Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday Nights in Baldwyn, Mississippi

Crowds walked shoulder
to shoulder going nowhere
Crossed the street to McElroy’s Grocery
Ambled up the sidewalk
for two city blocks
Passed Tom’s Drugstore
Passed the Golden Rule Five and Dime
Crossed the street at the Lyric Theater
Headed back toward the grocery store
Passed Kirk’s Hardware
Passed the pool hall
Crossed the street to McElroy’s Grocery . . .
It was an endless journey
for hundreds of us
every Saturday night in Baldwyn.

The lucky ones picked up a date
and surrounded by envious eyes,
“Just to talk, you know,”
escaped into an unlocked car,
owner unknown and not caring.

Old people no longer needing
to flirt and stroll
sat in cars along the curb
watching the parade,
Their shopping done,
Their hamburger and coke
at Al’s CafĂ© finished,
Their muffled conversations
drifted out to the passers-by.

The aroma of popcorn
from the Ritz Theater
mingled with the smell
of animals from Bishop’s Feed Store and mule barn.
Laughter from little boys
bouncing on cotton bales,
Shouts of friendship drifted
above Main Street
every Saturday night in Baldwyn.

By Jo Carolyn Anderson Beebe
October, 2008

Top - Milton Copeland
Bottom - Marie Evans collection


  1. Incidentally, The Lyric theater in the time frame remembered by Jo, was at the corner of Main and Front streets. Some of you will not recall it was there instead of across from the Ritz, next to the Western Auto.

  2. And what a parade it was! The prettyest gals in Mississippi parading by the corner.

  3. Jo Carolyn,

    You got it. Thanks!


  4. What a wonderful vignette of our hometown, Jo Carolyn.

  5. Jo Carolyn, you wrote what many of us put highest on our memory banks. At one time, I checked off "Summer Saturdays" regreting that time was running out (before school starts). Then, Saturdays became much more important---cease to never waste them. What a great joy to feel your thoughts, THANKS!

  6. All I can say is "Wow", that's how it was -

    Very good!

  7. The girls did parade from one end of the town to the other - walking. Those guys that had an automobile went from one end of town to the other in cars trying to attract one of the ladies. For a long time you could make a U-turn at the domino parlor and go back west, and another at McElroys. That was stopped about mid-50s, however.

  8. Remember when you were in the Lyric Theater (across from the Ritz)on Sat. afternoon and someone would open the door and let light in so you could hardly see the screen? And everybody could see who you were holding hands with? And everybody would yell, "Close the door!" Gee, I wish I was there now, bright light and all.

  9. The theater employee that had the loudest voice would be asked to "call out" for someone to come to the lobby and meet someone. That was distracting, because everyone would look and try to find out who was calling who out for a meeting..