Nov 2 2009
06:25 am
By: WhitesCreek

by Ray Collett

Hello Readers, I hope the "Trick Or Treaters" weren't too rough on you Saturday night. Gennell and I went to a Halloween Party at "Ratchet's Bar and Grill." I won first prize in the "Funniest" category and the funny part was, I didn't have on a mask. Kind of scary isn't it...Halloween is sure different from when we were youngsters, not many "outhouses" to tip over.
Last week, I promised a continuation of Mr. Harry Shamhart's letters about his growing up in Rockwood..Here is more of what Mr. Shamhart wrote...
"We lived for a short time in a house next door to the First Christian Church parsonage. The church and parsonage were in the same location as the present church. Dr. Leland Cook was pastor; he had replaced Rev. W.P. Shamhart, my grandfather, as pastor. Grandfather and grandmother moved to Rockwood from a church in Ohio with 9 of their 11 children; dad was one of the 9. Most were in their preteens and teens and always considered Rockwood as home town. Dad was the only one that remained in Rockwood. Grandfather had been called to a church in Alexandria, Virginia. King's Furniture Store was directly across from our house. Booth Funeral Home now occupies that location. The King family lived in an apartment above the store. Their youngest son, Chester (Chet) was brother Jacks age and was a frequent playtime visitor. Dr. Cook coached the Rockwood High School football team. All of his friends called him by the nickname, "Heavy". Dad officiated football at that time. The football field was located adjacent to where the Sanitary Laundry building stood, (about one block east of the old grammar school on Wheeler Street.) There were no seats, just standing room along the sidelines. At the end of a game between Rockwood, and I believe Harriman, he was threatened with bodily harm, ( guns were drawn) by supporters of the loser...I don't remember which team lost, he did not officiate any more games..."
"I have been unable to reconstruct and remember names of all of the grammar school teachers. Miss Georgia Ervin (Irving) was a first grade teacher, Miss Alma King, a third grade Miss Christine Grant, fifth, and Miss Pickering. My sixth birthday was after the normal school starting date of early September so my first school year was 1924. I think Miss Georgia was my teacher. The school building was three stories high, class rooms were on the second and third floors and the restrooms were in the "basement". The floors were made of wood and were frequently treated with oil to reduce dust. Heating was by steam radiators that stood along the outer walls. Piping to carry steam input and condensate return were exposed in the rooms. Air conditioning was absent, however each room had many windows that extended from about waist high to near the ceilings. Each year the county health doctor would arrive to check every student; weight and height were recorded, and the doctor looked in our ears and throats. Dr. Fly was the county health doctor during my years. Every other year we received typhoid shots. Many students lived in rural areas and their water source was from wells and typhoid fever was not unusual. Also we were all vaccinated for small pox. Each teacher taught all the subjects to their classes. Report cards were issued each month and required a signature of a parent or guardian before returning it to school. I do not recall the existence of a PTA or similar group during those years. Mr. Steadman was school principal. There was no cafeteria.
In 1925, there was much interest by many adults in a legal trial taking place in Dayton, Tennessee, the "Scopes Trial." Mom and dad took Jack and me to Dayton to see the large crowds that had gathered. My interest was centered on an airplane that landed in a pasture just north of the Courthouse. It was a two passenger single engine plane that brought a newspaper reporter to the trial. It was the first time I had seen an airplane land. Also we were able to look into the courtroom but could not find seats or standing room so we did not enter. The road to Dayton was a 2 lane gravel surfaced one and there were at least three railroad underpasses, one way traffic through each; cars would stop before entering and sound their horn, then proceed if there was no response from oncoming traffic. One way railroad underpasses were normal at that time and there are a few still to be found in this area.
My uncle Harry Acuff owned an auto repair shop and taxi service. It was just behind the train passenger depot. He developed a kidney ailment that not medically treatable. Diet and a warm climate seemed to be the best treatment. In 1926, Mollie, Uncle Harry, and Uncle Joe, (Mollie's other son) loaded the Model T Ford touring car and headed off to south Florida. Seven days and twenty tire punctures later, they arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida. She leased a small hotel and began a career in hotel management. My first visit to Florida was in 1928 when Mother and Dad took Jack and me on vacation. Mollie had leased another hotel on Fern Street in downtown West Palm. I liked it so much in Florida that I was permitted to stay the summer and fall. Dad shipped my bike to me so I was mobile. It was an easy five minute ride to the beach and to school when it opened. I returned to Rockwood for Christmas and the balance of the fifth grade. In the Florida school, I entered a woodworking shop class. My project was to make a small flower stand. It had three sides, a top, and a shelf. I still have it."
We will leave Mr. Harry Shamhart's memories until next week and continue them then. It is sure a trip down memory lane isn't it....My books, "Rockwood Memories", Volumes One and Two are still available at "Shack's Restaurant", O'Those Were The Days Antiques", Gail Score's "Western Apparrel", "Yonder Hollow", and in Harriman at David Webb's "Rocky Top General Store." Or you can call (865) 354-7680 to order by mail. Thanks again for taking the time to read the articles for the past few years, our email lists are near 1200 and each week I get a request to add another reader or two. It is a great way to stay in touch and pass along and receive news updates about our community. If you have any friends that might like to be added to the mailing list, just send me an email. It is all free and their email addresses will not be given out.
Until next week.......Ray

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