Jans Glory Days, Growing up in Columbus in the Fifties

Jan's Glory Days

Jan’s Glory Days

by Jan Dolittle Page,  guest writer CGO column Glory Days

COLUMBUS, GA. — Mom, Sandra Waldrop Doolittle, and I were talking about her stories and our Glory Days just the other night. She said she wanted to get several people to write about their Glory Days. She wanted to have different stories that would pertain to different age groups and different areas where we grew up. I jokingly told her I would write about mine! Unfortunately, she jumped on the idea. I guess Everyone has different ideas on just what Glory Days are, at least to them anyway. My Glory Days would have to be when I was between 17 and 26. I know, I stretched mine out as long as I could! Almost a decade.

My Glory Days were when I was young and still lived at home, which meant payday meant shopping day. My little paychecks went to clothes and makeup. I worked, but my parents Carlton and Sandra Doolittle did not charge us to live at home. We paid for our own bills, car payments, insurance, and all but not rent. As wonderful as that was it came with its price too. You know, curfews (Thanks, Mom) and no overnight male guests (Thanks again Mom). My Glory Days were when I thought I could take on the world before I learned the world would take me on.

Zodiac Lounge

Jans Glory Days, I didn’t drink, but, there comes a time when at 19 and 20 years old you are too old for the skating rinks. I did go to Nightclubs. I enjoyed getting fixed up and meeting people and dancing. My first Night Club experience was the Zodiac Lounge on Buena Vista Road. It was New Year’s Eve 1979. I was 18, which was the legal age then. I was allowed to go because I had a Boyfriend at the time to take me. We went and listened to the band Anthem. I was hooked from the start. I loved the live music and had an awful crush on the lead singer Ralph Rivera. He was tall with curly, long dark hair and the warmest brown eyes I had ever seen. What made things even worse, was the fact that he was the nicest man!

After the Zodiac, it was Dee Fords. Dee Fords is now the Platinum Club, a strip bar. Everyone’s’ favorite band back then, in the 1980’s was Stranger. Pete Burnham was the manager then, he was also the Best Man at my wedding in 1987.

Back then work was what we did until it was time to get dressed up and go out. It was always so much fun to go out and be noticed. It was like every time I left the house, I never knew who I would meet. Every day there was the potential that, that was the day I would meet my future husband. I never knew if it would be in a line at the grocery store, at Church or who knew where else. Everything was so exciting then. It was also FUN. Being single in the 1980’s seemed so different than it is now. I listen to so many of the young people at work and other places and they, at 20 years old, sound like they are 30. Boyfriends now are more like Husbands. They don’t seem to have the excitement of being young like so many of us did.

Dee Fords Jans Glory Days

Being young and single and carefree was certainly a blast, I enjoyed it a lot. But, it did have its downfalls too. I always knew I wanted to get married and have a family. I did not marry until I was 26, the fear of being alone and never finding anyone was always in the back of my mind. In the spring of 1987, I met my Leebo. He was truly a gift from Jehovah in Heaven. We have been married for almost 20 years. My Glory Days may be long behind me, but what I have now is even better. I have a partner who thinks I hung the moon. He was happy to find someone who was raised with curfews, a sense of family and someone who had been raised with the no overnight male guest rules. So for the final time, I say THANKS, MOM.


Do some of Jans Glory Days Match Yours?

27. Mom said Miss Patsy’s Playhouse was a local kids show that came on when I was growing up. Patsy Avery was the Host. I still find myself saying “Cartoons, cartoons here we goooooo!”

28. Years ago, Mom in the Seventies would take us to the Sonic Drive Inn on Buena Vista rd. It closed and years later they built the ones we have around today. The old one had these cute little plastic animals that fit on the side of your cup.

29. Momma Goldbergs . This was a sandwich shop or Deli on Cody Road which is now University Dr. right across the street from the College. Great roast beef sandwiches.

30. The Zodiac Lounge. The Zodiac was located in the Starmount Shopping Center. My first time ever in a nightclub was here. It was New Years Eve 1979, I was 18 (which was the legal age then). The band was called Anthem. They were the greatest guys. My boyfriend at the time had known them for a while so I got a chance to talk to them quite a bit. They were on local tv here once some sort of special, it was so exciting because I knew them. They might as well have been the Beatles to me. Does anyone else remember them?

31. The Rock of Columbus. There was a time in the Seventies mostly when radio stations had contests. Not like the one’s today where you just call in. These old contests were more like scavenger hunts. Each day you would be given a clue over the air, you would put the clues together and go out and try to find an object that was hidden by the radio station. The prizes were great, but it was also just plain fun. You would meet people while looking and it was great knowing you were smart enough to put the clues together and end up in the right place. The rock of Columbus was just one of these contests.

32. Shakey’s Pizza. Located where the Speak Easy is now, off Macon Rd. It had a player piano, I want to say it had long tables with benches instead of individual tables. Loud fun place to go.

33. Colonial Grocery Store. Colonial Grocery store was at the front of Columbus Square Mall. We shopped there quite a bit when I was growing up.

34. Mom told us about the Lunch Counters at Woolworth’s and Walgreens. Before there were food courts, many stores had their own restaurants or lunch counters. Woolworth’s had a counter and small eating area. Walgreens had a counter and larger eating area. Sears had a small cafeteria near the mall entrance to the store. Gayfers (now Dillards) had a restaurant upstairs called the Copper Kettle, Montgomery Wards had in the rear of their store what they called the Buffeteria.

35. The Harvest House Cafeteria. Columbus Square Mall. Right next to Woolworth’s Once you got inside and stood in line, there were large glass windows you could look into Woolworth’s through. Very popular place for the after Church crowds on Sundays.

36. THRILL HILL. Thrill Hill is located off Wynnton Rd. Many a car has gone airborne on this one. I know I did. As bad as this hill is I think the one in Phenix City is even worse.

37. THE JESUS TREE. Several years ago a child was playing in the yard and looked up and saw the image of Jesus on this tree trunk. This gained media attention and many of us gathered to see this tree. The Image has now been painted over. I don’t know how many times Mom and I would drive by and park across the street from the Tree just to see if we could make out the face of Jesus.

38. LOCAL COMMERCIALS. Mom told me about some local commercial with Sam Rawls, had a bank commercial, “I knew that”. The two men from Southern Maid Bacon “He’ll never learn”. Maloof Motor Co.(?) Cars with mouths over the grills, looked like the cars were talking. Joe Jones Mobile Homes. “Will There ever Be a Home For Me” Precious dog, Heartbreaking commercial for the Humane Society or animal shelter. The old Cap’n britches commercials from Pant-a-rama. And probably our all time favorite, “got a minute?” Who could forget Hussey’s Tire Jungle?

39. SCHWOBILT. Local men’s clothing store located on Broadway and later at Columbus Square Mall. Their saying was “Schwobilt Suits The South”. K B Kannady remembers buying his Senior suit here in 1964.

40. JORDAN VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL I want to get around to covering all the High Schools on a separate page maybe. But for now, I’ll start with this.

Today I took Mom on a trip down memory lane. We went to photograph the outside of Jordan but were allowed to go in and take some inside shots too. I hope this brings back as many fond memories for others as it did for me.

41. CALLING ALL BAKER ALUMNI

Former Lion, Bill Land of Cleveland,Ga remembers The Brat Barracks, a hangout for Baker teens in the late sixties and early seventies, his band the Antique Zoo played there. He also remembers a band called the Bushmen that played at some of your school dances. They later became known as the Atlanta Rhythm Section! He also recalls skipping lunch to go to Burger Chef and going to Lum’s and the Krystal on Victory Dr. after football games.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?

42. OLD RACE TRACK
Behind the Family Dollar store on South Lumpkin rd, in the Oakland Park area, there is an old white building. Behind this building, there was at one time a race car track. My Uncle ran a wrecker for the track on Friday nights in the 1950’s. I was told the old track is still there behind all the trees and overgrowth. Not much else is left, though. Many Thanks to Mr. Major for his help with this one. He too remembers the track and going with his Dad on Friday nights

43. BIG JOHNNY REB AND THE REBEL ?
Leebo, my husband, is from Oklahoma and one day asked me what a Rebel Yell was. The first thing that came to mind was the sound from the old WDAK radio station. That sound is too hard to try and write down. But here is a link that has that sound on it. Guess I was right in thinking that was what a Rebel Yell was! When I played that it brought back a flood of memories. I also remember the Big Johnny Reb billboards that were in town. For some reason, he was always kind of creepy. So was the Rebel Yell.

Also, does anyone remember how one of the stations announced the important news? They would break in with this weird sound and people singing/chanting Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin. They would break in, in the middle of songs with this. Usually, it meant someone had been shot (King, Kennedy, Wallace ETC) or it could mean a tornado warning. This little intro thing was so scary to me when I was young. I don’t know if it was just the sound of it or if I knew it always meant bad or scary news.

44. HIP SQUARE Located in Downtown Columbus, this was very much like Dimensions. All things hippie could be found there.

45. THE ADDITION TO COLUMBUS SQUARE MALL
I thought I read somewhere that Columbus Square Mall was the second enclosed mall to be built in Georgia. I believe that was around 1964 or 1965. In the mid-seventies, an addition was built on what included local department store Kirven’s. I remember going right after the addition was built and it was so crowded, everyone was saying it was just like being out of town

46. PUTT PUTT GOLF COURSE
One of the most painful experiences of my life happened here. I was walking in and someone thought they were at the master’s and hit a ball so hard it left the course and hit me right upside the head. This incident could account for some of my mental flaws, at least that’s what I like to think. The course is still there. It is on Macon Rd, behind what was the old Shoney’s and now Captain D’s. UPDATE: THE PUTT PUTT COURSE IS NO MORE!!!IT IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING BULLDOZED RIGHT NOW, MAYBE I SHOULD MOVE THIS ONE TO GOING, GOING, GONE

47. LIVE NATIVITY PAGEANT
Central Christian Church has been reforming the live Nativity Scene since the 1950’s. These yearly events started when the Church was on the corner of Macon Road and Dixon Drive. The Church has moved and is located on Moon road They still have the Pageant every year

48.SALISBURY FAIR
Before the days of River Fest and all the other yearly attractions we have at the Trade Center and River Walk, we had the Salisbury Fair. It was held in the Median on Broadway. In what is now the Historic District. There was no charge, people just parked and walked. There was food, crafts, exhibits and more. You always ran into everyone you ever knew.

49. BILL BOWICK
Bill Bowick was a local radio personality for many years here in town. His is one of the few names I actually have remembered through the years. He had been in radio here since 1955. He and his wife Cassie will be celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary next month. I wish them many more happy years!

50. FIELD AND FIRESIDE A swanky clothing store downtown.

51. UNITED OIL RECREATION FACILITY. This was a swimming pool and party facility located off Macon Road years ago. Thanks to Bill and Cassie Bowick for this one!

52. STOP AND TELL DRIVE IN. This was a drive-in with carhops on roller skates and Robin Hood outfits. It was located on Victory Drive. This one was brought to my attention just today by Jim Davis, the Bowicks, and Mom!

53. CUZZIN AL. A local radio personality who played country music. He drank orange Nehis on the air and read Snuffy Smith comics.

54. DICK WEISS. Another local radio personality who sometimes did live broadcasts from the Mezzanine in Kirven’s around 1957 and 1958.

55. SNAK- VU DRIVE-IN (Snack View Drive-In ). Near St Francis Hospital. They showed short subject features, Three Stooges comedies, and cartoons.

56. STEWARTS??? Bob wrote in several great suggestions that I have used above. He remembers a restaurant in the fifties that showed Gene Autrey movies among others. He thought it may have been Stewarts out Macon Road past Park Hill Cemetery. If anyone else remembers, please let us know!

57. MORE MEMORIES FROM BOB. These were sent in by Bob. Rather than break them up I am posting these great memories just as he sent them. People like Bob are invaluable to this site and I appreciate all the memories he has sent me! Now, put on YOUR thinking caps and let me hear from YOU too.

I also recall back in the fifties and early sixties enjoying a Buck’s Strawberry. drink…they also had the same flavors as Nehi grape, orange, etc but Buck’s flavor seemed a little stronger to me. In the early fifties, I recall a drink called CHERRO COLA. It tasted like Cherry Coke. The bottle was a beautiful swirl design. If you got on the outskirts of Columbus you could find a DOUBLE COLA. RC Cola, of course, ruled in Columbus….and you could never find a Pepsi until, I’m guessing, the late fifties maybe. We used to bring them back from Florida just to have a break from RC Cola. I recall supermarkets called KWIK CHEK before they started calling them Winn-Dixie. Did anyone remind you about the ELITE CAFE over in Phenix City? In 1955 I watched the film crew film The Phenix City Story. I got to watch the scene where Albert L. Patterson, played by John McIntire, came out of the Elite and walks to his car in a nearby alley and gets shot. The large crowd was asked by the director to PLEASE keep all noise down and not to talk. If you watch that scene, in the background you can hear the crowd murmuring …. it was supposed to be late at night with nobody on the streets. The movie also starred Kathy Grant who had been married to Bing Crosby. Most young guys in the fifties can remember going to Metcalf’s for a haircut. Many opted for a flattop…..fifty cents was the cost….several barbers were available and when they finished with one kid they would yell ‘NEXT” OR “NEXT TIME”…..It was in the rear of Metcalf’s Sports Shop.

58. SOME RADIO MEMORIES FROM BOB. I thought of something else….in the late fifties all the teens listened to WGBA…..many teens liked the R&B sound of WOKS with the great black deejays like Shelly The Playboy, Jack The Bellboy, The Hound Dog and the wonderful Rudy Rutherford “The Deuce”. At night it was WDAK Big Johnny Reb…nighttime deejays like Tom Owens, Larry “LJ the DJ” James and the guys in the middle of the night like Wild Bill Rivers, Bob Carr, and Ron Brown. BUT many of the Columbus teenagers listened a LOT to The Big Bam in Montgomery WBAM. There was a show in the afternoon about 5pm with Dan Brennan. Dan’s Dusty Discs. He played 30 minutes of the “oldies”. Don Edwards had the Night Train Show on WPNX for years.

Thanks for letting Jan and I share our memories with you all.

Contact Jan, through our Contact Page.  We invite your comments, stories, and pictures. Got a good idea for our Mystery Picture Game?

Visit Jan’s website “Gone and Almost Forgotten Georgia


by Jan Dolittle Page,  guest writer CGO column Glory Days

 

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