Picture Taken In Late
Photo and Stat by jrd. 10/10/04.
The following paragraphs are just a series of thoughts and ideas
that bounce around in my head, when I set down at this old keyboard. And no,
there does not seem to be any pain associated with such thoughts. No claim is
being made for any of these paragraphs to be factual and especially the dates to
be certified as being correct. No research has been done and no claim made for
any of it to be bona fide truth. Just have some time during the cold days of
winter and thus, it gives an old retiree something to do. If someone actually
reads this stuff and can reminisce and go back in time, that would be a bonus.
If you are still reading, thanks.
Tom and Kate Tooley, to my knowledge,
were lifelong residents of Rockport, Kentucky. They were in either the grocery
store or restaurant business for as long as I can remember. Four children were
produced out of this marriage and all were well liked and respected. At one
time, three of the siblings taught school. Thelma, Bill, Betty and Hazel
were like most other siblings, in the manner that they were all unalike. Is not
that the normal case? Bill and Thelma became "Store Owners". Hazel and Betty
became School Teachers.
The "Tooley" store operation may have been in continuous
operation longer than any other store in Rockport. Don't remember when "Thelma's
Place" first opened. It just seems to have always been opened. As far as I can
remember, there has been a grocery and at one time a service station and grocery
combined. Mr. and Mrs. Tom Tooley had a restaurant on this property and when the
restaurant burned they rebuilt and came back with a Grocery Store. The place was
called Tooley's Place or maybe Tooley's Grocery. Tom and Kate Tooley ran the
grocery store until they retired and then Thelma Tooley Mason took over. Bill
Tooley had opened a restaurant about this time and Betty Tooley Curtis had
become a school teacher. Hazel Tooley Rigsby had married a Presbyterian preacher
and moved away. Thelma had married Bruce "Pete" Mason and they operated the
grocery until just a few years ago. In later years, some people were calling the
store Pete's Place after Bruce Mason, but think that there were ever only two
names. At first it was Tooley's and then Thelma's.
The gas station part
of the store lasted about as long as the grocery store part, but the Service
Station part was short lived. Don't remember any type of building for the
Service Station part, but there was a means for a person to change oil and to do
some minor repairs on an automobile. Just to the right of the store and somewhat
downhill, a special built concrete ramp existed. Using care and driving slowly,
a person could drive a car onto the ramp. Caution was of the utmost, as there
was not much of anything to prevent a car from being driven off the ramp. In the
middle of the ramp was steps leading down to the bottom of the hill. Thus a car
was driven on top of the ramp and the steps would be in the center of the car.
Now a mechanic had access to the underside of the car, and either be standing or
sitting on the steps, while working on the car. Thus, a very simple means of
getting access to the underside of a car existed.
My first recollection
of Tooley's Place was visiting the automobile ramp. Young boys always had some
type of device or toy that needed lubrication. Bicycles and wagons come to mine
in particular, but there were others. A short trip to the ramp at "Tooley's
Place" and we were able to get enough oil to last us for months to come. We did
not want the used oil that had come from the cars, but wanted the fresh oil that
was still left in each quart oil can. I think that "Pete" must have been
gracious here, as seems that there was always plenty of oil left in those quart
oil cans. All we had to do was to pick up a can and drain the dozen or so drops
of oil that was left in each can. That was lots of oil for a young
Thelma's Place was next to the Rockport School and when school
was in session, many a kid spent their lunch money at the store. Part of this
period of time, there was a school lunchroom, but a homemade sandwich and chips,
with an R C Cola, was more satisfying that the lunchroom meal. The Rockport
School burned in September, 1967 and that ended the supplying of lunch to the
school children. The making of sandwiches continued with the workers, hunters,
fisherman, and others, enjoying a good sandwich. Bologna was the specialty
and I never did decide whether bologna with cheese and mustard or bologna with
mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato made the best sandwich. There was other
sandwiches, but bologna was by far the best seller.
As time is eternal,
people are not. As we age, sooner or later, we must retire or cease to exist.
For a period of about eighty years or so, activity in this store area was
exciting and interesting. Now, passing the empty store is sad, but when this one
place closed, another place opened somewhere else.
If you are still here,
thanks for reading and looking. Hope that some of you were taken back down
memory lane or were able to reminisce a little and go back in time. I am sure
each of us have our own recollections of this Rockport