by Russ Lancaster
Ahh... The Hub! The nightmare of all parents and the place of places for teenagers with driver's licenses.
This was the place to be seen with your girlfriend or the place to see others. The place where rumors began and where romances were both kindled and ended.
As a young man, one of the rights of passage of being in Hamlet High School was the day you got your driver's license and borrowed your parents car to "cruise" The Hub.
Located on old highway 74 (2 lanes back then), this is where you went on school nights or week-ends with your date to see who was with who and to make sure you were seen. It was always better to double-date. That way, if you weren't in the "in-crowd" and couldn't strike up a rapport with another couple, you had friends in the car with you.
The Hub was actually a "drive-in" restaurant but the real purpose as far as teenagers were concerned was it was THE meeting place in Hamlet.
You would pull in to the right of The Hub and head for the dirt parking lot in the back, immediately turning off your headlights as you hit the driveway so as not to shine your lights into others cars in case they were "making out".
WKDX Radio had just begun operation in Hamlet and you could call in requests and have songs dedicated to your date from you. It was great to be sitting in your car, windows steamed up, the radio playing the great 50's music and hear "And now, "Save the Last Dance for Me" dedicated to .... from Russell." Sorry about the blank but if I put a name in there, Helga might just hurt me.. heheheh.
Oh yes, as I was saying, The Hub was actually a drive-in restaurant. If you didn't want to make your date mad, you had to actually spend some money on her...usually a burger and coke would do. This was the only time you were supposed to turn your lights on in the parking lot. You flashed them to get the attention of the guy that would come out and take your order.
Once you were ready to leave The Hub, you drove slowly though the parking area, making sure once again that you saw all who were there (recognizing them mostly by their parent's cars), made sure that you were seen, and as you passed the last car in the lot, you were once again allowed to turn on your headlights before entering highway 74 again.
Then, off to WKDX to personally dedicate one more song to your girlfriend, drop her off at her house, then drive by your OTHER girlfriend's house and beep your horn to let her know you were thinking about her. Oh how rotten we were, but innocent in an innocent time.
Yes, I remember Hamlet!
This section is to honor the works of Russ Lancaster who started the “I Remember Hamlet” web site years ago. Without his pioneering the web at that time we might not have gathered all these memories of our Hamlet, NC. We thank you Russ for what you started in 1996, may you Rest in Peace. Russ was kind enough to let me download his web site before he took it down. Thank you Russ.
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