Aug 4 2008
09:34 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers...This is the second week of "Rockwood Memories" being absent from the newspaper. It will continue to be on the internet and monthly in the Roane Reader. Please pick up your free Roane Reader at local businesses and support them...Now on to the mail bag..

Chester Taylor (Class of 1960) sent an email the other day about the "Black Hollow Gang". Since most of us remember the area, and the residents I thought it would be nice to share it with you. Chester wrote," Ray, I thought I would send you another story to help fill in your hard time at typing. This is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is the story of an adventure of a bunch of boys from Black Hollow in Rockwood. I am sure there were guys from different parts of town that did the same things we did, because this place was well known all over town."
" At the end of String Street, where it dead ends into Furnace Avenue, there was a great swimming hole. The hole was formed by water running out of a large culvert that went under part of the old furnace yards. It ran from the point near the end of Strang Street to a point near the railroad trestle where Coal Bank Hollow begins. It was used to drain the water out of the hollow. This is the beginning of Black Creek."
"Where the water ran off the end of the cement that formed the culvert, it had washed out a pretty good sized hole in the ground. I can remember spending many enjoyable times in the swimming hole and making trips through the culvert."
"You have to remember how poor everyone was back then. None of us could afford a flashlight, and it was so dark in that place that you could stick out your finger and when you pulled your finger back, it would leave a hole in the dark. Anyway, the only way to make it through the place without falling into one of the many big holes along the floor, was to keep your back against the wall and feel your way along, by sliding your foot along out in front of you feeling for the holes. When the guy leading the way would find one of the holes, he would pass the word back to ones behind him. Each one had to feel to see how wide the hole was so he could step across. They were full of water, and no one knew just how deep they were."
" There is no telling what lived in that place. I would not want to go through it today with a floodlight and a gun !! However, at the time we did it a lot and did not think too much about it."
"I remember one time, a bunch of us were nearing the end of the culvert and someone touched the neck of the guy in front of him and screamed BATS !!! I don't remeber how many of us there was that day, but I can tell you this, everyone of us was trying not to be the last one out of there ! I remember someone stepping on my back and I had a lot of black and blue places on me for a few days. I can say I was not the only one wet, muddy, bleeding, and cussing, (and I still say I heard someone yell "HELP!!! I think I can still feel the bat's teeth all over me. Thinking back on it today, I can laugh about it, but there was not anything funny about it at the time. I think I still have some battle scars from the mad mauling we all took that day. I still get an awful desire to look over my shoulder when I come out into the light from some dark place. Just another summer day in good old Rockwood." Chester Taylor
Thanks Chuck for sharing that story. I know, or heard that we had Wampus Cats roaming around in Black Hollow and Clymersville. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of them didn't live in the culvert you talk about. I am glad you didn't name any of the names, but I can just picture you, Joe Boyd, Tommy and Johnny Harwood, Thomas Wicks and a few others going through the culvert.
I remember going next door to the Monday family's house when I was seven or eight years old and listening the radio. Larry, "Dody" and Bill Monday loved to listen to "The Shadow" and "Inner Sanctum" , we called it "The Screaking Door". The programs usually went off about 9pm, but in the wintertime it was pitch black outside with no streetlights. Although our house was next door, they would walk home with me. Had to protect me from Wampus Cats. It is strange, we could always hear them, but never did see one. They are probably extinct now as "Snipes", as in "Snipe Hunting" , seems to be. Oh well, enough for today's column. We lost a couple of readers this week in Lowell Green, and "Bill McCuistion. Please remember their families in your prayers......

Until next week, keep the emails coming, Ray

Roane County Park

Ray our life guard days were some interesting stories

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