Monday, August 10, 2009

Most Favorite Things Ever (and then some)...

An old song stuck in my head the other day and I don’t know why. The title of that song was, “My Favorite Things,” composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. The 1960s saw this song merit world-wide acclaim in that fabulous movie “The Sound of Music.”

Remembering this song got me to thinking. All of us have favorite things. In my memory bank are more memories than I can list. Most of these are among my favorite things. Allow me to share some with you.

• The South Park High School building. So beautiful the year it was constructed and now our memories enhance that beauty even more?
• The Lamar Theatre that was on Pipkin Street at Highland Avenue in the South Park area of Beaumont. This old movie house provided exciting Saturday afternoons for hundreds of kids back in the 1940s.
• The Jefferson Theatre located in downtown Beaumont. Saturday mornings meant going to the Jefferson and enjoying The Organ Club. My, could Al Sacker ever play that beautiful organ.
• Stuart Stadium over on Avenue A in South Park. The Exporters were my favorite Texas League baseball team. I sold cokes at the games for two seasons. I met some of baseball’s notable greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Jackie Robinson, Gil McDougald, Rogers Hornsby, Pee Wee Reese, and Roy Capanella. It never occurred to me to seek their autographs.
• Pig Stand No. 10 located on the intersection of Washington Blvd and the Pt. Arthur Highway. This was a favorite hangout for the Greenies. Anyone who attended South Park High School in the 1940s and 1950s can tell you about the great fellowship we enjoyed there. Beaumont Police Officer Sylvester Garbo did a masterful job of keeping us in line.
• Carnation Ice Cream on Calder Avenue. Greenies and Purples alike congregated there to enjoy those luscious sundaes and milkshakes.
• The Tyrrell Public Library. I learned to love books in that grand old structure.
• The Alice Keith swimming pool at A.K. park on Highland Avenue. The water was so green and the girls were so lovely.
• Downtown Beaumont during the Christmas season. Pearl and Orleans Street were adorned with ferns and Christmas lights. There were no shopping centers so the entire area population came to town for their Christmas needs. Christmas carols blared forth from speakers mounted on the light poles.
• Colliers’ Ferry on the Neches River down at the end of Pine Street. We loved to ride that motorized barge across the river and enjoyed picnics and swimming.
• Willard’s Lake on Village Creek. A beautiful paradise of God.
• Fireworks. These were readily available at numerous distributors around town. I’ve got more than a few stories about those Cherry Bombs but they will have to wait.
• The Tyrrell Park Stables. Usually I was assigned a horse to ride that would turn around and head back for the stable against my will. Oh well, it still was fun.
• New Years in Beaumont. When midnight rolled around ushering in the New Year, every whistle at Magnolia Refinery blasted for a full minute announcing the event. I remember so vividly the distinctive tones and pitches of those various whistles.
• Spindletop Oilfield. This was a race track, a lover’s lane, a haven for snake hunters, a place with several swimming holes, and of course the pride we felt knowing the history of the oilfield that helped to build Beaumont and to energize the world.

I cannot believe that I am out of space and just getting started. I thank God for preserving my memory into old age enabling me to look back to the good old days and remember some of my favorite things.

Winston Hamby


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