Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Little Town - Goldsboro, N.C

One of the things we did in May was take a little drive through the town I grew up in. I've taken a few detours this century on beach trips in North Carolina with my daughter and my best friend Lo, but on those two trips we didn't go to actual downtown Goldsboro. So I really have no idea how long it's been since I've been there. I was fascinated by it. If I were a Hollywood location scout I would definitely make this my first suggestion for anyone shooting a movie set in the 50's or 60's.
There really were no modern buildings. I'm pretty sure they were all the same buildings that were there when I was a kid. It was fun to point out to My Sweetie the old movie theater where I saw the classics Planet of The Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mention those particular movies because I am 6 years older than My Sweetie, so obviously he could not have seen those movies in the theater as he would have been 1. I was 7. I was with my brother for both of those movies and he was 11. After both movies I was all questions for my big brother. He explained Planet of The Apes to me, because at 11, he was able to figure it out. But I remember when 2001 was over and I asked, "What was that? What did it mean?" he just honestly answered, "I don't know."

I have lots of great memories of going to the movies there with my brother and a few times also with Mom, but I also have a disturbing memory. The movie theater had a balcony. I could see people up there, but never saw stairs or any way to get up there. One day I asked the ticket man, "Can we sit in the balcony?" He replied, "No, the balcony is for the negroes." I remember being jealous. I had no idea about Jim Crow laws or segregation, which was illegal in the 60's, so I didn't really realize what was going on. I was just jealous of "the negroes" because I wanted to sit in the balcony.

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While we were downtown in May we stopped at shoe store there which is owned by an old friend and her husband. It's an old family business started by my friend's husband. I've seen Janice a few times over the years at the beach - her sister owns a cottage there, but it had been two years since I had seen her last.:


We met in 4th grade. I'll never forget that first day of 4th grade. When 3rd grade had ended two other girls and myself were the popular girls. When I looked around in class that first day of 4th grade, I saw that niether of the two other girls were there. They were in the other 4th grade class. But there was this really cute brunette Marcia Brady-looking girl. I said to myself, "I have to make friends with her, because the boys will like her." So I did and the 3 popular girls became the 4 popular girls. Every day at recess the 4 of us commandeered one of the two see-saws where we sat in twos, facing each other, see-sawed and did those rhyming singing hand-clapping things. I wonder if there's a name for that?

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After we left downtown, My Sweetie and I stopped by the old elementary school. He took a pic of the gym with his phone which was the "modern" part of the school. I wish I had taken a picture of the old school building. I imagine the old main building was built in the 20's or 30's. There was even a teacherage on the property. A teacherage was the house that teachers used to live in that taught at the school - sort of like a parsonage at a church. Teachers used to have to be single women.

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I remember when I was in first and second grade the principle of the school (a little old lady named Miss Proctor) lived in a great big house by the school, but I didn't realize until fifth or sixth grade when a new girl moved into the house what that was all about. The girl told me that it had been a teacherage and that when Miss Proctor, the last living teacher to live there died, the county put the house up for private purchase. It was a really cool house. It seemed like a mansion to me.

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Oh anyway here's the old gym. My favorite memories from the old gym are the Halloween carnivals there every year and the two plays, the talent show and the "Nutcracker" performance I was in. In first grade I was the little red hen in "The Little Red Hen." Mom made an awesome costume. Unfortunately I had to wear it for Halloween until I grew out of it.

So when I just read back over this it felt like I was sitting with a crazy old lady in a nursing home, but I guess that's what reminiscing can be like. It was nice to see my old little town but I suppose I'm done with it. Unless I ever become a movie location scout.

5 comments:

Jazz said...

Yep, I can just see you as the popular one.

XUP said...

That balcony thing was a very jarring memory amidst all the sweet stuff. We tend to forget how recent all this stuff was.

Carole said...

Looks like a wonderful little downtown. Reminds me of Mayberry, which is based on another town in N.C. I especially like that corner shop with the striped awnings. Is downtown a quaint little shopping district now? I'd say Amarillo's quaint shopping district is the old Route 66, now known as 6th Street, rather than their old downtown. Amarillo also has a building that looks very much like the Top Hat Ballroom called The Nat, also a dance Ballroom. I knew it as The Nat all my life only to find out as an adult that it was really a Natatorium which was an old Tuberculosis sanitarium where my childhood best friend's mother had to spend time as a girl. It had one of those swimming pools under the floors like in "It's a Wonderful Life". I only found that out a few years ago!

mrwriteon said...

How nice that your hometown remains virtually unchanged. That's fortunate. Mine has just become a chunk of Vancouver urban sprawl and I resent that. It takes my childhood away. But yours is so cool and a classic image that applies throughout the US, and Canada for that matter.

geewits said...

Jazz,
~~Well I was the bomb in 3rd grade. I'm not sure what happened after that, but it's tough to peak at the age of eight.

Xup,
~~More so in some areas of the country than others.

Carole,
~~As a kid Mayberry felt very real to me. Besides, we knew people that had had Andy Griffith as their school teacher.

Ian,
~~I'll admit I was very surprised that it all seemed the same - just the names of the buildings were different and the old movie theaters are now something else, too.