By Jimmy Moody
Several years ago out third rock witnessed a partial eclipse. I happened to be visiting the Ramseur Library at the time and thought I’d stroll down the street and take it all in. I was raised on Main Street and it was my playground until we moved two miles away when I was eleven. Two miles is a canyon at that age..
Downtown seemed even more quiet than usual, if that is possible. I took a seat in front of what (in the old days) was Ramseur’s Mel’s Diver. I was hoping for a bit of peace to enjoy the rare event. It soon became apparent to this native son that I wasn’t alone. From behind me, I heard Melvin ask me how I wanted my burger. “Everything but slaw, Mr. Murry”! Thirty yards to my right Craven Shoemaker had stepped out from the feed mill to see how dark it was getting. He told me many times how my Dad snuck into the mill’s bell tower and woke up the Town to celebrate VE day. Across the street was kindly Doc Whitehead, whose fountain made cherry smashes that were to “die” for. Pep Watkins was selling someone a refrigerator and Hester Gooch was making future business for our dentist, with his counter of candy. Garland Allen was negotiating a loan at the Bank of Coleridge and Madge Kivett and Page Craven were turning on the lights in their clothing store so no would trip. Alan Leonard was making out a money order at the Post Office and Grady Lawson stepped away from his carburetors to see the spectacle. Grant Kivett was in a booth at the Ramseur Diner with Harrison Cheek. Harrison was reminding the waitress not to forget to mix a raw egg in his milkshake, he said it was good for his hair. I always thought he had a remarkable resemblance to Glenn Campbell anyway. Kermit Pell was stacking burlap sacks of various seeds in front of his grocery. I can still smell them.
Anyone who grew up there in the mic ’50s and ’60s knows exactly what (and who) I am talking about. I’ve seen Pearl Harbor, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Alamo, Pikes Peak, and numerous other famous and not so famous sites, and everywhere I went I took a little bit of Ramseur with me. This Town leaves it’s imprint with you, and as time goes by, you consider yourself blessed because of it. I’ve always taken solace in the truth that if you keep people in your heart and honor their memory, they are never really gone. So for one day, at least for this particular Ramsonian, Ramseur was there in my 10-year-old memory. Good Lord willing, I’ll see all of you again.
The older we get, the more precious memories become. This is especially true if you were fortunate to have grown up in Ramseur. Our town is still a great place to live, but the old charm of a small town seems to have faded into memory. Ramseur used to be a thriving town, with numerous factories and industries. We had a theater, Diary that produced ice cream, several hardware stores, building supply stores, furniture stores, clothing stores, numerous cafes, and of course a bunch of service stations. The old Ramseur High School was the center of activity and Ramseur even had their own marching band. Highway 64 came through the outskirts of town, but Main Street was still thriving and the “place” to own a business. The Cotton Mill was a major employer, and there was a grist mill in the center of town that ground corn and grain from local farmers into feed and flour. Some of these memories are expressed in a letter I received from an old Ramseur classmate. Jimmy Moody graduated ERHS in ’72 and like most of the graduating class, he moved away from Ramseur, but the memories of growing up here remained with him.
Jimmy’s letter evokes memories of a much simpler time…