AUTHOR SUNDAY: Growing up in a small town like Attalla had many benefits [old photographs]


Inez McCollum

Attalla, the small Alabama town I grew up in, was so safe that we walked everywhere–school, church, a friend’s house, the movie. When my sons were young they couldn’t believe that we did that.

Of course, the Birmingham Metro Area is so spread out that it would be difficult to walk to all those places. Those days are referred to as a “kinder gentler time”.

Downtown Attalla ca. 1940

attalla downtown

We spent Sunday afternoon together

Eight to ten of us girls would spend Sunday afternoon together at one of our homes. The hosting Mother would prepare lunch. This was usually chili, hot-dogs, or some other simple, but delicious meal. After lunch, we would walk into the little town and back to the host home. The drug store was the only store open on Sunday; but we could take a lot of time with the round trip. Occasionally we would stop by the drug store for a fountain drink. With that many girls, giggles filled the air. One thing we did that girls still do today was pajama parties.

Walked to elementary school

My Brother and I would walk to elementary school, which was on the other side of town. We would occasionally ride our bikes. In the afternoon, several friends would walk together as we returned to our homes. We did what we called “short cuts” that probably took more time than the regular route.

Played outside until dark

Groups of children in the neighborhood would play games until dark. There was softball, hide and seek, kick ball. We even played a game similar to softball except we used a tin can instead of a ball and a stick instead of the bat. The can would be placed on the ground to be hit with the stick.

Movies on Saturday

Saturday afternoon was movie time. The theater always had a shoot-em-up film, a cartoon and a cliff hanger serial. A twenty-five cent coin would pay admission, buy a coke and a candy bar. The quarter would pay for none of those today.attalla theatre

Saturday night parties

In our early teens we would have Saturday night parties during warm weather. In my imagination, I can still smell those wieners we roasted over the fire!

Television and computers have replaced the group time we had with friends and one-on-one time with parents. With all that exercise, none of us had a weight problem. The ultimate improvement is air conditioning!

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  1. In the late sixties and into the seventies (my coming of age) Attalla had the Dairy Queen and two pool halls and we didn’t think we needed anything else.

  2. Margaret McRee, Patsy Shealy, Meg French, Kerry French, Lisa R. Newsome

  3. I can remember being able to walk around town without fear. It was so safe. I would love to have this for my great grandchildren.

  4. Downtown needs to be revitalized bad. And not just more antique stores either.

    1. What would you like to see downtown Attalla? Parking is such a problem downtown Attalla that it makes it hard for many businesses to attract customers.

  5. I so enjoy all the stories and photographs presented on Alabama Pioneers. I have learned so much about Alabama I did not know. Does anyone have photo/history about Lincoln, Alabama, in the 1940s n 1950s? Also, the intersection or blinking light at Magnolia street and highway 78 area called Yatesville. Both in Talladega County. I love the good ole days.

  6. My teen years was the late 50’s & early 60’s in Attalla. I remember the only things open on Sunday was two fruit stand ( Herrings & West ), two News Stands ( Robinettes & Attalla News Stand ) and maybe a service station or two. Another memory was Etowah County Convention singings. Mr. Satterfield was the President. Some Churches had “all day singing with dinner on the ground”. Those were the “good ole days”. WishI could relive them.

  7. I grew up in Attalla , Alabama walker Drug store

  8. I grew up in Arab,Alabama in the Ruth Community, times were hard but still loved it.

  9. I also grew up in Attalla, Alabama— I remember Mack and Inez because they went to Cherry Street Baptist Church which I also went too—Growing up in Attalla was great–we had the Dairy Queen, movies, and always Homecoming floats, bands, and the football games on Friday night—Wish I could go back to that time!!!

  10. My grandparents were raised in attalla…my grandmother said they would.hang out at the railroad over pass..just as you get down town…that’s were she met my grandfather..

  11. Is out from Millerville about 4 or 5 miles considered a small town??

  12. I grew up in Birmingham in Woodlawn. I walked to school, church, friends houses and took the bus downtown by myself after age 13. I would take nothing for the memories. We where so blessed to have grown up in that simpler time.

    1. Our Great Aunt and Uncle lived in Woodlawn on North 51st Street. I loved going to visit them.

  13. I did grow up in Attalla! I was very lucky.

  14. My grandparents were from Attalla. I love the charm in these little towns . There’s a history with each building that’s fascinating. Exploring them to me is like reading a good book that you just can’t seem to put down ! 🙂

  15. Nice town , used to go to the car auction in the 70’s.

  16. Nice, for Children to safely walk to Movies, church, rec. centers, school, store, just about anywhere, back in
    the day, Today, not even safe on the internet, What is wrong with today’s society?

  17. I grew up in Guntersville, Ringgold (GA), Albertville. Attalla and my former hometown in Georgia- Ringgold- have the advantage of having a big town close by. Ringgold is near Chattanooga. Many small towns are hours away from the big town or city and not even located near a freeway. That was real small town living, for better or worse.

  18. I love this town, my family was The Ramey’s a lot of history of them in this town. So beautiful then and now, I have to drive downtown each time and try not to stop at antique stores but it doesn’t always work

  19. My grandfather was a Methodist preacher in Attala and Woodlawn. His name was C.C. Turner and his wife’s name was Estie. They were wonderful grandparents and we miss them both. My grandfather lost his thumb in an accident andmy sister and I enjoyed asking him to “move his thumb” because all that was there was a stub.

  20. I did use my real name.

  21. My aunt and uncle, Cecil and Lucille Mullinax had a small farm in Steele, Al. I stayed with them some when I was a kid. Aunt Lucille would take me with her into Attalla for groceries or whatever. I think I remember a huge swimming pool there in the middle of town, it wasn’t clear water, but like a lake. Think it is a parking lot now.

  22. I remember those times

  23. Slocomb Al. to a tee.

  24. Jerry Roland Crane,Randy Wicks

  25. Aren’t all those building still standing?

  26. One benefit was that it didn’t take long to get out of town ! lol