Ancestors, Legends & Time

The Patricks' grocery had a young atmosphere, being near Eugene Field

Jeanne Newby

Linda Patrick Storm and Pat Patrick Holmes share memories about their mom and dad’s grocery store, Patrick’s Market, at Fourth and Oronogo streets (rejuvenated five years ago as Flag City Brewing).

Linda (Storm) and I want to thank you for the nice article you ran in the Sentinel on Feb. 3, 2017, about our mother and father’s store. It brought back both memories and tears. 

Linda and I grew up in that store and didn’t realize at the time what an impact it would have on our future lives. Since our father, Kenneth Patrick, died in 1956, not too many people remember him. Mother always told us the story about how he helped many of the children cross the highway when they moved Eugene Field School (from the northwest corner of Fourth and Oronogo streets to the current location). The crossing guard was not there all day so teachers would stop at the store and get Daddy (Kenneth Patrick) to go down to the highway to stop the traffic. Mother had old pictures, which we cannot find, of some of this. Where have those days gone?

Another story mother loved to tell was about Daddy cooking hamburgers on a two-burner hot plate (as she described it) for the school children at lunch. I think they were a nickel. Anyway, one child kept saying, “Mr. Patrick, Mr. Patrick.” When my father asked him what he needed he replied, “Where’s my meat?” Very quickly daddy responded while still flipping hamburgers, “Look under your pickle!” Mother always laughed at the look on the poor child’s face. Of course, Daddy was kidding and gave him another hamburger with the meat. 

That old store building has a lot of memories stored in its walls. Even as I type this, my eyes begin to tear up. So just let me say, thank you from the bottom of both Linda’s and my hearts. 

A memory shared by Jim Murphy about children entertaining themselves while growing up in Webb City.

A favorite pastime was the movie theaters in town: the Civic, Larsen and the Junior. A typical day at the movies would include two feature films, usually a western starring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or Hop Along Cassidy. Sometimes, it would be Jungle Jim or Tarzan. Sandwiched in between the feature films would be a newsreel, one or two cartoons and an action serial like Rocket Man or Zorro. Oh yes, and coming attractions or previews. Our parents got rid of us for a whole afternoon for about a quarter each, what a bargain!

A kid could easily kill a whole day at the movies, especially if he or she chose to watch the whole thing twice, which you could do in those days. They didn’t turn the lights on and run everyone out like they do today. You could come in at any time and stay till you got to the point where you came in, leave then or stay longer. We enjoyed popcorn, soft drinks and candy, especially those little wax guns, red lips, or wax soda bottles.

A memory shared by Jane VanHoose Benson about entertaining herself and her best friend, Mary Lou Shaner Moffett.

We loved to play in the alley between Madison and Jefferson. We would spend hours picking out the pretty little translucent pieces of tiff. Now, that is what we called it. May not be the real name, but they were smooth, almost transparent little rocks mixed with the ordinary gravel. After we collected a cup or so, we would park ourselves by the down spout drain of my house at 809 South Madison, where the moss was abundant, and we would make the most beautiful (to our eyes) miniature rock gardens, adding the tiny little yellow and white spring flowers growing in the grass or maybe a baby dandelion to complete our project.

Marty Leib Blankenship shared a memory of growing up in the ’50s.

Let me tell you about fun in Webb City in the early 1950s. This wasn’t summer fun exclusively but year-round for a kid who could convince parent or parents to take them to the Green Top Skating Rink on North Main in Joplin.

Bill and Lola Wickham ran a tight ship, so to speak. Skaters were expected to respect others on the floor, and when a skater was resting, sipping a soda or otherwise socializing in Lola’s area, it was quietly and mannerly.

The Saturday evening crowd from Webb City included Joe Williams, Johnnie Doolen, Eddie Paul Junior Rochester Rudolph Throckmorton III Johnson, Esquire (We, the younger bunch, were convinced this was his full name and he let us think it!), Karl Ray Johnson, Class of ’56 (Eddie’s little brat brother), Buddy and Jackie Doran (the Johnson’s uncles, although the same age), Sandy Gooch, Trula Guiou and yours truly, Marty Leib (Class of ’58). We, the girls, were the younger bunch. We were in awe of the guys who could race, spin, jump and perform amazing feats. We all hoped that one of them would ask us to “couple skate” when Lola would say over the microphone, “Clear the floor- for the Moonlight Skate”… or the “Bunny Hop” or the “Backwards Skate” or the “Hokey Pokey!”

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at Webb City Chamber office and other local retailers, such as Maggie Jane’s Gifts, at 8 S. Main St.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.