Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Last of the Big Store


In November, 1985, the building that once housed The Big Store burned down.  The Big Store was an all-in-one place; even the Post Office was there.  It was said you could go from birth to death at The Big Store.  J. Fred Johnson’s, which is now a furniture store on the west corner of Broad and Center, was a spin off, as was Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home.
Judging from the shadows, I must have gotten there early in the morning, but it appears the firefighters had everything pretty much under control by then.

Plaza Say Gone

As you know, they’ve torn down

This was one of our first strip malls, on Lynn Garden Drive, when it was still the main way to Gate City.  Had a Grant’s…had a Kroger…had my stepbrother’s barbershop.  It even had a decent common area:


Those trees in back, striving for the sunlight, survived, I hope.  Probably just bulldozed over, though.  All compound things are impermanent.

Midnight Sun


Forty-six years ago, I began the first permanent rock show on WKPT-AM.  John Dotson had “Sounds of Summer” the previous year, but it ended when he went back to school or left town or something.  It was a good show and broke the Easy Listening hold on that staid, NBC-affiliated station.  So, I swooped in the next year, ditched “Teenage Terrace”, (which I had been on when I was in high school, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, as I recall, with Marty running the board and we students, when we showed up, sitting at the table in the news studio) and had the 6:00 pm to midnight slot all to myself as “The Midnight Sun”.
Since this was before 8-track tapes in cars became widely available, I was a success, as it were, with the kids cruising Broad Street.  Then, the tapes came and I eventually moved into the afternoon Drive Time slot.  The fact that, for the most part, I had to buy my own records for the show and management had the nerve to put something like this cloth sticker out helped me leave it behind.  “Like it is”, my ass.  The phrase was a joke by this time.
The ellipse is 4″ on the horizontal axis and 2-1/2″ on the vertical.