by Thomas Givens
The town of Ruleville, Mississippi, is where I spent most of my young life. I have written about it many times here at USADEEPSOUTH.com, and that town will always have a place in my heart. I was not born there but out in the country from there about 10 miles away in a community called Linn.
Linn had its own school (a handsome two story brick classroom building with a steam heating system). The complex also had a home-ec and agricultural building, a gym, a teachers' home, sidewalks and a football field.
But Linn wasn't a town. In fact, the little community only had two stores and two churches. When Linn folks went to town, we went to Indianola, Moorhead, Cleveland or Ruleville.
Our family "went to town" in Ruleville. We ginned our cotton at the Farmers Gin, owned by the Thomas Edmondson Estate -- Son Beck was the head, and that's also who daddy rented from. We bought all our clothes from Hyman Turner and all our groceries from Silverblatt's grocery.
Let loose on the streets of Ruleville in my young life, I kinda grew up with the residents of that little town. They still invite me back to their reunions, and one of our favorite memories is of Greasy Street.
If you turn off Highway 8 onto Floyce Street at the 4-way stop, you drive into Ruleville and come to where the railroad used to be. You'll know it because the old depot will be to your left. To your right will be Front Street, which we called Greasy Street. Used to be three cotton gins to your right, including Farmer's Gin where we ginned our cotton. Tom Conger's grocery was on the corner, and George Gee's and Jim Kee's Chinese groceries to the right. There were two cafes that served coloreds and whites catfish and burgers at divided counters, and the colored theatre was on the end of the block. I remember it well; they showed colored westerns, and it was owned by Bim Jackson, same man who owned the Delta Theatre in Ruleville and the Ellis and Chief Drive Inn in Cleveland.
Those days are long gone. I think that although we were separated by segregation back then we were close and loved each other . . . at least in the little world of Greasy Street.
in the hills of his native state. His memoirs are favorites at USADEEPSOUTH.
Here are a few:
The Halfway Store
The Delta Theater
Memphis and the Delta
Whiskey, Chickens and Cherry Bombs
Write Tom at DeltaJudge2
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