SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Swatting Elephants In "Parkeysburg"

By Bob Weaver

My mom, Myrtle McCoy Weaver and her sister, Thelma McCoy Roach, would go on a shopping trip to "Parkeysburg" three or four times a year from the Village of Hur.

During the early days of the 20th Century and through the 1950s, it was not the easiest excursion, Route 5 requiring three ferry crossings on the Little Kanawha River.

Most Calhouners would cut through Munday and Brohard or drive to Smithville to hit Rt. 47 to make the trip.

The sisters would leave rather early in the morning and return late at night, sometimes by 11 p.m. They took the family truck or car and enjoyed a long day in the metropolis. My dad would pace the floor, asking "When are those women coming back?"

As a kid I enjoyed being taken along, allowed to go from one movie house to another in the downtown area and watch the flicks, usually a double feature for 20 cents.

Market Street was door-to-door with outlets for blocks, carrying everything imagined, including the chain stores from Kresges and McCrorys five and dimes to J. C. Penny and Montgomery Ward.

The five and dimes all had lunch counters with stools, allowing space to relish a banana split.

Parking on Market Street, my Aunt Thelma had placed her bags of goodies in the back seat, while we all sat in the vehicle and watched a circus parade come down the street.

When a large elephant with its handler got to our car, the elephant smelled the candies in aunt Thelma's bags and struck its trunk through the rear window to ferret out the delicacies.

Aunt Thelma was immediately angered by the intrusion and began swatting its trunk with her pocketbook. "Get out of my candy," she screamed.

The handler was more than concerned, telling her to quit striking its trunk, managing to get it back into the parade, no harm done except a loss of some candy.

Now, downtown Parkersburg has a faded recollections of that hey-day.