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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Old neighborhoods

Posted Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 3:23 PM

Seeing a story about neighborhoods reminded me about growing up in Shelbyville.

My stomping grounds as a kid were the Forest Hills subdivision in eastern Shelbyville -- the South Hillcrest Drive area.

The area now covered by Forest Hills Apartments was an empty field covered with bike trails. And steep (at least to a boy on a bicycle) hills on South Hillcrest and Birch Street were tempting to a kid who liked to ride that bike a little too fast sometimes.

The homes then under construction in the area between Birch Street and Wartrace Pike -- no doors yet, just partially-built shells -- were fascinating for kids to play in.

Most people probably have memories of their neighborhoods, or rural areas, in which they were raised. I've noticed those who grew up in the Southside area of Shelbyville seem to look back a little more than others.

Shelbyville was a good town to have grown up in -- and, I suspect, still is. Those who came of age elsewhere probably have good memories of their towns as well.


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I did not grow up here. But I think back to when I was growing up in Virginia. We had a big home that my father built himself. Riding my bike down to the country store for a moon pie and orange soda or a brownie was a afternoon thing in the summer. Helping my father in the garden after diner was a fun thing for me. Then digging up the potatoes were alot of fun for me. I always tried to dig up the biggest tater. On our land there was a huge tree that had fallen down in the woods and I always went and sat on it and read my books or drew pictures. I named the tree charlie. My dad had a few goats and the billy and I always played. The evenings I always laid down in the back yard and looked at the clouds to see what they looked like. (bear, face, angel etc..)We had a Weeping Willow tree in our back yard and I would sit under it and clean corn that came from the garden so my mom could frezze it or shell pea's. Oh if that tree could talk it could tell some wonderful stories.My dad and I always took rides on saturday afternoon down to our fishing area and I always loved to yell out the window to the people fishing from my dad's truck "got a bite..then you better scratch it" lol..The 1st thing I ever drove was my dad's dump truck. That was when I was 13.My dad could make some good homemade ice cream every sunday.The late 60's and early 70's were a wonderful time for me.I didn't mean to go on and on.

-- Posted by rebelrose on Sun, Mar 30, 2008, at 11:29 AM

I did the majority of my "growing" in Flat Creek. You could literally go over the hill and through the woods to my grandmother's house. Of course you'd need a four wheeler since that was at least a mile. If you could ride a bicycle up our driveway you'd want to stay the night. We had two chicken barns and I got to keep a chicken every time they came to pick them up. Just one, and I had to pick. Picking which one was the hardest part, I wanted them all to stay. We had cats that came out of nowhere and dogs that went anywhere they wanted. I lived across the road from my kindergarten teacher and two houses (and about 3 miles) from my bus driver! When we made it down to the store there was always someone interesting to talk to. Some of the same characters still hang around Flat Creek Market, if you haven't been down there you should go just for the sake of conversation! It's like a time warp.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 8:30 AM

I grew up here and wouldn't trade it for the world!! Even though I thought it was the CHEESIEST movie ever, I enjoyed the memories that "Our Very Own' brought back. I think Sondra Locke is a bigger movie star in her head than anyone around here ever thought of her. The only thing I could ever tell you she did was date Clint Eastwood. I do remember the dog that used to ride around on top of the car, I have forgotten his name now, was it Charlie?? I also remember going to the drive in when I was young where the apartments are now on Madison Street and we will leave New Hope Road alone!!

-- Posted by titansfan on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 10:14 AM

titansfan....I think you're right about the dog's name being Charlie. I remember as a kid seeing him around town riding around on an old white car. I can't remember what kind of car it was, though. I remember the drive-in too, and when we go to the one in Estill springs, I always think about the old one here. And New Hope Road.... I'll leave that one alone too! :-) Do you remember a place called Wolf Meadows? I'm not sure if that's what it was actually called or if it's the name that just sort of stuck? I've heard many tales about that place too but can't recall much about them.

-- Posted by k_collins39 on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 10:46 AM

Yeah, I remember Wolf Meadows, too. It was where they were supposed to have had some people chained up in the basement that were crazy and they tortured them (or so I remember it was told in my circle.) I remember going out there one night to try to drive all the way up to the house and seeing some kind of light back there and my friend being so scared we went flying out of there in reverse and hit a mailbox. It was so much fun back then. It was off of Warner's Bridge Road. I also remember Roller Coaster Road and looking back now how stupid that was!! I don't remember the car that dog rode on either, I just remember being amazed everytime I saw him at how he didn't fall off.

-- Posted by titansfan on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 11:02 AM

It's still called Wolf Meadows.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 11:29 AM

It is off Warner's Bridge Rd, just across from Rabbit Branch. The house burned down many years ago. It is now private property, you can no longer go all the way to where the house used to sit.

-- Posted by time2relax on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 11:46 AM

It's actually a farm now.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 12:00 PM

David your blog helps me to bring back a lot of good memories of my growing up days such as Hide and go seek, Chicken in the coop, Kick the can and many others that we would play as youngsters until the street lights came on, and then it was time to go home. We built a house on Whitthorne Street in 1946 after my Dad came back from the War. Our next door neighbor bought a surplus Army Bus and made a grocery store out of it. When the Horse Show grounds were built up my neighbor and I would pedal our bicycles over there and sell cold drinks and eat-a-snacks to the workers. Whitthorne Street only ran up to almost the top of the hill where Calsonic Arena sits now. There the pavement ended and the street became Wartrace Dirt Road. I could go on forever but that is enough for now.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 1:01 PM

I have been here 12 years and I have enjoyed reading everyone's stories. I wish that some old pictures would be posted some time.I love hearing how it use to be here.I will check back in later to see if anyone else has posted anything.Thanks everyone I have really enjoyed reading everything. This has been a very nice blog.

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 1:40 PM

In our old neighborhood, a bunch of kids would stay out til dark or later riding our bikes or playing frisbee under the street lights. In the summertime, we would ride our bikes to the park to go swimming, but my mom always had chores for me and my brother to do before she got home from work. It didn't matter if they were done before or after we went swimming as long as they were done.

rebelrose, I also remember homemade ice cream and the adults playing cards on Saturday nights while all of of us kids played outside. Each time I hear the song "If the World Had a Front Porch", I think about my childhood all those years ago.....what fun they were....

But, how funny is this? Years ago, my aunt lived on Main Street and the last night of the horse show, we would sit out on her front porch and watch all the visitors leaving town for another year and I always wondered how far they had to travel to get back to their own hometowns.

-- Posted by k_collins39 on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 1:56 PM

I remember the homemade ice cream and the adults in my family playing cards late into the night, too. We would play out in the yard for hours. Our favorites were Ghost in the Graveyard, Swing the Statue, Duck Duck Goose,Kick the Can, Red Rover, I could go on and on...... Those were the best days. I had an aunt that kicked the sidewalk one time instead of the can and broke her toe. (OUCH) My kids are almost grown now and we didn't have big family get togethers like that when they were young, just the occassional cookout, etc. I almost feel guilty now.

-- Posted by titansfan on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 2:25 PM

I live away from Shelbyville now but I have lots of memories of a lot of places and neighborhoods there.I remember Charlie the Wonder Dog and Mr Joe Peacock. I went to grade school @ Pleasant Grove and some of my class mates were related to Mr Joe.Charlie and Mr Joe were Grand Marshall one year for the Christmas Parade.

I love watching Our Very Own, the scene when they are parked in front of Dickersons window looking at the senior photos really hit home, mine was center photo that very summer.

-- Posted by redcat00 on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 7:33 PM

redcatoo I will look for your photo the next time I watch the movie. I have watched it so many times. My girlfriend painted the back ground picture at the high school play for the movie. Terrill Fisher. She moved to France and I sent her 2 copies of the movie when they came out. When I read everyones story I could almost hear the crickets outside and the sounds of the kids playing at nite.Back then we could all play outside and our parents did not worry about us. Plus we all had things we had to do around the house and it was no big deal.My older sister always loved to clean with my mom. I was a daddys girl and was always outside working in the garden or feeding my horse or helping my dad feed his hunting dogs or what ever was going on outside. We lived out in the country of Virginia so there were no street lights or alot of kids to play with. I guess that is why I made a log my friend. Does anyone remember catching June bugs and putting a string on their leg or catching the lighting bugs and filling up a mason jar full of them. And on Saturday nite me and dad always headed to the local race track.My dad had a race car he built and I loved being in the middle of it all. Good times and SIMPLE times. How I wish it was the same for our kids. All my aunts and uncles and grand parents lived in North Carolina. My Grandpa and most of my uncles raised tobacco for a living ( when it was not a bad thing to do) I remember one summer when I would spend my 2 weeks with pa and grandma me and 3 of my cousins were behind one of the big barns and we got caught rolling a dried tobacco leaf and smoking it. My grandpa chased me around the barn 2 times before he caught me and gave my legs a good lick twice. He said Georgia Carol I know you are the one that decided to do this.( I do not know why he knew it was me that started it)LOL...But I never did it again. I remember telling him PA I did not know you could run so fast.

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 11:10 PM

Oh I wanted to say Thank You David for putting this blog up. I have really enjoyed this one.

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 11:16 PM

As I always heard it said, Wolf Meadows was once a home for the mentally challenged in less enlightened days; supposedly the operator, who those in the know said did care for them well, kept the residents tied to trees with long chains to keep them from getting lost in the woods.

Supposedly he abruptly left for Florida with the home's residents.

I also remember Charlie the Wonder Dog well ("Our Very Own" was set around the time I graduated from high school) but don't remember what kind of car he rode on.

Old pictures being posted were mentioned by rebelrose. The Times-Gazette actually has its negative files back to spring 1950 when we began running local photos (actually rare in small towns in those days). They print up well on our photo scanner. I'll try to post a few occasionally.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Apr 1, 2008, at 12:22 PM

I have not seen "Our Very Own", but does Charlie the dog ride on top of the blue Ford Pinto? I cannot remmeber what type of car Charlie actually rode on, but I do know it was not a Pinto.

I graduated one year behind Cameron (we called him Cam)Watson, whom wrote "Our Very Own" and I knew him pretty well and the blue Pinto in the movie was exactly like the one Cam drove in High School.

David, I remember seeing pictures of Charlie in past editions of the T-G back in the 70's & possibly early 80's. Perhaps you may find some of those pctures, when you go through the negative files.

I also remember Wolf Meadows and was with several friends one night, when we had a shotgun fired at us, while we were approaching the house in a car.I recall a friend being slightly injured from some of the shotgun pellets also. I never went back after that, but rememebr how spooky it was driving down the lane to the house...it was so dark with all the tree cover over the lane.

I grew up on Enden Avenue and used to play in the woods and climb a huge tree at the end of the road, but now a Gated Condo community has replaced all those things...I couldn't believe my eyes one day, when I drove through the old neighborhood and the old tree, which had been left standing for many years after the rest of the woods were cleared, was no longer there.

To the north of Ended used to be a field that was open and we made a dirt track for our bicycles...complete with a banked curve. A little further to the east of the dirt track was a dirt hill that had been made, when they constructed the houses on Enden. We called that the jumps and had contests to see how far we could soar on our bicycles after getting a running start to have the ground drop out from under us, when we went over the edge.

I sometimes look back and wonder how those of us in the neighborhood managed to not end up badly injured or dead from some of our crazy antics.

William

-- Posted by HorseGentler on Tue, Apr 1, 2008, at 3:23 PM

I was at Wolf Meadows one night around 1976-77 or so with several friends and actually got out of the car and yelled at the house, "Hey! Anybody home!" or something similar.

A blue light came on in what I seem to remember was a large, second floor window of the old house...it slowly got brighter and brighter. We jumped in the car and took off like a bullet back to our hangout (McDonald's and what was then Fred's parking lot next door), with one of the guys yelling, "We could have been shot!"

I never knew anyone actually was shot at out there.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Apr 1, 2008, at 11:39 PM

I got to be an extra in the movie. We did take after take in the Horse Show Food Booth fight scene and you can see me for approximately 1.5 seconds! So much for 15 minutes of fame!

I noticed that rebelrose's blog mentioned Terrill Fisher. She was my neighbor when she lived in Shelbyville. I got to see the backdrop she did for the movie while she was still working on it. I sure would like to know how she's doing. I haven't heard from her since she moved.

Thanks!

-- Posted by ANM on Tue, Apr 15, 2008, at 10:28 PM

I'm glad to hear of Terrill,too.

She's a great gal.

Laura,I'd forgotten you're a Flat Creek person.

My family is from there as well.

I went to school there and on Madison Street before either school was closed.

I remember all the events depicted in Cam's movie and thought about how much joy and turmoil he had to leave out.

I remember how the adults tried to keep us entertained with the Bridge,the Cellar and the Carousel but more folks hung out at Burger Chef,Frank Farrar's car lot and (don't tell the parents) Green Acres.

I suppose it's not that different for kids now.

We got into twice as much trouble as our parents and teachers knew about and that wasn't a tenth of what we wanted our peers to think we'd done.

'Streaking' probably involved our hair and we spent more time with string art,German jump rope and Clackers than we did blowing our minds or finding Paradise by the dashboard light.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Apr 16, 2008, at 12:18 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.