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200928 September 28, 2020


My Personal Top 10 
Important Places While Growing Up in Huntsville
The Countdown From 10 To 1 
#10 The Grand News Stand
#9 The Lyric Theatre
#8 Central Presbyterian Church 
#7 Goldsmith-Schiffman Field
 #6 The National Guard Armory
Last Week - #5 Mullin's Cafe
This Week #4 The Parkway (Shoney's to Jerry's)

Tommy Towery
LHS '64
    Continuing my countdown, my next place is actually an approximately two mile stretch located on the Parkway and spans the distance between Shoney’s Drive In and Jerry’s Drive In. Back in the days, you could not talk about one place without linking it to the other. For us those two places were the Northern most and Southern most points marking the area where we “cruised the Parkway.” Even though I don’t believe we used that “California” term of cruising back then, it was in fact what we did. We Lee folks seemed to claim both, but it was widely known that Butler students liked Shoney's (Big Boy's) and Huntsville High kids claimed Jerry's.

    I drove “The Bomb”, my 1953 8-cylinder Ford, and Bob Walker had a 1952 Ford he called “The Gray Ghost.” Others had much more modern cars, but ours did the trick.

    Both places had drive-in services with little electronic boxes to take our orders and car hops to deliver the food, but food was not the main attraction of either place. In fact, many times I sat in one or the other of their parking lots and never even ordered a Coke, much less any food. I can’t remember what Jerry’s special was but I think I only ate French fries from there, and of course Shoney’s featured the Big Boy hamburger. Now I did eat a few of those in my time. I remember sitting in one of the spaces one night and the car hop was delivering an order when she lost balance and the order she was carrying slid off the tray. It was a couple of Big Boy Hamburgers (which were wrapped in paper) and she left them on the ground to retrieve another order. Bob Walker and I quickly scooped up the two burgers, inspected the paper to insure the burgers were in tack, and then had a feast.

    We all know the primary activity was to drive through one place several times then drive the two mile stretch down the Parkway and drive through the other place in the same manner. Once that was done, repeat the steps until you find someone (anyone) to visit with. Girls hung out and boys looked for them – it was that simple. Now finding a new love in that manner was a different story.  Still, switching cars and trading places over and over again was the normal procedure. Honking horns and yelling out the car windows were the accepted contact procedures. Those who had the horsepower were often heard peeling out of the driveway on their return route.

    For those who ran low on gas during the trips, a quick pull-in to the Kayo gas by Traylor Island was a quick dollar’s worth of gas solution. 

    I have many memories of the times I spent there with Bob Walker, Dianne Hughey, Carolyn McCutcheon, Ginger Cagle, Lewis Brewer, Linda and Cathy Schaffer, and David France to name a few. But there are so many others who occupy that portion of my aging brain. I probably sat in the car with most of Lee’s Cheerleaders at one time or another – at least the ones who had parents who would let them out at night alone. The staff members of Lee’s Traveller were also my regular buddies in my cruising days.

    I cannot tell you of any one girl I actually “picked up” during one of my cruise nights, but those days were so much fun I would not trade those memories for anything. So, this week’s countdown actually is a hyphenated place of Shoney’s – Jerry’s and all the hallowed grounds in between.


        Memphis, TN -  Last weekend should have been our reunion, but times are different. We now know it was wise to cancel it, for social gatherings are still not allowed in the manner we would have wanted to visit with each other. Football season is here and the television has become our new stadium seats. At least parking is easier and the food is so much cheaper than it would be in the stadiums. Stay safe...I am thinking of you.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Mullins

Nell Rose Brackett

LHS '71

    I so look forward to your post every week. They bring back so many memories. It was always such a treat for me when I was growing up to go to Mullins.  After moving to Birmingham I would visit my parents and  we would always go to Mullins. I am so sad it is not around anymore. Mullins was a wonderful place to run into old classmates.

Subject:    Fire and Rain
Tom Provost 
LHS ‘66

    WOW! Just WOW! Randy’s flute version of that song was spellbinding. I couldn’t turn it off until the last note ... and all the credits. I remember him playing a sax but I appreciate his flouting talents!

Subject:    Hangouts
Glenn Swaim

    After reading your article of September 20 about hanging out at Mullins Café it made some of my memories surface.  I remember hanging out at what was know as The Annex.  It was actually an old YMCA that had been purchased by the church that was behind it facing Andrew Jackson Way.  Not sure what the church was named during this time.  The church had several names over the years, 5th Street Baptist ->  Second Baptist -> Jackson Way Baptist.  The Annex had a basketball court that we put a special coating on top that allow skating.  So, the youth at church had a gym, basketball games, bowling and skating.  Chairs would be put up on the court after our main church burned, so we held church services at The Annex.  My best friend, Mark Bentley and I hung out there many, many evenings, me skating and Mark chasing the girls.  I chased the girls that were skating.  Sad news a few years ago Mark passed away.  Mark and I stayed in contact over the years, visiting each other ever few years.  We had parted ways when we both joined the U.S. Navy, but every few years one of our phones would ring and the other would be there just to say hi.

    Oh the memories (mostly good ones).



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