Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The old Rock School and the Rat Hole.

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.Winking smile


The center of town was The Old Rock School, an elementary school. I was grown by then and entering Jr. HighSmile. 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.

Nite Shipslog


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’.


shirl72 said...

May 29, 1893 the Waldenses arrived
penniless and settled the town
of Valdese. It had a rich History..I got my drivers license there. I heard this week that my High School was torn down because it was getting old. The HS was beside our home with a very small rock wall beside the driveway. They used rock to build houses and the Rock School. I also remember the Rat Hole. Lots of history there. Enjoyed reading
about old times.

betty said...

I liked this travel Jack. Valdese seemed like a nice place to spend a few years. I think it is always hard to be a new kid in school, but to enter junior high as the new kid would be especially tough indeed!

Imagine getting a sundae for 25 cents these days!


Rose said...

You kept moving and traveling and continue to do the same today!

I liked this story. It was sweet and I'm glad you had Ace with you.

Paula said...

Very interesting account of Valdese and your life while there. We have a rock school here that was used way before my time here. The Rat Hole was a good name for teens. Our's was The Bulldog Snack Shack where I met Mel. Humm I should write about that in my blog sometime.

Sheila Y said...

They did that once at church for Halloween when I was young, grape eyeballs, I think spaghetti was guts and if I remember right a piece of liver for brain...don't remember the other stuff. Take care, Sheila

Jackie said...

Loved traveling back to Valdese with you in this post, Jack.
So wonderful, our memories of days gone by, and your memories stirred some of my own.
I remember being "initiated" into programs at school and we had to do much the same thing as you all did with the hands reaching into the bucket of eyeballs thing. Such fun memories...

Louis la Vache said...

The "Rat Hole" reminds «Louis» of a similar place across from the high school in his home town...

There was a 'red 54 Buick Skylark in his home town - the only one in town. (Of course, they didn't build very many of them...)


You've had the most fascinating life. Great stories. Love the eyeball one for Halloween.

Mevely317 said...

Great entertaining read, Jack! I love the notion of an olde-time soda fountain .... but not so much those eyeballs! I'd have been damaged for life - ha!

Dar said...

We have a rock walled basement~~~you might call that 'the rat hole' too.
Memories of historic places you've once lived is a good thing., even tho you didn't really want to move there. Every boy should have a dog, glad you had Ace. No more dogs here with this highway. I miss ol' Flash.
Life's Still Fine

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

For the most part I've lived in the same town my whole life. There were a few brief exceptions but we did move a lot. My dad would buy old houses and remodel them, then sell them for more than he bought it for. The tough part is that we lived in the house while he remodeled them. When I turned 21 we had moved 21 times. It was something he loved to do. We had a place the teens liked to gather called the Paradise. They had chocolate, vanilla and cherry cokes. Thanks for sharing your memories and making me remember some of mine too!

Lucy said...

Loved this entry. It is hard to link the man we met last summer to a rather uncertain boy, but I can. Grapes for eyeballs?? That would not be pleasant to see squished grapes. Yuck. And Sheilas description of their Halloween was really gross.

Chatty Crone said...

I know now why I love reading your stories - you remind me of writing like John Boy Walton! I watch the Walton's every day - I love it. Loved Valdese too.

Unknown said...

Does anyone remember the grilled deviled egg sandwiches the Rat Hole in Valdese use to make, I loved those sandwishes and would love to have the recipe for them