Saturday, March 13, 2010


In 1973, my mother relocated our little family from Gainesville, Georgia to Misenheimer, North Carolina when she accepted the position of Associate Dean of Students at Pfeiffer College (now Pfeiffer University). This was the summer prior to my 10th grade year and my sister's 11th grade year.

I was born in Durham, North Carolina at Duke University Hospital, but we moved to Japan before my first birthday and had not lived in NC since that time. But North Carolina had me by the heartstrings because we spent a part of every summer with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins galore in Montreat, North Carolina.

A few minutes ago, I became a Fan of Cheerwine on Facebook and a whole lot of North Carolina memories flooded through my brain.

Cheerwine: I love this sweet elixer. You can't usually find it outside of the state of NC, but you will hear someone say "I found it at the store in ______," and everyone will react with shock. I loved Cheerwine. It was my favorite bottled drink in high school. I've even heard that there is an ice cream or sherbet made in this flavor. I would love to have some of that!

Wink's: This was a little diner type joint on Highway 52 in Albemarle. Back then, you backed your car into a parking space around the U-shaped lot and honked your horn to summon a waitress, who sometimes arrived on roller skates. (This was in the 1970's!) I always ordered the same thing - a cheeseburger, fries and a Cherry-Lemon-Sundrop. Yummy!

Moon Pond: I can't tell you why.

Albemarle High School talent show: AHS was the arch rival of the high school that I attended, North Stanly High School. But the year my rock band competed in the talent show that was staged at AHS, we won. Most of us either still attended or had graduated from NSHS. It was funny. They got revenge by putting a picture of us in their yearbook that was a two-page spread. I was right in the center and looked like I weighed 200 pounds because of the way the photo was split. (I would love to have that photo today!!!)

John's Tavern: Sausage pizza, cheeseburger basket, disco light ball; picnic tables on each side of the dance floor, a bartender named Munchkin, gravel parking lot, laughter, dancing, driving the back roads home (or back to the dorm in later years), fending off intoxicated young men, Cardinal Puff for the very first time this evening, flirting with other young men, 25 cent beer (was it Red, White & Blue beer?) and pitchers of draft.

Tomato Greenhouses owned by Gene Pickler: For quite some time, I planted, grew and picked tomatoes for my pocket money. That was hard labor! It made attending college easy because I found that I did not want to do hard labor. I shared this part-time job with two full-time faculty members from Pfeiffer, who did the work for extra pocket money. They were both nutcases, but a LOT of fun!

McDonald's in Albemarle: The closest McDonald's to Misenheimer was 20 minutes away. One never made the drive alone, because that would be a waste of gas and labor. It was, at best, a full carload of people. For one dollar, I got a cheeseburger, small fries and a small Coke.

Computer Room: The first computer at Pfeiffer took up an entire room! You had to sign up to use it and all it did was crunch numbers. Word processing hadn't been invented yet! Neither had email or the Internet. I thought I was very fortunate to have an electric typrewriter with BUILT IN correction tape - very fancy!!!

Cockfeathers: I helped to produce the secret, "underground" newspaper on the Pfeiffer campus. It wasn't much of a secret because lots of people knew. All parties involved in that newspaper are now contributing members of society. It was so much fun sneaking around in the dead of night delivering that paper. Tee hee!

First Stop: Pfeiffer sat in a dry county, so you had to drive to the county line to buy alcohol. The closest little country store was aptly named.

Morrow Mountain: I loved this state park. I remember driving over there several times with different friends. For some reason, I associate this place with "My Faith is Blind", a song recorded by Phoebe Snow. I can remember driving up the mountain with that song playing on my cassette tape deck.

These were just random memories that flew through my mind. I could keep going for days and days.

"In my mind, I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I'm gone to Carolina in my mind"
(James Taylor)

Shall we go to Carolina, you and I?


Griff said...

Munchkin. I remember walking across the parking lot at John's, Munch looking out the big plate glass window, seeing that there were 3 (or 4 , or 5, or just me), and pouring up a pitcher with however many glasses, sitting on the bar as I walked through the door. Thanks Munch. The first place I was ever a regular. One of the nicest feelings there is; being an insider.

Cheerwine at Pat and Mick's Fish Camp.

Thanks Cat.

OyaSophia said...

He used to order my cheeseburger basket for me. :-)

Prancingdawg said...

The "lake" at Pfeiffer, which was nothing more than a pond, really, and its stone pavillion. Playing guitar and singing with Cat and Waverly.

Did you know that me and some of my buds grabbed an upperclassman's boat trailer by its tongue, pulled the boat clean across campus by the dark of night past the security officer's house as he sat in his living room watching TV, and launched it on that pond!

"First Stop" and John's Tavern, Pat and Mick's, Morrow Mountain, good gawd y'all!