Back in the late 1950’s into the early 1960’s, Fall time in Kennedale always meant something special was about to happen!
The Kennedale Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by several other men from our community, hosted the annual “Fish Fry” at the Fire Hall. Some of the men went on a big fishing trip and brought the fish back to the Fire Hall, where they fried up the fish and hush puppies. They would park the fire engines outside, away from the Fire Hall and set up tables and chairs inside and outside. They had a big trailer outside for the entertainment!
As time drew near for the annual Fish Fry, city and state politicians from near and far made plans to come and campaign for the office they may be running for. The town turned out full force for this event. It was a time to decide who you wanted to vote for after hearing them speak, if you were still uncertain. It was a time to visit with old friends and meet new ones, and a time to hear our local Country Western band, The Ramblers. When they took the stage everyone gathered round to hear the latest country songs. The band was made up of several Kennedale men, three of which I do remember were, Eldon “Big Boy” Luttrell and Clarence Waldrop and Leo Eller on Fiddle. It was a very special treat when Mr. Luttrell’s daughter got on the stage, dressed in her best Loretta Lynn like western outfit with fringe and rhinestones. Gloria Luttrell was two years older than I was and I was astonished at how she got on stage in front of the entire town and sang with no fear! I loved to sing, but thought I would never have nerve to do such a thing!! She was great and the talk of the school for weeks after the Fish Fry!
One year a traveling carnival came to town and set up on the vacant lot across the street from the Fire Hall. That year we had fried fish dinner, music entertainment and fun for the kids with all the rides. This event would last all afternoon! What fun for all the kids to run and play with schoolmates and for the adults to get to stop their daily chores and working hard to make a living and to enjoy a day to just socialize with neighbors.
The Fire Hall was the gathering place in those days. We had no Community Center, no Senior Center, no Teen Center as of yet. All the Vol. Firemen who were able bodied enough to fight fires, also still worked everyday. When the Fire Bell went off that was mounted on the outside of the Fire Hall, if they could hear it from their jobs, they were to report to the Fire Hall and race off to fight the fire. All the “Retired Volunteer Firemen” who could not hold up to do much fire fighting, but could sure direct the young, would report to the Fire Hall and shoot the breeze and play 42 for most of the day. For ever so long, I thought both my grandpas worked at the Fire Hall as Firemen, but they just hung out playing dominoes all day!
What great memories I share with many Kennedalians from that era. Memories I am proud to share with you through my Daddy’s pictures.
Left to Right: Chuck Shytles, Charlie McIntire, Wallace Gillespi, Bob Cochrin, not sure on the tall guy?, John Biondi, B.T. Webb and PUNEY Warren.
Photo by: Middleton