This is MY neighborhood in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1966.
The Stakes family lived at corner of Doss & Antelope Street (723 Doss & 2009 Antelope) the Antelope house was a small, straight shotgun house, the Doss one was my grandmothers next door, Maria D Alcala. I have numbered places of interest. The descriptions (and my thoughts) are below this huge photo, courtesy of Corpus Christi Public Library from 1965-66.
BC= Before Celia Aug 3rd, 1970 when our house destroyed and knocked back into stone age. Before that we lived fine, had telephone, electricity, and hot water, after than we were screwed. Momma Sarah Stakes died January 30th, 1988 (age 62) after 6 year battle with scourge of brest cancer. My dad, Homer T Stakes died in 2005 (age 79) right after evacuation of the retirement community he was living at, evacuated in light of Category 5 Hurricane Rita in gulf, it was largest evacuation in US history and millions fled inland, I still think this killed him going to Laredo with others in busses. And my brother Tommy Stakes passed away in April 2016, was only 60 years old.
#1 being our houses, and fans out. As kids we were told not to go other side of I-37, so boundaries set early on, this area was tough, industrial, and we were shit poor. Both my late brother Tommy Stakes, who passed away in 2016, and me, went to Cathedral, just off this big map to south of Wilson Tower.
South boundaries included Lipan, east basically seawall, but more of Water Street, north Interstate 37 (which WAS our front yard 15 yards from 2009 antelope front door) and west around Rainbo Bakery. This is where most of my comments will be centered even though a lot of area here!
While we were dirt poor, life was not all that bad and I fouhd things to keep busy, riding my bike with dog Bootsy in tow, picking up rocks at Missouri Pacific railroad tracks to throw at cars on I-37, playing occasional baseball, Hot Wheels, and just doing kids stuff in ghetto like digging in trash.
I am going to slowly fill in the numbers here for people. I may need help on some of this over 50 year old stuff, but wish to preserve a memory of my youth growing up in Corpus Christi. My mom, Sarah Stakes, passed away in 1988 after battle with cancer, my dad, Homer Stakes, died in 2005, and Tommy, my only brother joined them in 2016, so I am the last Stakes standing. Since I like to document things (as evidence of my love for AMC cars & 11,000+ files on my site here!) thought would document my youth too. So here goes, all subject to change and more will be added as time goes on, if you have something to help me ID email me at email@example.com
A good group of Corpus Christians there who like to share memories of the Sparkling City By The Sea are also on Facebook if you do that...I try to post in both of them time permitting & most of my posts are here on this growing file and centered on my youth in 1960s & 70s, some 80s before I moved from Corpus Christi to Houston in 1983. Feel free to join one or both!
We Grew Up In Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Memories Past & Present
1 & 1A Our two old houses, one shotgun house, one boarding house, 2009 Antelope street & (1A) 723 Doss on corner. I only have limited amount of photos of this time window as many of our photos destroyed by Hurricane Celia, August 3rd, 1970. This was a poor, industrial neighborhood. There was crime, but it seldom affected us, as you can't steal from someone who has nothing. Our shotgun house was hit by a 500+ pound fan from Coca Cola, as my dad Homer T Stakes, momma Sarah, brother Tommy Stakes, me and dog Bootsy huddled under one of the beds; the roof ripped away and hell came into our crappy little house, water, rain and those damned pebbles Coca Cola had on roof were like bullets. We ran next door to grandma's house (723 Doss) which was built in 1890s, and held up well. During the eye, besides running next door to check on Mister & Missus Bates, a tree next to our driveway had uprooted, and natural gas was hissing. My dad quickly took a radiator hose off one of our Ramblers (of which most glass was gone from those Coca Cola roof rocks) and pulled the two broken pipes close and used hose to seal them! In the eye! And during the eye I looked east towards Driscoll hotel, 600 building, there were desks, and office equipment hanging out the buildings, no windows left and the black sky BEHIND them racing north toward Portland at a un Godly speed. To the west, I looked down Antelope and debris all the way down to Nueces Bay Blvd is. Black sky racing south at this angle! Then the rest of Celia hit. We did get a free use of double wide trailer thanks to the late Senator John Tower, many Corpus Christi residents did, and wow, new home for us!
To live in abstract poverty I hope whoever reads this never experiences. For every step forward my family took, there was 3 steps back. My father made $156 a week working at American Motors dealerships as a ace mechanic. And sold rebuilt bikes on the side at the house. Also rented them to sailors, $5 a day! This was in the 1960s. Both Tommy & me made good grades and went to Catholic schools, first Cathedral, then Academy on Lantana, then Tommy went to W B Ray...me I went to Incarnate Word on Alameda, but they only went to 8th grade, after that only girls, so I went to St Josephs on 18th (?) street near Rush street in the ghetto off Agnes. After that I went 1 quarter at Miller, but too many fights, so I lied about my address, using 610 Naples, home of the Hernandez clan, (to which I will be eternal grateful a debt I could never repay!) but used that to go to W. B. Ray where I almost graduated before getting kicked out with 3 months to go for skipping even though I was on the principal's A & B Honor roll.
For 3 years when I was about 12, a family friend, Lloyd Remple, who was a car guy and owned a lot on Leopard street near Josephine, let us rent his house at corner of Staples & Naples. 642 Naples, it is the house with all the damned windows. $300 a month. This was when I met the Hernandez family including Danny my running buddy. We stayed at this house 3 years until Lloyd realized he was not getting rich off my dad and hiked it to $600 a month so we were doomed and moved back to the crappy 723 Doss house, the 2009 Antelope house was mostly gone and city of Corpus Christi demolished the rest for us. Tommy & me did our homework by coleman lanterns the smell of those still haunts me to this day, but thy worked. We also had no hot water, so outside we had a big wooden box to take shower, was tough to do in winter, sometimes the pipe froze, so when I started working at La Quinta downtown, I would go up to highest floor, there is small bathroom there I would wash hair with warm water. And since I worked there as busboy, could use towels. Sometimes Tommy used the McGee beach free shower.
My grandma Maria D Alcala was from Saltillo, Mexico and used to get up and make 150 tortillas each morning, we traded these out to neighbors for other food. Both her legs got cut off due to gangrene, so confined to wheelchair until we had to put her in nursing home. There were some good memories at this house, not all bad, just dirt poor poverty, wear dirty clothes to school, beans, rice, tortillas to eat, but when poppa got paid on Friday it was off to McDonalds on 'rich' side of town, Everhart to eat filet o fish and fries, then momma go spend part of check at Woolco at Parkdale Plaza.
Next door neighbors included the Rabagos, Ortiz, some more Rabagos. Photo #1 from about 1966 shows my dad, me, Tommy & ONLY photo I have of my dog Bootsy. Yes, no shoes, note Tommy's school pants and crappy old shotgun house with lead paint behind us. We were happy though! Photos 2, 3, 4, 5
This is Tommy Stakes memorial page on my site.
2 & 2A & 2B Coca Cola Bottling company on Lester. 2A is the repair area where they would repair Coke machines, 2B is area for repair trucks, but also had thousands of empty bottle stored. I could walk as a 8-12 year old into this place with impunity, as I knew most of the workers, and sold them tons of Worlds Finest chocolates from Cathedral. They in turn gave me Coca Cola stuff like pencils and pads. From the north side dock, I would go buy 10 cent Cokes inside, there was a hot peanut machine with light bulb in it also for 5 cents. And a free salt table machine, those sucked. Best of all you go to watch thousands of Cokes, Sprites, Fantas, Frescas on conveyor belt getting filled up and topped! The metal tops we used on our skateboards, nail to them and kept shoes on it firm. Coca Cola Bottling Company Lester @ Leopard & Antelope. This was our neighbor. Literally. In the 1960s the Bates were both still alive. And their property separated us from Coca Cola. A lot of old scrap iron, bricks, junk wood, high weeds, chinaberry and wild trees, and a number of little kitchenettes. Will get to Mister & Missus Bates later.
# 1 & #1 A is our properties 2009 Antelope & 723 Doss. # 3 is Mister Bates house. # 2 is the sprawling Coca Cola Company building. # 2A is the repair area where they would repair Coke machines, # 2B is area for repair trucks, but also had thousands of empty bottle stored. And # 2C is after Coke bought "PART" but not "ALL" of Mister Bates property, this paved down for delivery trucks! This are of 2C is where bleachers brought in for Coke employees & families to watch up close & personal Buccaneer Days Parade!
Coca Cola had obviously outgrown this location which was bounded by the front on Lester, south by Leopard, west by Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks & north by Antelope & I-37. This will span some time here, but as a KID in 1960s like Lew Williams Chevrolet, Cages Hardware, Knights of Columbus, Mobil, Noes Café, all these great places 'in my zone' I had run of. Well, some, like Hasty Tasty & Sheffields, had to have some coins in pocket to buy toast for 10 cents. The Coca Cola company I would just hold onto the pole, climb up steps on loading dock at North corner of building. And was IN. If anyone here has ever been inside a building where soda waters are being filled, it is awesome, especially to a kid. There are machines that are filling bottles, other machines stamping on caps, yet other machines pickup up bottles and placing them in wooden cases to ship out. Inside I would stuff my 7-9 year old butt over to the small Coke machine next to offices, it had a level on it and open little door with vertical glass on it so could see the bottles horizontally facing you before buying.
Once you put in your 10 cents, magically could pull out a Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Fresca, or whatever, 12 oz bottle. Next to the little cute 1950s vintage Coke machine was some gumball machines, one of them had a small light inside with advertising HOT NUTS, should have said hot stale nuts, but for 5 cents why not. Behind this little wall was the offices, greenish tint windows with venusian blinds. How the hell did these people get any work done I will never know inside there as outside was maddening, deafening with all the bottles clanking, machines rattling. I found out one day when going inside offices (thru FRONT door & up steps on Lester street!) that each office they were listening to music, KEYS & KRIS (I think it was KRIS!) or KZFM if they had fancy FM radio. Back on other side of wall next to Coke machine was a salt tablet dispenser. It was free! So turn knob and little round salt pink table come out. So one day I decided I was going to take one, and put in pocket. Walked outside onto Antelope street, smelled it, and put in mouth, BLEAAAHH this takes like crap and spit it out. Never have had another in 50 years ha ha. A side note, there were two guys who walked past house in nice suits daily, one I called Bubby who looked identical to singer on TV Glen Campbell. Same hair, everything! Other was tall fellow about 6-5 to 6-9, thin, named Phillip. My momma said 'he is a tall drink of water'.
When it was time to sell Worlds Finest Chocolates for Cathedral, I would walk into Coca Cola & unload boxes of the stuff. In the offices, red Coca Cola logoed pencils were Holy Grail items, and I would end up with a number of them, I kept several for my own work at Cathedral, but sell others for nickel each.
Since Mister Bates property and ours, were in the way, Coca Cola one day offered my dad $28,000 to buy BOTH 2009 Antelope & 723 Doss properties. I would guess Mister Bates got a similar offer but he had probably turned them down too. So Coca Cola bought the field in front of our 723 Doss address & fenced it in, big 12 foot hurricane fence with barbed wire on top, for employees to park. But this was not big enough and employees continued to park along Antelope street in front of our house, the early birds working early shifts got best spots! As a kid I also would ask them if they wanted a car wash for 50 cents. So writing was on the wall with Coca Cola intentions in 1960s. I am not sure here if my dad COULD have sold the property since it was in my grandmother Maria D Alcala name still.
After Mister Bates died, Coca Cola swooped in, and leveled all the trees, kitchenettes, EVERYTHING except Missus Bates old shoddy house. She was now in 80s, sat out front hot or cold on beat up rocking chair facing Coca Cola, everything around her had changed in instant, was now paved, more big 12 foot hurricane fence with barbed wire on top, and delivery trucks by dozens around her coming & going thru sliding fence. The Coca Cola employees used to take her food, and medical and see if she needed anything too. Until one day, she was gone. Her old house before torn down was identical to the movie "UP" where old man stubbornly will not move, and they simply built around him, same thing.
The fence they put up next to OUR property infuriated my momma. The barbed wire actually hung over our roof \\ at angle like this. But we sort of lived with it. After we moved back to this hellhole property from a few years of cheap rent after hurricane Celia at 642 Naples, I used to sleep outside on front porch. Was cooler than inside & good breeze. Got used to employees walking past me on sidewalk though. As a teen now...Coca Cola came out with 32 oz BOTTLES.
And I found out it was $4 a case to return them to stores. So one night the Rabago brothers junior & Mondo, we lifted up the Coca Cola fence that was 4 feet from our house, shoved two wooden cases in there to create a tunnel, gave the fierce doberman pincher 'guard dogs' some treats (aw these guys were pussies, if they had tail would wag them, knew them by names) but we emptied 1/2 of a Coke truck, sliding cases thru hole in fence, opening bottles, pouring out everything as a river of Coke, Fanta red, orange, grape, Sprite, quietly gurgled down curb to gutter. Then we would take the bottles, not all at once, to Skagg Albertson's on corner of Everhart & South Padre Island Drive and redeem them. So 10 cases brought $40 in 1970s money.
We covered out tracks at fence line also with brush, dirt, ha ha.
At the Buccaneer Parade which originated on Leopard street near Miller high school, Coke had bleachers inside the fence facing Leopard. And of course, they always invited my late brother Tommy & me. This is back in 1960s pre-Celia. Free cold sodas, there was food too, and I would ask if I could take some to my mother and dad, who never went to parade it seemed, even though it was at OUR corner on Doss.. passing by! This area was packed with Coca Cola employees & families, was nice of them to invite us...NO other kids in neighborhood were invited, just me & Tommy!
So you will have to pay attention to some photos here to make sense of it all in 2 timelines. Photo #1 shows my dad admiring his 'new' 1970 Javelin.
Right behind him this is Coca Cola on Lester, dad standing on Antelope St. You can see the huge barbed wire fence looming Coke built after Bates died. If you look to right of photo down street, the piece that juts out was loading dock, the 18 wheelers that loaded up here had to turn cab sideways so cars could get thru but rest of Antelope blocked. The sign on fence to left of his head is in Photo #2.
Photo # 3 is the lot Coke bought when we would not sell, & all those cars in there, and outside are Coca Cola employees. That is me in front yard washing my 68 AMX, look close, Driscoll Hotel, 600 building & partially obscured Wilson tower in background.
Photo #4 intense as it was, the workers at Coke did this 5 days, sometimes, 6-7 days a week, 8am to 5pm. Line changed depending on demand, but Coke ruled.
Photo #5 self sufficient high volume bottling machine, didn't need much "human" help in 1960s ha ha. Humans. P
Photo # 6 capped off ready to be dropped in cases. Going back to #2 on my map, which is the MAIN Coke building, you see two large garage doors to right, these were for forklifts to carry empties into area near # 2B. Inside #2 facing Lester however Coke cases were piled up to the 15-18 foot ceiling! Every now and then you hear CRASH!! from our house and know a forklift tipped over or someone dropped a huge stack!
Photo #7 shows Coca Cola on Lester in 2018. The door on the left is where ALL office workers would enter. The door on the right was sealed off in 1970s. As a kid I used to play with my Hot Wheels cars in the dirt under steps, was soft, fine dirt!
Photo #8 if you compare Photo #1 with my dad, to this one, basically taken in same spot. But 30 years apart.
3. Mister Bates house on Lester across from Coca Cola Company. When I was young, Mister Bates was old. His property was 1/2 block long from Antelope Street to Leopard, then all the way down Lester across from Coca Cola Company. A 1/4 of it backed up to our property & old shotgun house 2009 Antelope. When I was little in early to mid 1960s, his property consisted of a number of kitchenettes. These were onthe Antelope/Lester side and made of some kind of concrete. Must have been about 8 of them, and I am sure that they were mighty nice in 1940s, 50s, when he probably last rented them out. His main house faced Coca Cola and is shown in the photo, had a neat overhang in front for shade. Behind his house were series of garages, but when I was 5, maybe 6 years old, these were already falling apart. And the kitchenettes were locked up and could see lots of junk thru windows. EXCEPT ONE. More later. The yard was still being mowed. Pretty sure these kitchenette's were nice 'in their time' and probably rented to sailors since this is about mile from Port. And my grandma's house WAS a 'boarding house' six rooms, one kitchen, one bathroom, in the 20s thru early 50s (I believe, might have been late 40s) Mister Bates didn't like kids. And sure as hell didn't like us neighborhood kids. We heard all sorts of stories about 5 if we were bad 'Mister Bates will get you on Halloween!' and stuff like that. He was a old codger just wanting to be left alone the sort of "you kids get outta my yard!" type. Missus Bates didn't say much, she would sit on front porch and watch all the Coke and Sprite trucks, and the Coke people wave at her. Between our yard and Bates were bricks towards back of house that were from the 1940s or 50s, you could touch them and they would crumble, very brittle. They were open type like this OO but square, and could look deep down in them and see all sorts of critters, I heard there were snakes the size of cars, but never saw any, we did see possums and rats. Sometimes move a brick so the rat or possum trapped, but after a few days, would be stinking up to high heavens. Our kitchen window faced these and if stinking, momma knew what it was. And WHO did it ha ha. Right parallel along side out 2009 Antelope house was many leftover rebar and pipes from the I-37 construction across street. Momma hated these as stacked up 3-5 feet high she said 'it attracted lightning' which I thought would not happen, until it DID hit the trees there over span of several years! One time the sound of thunder blew out several of our plate glass windows. My dad had a talk with Mister Bates, but nothing was done he said 'he was going to use them' you know.Some of us kids would stand in back of Rabago's yard (4 & 4B on map) and toss rocks over into Bates yard over the garage, and occasionally could hear glass break. Was like a prize for us. Yes, we were a**hole kids no wonder Bates didn't like any of us. Can't blame him either! When I was about 10 I heard that Mister Bates had bear traps in his yard, so Emilio & me, went into the overgrown brush, by this time, trees, and high grass had taken over, 1/2 way up to kitchenettes, no more mowing. We found a 'cat trap' with fresh food for cats and took a baseball bat to it. We didn't find a 'bear trap' but DID find a 5-6 feet large coffin sides hole in ground covered by reeds, so if someone was walking thru there (and there were NO TRESPASSING signs all around property) someone would have had some collateral damage to leg or foot. But again, no one supposed to be on his property anyways. I guess hindsight is if the bear traps, cat traps didn't get you, the mesquite thorns would.
During Hurricane Celia my dad and me walked over IN THE EYE to check on them, they were fine but I stepped on nail. Lots of damage in his yard, mostly stuff blown over from Coca Cola. Will never forget looking at Wilson Tower, Driscoll and 600 building and seeing that huge wall of black clouds rushing in background, and all the furniture hanging out windows. After Celia for weeks he cleaned up his property. Several of us kids used to throw rocks at cars up on I-37, endless supply of good egg shaped 'throwing rocks' from Missouri Pacific train tracks block away. This is what us poor kids did for fun and did break a lot of windows, and major dents, the people would slow down but never stop as one lane to curve to Crosstown and next exit was Agnes, good luck finding your way back to us! Well, this silly crap sort of came to halt when my uncle Haskell got windshield broke, and came back around he told my dad 'I knew right where to come!' not sure if poppa paid for it or what, but big trouble for Mondo & me the Rock Throwers. With his overgrown yard there were whippoorwills, or nighthawks as we called them, they nest on ground and have big, gaping mouths. I was standing in OUR driveway minding my own damned business about 7 years old and a 56 or so Chevy came down Antelope with little girl hanging out waving, screaming, and a nighthawk blew out of bates yard, right along side of the car, scaring girl back inside, I am standing there terrified and it did right angle turn and headed RIGHT FOR ME! A few feet away I screamed and it shot off back into Bates jungle. That was not the end of it for me, since we poor, we shared beds, I am sure many lower end families did that, but I slept in momma's bed, Tommy in poppa's bed. There was wall between bed in old shotgun house. I had a nightmare and screamed in middle of the night THE NIGHTHAWK and kicked a hole in wall that could have probably crawled thru. I still get creeped out seeing them dive 60 miles a hour over skies in Houston to this date.Mister Bates sold his property from Gulf Radiator to Lester, so along Leopard, to the old house, basically 1/2 of property at some time. Then Coca Cola, who had offered to buy our property for $28,000, mowed everything down, paved it and put up 12 foot fence with barbed wire on top. Missus Bates would sit on front porch mouth gaping open sort of like elder President Bush does sometimes. I would go check on her, and many of the Coca Cola employees sort of adopted her and check on her daily also if she needed anything, help her get in house before nighthawks get her. Sometime in this point Mister Bates died, not sure how nor how old he was, maybe in 80s. And literally overnight, Coca Cola bought rest of property EXCEPT Missus Bates house. Ever see the movie Up? This is it, they totally built around her house, not that she drove or anything, just sat on porch.
On that one kitchenette, it was closest to our property and next to the CPL power pole. Tommy & me snuck up to it was only 5 feet from sidewalk and looked in. Pretty much simple setup, a small stove, table, shelves, looked like Kelvinator icebox, and old fold up bed, off to side was small wall with what looked like porcelain tub behind it and toilet. The front door was screen that you could fart & it would turn to dust, but behind it little wooden door. So could see not only thru door but side window. It looked like vintage The Landing efficiency apartment, gauging size inside now must have been 12' to 14' square inside. Must have been the one that leaked the less? Had a thing with bars, didn't know what it was, so brought my dad over to peek in, he said that was a radiator, but looked nothing like stuff at Gulf Radiator, so had to explain to us it was to heat room.
So fast forward, now all the kitchenettes gone, everything in them scrapped hauled off, guess there was nothing in those little houses except memories, but to who? I don't remember when missus Bates died, just remember suddenly Coca Cola tore down house, paved over it, put new gate for delivery trucks. These trucks were full of 32 oz new bottles, of which could get $4 a case refund back then, so the Dobermans were supposed to be guarding the trucks, they were all pussies and liked to play. So several of us would hold up fence next to my house, prop it up with wood Coke cases, then crawl in and empty trucks. Sometimes maybe 100 cases, would pour out the sodas into sewer on Antelope while parents all slept, sure wondered what Coke employees though next day seeing a sort of colored river of their products drying up out there, but be then, most of the cases had been taken out to Warehouse Groceries (next to K-Mart on SPID) and Skaggs Albertsons corner of Everhart & SPID, since those were open 24 hours. We never took ALL of them, just maybe 20, hid the rest in my dad's depilated old garage and deposit them as needed. Guard dogs stayed happy, fat with treats, and we would throw leaves and stuff on ground to cover tracks at fence, no one ever caught on, but sure best Coca Cola's inventory was screwed. Mister & Missus Bates today would be called hoarders like the cable show. Save everything even old Caller Times, not that anyone reads Caller Times anymore, but Bates did, they saved it. Why I do not know. Life, and time, just seemed to quickly pass them by. All the 'projects' whether the steel girders, bars, bricks & lumber that rotted under relentless Corpus Christi rain, salt, season changes, all those projects like getting pushed to back burner on stove, eventually fell off stove. He was on first name basis with 'CC 'Neighborhood Improvement' (as our family often was too) but after hiring a few guys to clean up 'offending' pieces they many times would simply move junk to another piece of huge property out of sight of inspectors and all good. In later years besides Coca Cola employees taking care of Missus Bates, we did too, not much to do except check on her, sometimes take beans, rice and tortillas over to here, ain't got no teeth so good, soft stuff to eat God bless both of them.
Photo #1. Looking thru window and door of the only kitchenette that was not chock full of old junk, we saw what looks like this. This is not a photo of Bates place, just looked like it inside. Really self sufficient little place. There is that heater thing my dad described to me, next to it old stove, and off to left sink.
Photo #2. In Bates yard was a LOT of these. We had two of them at our house next door also. For you folks wondering what type of sorcery this might be, it is a wringer, you wash clothes, usually in tub, then wring them thru this gadget, and hang up, others methods may differ. Bates had a lot of these, and old washers, and Cajun type scrub pans.
Photo #3. Not sure why this old photo is angled like bad Batman Series, but that is me, late brother Tommy, and my dad in front of one of the kitchenettes which faced Lester street and Coca Cola, this must have been about 1965.Photo #4 This was our driveway where I was standing when the nighthawk described above flew out of Bates yard, flew alongside the Chevy with little girl hanging out, then blasted full speed right at me. That nightmare persisted for many years. Tat is Antelope street there, with me on bike, and dad talking to brother Tommy. No nighthawks in photo, nor is The Big Sign shown up on freeway hill there. He must have been asleep. Photo #5. In 1980s, my dad stands in front of a 'new' 1970 AMC Javelin Big bad Blue car I gave hiim for his birthday to snap him out of fun after momma dies. But if you look past him, you can easily see the Stakes/Bates property line, now, fenced in with 12 foot fence after Coca Cola bought property. That is Coca Cola building in white.
Photo #6 This photo is of Bates property after Coca Cola bought south side, then later north and west side. Whole 1/2 black! Gulf radiator to the right along with old Mobil gas station. So you are standing in Leopard street looking north along Lester.
Photo #7, the Stakes/Bates property line after Coca Cola bought Bates whole property. This is what it looks like in 2018, full of more junk, some things never change. If you click on Photo #5 where my dad standing, this pretty much same photo, just angled to show the fence we used to crawl under to steal cases of Cokes ha ha. dumb dobermans, they looked fierce, but saw us kids and wag little stumpy tails, knowing it is 'treat time' hell, several of them would give us guided tour to the trucks with most sodas. coca Cola, or what left of this once beautiful building, off to right here.
Photo #8. Overview of not only our old property of 2009 Antelope & 723 Doss, but all of Bates property, taken from top of I-37 hill. Antelope in foreground, Doss on left, Lester on right and Leopard in background.
Photo #9. Nighthawks mouths are extremely HUGE. Might have well been a shark flying at me. And to make matters worse, these things nest on the GROUND, so walking thru jungle of Bates yard in 1960s, you never knew if one of these would jump up at you with laser beams for eyes, and ninja sword. I still kicked huge hole in wall dreaming about one trying to get me, probably soiled bed too as kid, wasted hour throwing a rock at one on telephone wire on Mestina behind Beil's. Bird never moved. Even now in Houston, when I hear their shrill screech as they dive bomb over buildings, sends chill down my spine from time long ago.
13. Hasty Tasty
Restaurant Southeast corner Port & Leopard
Opposite side of Hasty Tasty NW corner was HEB. It had a cool, soft, lavender light on tower angled to catch mostly Leopard traffic, but also pull in people from The Cut down Port, which was mostly black folks. I rarely went into Hasty Tasty as a kid 'ain't got no money' and coffee was 10 cents a cup in 1960s, what the heck would I want coffee, when I could get all the Cokes, Sprites, Fanta red, grape and orange I could want next to our crappy house, as I knew most of the workers, and could walk into the bottling plant from Antelope side (about 50 yards from our front door) which was a loading dock, but walk in like I owned place 9 years old, no one cared. It was at this place I found out what salt tablets were as small dispenser next to vintage Coke machine, also there was peanut machine with lightbulb in it for "hot peanuts" which were usually stale for 5 cents. I thought GOOD DEAL! The salt tables were free and looked like little gumball machine also, so usually took a few of them. They tasted like sh*t to a kid, probably still do.
When I WOULD go into Hasty Tasty it was to buy a Corpus Christi Caller Times for my dad. I just ride bike up there, put coins in machine, take only ONE paper, no stealing. At later date when i did have some money, I walked in with impunity, parking my beat up bike out front, and sat at the small bar and waitress with big beehive hairdo (think Marge Simpson but not blue!) looked at me and asked 'what can I get you kid?' to which I replied, 'a order of toast ma'am' she hooked me up with FOUR slices, and little butter and strawberry packs! I left her dime tip, which is probably more than the old grumpy looking man near me who had probably had 10 cups of coffees left. So for one quarter, the poor kid got hooked up. Same 'deal' I could get at Woolworth downtown or Atlantic Thrift or Woolco on Staples when we went to rich people's hood.
I had heard from neighbor's this place had (gasp!) awesome steaks, as the owners were supposed to be Greek. The only way I was going to get some of that action was picking up someone's leftover pieces on plate and hauling ass out door, but none of that. The steak plate did look good with big tater, and if I recall was about $5.95 a lot of money I guess in 1960s.
There is back story some of ya'll probably do not know of the founder of Hasty Tasty, who 'was too poor to afford shoes' (yup, welcome to my world in 1960s!) but the family founded a number of Corpus Christi eateries, great short story if you have moment to read, real rags to riches thing! http://inspirecoastalbendmag.com/./great-food-great-experi./
"Paul's father had already settled in Corpus Christi and opened a diner known as Hasty Tasty with his brother-in-law. The diner became popular and yielded enough money for the rest of the family to leave Greece and come to the United States. They soon opened a second location." I didn't know the family owned The Astor restaurant out Leopard near North Padre Island Drive, I do not know who owned Hasty Tasty when I was digging thru their grease pit and trash in 1960s though! A side note is my oilman uncle in 1960s, Travis Smith, used to walk into Astor and say "I'm buying everyone's tab!" so would buy everyone's meal, how cool is that. I have done that in Houston bars I have worked in, but only after last call & just me & few waiters & waitresses left ha ha, then I comp it anyways!
14. The Devine Printing Company & slap heard thruout the Cathedral. Devine Printing Company: located on Port Avenue directly behind the big HEB store at corner of Port & Leopard, and a Mobil gas station corner of Antelope & Port not shown. Across the street was Hasty Tasty restaurant. Us kids in the 1960s had two printing places to dig thru trash back then, great stuff, found pencils, paper, and great things only poor kids could love with imaginations could know of 50+ years ago. Paper airplanes could toss off I-37 overpass, cardboard pieces to stick in spokes in bikes to make them sound like motorcyles, but also take the things to school to enjoy. HEB trash dumpsters behind close by, so could catch mice & rats there also. Yep, we played with rats & gave them the dozen or so back at the house!
Mister Devine was a diminuative fellow, looked like Penn & Teller magician, the smaller guy who never speaks. His wife was just butt out crazy. We didn't have specialized fancy words to describe crazy back then. Loco, coo-coo, you name it. She wore a heavy coat with fur lined hat to Cathedral and one of the altar boys, maybe Danny Castro or Humberto Ramos, someone nick named her "The Easter Bunny". I was a altar boy at this time in 1960s (photo 1) which shows me at church, although not in my smock thing.
The Devines usually sat in middle of Cathedral where it splits pews if any of you ever been in this majestic church. (photo #2) Everyone would sit and stare wondering what would happen next when they sat down. This old Easter Bunny woman with a permanant scowl & cat eye glasses looked intimidating back then, especially to us kids. Priests like Monsignor Schmidt (photo #3 is Monsignor Schmidt, a heavy German man who loved popcorn) & Father White (he was a rookie) KNEW she was a nut job, as several stunts she had previous pulled off in this House of God: one time she walked right up to front alter (there were 2 of them, large back wall altar & smaller front alter to face people) and grabbed the new microphone and screamed" I WANT TO INVITE EVERYONE TO THE GLEN CAMPBELL GOODTIME HOUR TONIGHT AT 7:00PM ON CHANNEL 11" of course Father White silently stepped back and didn't intervien. We had electricity during this time over at the old crappy house at Doss & Antelope so you know we tuned in the see Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour later that evening on the old black & white Zenith TV. Another time she reached into her Lincoln type stovepipe hat (with fur around top ha ha) and grabbed out a Whataburger! Sat there slurping on it, looked like Gallagher concert onions, lettuce flying everywhere, some parishioners chuckled, others rolled eyes, Mass went on, but boy, sure smelled good, Whataburgers always smell good. Another time she rolled orange down aisle towards alter. My dad said she was a loon.
And then there was THIS. I was about 9 years old, and serving Holy Communion holding my gold (gold looking) platter under people's chins as they lined up and Monsignor Schmidt (who was highest ranking priest in Corpus Christi) was giving out those wafers. Easter Bunny in my lane, no big deal, had served her before. This time she came up, Monsignor Schmidt said "Body of Christ" and she slowly turned to look at me and said CORPUS CHRISTI!
She slapped the shit out of me.
My head spun sideways even Linda Blair would have been proud. The first 10 or so rows that saw what happened the collective GASP drowned out the soft organ music from above. It was all slow motion to me as I saw the horrified worshipers with huge eyes staring, shocked at what had just happened. I had tears already swelling in my eyes and was going to run and tackle this old bitch and Monsignor Schmidt whispered 'Eddie don't do anything, don't do anything' as she walked off.This all in span of 10 SECONDS or less!
We finished Mass & as usual, would walk to foyer and out onto front steps porch of Cathedral to tell folks bye. Photo #4 shows me with candle photo #5 shows the steps out front that is me with bowtie crooked just above girl with tiera, hey I want a tiera!) A crowd had gathered around momma, telling her what happened.
My mom, Sarah Stakes was a short lady over 200 lbs. Sweetest person you ever met, would give you her last tortilla or bread knowing she might not eat for days since we were dirt poor (photo #6) she was FUMING. Funny thing is no one from "church" said anything to HER about it, it was parishioners who normally would not give her time of day that told here, including a Cathedral teacher!
Since the Easter Bunny went to 9am Mass, momma made sure that I served 7am and sometimes 10am Masses, but not 9am. A month passed no big deal, didn't see Easter Bunny. So we went to 9am Mass. I served Mass with Monsignor Schmidt & at end, walked out to steps like had done for years. Uneventful Mass, but crowd standing out front! Momma had saved up a big mustard jar and filled it with dog shit & mustard and smeared it all over the Devine's little white Renault Dauphine parked right out front! It was most disgusting looking & smelling thing I had ever seen! In a time before cell phones this would have been viral video. My dad went to his grave not telling me if he was in on this.
Mister Devine, took off coat, wiped dog poop off windshield and doors, let his crazy Easter Bunny wife in car, and drove off. Even Monsignor Schmidt was laughing, my momma nowhere to be seen. My poppa drove & picked me up. Everyone seemed to know who was repsonsible however. The kids in my class next day all asking questions about it, i played dumb of course.
Monsignor Schmidt told momma later "that was not a very nice Catholic thing to do" while snorting chuckling. Us kids continued to plow thru the Devine Printing Press dumpsters. I didn't really forgive miss Devine & have actually had nightmares of that incident over 50 years ago. We never saw the Devines again, I think they switched to Sacred Heart 8 blocks away.
Photo #1 me in Cathedral about 1965. Photo #2, inside Cathedral facing altar. Where the people are kneeling near it is where Easter Bunny grabbed mike and wanted everyone to watch Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. In the center mail aisle is where she rolled oranges and various fruits. Never easter eggs though. Photo #3 that is rare photo of Monsignor Schmidt in center, not sure who ladies are. Photo #4, Robert Canas on left with crucifix, me on right with candle. Photo #5, Confirmation Day I am the kid squinting 3rd row left I clean up good. 3rd grade teacher Miss Francis near top and the nun appears to be 4th grade teacher Sister Berchmann, I do not know who the man on right is. Photo #6, don't slap the shit out of my baby, that is my mom and dad & me years later. #7 Renault little ugly ass car, made uglier if you can imagine it covered in dog shit & mustard and only God knew what.
18. Lew Williams Chevrolet Lew Williams Chevrolet was our neighbor. Located at the corner of Port & Leopard, 2 blocks from our old house(s) at corner of Doss & Antelope. #18, 18A, 18B, 18C.
From our house at night you could see the glow of the lights from this place, was brighter than even the glow of I-37 in our front yard. Across the street was Sheffields, (#19 on my file) a Snapkas like Drive In which is where Vicks stands today. At the NE corner was Hasty Tasty restaurant and at NW corner was HEB.
Lew Williams for years tried to lure my dad away from All American Motors, then Andy Anders Rambler downtown. But he liked working both places, and was ace certified mechanic. He liked Chevrolet too, even had two 1962-63 trucks I never found out why he never made the move, after all, when Coca Cola bought 1/2 of the Bates property which ran from Antelope on north, down all of Lester facing Coca Cola on west, and on east backed up to our property, the barbed wire fence actually hung over our roof, momma was pissed about that, and on the south Leopard, so when Coca Cola bought 1/2 of the property while Miss Bates still alive, for some reason Lew Williams stored brand new cars in there, sort of like sub lease from Coca Cola.
As kids, we used wooden Coke crates to prop up fence, crawl under it, and play in the new cars, would have paid to see a worker get in car, wipers, heater, radio full blast, everything turned on except lights and ignition..we never stole anything nor destroyed anything. The stealing stuff come later when older with Coke cases & bottles.
At the Chevrolet dealership, photo #1 shows the back area is was the most active. On the right is the Service area, where you would bring car, check it in, then get work done. On the left is the Used Cars building, same Jetsons type art deco design. The Used Car building is # 18 E on the big map photo. You can see all the Quality Used Cars, and the flags hanging in lot in the arial photo in the land before drones. # 18 A & # 18 B are Service areas, more on those below. I hope Corpus Christi never tears down these buildings, but Corpus like Houston, not know to saving historic stuff.
Photo #2 shows a number of new Chevy II, and Novas on showroom floor about 1966-67. When this iconic building was designed, I don't think they thought about annoying kids taking their bikes up the ramp in middle of photo, to ride bikes on top of building, which was FUN. The security guards here were much like the security dogs next to our house that 'guarded' the cars, could be bribed, or just not interested. And these ramps area all around building so if guards standing on Port side, we just rode down Leopard side an escaped down Lexington or other street, ha ha. Or even worse...escaped to Charlie Thomas iams arch nemesis a block away next to Rainbo Bread, bwahhahahah. As they say in Scooby Doo "I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids!!"
Photo #3 is about 1966-67 and Port Avenue side which faced downtown for those of you wihout a compass. In foreground are new Corvettes. Lew Williams NEVER parked thosenext to our house in fenced in Coca Cola lot, I wonder why. Behind it is row of Corvairs that Ralph Nader claimed would destroy America. I sort of like Corvairs and run into a number of owners at car shows of which I vend and attend. On the Showroom floor appears to be some Biscaynes, Impalas too.
Inside on showroom floor I walked around like I owned the place. Ther were mod and bright banners, posters, racing posters, and many glass cibicles where the salesmen retreated to sell you a new Chevy. I would knock as a courtesy before entering and can't tell you how many Worlds Finest Chocolates BOXES of them, I sold at this place to raise funds for Cathedral. The sheer amounf of glass at this place made me think what would happen if hurricane have to wait long to find out in August 3rd, 1970 with Celia, lots of glass lost. But replaced.
Photo #4 is a shot of iconic Chevrolet sign from Leopard Street side. This neat photo courtesy of old Caller Times ad shows whole building at street level, sans cars. The cars were there, just below photo.
Photo #5 shows the Service area from different angle. As a kid, we sort of stayed away from THIS area anyways, several salesmen and reps told us to, which we did, just because you could get squished on your bike.
Back to the BIG photo on my site, # 18C & # 18D. Not bra sizes, but 18C was a Exxon at the far corner of this dealership, this is at Lipan & Port, way over there. They had M&M and peanut machines in this place, also free maps, (which i would sell at Cathedral for 50 cents each) here was a super cool car wash located here also, that is 18D. I could stand there on my bike for hours with dog Bootsy and watch the guys drive up car, they would bar behind the car, put car in neutral, and a chain driven conveyor would hook up with vertical bar and push car forward thru big buffers...first soap, then wash/rinse, then sometimes wax. At the end, guys would hustle and jump in car (still rolling as in neutral!) and pull it up next to the CPL fence to dry off and detail interior, tires. I believe the Royal Chevrolet treatment was $5 in 1966-68. A really wonderful experience I am guessing for those whose cars were given the royal treatment, again, that is # 18 D on the map.
The double rows of cars & trucks facing Port next to this place are NEW.
Farther down in front of main building single row of NEW cars. # 18 A & # 18 B are
the Service Stalls. This is where they tried for years to get my dad to work, was top of
line stuff, they did alignments, oil changes, brakes, transmissions, even rebuild engines
in here. The only was I know was I walked around in here 2 times a year selling my
candies. Ok, seriously I knew this damned place like back of hand. At far bottom of the
big photo on my site is # 19, all these cars BEHIND # 18 A & # 18 B are waiting for
some service. Not to say they were bad cars, could have been easy things like oil change,
tire rotation, but big business then...and now! Or maybe Charlie Thomas good sabotaging
their arch rivals cars at night. Or could have been stuff us kids did, hope not!
Photo #6 this is Leopard Street side facing Port avenue. Lew Williams had 'Quality Used Cars!' and "OK Cars!" signs.
Photo #7 inside the showroom facing North towards Leopard. Besides the Biscayne or Impala there, look past north and will see the big HEB sign that would glow a wonderful lavender at night. On the right is THE CHEVY SHOW! touring big van!
Photo #8: Inside showroom facing south, Chevy II, Nova, Impalam, wagons, oh my. The booths on the right in photo is where I would walk in, and sell a hell of a lot of Worlds Finests chocolates for my school, being a car guy, the tail lights on ther Impala with butt facing you is 65 or 66.
SHEFFIELD'S Sheffield's is the U shaped
building across from Hasty Tasty (#13). Port Avenue is #16 while the Missouri Pacific
Railroad train yard sandwiched between Port & Larry Street. Larry street was never
really a street, as was mostly oyster shell driveway, although on Mestina there was
asphalt. Sheffield's was a type of Snapkas on crack, bigger, better burgers, pool tables,
pinball machines 3 plays for a dime! The big "U" shaped awning cars park under
in shade, and they would bring out your food on Sonic type metal trays (think American
Graffiti) to your car. Wanted something else? Flash your headlights the car hop lady come
back out. Inside was all blue collar, the cold beers included Schlitz, Hamms, Falstaff,
Lone Star & Pearl to name a few. Workers from nearby refineries, the car lots, and
just all around area come in for cold one & beer. As a kid I got a cheeesburger at
this place was about 6 and was sort of hooked. I would ride my bike up there, trusty dog
Bootsy would patiently sit outside with my bike leaning against wall, while I would go in,
play quick pinball game. People would pet Bootsy on the head, she was really friendly dog.
And patient. This area would later be where Vicks is, before it was Vicks was Ruby Reds a
sort of spin off of Orange Julius in the Padre Staples Mall. I do not remember when
Sheffield's went away, but it was there as late as 1970. Maybe Celia took them out.
Sheffield's was a real blue collar diner & bar. Burgers, shakes, malts (malts ha ha),
beer, could sit inside with 'Cold Air Conditioning' at lunch or after work, even had a
jukebox & pinball & cigarette machines.
20 & 21. AUTO CENTER The Auto Center had two buildings right behind Sheffields. The main building was
like a O'Reillys or Auto Zone, sold auto parts, you could walk in and get brake shoes,
water hoses, fan belts and headlights, my dad really liked this place as the old school
guys would take time to look at books in land before computers, to match up the parts he
needed to keep our several Ramblers on the road. Not all auto parts folks are friendly,
some should not be in customer service, but these guys all were super friendly. I liked to
walk around store (was 6-9 years old) and check stuff out. No toys, bummer. But they did
have a triple head gumball machine near front door and a modern light beam thing that when
you came inside door, you broke beam and it would go DING DONG! loud as hell to let
employees they had customer. My dad told me stay the hell away from that as used to put
hand in front of it annoying everyone. One day at this place they had some UFO frisbees
you put batteries in so when you toss them, light up like UFO. Those were $5 and that was
a ton of money back in 1960s, so every time would go in, would go check stock to see how
many left. After 3 months only few left and I had saved up some dinero from trading in
Coke bottles, so bought one. A blue UFO frisbee. Looked great at night but due to weight
with batteries, could only toss it about 15 feet. I would later find another for sale at
Cages hardware a block away year later so bought another since Bootsy chewed up the Auto
Center one. The other building on this lot was Auto Centers shop. This is where people
took cars to get worked on, stuff like brake jobs, air condition, tires installed,
alignments. It is #21 on the map, catty corner sort of facing intersection of Leopard
& Port. Can't tell you much about it as never went inside it, had no business in there
you know. Auto Center had modern equipment like Sun Tuning systems to get your car running
right, Rows of Snap On Tool boxes the grease monkeys worked hard, no AC in this hot &
humid area. Just big fans us kids were fond of standing in front of and making stupid
noises to hear echos
22. UNNAMED CAR LOT across from Lew
Williams & behind Auto Center, this was a used car lot with a
variety of names in 1960s, eventually ending up partly Lew Williams used car lot as I
guess Lew Williams had lots of used cars they could no longer fit on the west side of big
lot. If you look at partly obscured #18E..that is Lew Williams USED Car lot Jetsons type
mini building. Well this used car lot on Port sort of made lots of sense. At night they
had cool looking strands of edison type lights and rows and rows of flags flapping in
breeze. You felt comfortable there, even when CLOSED, so we would ride bikes thru there
checking out some barely used cars. At the back fence was "secret trail" as
several vertical wood fence pieces were missing, so we could go basically from the car
lot, thru high overgrown little field, directly onto Missouri Pacific railroad tracks.
Yea, we though the secret way was cool.
23. CARL KUHEN'S AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR This striped building always seemed to have cool cars near it. Not sure if it was auto body men cars or cars they had done paint & body work on. In `1960s/70s was Carl Kehens' though. Behind it of course is Missouri Pacific rail yard, there was small fence in back, and there were 'long term' projects in back, something I can relate to since I restore old American Motors cars. These were cars that if you ever tell a paint/body shop guy 'take your time' they really do take their time and could be awhile before you see it again, like years.
24. MONITA'S TORTILLA FACTORY, facing Port and Lew Williams. You could smell this place mile away when the
wind was right. Just smelled 'homey' though, made you hungry. They made a lot of tortillas
here and could be found in many Corpus Christi stores like HEB, Kroger, Beils. You could
walk up the stairs to inside and buy directly, didn't have to be wholesaler, the heavy set
Mexican ladies always greeted us neighborhood rug rats with a smile. I never bought
anything as my grandmother used to make us a boatload of tortillas from scratch, so many
she would give them to neighbors. So no tortilla shortage at our house. The smell inside
the building was only surpassed by the nice ladies and employees here. Not sure if still
around, or moved on. Monita Tortilla Factory had a LOT of 'modern' tortilla making
equipment for it's day, but still a lot of ladies worked in this area bagging up flour and
corn tortillas to ship out. I don't think Monita used the train tracks behind them for
shipping, was all trucks.
25. ZARSKY'S LUMBER COMPANY #25 & #25A on the map, this was at corner of Port Avenue & Lipan, backed up to Missouri Pacific railroad tracks. They utilized a lot of railroad boxcars for their lumber. Even across tracks there was almost along all of Mestina tons of lumber, stacked as high as Cokes in Coca Cola across Leopard, I mean 15 feet or so high. The forklifts constantly coming & going here so not really good area for kids. But being kids we would pick up 2 x 4s discarded or broken here. Take home, and get a mess of Coca Cola, Sprite and other bottle caps and nail them to board. Then put metal wheels on bottom, another board up front with another smaller board up top, there you have poor kids scooter to ride up and down street. Can't tell you how many of those we made. But Zarsky's was a endless supply of lumber.
One day a guy asked us what we were doing with the boards we were ferrying off between train tracks. I told him making scooters. He thought that was neat and said he would instruct some of the guys to put 'special boards' out for us, away from the yard itself. So not even more kids in the hood had scooters and mini skateboards. We did buy some lumber there after hurricane Celia, (Aug 3rd, 1970) place was packed, and even though Zarskys was pretty beat up building wise, they had truckloads and trainloads of wood coming in from all over country to sell. So there, you have quick side trip away from Leopard on Port Avenue. Circa 1966-70. Above the Lew Williams Chevrolet complex you can clearly see Zarsky's top center of photo, Lipan is the intersection upper right. This neat photo shows my stomping grounds & why I am dedicated to trying to preserve it's history. Besides Zarskys, to the left of it Monita's Tortilla Factory, left of it the striped paint & body shop of Carl Kuhen's, left of that the no name car lot. Behind them extreme top of photo is Missouri Pacific rail yard with some tankers, loads of lumber & a chemical storage bin.
26. Noe's Cafe & #27 Mario's Barber shop This was a small, old, strip center on the north side of Leopard up against Coca Cola. Yes there was a narrow passage between two properties, why I do not know as was filled with small, forgotten trees, trash, possums and rats. For us kids, we were about only ones that could fit back there. But some well fed rodents, just like behind Beil's across street trash area enclosure next to tracks, and also HEB on corner of Port & Leopard, we would catch the rats or mice, wait for stop light to change, then as cars came down street, tossed them into traffic right in front of cats, sometimes they flattened ha ha, other times did get away, curses on you Ratouille. Noe's I knew a Noe who when I was about 7 or 8 he was already a teen, maybe 17-18, and used to play baseball with a number of hood kids, myself included at the oyster shale flat lot in front of our house at 723 Doss. But I do not know if he was related to owner. Inside this place banked from mostly Coca Cola employees, great big breakfast ham, eggs, bacon or sausage with eggs, toast for $1.25. Coffee was quarter. My two pieces of toast was 10 cents here too like at Hasty Tasty.
But I rarely went in here. The cigarette smoke battled smoke from bacon, quite a mix. Probably toxic but what the hell, smelled great. Even waitresses smoked. But for MY two pieces of toast, I usually went to Hasty Tasty (#13 on map!) a few steps away, whereas they were more tolerant of a kid...much less one who would order damned 10 cent toast, then put 3 pounds of strawberry jam packets and butters on them. Nest door was Mario's Barber Shop, it had a hypnotic barber shop pole, you know, red, white and blue strips spinning inside long tube thing. This fascinated me and wanted to take it home with me for my room, but left it alone. Where are all those stripes going thru top? Where are they coming from bottom, nothing attached to it? Mario's Barber shop (#27 ) got a lot of business not only from Coca Cola employees but also people up and down Leopard street businesses, they also did shoe shines and shaves, whole works. And shines were dime, the cost of 2 pieces of toast. Since I rarely had shoes, this eliminated me right off the bat. Kids in the neighborhood also supported this small business, Mario looked like well, Super Mario Nintendo guy with thick black moustache too.
Strange as many times that I did go into here, never got haircut. Just always went with
kid friends like Mondo or Juinor Rabago, walked from next block. I used to get hair cut at
home, momma put bowl on head, which looked like I had mange afterwards and got lots of
flack at school for days until it grew back. There was a reason for this, had gotten
haircut at Barber College across from Braslaus Furniture, and got ringworm from places,
damned thing was as big as Great Red Spot on planet Jupiter, nuns sent me home so had to
put iodine on it for week until went away.
photo #1 This is similar to inside Noe's Café on Leopard behind Coca Cola in 1960s. NOT Noe's just similar greasy spoon. Always seemed to be loaded with Leopard street people who worked close by. Competition for your dining dollars was fierce, with Hasty Tasty about 2 football fields away on corner of Port & Leopard & across from them, Sheffield's a big Snapka's type place. You could get big, and I mean BIG breakfast at Noe's for about $1.25. Note the Pig's Knuckles, who eats that sh*t? Gag. Ok, I will try it. Sign has 'fried eggs & sausage 25 cents' sign. So earlier than 1960s.
Photo #2. Not Noe's but also in competition for your money on a vibrant Leopard as Bunk's Café corner of Sam Rankin & Leopard directly across from Sears. Pretty much same menu as Noe's too, chili, burgers, breakfasts, note spokesman Wimpy' from Popeye cartoon 'I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today' ha ha. There was yet another place to eat, SW corner of Carrizo street & Leopard, was small white building, maybe seated 20-30 people max. I have the name of it on tip of tongue, but for like of me, can't remember it. And God forbid I don't mention Chat & Chew again, which was next to Bunks!
42. Kelly's Tires
43. Beil's Grocery Store (later changed name to Opportunity Store)
Beil's Grocery Stores. In 1960s there was a Beil's grocery store on Leopard, across from Gulf Radiator, sandwiched between a large furniture store, and other side was a Kelly's Tires. Lester on west, Doss on East. A railroad track ran in back of it to Bekins Furniture store, this was Doss & Leopard, or parallel between Mestina & Leopard. Beils is #43 on my BIG MAP you will have to click on the link to view the location as I rampage thru my old neighborhood in 1960s. Beils is #43, the furniture store #44, Kellys Tires #42, Bekins #51 where the rail road (follow #5 Missouri Pacific railroad, if I could follow this around as a kid under 10 you can too).
Beils. In the 1960s this old industrial working class blue collar hood was thriving in Corpus Christi. LOTS of small businesses. Like the ones mentioned here. Beils had several locations all over Corpus Christi, including the building that one day would be White Rabbit Disco. But we are in my old hood so lets stay here. This Beils was a smaller store but had lots of things piled high, on the east side was fruits, veggies, breads, tortillas, cookies, in back was a small meat market where you could get fresh cuts of all sorts of meats cut by butchers. About 10 aisles front to back. 4-5 check out counters, they also had baskets to push around food, a modern thing. Near front was some gumball machines, and one of them had Super Balls that looked like pool balls, with numbers. The most coveted one was of course 8 Ball, but not a lot of those in machine, and no matter how much you shook it, they never move. I was about 7 years old this time. Would buy Super Ball for 5 cents, take to Cathedral school 7 sell them for 10 cents, quite a racket, the nuns feared those would break the stained glass on church but of course never did and many kids lots their balls (ha ha) on roof when it went down gutter, so would have to sell them another one.
I bought my first can of fried onion rings here for about 20 cents, what type of sorcery is this in a can? It is DELICIOUS!! Eh, but also 20 cents a ton of moolah for a kid. The employees were always nice, and one Mexican guy I do not remember his name, said 'no te des rascando lot pelotas de la cocina!' one day to another employee, they both started cracking up, as did my two friends Mondo & Junior Rabago who lived next door to us. They knew spanish, I didn't so was like laughing at a Cantinflas or Herma Linda Linda or Super Raton cartoon, laugh but not sure why. I thought it was funny too so when I got home repeated it and momma turned several colors of red then plaid then green. I basically said 'don't be scratching your balls in the kitchen!' of course not knowing spanish, this fell into same line as when I was yelling 'puto, puto' and momma had same face reaction. I tried to quickly tell her it was Pluto! Pluto! to no avail. So she got the Hot wheels track and spanked my butt really bad telling me never to repeat that even though she didn't tell me what the heck I just said. Now my hinie was same color as her face, but hurt. I DID use that saying thru years at bars & restaurants I worked at ha ha to my fellow co workers who loved it. Ok, no one was scratching anything, just thought it was funny getting same reaction as decades before. Sometimes while walking past the fire station #36 on the big map) the firemen would ask me to go buy a box of crackers at Beils, give me 25 or 50 cents and 'keep the change' wow I was OFFICIAL fireman, the crackers mostly about 19-26 cents so profit margin was good for walking block! The old firehouse is #36 on the big map, had a bell tower. The firemen always welcomed the kids in firehouse, super friendly guys, and place was always spick & span clean, smelled good as always seemed to be cooking something.
There was a open trash area behind Beils next to railroad tracks. Same type as HEB at corner of Leopard & Port 2 blocks away, brick enclosed area, no lights. Everything got tossed in there, old fruit, veggies, bread, boxes, everything. The mice & rats easier to catch in here as just stand near open door, there was upper part, lower part, but stand there with box, chase them towards door, get in box, then go out to Leopard & time stop light at Port & toss them into street as cars got close, many squished, others actually got away! Sometimes they met their fate with the cats at our house people who didn't want cats dropped off in middle of night. There was a old wino who ate lots of food back there, us kids called him 'The Wino Behind Beils' of which we saw him as far away as Ben Garza park, and walking down Agnes, and behind buildings walking along tracks on Agnes too. Looked like Jesus, scraggled, smelled like a sasquatch, we always just strayed away from him he had issues in head. His clothes were tattered & torn, beard & hair matted, and more than a few times he surprised us kids by popping up like Jack In The Box in back of Beils where he was sleeping in trash.
One day the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile showed up at Beils. This was a huge event in Corpus Christi am guessing, at least on Leopard street. There were midget chefs, bands (might have been Miller High school or maybe the junior high place on Old Brownsville Road near Johnnys Fish & Chips, don't remember name, possibly Driscoll?) but band, free hot dogs, free Cokes and Sprites.
all the neighborhood kids there eating up a storm. Even the firemen came by, a number of Coca Cola people from across street on Lester too. I took home 6 hot dogs to my mom & dad. Brother Tommy didn't try to put them out of business eating like he did Shakeys though. The Weiner car was covered by Caller Times & some TV stations then, again, was really big deal, some promotion, either by Beils, Oscar Mayer or both. Catholics and old blue haired ladies who would never leave a open bingo card came over from KC Hall (Knights of Columbus) across street as did Mobil gas station people. Mobil is #30, KC Hall #31 on the map.
This nice, generally clean store ended up turning into something called Opportunity one night, went there that day, came back next day, new sign, and same employees, and everything else. As the neighborhood changed, this was Opportunity LOST as it closed down later, too much competition from I guess HEB (#15 on map) which was 4 times bigger Port & Leopard, maybe even from Hameweis (#85 on map) next to Sears corner of Sam Rankin & Leopard, too many grocery stores, not enough people in slowly dying off neighborhoods.
Beils either pulled out of or was bought out eventually. And not sure how long they lasted into the 1970s. Competition fierce? Who knows, but for a lot of us who went to Beils, especially Leopard street location across from Gulf Radiator, a lot of great memories remain!
Photo #1, this is Beils on Staples, not Leopard, but the one on Leopard at Doss was identical façade, even lights hanging down same.
Photo #2, diet Rite Cola, momma loved them...and Tab. Tab was made across street from Beils at Coca Cola on Lester. Vile tasting stuff, no amount of sugar made it taste good yuck. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, French's Mustard in the little barrels, and mayonnaise in this end of aisle photo.
Photo #3. Beils didn't have a whole lot of push carts though they were a "Self Service Grocery" And there was a one foot drop off from around front of building to parking lot if you pulled in from Leopard. Never fear, the baggers and sometimes cashiers would take out the groceries for you.
Photo #4. Big carton milk. We didn't buy milk at Beils or HEB, we bought it stores all over Corpus Christi in GLASS gallon jugs, Old Bossy ha ha, there was small store across from Hi 9 bar where Old Brownsville splits at Leopard we bought at. I was fond of 1/2 & 1/2 milk people use for coffee, didn't know NOT supposed to drink it straight but every now & then momma buy me one.
Photo #5. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile! With a chef, I guess he was a chef, looked like one to a 7 or 8 year old. Nothing says street party like FREE anything in the hood! Side note: I still have about 5 Hot Wheels Oscar Weiner Mobiles in my big Hot Wheels collection in 2018.
Photos #6 thru #10. These are Beil's downtown Corpus Christi at their location on Starr Street, before I was born ha ha. But you can see how unique, clean, the store was, and this extended to all the Beil's store, even the one on Leopard years later. Employees looked like they actually valued your shopping there, unlike many places today! Photos #11 & #12 are Staples Location!
44. Unknown Furniture Store
45. Cage's Hardware. This Cage's on Leopard & Lester had all sorts of great stuff. The employees were really friendly except they would tend to stalk us kids. Probably for good reason as some of us went in lighter than we came out. I didn't steal from here, as my dad shopped here.
Besides your normal hammers, saws, and things, they also had ceramics, and collectibles, in front windows, not sure why, maybe to hit with hammers. I saved my dimes and bought a lighted UFO frisbee here, would later buy a different same at Auto Center, but this one had 2 small AA batteries, and some little lights on top, so when you tossed it, it would spin and light up! Wow! Sure could not toss it more than 15 yards due to weight but who cares, was heavier than regular frisbee. One of my favorite pastimes was chasing Missouri Pacific trains a block away, anytime I heard the long soulful whistle, grab bike and off Bootsy & me went unless dark, rain, of homework. Well I had this crazy idea to put little nails on railroad track, train smash them, they looked like Cross of Lorraine swords now. Ten I would take to Cathedral and sell them to kids. Cage's was part of my evil plan, as they had several cool scales hanging from ceiling, you load in nails, and get price from clerk, usually the old lady with cat eye glasses. So for 10 or 20 cents, could get little brown bag of nails to flatten. Also got nails from here to use on skateboards we made, as had unlimited amount of Coke, Sprite & other bottlecaps to nail into the wood upside down to keep shoes on. This place also sold bicycle things like tires, tubes, and even television tubes that glowed and poppa was repairing televisions on the side so this came in handy.
Photo #1 Inside Cage's Hardware on Leopard street, they had more paint than modern places like Home Depot. And friendly staff to boot. Plumbing, whole toilets, lights, fixtures, LOTS of tools like hammers, screwdrivers, could build whole house just using stuff bought here. Actually we tried that after hurricane Celia. Epic fail, not on Cage's part, but had huge hole in old roof from 500+ lb fan from Coca Cola it destroyed the whole house.
Photo #2. Cage's Hardware inside, not best lit place, had big glass windows facing Leopard Street, of which have long since been nailed shut. The hanging lights inside, were pretty much same UFO looking ones Sear's up the road had, and even in some stores downtown like Litchenstein's. Note the big trash cans for sale lower right of photo. Towards back, some of these were filled to brim with popular nails! And.. you had ice scoops to scoop them out into bags. But where the hell fun is that, as a kid, stick hand in there and grab them, he who gets most cuts wins.
Photo #3 Cage's Hardware in 2018 is now a York Air Condition place, the windows all boarded up. Boo! But Cage's once had larger windows, not these child portion ones. And looks like subdivided also, not sure what the hell that is in right. But the little alley there next to it, is where could go down that alley, go up stairs, and spy on people in apartments up there, the apartments long since removed too. I wonder how many kids that couple in 1960s we saw ended up with? Probably not as many as me.
Photo #4 Looking past the time ravaged Coca Cola company that was next door to our crappy house for decades, I took this photo from atop The Hill of Death facing south summer 2018. Antelope is foreground, Lester street on left with Leopard in background. Central Office Supply was once a furniture store, don't remember name, on left was Beil's Grocery Store. To right of it was Cage's Hardware. Behind Coca Cola shown here was Mario's Barber shop & Noe's Café.
46. White upper apartments. There are/were/might still be some apartments upper floor here ( # 46) and small oyster shell alley from Leopard to lonely railroad tracks behind it. So you had to go up long set of stairs to get to apartment. As kids we would go up and down stairs, and one day looked in a window to see a couple doing something, not sure what, but went and got other kids. So now looked like Little Rascals looking in window watching this couple go at it. We were all jostling for position (ha ha guy inside was too but in different manner!) but they never saw us, despite the creaking wooden stairs under all our weight. Hell even dog Bootsy came up stains. Decades before viagra that got old and we left. Eventually.
(ain't got no photo of this place, sorry)
47 & 48. US Post Office & KZFM. Across the street was a US Post Office, ( # 48 ) right next to railroad tracks, pretty red brick building, and Bootsy would quietly wait for me outside with bike when I went in to dig in trash. Found lots of stuff here, but nothing of the sheer volume of the US Post Office on Upper Broadway near Cathedral where I stole a pencil from blind man inside, which to this day, still haunts me. Monsignor Schmidt long since forgave me in the Cathedral confessional, hope God does. Or maybe God will whip out the pencil one day at pearly gates and say 'remember THIS' and down I go into the Grandpappy's long slide into hell. This place didn't smell like the unique and wonderful smell of the Broadway post office, just smelled, I don't know, generic. Sort of like Mc Inness bookstore at Six Points. Smelled 'booky'. But as they say when I buy another Shamwow drunk at 4:00am, "But Wait! There is more!" Next door ( # 47) expanded with post office. Well, at this time we moved from old crappy destroyed house at 2009 Antelope that Celia had taken out with 500+ pound fan from top of Coca Cola, to a new trailer Senator John Tower gave out 10,000+ long trailers, so that was now next to house. Then we lost trailer after year and Lloyd Remple a friend of my dad's let us rent 642 Naples for $300 a month, so moved there. In the time we moved there to time we moved back 2-3 years later after getting kicked out of 642 Naples as Lloyd wanted to 'rerent' the house for $600 a month, the post office closed and now local radio station KZFM had moved in. I do not know if they kept their location in top floor somewhere in 600 building though. ad visited that as a kid, walked right in like I did lots of damned places, and they gave me tour. 1/2 the fun was not only seeing all the lights, turntables and microphones but of course, going up and down the elevator. ALONE. So now this place KZFM.At one time, KZFM radio was in one of the upper floors of 600 Building about mile away. Then they appeared in this building, across from Noe's and beside Cage's in 1970s. But before it was KZFM was a US Post Office with beautiful red bricks. And whoever the owner is of building guess they subdivided it, as the Post Office was both places, and the big US postal 18 wheelers would come in on the Larry street side facing Missouri Pacific tracks (Auto Zone & later Vick's side) and plug up what was, then, a crappy little street, some paved, other dirt! KZFM had all the same equipment inside there, as several of us kids who had went to see the 600 Building location, also checked in here. There are some former KZFM dee-jays & workers that occasionally pop up in this Corpus Christi group, if you have photos or more info on timeline here place comment! And belated 50 year old THANKS from a kid who got to check out BOTH locations & didn't steal anything while there!
51. Bekin's Moving & Storage
72. THE MELBA THEATER. Located directly across from Braslau's Fine Furniture on Leopard street, is #72 on my BIG MAP here way up Leopard. Easily visible. It opened in 1927 (or so) about same time my mom and dad were born. Corpus Christi's main drag was Leopard, a gateway as it was called. So not only many, many small shops, but theaters, grocery stores. I can't tell you a whole lot about the place except I did peek inside one time, just being nosy kid. When it was open, you had a lot of nice lights out front and inside small foyer near where ticket booth was. Then more doors, then another foyer, then more doors to movie theater. I am guessing like Ritz downtown and Amusu also downtown, the area between sitting and front was for smokers.It was legal then and everyone lit up.
Judging by the 1930s photo it looks like some country movie must have been the showcase, not sure if it by then had 'talkies' or movies with sound or not. There is some cowboy on the marquee. The old movie theater went the way of 8-tracks, drive inn movies, and Blockbuster to put it in sort of timeline. At one time, going to movie theater was a event! Get all dressed up, we had to wear shoes, and put on our Cathedral church clothes. And the old movie houses were quite spectacular inside like Ritz, some even had chandeliers. The Melba closed in 1966, and I was still at Cathedral being altar boy, but would ride past it. There were still old posters inside the glass encasings in front, or course, those got broke and glass everywhere. I didn't do that though. In the 70s, by then it was changed to a homeless shelter, but not much shelter as roof had holes, which continued to get worse as whoever the landlord was of it, let it rot. So rained inside as much as outside. Stripped of all the fancy chairs, light fixtures and more, I believe the name of it was now Bread of Life, or something like that, go in, get Bible lesson and then eat, and if want, a cot to sleep. It got to point where building was dangerous and would have to be demolished. This is a short 2 minute video from Caller Times of it being torn down in 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dima7opHdT8\
It is a parking lot now I understand, as is Braslau's Fine Furniture across street.
PHOTOS: Photo #1 A split photo showing The Melba in 1930s and in 1980s.
Photo #2. Looking east at The Melba on Leopard street towards uptown. This is in 1990s.
Photo #3. Not sure how the cases for movie posters survived so long as were aluminum! A photo of The Melba in 1990s showing intricate artwork and construction on front façade. Especially near top. Note one walled up small opening on right had now bucked, showing contents inside.
73. Ace Signs (seen on left)
74. Greenberg's Jewelers (seen on left)
75. Ridgway Printing: "In their own words" (Jim Berridge, whose dad was Branch Manager) Eddie, Ridgway's was a business specializing in architectural, drafting, surveying supplies and did did building plan reproductions using the old blue print hydrogen developed wash and drum dry method that was the state of the art used it that period and before. They also did film and ammonia reproductions, which became the standard for many years, extensively for big and small building and engineering projects all over Corpus Christi and the surrounding area. If there was building and construction going on in those days and beyond, Ridgway's likely had a hand in producing plans for their distribution for contractors, and sold the tools of the drafting, engineering and surveying trades they needed. Ridgway's was eventually acquired from the Ridgway and Blaylock families in the 1990s and the business name changed to the current day ARC company name. That company name may be in Corpus nowadays, that was once Ridgway's. There was a Peacock Cafe very close to Ridgway's back then that was my very first job of washing dishes one summer for a while at the age of around 11-12 years old. I also used to walk from Ridgway's some days to the uptown location of the YMCA to spend my summer days also.I was born at Thomas Span hospital in 1955 and eventually Dad (Ed Berridge) and our family were moved to Shreveport in 69-70 where I am today. Lots of fond childhood memories in Corpus and Portland, where we lived before moving. Thanks again!" (Ridgway Printing is YELLOW SIGN on left)
85. The Hamauei's Waco Food Store Leopard & Sam Rankin (next to Sears). The Hamauei's had a two story white building sandwiched between Sears Automotive Garage & a car lot facing Leopard near corner of Sam Rankin. Across street was Schaffer's Muffler Shop, the big white funeral home with the old Dodge Charger on the side parking lot & Montabano's tire. To first familiarize yourself with the location, see big map up above, #85 is Hamaueis Their store was nothing short of organized chaos. Thru the front door which was screen & I believe had Butter Krust on it, you entered a near convenience store chock full of damned near everything. Smack dab in front of you was two ice cream coolers with sliding glass horizontal doors filled with goodies like Nutty Buddy, Creamsickle, Maltos, and Borden & Hygeia battled it out for ice cream supremacy. And why not? Both had factories in Corpus Christi. Behind it was the counter where you pay. Sometimes so much stuff there didn't know where to pay but the daddy wave you over to a clearing next to old push button register that probably should have been retired in 1940s, but seemed to work fine in 1960s. Off to the side you had arab type stuff like cookies. Things I was not familiar with pastries and what not, but just didn't know much about those, besides less than 50 yards away behind Schaffer's Muffler shop there was Mirabel Bakery, a 'panderia' Mexican sweetbread pan dulce place my grandma & mom took us too, so was familiar with those sweets. A little too damned familiar with those conches, empanadas, campechanas, filled cookies I think I just put on 2 pounds thinking about that stuff now. However! Like Mirabel's Bakery (& Sears next door with wafting smell of fresh popcorn) Hamawei's place when you opened the door, the aroma hit you in the face. And as a kid, never it seemed to be the same. I never knew where it came from, just different, and made you hungry. In all the times I went there, I never saw the momma, or maybe I DID see the momma, just never knew it was THE momma you know. I always dealt with the daddy. Mister Hamawei was a portly fellow, round jovial face who always seemed to be smiling. And wearing a long apron. And 'doing something' by that I mean stocking apples, fruits, veggies, boxes, cigars, sweeping, you name it, one man gang. But always smiling!Off to one side was a comic book rack. And he knew that was what I was there for. Not gum, not sodas, not ice cream, comic books. So on my way home from Cathedral on old bike, would stop in, still in Cathedral khaki pants & plaid shirt. He see me come in and say stuff like 'hey...I just got in new Supermans' or 'big batch of April 1966 issues came in today, on rack!' as comic books issued by month back then, and us kids seemed to know when they came out like some know date of new Iphone date. Uncanny! Comics were 10 cents too, so I didn't just read them like I did at HEB at Port & Leopard, here I would buy them, same with Al's News Stands downtown, one near Cathedral, other in Forbidden Zone poppa take me to. I could 'speed read' some comics, but didn't want clerk to get mad, so many times ended up reading 'rest of story at home' by buying it. You know we still had modern things like electricity, even telephone at this time.
This was a big one room downstairs here with EVERYTHING shoved into it, sometimes up to ceiling, for sale or stored. I am making a guess here that the extended family lived upstairs. Could hear footsteps inside ceiling like people walking around, sometimes voices too. My dad always thought these people were Syrians or Albanians, but someone told me they were Lebanese Christians. That I guess would make more sense since one of the girls was Alberta, and she was in my class at Cathedral. Seems the Hamauei's must have had a kid in each damned grade or were breeding like rabbits, as I believe there was one in my late brother Tommy's class, possibly Mike(?), and several more in grades below me. Alberta had long black hair, quick with a smile, and sort of a tomboy. By that I mean she liked stuff like sports, we didn't have any team per se at Cathedral although we were called Corpus Christi Cathedral Cougars. Yup, CCCC almost like to old Soviet space program CCCP. But we did play kickball between church & school, also had basket ball hoops on cement pillars on school itself between 1st & 2nd then 3rd & 4th, so lots of HORSE games. She was pretty good at stuff like that, and she could probably kick a lot of the guys asses to boot, tough girl that Alberta. I never seemed to see the kids at the little store though. I can tell you there was a big nest of them.
Anyways, the old man is who I dealt with personally. And out conversations were only about comics, sometimes Cathedral. I never stole anything from this place. For whatever reason I simply saw a hard working man who had competition stacked against him with Beils being 6 blocks west, and HEB at corner of Port & Leopard 2 blocks further. So (to me as a kid) it seemed he simply had to work HARDER to get customer's dollar in 1960s and while the money I spent there on comics was not life changing, and may or may not have made a difference, I would give this little store the nod over bigger places. My mom or dad never shopped there, but mom rarely shopped at Beils either, even though could look out front door, down towards Gulf Radiator and right there, right THERE across Leopard 1/2 football field away, there it was. Now I wished had more money as a kid, but we were poor you know, but if I had more money would have bought some of those yummy looking deli sandwiches made fresh daily there, or the fruits, or even some of the strange arab looking sweet things. Obviously they had a large following from area places like Sears, Good Year, even up street like Wilson tower, 600 Building, Driscoll Hotel, maybe even other side of Crosstown like Lew Williams. I don't know what ever happened to the Hamauei's, as lost touch with Alberta after 6th grade, she went some school, I went to CC Academy. The building was still there when I moved from Corpus Christi, but gone now. Cheers to the Hamauei family & God bless them, were hard working good people & hope some of the kids later on in life ended up in the food & restaurant industry with some of the obviously delicious recipes as Corpus Christi & beyond would be a better place for it. But you would NOT leave the Hamauei store without buying something!
Photos: #1 inside the store was similar to this, just packed with stuff, even to ceiling. Like Home Depot, Lowes in modern stores, guess most was storage making use of limited space.
Photo #2. Hey kid! you gonna buy something or stand there all day? Well, uh, uh, ok! And I would usually buy something 10 cents, sometimes 12 cents a book. Sharp eyed folks will see Little Lulu, Woody Woodpecker, Casper, Mystic, Matt Slade/Gunfighter, Action Comics, Bob Hope, Dennis The Menace to name a few, all popular. But my hard earned coins were reserved for:
Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Action Comics/Superman, Detective Comics/Batman and some Archie & Jughead. Imagine going thru life with name like Jughead, must have gotten his ass kicked a lot. And old Bruce Wayne aka Batman, if you ever wonder how he could afford luxurious Wayne Manor & expensive butler Alfred, it was by all the comics he sold to us kids.
Photo #3. This is called a 'Comics Book Stand Topper' these metal pieces rested on top of the spinning comics books stand and was like throwing a bottle water in middle of Flint, Michigan to us kids. Or television set after tubs glow orange and warm up on Saturday morning 5:00 AM to watch Go Go Gophers, Underdog & Bugs Bunny. A mint condition 'comic book stand topper' sold in 2018 for $24,000.
Photo #4. Kraft! Velveeta! Yes, two of the five main food groups. Oops, covered up the register, where do these palookas pay now eh?
Click Here For *MORE* Corpus Christi Stories
I had to move many of them as have been
writing too much stuff!