Growing up in Evansville has such great memories for me. I was born here and lived here most of my life. Thinking of highlights of my childhood brings many things to mind — getting ice chips from the ice delivery trucks in the hot, humid summers; my mother buying from a fresh produce wagon that would come down our street.
I remember going to Mesker Park and riding the beautiful carousel and spending hours wandering around looking at the animals. The zoo had polar bears back then and The Monkey Ship; I never tired of going there. Although my adult opinion of zoos has changed, those are still fond memories.
I remember the best tasting barbeque at the restaurant on Eighth Street at the end of Bellemeade Avenue, which I think was called Smokey Mountain Barbeque. Yummy as it was, the greatest food was at Mac’s Barbeque! My aunt was a waitress at the Brown Derby nightclub and my mom and dad would take me there and to the Trocadero for afternoon tea dances.
I thought the Alhambra Theater was just glorious and that is where I fell in love with Marlon Brando — a lifelong love. Haynie’s Corner had the drugstore where we’d stop after school for a cherry Coke and to check out the movie magazines.
Attending Bosse High School holds so many great memories. I have a group of girlfriends from my Bosse days and we call ourselves the Bosse Babes. Some of us have been friends since grade school days. We get together on a regular basis and are there for each other through thick and thin.
In my junior year, I was a runner up for the Miss Refridgeadorable contest and had to ride on the back of a convertible at the football game at Reitz Bowl in our formals. It was freezing, but we smiled all the way around. I did a lot of modeling through Beverly’s Agency and Jacque’s Studio, which paid more than babysitting. I ended up working for Adrian’s on Main Street and had my picture featured in Seventeen magazine as a correspondent.
Probably one of the outstanding memories is the Community Center. It was located on Eighth and Main streets, and you could dance, play pool, and meet other kids from all the Evansville high schools. A couple named Grady ran it and they were so nice, but strict about the rules. You could go after school on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Being a good dancer was highly envied. The Lindy was the “it” dance at the time and rock ‘n roll was thriving.
It was such a part of our lives, as was “dragging Main Street” after dancing or a ballgame. Waving, honking, and yelling at each other from cars with Hollywood mufflers, lowered back ends, and various other adornments — what a carefree, innocent time that was.
Those days of bobby sox with falsies, saddle shoes, a pearl necklace for that senior picture, a cashmere sweater if you were really lucky, and school trips to Washington D.C. and New York are just a few of my great remembrances of a glorious period of my life in Evansville, which I am very proud to call my home.
Sharon Marsch is a lifelong Evansville resident and special education consultant at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.