Thelma's Market.
Rockport, Kentucky.
Picture Taken In Late 2004.

Photo and Stat by jrd. 10/10/04.
 

 
....Thelma's Market....
Rockport, Kentucky.
Mid 20th Century.

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 teenager.

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 Landmark.

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See you.......
 
jrd