Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meanies Playing Pool

The other day I had a picture from the book MARIETTA – THEN AND NOW of the Root House on Lemon Street.

The picture was looking west towards Cherokee Street. It reminded me of a building just outside the picture. It was a gray or white building, it might have been stucco. It was shaped almost like a block. It had a huge pipe coming out of it, as if to route steam or something. It was Red’s Pool Room.

As far as I know there were three pool halls in Marietta. One was Past Time Grill and Billiards own by Neal and later owned by my cousin Dalton Tyson; one was on Lawrence Street near the corner of the East Park Square which was where the blacks played pool; and the other one was Red’s Pool Room.

Red was a mean looking guy with red hair. Not only was he mean looking, his clientele’ were also mean looking. All of them looked like they had soon as stab you as look at you. But, first beat you in a game of pool You gotta have sport!

Neal's Past Time was very well lit, Red's place was very dark, except what was illuminated under the lights just above the pool table.

They looked like the kind of characters somebody that Dirty Harry, would walk in to ask questions and end of having to beat everybody up.

Of course doubt if we could beat anybody up, but we were pretty sure we could outrun them, if it came to that. We preferred to kid around than be serious enough to fight. The people in that pool hall played pool in too serious of a serious way.

They were a little bit too serious and mean for us. We played there a few times, but preferred Past Time Grill with Neal and his wife. They were a Mom and Pop kind of business, with their helper Howard who had a patch on one eye and had a serious limp. He reminded me of Chester on “Gun Smoke”.

After you finish your pool game and ready for another one you hollow “Rack!” and Howard would rush over limping lopsided. You flip the dime on the table, or a quarter if you felt generous.

We said we bet Howard woke up at night hearing the somebody hollowing “Rack!” – just another bad dream, and he would go back to sleep.

One night we were at somebody’s house and one of us were visiting their uncle in a boarding house and saw Howard there. So, a bunch of us called the boarding house and asked to speak to Howard saying it was an emergency. When he got to the phone he heard to the word “RACK!!!” and a hang-up.

That is about as mean as we got.

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Blogger El Postino said...

Oh we got trouble. With a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!

Eddie, didn't your mama tell you not to hang out in pool halls? My mama told me not to hang out in dark dives with low characters. And of course I did everything my mama told me, unfailingly!

4:57 AM  
Blogger Pappy said...

Once my dad asked me if I was still swimming every day. I said, "Dad, I never learned how to swim."

"Well, how come when you were a teenager you told me every night you were going to the pool?"

"No, Dad...I said I was going to the pool hall."

5:01 AM  
Anonymous skip said...

Yeh, man. The Good Ol' Pastime. I always felt like it was a fairly safe place. One memory I have is due to my own ignorance (among many). I had a hot '58 Chevy Impala with an automatic transmission. I left the Pool Hall one Saturday night and decided to lay some rubber out front and impress my friends still inside. I revved the engine and popped into drive and there it went. The tires squealed and started making that impressive sound all teenage males like to hear. Then I did it again while the first spin was still happening. Not so smart... next thing I heard was a big clunk as the spider gear in the rear end broke! My Chevy limped around the corner towards the National Cemetery and there it rested until I had it towed to Bennie's Service Station across from the Old Sprayberry High School. I never tried to lay rubber with an automatic trans again.

5:11 AM  
Blogger ET said...

el postino & pappy,
Yep, my mama told me to stay away from pool halls so that meant I had to get someone else to sign my permission slip. In my case, it was a girl in our high school by the name of Nancy. Nancy was very simple minded - one time a friend of mine Jimmy showed her a dead fly and told her it was a molecule and she believed it.
Nancy had a very simple handwriting with no personality at all - it was strictly by the text book. I wonder if Neal wondered why all the mothers of all the teenagers had the same simple handwriting of signatures?

And that is how teenagers learn to be good to their cars - tearing them up by doing wild and crazy things is the best learning experience. Sixteen year old Joe across the street is going through that now - he stripped something out of his jeep, then stripped something out of his mother's van. Joe is a slow learner.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Johnny said...

Eddie,PastTime had a guy with a limp and used a pool stick for a cane to assist his walking. We always call him "stick". We would always hollow "rackem up stick" and he would come hobbling over, but we never flipped him a dime.Could Stick and Howard be the same person?
In 1996, saw Dalton at the hospital right before his mom died and he asked if it was me or my brother that he would let in and play pool.I could not believe he still remembered me.

6:33 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Yeah, I bet Stick and Howard are one in the same. He did have a walking stick the best I remember. Maybe ten or so years ago I saw Howard, aka Stick, standing at a red light in front of the Old Groover's Hardware (Tommy's Sandwich shop?) ready to cross. He looked much older, gray and balding, but this time he had a crutch under his shoulder helping him walk. Hard life.
Dalton was a very smart guy. Well, so is Donald. Only thing Dalton was more willing to take a risk.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Pappy said...

What? Permission slip? And forged, too. You really were a rascal, Ed. The closest I got to a pool hall was a beatnik coffee house in a basement under the magazine shop where I checked out issues of Playboy, Rogue and Cavalier. I used to buy cigarettes in the coffee house, even though I was underage. I later found out the owners were local Mafia guys and both went to prison for criminal acts. I should've suspected because their names were Tony and Bruno.

6:15 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I suppose we knew all the tricks - where we could slip off campus to eat lunch and not get caught, where to buy cigarettes, beer, and where to openly drink or smoke without your parents or the law coming up on you... Those were the days now my friend.
Now, we sat around and fret because we drove under a yellow light.

7:59 PM  

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