Demopolis Memories By Charles Sanders

Demopolis Memories
By Charles Sanders Ď57  

My family moved from Huntsville, Alabama, to Demopolis in early 1950, when I was eleven years old and in the fifth grade. We rented the upper half of a large house next to the Jewish temple. The owner, Mr. Long (Milton?), lived in the lower level and was a very nice gentleman. On occasion he would invite us downstairs to watch his television.  This was the first time I had ever seen television, and despite the fact that the picture was mostly snow due to the distance from the transmitting station, I was very impressed. (For younger readers, this was long before cable and satellite TV).

I was a shy kid seriously lacking in social skills, so I retreated into athletics and schoolwork, where I felt more comfortable. There were plenty of opportunities for participating in and watching sports baseball, the community swimming pool, DHS football and basketball -- as well as the unorganized games of touch football, billiards in my neighbor Billy Waldropís basement game room, table tennis (and outdoor tennis) at the Community Center up the hill from the swimming pool, etc. I was permitted to practice with the DHS football team when I was in the 8th grade, and there I learned many fundamentals of the game from Coach Chink Lott. I have exchanged several e-mails with Ralph Lewis of the Class of Ď52 about the great DHS teams of the early 50's.

Of all the sports, Little League (and later Pony League or Babe Ruth League, I donít remember which one we had) baseball was the most important to me. Like many boys that age, I had visions of becoming a major league baseball player, and like the vast majority, those ambitions were dispelled within a few years. I donít remember the names of many of the other players, but I do remember a few. First and foremost, there was Alan Koch, whom I believe later did achieve the dream of pitching in the major leagues, Tommy Brooker (I think he had a brother who also played), Bobby Jackson, the aforementioned Billy Waldrop, Spanky Mercer, Tad Lidikay (sp?), a kid whose last name was Nettles (Jerry?), another named Barnes, and still another named Braswell. I wish I could remember more, but if someone were to suggest other names, I think it would jog my memory.  My Little League team was sponsored by Traeger Bakery and was coached by a Traeger (Billy, I think) and Billy Waldropís father.

Other fragments of memories (I promised myself to limit this to one page) include Rutledge Drug Store, where my brother and I often walked or rode our bikes from school for lunch of a hot dog and an icy milk shake, both of which could be purchased for a quarter as I recall; the movie theater and old-fashioned ice cream parlor next door; City Park; and the Confederate Monument. I also remember the old canal, which I recall hearing had been dug by slaves, and the name Scratchankle, which I think referred to a part of town. I never knew where the name originated. See, I told you these would be just fragments of memories.

We moved to Auburn in the summer of 1953, after less than four years in Demopolis. I would really like to have someone fill in some details on the years 1950-1953, the people I have mentioned and others from that time whose names I didnít mention either because I have forgotten them or just didnít have the space here. I may have made a mistake here or there in my recollections, so if anybody catches one, just set me straight.