Home
Alfred Pelig Edgerton
Hart's Girls
Hart's Boys
Amelia Bingham
Daeida Beveridge
T. C. Kinmont
J. M. Ainsworth
Fire Dept.
Land Office
St Pauls
Huber
Defiance County Fair
Public Schools
1899 Business Bios
Hicksville, Ohio 1909
Hicksville of 1924
News-Sentinel Article
N-S Article Roto
Saturday Night 1972
Farmland News 1999
Railroad
Fireflies
Afghans
Wallpaper Project
Four Short Features


by Jim Stegall, Staff Reporter

There it was in black and white-a sign that gave a “Welcome to Hicksville, O.” It was 7 o’clock on a Saturday night. The dim street lights made the neat white houses lining High Street visible. Downtown, a group of teenagers talked on a street corner. Three women workers stared out the window of the “Pizza Shop,” awaiting a customer. And it was hard to ignore the Christmas decorations still hanging from utility poles. It looked like a “typical” small northwestern Ohio town—75 miles southwest of Toledo, surrounded by rich farm land selling for $800 an acre.

The lights were on in a confectionery store, the pizza shop, three bars, and a couple of service stations. Otherwise, the town appeared still. Yet, what were some of the 3,800 inhabitants of this small community doing on a Saturday night?

“Don’t expect anything to happen on a Saturday night,” James Demas, 66-year-old operator of the Palace of Sweets confectionery store, said. “All nights are the same.” On one side of his store is a large candy counter. Big see-through jars are filled with an assortment of candy. On the other side of the store is a soda fountain. At the back of the store are eight old-fashioned booths and one was occupied by four teenagers. Behind them three other youths toyed with a pinball machine and played a jukebox.

“I been doing this for 29 years,” Mr. Demas said. “I stay open until 11 every night and open up at 9 every morning.” As Mr. Demas read his newspaper, he looked over the teenagers. “They’re good kids, I guess...”

Outside, three teen-aged girls peered through the window of the confectionery briefly and then continued on their way to see the Hicksville High School Aces play Woodlan, Ind., in a basketball game. For a moment they debated whether to stay at the confectionery or go to the game.” It won’t be a good game anyway,” one girl said. “Our team hasn’t won but three games.”

And at the police station, a teenage traffic offender slumped in a chair as part-time patrolman Dave Russell wrote out a traffic ticket. “If you want to do something like that again get out in a field somewhere,” he admonished the youth. “We don’t have much trouble here... Oh, there’s the usual traffic violations, but otherwise it’s quiet.” The police chief, Fordyce McCurdy, was away directing traffic at the basketball game.

At Slattery’s Service Station nearby a souped-up ’57 Chevrolet roared into a small driveway and two teenage boys jumped out. Inside, Al Schooley, 17, spotted them. He dropped the tools he was using to fix a flat tire and left the grease pit area to greet them. The boys were his classmates at Hicksville High School. They stopped to joke with Al and call him “grease monkey” because they “didn’t have anything better to do. We were going to fix the rear-end of my car, but that’s too much work,” Greg Langham, 17, said. “I guess we’ll go home and clean up.... Maybe we’ll find some girls.” As they talked, Dick Slattery, the boss, drove up on his way to Rome City to play the piano for a band and call the round ’n square dance.

At the local movie house, Helen May sat quietly in the ticket booth waiting for the customers that showed up to see “Blue Water, White Death.” Inside, her husband, Waldo, collected tickets and manned the popcorn machine. “We’re only having one show tonight,” Mr. May said. “My brother, Wallace, is sick. He runs the projector.” At the bargain price of $1 a ticket and 50 cents for children, there are about 500 seats in the old theater, originally built as an opera house. “If we had a Disney, we’d have a full house,” Mrs. May said. “We don’t show X-rated movies,” her husband explained. “They’d run us out of town. We let all preachers in free, too.”

The Card Room is one of several Hicksville bars—bars that do not serve liquor. “It’s a dry town,” James Jones said. “Only thing I can offer you is 3.2 beer. Hicksville’s been dry for years. The only place you can get liquor in town is at the American Legion or Eagles Club.” As he rolled a wad of chewing tobacco around in his mouth, he described his business. “Oh, it’s tremendous,” he said. Thirteen of the 16 bar stools were empty. “We also sell fishing licenses.”

“Only thing doing in town tonight is the square dance over at the Eagles.” Dancing at the Eagles had started about 8 o’clock. By 10, nearly half of the 75 people there had gotten up enough nerve...to try some square dancing.

Meanwhile there was a little action downtown. The basketball game was over, and although Hicksville lost again a few fans were able to down a pizza at Margaret Quaintance’s pizza shop.

One of the auxiliary policemen in a cruiser saw a motorist running a red light. He flashed his red lights and pulled the car over. As he got out and approached the driver he seemed surprised. The violator was a woman who appeared to be at least 65 years old. Nevertheless, she was cited.

Close to midnight, about 25 young people sat in Charlie’s, another bar, drinking 3.2 beer. “Most of them are from Indiana,” barmaid Esther said. “They’re not allowed in bars in Indiana unless they’re 21. So they come over here and get in at 18. The state line is only 2 miles west of here.” On the wall are close to 1000 pictures of young people. “The kids bring their pictures in here and put them on the wall. It’s just something that started a few years ago....”

It was nearly midnight and back at the Card Room James Jones, his white apron almost dragging on the floor, picked up a broom and started cleaning up before closing. By then he had substituted a cigar for chewing tobacco. “I guess I’ll go to the American Legion hall after I close up here,” he said....

Another Saturday night in Hicksville was nearly over.

Corresponding Photos

Saturday night has fallen with a thud on Hicksville, O., as a solitary car’s lights streak down a nearly empty High Street.

Jim Demas at the Palace of Sweets: “All nights are the same.”

Helen May at the Huber, the only picture show in town.

Bartender James Jones, not too busy at The Card Room.

 

 

 

 

 

Passing a Saturday night at The Card Room’s pool table.

 

Round and square dancing means a full house at the Eagles.

 

Near midnight, two customers at The Pizza Shop.

 

She ran a red light, so the town policeman pulled her over.

 

It’s 9 o’clock. Time to check out Handy’s.

 

The late shift at the clothing store.

 

For some, it’s a relaxing night at the country club.

   
  Back | Next
   

Web site and all contents Copyright © 2006 The Hicksville Historical Society, Inc. All rights reserved.