In 32 years of being in the Rome Police Department, I ran across some of the meanest people in town. There was big ones and little ones and some in between. There was those who thought they were mean and tough and there were tough wannabes. There was a cure for those wannabes, which was the pokey. Once those bars slammed shut, there was a lot of changing.
There was those who walked around with a chip on their shoulders. They went around looking for someone to pick on. There was one who all the old Saturday night booze heads called “Mean Sally.” Mean Sally tried all, women or men. She could slug it out with the best. If she got the wrong end of the deal she would be back the next weekend for some more. I have seen her in bandages one weekend and in a beer joint brawl the next. The old body finally took all it could take and they found her dead in a chair on her front porch on a Sunday morning. I will always remember hearing the bells ringing from a close by church that Sunday morning. The cause of death was natural causes, a heart attack.
I remember a big woman who stood around six-foot-tall and weighed in at about 190, no fat. She was a big woman, but an attractive woman. You could see her go into one of the local beer joints and knew what was coming; she would be in the middle of a brawl before too long. When you went through the door, you knew who was in the middle of it. She wore western style clothes with red western boots. She made quite a character to those who didn’t know her.
On this particular Saturday night, it took place on South Broad at a beer joint called South Rome Barbecue. By ten o’clock the place was rocking with wall-to-wall people. It started on the inside but wound up outside. When my partner and I arrived we knew the only thing to do is get backup help as quick as possible. We got all the police along with the county and got it quieted down as soon as possible. There standing with clothes half torn off and a bloody nose was Mean Sally. She stood with her fist drawn tight, ready for some more. I tried to explain to quiet down and get into the car. She said the wrong words, “Put me in.” Someone in the crowd threw her in head first. End of the problem. She sure did look bad the next morning when she got out. Did it teach her anything? Nope. She was back the next Saturday night. Mean Sally finally disappeared from around the beer joints.
There was one that was called “Pretty Patty.” Pretty Patty was just that pretty. When she went through the door of any beer joint the crowd gathered around her. She played with them until she got bored. Once bored she would play up to a couple of men in the crowd. It wasn’t long before they were in the middle of the floor, going at it with everything they had. I have seen some good brawls back in the days when we had the Cotton Block full of beer joints.
There was one who lived on Branham Avenue. She wore western boots with skintight jeans. She would go out and play with the boys at the beer joints until they closed. She was a big, six-foot woman, married to a small, five-foot man. It was common practice for her to come in and run little Shorty off from home. We knew that and knew that Shorty slept many nights at the head of a set of steps that went up the stairs close to the Krystal. Shorty finally left her one night and never went back. I can’t blame Shorty, for there are not too many of us that looks forward to getting a black eye every Saturday night.
The funny part of this was that most of these women thought that the police was not supposed to bother them. I had them tell me that being a woman they could get my job if I interfered with them. I had so many people who threatened to get my job that I would tell them how, if they really wanted it.