When dad said we are moving to Valdese, my smart aleck remark was ‘What is a Valdese?” I had friends in Albemarle. As in every move before I did not really want to move, but my dad was a preacher/pastor and a very good one. So now dad had two 100% votes. One to stay and one to move. He felt we should move, so as always, move we did.
(The Valdese train station)
It wasn’t so bad this time, I had my friend Ace, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel. That did help. A boy can tell his dog any and everything and the dog won’t even tell your sister.
The center of town was The Old Rock School, an elementary school. I was grown by then and entering Jr. High. The new guy in town always faces some stressful moments at school. Everyone else in the class knows each other. Most have already spent 6 years together. But you are new and a ‘Preacher’s boy’. I was a little skinny guy, but I thought I was tough. I won my first scuffle with a much bigger guy (by luck). I wasn’t immediately ‘respected’ as most stories go, but I was bothered less.
Valdese was a small mountain town, and it wasn’t long until (most) everyone was friendly. Anna O'Quinn was in that class and I soon learned she attended Dad’s new church. She was a very pretty and a sweet girl. Her dad owned the ‘Rat Hole’ (The Valdese Sandwich Shop). She worked behind the counter some and I soon found out it was sort of a hang out for teen agers. Of course back then we all thought that the name ‘Rat Hole’ was cool. They made a choc nut sundae for 25¢ and a great sliced BBQ for 30¢. They also had fountain drinks like a drug store.
Anna and I became friends and I learned her dad was pretty tough on his girls.
Now the Old Rock School. I was only inside other than auditorium stuff, once. The Jr. HS & HS did not have an auditorium, so any large gatherings were at the Elementary school.
The Elementary School was the home of the haunted School on Halloween. So before heading out with our home made costumes we had to go there. They had the normal scary stuff, but the worst one, it cost a nickel to put your hand in a bucket of eyeballs! We boys were in line, the girls would put their hand in the curtain and immediately jerk it our and scream.
It was cool. Someone had squeezed the jackets of of large grapes, and it did feel WEIRD, like slicky eyeballs!
Thanks for traveling back to Valdese, the home of the Waldensians.
Looking back, sometimes things are better sometimes worse. As I heard one old man say: The older I get, the better I was.
I lived in Valdese when this beauty came out:
The 1954 Skylark Buick, it came out in late 1953, those chrome tail lights were the ‘Cat’s Meow’.