Submitted by Life Columnist Fannie Moore
Have you ever just spent some time reminiscing with someone about things from the past? One of you would mention something and the other would add another memory.
Hubby and I recently spent quite a while remembering what Shongaloo once looked like. There actually was a viable “commercial” community with a general store on each of the four corners of the crossroads known as Shongaloo.
I grew up in the area so I was able to recall some things that were foreign to Hubby. His family moved into the community when he was in his mid-teens, so he didn’t get to experience some of the things of earlier times.
There was a busy intersection where the blinking light now slows traffic, although it was not as much automobile traffic then so no light was needed. There were lots of farm trucks and some cars as people in the outlying area came in for gas, groceries, going to church and school functions or even visiting the cotton gin.
As we recalled the area, we remembered the general stores that sold anything a family might need as well as a few frivolities. One even had a soda fountain where the kids could sit on the stools, spinning around as they sipped cokes or ate ice cream.
This treasure was owned by W. J. Liles and everybody knew him. He always served his customers with a smile. I don’t think there was ever a young couple that got married that did not receive a “box” from Mr.Liles. Included in the box were items the couple would need as they set up housekeeping. We were no exception and I vividly remember our box with a big bottle of vanilla flavoring.
This store was located on the southwest corner of the intersection.
On the north side of the road was a service station owned by Ellis Munn. I can’t remember going there as a youngster except when we had to get gas for the truck.
The northeast corner was occupied by a big store owned by John Burton and in addition to selling the necessities, he began to include items the school children would buy. We were often allowed to walk from school to the store and we bought our first mechanical pencils for 49 cents. As I remember his store, it was up a small hill from the road and had tall steps leading up to the porch.
Across from him on the south side of the road was Roseberry’s Store, a two-story structure that sold everything. I don’t remember ever going there, but my parents talked about it and the great variety of things Mr. Roseberry had stocked in his store.
Memories came flooding back. North of the stores on the west side was the post office managed by Miss Ivey Cason. During our early years when World War II was going on, everyone was encouraged to buy stamps and save them up so they could be traded in for War Bonds. The stamps and stamp books were purchased at the Post Office.
Our teachers encouraged the children to bring money and buy stamps. Someone from the class was chosen to walk from school to the Post Office to buy the stamps. It was always fun when you and a friend were chosen to go.
Then, north of the intersection was the cotton gin. We enjoyed when Daddy let us ride to the gin with him as he carried his load of cotton to be ginned.
Then, on the same side of the road, stood several small white houses that were rented out. I don’t remember who owned them, but later, one of our friends from school lived there. When they got ready to move, the man hired Daddy, with his big truck, to move their belongings to Texarkana.
There was also a two-story Masonic building and another house or two in the same area.
It truly was a great community, Methodist and Baptist churches, a local high school with lots of activities and the community was like “family”.
What a delightful time we had recalling earlier days.
Do you remember when?