Page Three

Author Johnny Vergis and sister Sophie on Edwight street. Taken 1952, Johnny aged 17. Family Snapshot

There is also a combination restaurant and beer joint owned by another Greek immigrant, Mike Vergis. Mike's Place doesn't have television, but you can catch the fights there every Saturday night! There are also two boarding houses, one run by Lottie Spencer and one by Nannie Jarrell, a small, elderly lady. I occasionally help Nannie by going out to the henhouse to get her eggs.
And Edwight has a town dogcatcher, or should I say dog liquidator? I'm not sure if this person was hired by the coal company or if he just appointed himself, but he is not very popular because of his distasteful method of solving Edwight's dog population problem. He just stands in the street and fires away. His rifle has felled many a dog right in the middle of town.
Besides automobiles, other modes of transportation on Edwight's main street are horses, mules, and horsedrawn wagons. I once saw an individual ride by on a cow, saddle and all.
We must not forget the elementary school, a red brick, four-room building with a rocky playground. Either by design or because of the limited space, the third and fourth grades and the fifth and sixth are combined. My first grade teacher is an understanding lady named Mrs. Jarrell. I can still picture myself standing in the doorway of the classroom, bawling as my mother handed me over to her.
Some of the other teachers are Vada Webb, Rosebelle Tabor, and Inez Bone. At the front of each room is a picture of George Washington. (I don't know why, but the Father of Oour Country will later disappear from his place of prominence in the classrooms.) Every morning we line up in columns outside of the school and place our right hand over our heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance. A few years ago when we would say "to the flag," we extended our hand toward the flag to complete the pledge. This was later changed, probably because we wanted to get away from anything resembling Hitler's Seig Heil salute.
These are the World War II years and the war and related events dominate our lives. I remember April 12, 1945, in particular. The people of Edwight are somber. Most walk around shaking their heads in dismay. Just a few moments ago, it was announced over the radio that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our president, had died at Warm Springs, Georgia, of a cerebral hemorrhage, Mike Vergis closed his restaurant, packed the family into the car, and just quietly drove around in disbelief.
Then six months later there is a very different mood in Edwight, man and boys firing rifles and pistols in the air. People are shouting, "At last! At last!" And so it is, the war is over! Some of our boys would come home and some wouldn't, including my grade school principal and idol, Clint Richmond. I really liked him and will never forget him.
Going to the theater on Saturday nights if a big thrill, if not actually dangerous. It isn't uncommon to get hit in the back of the head with a marble or some other object after the movie starts. Sometimes it gets worse. One night, some kid threw .22 caliber bullets into the burnside stove. The western movie really came alive! The manager, also the railroad station-master, is an elderly gentleman, Mr. Showen. He has grabbed many a kid by the ear and thrown him out of the theater - one I particularly remember. The stars of the day are Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Wild Bill Elliott, Sunset Carson, James Starrett, Hopalong Cassidy, Al 'Lash' LaRue, Tex Ritter, and my favorite, Johnny 'Mack' Brown.

Previous Page First Page Next Page