Summer Vacation School Days
07 28 05
Jerry Simmons

At the July 19 meeting, we walked into a room that was at
least the outside temperature, if not ten degrees hotter. The
central air conditioner had broken down. This made me
realize we take for granted the luxuries we have. We braved the
hot meeting room long enough to gather chairs and move the
meeting to the Boxcar Museum, where the a/c was plenty cool.
Jeff Ross of Atmore gave a great and informative presentation
on the survey of the Ellicott Line in the late 1790s. Separating
the United States from Spanish West Florida, this line stretched
from the Mississippi River to the Chattahoochee. The Florida-
Alabama and Florida-Georgia state lines are part of the Ellicott

The Ellicott Stone pictured here, is located in Mobile County on the west side of the Mobile River North of Le Moyne, Alabama. It's an international boundary marker or landmark. It is the only known stone monument set by Major Andrew Ellicott when he surveyed the line of demarcation between the United States and Spain during the years 1798-1800. All other monuments along the 1st U.S. Boundary were post mounds (those are for another story) set approximately every mile from the Mississippi River to the Chattahoochee River.

We look forward to Jeff returning to relate some other stories on area history.
I often attempt to coax friends and otherwise to write their recollections of their growing up years, because if they don't, the memories will be lost forever once they are gone. I've had success with my begging a few times, and Gary Beasley has come through more than once. I told him to ask Sylvia (Hudson) McCurdy to fulfill her promise to me to write something and to promise her that if she gets around to doing it, we may make her as famous as Gary in our next publication! (We included a couple of Gary's stories in the Sawmill Scrapbook Volume 4)
The following is a recollection of Gary's from nearly 50 years ago - gosh, Gary, was it really that many years?
Summertime in Century, Florida in the 50's

I remember a hot humid summer day around the year 1957. I woke up early and put my swimsuit on under my short pants. Mom made me a pimento cheese sandwich and a peanut butter one, both wrapped up in wax paper. She put them in a brown paper bag with some potato chips. I ran out the door and jumped on my bicycle and off to vacation summer school I went.

We used the whole high school grounds and had many events and games that kids could join in on: basketball, ping-pong, checkers, etc. This is one of the two days a week we'd take a school bus and go to the Sound side of Pensacola Beach to swim. The bus ride was always fun and most of my friends would be there. I remember L.B. Jones, William Gandy, Martha Adams, Gary Wadkins, Tom McCurdy, and others...mostly boys went but some girls did go.

At the beach, the water was always clear and the pier seemed much longer than it appears today. The Sound side of the beach had a pavilion that sold sandwiches and ice cones, cokes, chips, and candy. It was just a small block building with rest rooms and showers. Today the pier is still there, although rebuilt several times over the years, and there are many shops and restaurants and a couple bars on a long boardwalk area.

Two teachers went with us each time: Coach Smith, Coach Waters, or Eddie Simmons and sometimes Mrs. Lamb. They made us wear a big rubber band around our neck, made out of an automobile inner tube that had been painted red, green, or left black. Each color told the supervisors in which depth of water you could be in. Non- swimmers had to wear the dreaded red; beginning swimmers wore green and could go out a little deeper but not on the outside of the pier. Only the excellent swimmers that earned the right to go anywhere around the pier wore the treasured black bands. I remember the day I graduated from green to black and could dive with the big boys!!! What a feeling of pride!

Man, have times changed. I love the memories of when boys could be boys and run around all day and no one would know where you were, but they knew you would be home for supper! Those were the good old days.

Gary Beasley, Class of 1962
I remember those days, too, Gary - a much more free and innocent era, long past. Thanks for your reminder.
Other Historical Society news is that we have several items of railroad trinkets available for sale in our store, part of the fund-raising effort to obtain Old 100. Come look them over - they're just right for gifts and if you're already looking for Christmas items, they'll make great stocking stuffers, too.

A reminder: If you'd like to set up a booth or table at the Model A show October 8, let us know ASAP. Local service organizations are invited to take part and display their material, too. That includes Lions, Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, and others. Spaces are free, but limited. Sign up for yours now. Call 850-256-2029, 850-256-3983, or 850-256-2661 for information. Don't forget that the admission to the show is free.

We hope you'll notice the new signs north and south on US 29 and east and west on SR 4 showing the way to the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society. You may call one of the numbers above to arrange a personal tour of the museums.
Why don't you join us at our next meeting? Either way, we believe you will be pleasantly surprised at what we've accomplished.

Y'all come!

South Face of the Ellicott Stone set by the joint U.S./ Spanish survey party on April 10, 1799 in what is now Mobile County.

This page last modified on Monday, September 19, 2005