July 28, 2014

Growing Up in Fairmount

By W. Fred Hendrix

   I consider myself lucky to have grown up in Fairmount during   the 1950's. It   was a great time and a great place to be a kid.  We use to take long hikes in the woods and along the Mo. River.  The hills over looking the river had such things as "Look Out Point", “Dead Mans Trail" and the “Jessie James Cave.”  

    One of the great joys was the Byam Theater in Fairmount and the Saturday afternoon shows. The Shows were all black and white then and were for the most part old 30’s and 40’s reruns but   we had never seen them before.  Tarzan movies, and Westerns along with Flash Gordon and the Three Stooges. 

   There would also be a serial where each week a chapter would be shown, leaving the hero or his girl in the face of death to be continued the next week.

     Admission was 10 cents.  My mom would give me 35 cents, so that left 25 cents to spend. With popcorn at 5 cents as well as pop and candy for 25 cents it was enough to treat myself and also buy for my "girl friend.” It was great for the parents since they had a place to drop off the kids on a Saturday to keep them busy and out of the way and it was great for the kids to see the movies and to spend time with their friends outside of school.

   Once a month or so the Byam would have a talent contest on Saturday afternoon.  The girls would have little dance skits, boys would play drums or do a reading or comedy skit.  The prizes were a box of popcorn or a Coke and first prize was a free ticket to next week's show.  I entered and got second place with a much practiced and moving rendition of "Home on the Range."

   The Byam closed in the mid 50's but by that time we were going to the Maywood and then later the Englewood, and going a night.

    It was a great time, little crime, no drugs, and cheap oil.  I remember the gas wars when a gallon of gas was 8 cents a gallon.  What a great time.

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