      Hi Bud,

      As I recall, you were probably the best dancer at TAC too!


    • Richard Short says:

      Yes, Bud – You were so skinny that all you had to do was to turn sideays and the tacklers couldn’t see you. It’s too bad the coach took you out for that infamous belly play that resulted in the intercepted lateral. I remember putting in Rollo right and Rollo left for that game – a play designed to double team Rollo Moses, their all state linebacker. I remembered that when in college, other teams tried that on me, and I loved shooting the gap to take out the fullback and halfback in their own backfield.

    • Nancy Lynne Hagan says:

      Bud Keirn…you were a real devil then, and I will bet you are that to this good day! It’s been too many years…I think I have seen Rebecca and Joe since we saw you in McComb??? Where was that you and Kristie lived? I miss all my Greenwood friends and cherish our mis-spent youth together. I loved your home and your parents and your sisters so much. I LOVE reading Joe’s blogs…just too wonderful for words…sure wish he would put a book together!!! Takes me back to Happy Days!! Nancy Lynne

  5. Judy Juchheim Smith says:

    Love, love, loved it. I remember a car hop at Lackey’s with a gold tooth with a little diamond in it….I think Moon was his name. Also the Paramount Movie Theater where the Elk’s Club is now, at least it was the last time I was home.

    • joeseawright says:

      Hey Judy, Yeah, now that you mention Moon, I think I remember him too. And you are close on the Paramount. It was actually a few doors down to the west of the Elks Club, which was on the corner of Main and Washington. The Paramount was about in the middle of that block. They finally gutted it and made a parking lot. I think the lot is still there.

  6. Joe jONES says:

    Hey Joe,
    What a trip man.
    I seem to remember you and I had the only 51 plymouths in town?
    Take care and if ya’ll are ever around Orange Beach come see Margaret(Naaman) and I.

  7. Bunker Hill says:

    Joe: great memories….super job on the blog

  8. Nancy McCurdy says:

    Joe, how fun! I road around with you in my mind tonight. My 56 Ford was a bad machine and I was pretty fast off the line “back in the day”! Well, the 48 Chevrolet was MY car-the Ford belonged to my mother.

  9. jerry wexler says:

    I appreciate you being so humble but you were never just an ordinary amateur musician. You have always had a gift which you freely shared with all that would listen. I wasn’t in “your group” for I ran with a different bunch of hoodlums and we did the same debaucherous crap ya’ll did. We really did admire you and the other music men from the shadows of our social corner but our paths seldom crossed and we really never hung out. Maybe it was because you guys were North Greenwood and we were just Greenwood and you were focused on different interests and neighborhoods. It sure seems like we did the exact same things. I lived just a block from Serio’s and remember the hops at kings and Lackey’s. Fights at the joints and getting chewed out for coming home late was a right of passage I guess. Henry McCabe, Buck Randall, etc. what a bunch.
    Your writing abilities are definitely another of your talents. Can’t wait for the next sequel.

    • joeseawright says:

      Thanks Jerry, those are kind words indeed. Lots of good times, so many years ago! I’ll try to do a sequel, expounding on the famous “BLOWOUT”, but I’ll have to either make up names or use none at all. Hope to see you again soon , maybe in Oxford in the Grove next Fall? Do you go to any of the baseball games? I try to go to 3 or 4 each Spring.


  10. Bobo Champion says:

    super..what’s the encore..wasnt it Mr. Coggins where Planters Bank was until recently? and Jack Wilson at the Country Store on Walnut that butted next to Hargrove’s Conoco at the corner of Park and Walnut..Maybe it was after you guys had gone to college Joe let us come in Giardina’s and sit on the stools to clear some heads while others cleared their throats and stomachs after something they “ate”(?)..wasnt there a carhop there too? Leflore Theater also featured Necos in the concession stand..
    dont remember much about the concession stand at the Rebel, just trying to find a part of the seat that wasnt cut..the serials were splendid, and all for a was sad to see that hull there for so long..hit us again Joe… sure AllenHammonds will provide some photos…

    • Richard Short says:

      Bobo – Great to see your post. Where are you? Are you on Facebook? I’d love to reconnect. We are in Virginia Beach, VA and plan to be in Greenwood for our 50th reunion next April. BTW, I just learned a few years ago that those Saturday double features and the serials – that gave my parents some time to have the house free of two teanage sons. Hmmmm.

  11. Keirn says:

    Dad, I’m cryin in my coffee this morning. Truly. Thanks so much for this post. I will treasure it always, and I love you so much. We sure live in a different world today, but I’m thanking God for the one you had. I am overwhelmed by who you are and how blessed I am that you are mine. Your oldest, Keirn

  12. Bob Caruthers says:


  13. BAE CASCIO says:

    Joe you bring back great memories. I don’t think anyone could have picked a better town to grow up in.
    I don’t know if you remember the night you left your ’51 Studebaker broken down half on and half off the highway on the way home from Virgil Cook’s cabin in Teoc after a night of Purple Passion and other beverages. I recall getting a glimpse of it just before I hit the rear end, luckily, a few inches from the front of my dad’s new ’58 pink Oldsmobile 98. I gutted that Olds like the Titantic.
    Looking at the picture of the Studebaker today makes my knees weak just like the night I had to wake my dad and give him the good news.
    Love you Brother –

    • joeseawright says:

      Baby Brother,

      Indeed I do remember the night very clearly, for it marked the death of the valiant Studebaker. Not from the collision, but rather from the fact that I had overlooked a small detail concerning the amount of oil in the crankcase. It had apparently run dry during the trip to the cabin near Teoc, and on the return, it finally gave up the ghost, and the engine seized up. There was not much shoulder on the road where it expired, so I left it where it fell, in a noxious cloud of blue smoke, and caught a ride back in with another group returning from the party. I seem to recall that your Dad’s Oldsmobile was heavily damaged, but the Studebaker, constructed of cast iron, suffered hardly a scratch. I’m just glad no one was hurt. The occasion that night was a Duke’s Club party, and the Club had tasked me with providing liquid refreshments for the band, a black group known as King Mose and his Royal Rockers. The Dukes had furnished me with $20 from the Club Treasury, and I believe that was enough to purchase four fifths of Old Kentucky Tavern, two of which I gave to King Mose, and the other two were left in the roomy glove box of the Studebaker, to be found the next morning (by my Dad, of course) at Hambrick Motor Co., where he had the carcass towed for post mortem inspection. They couldn’t save the patient, and it spent the next 50 or so years in a junk yard down on Highway 49 South, until it finally rusted away to dust. Truly the passing of an era!

      O Z

  14. Jim Young says:

    Very good recollection, Joe. I always thought Margaret Mead needed to follow “Coming of Age in Samoa” with “Coming of Age in Greenwood,” a world unto itself.
    I do remember sticky floors at the Rebel and rumors of roaches in the ice cream sandwiches. The Paramount opened and closed a few times over near the Elks Club and the Presbyterian Church. It was run by a rather heavy-set woman who was much more formidable than the Leflore’s “George Washington.”
    I remember Lackey’s as mostly a daytime thing, with Carnaggio’s, Giardina’s and Serio’s as the nighttime places to be–interrupted by quick trips to the office at Folbe’s or way out to the Corner Store at the intersection of 82 and Humphreys Highway. We didn’t shop at Johnny John’s, because it was so visible, and there was usually a police car parked there. I didn’t know they sold gas until I hit empty on the bridge one night.
    Thanks for the memories.

  15. Bubba Johnson says:

    Joe, I have always been one of your biggest fans. The Sweet Nothings was the best high school band EVER! We did have a lot of fun in Jr. High and High School going to the TAC and Legion Hut for dances. And it is great that you wrote something like this. I have enjoyed reading your story and all the comments from my friends.

  16. Mike Person says:

    You “NAILED IT!” There was no place more perfect to grow up than Greenwood, Mississippi. The hangouts were classics and the music groups are still iconic. I still have hard feelings about the blowout and the Parents League. I was the youngest of my class and did not get my driver’s license until 1963. About the time that I had earned later family curfews, the Parent League dictated the new earlier ones and every good parent in Greenwood was not going to extend them, chancing the wrath of the P/L. You guys escaped and went back to your colleges. Any way Greenwood was the greatest to grow up in at the time we supposedly ‘grew up.’
    Thank You Joe and take care!

    • mike malouf says:

      Joe I really enjoyed your article and vivid descriptions of the days gone by. Thanks for sharing it with us, and for keeping us in touch. Mike

  17. Fulton Young says:

    Joe, thanks so much for writing this and adding the pictures. It brought back so many memories and names I haven’t heard in years. I remember Lash Larue being in Greenwood. Ralph Petty and I were there. I run into Hite McLean every once in a while and he hasn’t changed a bit. I also worked at Coleman Craig’s at Christmas to earn just enough money to buy my girlfriend at the time a Christmas present. Bill Johnston worked there with me one year. Back in the 50’s, WABG Radio taped requests for songs to be played later and I remember requesting a song by Gene Vincent entitled “Race With The Devil” for my girlfriend who happened to be Jean Green Blackburn. I didn’t think she was the devil nor was I mad at her, I just liked the song. I think I might have been at your house when I called WABG. Kirk Carter and I invited Jean Green and Judy Colvin to the show (Leflore) one Saturday and my Mom gave me enough money to pay for both Jean Green’s ticket and mine. When we got there, I was about to pay for hers and mine and Kirk said, don’t pay for hers, we met them here and didn’t bring them. Both girls looked startled. I was ashamed then and still ashamed today at our lack of civility. My Mom also had a Studebaker and man was that thing solidly built. Let me say also that your Dad and Mom were wonderful people and the way your Dad took care of your Mom during her illness was such a great testimony to how a man should love and treat his wife. I always thought your Dad was one of the kindest people I ever met. Again, thanks for the memories Joe. Hope you are doing well.

  18. Billy Bowman says:

    Joe- a great trip down memory lane – Bae nailed the night the Studebaker died and yes who could forget the dance with King Mose and The Rockers at the Teoc lodge. You may recall the day we took the Studebaker to the Billups service station for gas. For some unknown you had some additional money for gas(I paid Joe a $1.00 per week gas money to ride to school with him).You told the attendantto “pack it we were taking a road to Arkansas “. The attendant proceeded to fill the tank, which in our lifetime had never held more than 4 or 5 gallons. At some point the aging straps holding the gas tank came loose and the tank fell off the car to the driveway effectively ending our road trip to Arkansas . Billy Boy

  19. Johnny Marshall says:

    “The Blowout” . . . Joe, I remember it well. Especially the beer bar and the unique decorations that hung from the ceiling. What a wild party. I knew “stuff” was going to hit the fan when I saw Doctor John Alford walk through the door to check on his daughter. I think it was her first date without a chaperon. It wasn’t long after he left that the police arrived. I can’t wait for you to tell the rest of the story.

    • helen Redding says:

      Sorry. A wrong memory here. I, Dr. Alford’s daughter, was too young then to be attending “the Blowout.” I think it was older brother John he was checking on. No doubt ole Dad called in the police. I do remember many PL meetings at my house! Yes, a great read here. Thanks to brother John for FW to me.


      • Johnny Marshall says:

        Sorry for my faux pas Helen. No harm meant. I had the greatest respect for your father. He was my doctor and I can’t tell you how many times he set my broken bones or stitched me up after accidents ( many times at his office after hours). I do remember him saving my life when I was a child. It was in 1948 or 1949 went I became deathly ill. The old country doctor treating me, I don’t remember his name, was giving me sulfa drugs but my condition was getting worse. Mother was on the brink of hysteria when she contacted the “new” doctor in town, John Alford, and asked him for help. Your dad drove to our home in Avalon, MS to see me (not a easy trip on the gravel road between Greenwood and Avalon). I was one sick puppy but I vividly remember his black medicine bag. If it were not for your dad making the house call and treating me with penicillin I would have probably died.

  20. Bob Caruthers says:

    Joe, Bonnie wants to know if you remember the string of obscenities that you had to yell at the Studebaker in order for it to start?–Bob

  21. Hite McLean says:


    I am delighted that you think I had a beneficial, as opposed to detrimental, affect on your interest in music. However, anyone who was fortunate enough to have seen your father paint a pastel while singing a song explaining the picture to a packed auditorium will know exactly where your interest in music originated.


    • Allen McCurdy says:

      I ran into a young lady at a night club in York Maine in the mid 60s, that said her boyfriend was Hite Mclean at the University of Ten. She was on vacation. I was in the Navy and my Sub was in the shipyard at Kittery Maine.

  22. Jeanne-Greene B. Williamson says:

    What a treat!! It drove me crazy not to be able to comment along and along on so many of your recollections that are dear to me, too.
    Hate I missed the “Blowout”…we were at State that year and missed that weekend coming home, I guess. I do remember hearing about it and the Parent’s League later, but don’t remember the the details. Regale us soon, please!!!!!
    I remember the Studebaker and your amazing repertoire of jokes of ALL varieties giving us awesome entertainment of must have been hours on end and all kinds of wonderful things that made growing up in Greenwood the best!!!!!!
    FYI The hamburger joint next to the Paramount had a Seeburg juke box with all the great music on it!
    Thank you for the stroll down memory lane. I’m available any time! xoxoxoxoxoxo Jeanne Greene
    PS. Fulton, the picture show episode is toooo sweet and I do vaguely remember it, but not in an unpleasant way. I’m please to report that I have no permanent scars from the incident and neither should you!!!!!!!!! xoxoxo

    • Fulton Young says:

      Thanks Jeanne Greene. I have carried that regret for many years. Thanks for forgiving me. I see Kirk every once in a while so the next time I run across him, I will tell him at least one of you forgave us. I don’t know about Judy, but I suspect as sweet as she is, she forgave us long ago also. As best I remember you lived on Robert E. Lee Drive. Got to you see you at one of our reunions and you still are one of the prettiest girls in our class. Hope all is well with you.

  23. Jimmy "Footrunner" Reed says:

    What a writer you are, Brother! While reading, I went back in time mentally…and emotinally. I feel a half century younger. Love you.

  24. Susan (Parkinson) Lee says:

    What a great read! I could just see Dan (and Richard) rattling off the memorized menu at Lusco’s. Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories!

    • Joe Seawright says:

      Susan, was Richard the one with the glasses that had lenses as thick as the bottom of an original 6-1/2 oz. Coke bottle?

  25. Carolyn Billings Mitchell says:

    Wow, how much fun to remember all the good old times. We did have a great time growing up in Greenwood. Now I sit on the porch of the house I grew up in and remember things that we did. I look across the street and remember all the good times Pi and I had. I have a lot of good memories of old times and places. Thanks for helping me remember some of them.

  26. John Perry Scruggs says:

    This piece is further proof that Joe Seawright is one of the coolest, most talented and NICEST people to come out of Greenwood during our time.

    • Joe Seawright says:

      Thank you John Perry, your $100 bill is in the mail, and should arrive shortly, as we earlier agreed!

  27. Charles Cooper says:

    Wow! Did this evermore bring back some wonderful memories. I can remember the good times that I had at all the places you mentioned. Please include me in future blogs.

  28. marshall ramsey says:

    Hey Joe—–did you know your piece was being read by some older (you think you are old)? Kenney Miller sent it to me and I am right before sending it to our GHS email exchange, members numbering 100, ages from later 90s to later 60s. But in your memories there are very few places and activities unfamiliar to us, so for us too it was a great trip back in time. Glad to know that you “laters” consider growing up in Greenwood, “the bestest.! Moose

  29. Eileen Pachter Pink says:

    I do hope my partial comment did not post as I somehow did something wrong.
    Anyway, WOW!!!! I loved both of these pieces you wrote about our youth, Joe. They brought back wonderful memories. Growing up in Greenwood was a good thing for us all, and we are so lucky that most of us made it to adulthood, even without a designated driver!!!
    What I remember about those carpool days that you mentioned was that no matter whose car we were in Billy had to be in the middle of the front seat as he had the radio buttons set on all of our cars and we never heard a commercial.
    Another vivid memory I have that nobody else I know has is running behind the DDT trucks in the summer. Did we only do that in Greenwood? And now that stuff is banned–how did we survive??!!!!
    I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment.

  30. Yancey Gillespie says:

    Joe: Fantastic and sentimental recall of the halcyon days of yore. This was one helluva emotional roller coaster for old farts like me to read and enjoy. Too many years and too many beers fog the synapses and limit the recall to bits and pieces, but I agree, Greenwood was a special and unique place for us all. We were all nuts and quite frankly lucky to be alive today. Bud is correct – the Teen Activity Center held sock hops where everyone was trying to look cool and figure out what the hell we were doing there. My special treat last year was to bring two other couples who have been 30+ year friends from North Carolina to spend New Year’s at the Alluvian. That was a classic Greenwood party. Almost all of the people and some of the places have changed but the memories of the times are still there.
    The Bo Diddley concert was perhaps the biggest social event that ever hit Greenwood and was an attempt by John Carr to finance a new social club to compete with the Dukes and Monarchs. He grossly over sold the facility capacity of the Amory (300, I think) by a factor of 10 and there must have been 5,000 people there from all over the South, half of whom didn’t have tickets and most of whom were falling down drunk and rowdy. The cops were looking for John to close the thing down and he managed to vanish. The inside of that place was wall-to-wall people all jumping up and down – the original mosh pit. The “new club’ never materialized as I think John was on double-secret probation for the rest of his time in G’wood. I think I still have my Monarchs pin….somewhere.
    I’d love to hear the story of the Big Blowout, as I was at Ole Miss at the time and brother Bill never told me about it – he may not remember it. The Parent’s League didn’t really impact me or my class (’61) as we probably had already contributed significantly to their image of out-of-control teens. I know I did my part with weekends in Yucca Flats. Virgo and his band played at the graduation party for the class of ’61 that was held at my house out on West River Road. That was one fun garden party. Montine Young was my late date and we managed to stay out until about 11 the next day.
    The most memorable part of growing up in the Delta for me was the incredible mobility – No one gave it a second thought to drive to Greenville, Cleveland, Clarksdale, Yazoo City or whereever in the Delta to attend Saturday night dances – and not get home until all hours, if then. I suppose it was second nature since we followed the Bulldogs from away game to away game. So continue to regal us with memories of the best times of our lives….

    • aliallen says:

      I remember that after-graduation party at your house and the fantastic rhythm & blues band as the most fun party EVER in my memory! Your parents were very generous to risk having our wild class!

  31. John Pittman says:

    Really enjoyed this. Your gift of writing paints the real pictures I remember. Always heard about the Studebaker, but really enjoyed the photo of it. JRP

  32. Joe, I was born and raised in Greenwood, graduated from the “old” high school
    with Jimmy in 1953.

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article. It brought back many memories. Thank you very much. My 5 siblings and myself were the third generation
    of Scruggs’ to live in Greenwood.

  33. Keren Everett Wells says:

    I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time- you truly have a gift for recalling the events of our lives in Greenwood. Perhaps we need to make a movie! Not only do the halls of GHS look 50 years older, some of us do too-not me, though. I’m still 22 years old, even if I do have a 41 year old son. Somebody please explain this phenomenon to me.
    Thanks, Joe, for the memories-they are priceless!

  34. Clif Welch says:

    Joe, born and raised in Memphis during the same time. Believe it or not, we had the same things going on and you and your friends would have fit in perfectly. The only exception was that we had High School Sororities and Fraternities which just added to the fun and games. I spent my summers in Senatobia working for my grandfather and uncles. Yes I can spell “chopping cotton!” Had to support my horse, which they kept year round. Thus my experience with the typical Mississippi Community Center, small Mississippi town life and the sublime activities. Good times were had, but I never got “hooked up” with a Mississippi girl. My loss I am sure! On most weekends, we were saddled up, armed with bolt action 22 rifles and out in the pines for the weekend. Squirrels and rabbits caught “hell” but no one ever got excited about us being “armed!”
    No Studebaker, but a 1953 Ford filled my transportation needs. When I got it the way I wanted it, there was a 1955 Buick motor, 6 2’s, Hurst floor shift and a full rolled and pleated interior. Not bad for a paper boy (morning route).
    Much else was the same, except the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

    By the way, “Zombies On Broadway” is available on Amazon.Com.

    Thanks For The Memories!

    Just Clifee

  35. Carolyn Harper (nee Crull) says:

    These are some of the best of the Greenwood stories – but every class – ours for sure -1953 – could add some. Thanks for sharing. Bob and I enjoyed it all and look forward to more!!!

  36. Russ Campbell says:

    I read it all .Great Joe. I envy Bud, Becca,my brothers and sister for getting to grow up in those days. It’s fantastic that you would take the time to recall the times of your life and your friends. I know they all got a kick out it. Funny how times change so rapidly that you don’t remember till there gone, what we can remember …Congrats. to Keirn Tell Bud that I know how to catch trout, I’m not going to tie my own flies so tell him to stock up. I’ve got a great rig(fly rod) Fished week after Ga. Gov. Purdue same stream for rainbows(7-8 lbs) I’m going to retire again at Buds just don’t tell him yet.Just teasin. You can’t get any better room service than at Moms I tell her to stop and she’s still all over me. I quess she likes my company. Moms 87 and running circles around me @ 32( give or take)

  37. Russ Campbell says:

    see the above

  38. Dave Dollarhide says:


    I didn’t spend my teenage years at Greenwood, but your eloquent trip down memory lane takes me back in time also. My family and I lived there from ’45 till I finished my 6th grade year at Davis Elementary in ’54. My grandfather, Roy Martin, began the Delta Band Festival back in the ’30s and I understand it’s still going strong. My father was principal of the Jr. High for a while, then opened the Dollarhide Music Store on Main St.

    We lived on West Washington, then Humphries Highway, but mostly on Strong Ave. where I played “kick the can” and “mumbly peg” with Fred Sandifer, Ralph Smith and Haley Smith. We’d go downtown to watch “The Bowery Boys” and suck on Necco candy at the Leflore Theater.

    There are lots of other great memories from Greenwood. …glad I stumbled onto your “Teenage Years.”

  39. Elizabeth Pollard Moore says:

    I just found this site and laughed out loud at your vivid memories! You didn’t miss a thing in covering the “growing up” years in that little Mississippi Delta town!. I am going to print and keep this story to cheer me when the days become cold and dreary in Ohio. Babbo

    • Gerald "Gerry" Ladner says:

      Just stumbled on this blog and saw your name. Remember being almost backyard neighbors onCherokee/Monroe and my dating your cousin Winkie?

      • Elizabeth Pollard Moore says:

        I just happened to reread this and see this note from you,,,,yes, I definitely remember Winkie coming over to “spy” on you! Where do you live? We are near Cincinnati near our daughter and grandchildren. Haven’t been to Greenwood since 2003.

  40. Absolute great read…refreshingly funny and nostolgic. I don’t remember you very well, but it was good to get to know you in this read. You really knew how to have fun and your memory is so good of all of it. Enjoyed it tremendously! Conchetta Dantone Thompson

    • joeseawright says:

      Thanks, Conchetta. Were you in the Class of ’61, or thereabouts? I think I remember you. My brother in law, Bud Keirn was in that class, with Virgil Cook, Tommy Wade Inman, Baby Brother Cascio, Stevie Stigler, a whole bunch of ’em I remember. Good times! Thanks for the post!

  41. Jo Anne Dukes says:

    Joe, although I didn’t grow up in Greenwood, growing up in Jackson, MS was very similar, and it made me laugh to see the comparisons. I well remember driving my old green Dodge coupe named Jezebel. She didn’t have a starter nor brakes. That was ok, cause we lived on a hill and I started it by putting in gear and taking my foot off the clutch and the other on the gas and away we would go, piled with friends to go to Livingston Lake. We would bump into a tree to stop it at the Lake and have someone give us a pushoff to get it started to head home, where we had a telephone pole in front of the house we would aim for to stop it. I can’t believe we survived those years. So happy to meet you, your family and friends and especially our very good friends, Bud and Christy.
    Jo Anne Dukes, Norfork, Arkansas

  42. Elayne Knox McMurtray says:

    Hi Joe…I remember hearing about the blowout and definitely remember the Parents League…i graduated in 67 and loved all the dances and parties we had. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Nancy Lynne Hagan says:

    Hey Joe…I so loved your article and reading all the posts from various friends and/or classmates. I cannot beleive I have not seen this before…my brother, Wilson Johnson, sent it to me today. You may remember me…I am a friend of “Keirn’s” (Margaret Lillian) and of your wife, Rebecca! We graduated GHS in 1958, and after I moved off to Louisiana my senior year, I would come back on weekends and stay with the Keirn Family. Everything you wrote about Greenwood is so very true, and I did crack up recalling that road out to Kitty and Virgil’s house in Avalon. We had a remarkable growing up experience in Greenwood, and after seeing The Help this weekend, it just magnified all of those home town feelings. All the girls running around together…me, Aubrey, Keirn, Ruby, Margaret, Carol Jo, Edrie Jean, Betty, the list goes on. We got into so much trouble…all innocent trouble, mind you. Bud was a fabulous dancer, and I do miss seeing him and the whole gang…I understand he and Christy now live in Arkansas??? We saw them last in McComb/Laurel? Their last residence prior to Arkansas move. I need more info from you as to your blog, writings, etc. Trust all your chirren are well and happy!!!! Love to the end and beyond….Nancy Lynne Johnson Hagan, Boulder, CO

  44. Barbara Jean George Nichols Correro says:

    Oh, my goodness. Such memories. Such freedom. I remember a dollar would buy admittance for a dime, a milkshake, a foot long hotdog and a pickle at the theater. When I lived on E. Cleveland, I would walk home from school and stop a drugstore on the corner after crossing the bridge and read the comic books and put peanuts in a coke. After I started dating Sam, we would go to “Big Sand” on Saturdays. Remember how close girls used to sit next to their boyfriends in the cars if they were going “steady”? My brother Kenny died two years ago. I wish he were alive to read this article about Greenwood as he would have loved it.

  45. Lay Turner says:

    Joe: I just read your “teenage years” blog. It was sent to me by Ann Arnold Adams, who was kind enough to disagree with your description of me. While I did a lot of things, some pretty funny, some not so, some regretful, and some even with you; I did not throw a pickle or anything else through a movie screen. Even though you were younger than me, we still shared some laughs and good times. I remember you as a pretty talented piano player that I nicknamed “Pharoh”, after the keyboards player for Andy Anderson & the Dawn Breakers (there’s a name from the distant past). I remember that you also played a mean guitar, much in the style of BB (not King) of the Ole Miss Downbeats. By the way, Virgo (the car hop) worked at Carnaggio’s when I knew him, and the name of his R&B band was “The Corridors”. Their one record was,as you said, Dear One and he gave me a copy of it that I may still have, I’ll have to look.

    The Bo Diddley event in 1958 was the biggest thing to hit G’wood before, or probably since. While John Carr was the “front man” for the event, the man behind the scene was Willard Stallings, a radio announcer & DJ at WABG. Bo Diddley was smart enough to get his $ up front, so it didn’t matter that the cops shut it down over an hour early.

    The “Blowout” at the Legion Hut was bankrolled by the late Dr. Tom Boring, and was probably the signature event of the 60’s. Everyone seemed to be having a blast until the parents started showing up. After that, things were never quite the same around town.

    Although we all thought there was never “much to do” other than ride around the circuit on weekends, we really led a pretty tame and safe life, especially compared to today’s kids. So all-in- all, Greenwood was a pretty good place to grow up.

    • Barnes Carr says:

      Indeed, the Bo Diddley dance has become part of Greenwood history. College students came in buses for the event. A Greenwood policeman years later told me they had to close it down early because kids from the neighborhood were gathering outside and violence was feared because they weren’t allowed in. Ray Brown, former DJ at WMPS in Memphis, was also involved. He had a music promotion service and drew up the contract. My dad was the one who had to go up on stage and announce that the dance was being shut down. I was humiliated.

  46. Joe Erber says:

    Joe, Just saw this and wanted to tell you it was great memories. I well remember the serials at the Rebel Theater and they almost always had a double feature on Saturday so most parents used it as an economical bay sitter. Mr. Lackey and my Father came to Greenwood together to help build the Greenwood Army Air Base, Later known as Big Sand and the Greenwood Drag Strip.

  47. Joe,
    Excellent article, It really brings back memories to me, especially as I anticipate our GHS 50Th Reunion this April 20-21, 2012
    Richard A, Roshto
    Class of 1962

  48. Frank Caperton says:

    Thank you for this trip down memory lane. It was a good time to have lived, and a great place to grow up. I think I’ve been back to G’wood twice since I graduated from State, in 1969. I think the only things that are the same are the roads and Lusco’s. But I still remember it as the place I am from. Thanks again.

    PS. I read all the comments and thought Lay Tuner might like to know I still own the 1932 Ford I bought from Bill Pillow, whom I think bought it from Lay. If ever you’re in Fairhope, AL you might see an Orchid colored ’32 Ford with a driver who grew up in Greenwood, MS.

  49. lafoxebowiecarpenterbilbo says:

    What a Great description of all the good times and Memories we all had in Greenwood growing up.

  50. Sarah Jean (Jeanie) Thomas Womble says:

    Sarah Jean (Jeanie) Thomas Womble . Your article brought back very vivid memories of my HS days from 1958-1961. Especially the pictures of Lackey’s and other hangouts. Thanks for a great walk down memory lane.

  51. Thank you so much for posting those pictures. I was afraid no one had any pic of those places and they were gone forever. I was much younger but did my best to hang with the older cool kids. I was driving at 12 an old car that my step father bought for “fishing” He really bought it for me and my friends to ride around in. We’d tell my Mother I was going to park in Gibsons parking lot. The old car was made of such Heavy metal til you could hit a pole and still never dent it. Safety in my youth.

  52. ttitan27 says:

    Joe, I stumbled on this blog by accident but thouroughly enjoyed it. I grew up in Pascagoula but my moms family was from Greenwood and spent a lot of my childhood there. My three Great Uncles were the owners of Rex Billiards or as we also called it, the pool hall. The three were Sonny, Frankie, and Joe Tominello. There were no twins. Frankie is the only one still alive today. He was the baby. As a child my parents would drop me off at the pool hall and I would spend entire days there. I used to clean and cover the tables, empty ashtrays and pick up bottles. I learned the finer art of cussing and how to understand point spreads on football games. Yes, they were definately connected to New Orleans undesirables back then and I was frequently around these people as a child. They were a lively bunch for certain. They also owned the little lunch cafe that was next door. Thanks for the trip down memory lane

  53. Jeannie says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog……it was a wonderful read….made me wish I had grown up there in Greenwood…………made me smile all the way through………..

    • Buddy says:


      Play “Shout” for me. The Sweet Nothings was the best band of that era, hands-down.

      All the best.

      Buddy Hardison

  54. Buddy says:

    Play “Shout” for me. The Sweet Nothings, and all of its iterations, was the best band of that era, hands-down.
    All the best.

    Buddy Hardison

  55. bill huddleston says:

    i was doing some research about greenwood restaurants and the alluvian while planning on going downs there soon. I used to spend summers with my cousins, the Pierce girls and my aunt and uncle Judge M. Pierce who’s house is just 2 blocks from Serio’s (which I remember well). I remembered Carnaggio’s as well as the Crystal and Lusco’s. We used to go to play at the little red school house playground on cleveland st in north greenwood. Sundays were at the Methodist church and then the Crystal for lunch. Your aritcle brought back great memories. Enjoyed it very much.
    Bill Huddleston Memphis, Tn

  56. Charles Cooper says:

    This is my second time to read it and I believe I enjoyed it more this time than I did before. Please write another.

  57. Bill Sayle says:

    Thanks very much Joe for the memories. I grew uo on President Street and remember most of what you described. Thanks again!

  58. Ricky Ricks says:

    Joe,I really appreciated reading the history of your youth. I was younger than you but had similar experiences living in Greenwood during my high school Days.Our hang outs were also Lackeys, Serio’s and the TAC ,Youth Center or the Legion Hut. Your band The Sweet Nothings were legendary but gone from the area during my time at those local spots. The Gants and the Monarchs were the 2 hot local bands during my time.Thank you for the memories and your excellent writing style.

  59. Barnes Carr says:

    Joe, I really enjoyed your memoir. I recall all the places you wrote about. One correction, though. There were actually five cinemas in Greenwood in the fifties and sixties: the Leflore, the Rebel, the Paramount, the Airport Drive-in, and a colored theater. I don’t remember the name of the black theater but Shack Smith and I drove down there one day and tried to get in. As I remember it, there was a Western movie we wanted to see. The ticket lady said we could go in but we would have to sit in the balcony. We declined.

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