I have written several times about my friend, Monroe F. “Buddy” Stamps. Buddy is a retired bank President, but more important to me, he is a veteran of both the World War II and Korean wars. I first began talking to Buddy in 2009 about his wartime experiences. He helped me immensely as I sifted through my Dad’s wartime paperwork.
This year I wrote about a 1952 plane crash at Offutt Field at Omaha, Nebraska. Buddy was on board. Five men did not survive, including Captain Walter Irving Lawson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.
In April of this year Buddy was able to conference with family members of Captain Lawson, and for the first time they heard the details of what happened to their father and grandfather on that fateful day. Their late mother, his widow, just could never talk about it.
Since then, Walter’s son and one of his grandsons have come to Georgia to visit with Buddy Stamps personally. He shared pictures, articles, scrapbooks, and stories of the past. It was a wonderful and emotional afternoon. I was honored to be there.
While I was at his home, I looked through Buddy’s scrapbooks too and found one that his daughter Mary made for him several years ago. After Buddy retired from banking he wrote a series of articles for the Manchester Star-Mercury, the local newspaper in his hometown, Manchester, Georgia. He called them Manchester Memories.
Manchester just happens to be the next ”big town” to President Roosevelt’s Little White House at Warm Springs. Not sure what the population was in 1940 but in 2010 it was less than 4000.
“The town came to being in 1907 when the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic Railroads chose the site for the junction of all three lines. At about the same time a branch of the Calloway Cotton Mills was established in the same area. Mr. Fuller E. Calloway, owner of the mill divided up 200 acres and sold the lots for $75.00 apiece to get the small village growing.”
Many of Buddy’s articles relate what it was like growing up in the neighborhood of President Roosevelt’s southern retreat. He’s given me permission to reprint excerpts from some of them here.
The Picture Show
The center of all entertainment in early Manchester was the Picture Show. (The word “movie” was not used back then.) The first picture show was built into the upstairs auditorium of the grammar school building located at the corner of Main and Fifth Avenue.
Legend has it that Franklin Roosevelt was attending a high school graduation one night in 1929 or 30 when he received a phone call from New York asking him to seek the Democratic nomination for President. He accepted.
More to come!