I wrote a few goodies about some of the people who used to hang around the Cotton Block back in the old days. There was some mean people who hung around the beer joints, but all weren’t mean. Back in those days there was not too many places you could go, so on a Saturday night there was a certain group of people who would meet at the local beer joint.
They would meet and have a hamburger then play the amusement machines. All the places had a jukebox, pin balls and shuffleboards. There was people who held the titles as best players. They were challenged for the title and the games would get under way. Most of them were peaceful and the people would enjoy themselves. Every now and then, a mean one would wander in and start a fight.
There was a man who the people in the Cotton Block called “Slick Willie.” Those of you remember the Brilliantine hair tonic. It was pure oil, but it would slick that hair down. You could see Slick Willie’s hair a block away slicked down to his head. As he approached you could smell the Brilliantine. It had a smell of its own.
Willie’s problem was he had a smart mouth, and it was always getting him into trouble. Willie didn’t intend to start trouble, but he didn’t know how to control his mouth. The other problem was Willie thought he knew the answer to everything. He believed that he was right and everyone else was wrong. You can imagine someone else about half-drunk, being told by a tall, lanky person with slicked down hair that he was wrong. I never seen it fail, poor old Willie went home with a busted nose and lip. But have no fear, for the Mighty Willie would be back next Saturday, stronger and more knowledgeable than ever.
There was a woman in the crowd, a tall, slender girl with a good figure and a pretty face. One of the local beer drinkers who was always there, said he came because she was good to look at. She wore tight jeans with red high-heeled slippers. The people in the Cotton Block called her Tootie because when she walked by, she “tootied” your horn.
Tootie was a shuffleboard player. She would come in and have a hamburger to eat. When she finished the hamburger she would move to the shuffleboard. That was where she stayed until the place closed down. Tootie never caused any trouble and was good for business. When she was there, everyone wanted to play shuffleboard.
There was a man who was called “Spider.” He was always starting trouble. I don’t remember what happened to him; as the joints in the Cotton Block began to close, I lost track of the Saturday Night troublemakers. Lot of them went out into the county on Saturday night.
Big Max was what the name implied, a big man. The first time I saw him he looked as big as a battleship. He wasn’t fat, he was big. I walked in on a fight at the corner of Broad and First Avenue. There was two on the ground and one standing, Big Max. He turned toward me when I approached. He was ready for more fighting. I looked at him and decided to shoot him in the leg if he started on me. I was no match for that big man. He dropped his fist and in a very calm voice said, “Officer, I was cleaning house for you.”
I saw then that he was not going to give me any trouble. He said he had heard them talk about whipping up on the new police officer. While he was talking, I recognized him. He grew up with us in the park in North Rome. He said he waited for me, but they were closer than I was. He jumped them before they could jump me. Sure was good to see old Max again.