IRH - A Voice from the Past

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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IRH - A Voice from the Past

Postby David » Mon February 26, 2018, 4:02 pm

A voice from the past
submitted by Russ Lancaster
January 2003
This is a copy of an e-mail I ran across today. It just happens to be the last contact I had with Charlie McKee, HHS Class of 1953. He sent me this in response to a question I had asked him about his brother, Junior and the old "Midget" on Raleigh Street. The e-mail was sent by Charlie less than three months before his death in December of 2002. I know he would like me to share it with you since it reflects back to his personal memories of Hamlet. Charlie contributed many of the photos and commentaries you see here on IRH and we miss him.
Thanks for asking about Jr. He was my oldest brother. The Midget was his life with all his friends who came by to meet and railroad. It seems like only yesterday that he passed away and I miss him. When I came to town, I would always go out to the Midget to see who and what was going on in Hamlet.

I left Hamlet when I graduated in 1953 and went to UNC-CH. It was Miss. Lina Flint who recognized my ability in history and pushed me to pursue this major.

I came back each summer and worked out at the Hub Grill with Bobby Quinn. It was there that I learned a lot about the people who made up Hamlet and Richmond County. The curb boys out there were a special group to me. Like Johnny "Frog" McDonald, the Terry brothers and others. I can still remember who drank which brand of beer.
One time we had the usual crowd in who were all experts on beer taste. We blindfold them and open several cans for them to taste and tell us what brand. It was funny no one got all the brands correct. The "experts" gave all kinds of excuses.

Our two most famous customers were Puddin' Head Jones from Laurel Hill who played 3rd base for the Phillies. The other was Sunny Jim Tatum of football fame.

Mr. Cortwright and Mr. Hill had to have special brands so Bobby would buy a case or two just for their taste.

Phil Gibbons was one our best customers from time to time when he was not chasing a fire truck. I could write a book on Phil's escapades. When I worked at Duke Medical Center, he came in for the last time and died there. Everyone knew I was from Hamlet and wanted to know if I knew Phil. Mr. Gibbons, Phil's father, left money to Duke to establish a professorship or "Chair."


freddie hassler
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Re: IRH - A Voice from the Past

Postby freddie hassler » Wed February 28, 2018, 9:10 pm

I remember Jr. who ran the Midget, he lived right behind it in a house facing West Ave. My Dad Dan Smith would take me and my brother Robbie there when he got off work to drink a beer and talk with his Railroad Pals 8)

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