Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fountain of Youth Water and Other Table Topics

A group of us 1958 Viking grads were gathered around a long table (made up of 3 or 4 tables pushed together) at Kristina's Restaurant on 34th St. in north St. Pete. Charles Welch piped up: "Any of you ever tried that Fountain of Youth water?" We exploded in laughter because I imagine most of us remembered "rotten egg water" (sulphur water) as what the "fountain" near Al Lang Field produced. If you tasted it once, you didn't come back for seconds.

Shirley Zumwalt remembered the Solarium, down near Spa Pool and Beach. It was a place where people went for private sunbaths and for vigorous massages given by two Swedish massage specialists. Shirley and her sister rented lockers at the Solarium to store their clothes while they went to Spa Beach. When they asked the Swedish masseurs for the price of a massage, the girls learned they couldn't afford it. But they were offered "alcohol rubs" for only 50 cents. They accepted the deal. What they got was such a muscular workover by the Swedish women that the girls never asked again for a massage.

Tom Fincher remembers that before the Desert Inn and the Colonial hotels were built on the Gulf Beaches, there was at that location something called the "Surf Club" with a Tiki Bar. Tom says that the two statues of horses that used to be in front of the Desert Inn are now located at a plant nursery on 49th St. N. in St. Petersburg.

Duane Tobey has an Al Lang Field story--about the day that a Major League player (it was a winter game), batted a ball so hard that it flew out of the park, across the street and was caught by someone on a third-floor balcony of an apartment house. By the way, Duane says that the name of the Earl Bostic song that Rosa Lee Ramsey was trying to remember was "Harlem Nocturne". Does that ring any bells, Rosie?

Ron Hagan was trying to remember the name of a ghoulish, monster character on live WSUN-TV who carried off Susan Swift, just prior to the start of a horror movie on the city's first TV station.

Melody Siplon's first job was in the Handbag Department on the 2nd floor of Webb's City Department Store. Ron Hagan was downstairs, working his first job as a bag boy in the grocery department. (Well, actually, that was his second job. His first job was for 3 days at 28th St. Drive-in, working the concession stand. He was underaged, and when management discovered this, he was let go.)

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