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Fond Memories Of Quarter Gas From Old Hand Pump

By Charles Cooper


Hello everyone hope you’re having a good week. I would like to acknowledge some emails from Kay-Kay-Wilbourn-Smith, Margie Baggett, and Cathy Ward. Kay-Kay and B.B. have contributed to this column several times over the years. She emailed me a picture that I will always treasure. It shows old friends Ben Barrett, Tom Myers and Martin Boydston celebrating Mr. Ben’s seventy-third birthday.

I profiled all three of them over the years and it is always a pleasure to revisit them. Mr. Ben was a retired engineer as was Tom Myers. Their routine didn’t vary much–lunch at Mrs. Shaw’s boarding house, maybe later a coke at Martin Boydston’s drug store, then home to a nap. Mr. Tom was an alderman several years and served one term as mayor.

It was said that he knew everyone by name in Water Valley, and I believe it. If he did spot a stranger he would approach them and identify himself and ask their name. He was an avid gardener and usually would have yard of the year. Martin Boydston spent his entire business life on Main street. As a teenager he worked for Mr. Brick Knox and when Mr. Brick retired he sold the business to Martin and Martin operated it for several more years.

After closing his business, he worked for Turnage for several years until he finally retired. My cousin, Beverly Badley- Segriest, worked with him during high school and she said in spite of his low key demeanor, he was a great floor salesman. Margie Baggett-Landon emailed me some pictures of long ago service stations, all in color and a priceless collection. I know that you younger people never saw the old hand pump type gas pump that all the station had in those days. The attendant pumped the gas up by hand and there were notches that indicated a gallon. Some of the names are long forgotten, Sinclair, Lion, Gulf, and Humble.

As Margie said, for twenty-five cents you got a gallon of gas, your oil checked, your windshield wiped, and all four tires checked and aired up if needed. Margie, as I’ve said so many times before, letters and emails like this is what has been so great about writing this column. Let me hear from you again. Cathy Ward, if memory serves, sent me the first letter after this column started. I hadn’t forgotten her dad and her grandmother, Abby Hunt when I was writing about the Jumper’s Chapel community. I’ve had to include a few weeks. Her grandmother and Nannie Badley were first cousins and like many people in those days they would call each other Cousin Abby or Cousin Ann. Her children were Janie Larson, Catherine McMinn, Watson, Wilton, and Leland Hunt. Watson and Wilton had trucks and they hauled for other people as well as farmed.

Watson later had a fleet of trucks. Wilton died in France in WW11 and Leland settled in Florida. I believe.. They were all hard workers and a credit to their community and their country. I know that David is going to see I’ve been extra long this week, but even then I feel I haven’t done justice to these people. Let me hear from you, either email or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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