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Everybody enjoyed a good movie and westerns were king for Harold

(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL

Susan (Green) Evans, who was raised by her mother, Barbara and step-father
Kenneth Raines, holds up a 1970s era Plain Talk with a film festival feature.
Harold Smith, Tommy Williamson, and Heavy Green attended hundreds of
these through the years.
Published: 4:47 PM, 08/16/2013
 

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The Cocke County A&I Fair had to contend with showers and cooler weather this week in our hometown pondering unusual weather that normally is hot and dry. The real thermometer to watch is that for fuel prices as gasoline is in a glut and prices should continue to fall.

We end our chat for now with Buford and Toye Messer after his retirement from Solar-10 in late July. Toye had retired a few years ago from the school system. When Toye joined Edgemont School cafeteria, Hulda Gray was the manager and, later, Linda Clevenger, who retired the same time Toye did. At first Toye did a lot of cooking and kitchen work. Soon she became a cashier and over the years learned how to deal with collecting cash and later handling the various ways children’s school meals are paid. She stays in touch with and recalls co-workers through the years such as Claudette Shults, Beulah Bowers, and still working in the cafeteria, Sheila Williamson and Kathy Douglas.

As I mentioned earlier, the Messers love to travel and have toured most every state in the US except Alaska and Hawaii. They have also gone into Canada at Lake Michigan and stayed at a wonderful giant resort on the lake’s edge. If you can suggest a fall bus tour, give them a call. The only real health issue Buford endured for a while was a bad knee and this led to a right knee replacement in 2004. And when not traveling or feeding Stumpy and the neighborhood cats, they make sure to attend Reidtown Church where Robbie Chambers is pastor.

Moving along now to some things I’ve noticed while driving along Knoxville Highway including a couple of business changes brewing. Moe-Mart opened across from the fairgrounds in a small block building that used to be a used appliance repair. You know Moe Swanson who ran the Cosby Highway Bylo for many years and retired. Well, he’s back and you will hear more about him. I saw a new sign at Western Plaza. It seems that LaCaretta Mexican Restaurant is either adding or changing locations. They have been in Bryant Town for decades and will soon open at Western Plaza where the Golden Wok used to be before closing in recent months. Bryant Town may lose a restaurant but it is gaining a donut shop and I’m trying to find out more about this new business, too. Early last week I was getting a sandwich at Arby’s and bumped into J.D. Nease. He had retired for a short time from Newport Utilities but they needed him back. J.D. said he has worked about 48 years for the utility and hopes to make it 50. I am sure he dates back to the world before electricity.

 

 

Back to the theater days

 

Susan Green Evans was only two years old when her mother, Barbara, married Kenneth Raines and adopted her. He is a brother to the late J.C. Raines and all these folks such as Charlie and Chuck Raines lived along Raines Road that connects Carson Springs Road to New Cave Church, as did the Evans family who eventually started Evans Honda marked by a huge area of junked and wrecked Hondas. Susan visited me at the Plain Talk and brought with her many Plain Talk articles from the mid 1970s written by me and then lifestyles writer Shirley Elliott. It was great to see a lot of the old photos of film exhibitor Harold Smith with many of the B-Western film stars. And, of course, George “Heavy” Green was in the photos as a sidekick to Harold and long-time co-worker and Susan’s father. One interesting photo was of Heavy with Ray “Crash” Corrigan at Nashville in 1976 for a film festival.

Susan is married to Jeff Evans, who operates Evans automotive and his brother is Chuck, a deputy sheriff, and former Honda business co-worker with Jeff. Their parents are Willie Mae Evans and the late Delmar Evans, who is the man who started the Honda business. So you can see that Susan and Jeff grew up together along Raines Road. Many people worked in the Woodzo Drive-in concession stand selling popcorn, pizzas, and soft drinks. Do you recall when Harold and Heavy would announce over the theater speakers, “Mike, your pizza is ready”? Barbara took Susan to the concession stand at the Newport Drive-in, when Barbara worked and Susan was about age 13 and it was the first time she met Heavy. Susan was born in April 1966. It was a busy time at the drive-ins especially hot summers when people could get outside during the night. Movies like Dolly Parton’s “Best Little Whore House in Texas” backed motorists up on Knoxville Highway for a mile. Susan said she misses the era and so do I. Her brother, Ricky Green, worked serving Cokes as did Harold’s daughter, Sherry.

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