Monday, July 26, 2010

Drive-Ins and the Best Drive-In Food

Growing up in Brevard in the 50's and 60's was a unique experience in a unique place. Years before "Happy Days" rocked onto our TV screens, we lived the real thing. In our small town, everybody really did know everybody else. We had a compact business district where we could buy everything we needed to survive, a bustling economy that provided good livings for many families, and more than enough activities, fun, and mischief to keep kids and teens busy.

This blog is created to collect the memories of those of us who grew up in Brevard. If y'all are like me, you talk and laugh with friends about the places we went and things we did but nobody takes time to write down stories that are too special to be forgotten. We've changed and the town's changed - our memories are the testament of what it used to be like.

I plan to post a new topic often with some thoughts of my own to get the discussion rolling. At the bottom of each post, you can click on "Comments" and add your own recollections to mine. Instructions on how to comment are included if you haven't tried it yet. It's easy and fun once you get going. Make sure to leave your comments under the appropriate topic of interest - it'll be more fun for other readers if the comments are all on the same topic and make them easier to find if you want to reread a post or add a comment at a later date. Also, it'll be more fun if you identify yourself by name and BHS class year or the years when you lived in Brevard.

My first topic is "Drive-Ins and the Best Drive-In Food." Drive-ins were not only places to eat, they were integral to our social lives. Whether it was for an after school Coke or an evening out with friends or a date, a stop at one of the drive-ins was a given. In my teen years, the drive-in hang-outs were the Triangle, Chatterbox, Al's, and Charlie's Chicken Kitchen. When I was much younger, I went with my older sister a few times to Sam's Drive-In at the intersection of the 4-lane and Old Hendersonville Highway and to another one in Pisgah Forest, possibly called McCall's. I hope some of you can fill us in on these earlier spots.

Three things all drive-ins had in common was a loud jukebox, a crowded parking lot, and inexpensive food cooked to order. In this first post, I open the conversation with the question - What was your favorite drive-in and why? Or your favorite drive-in food and what made it special? My personal choice for food is the hot dogs at Charlie Owenby's Chicken Kitchen. A hot dog was just a hot dog until Charlie topped it with his special chili. Add a few chopped onions, a little mustard - the best hot dog ever!

This blog is intended to be fun and to record our recollections in one location where we can all read and enjoy them. Please don't report anything that's hurtful or slanderous. This is about being a kid and teenager in Brevard.

I need for everyone to spread the word about this blog - email your BHS friends, send it out on class email lists, anyway you can think of to get people involved. And urge them to leave comments to share with all of us. This involves audience participation, folks. It doesn't work if you read other people's thoughts without leaving your own!

Be sure to click on Comments directly below the end of this post and read what others had to say - this is where the action's going to be! When you finish reading the comments, leave your own. I want to hear from everybody!

Go Blue Devils!

57 comments:

  1. I actually grew up in Pisgah Forest, but like everyone else I spent all my leisure time in Brevard. The place and time was very special and things were much more simple and real than today. For entertainment everyone either went to the Brevard Drive Inn Theater or downtown to either the Coed or Clemson Movie Theater. After the movie everyone either went to Charlie's, Triangle or Mack's Dairy Bar in Pisgah Forest. I agree with the earlier post about Charlie's hot dogs. One was never enough and in those days the price was right. Mack's speciality was Cheese Burgers and he made the best around and not only did the cooking, but carried the food out to you. During the hot summer months we would go by the Biltmore Dairy Bar and get one of the thickest and best milk shakes ever made. During the school year the Chatterbox was the place to be, but it was always very crowded, so most of the crowd I spent time with would go to Charlie's more than anywhere else. I have not lived in Brevard for over thirty five years, but I get the visit Brevard feeling at least two or three times a month and we go up and spend the day visiting.Most of the time that we are there I'm day dreaming about how things used to be and where different businesses were in the 50's & 60's. The Drive Inn food was always much better than the fast food places serve today. Charlie's parking lot was gravel and was always very dusty, but I didn't even notice that.Only thought of it years later. It just didn't matter, because there was always people there to joke and tease with. Very good memories of the old cars and good friends.

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  2. Good post, Michael! So the place at Pisgah Forest was called Mack's. I remember the parking was in the rear. I think a hot dog at Charlie's was 25 or 35 cents. Quite a bargain! You gave me ideas for more topics!

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  3. Charlie's hot dogs and Mack's Cheeseburgers were great, but I wouldn't have survived without Mrs. Bramlett's spiced ham sandwiches at the Chatterbox. I had lunch at the Chatterbox five days a week when school was in session.

    For a night out, the coffee at Al's was the draw. We could while away hours talking and drinking coffee at Al's Drive In. What a life.

    And the fries at the Triangle...to die for!

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  4. Funny, I don't remember anything I ever ate at any of the drive ins in Brevard though I spent plenty of Saturday nights & Sunday afternoons usually at the Triangle. But, the very best hamburgers & fries were at Arcadia Dairies. No frozen pre-cooked fries there! And best drink was the limeade at Varner's lunch counter. Bowls of limes, cut and squeezed when you ordered ... haven't tasted anything that good in a long time.

    Doris Williams Colker, Class of '58

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  5. Mack's was kinda like a hole in the wall, across from the current Pisgah Forest Post Office and beside the Ammoco Station. A narrow driveway ran around the building and the small parking lot was always full. Mack was everything. He came out and got your order. he did the cooking, cashier, dishwasher and server. He worked six days a week and made a very good living. Varner's drug store was really good, because my Mom worked there for several years. Somebody refresh my memory on Al's. I seem to remember the name, but can't place it for some reason. Maybe things were better before McDonalds and Hardees ? Hanging out was a lot more fun then.

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  6. Going to the Clemson movie theater, Saturday afternoon for a western (Roy Rogers, Whip Wilson, The Durango Kid, Johnny Mack Brown, Lash Larue, Gene Autry, (who did I miss?. My parents gave me a quarter, 9 ¢ for the movie, including a serial (Rocket Man perhaps)+ cartoon + maybe Three Stooges or Bowery Boys, and The News "The eyes and ears of the world!" You could even sit through it twice. The rest of the money was for a snack afterwards at Ford's Corner: Grilled Cheese sandwich- 10¢, cup of CoCola- 5¢. The movie went up to a dime, then 12¢ around 1952(?) THE BREVARD & STAR DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATRES---NEXT TIME!

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  7. Michael - Al's was on Caldwell Street beside Kearn's Grocery and behind the Winn-Dixie. It was primarily frequented by Brevard College students. That Mack at Pisgah Forest must've been some entreprener!

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  8. Al's was a little restaurant on Truck Lane (Caldwell St.) behind Kerns Grocery and across the street from the back of the Winn-Dixie. It was owned and run by Al Arnett. He sold out to some guys that worked at DuPont and they changed the name to The Partners. It was on the Triangle to Al's to Chicken Kitchen to Chatterbox circuit. Wish I had all the gas used to ride that circuit over the years.

    Ron Rutherford, BHS '57

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  9. Nobody could vouch for Charlie's hot dogs more than Frank Vaughn. Frank was skinny as a stick at that time and I saw him eat 5 or 6 of Charlie's dogs one night. O'course I was never skinny but I ask Frank how he could eat like that, he said if he could afford it he would eat that many Charlie dogs every night.

    BJ, '59

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  10. On Friday nights when I was in the younger grades, my family usually went to Gaither's Restaurant or Galloway's on Broad Street. We ate cheeseburgers there. After eating, we often went to the movies at the Co-Ed. I would ask Mother constantly during the movie "what is going to happen?" You know, I am still that way! I always want to know what is going to happen---in movies, football games, etc. That is why I often cover my eyes during a close football game....can't stand the suspense.
    And yes, the Chatterbox too was one of my favorites!

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. This is a little off topic, but I was thinking about Joe's Little Store. Never been a better place to have a coke and pack of nabs. Always a bunch of older men in there trading guns, fishing poles and telling tall tales. Joe was a real character and loved to tell stories. Peg Sittons Store in Pisgah Forest was about the same. Peg was one legged and made the best bologna sandwich I ever ate. I really miss all the characters that were around in the 50-60's. ( I just thought about another one ! Snead Sinard at Snead's Junk Yard on Old 64. He was a special person and thanks to him I keep my car running with parts from his place.)

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  13. For hotdogs, the best was Sam's Drive-In,served by a lady named Skee and owned by Lamar Grimmitt's parents. As for hamburgers, I must agree with Doris that Ma Arthur's at Arcadia Dairies were the best I have ever eaten...and that holds true to this day...the food there was the highlight of all our away games, be it football, basketball, baseball or track. I can say the same thing about milkshakes at Biltmore Dairies on the old Hendersonvill Highway and also when it moved to the four-lane next to Bob Boyd's Phillip 66 station. Does anyone remember the Trolley located at the bottom of jail house hill on the corner of French Broad and North Broad catty-cornered from the college's rock wall entrance? Or the little eatery that Mrs. Cox (Homer and Bessie's mother) opened on the new Hendersonville Highway? How about Doc Galloway's in Rosman. I bet Ron remembers that one. I wonder what the food was like at Stroller's Inn (and staggers out) on Caldwell Street and at the old Tavern right before the steep curve and Hunter's motel on the old Hendersonville Highwa

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  14. Linda Mull DenseJuly 27, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    The Chatterbox was the place to eat, if you were willing to fight the crowd. Although this was not a drive-in, I loved the chicken and egg salad sandwiches at Macfie's Drug Store. I continued eating there while I attended Brevard College. Can't believe I walked up Jailhouse Hill! Whew!!

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  15. The comments reminded me of the hot dogs at Stroller's Inn. They were fantastic. I was one of the few kids allowed in there. I guess because I kept my mouth shut. The M&M Cafe on East Main had great hamburgers. They had the first bun steamer in town. Finally, Cleve's, up above Cherryfield on the Rosman Highway, had the best hot dog sauce I have ever tasted. And Sam's Drive-In made fantastic shakes.

    Why aren't we all dead from clogged arteries?

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  16. I remember the Trolley of which Jim spoke. It was a great place to eat for sure! I, too, remember the WONDERFUL food at Arcadia. I go to church with a "girl" (she is now a grandmother) who worked at Arcadia for a long time. We were talking about it on Sunday. I bet she remembers the "shy, mild-mannered" guys from Brevard!

    Becky Class of '58

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  17. For the life of me I cannot remember the M&M Cafe. Exactly where was it located and who owned it? I don't remember Cleve's either. Guess that shows I have a bad case of CRS, huh?
    What is the girl's name from Arcadia. The only names I remember are Nina Sue and Mary.

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  18. The girl's name is Gail. She was blond,(or blonde, as the British say,) and she was a student at T. C. Roberson High School, which was ??? High School then. I will have to ask her about the name of her HS. I think I remember M&M Cafe.....was it across from the Courthouse? I do remember a Cafe there.

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  19. Wasn't M&M Cafe owned by Floyd McCall's parents?

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  20. I'm pretty sure (sure as an old person can be) that M&M was owned by some McCalls. I don't know which McCalls.

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  21. I tried to start a blog for the Fifties Reunion group (those folks in the BHS classes from 1950 thru 1959). One of our subjects was The Chatterbox. It originated as the Arcadia Dairy Bar, was taken over by Mr & Mrs Harry Sellers and the name changed to the Chatterbox. The premiere food served there from that era was Mrs. Sellers' lemon pie. Mr. Sellers was the manager of the A&P in downtown Brevard.

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  22. I thought Curtis Kelly was the mgr. of the A&P on East Main. about where Falls Landing is now?

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  23. @rotca: Wasn't Curtis Kelly the manager of the Cash & Carry?

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  24. Yes, Curtis Kelly managed the Cash & Carry. Mother always bought groceries at Scott's Grocery Store which was where Ayer's store later was established. In the late 40's the A&P was on Broad Street between Gaither's and Galloway's.
    (Just up from Varner's) I remember going in there a lot. It was always kinda dark in there.
    People would sit in their cars on Broad and Main Streets watching people come and go as they shopped. That was wonderful entertainment!

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  25. That's right...Cash and Carry is the store I am thinking of.
    What was the name of Pete Bikas's restaurant? Was that Galloway's?

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  26. Ann - Class of 61July 29, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    This brings back many great memories ...... great blog Pat......... Oh I remember the Chatterbox, Triangle, Varners and Gathers quite well..... great food! Anyone remember Bikas Restaurant (home of county ham) in downtown? I did my share of sitting in the car and watching people come and go......... interesting!!!

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  27. Becky - Class of '58July 30, 2010 at 4:32 AM

    Yes, Pete Bikas' Restaurant was actually called Galloway's Cafe. It was a great place to eat. Wish we could go there today!

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  28. Becky Morris class of 68.. I remember as a child going to the chatterbox and wishing that I was a teen. I always ordered the tutti fruiti and does anyone remember The Vagabond Diner? I think that it was close and across the street from the telephone company.. Great sliced barbeque sandwiches..Great memories at the Arcadia dairy as a teen after football games with the football players as a cheerleader.

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  29. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Kelly retired as manager of the Winn-Dixie Store on the Rosman Highway.

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  30. Mr. Sellers was manager of the A&P located on Jordan Street behind Owenby's Service Station. That A&P burned in the early sixties.

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  31. Becky Class of '58July 30, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    Yes, I well remember the Vagabond Diner, Becky. It was a wonderful place to eat! I don't remember the tuittu fruti at the Chatterbox...sounds good. By the way, your Dad used to ride to work with my Dad!

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  32. Oh the memories we share of the Chatterbox...The Rustic Room in back...lunch time was a busy and fun time...and the minature golf...Blue Horse notebook paper...and Daddy up front at the cash register...watching..making sure everyone behaves!

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  33. ROTCA and Ann '61, please id yourself. Ann, I guess your were a freshmen when old people like Becky '58 was a senior.
    I'm with Ron, I remember the A&P behind Owenby's...Bob Cabe '55 and a lot of others worked there. My parents did most of their grocery shopping at Harold's on Gallimore Hill. I thought Mull's grocery was on Broad between the restaurants. Remember the Mulls' home on Caldwell with all their animals and their trailer next to the Stroller's Inn?

    Becky Morris? Knuckleball's daughter and Judy and Jennie's baby sister and Linda's cousin? Was your mother's name Louise, sister to Inez Smith? The vagabond must have arrived after '61 when I left home for good...big mistake!

    Hey, Jimmie Jean.

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  34. judy morris jones class of '61July 30, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Yes, Becky is my little sister! I love this blog.
    Thank you, Pat. Also, thanks to Ann Dixon for
    forwarding to me. I remember those grilled
    cheese sandwiches at Macfie's and going to the
    CoEd on Saturdays......then stopping at Wards
    News Stand for penny candy. I MISS BREVARD!!!!

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  35. Becky, Class of '58July 31, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    I see Ann hasn't answered yet, but I will tell you that she is the little sister of Carolyn Kilpatrick. Carolyn still lives the house in which they were children on Broad Street. Ann is in a group to which I belong, and she is a great person. She likes to "drag Main" in her Mustang! Right, Ann?

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  36. From the 7/19/10 Transylvania Times "Glancing Back" 50 years ago. "Varner's Drug Store Luncheonette Special...Hamburgers 19 cents and Milk Shakes 19 cents". A couple of weeks ago I saw in another issue of "Glancing Back" that gas was also selling for 19 cents a gallon.

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  37. At the foot of jail house hill was a gas station and I think it was the Red Diamond Station. I remember that everyone would kinda watch the prices there. They would drop their price and it would touch off price wars among the other stations. I believe that it would get as low as 18 cents per gallon. Growing up I worked at the Ammoco Station in Pisgah Forest and a lot of people would buy 50 cents of gas at a time. Can you imagine how far you would get on 50 cents worth of gas today.

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  38. I remember my Mom shopping at Mull's Grocery. It was between the restaurants on Broad Street. The A&P was on Jordan Street across from Dr. Goodwins(the dentist). Mr. Mull lived on Caldwell Street next to the Catholic Church and later lived in a trailer behind the bank on Main Street. My favorite place was Ward's newsstand. You could spend a half hour picking out the penny candy. But better than that was the dreamsicle Popsicle. The Chatterbox was always crowded with the jukebox playing. Anita Brennan Craker

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  39. The Ward sisters didn't like boys in their newsstand. They would follow boys around like they were bank robbers. Roy Jones, at Jones Newsstand, loved kids. You could hang out in there and he would talk to you like you were an adult. I was in there quite a bit.

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  40. I loved going in Jones News Stand and spent a lot of time in there looking at all the Hotrod Magazines and dreaming of having one. Mr. Jones kept a good collection of all the Calif Hotrod magazines. He was one of the nicest people I ever met. He didn't care how many magazines you looked at and made you feel right at home. We always went by before or after the movie. I also went in Wards news Stand, but not much. There was also a News Stand across from the Courthouse, but I can't remember what the name of it was.

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  41. MY DAD STARTED THE TRIANGLE NEXT DOOR TO OUR HOUSE ON BROAD STREET. I ALSO ENJOYED THE SPICED HAM SANDWICHES AT THE CHATTERBOX BECAUSE THEY WERE CHEAP. BUT WHAT EXACTLY WAS SPICED HAM? I WOKED AFTER SCHOOL AND ON WEEKEDS EXCEPT DURING THE FOOTBALL SAESON AT THE WINN DIXIE. DO ANY OF YOU GUYS REMEMBER THE MANAGER, DOUG CARLAND?

    BUDDY KILPATRICK 57

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  42. Virginia Morris Pooser - How could you forget the grilled boiled ham sandwich that Louise made at Macfie's drug store. We had a charge account at Macfie's and the chatter box! I also remember Sally Sawyer getting Mad and crying because Larry Gordon ate her french fries from Al's. I wanna go home

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  43. Hey, Buddy....I remember the spiced ham sandwiches also at the Chatterbox, and I also remember those at Macfie's. I don't know what spiced ham is (was) either, but it was good! I think I remember Doug Carland. I think he may have been related to a Carland girl in my sister's class.

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  44. Norm Trotter BHS 60August 1, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Fantastic blog Pat! Some observations about the comments 7/31 and 8/1/10. Harry Sellers Sr. was the manager of the A&P behind Owensby service station. My mother Jessie Trotter Justice worked there in the 50's until it burned. Son, Harry Sellers Jr was in a class in the mid 50's. Charles Kelly was the manager of Winn-Dixie across from the college. I think of him every time I go in my Selma Winn-Dixie because he was so personable and greeted every customer normally by name. They don't do that anymore. Pat, hope to see you at our 50th BHS reunion in September.

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  45. You are correct, Norm. Harry Sellers, Jr was in the BHS Class of '53, became a Methodist minister and is in the Methodist retirement home in Arden. Mrs. Andrews, BHS teacher, is also there.

    As for Mr. Kelly, he is still here and going strong.

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  46. Yep Jim - I was a Kilpatrick growing up ....... sorry to be late in answering your post ...... think Becky answered your question ........

    Great to see a post from Virgnia and Becky ......... haven't talked with you girls in AGES ........... so glad you are 'blogging'......

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  47. In my research at the Library, I found several advertisements for "The Princess Cafe" in the late 20's. It must have been a popular place, but it did not give an address. Does anyone know?

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  48. Someone ask about the M & M Cafe
    Alvin McCrary and Ralph Floried McCall both of Little River Community owned M & M Cafe to begin with. Alvin later sold out to Ralph.
    Jean P.

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  49. Re: M & M Cafe
    I should have said all three from Little River.
    Alvin, Ralph and wife Floried.
    Jean P.

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  50. Joyce Hampton RainesAugust 17, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Joyce - Class of '63

    I remember going to the Triangle and Al's for
    Hamburgers that had real beef that were so cheap
    considering todays prices. Al's also had great food. Those were the days of innocent fun and we
    had freedom to go about our lives without fear of being harmed. Our children don't have those freedoms. The 50s and 60s were a great time to grown up.

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  51. In reference to the owners of the M&M Cafe on Main St.: Ralph and Floried McCall were Floyd McCall's parents. Floyd was in the Class of '59. and I think Alvin McCrary was an uncle, and if I'm not mistaken, had a daughter, Louise McCrary who may have been a member of that class as well.

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  52. Floyd and Charles Taylor were thought of as the "brains" during their years in high school...replacing James Opie Wells and Harvey Sigmon. We all know about Charles, but what did Floyd do in his adult life? Am I wrong or did he not write a book on "Contractor Accounting?" Did any of you ever eat at the old Colonial Inn at the corner of Franklin and East Main Streets, or at "The Cabins in the Pines" in Little River on the road to Cascade? The Jeromes and Harts ran it as a "Bed and Breakfast" type place in addition to the cabins they had for lodging. The Harts also ran a motel just up the road from "The Pines."

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  53. I grew up in Rosman but of course we hung out all the time in Brevard. My favorite drive in was the Triangle. I always thought they had the best hamburgers, and chocolate milkshakes.I was recently on Anna Marie Island in Florida,and ate at a little hamburger bar. It was the closest thing to a triangle hamburger I've had in years. Just the taste brought back so many fond memories.Also a good place was the four lane drive in, it was located about where Zaxbys is now. They had a hamburger with chili and onions..The old Skating Rink tent that came every summer would set up near the four lane. My friends and I would go skating and walk over to the restaurant and get a hamburger, French fries and a coke..What great great memories..

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  54. Even though I did not grow up in Brevard, but just up the road in Rosman....Brevard played an integral part in our lives.

    We did all of our shopping at the A & P, Winn-Dixie, Belks, etc. We watched the latest film at the Co-Ed Theater, we attended the much anticipated Christmas Parade, we met our friends at the Triangle, and loved when the carnival came to town.

    Indeed, those of us who grew up in this area, are blessed to call this "home". We are forever enriched by the love and support of our family and friends...(in my case, our family has been here for generations.)

    The beauty of these mountains and waterfalls are breathtaking and spiritual.

    Thanks for writing "Growing Up in Brevard".
    Love it.....

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  55. Pat, I grew up just a few doors from you! I remember the Co-ed and Clemson theatres on Saturday afternoons. Varner's Drug Store had a killer "beef patty plate" with a hugh hamburger, home made fries and cole slaw for under a dollar. Sometimes I would buy a large cup of ice at MacFie's for 2 cents, then go to Ward's News Stand and buy a Nehi for a nickel. It would fill the cup almost twice and I felt like I was getting 2 large drinks for only 7 cents!

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  56. Thanks for the memories, Gayle. Weren't we lucky to live in town and have such easy access (our young strong legs) to town? From the time I was in 2nd/3rd grade, I got myself ready and walked to my activities. Your mom worked too so I'm sure you did the same. Pretty clever for maxing out that 7 cents!!

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