What’s your score?

By Bill Shepard

Here I go again! It is testing time. Make a passing grade, and earn the right to be called a Darlington Senior, Senior Citizen. Let’s get started!

Do you remember when?

1. Remember when only one traffic light was in the town of Darlington? Did you refer to it as the…Red Light, Stop Light, or Traffic Light? Where in Darlington was it located? Name one way in which it was different from the ones in Darlington today.

2. Remember when there were four service stations referred to as “filling stations,” at the intersection of East Hampton and S. Main Street in Darlington? Can you name the brand of gasoline each station sold? Which of the following were NOT sold…Shell, Esso, Sinclair, Texaco, Gulf, Spur?

3. Do you remember when Doctors Wilcox, Edwards, Alexander, Coleman and Rosenfield made house-calls to anywhere in Darlington, day or night? The cost was fifty cents per visit, and they left without referring you to a specialist! Doctor Edwards delivered my first child. Beginning with the first visit, to delivery, and the follow up visit, his fee was twenty-five dollars! By the time my second child was born, the fee had risen to thirty-five dollars. Wow!

4. Remember when Margaret Dargan was the teaching principal at St. John’s Grammar School (not called Elementary School) and Susan Brunson held the same position at the high school? J. C. Daniel was the Superintendent of the schools in Darlington County. He was loved and respected by all, and feared by a few!

5. Remember when a near tragedy happened at the grammar school? The much-loved old janitor, David, was burning trash in the basement of the school building. The fire got out of control, and the janitor panicked and ran home. Some boys discovered the fire and ran through the building, screaming as they went, “The school is on fire!” This writer will never forget that day! He was in third grade that year. Old David never returned to work. The students missed him.

6. Remember when the narrow foot-walk (so-called) across the swampland behind St. John’s School was replaced by a wider and more substantial bridge? It was referred to as “The New Bridge.” Most all the children from the village, “over the creek,” traveled that route to and from the school. Carpenters furnished the by the mill company built the bridge. Their names, Jack Jackson and Alfonso Reed, I remember. The bridge served other people who lived in the area as well. My last visit to that area was when I was showing my son where I went to school as a boy; when we arrived at the bridge, we found it closed and a sign was posted that read, “Keep Out.”

7. Remember when Davis and Clanton sold new Dodge and Plymouth cars in Darlington, and their location was on N. Main Street across from the Old Barn that was operated by Angus Gainey? The cars came in two colors, black and blue only. My Dad bought a new 1937 Plymouth for $900. They also had a “Used Car” lot on S. Main Street. A like-new A-Model Ford could be purchased for as little as $125. Wow! A new Ford could be purchased at Sisk Motors, on Cashua Street, for less than $500. Those were the days of cheap cars and cheap gasoline!

8. Remember when gasoline sold for less than twenty cents per gallon, and motor oil sold for fifteen cents a quart? If you purchased gas, the attendant would wash your windshield, check your oil and the air in your tires, and sweep the floors of your car, all for free! I know, I worked at a filling station!

9. Can you remember when your everyday shoes and Sunday shoes were the same? If a hole appeared in the soles of your shoes, you covered it with a stick on patch, purchased at McClellan’s Five & Dime. The cheapest place in Darlington to buy clothing was at B. C. Moore’s on the square. A top-brand of overalls sold for 59 cents, and a shirt to match was only 39 cents! It was even cheaper if bought on sale! W.D. Coggeshall’s on the square was where the elite of Darlington purchased their clothing – and the poor folk went to window-shop.

10. Remember when you could get three dips of ice cream on the same cone at Metropolis on the square for a nickel? Down the street at Moody’s Market, you could get a sack filled with hot roasted peanuts for another nickel. If you had a nickel left over you could go to McClellan’s Dime Store and get another bag of candy, your choice! The long candy counter inside would start a mouth to watering!

The test is over, and I’ve relived a lot of memories, and hope I stirred a lot of your own. Allow yourelf 10 points for each question answered correctly. Seventy (70) equals a passing grade. Let us know how you scored!

Until next time!

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. Signed copies of Mr. Shepard’s books “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised” are available for purchase at the News and Press office. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.

Author: Duane Childers

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