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by Chuck Jones

Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, was a most wonderful time in my life. I failed to realize this until many years had gone by.

I grew up in the 40’s and 50’s in Van Winkle, then a suburb of the great city that one day I would venture into all alone at the ripe old age of 13. Like other boys my age, I had weekly chores that brought me a tidy sum of money, known as an allowance. Making my bed every morning, helping my mother around the house, working in the garden, and the never ending cutting of the grass, earned for me each week $2.00. I felt RICH.

Saturday morning would find me hitch-hiking to town. (In those days it was safe). I would make my 4 mile trek to the city limits and catch the City Bus #4 Robinson-Belhaven, soon reaching Capitol street, then any young man’s heaven.

There I found movie theatres, comic book stores, ice cream parlors and all the sites of the BIG CITY. Boy, did I have fun.

My $2.00 allowance bought me a ticket to the New Joy, where I would see two western movies, several cartoons, and the ever popular, never ending (it seemed) serial, that went on for weeks. I could buy popcorn, a drink, and a bar of candy.

Leaving the picture show behind, I roamed the streets and marveled at the tall buildings and bustling traffic, and then I’d go to H. L Green’s and have a soda. I then would go to McCrory’s “Five and Dime” and check out all the candy behind the glass partitions and, of course, I’d venture though the toy section and usually make a very careful selection to add to my ever growing collection at home.

Two more stops, one at my favorite bakery to purchase several cookies (to take home for Saturday night, while listening to the radio). I then went to the comic shop and bought several of my favorites – maybe a Joe Palooka, or a Donald Duck, or would it be Dick Tracy?

I would catch the #4 Robinson-Belhaven bus to arrive at the city limits to start my trek home.

That night as I listened to some of my favorite radio shows – “Gangbusters,” “Fibber McGee and Mollie” and “The Great Gildersleave” (not sure about the spelling) – I munched on my cookies, offering one to my parents, and I’d think of the wonderful time I experienced in Jackson that day, realizing how lucky I was to be able to do this. As I crawled into bed I planned my next week’s trip to THE BIG CITY, my hometown Jackson, Mississippi, realizing I had money left to jingle in my pocket when I returned to Forest Hill School on Monday.

I look back now and realize what a WONDERFUL LIFE I had in my home town.


Chuck Jones now lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Read another of Chuck's USADS stories: The Train They Call "The City of New Orleans"

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