Last week I drove through the town that I grew up in. Jacksonville, Arkansas. It was depressing. The city just looked dead.
I stopped at the Bayou Meto cemetery to visit the graves of my grandparents. My grandmother’s headstone STILL doesn’t have the date of death on it. It just says
Lois A. Wilson
I don’t know who is in charge of that sort of thing, but they need to fix it. I mean, it’s like she’s a zombie or something. IDK.
I know when she died, though. It was Feb. 8, 2007. The exact same day as Anna Nicole Smith. That’s how I remember it. If I ever forget, I just go to the Anna Nicole wikipedia page.
She’s buried next to my grandfather -Noel Forest Wilson. He was an entomologist. His headstone has the death date on it, though. Sept. 25, 2005. That’s the same day as actor Don Adams, who played Maxwell Smart, on Get Smart.
It looks absolutely nothing like it did when I lived there. I used to have a green roof. It looked very similar to, and was the same color as. those roofs that came with Lincoln Logs.
Now, it’s brown and ugly. It used to be my grandparents house. My mom started renting it from them after she split up with my dad.
Way back in the ’60s, when my grandparents lived in the house, my grandfather would win the city’s Most Beautiful Yard award every year.
If he saw the way that it looks now, he would be turning over in his grave. As would my grandmother…I mean, if she’s actually in there.
I also went by my high school. It kind of looked the same. Only more run down and dirtier.
Here is what it looks like now:
The year that I graduated, the school was at about 600 students over capacity. It wasn’t until the next year that a new school opened up and solved the problem.
There were 2 kids in my graduating class that eventually became ‘famous’. One of them was Dan Hampton.
He used to play for the Chicago Bears and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
When I first met Dan he hadn’t started playing football yet. He played the saxophone in the band. It wasn’t until our junior year that he started playing football.
During our senior year we got together with some other guys and formed a group to perform in the school talent show. He played the bass and I played auxillary percussion. We performed Fire by the Ohio Players. If you don’t know the song, it’s the song that they play at the beginning of the Hell’s Kitchen TV show.
After we graduated from high school I never saw Dan again. Well, not in person that is.
The other ‘famous’ person that I graduated with was Lisa Blount. Her dad was part owner of the Blount and George laser company, and my mom used to work for them.
One of her first movies was September 30, 1955. Most of it was filmed on the campus of the college that I attended, and I was one of the background extras in it. If you blink you’ll miss me. It had quite a few young actors in it that eventually became fairly famous.
Later, Lisa became a producer and even won an Academy Award for the Best Live Action Short Film, The Accountant.
She died suddenly last year on Oct. 25, 2010.
I never became as famous as Dan and Lisa. Well, I did appear on a few episodes of a PBS show called Melody Shop back in the 70s. And at one point, I was ranked in the top 200 for “Biggest Game Show Money Winners of All Time”. But, that’s about it.
The other place that I visited while I was out and about in Jacksonville was the Flick Twin Cinema. Only, it’s not the Flick anymore.
This is what the flick looked like a few years ago:
It used to have a big red neon sign on top that said
This is what it looked like last week.
It’s now the Unique Connection Center, and I have no clue as to what kind of business that is.
I do know this, though. It’s cinema blasphemy.
The very first movie that I saw at the Flick was House of Wax with Vincent Price. I was 14 and had a broken arm. I had fallen at the skating rink a few days before and busted my radius.
The last movie that I saw there was Kramer vs Kramer.
In between ’72 and ’79 I saw so many great movies there. I even worked there for a while back in ’74. It was my first job and I made $1.40 an hour.
It was at the Flick where I saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time. It was on a double bill with Gruesome Twosome, and it scared the crap out of me. I was with my cousins, Ricky and Jeff, and we had to walk home in the dark after the movie was over. I’ll never, EVER, forget how terrified I was.
Later, it would become my favorite horror film of all time.
I even used to have a movie poster of it on the wall in my old apartment in Vegas.
If I had the money, I would buy that hideous building that it has become, rip off that ugly ass facade, and restore it to the way it used to be – complete with the old and tattered burnt orange curtains that covered both screens.
Of course, that will never happen. Like they say, you can’t go home again. So, I’ll just have to appease the nostalgia by talking about it in a wordpress post.