New Bern youngsters of this
modern era show little concern
for" geographical boundaries with
in the town, but it wasn’t always
As recently as a generation ago,
a kid was decidedly conscious of
the, section he hailed from, and
quite proud to be a part of it. Any
boy who strayed out of his own lo
cale was apt to get a thrashing,
especially if he ventured forth
with a chip on his shoulder.
Riverside was a good (or bad)
example of this notso-friendly
feuding among teen agers residing
here. Then, as now, the area was
referred to as Little Rusgia at
times, but the Riverside lads th^-
selves were prouder to be called
Boys elsewhere in town did a
pretty good job of stirring up all
sorts of mischief, but for original
ity and exuberance they just could
not meaeure up with the doing con
cocted in and around Dunn’s field.
Even to the last, when the orig
inal Dunn field crowd had grown
up, there was plenty of excitement
carried on by their worthy suc
cessors, including, among others,
Harry Brock, Alford Seloff, Edward
Legallais, Louie and Jack Lee, the
Baxter brothers, Grimsley broth
ers, Strickland brothers, the Smith
brothers, the Parker brothers. Bill
Harris and Reid Fuller.
Tired of mayhem on the ground
they rigged up a cable, high in the
tree tops, and strung it through a
half inch piece of pipe. The idea
was to grab the pipe and slide
down the cable with your body
suspended precariously in mid-air.
It was risky busines, but nobody
was sissy enough to pass up the
trip. Fortunately and quite mirac
ulously, most of the boys negoti
ated the dangerous trip without
disaster. One of them. Red Smith,
took one ride too many, however.
Red lost his grasp on the pipe,
fell to the ground and was knock
ed colder than a chicken that has
been in deep freeze for months.
He stayed knocked out, too, so his
-jcomrades loaded him on a wheel
barrow, and carted him to his
home on Avenue A.
No one was home, so they toted
him upstairs and put him to bed.
Next morning Red wasn’t able to
get up, but he kept mum about
what had happened. Squealing
would only have gotten Red and
the other boys in trouble. Besides,
he didn’t want that cable torn
down before he could get back in
shape for some more joyous riding.
Down on South Front street, the
boys thereabout were just about
as hectic, and far better business
men. Meadows Fertilizer company,
pestered by rats, offered to pay
the youngsters for every rjt killed
on the firm’s property.
Not content with collecting a
tidy sum for their wholesale as
sassination of the rodents, some of
the gang did a bit of sleuthing
and discovered where the purchas
ed rats were being disposed of.
It was almost as good as discov
ering a gold mine. From that
point on, each rat was sold re
peatedly until he was no longer
suitable merchandise. I n cold
weather it was surprising how dur
able a rat could be. Even in sum
mer he did rather well.
Back, in those days, the Meadows
company had a night watchman
who was deaf as a post. Each hour
as he made his rounds, he would
ring the mill bell, and you could
hear it for blocks and blocks.
Timing him to perfection, the
boys would peal out the hour a
minute before he got to the bell,
and he would come right behind
them and do likewise. That was
life in New Bern, before the days
of juvenile delinquency.
Having a v/ay of your own helps
you keep out of the way of others.
The NEW BERN
IN THE HEART OF
NEW BERN, N. C., FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1958
NEED NOT BE OLD—New Bern’s appeal is greatly-en-_
hanced by the stately splendor of its historic places of'
worship. New churches, properly designed and in the right
setting are lovely to look at too.'St. Andrews Lutheran
church is an impressive example.—Photo by Billy Benners.
Christmas Shoppers Actually
Enjoy the Crowded Rushing
Listen to the average New Bern-
ian complain, along about this time
of year, and you’d almost swear
that shopping for Christmas is as
miserable an experience as washing
your feet with your socks on.
Don’t you believe it. Despite the
hustle and the bustle, and the mad
scramble to get everybody remem
bered, it’s as much a part of the
Yuletide as trimming the tree, and
few of us would have it any other
Like some folks who enjoy ill
health, because it gives them a
chance to give hapless friends a
daily medical report on their ail
ments and symptoms, we get a kick
out of the suffering.
If it really was as painful, as we
make ourselves believe, we would
do something about it earlier.
Christmas cards would be address
ed in July, and presents would be
purchased or either laid away
weeks or months in advance.
A few of us get an early start,
but you’ve probably noticed that
these early birds seem to enjoy
the holidays a Tittle less than ordi-
Miss Mollie Was Christmas
At Its Best AH Year Through^
nary mortals who aren’t quite so
methodical and punctual.
Honest injun, what could be
more depressing than folding your
hands and waiting for Christmas to
finally get here. The suspense
would be worse than having your
feet stepped on at crowded count
ers, or waiting in line to purchase
stamps and mail your packages.
To begin with, everybody wants
to be in close proximity to every-
"body else during the Christmas
season, and the place to achieve
this is in jammed stores and along
congested streets. Don’t seek iso
lation and idleness, you’ll be like a
fish out of water, and end up barg
ing into the mob just for the heck
Supposing, for example, you did
n’t see a soul on the hottest day
in the year. Hot weather’s only com
pensation is the privilege of say
ing, “Ain’t it hot” to as many oth
er perspiring persons as possible.
Christmas shopping is awful—
awfully exciting and awfully inter
esting. Make the most of it.
Thomas Haye of Newport to
Greta Lou Rice of Morehead City.
Charles Holloway of New Bern
to Mary Mills of New Bern.
Stephen Cashwell Hall to Lydia
Gail Daw of New Bern.
Anyone who ever had Miss Mol
lie Heath as a first grade teacher
will agree that this grand little
lady embodied the true spirit of
Gentle and young at heart, she
was as spritely as one of Santa’s
prankish helpers. To the countless
children who passed through her
classroom, she was the most won
derful somebody this side of Heav
en. They haven’t forgotten her eith
er, or changed their minds, in the
years since she went to meet her
That’s why the lights on her
Christmas tree, at the corner of
Middle and Pollock, shine with a
brightness surpassing all the oth
er lights in New Bern’s business
A living memorial, such as this
on fhe grounds of Christ Episcopal
church, is particularly appropriate
for Miss Mollie. The qualities that
made her beloved by many genera
tions of the town’s small fry are
as permanently alive and ageless
Once,, as school ended for the
day, we stopped her in front of the
Primary Building at Central Ele
mentary, and asked her to pose
for a snapshot. Flattered, as she
always was by even the smallest
kindness, she obliged.
It was also prophetic that she
chose to stand by a tree. Miss Mol
lie loved trees, and birds and flow
ers, but more than anything or
anybody else she loved children.
She had utmost faith in every kid
that crossed her path. “There are
n’t any realty bad ones,” she. told
So, if you’re a child, or a child
grown up, pause before Miss Mol-
lle’s Christmas tree, and bless her
memory. She was what Christmas
is, or should be.