Friday, November 8, 2013

Growing up in Robbins

Dear sweet Robbins has been on my mind today.  There was no finer place to be in the 1950's than in the little town of Robbins, NC!  

Oh, how I loved the house we lived in next to the ball park.  And the people who lived near us; not only on our block, but in all the houses across the sidewalks from around our block.

On our right was Dr. and Mrs. Alexander and their daughter Becky.  Dr. Alexander was the dentist in Robbins.  His office was in one of the old buildings downtown...up stairs.  I clearly remember that office with the pale green and yellow equipment...the porcelain bowl with water running in to wash away the spit and blood as it swirled around.  Really scary stuff!  Mrs. Patrick was his nurse.  Her job was to hold you down in the chair so you couldn't move.  At least that's what I thought was her job.   Horrors!  I can remember screaming from the time we walked in until I was safe, back in the car with mama.  Mama used to say she could hear us screaming...and she had gone to wait in the car, hoping not to hear us screaming.  The pain was not as bad as the fear we had.  I had heard it said that Dr. Alexander was an old Army dentist!  I assumed that was something to fear!

In this picture I am holding my baby brother Randall, and my little friend is Becky...the dentist's daughter.  I was having a birthday party for my Saucy Walker doll.  I babysat Becky once in a while when her parents went out.  Of course, our houses were very close together.  I'm sure mama was looking out for the both of us.  One year for my birthday Mrs. Alexander bought me a special gift.  Becky came running over to tell me so.  She said she could not tell me what the gift was, but she said, "it runs, you wear it on your arm and it has Cinderella on it".

Across the street there were small white after the other all around the block.  My very best friend Becky Brown lived in one of those houses.  

There were so many kids our ages, and we all walked the sidewalks to school, and back home every day.  The Steeds, the Gilmores,  the  Kennedys, the Freemans, and the Patricks, to name just a few.

The Steeds had three children, Jimmy, Billy, and Jane.  Jimmy and I were in the same grade.  When I think of Jimmy, I remember the time he took my fudgesicle from me and slapped my face with it...I liked Jimmy! :)   It was Mrs. Steed who made my beautiful red gown to wear in the piano recital.  That would be the recital where I walked onto the stage, sat down at the piano, and did not know the first key to hit.  I didn't know we actually had to play a piece in front of the audience.  My excitement was over wearing the red dress.

The Freemans had two daughters, Peggy and Carolyn.  They had a pet rooster they had raised from a colored Easter biddie (chick).  I was afraid to walk completely around the block because, if that rooster saw you, he would chase you.  I was as scared of that rooster as I was a German Shepherd dog!

The Gilmores had a son my age named Ronnie...Ronnie looked like Wally, from "Leave it to Beaver".  He was soooo cute!  All the girls liked him.  I had a party when I turned 13 and all those cute boys came.  Ronnie gave me a cedar jewelry chest.  We played spin the bottle and I got to walk around the block with Larry Kennedy.  Thank goodness roosters don't come out at night!

At the very top of the hill in a nice big house lived Doctor Vanore.  It was in maybe 1950 or 1951 that I became sick.  Dr. Vanore thought it might be Polio.  He came to the house every day to check on me.  I remember him having me get out of bed and walk around the room.  Turned out not to be Polio and I got well, thankfully.  Anytime Dr. Vanore gave you a shot, he also gave you a slip of paper to get a free ice cream soda at the drug store downtown.  My, have times changed!

Shelby and I are planning a day together soon.  Our plan is to drive to Robbins and look for all these places we remember.  No doubt, everything has changed, but I really want to go back.  We may even park and walk on the old sidewalks...if still there.

Thank you for listening.  I could probably write a book about growing up in the 1950's in favorite subject!

Henny Penny



  1. Good day to you, Melba,
    I loved hearing about Robbins. I have sort of a collage of images from my early years that sound very much like yours. Except that we moved all the time, and so I have the first boy-girl party in Sedona, Arizona, and the walk around the block with a boy experience in Santa Paula, California in the same year! I'm glad that I lived in some small towns, and, actually, Phoenix, Az. wasn't as big back in the 50's as it is today. But it was just as HOT. We lived in several different neighborhoods in Phoenix, and I made a few friends each time, only to move away.
    My plants in my garden and my pots are ready for renewal, and today looks like a good time to visit the nursery for inspiration. We have a very fancy one in Newport Beach, Rogers Gardens, where it is all decorated for Christmas right about now, and they have beautiful gifts and ornaments, along with very lovely plants. I will "window shop", and see if I can use any of their top drawer ideas.
    Your swing is grand, and I am glad you have made it more stable. Hate to think of your tumble backwards! Oooff

    1. Good morning Pam,

      I am always glad to hear from you. You did move a lot! But, I'll bet your walk around the block was just like mine. It was a long walk and I was too bashful to say anything...but we made it around the block. Wish I was going with you to the nursery. I love those places! My plants are mostly dead now from the cold and will stay that way until next spring! California must be beautiful! Thanks for the note.

  2. What wonderful memories of you growing up! I like the photo too! Take Pictures when you go back to visit. :)

    1. Thank you. I love to talk about the 50's but have very few pictures to go with my stories. I've used most of them already! I will take new ones when we visit..

  3. Dear Henny,
    Yes, yes you should! (Write that book(s)) Honestly there is a huge place on the market for decent writing. You would be famous in no time...

    'Backward, backward, backward in flight, make me a child again, just for one night....' Only it would have to be in the correct time frame with my precious parents and siblings etc. there, or returning to childhood in this day and age would be a different thing altogether! Right?

    I'm glad you and sister will have a day strolling through memory lane soon. Nothing like a day spent with family.....

    Do you do any specific crafts for Thanksgiving or Christmas?


    1. Dearest Jen, What a compliment! But let me tell are the one who should write a book. I had forgotten about that poem "Rock me to Sleep"...oh how beautiful. I want put that entire poem on my blog. Wonder if that would okay? Thank you for reminding me.

      I do make Christmas and Thanksgiving aprons and I have, in the past, made Mr. and Mrs. Santa dolls from clothespins.

      Always glad to hear from you!


  4. Love your post about your childhood, Henny! If only our neighborhoods could be as safe and happy as they were then! Love Terry

  5. Hey Terry, Thank you. I wish that too! Safe and happy!! Love, Henny

  6. Hey, When you and Shelby come to Robbins I want to meet you if that would not be butting in to much. I would love to see you both.

    Love you Vicki

  7. Oh my goodness, I also had a Cinderella watch with like yours. Still do. It came n a plastic see through Cinderella slipper. Also our little town like so many, had a water tower etc. I grew up in Ohio. I don't know where you grew up as I am only scanning your blog rather quickly,which is new to me. I saw other things I can remember clearly but not the town. The times and things sure are the same though.,... and the family fun etc. :-) I need to go back and really read your older posts! ;) Thanks for the memories. The GOOD memories I might add. Sarah

  8. Oh Da!! I see on the water tower it says Robbins, North Carolina!! I should have looked better before I wrote! Sarah :-)


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