All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Roscoe Firemen Put Out Blaze

Arenivaz Fire
Members of the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department were successful in extinguishing a fire that broke out at the home of Manny and Liz Arenivaz at 1110 Ash Street on Thursday, but not before it had destroyed a greenhouse and part of the back side of the house, along with the items stored there.

The owners had no insurance, so a GoFundMe page has been established. Anyone wishing to help with a donation can do so by clicking here.  



Yesterday, RCISD’s Edu-Cast released the following video update of information regarding the opening of the upcoming 2020-21 school year. They plan to issue a new update each week.

Not mentioned is yesterday’s UIL news postponing football for 5A and 6A schools for one month. Smaller schools from 4A on down, however, are still on schedule to begin football two-a-days and seasons on time.

The latest TEA (Texas Education Agency) Guidelines for schools are available here



City and Nolan County workers will begin the annual summer project of seal coating Roscoe streets today. Streets receiving attention first will include parts of Ash, Oak, and 11th Streets.



Texas remains one of the national hotspots for Covid-19, but some parts of the state are more affected by the virus than others. The hardest hit areas are currently the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend area around Corpus Christi. Hospital ICU’s in south Texas are full to overflowing, and a mobile morgue of refrigerated trucks has been set up in Corpus because the permanent morgues are full.

Texas’ big cities are also nationally designated “red zones.” Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso all have hospitals at 80% or above capacity with around 20% of them Covid-19 patients. This week the state hit a new record high for Covid-19 hospitalizations at 10,848 and 829 more deaths this past week.

However, the Big Country is currently not in any crisis for hospital space and remains one of the lesser affected areas in the state. Roscoe, in particular, has been lucky so far as few people here even know anyone who has been a confirmed positive. Let’s hope it remains that way.

Abilene’s Covid-19 hospitalization rate, after several weeks of steady increases, has leveled off somewhat this past week to 42 (41 last week) and still has over 20 ICU beds available. Taylor County now has 457 active cases (419 last week) with 11 total deaths.

Nevertheless, the number of local active cases continues to grow. Nolan County now has 52 active cases (32 last week) with 2 of those in the prison system (4 last week), and Mitchell County has 11 active cases (19 last week) with 3 (2 last week) in the prison system. Scurry County has 77 active cases (73 last week) with 250 more in the prison system.

These are the area’s county figures for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 659 (607); Scurry, 371 (350); Erath, 300 (236); Brown, 289 (237); Howard, 98 (71); Nolan 90 (70); Comanche, 50 (32); Runnels, 44 (25); Callahan, 36 (28); Eastland, 34 (20); Mitchell 31 (26); Haskell, 25 (8); Fisher, 22 (14); Shackelford, 18 (9); Stephens, 18 (9); Knox, 17 (10); Coke, 10 (5); Coleman, 7 (5), Stonewall, 4 (0); Throckmorton, 2 (0); Kent, 2 (0).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 4,556 (3,823); Ector (Odessa), 1,643 (1,370); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,226 (1,065); Midland, 1,199 (1,194); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 751 (636).

Texas now has 341,739 cases (275,058 a week ago), 151,059 of them active (129,338 a week ago), and 4,151 deaths (3,322 a week ago).



The Joy Theater on Broadway in 1949.
Editor’s note: This memory of the Joy Theater originally ran in the Roscoe Hard Times of March 11, 2011.

In a world of smartphones, iPads, and HD television, it’s difficult to envision a time when radios were the most advanced medium in the home, and a trip to the movie theater to see a “picture show” was a special treat.  In fact, the number of people who remember those days is steadily shrinking, but some of us still recall when the Joy Theater was one of the most important establishments in downtown Roscoe.

The Joy Theater was located on the south side of the street, just east of the intersection of Broadway and Main and just west of Medlock’s Furniture store.  (It was across the street from where the Cotton Belles is today.) In the early fifties, it was owned by Jack Wallace, but he gave it up to run the Midway drive-in theater between Roscoe and Sweetwater and sold the Joy to John Weatherhogg, the math teacher at Roscoe High, who ran it with his son, Neil.      

The price of admission was 14¢ for kids under 12 and 35¢ for anyone 12 or over.  When we went on Saturday mornings, my parents usually gave my brothers and me the correct change or maybe 15¢, but occasionally we got lucky and got a quarter apiece.  That would not only get us into the picture show, but also a small sack of popcorn (5¢), a coke (5¢), and a piece of penny candy, such as a Tootsie Roll, a piece of bubble gum, or a little four-pack of Kits.  The Joy also sold candy like Big Hunks and Sugar Daddy, both of which were popular with kids because they took a long time to eat.

Next to the candy counter was a staircase that went up to the colored section, which was just a small balcony upstairs in the back with a few folding chairs and benches.

The evening shows were always for adults, but Saturday mornings were for kids, and it was always a treat to get to go.  My brother Joe and I regularly went with our neighbors Ronnie and Cuppy Graham but would meet up with other friends once we got to the theater.  Like other kids who lived in town, we walked together from one of our houses and, when it was over, walked back.  I don’t think it ever occurred to any of our parents to drive us to the theater the way parents do now.  

Inside the theater the best place to sit was the front row.  Besides being closest to the big screen, it was next to the open area between it and the screen, where you could play or wrestle before the show started.

When the lights went out, the show would start with Previews of Coming Attractions, followed by the Paramount World News.  Then came the cartoon (or sometimes a Three Stooges short), which we considered the best part of all.  Sometimes it would be a Disney cartoon with Donald Duck or Goofy, but more often than not it was Looney Tunes with Sylvester & Tweety, Tom & Jerry, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd & Bugs Bunny, or Woody Woodpecker.

Then came the serial, which ran in successive episodes from week to week and featured someone like Lash Larue or Flash Gordon and his nemesis, the mad scientist, Dr. Grood.  In all of the serials there was also a pretty lady who got involved and needed rescuing from time to time.  The episodes always ended with Flash Gordon or the pretty lady in dire peril of impending ruin—and then we had to wait for a whole week to find out what happened to them.

After the serial came the feature presentation, more often than not a black-and-white western starring Hopalong Cassidy or Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.  We knew them and their comic sidekicks—and their horses.  With Roy Rogers came Gabby Hayes and Trigger; with Gene Autry it was Smiley Burnett and Champion.  Most kids had a strong preference for one or the other, with some liking Roy Rogers better, while others preferred Gene Autry.

My friend Biggy Miller said he liked Roy Rogers better because Roy Rogers could duck bullets, a claim that I thought was preposterous.  He got this idea from scenes when the bad guys were shooting at Roy while he was riding Trigger full speed, and naturally he’d look back and duck down when they shot at him.  Biggy believed he could see the bullets coming and was dodging them.

Saturday morning movies weren’t always westerns, though.  Sometimes they were jungle movies with Tarzan or Jungle Jim or Bomba the Jungle Boy.  In these, the comic sidekick was Cheetah or some other chimpanzee just like him, who would at some point save the day.  And sometimes they were war movies with John Wayne, Van Johnson, or Richard Widmark.  It hadn’t been that long before that the country was at war, and the memory of sacrifice and victory was still fresh on people’s minds.

No matter what the movie was about, though, when it was over, we’d go back home and relive it in our play afterwards.  If it was a war movie, we’d be out in some vacant lot killing Japs or Germans.  If it was a western, it would be Indians or outlaws, and if it was a jungle movie, it would be crocodiles or gorillas or natives.  

People did things at the Joy Theater that don’t happen at movie theaters now, and I’m talking about adults, too, not just kids.  Sometimes there’d be a cartoon with songs.  The lyrics would appear on the screen, and a bouncing ball would move from word to word in sync with the song—and the people in the audience would sing along with the song.  I guess most of them were used to singing every Sunday morning in church, so nobody thought anything was unusual about singing in the Joy Theater--and so they did.  I can remember singing along to tunes like “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “Oh, my darling Clementine.”

And on certain nights, Tuesdays I believe, between the cartoon and the movie they’d turn on the lights, and Mr. Weatherhogg would go to the front of the theater to conduct a drawing.  The ticket stubs had numbers on them, and people would check theirs to see if their number matched the one that Mr. Weatherhogg drew and announced.  If it did, they won a prize of some sort.  After three or four prizes were awarded, Mr. Weatherhogg would remind everyone that there would be another drawing the next week, the lights would go back out, and the feature presentation would begin.

The movies that drew the biggest crowds were the religious ones.  When they ran one called “King of Kings,” a show about Jesus, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and another one, “Quo Vadis,” drew a similar crowd.  Also, a black-and-white movie about Bonnie and Clyde once came to the Joy, and along with it came the actual bullet-riddled car that Bonnie and Clyde had been in when they were ambushed and killed.  The car sat in front of the theater all day, and that evening the movie played to a packed audience.

However, the popularity of the Joy faded pretty quickly once Abilene and Sweetwater got broadcast television stations in the mid-fifties.  I don’t think the theater brought in a lot of money in the first place, but when people started staying home to watch Slim Willett and similar programming for free—or went to Sweetwater to see picture shows at the Midway or the Rocket drive-ins, the competition was too much for the Joy, and it finally had to close its doors, becoming just another memory of an earlier time.



Yesterday's sunrise.
The heat wave of the past couple of weeks continued all the way up to yesterday when a storm cloud built up and cooled things off for a welcome change. It also managed to generate some thunder, lightning, and even a brief shower over much of the area. Unfortunately, though, there wasn’t enough moisture to do more than cool the temperature a bit and get the sidewalks wet, as the dry weather continues to plague the area.

The hot spell continued unabated last week as Wednesday’s high was 106°F, Thursday’s 102°, Friday’s 102°, and Saturday’s 98°. Sunday and Monday were almost as torrid at 96° and 97° before yesterday’s clouds finally broke the heat.

Thankfully, the outlook for the rest of the week is for more moderate weather with more clouds. Today’s high should be about 91°, 93° tomorrow, and 94° on Friday and Saturday. There is also a 50% chance for some much-needed rain this afternoon as wind shifts to the east-southeast. Then, there’s also a 60% chance on Sunday and a 50% chance on Monday along with more clouds and cooler temperatures. The high on Sunday is predicted to be only 89° and Monday 90°.



Graveside services for Lucille Martin Brown, 95, are this morning at 11:00am, July 22, at the Loraine Cemetery with Dr. Rick Willis officiating. Burial will follow directed by McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away on Sunday, July 19.

Lucille was born and raised in Loraine, where she graduated in 1942. She graduated from Hardin Simmons University in 1945, where she loved being a member of the HSU Cowgirls Association. She married Hank Brown in 1948 and began a long career of teaching in Littlefield, Loraine, Silverton, Sudan and the last 20 plus years in Roscoe. She loved her students and always found joy in their accomplishments. She was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church in Roscoe, serving on many committees. She was an avid shopper and loved to travel.

Pax and I’Ann are so grateful she never stopped giving advice on how to look your best and be thankful for every day. Lucille was an amazing grandmother to Lance, Whitney, Sabra and Nace. She and Hank drove thousands of miles to take care of them and attend all of their events. She was a resident of College Park Care in Weatherford for the last 11 years. She maintained her wit and most of the time her graciousness till the end. To all the staff and caregivers, words cannot express our heartfelt thanks for the love and compassion shown to her on a daily basis.

Lucille is survived by two daughters, Pax Welch of Weatherford and I’Ann Washington and husband Eddie of Weatherford; two grandsons, Lance Welch and Jacque of Fort Worth, and Nace Washington of Weatherford; granddaughter, Sabra Washington of Weatherford.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard L. “Hank” Brown, in 2004; son, Ronnie Richard Brown, in 1970; and granddaughter, Whitney Welch, in 1998.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive