Tuesday, May 26

Devious Plan

Remember the "Good Ole Days" in the Forties when we were in the famous Boy Scout Troop 100...We had our regular meetings on Friday evening in the basement of the Baptist Church. As the guys gradually showed up we would sit on the front steps and watch the traffic go by until seven o'clock. I remember one Friday in particular when idol minds came up with a devious plan. Across the street at the Family Theatre we could buy five cent bags of popcorn. It came in a very distinctive blue & white striped paper bag and, it just so happens that, after eating the popcorn the cute little bag was a perfect fit for a brick. We would wait for an innocent prospect walking down the sidewalk toward us and placing the bag on the walk in an upright position, one of the kids would walk up and give it a good kick and we would all cheer and applaud. When we set the bag up again we pulled the old switcheroo and replaced it with the brick loaded version. Any enthusiastic citizen who wanted to join in the fun would walk up and give it a good kick, himself. After suffering the hurt and embarrassment of the joke when he turned to castigate the fans on the steps, he was amazed to find they had all suddenly disappeared into the shadows of the evening, having done their good deed for the day...

On January 25, 1940 the Masonic Temple building, next to the Hazard Baptist Church, on Main Street, suffered a massive gas explosion and was seriously damaged. It was so powerful it, also, blew the front off the Family theater across the street putting them out of business for a while. In 1943, somebody decided to clean up the entire top floor of the building and set up a recreation hall for the kids in Hazard. On the side of the building, in the alley, there was an outside access up to the top floor. That was the only way up. The "Rec Hall" was open on Saturday nights free of charge. It was equipped with two ping pong tables and an upright piano, among other things. I remember, in particular, the one kid who loved to play the Theme from The Outlaw on the piano. That movie had just been shown at the Virginia a couple of weeks earlier. He got many requests every Saturday night. Turned out to be a very popular meeting place for the kids. It was certainly worth the climb... Click here to view the side entrance to the recreation hall.


  1. Sonny, I am so glad to read your entry telling about the old Rec Hall on the top floor of the Masonic Building, next to First Baptist Church. I was amazed to see the picture of the side entrance. I have that place etched deep in my memory. You are the only one that I can recall that remembers that Rec Hall where I spent many a Saturday, free of charge. When I would mention this Rec Hall, they would tell me about the one up on the old football field that I think Lus Oxley put in there for the kids. However, I knew this place and remembered it very fondly. Thanks for your memories of it too.

  2. You are welcome, Idalee. Looks like you and I are the only ones left. We enjoyed the good ole days. We were lucky to be there. They will never be back...

  3. Yes, I am so glad we were there, Ed, for we have made memories that very few will ever be able to say, "I did that". I feel so honored to have been born and grew up in the time frame that God allowed me to.

    The Rec Hall was the place to be on Saturday evenings. We had fun, fun, fun. Remember Edgar Dixon at the piano? He could play anything that was "hollered" out to him to play, and he never had a lesson as I recall hearing. He could "tickle the ivories" with the best of them. He kept all of us entertained. Somehow I thought Scotty Kelly played also, but Billie says she don't remember him playing the piano. Also, I can't recall any "fracas" between those that were spending Saturdays at the Rec, can you?

  4. I remember Scotty very well. Lived next door to him behind the High School. Went through grammar school with him.