It was definitely a time to remember

Published 10:31 am Friday, January 10, 2014

By Jim Luke

Guest Columnist 

As city manager, I slowly leaned back in my chair behind my desk on the second floor of the new city hall last week and I find myself gazing through the window down on Goodyear Boulevard.

I thought to myself wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an on/off switch you could flick to be able to see yesterdays. Yesterdays is a secret memory file in your heart where you keep memories of past years….. As I stare down Goodyear Boulevard I slowly close my eyes and suddenly a door from a past era of time opens, a file to yesterdays.

As I peer back to a snapshot in time a smile comes over my face as I remember my first solo trip in my 1964 Ford Fair Lane on Goodyear Boulevard. I recognized my elbow sticking out the driver side window. That was a special day in 1968 that I will always cherish. All the world was wonderful and full happiness, hope and dreams.

Young people were everywhere, it was a time of innocence on Goodyear Boulevard. Yes, old memories are the best……first car, first date, first kiss, and the leftover glow of long-gone loves….all started on Goodyear Boulevard.

Now I begin to drift even further back in time past yesterdays to yesteryears and I find myself looking at the front of historic city hall. It’s May 3, 1939 and a ceremony is being conducted by Mayor L.O. Crosby and city alderman on the steps of city hall.

City Clerk and later in time city manager A.J. Read was the master of ceremonies The Picayune High School band are sitting on the steps out front playing a song followed by the invocation by the pastor of the First Baptist church. This is followed by a song by the Mississippi Women’s College Quartet of Hattiesburg. I have to pinch myself. This can’t be happening, I am standing on Goodyear Blvd. watching the historic 1939 dedication of the city hall almost 75 years ago. It is so real!

Mayor Crosby makes a short speech and is presented with a painting of himself by the Board of Alderman. The program is closed with the American flag being raised by the Boy Scouts. There on the steps stood the architect for City Hall, William Lockyear, in a white suit. Next to Mr. Lockyear is Mayor Crosby who served as mayor for almost two decades.

Suddenly, I was startled by the ringing of church bells at First Baptist Church, and I am fast-forwarded from the 1939 City Hall Dedication to the City Hall Dedication on May 3, 2013. I am standing on the podium introducing Mayor Dr. Ed Pinero, and the City Council’s members, whose vision of returning City Hall back to where it began became a reality. The dedication on May 3, 2013 was attended by hundreds of people from our community and mirrored the dedication of 1939. (as stated in the Picayune Item May 4, 1939) I think the founders of Picayune got it right and so did we.