Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tidbits about Belton, Texas (1950s - 1970s)

Tidbits about Belton, Texas (1950s - 1970s)

Some of the places I remember from the 1960s:

The Belton Public Library (now the Bell County Museum on Main street):

The main building in the image was the Carnegie Library in Belton in the 1950's - 1960's.
(View is SW to NE).  The Belton Car Mart and Odell Hyer's gas station were
located directly behind it in the 1960's.  The Post Office was across the street (west).
     a.  Two women who ran the library for many years were Lena Armstrong (who was single) and Edith Pierce (who was married and older than Lena; there is a picture of her in the First Baptist Church church directory).  Pearl (Griffin) Digby's friend, Marge Peckam, also worked there in later years. (Source: Pearl Griffin Digby).

According to Mattie (Digby) Wesson on February 11, 2007, the "Teenage Canteen" was located on the second floor of the Belton Public Library in 1946.  (Billy Blair note: I'm not sure how long the Teenage Canteen was located here.  I do know that around the 1960s, the Teenage Canteen was located at the American Legion Hall on the west side of Yettie Polk Park).

Riverside Swimming Pool:

                                         Riverside swimming pool in Belton, Texas in 1950's - 1960's.                                                                        The Putt-Putt golf  course is behind the white fence on the left.  At the main entrance                        
           was a hamburger/ concession area (pictured) and the area the pay/ pick up your metal
                                   basket to put your clothes in was just past it.  The pool itself is behind the big                          
        fence on the right.   (View is south to north.  Note the gravel parking area).

1960 - Riverside pool in Belton (view is SW to NE)
(View shows the raft, the rings, and the wheel. Diving boards
are to the right and children's pool to the left of this picture).

Riverside pool in Belton - 1960 (view is South to North)
George Baum is diving into the pool from the raft.
(View shows raft, chains, wheel, slide, large children's pool in background,
and dressing areas/ snack bar on left.  During a few years, there was a
Putt-Putt golf course immediately west of the dressing area).
Riverside Pool - 1960 (view is NW to SE)
Picture taken at the south end of the pool at the low dive
on the west side of the pool.  The Leon river is under the
bridge in the background.

Riverside pool - 1960 (view is west to east)
Neale Chaney diving off the high dive.

Riverside pool - 1960 (view is west to east)
Rob with Larry Dean Chaney on low diving board on the
west side of the south end of the pool.
Richard and Martha Meyer managed (or possibly owned) the pool for many years.  He ran an air conditioning business.  (Source: Susan Thornton Blair).  There was a "Putt Putt" golf course immediately west of the swimming pool building which was part of "Riverside"; it was eventually torn down.  The pool had a huge separate (but attached) shallow section on the north end (with a huge pipe running over the top of a portion of it.  There were two low diving boards (one of the east and one on the west end) with a high diving board in between them.  "Rings" to swing across ran from east to west across the pool.  Favorite songs played on the jukebox included "I Can't Get No (Satisfaction)"  by the Rolling Stones, ""Wipeout" by The Surfaris, and "California Girls" and "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys.  Riverside was one of the most popular places in Belton for kids to hang out in the 1960s. (Source: Billy Blair).

(Note: Special thanks to Charles C. Chaney for posting these images on Belton's Facebook page).

"The Beltonian" movie theater:

Beltonian Theater (we think) in 1961.
This is where you got the movie tickets; note the posters advertising future
movies in the glass case behind the woman.

Curtis Light said that in the late 1940's - early 1950's, you could get into the theater for 9 cents.  A coke would cost 5 cents, popcorn was 10 cents, and you would have 1 cent left over for bubblegum.  Judy Cast remembers going every Saturday afternoon.  Mike Herrington remembered that later the price of admission was 50 cents.

In the 1960s, they would show two full length movies, a cartoon, and an episode of "Congo Bill" (similar to Tarzan-type brief films which would leave Bill in some deadly situation and you would have to return the next Saturday to see if he got out of the situation) for a 25 cent admission price.  Everyone usually got a Dr. Pepper and either a large Butterfinger candy bar, a giant dill pickle or popcorn before the movies began.

On February 10, 2007, Jeannine (Digby) Blair said that Mr. Swaim ran the Beltonian theater.  His nickname was "Slim".  (Billy Blair Note: I'm not sure of the years that Mr. Swaim ran the theater).

Gladys' Hamburgers: (just south of Griggs Equipment Company).  This was a small, square, wooden-frame building.  Gladys Eliott, who owned and ran the place, sold hamburgers primarily to the employees of Griggs Equipment Company.  She called it the "Snack Shack".  Charlie and Clarence Griggs took a few of their school friends there one day and it rapidly became a lunch "hangout" for several Belton Junior High/ High School students.  It was located just southeast of the old Tiger field.  Gladys drove a blue truck for years.  I ate her BBQ sandwiches; you could get a ham & cheese sandwich for a quarter.  Someone remembered there being wrapping paper from the hamburgers all over the place on the ground.

Band practices next to Griggs Equipment Company building (view is NW to SE).
Glady's Hamburgers was just to the left of this picture.  Photo taken in 1962.
Photo taken at same time as above image.  This picture shows Griggs
Equipment Company on the left (where trucks were loaded) and Gladys
Hamburgers (just behind the tree in center of image).  Gladys was
primarily a place for Griggs Equipment Company employees to eat lunch,
but was "discovered" by some students from Belton Jr. High and Belton
High School just a few hundred yards west.

2015 Obituary for Gladys M. Elliott, who ran "Gladys Snack Shack".

(Note: Special thanks to Charlie Griggs for posting these images on Belton's Facebook page).

Tiger's Den: This was a "Dairy Queen" type restaurant in the early 1960's.  Before school, we would often see a kid smoking a cigarette or making out with a girl behind it.  Because of this, a lot of kids avoided going there because they didn't want to get associated with that kind of reputation.  It was located just north of the practice football field by the Jr. High locker rooms.  (Note: There was also another "Tiger's Den" cafe at Digby Auto Sales just south of Pittman's Cleaners back around the 1940s).

Avenue Cafe: The favorite local "hang out" cafe where you kept up with the town gossip.  It was a great place to go and was filled with cowboys, shop owners, and the ladies who worked at the courthouse across the street.  Avenue Cafe was located at the northeast corner of the town square.  Everyone enjoyed going to the smoke-filled cafe to get a cup of coffee or have some lunch.

Griggs Equipment Company


The Natatorium in Belton, Texas (1940's?)
In the mid- 1950's, the A-framed front did not exist.  The entrance in the
1950's - 1960's was just to the right of this front.

Belton Natatorium Information.

Belton Natatorium advertisement.

1932 modernization and renovation of the Belton Natatorium.  Built in the
1880s, this was the first public bath house and indoor swimming pool in Texas.
In 1932, the west wall was removed and a sand beach was created on the
Nolan Creek bank opposite Yettie Polk Park.  (Marvin Crow Collection).
(The view is SW to NE from Yettie Polk Park.  Beyond the pool is the intersection
of Main Street and Central Avenue).

The front of the Natatorium as I remember it in the late 1950s - 1960s.  The
entrance is the open area behind the woman posing on the July 4th float; the
actual pool is to the left.  The sand beach (which would have been to the right of
this image) was no longer in use and the stairs to access this area were locked.
Seating areas were on both the east and west side of the pool and dressing areas/
showers were at the back wall (south) of the pool.  Vending  machines were
on the back, right side of this image.

Billy Blair and Tommy Thornton faintly remember there being 2 or 3 submerged columns running north/ south between the rafts and west side of the pool.  Billy remembers how much fun it was to be able to swim out to one of the columns and stand on it in the deep water (The columns were only a few inches under the water).

The Natatorium ("the Nat"): 1950's - 1960's
(As remembered by Billy & Susan Blair, Lee & Jeannie Pittman, and
Tommy & Kay Thornton).

Smith Brothers grocery:

Jacksons Barber Shop: Ernest and Wayne Jackson ran the barber shop.  There was a nice black man who ran the shoe shine stand, which was inside next to the front door.  I don't know the man's name, but he told me once that his fingers had been cut off at the joint when a train ran over them.  I remember him dipping the stubs of his fingers into the shoe polish and applying the polish with his hand.  I believe there were either 3 or 4 barber chairs on the right side of the room.  Chairs (with a long series of mirrors over them) were on the left side of the room.  Ernest manned the chair furtherest away from the front door and Wayne, who always cut my hair, was nearest the front door.  I remember that Wayne Jackson later went across the street (west) to cut hair; I don't remember if he opened his own shop or if he worked for someone else here.

Dr. Elker's office: Dr. Elker was my optometrist; his office was directly across (west) the street from Jackson's Barber Shop.

Hamburger King: This was a small, very popular hamburger stand, which was built onto the stone wall of the building directly across the street (south) of First National Bank on Central Avenue.  I remember this place being here during the 1960s and early 1970s when I was in Jr. high and  high school.  They served a great hamburger!

The Hamburger King in Belton, Texas
(This is the way it looked in the 1960's).

A walk-up serving window, which opened onto the sidewalk of the
busiest street in Belton was the unique way in which Wesley Coppin, "The
Hamburger King", sold hamburgers for many years.

The "Hamburger King" was located between the two trees in this image.
(Location: East side of courthouse square on Central Avenue. North side of bldg.).

Butch's Restaurant: Butch's had great custard cones, hamburgers, malts, shakes, and pies.  In the 1950's - 1960's, the Lions Club would have their meetings in the back room of Butch's (Note the Lions Club sign out front in the image below).

Butch's Restaurant, Belton, Texas
Butch's is the front, right building in this image taken during a flood.  The view
is east to west on Central Avenue just west of IH-35 intersection.
(Source of image: Belton Museum).

Butch's Barbeque in Belton, Texas.

Butch Wilson, owner of Butch's Restaurant in the 1960's.
You would always see him in his white apron at the restaurant.
(Image provided by Charlie Griggs).

Dairy Queen: The Dairy Queen was located on Central Avenue, a few blocks south of the old high school.  I remember football players going there in between "2 a-day" football workouts in the summer to get something to drink.  "Circling" the Dairy Queen in your car (if you were lucky enough to have one) was almost a rite of passage.  The building is still there, but a pharmacy named "The Medicine Shop" is located inside.  Don King said, "Walked there in Junior High; drove there in High School..."  People would listen to Wolf Man Jack on the radio while hanging out there with friends. Some of the kids figured out how to use the tall phone booth on the corner for free (When you put a nickel in, if you could hit the coin return button at the same time, you could get your money back and a dial tone as well).  People would buy something and then share it with others.  Some of the memorable treats included their Barbeque sandwich, Vanilla Dr. Pepper, Chocolate Coke, and Coke Floats.  Frances Barkely Willess said, "We used to go to Hilltop Cafe or Crow's Cafe.  The Dairy Queen didn't come along until after I was married, and then it was on Main street just north of 2nd Avenue, next to a service station on the corner".  The road which was just to the left of the  picture below led north, straight to the High School and Junior High School (in the 1960's-1970's).

The Belton Dairy Queen in the 1960's. (View is SW to NE).

Belton Dairy Queen (View is SE to NW).

Duke & Ayers:

Clements Drug Store: (had a soda fountain).  The pharmacist who worked for Mr. Clements was Mr. Charleston Jerign.

Britts Drug Store:

Minimax grocery store:

A & P Food Store:

First National Bank:

First National Bank in Belton (View is SW to NE).
(Note the bank drive-through on the right and Jackson Barber Shop on left side of bank).

People's National Bank:

Pittmans Cleaners:

The Belton Journal:

Cochran, Blair, & Potts department store:


Glazner's Garage:

Belton Car Mart:

The Bargain Barn: There is a small office room on the right as you enter the building.  The rest of the building is open with an open-style ceiling.  Large items would be loaded out of the door on the right.  Items included furniture, household items, washers/ dryers, old clocks, fans, and an assortment of other items.  Pearl (Griffin) Digby ran The Bargain Barn in the early 1960's.

The Bargain Barn in Belton (View is SW to NE).
(Image by Billy Blair in 2007, but same appearance as in 1960's).

Potts Hardware:

Leon Valley Golf Course: I remember the hole numbers being changed, probably in the 1980s.  The front 9 became the back nine and the back 9 holes became the front nine.  The old hole # 10 became the new first hole.  The whole time I played the course (into the early 1970s), the old numbering system was being used.

1960's Map of course from a Leon Valley Golf Course scorecard.
(This was the original hole numbering system of the course).

1960's postcard of Leon Valley Golf Course (View is SE to NW).
(This view is taken from the #1 tee box looking back toward the old Clubhouse
on the hill with the large, practice putting green below).

Glenn Blair (left) and good friend, Alton Martin at #4 tee box
in the 1960's (the old numbering system).

           Source of Image: The Belton Journal in the late 1960's or 1970's.

The last official golfer at Leon Valley Golf Course was Mark Hessing on August 23, 2009.

Yettie Polk Park:

Sewell-Long Hospital:

Quick drawing of the Sewell-Long hospital in Belton, Texas by
Kay (Cearley) Thornton (when trying to re-construct what it looked
like with Billy Blair). Top of drawing faces east.

Frank's Lakeview Inn: This was a great place to eat overlooking Lake Belton.  It was located on the southeast end of the lake, just west of the road going across the dam.  It was more of a formal dining place on weekends or for Sunday lunch.  They had a round, rocked-in pond on the back, east end in which they would  put large catfish they caught out of Lake Belton (They would usually have one giant catfish of about 100 lbs. and 2-3 smaller catfish that would weigh 5-10 lbs.  They would also have several smaller goldfish in the pond).  Fish bait would be sold at the counter when you first entered the restaurant. There was also a monkey in a cage out back by the catfish pond.

Frank's Lakeview Inn in the 1950's.  View is SE to NW over Lake Belton.

Frank's Lakeview Inn, 1960's. (View is east to west).

Continental baseball field:

Team photo at Continental Field, Belton, Texas.
(View is NW to SE).

The picture above shows the dugout (higher fenced-in area behind the team), the stands, and the concession stand (back right).  The concession stand was directly behind home plate.  

                             Interesting Misc. Information:

Phone exchanges:  In the 1950's - 1960's, Belton's phone exchange was "Webster" (WE9), so the phone numbers in Belton would be WE9- (any four other numbers) (the same as 939-any four numbers).  The phone exchange for Temple was "Prospect" (PR3), so the phone numbers in Temple would be PR3- (any four numbers) (same as 773- any four numbers).

The "WE - 9" system began in 1956.  Before using the prefix "WE9" with the dial system, they had 3 digits in the phone number and went through the operator.  The "party line" had several people on it: You would pick up the phone and hear someone talking to someone else.  If you needed to make a call, you either had to wait or interrupt if it was an emergency.  The dial system was supposed to begin at midnight.  For many years you just had to dial the "9" before the number.  Now you have to dial "9 - area code", then the number.  (Source: Frances Barkley Willess on Belton's Facebook page).

Temple's phone exchange was Prospect (7), then changed to 773.  (Source: Julie Stewart Griggs on Belton's Facebook page).

Old phone booths: The early phone booths were wooden; later, they were metal.  There was a light in the top of them with a fan that came on when the folding door was shut.  There was a metal, pie-shaped seat attached to the side next to the phone.  The earliest phones were black and were rotary "pay" phones which had slots for nickels, dimes, and quarters.  Local calls were a quarter. Long distance calls costs more, depending on how long you wanted to talk.  There was a little metal stand beneath the phone so that you could set the phone book on it to look up addresses.  The phone books dangled from a metal cord and usually had pages torn out of them soon after being installed.  Most of the walls of the phone booth were glass, except for the wooden or metal frames.

Body Odor: In the middle 1950s, I remember that many people sprinkled baking soda under their arms for deodorant or used nothing at all.  You could identify several people in town by their consistent smell.

Full Service Gas Stations: All gas stations were full service and most of them had 2-3 attendants.  One would fill your gas tank, one would wash ALL of your windows, and one would check the air pressure in all of your tires as well as check your oil, water in your radiator, and windshield wiper fluid.

Racism: (I detest racist remarks, but do feel as though it's part of our history and shows how far we've come in only a few years. That's the reason I include these comments).  Although I don't remember our town being particularly racist, I do remember the occasional child call a slingshot a "nigger shooter" and an older relative said that Mexican Hat flowers were called "nigger toes" when she was growing up.  I once heard a man in a barber shop call a black man outside a "step and fetch nigger".

Misc. Memories:
1.  "Thunder" in the afternoon with a clear sky was just the big guns firing at Fort Hood Army Base.
2.  The "Marching 100" high school band in Belton would march through the school hallways playing on the way to the gym prior to pep rallies there.
3.  The great snow cones in Yettie Polk Park.

Shooting Marbles:  I remember "shooting marbles" in Junior High School.  We would make a circle with a stick or our shoe in the dirt about 10' in diameter.  Each boy would toss in a handful of their marbles.  Each boy would take their turn using one of their favorite "shooter" marbles.  You had to shoot outside the circle and had to knock one of the marbles outside the circle; if you did, it was yours.  The trick was to get the other marble out without losing your favorite "shooter" inside the circle (which was usually the case).  If the marble stayed inside the circle, it was fair game for others to try to shoot it to the outside.  Besides "shooters", we had "cat eyes", "yellow jackets", "steelies",  "boulders" and "aggies" (made from agate).  The "steelies" and "boulders" (which you could chunk instead of shoot) could do a lot of damage to a marble as well as knock the other marbles out more easily.  I still have several of my old marbles with chips out of them or ones that have broken in half.  If it was just you and one other person playing, the circle would be much smaller.  Phrases I remember during the game included "fudging" (cheating by crossing the line when you're shooting the marble), "playing for keeps" (when you keep the marbles you knock out of the  circle), and "dead duck" (You call the marble you are aiming for a "dead duck").

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The Glenn & Jeannine (Digby) Blair Family at
Hill Top Courts in Belton, Texas

Hill Top Courts in the mid 1940's.  At this time, it was known as
Bullards Courts.  The cafe is on the left, gas station in the middle, and
the office on the right behind the cars.  Glenn Blair's future home would be
located where the windmill is in this picture.  The view is NE to SW.
Note the building of IH-35 in the foreground.

In the above picture, the cafe sign says "Hill Top Cafe", but the signs on the gas station and office say "Bullards Station/ Courts".  I wonder if my family just changed the name of everything to "Hill Top Courts" when they purchased the buildings?

Three different addresses appear for “Blair Insurance Agency” on Glenn Blair’s bank statement summary sheets:
1.  1701 South Main, Belton, Tx. - from November 18, 1954 to March 17, 1956.
2.  P.O. Box 297, Belton, Tx. - from May 19, 1956 to August 9, 1958.
3.  P.O. Box 325, Belton, Tx. - from April 18, 1959 to February 13, 1962.

Curtis Light said, "That was considered a 'Truckstop' back in the day...Service station, restaurant, and motel rooms.  Everything you need, but sometimes considered too rough for teenagers...."

Hill Top Courts: Layout, Construction, and Memories

Quick drawing of the General Hill Top Courts area. Belton, Texas
(Drawn by Billy Blair; top of map faces north).

General overview of the larger area around Hill Top Courts, Belton, Texas.
(Quick drawing by Billy Blair on notebook paper).

Another Hill Top Courts drawing by Billy Blair

Layout/ Construction:
A.  Glenn and Jeannine Blair’s home: 
The street address was 1708 South Pearl street. Belton, Texas 76513.  There was not a mailing address here for a long time.  The P.O. box was # 325 and the post office was in downtown Belton on main street, across from the library (now the Bell County museum).  The home phone number was WE9-2345 or (817) 939-2345.  This house went through three phases:

     1.  About 1950: A 20 X 26 home (another source says 20 X 20).  Glenn bought a pre-built house from a place in Fort Gates (A settlement on the northwest side of Ft. Hood going towards Gatesville).  They used lumber from old barracks.  These homes were built with the intention that they could be moved.  The house was just a shell; they refinished the inside once it arrived at Hill Top.  Glenn thought he paid about $ 500.00 for it.

Original floor plan for Glenn & Jeannine Blair home.
Hill Top Courts, Belton, Texas

(Drawing by Jeannine Blair, October, 1997)
Top of drawing faces east.

     2.  About 1958: Spec Washburn built this addition before Mary Blair was born.  This addition included Billy and Bobby’s room, Jeannie’s room, and the small bath.

First Revision to Glenn & Jeannine Blair home.
Hill Top Courts, Belton, Texas

(Drawing by Jeannine Blair, October, 1997).
Top of drawing faces east.

Glenn got very angry at Jay Kelly when Jay hesitated giving Glenn a $ 1,500.00 loan.  He asked Glenn for credit references; Glenn always paid cash.  He could have asked Dr. Kirkley for a reference since he always billed Glenn.  Glenn demanded all his money in his account and was starting to walk out the door, when Jay Kelly backed off and gave him the loan.

The Glenn & Jeannine Blair home, Hill Top Courts.  Belton, Texas
View is NW to SE.  Horse shed on middle, right side of picture.
Note the fence around yard, ditch by road, and edge of garage on left.

Jeannie remembers there being a ditch on the west side of their home by the dirt road (see above image).  It would fill with water when it rained and was great fun to play in.  The front sidewalk went over the ditch, so you could jump off the sidewalk into the ditch.

     3.  About 1963 - 64: Bucky Wilson built this addition; it included the north side of the house, the west front, the den, the double car garage, and the patio.  He had to put a new roof over the original one.  The new roof went east/ west; the original one went north/ south.  Glenn was already working at First National Bank in Belton; he paid cash for this addition.

Second and final addition to Glenn & Jeannine Blair home.
Hill Top Courts, Belton, Texas.

(Drawing by Jeannine Blair, October, 1997).
Top of drawing faces west.

Mary Blair was about three or four years old at the time of this addition.  Mr. Will                    , who was a carpenter for Bucky Wilson, built a white stool for Mary Blair during his lunch hours.  Mary never got it; Glenn kept it because it was the perfect height for him to tie his shoes on.  (INSERT PHOTO OF STOOL). (Note: Another version from Glenn stated, “1961: An addition was put on the Glenn Blair home at Hill Top.  Jeannie’s room, Bobby and Billy’s room, and the rest of the house were added at the same time").

The above wallpaper samples were gathered by Jeannie Blair on July 11, 1962 at Glenn & Jeannine Blair's home at Hill Top (The piece on the left was wallpaper from the old bedroom which was destroyed when building in 1962; The piece on the right was bedroom wallpaper).
Also, the ditch in the front yard was filled in.  The bathroom toward the den side of the house was part of the original structure.  Before this addition, Glenn had Bucky Wilson build the rent house next door to Glenn for his mother, Bertie (Swan) Blair to live in because of her emotional health... “.

Glenn & Jeannine Blair home at Hill Top after all additions completed.. View is SE to NW.
(Image by Billy Blair in 1960s from the baseball field area. Cabin # 12 at far right).

Glenn & Jeannine Blair home at Hill Top Courts, Belton,Texas.
They lived here  from 1947 - 1960s. Dotted line = original structure.
Top of drawing faces west.  Drawing by Billy Blair.

Misc. notes about the house:
a.  There was a large, beautiful red rose bush on a trellace in the front yard.  It went halfway up the window.  The rose trellice was originally around the garage somewhere on the fence line.

The rose bush in Glenn & Jeannine Blair's front yard.
(The sign says "Scouts Live Here.").

b.  There were pink, wooden shutters on the windows.
c.  In the 1960's, there were at least three pink, metal chairs outside.
d.  There was a round, concrete table with three concrete benches surrounding it in the back yard.  This table and benches were also later at Glenn & Jeannine’s home on 24th Avenue in Belton, Texas, then became the property of Josh Pittman when Jeannine moved to Garden Estates in Belton in 2008.
e.  In July, 1960, there was a fence around the whole yard. (INSERT PHOTO OF JULY 1960 YARD).
f.   There was a clothesline (before the fence) on the north side of the house that had big eye hooks to attach wires to.  (It was one of these eye hooks that Mr. Higginbotham’s guinea rammed his head through when spooked by Glenn and hung itself).
g.  There was a beautiful wysteria bush by the septic tank on the north side of the house.  The Blair kids would swat the big black and yellow bumblebees for fun that surrounded it.
h.  There was a two seater, pink, wrought iron chair on the front porch.  There was an iron sign hanging from the front porch that said, “The Blairs”.  (This sign is now in the possession of Billy Blair).  (INSERT PHOTO OF SIGN).
i.  In the kitchen, there was a can opener on the north wall between the stove and cabinets.  The kitchen wallpaper was pink and blue with flower designs; it went halfway up the walls.  The wooden cabinets were painted pink.

Jeannine Blair in her kitchen at Hill Top. View is SE to NW.

j.  There were two gates on the fence: one off the front sidewalk and one where the back sidewalk connected to the garage.  Jeannine Blair thought the fence was still around the house when her daughter Mary was a little girl.
k.  Glenn put up a basketball goal off of the den over the poured concrete porch in the back yard.  Billy Blair also remembers a shuffleboard court being sprayed painted onto the concrete for the family to use (probably in the early 1960s and located parallel to the garage area).
l.  Billy Lewis Hyer built Bobby and Billy’s built-in beds and put quarter round trim around the six drawer dresser.  Billy and Bobby originally had half beds.  There was a large mirror over the dresser.  The room had a small, built in wall heater.  The whole walls were thick knotty pine paneling.
m.  Doyle Ray Moore and Glenn Blair built the sidewalks.
n.  Glenn built a swingset in the back yard of his home with 2" galvanized pipe.  He dug three holes and filled them with sacrete (it took about 30 bags!).  He used a 6' crowbar to dig the holes (It was square, but had rounded edges; it had handles.  Someone that Glenn had loaned it to kept the crowbar).  For part of the time, there was a sandbox on the south side of the swingset (next to the “teeter totter”).  Billy Blair still has one of the six foot long chains used for the swings as well as two of the hooks that attached the chain to the swing seat.
o.  There was a back yard light on a white, wooden pole a little southeast of the swingset.  It had one of the original lights from "The Original" hotel across from the Alamo in San Antonio in it.  It was a valuable, six-sided light.  Glenn said, “I’d give anything if I had remembered to take it when we left the house.”
p.  The concrete patio furniture was a little northwest of the swingset.
q.  The ground was so hard at Hill Top about 2-3 feet under the surface that they had to use dynamite to blow a hole for the septic tank.  The hole dug for the telephone pole took a machine with a huge drill; the drill just spun and spun.  The rotary machine for digging gas lines lost all its teeth due to the hard ground.
r.  Glenn owned a boat for a few years.  He parked it on the asphalt drive that he poured at his home at Hill Top.
s.  In 1959: The kitchen had a gray, linoleum floor.  In either Jeannie’s room or Glenn & Jeannine’s room, the wallpaper was a blue/ pink flower design with white background.  The bed had a blue bedspread.  The living room had a grayish couch with a wood end table.  The main bathroom had a curtain which slid back to reveal the hot water heater and a storage shelf.  The design of the first wallpaper in the kitchen was blue morning glories on a trellice; Jeannine and daughter Jeannie both loved this wallpaper.
t.  In the 1950's: The kitchen chairs were metal with plastic coating.  They had a white back with a pink edge. The seat was pink. There were metal buttons holding the plastic.  The kitchen cabinets were wooden and painted pink.  The countertop was hardwood.  The living room had a hardwood floor, a piano, and beige wallpaper.  Jeannie’s room had blue curtains.  The kitchen walls were painted gray halfway up.  The wallpaper on the kitchen walls was pink/ blue with white background with trees/ buildings imprinted on it.  The metal kitchen table had rounded edges and seems like it was cut in half to fit against the wall (or maybe one side of the table was folded down to allow enough room for traffic to get to the back door).  The main bathroom had yellow tile walls.  The dining room had a hardwood floor.  Bobby and Billy’s room had blue bedcovers with a white horse design.  The floor was made of greenish streak color  linoleum square tiles.
u.  In 1982, after the house was moved and only the concrete slab remained, Billy Blair stepped off the general dimensions of the house.  There was 2, 430 square feet in the house.  It was sold in 1971 to Texaco for commercial development.

Glenn & Jeannine Blair home at Hill Top Courts, Belton, Texas.
Quick sketch of general measurements from foundation by Billy Blair in 1982.
(Top of drawing is north. Dimensions stepped off day after house was moved).

v.  Jeannine remembers her aluminum chairs with wooden seats which were stolen off of her patio.
w. The first piece of furniture that Glenn and Jeannine bought was a wooden desk and chair.  Jeannine bought it at Wards.  It was moved into different rooms over the years, but when the tornado hit Waco, the desk was in the northwest corner of the living room.  Jeannie was about 6-7 years old when this tornado was forming over their house.  The sky was green.  Jeannine told Jeannie, “You and the two boys get under that desk if I tell you to.”  She never gave that command and Jeannie was glad because there was no way there was enough room under that desk for three kids!  I believe the date of the tornado was May 10, 1955.
w.  Jerri Matthews remembers visiting the house and being surprised to find a telephone in the main bathroom.  It was located in the right corner, along with a small table and chair.

The Glenn Blair home was purchased by Buck Bailey, but he sold it to someone else.  He moved the house to a wrecking yard on Wheat road, but Ina Smith raised a fuss about it because of regulations concerning what could be located on that property.  The house was divided and moved to different locations around August 7, 1982.  The home was sold in two pieces.  Tommy Cochran’s son now lives in it.  It is on the west side of Wheat road way out there.  It’s back off the road; don’t know if you could recognize it.  It was not an “addition” to a home; it is the home itself.  The den of the Glenn Blair home at Hill Top was just torn down because it was lower than the rest of the house and had a concrete floor.  When Billy Blair went to the house on August 7, 1982 to draw off a copy of the footprints he and some of his siblings made in the wet cement, all that remained of the original house location was the foundation.
1963 Blair kid footprints in new back yard patio concrete at home at Hill Top Courts.
 Left to right: Jeannie (6" tall X 2" wide), Bobby (6" tall X 2 3/4" wide), & Billy (5" tall X 2 1/2" wide) footprints.
(Source: Billy Blair rubbing done on August 7, 1982, the day after the home was relocated).

B.  “Little Granny’s house”.  
View is west to east. Glenn Blair home to right of this picture.

The street address for this house was 1706 South Pearl Street.  Belton, Texas 76513.  There was not a mailing address here for a long time. Glenn had this home built just to the north of his for his mother, Bertie Bell (Swan) Blair, to live in due to her failing emotional health.  (She had previously gone to church 2-3 hours early in Holland, Texas.  On another day, she had fallen asleep during the daytime and when she woke up she thought it was the next day.  When Steve Blair came home from school, she was on his case about staying out all night.  She would, in an instant, seem like she was mentally back thirty years.  She would start walking one direction and turn around and walk the opposite way.  Sometimes, she would even climb out windows). Jeannine Blair thought it would take forever to sell Bertie’s home in Holland, Texas, but it actually sold very quickly.  The house built for Bertie (Swan) Blair and later used as a rent house. This house was built by Bucky Wilson about 1963 - 64, before the last addition to the Glenn Blair home.  The house was built when Steve Blair was either a Junior or Senior in high school.  Bucky and Glenn insulated the house well and insulated the pipes so they would never freeze.   The house had yellow shutters on the windows.  Residents in this house included (not necessarily in order):
     a.  Bertie Bell (Swan) Blair and grandson Steve Blair: Steve Blair lived with “little granny” (Bertie Bell Swan Blair) in the rent house until she was put in a nursing home.  At that time, he moved into cabin # 11 (just in front of the Glenn Blair home) so that Glenn could rent the house to someone else.  Bertie would occasionally jump over the fence on the north side of the Glenn Blair home; there was no gate on that side of the house.
     b.  Joe and Gale Cosper.  They were the first people to live in the rent house after Steve Blair moved into cabin # 11.  Gale said that Mary Beth Blair was a toddler when they lived in this house.
     c.  Patti Lynn (Wallace) and Brian                      .  Patti Lynn was Gran Wallace’s daughter.  They lived in the house after Joe and Gale Cosper.
     d.  Shirley and Ernie Reinke.  The pictures below were taken in March of 1967.  (Note: Around 2000, Ernie was county judge in Meridian, Texas.  In 2005, he and his wife Shirley run the Inn on the River in Glen Rose, Texas).

Shirley & Ernie Reinke
Front porch of Hill Top Court rent house.
Shirley Reinke and our dog, "Joe Dog".
Front porch of Hill Top's rent house.

     e.  German family.  They had four children: Mikee, Joey?, Stevie, and a girl.  One time Mikee went into Glenn Blair’s home while they were at church and had diarrhea all over the house.  They lived in the house following Patti Lynn (Wallace) and husband.
     f.  The Holland family.  The wife’s name was Penny.  They had several children.  They lived here while waiting to rent the Glenn Blair home.
     g.  David and Helen Harvel: They lived here about 1963.  Helen was the one who came over to Glenn and Jeannine’s home and told Jeannine about President John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas.

This house was purchased by Buck Bailey from Texaco.

C.  Hill Top Courts office:

Masonite 1' 6" X 2' 1" sign that hung on outer wall of office.

This building was purchased at the same place at Fort Gates where Glenn Blair’s original house was bought; however, this office was made of new material instead of old barracks.  Georgia Ruth Griffin (“Georgia”) was Glenn’s secretary, part time, for the Insurance company.  Mose Henry rented rooms for Glenn at Hill Top for a while (every other night until midnight).  The Hill Top laundry was done by an outside company.

The office is now located on Highway 190 on the north side of the road, not far out of town.  It is close to the nursing home that Glenn’s brother, Aubrey, was in.

The office desk, swivel oak rocker desk chair, and several of the original filing cabinets are now in Billy Blair’s home.  The original tag on the desk chair reads:
“The B.L. Marble Chair Co.
Bedford, Ohio U.S.A.
Chair # 5592 ½
Genuine Walnut.  No. 32 Color
Series 4702
form 116" “
Billy remembered that two of the wheels would always fall out when you would lean back in the chair because of the wood being worn away where the wheels connected.  The chair would always tip over and was a real frustration to Billy when he was a child.

From 1958 to at least 1961, Glenn had several (up to 5) ten gallon aquariums in the front room of his office.  His children would often take turns being with him in the office in the evenings and even rented out rooms to people; watching the fish and going with Glenn to buy the fish was a real treat.  They bought fish in the following locations in Temple, Texas:
1958 - 1959: Tropical Fish Room
1960: Fin & Feather.  Aquarium supplies were also purchased from Mrs. Alex St. Elms Jr.
1961: Fin & Feather; Eaton's Pet Shop; Sue's Tropical Fish.

D.  Hill Top Café: 

Hill Top Cafe, Belton, Texas (July, 1960)

Hill Top Cafe (View is NE to SW). Taken when new in 1940s.

Glenn Blair drawing of Hill Top Cafe.
Top of drawing faces east (front).

1.  Several people ran this café at different times:
     a.  Roy Burks: ran the café the longest.  (Note: Dwayne Digby thought that Roy Burks was the one who had the large arrowhead/ rattlesnake display cases displayed in the café).  Mattie Wesson stated that Roy Burks had a place a couple of doors down from the old “Hamburger King” grill on Central Avenue (across from the old First National Bank) before he ran Hill Top Café.  Either he or his son died from complications from kidney disease while in the Navy.
     b.  Glenn Blair thought that June Wilheight was the one who had incredible display cases filled with large arrowheads/ Indian artifacts and / rattlesnake rattlers/ skin which hung on the long wall behind the counter.
     c.  Florence Reed: a blond English woman with two girls who played with the Blair kids a lot.  Her kid’s            names were Evonne, Marlene, and Tony.  (Note: In 2004, Glenn said, “There was a German woman who worked at Hill Top Café when Roy Burkes ran it.  Her name was Florence                           (“Heard” was possibly the last name).  She had three children named: Yvonne (or Evonne), Marlene, and Tony.  These three kids went to church with our family sometimes).  Note the similarity in the two versions.
     d.  Smit - ee: He was a cook in the Navy; he was in Washington/ Oregon.  Glenn Blair got his Bar-b-que recipe from him (see “Notes” at end of article for recipe).
     e.  Lady with a daughter: They almost got the café closed down because they were running a “cat            house” (prostitution) on the side.  They ran the café for a brief time.
     f.  Jeannine Blair didn’t know if the café was built at Hill Top or moved in from another location.
     g.  Dwayne Digby said that family members would always go to the Café after dates and drink coffee.
2.  Jeannine Blair said, “To tell you the truth, I didn’t eat at Hill Top Café too often.  We would go up and order hamburgers at the walk-up window sometimes and bring them home”.  (Source: Jeannine Blair, 6-4-07). (Note: The walk-up window was on the north side of the café off the kitchen.  It faced the gas station). Just east of the walk-up window on the north side were windows, one of which held an air conditioner.  There were large windows across the front of the café and windows on the south side as well.
3.  Mattie (Digby) Wesson had a friend named Bobbie Copeland who used to be a waitress at Hill Top Café. The café had great chicken friend steak and hamburger steaks.   As you entered the café, the booth tables were on the left side and tables were on the right.  There were stool seats (which were screwed into the floor) at the counter, which ran the length of the café up towards the kitchen. Mattie and her friends used to hang out at the café after seeing a movie because the café was open later than most other places.  (Source: Mattie Wesson, 6-4-07). According to Gale (Digby) Cosper, there was a big juke box by the front door, but there were individual juke boxes on the booth tables to select the music.
4.  Jeannine Blair introduced Billy & Susan Blair and son Will to James Housewright, whom she said delivered bread to Hill Top Café.  James also carried his insurance with Glenn Blair for many years.  As of December, 2010, James was living in Garden Estates in Temple, Texas as was Jeannine.
5.  Mike Herrington said that he and Bill Barge once got food poisoning from eating hamburgers at Hill Top Cafe and missed a couple of basketball games.  
6.  Wayne Carpenter said, "It was a stop on my first paper route when I was 14 years old...."
7.  Rita (Digby) Locklin said, "Hilltop Courts, station, and cafe.  My brother in law (Glenn Blair) owned the property.  He ran the motel and had an insurance business in the office.  He leased the station and cafe to someone else.... They also had a house where they lived behind the motel.  It faced the road in back of the property."
8.  Gaye (McPherson) Darilek said, "When I was a little girl, Deanna and I used to walk over to the cafe and get a bottled Dr. Pepper and ice cream cone - the ice cream was so good... It actually had small ice chunks in it - loved it!"
9.  The following information was gleaned from a conversation between Jackie Camp Dye, Gaye McPherson Daritek, and Shirley M. Hughes: Mr. & Mrs. Slawson ran the cafe for a while.  They also lived just south of the cafe.  They later worked for the parents of Shirley M. Hughes at Leon Heights Drive-In in later years.
10.  Linda Baggerly said, "Donnie washed dishes and cooked a little there around 1964."
11.  Gale (Digby) Cosper said, "...All the truckers hung out here, but it was one of the few cafes in Belton."

E.  Hill Top Gas Station:

Hill Top Courts Gas Station with court rooms behind. View is SE to NW.
(Older rooms on left; newer rooms on the right).

     a.  According to Debra Blair, Brian’s second wife, George Chipman either ran Hill Top gas station or the one just north of the Hill Top office.
     b.  Glenn stated that safety of his children at the courts wasn’t a big factor because people that worked at the gas station kept an eye on the Hill Top Court office.  They were all friends of Glenn. Depending on who ran the station at the time, they sometimes were a 24-hour station.  Harry Stewart, who once drove trucks with H.O. and Glenn, used to work at this gas station.
     c.   If the gas station was not leased out at a particular time, H.O. and Glenn had to run it.  This didn’t happen very often.
     d.  Jeannine Blair didn’t know whether the station was built at Hill Top or moved there from another location.
     e.  People who leased or worked at the gas station:
          1.                     Lisembe (kin to Dennis Lisembe) and Bobby Underwood leased the station.
          2.  Lee Lynch worked at the station.  He was a good looking man with a dark complexion.
          3.  Johnny Boren ran the gas station in it’s later days.  Johnny’s dad got him involved in the station in order to get him out of the rodeo circuit.  Hill Top Courts was still open at the time he ran it., according to Jeannine Blair.
          4.  Jeannine Blair said that Johnny Northcutt and his wife, Willie, ran the service station when the Blairs were there.  Willie had a son named David Griffith from her first marriage and two more kids.  When Hill Top Courts sold to Texaco, Texaco rented the court rooms.  The Northcutts continued the station, but also took over renting the rooms for Texaco.
     f.  Billy Blair remembers the station being a full service station with 2-3 men providing service for each car including washing windows, checking oil/ fluids, and checking tire pressure.  Gasoline cost about      $ .25 per gallon and cokes were a dime.
     g.  Curtis Light said, I remember seeing a sign there.  Diesel 11 cents.  About the only place in Belton you could buy diesel."

F.  Stucco home next to cabin # 12 and the Glenn Blair home: Herbert Orlando Blair had a device that rotated the antennae at his home at Hill Top (after Glenn and Jeannine were at Hill Top).  This stucco house was originally two court rooms without a porch.  They built a porch and a bath on the south side.  H.O. and Loraine lived here prior to Glenn and Jeannine coming to Hill Top.  This construction work happened in the late 1940's.  Billy Blair remembers Joe Cosper doing some painting in the house when he was a young child.  Loraine liked for things to be neat and clean.  Roy Burks, who ran Hill Top Café at one time, would not clean up the area behind the café. This was probably very difficult for Loraine to take since the café was immediately east of their home.  Loraine planted a small garden just south of their stucco home.

H.O. and Loraine Blair left Hill Top because Loraine wanted a nicer place to live in.  Loraine pestered H.O. about it for a long time.  When he had the money, he bought a new house on 14th street in Belton, close to Leon Heights Elementary school.  Jeannine Blair said that she didn’t blame Loraine for this.  H.O. was still involved in Hill Top after moving: He got his share of the money each month, hired Mose Henry to help Glenn run the courts....

G.  Horse / sheep Barn:
In May, 1954, Mart Digby gave a Shetland pony to the Blair kids named “Shorty” (Note: I’m not sure if “Shorty” was the first horse Mart gave).  Mart Digby traded cars and horses. In September, 1954 (one note said “about 1956), Glenn built (along with Lester Sims?) a barn in the field at Hill Top Courts for the horse.  Just when the kids would get used to the horse, Mart would trade it for another one.  One of the horses was named “Tinker”.  The barn faced south and was there for many years.  After the horses were gone, Richard Latham had an agriculture project with 3-4 sheep.  Glenn let him use the pen at the barn.  A pack of dogs got into the pen after a couple of nights and killed all except one sheep.  Glenn used orange crate racks from his trucking business, after he sold his trucks, as the supports for the barn.  The barn had a flat, tin roof that was probably about 10' tall. The roof probably had a very slight slope from front to back.  Hay would be thrown into the shed area loose; the “door” to the shed was more of a wooden window about halfway up the wall.  (Note: This is the barn that Bobby and Billy would jump off of in the summer).  The back yard of the Glenn Blair home was just north of the barn.

Bobby Blair next to barn (view is NW to SE).
(Hay was stored on left side of barn in this picture)
One of the Shetland ponies at the barn.
(View is west to east)

Drawing of Blair horse barn.
(Top of drawing faces south).

One of the horses in fenced area of the barn.
(View is NW to SE)


1.  Jeannie remembers that her parents had banny chickens in the shed where the feed was kept.
The chicken snakes would eat the banty chickens.

H.  The actual Court rooms:
1.  Cabin # 6 had large, rectangular wooden boxes on both sides on the floor running east-west; these held blankets....  There was also a long glass case that ran north-south towards the back of the cabin that held pillowcases, sheets, and other supplies.  The little bath/ closet area, which had a sliding curtain as a door, was filled with paperback novels that Glenn let Joe Finney store there. There was a large, old cottonwood tree directly behind cabin # 6.

The cottonwood tree behind cabin # 6.
Billy threw a dart somewhere high up in this tree.

2.  Cabin # 12, which was located between the stucko house that H.O. Blair lived in and the Glenn Blair home, was a storeroom.  It was a favorite place for the Blair kids to look for “treasures” and held such things as old circulating fans, cash registers,....

3.  There was a man who would occasionally stay at the courts named “Mississippi” (“Sippi”).  He was a roughneck and used heavy equipment to help build the dam at Belton Lake.  He stayed in one of the older court rooms, perhaps # 8 or # 9.  He enjoyed putting together objects inside bottles.  He had a large bottle (probably a whiskey bottle, according to Jeannie Pittman) which had a beautiful ship inside with sails, rigging, ... that Sippi had made.  Sippi (Sippie?) also made Jeannie a 4-rung ladder with a hammer and axe inside a 6" tall glass listerine bottle (The bottle had the following designed into the glass: “Listerine   Lambert” and “Listerine Pharmacal Co.”).  Billy remembers him sitting on the concrete step at the front door of the cabin assembling the ladder.  It was amazing to watch him patiently carve a piece, carefully put it inside, then take it out and shave a fraction of wood off and re-insert the piece until it fit perfectly.  The bottle is now one of Jeannie’s prized possessions.
Jeannine hated cleaning his room because it would always be so muddy from his daily work at Belton Dam.


Five views of Sippi's ladder, hammer, & axe made for Jeannie Blair in a Listerine bottle.

4.  Billy remembers the red neon lighting that was around the top of the newer cabins and at the Hill Top office.

5.  In the newer cabins (on the north side of Hill Top Courts), evaporative coolers were installed. The humidity from them made the crepe myrtles behind the cabins beautiful !  Jeannie stated that her mother would let us cut as much of them as we wanted and bring inside the house.

6.  Cabin # 11 was the room Steve Blair moved into after Glenn’s mother went to the nursing home. This enabled Glenn to rent the house to other families.

7.  When the big tornado hit Waco, Texas in the 1950's, it went right over Hill Top Courts and broke out all the neon lights on the courts.  The storm was not a tornado yet.  It was hail (larger than a softball) that broke the lights.  The lights were green and pinkish red in color.

8.  Some of the people who were hired to help clean/ run the courts:
     a.  Elma Ramirez: Worked at the courts from May 26 - June 23, 1961.  She only cleaned Glenn and Jeannine’s home at Hill Top; she cleaned about 1-2 days a week. (after Glenn’s mother moved to Hill Top).  Her husband was the pastor of the Mexican Baptist Church in Belton.  Elma ate with Glenn and his family.  Once, Glenn said “I’m a mean Mex-can” in her presence by mistake.  She just laughed.
     b.  Viola and Doyle Jackson worked at Hill Top renting rooms and cleaning cabins.  Mr. Jackson was a tall, gray haired man with large ears and Mrs. Jackson was a sweet grandmother type lady. Doyle liked to ride a horse.  He was very honest, but couldn’t fix things very well.  His job was to fix things and rent court rooms at night.  Viola cleaned the court rooms (She was hired after Mrs. Hauffler).  They lived in the stucco house.    They had a daughter named Roberta and twins named June and Joe.  June had big eyes and never blinked.  Roberta was a pretty girl who was married and had two kids of her own.  The Jacksons worked at Hill Top about the same time that Jeannie Blair went to college at U.T.  One time, Glenn and Jeannine Blair went to Austin for the weekend and left their kids at home.  They made arrangements and trusted the Jacksons to watch out for them. The Jacksons began drawing their Social Security money and bought a home out close to the Digby home that had the turtle race track close to the road.
     c.  Maime Irwin (Her husband’s name was Edgar.  The endorsement on paychecks read “A.H. Irwin): She worked at the courts from November 26, 1955 for four days.  She was a short, plump woman.  She cleaned the courts and Jeannine Blair thought she worked there for a long time.  She was paid $ 17.00 a week to clean the courts.  Her husband didn’t really work at Hilltop.
     d.  Ed and              Haufler (Johnnie Haufler’s grandmother): Mrs. Haufler’s son, Charlie, was mentally challenged.  The Hauflers lived in the stucco house after H.O. Blair left.  Mrs. Haufler was hired to clean the courts after Mrs. Irwin.  The court rooms cost $ 6.00 - $ 7.00 or $ 10.00 - $ 12.00 to rent (depending on single or double bed and older vs. newer cabin).
     e.                     Berry: He played the organ.  He owned a laundry in Temple and did the laundry at Hill Top Courts.
     f.  Janie Youngblood.  (Jaynie was kin to Billy &               Wilheight.  She was related to Jody Bounds, who was a Wilheight girl).  Janie and her husband Lesley were divorced when Janie was hired at Hill Top.  She had two little girls and needed the job to support her children.  She was hired after the Jacksons and she cleaned the cabins, rented the rooms,....
    g.  Mose Henry: H.O. Blair hired him so that Glenn Blair wouldn’t have to spend all his time renting rooms at Hill Top.  This was when H.O. wasn’t feeling good enough to do it.  Mose drove the truck that picked up and delivered the laundry.  He had another job, but worked after hours at night renting rooms until about midnight so that Glenn come be home earlier.  He was an average size, dark headed, plesant man.  As of May, 2007, Mose Henry’s widow, Elizabeth, lived in a duplex on Pearl street in Belton, Texas (per Jeannine Blair).  Susan Blair said that she and her brother, Tommy Thornton, used to play in her yard when children.
     h.  A.V. Maley: Worked at the courts from August 15, 1963 to July 14, 1964.  He didn’t work much and wasn’t very good.  Had thin hair and wore a wig.  Jeannine had words with her: “We can’t rent the rooms if they’re not clean”.
     i.  Mrs. Mary Arnold: Worked at the courts from December 19, 1960 to March 18, 1962.
     j.  Georgia Roen: She worked part-time in the office helping Glenn with the Insurance Agency. Worked from 1961 through 1966.
     k.  Harry Stewart: 1955 -1956 were the years he worked at Hill Top at the Gas Station.
     l.  O.R. Carter: November 26 - December 6, 1955.
     m.  Edd Phillips: December 4 & 11, 1955.
     n.  Lee Lynch: Worked at the courts from November 26, 1955 to January 21, 1956.  Jeannine said he was a very nice looking man.
     o.  There was a couple who was hired, but it was quickly discovered that he was a drunk.  Jeannine Blair said the husband’s personality changed totally within the course of just one day.  They had a daughter named Cindy..

9.  Jeannine Blair thinks the furniture in the newer cabins at Hill Top (cabins # 1-5 on the north side) was made by a company named A.A. Brandt.  She thinks Emmitt and Mack Digby purchased the furniture.  The old iron beds in the older cabins probably came with the cabins when they were purchased from the Yettie Polk Park area.

10. The old court rooms (#’s 6 - 12 on the west side)had a vanity with a skirt around the bottom.  The cloth curtains as well as the vanity skirts were all made by Jeannine and Loraine Blair.  They also fixed all the tears in the sheets....  The curtains and the vanity skirts all matched.  The showers were small and were made with a plaster-type material on the walls.  These rooms also had an iron bed in them (with curved iron headboard as well as curved footboard) as well as old rotating fans which were screwed onto a board about 2/3's the way up the corner of the wall to the left of the door as you entered.

Glenn & Jeannine Blair with daughter Jeannie in front of  older cabins.
View is  East to West.  Cabin # 12 (storeroom) on back left.
(The driveway to Glenn & Jeannine's home was between
these two cabins).

11. Several people who worked on building the dam at Lake Belton stayed at the cabins (Ex: “Sippi” and Mr. Mills or Miles who lived in cabin # 10 or # 11).  Mr. Mills or Miles also had insurance with Glenn.

12. Jeannine said she believed the older court rooms (on the west side of Hill Top) were moved to Hill Top Courts from the area around Yettie Polk Park.  Emmitt and Mack Digby built cabins # 1-5 on the north side.  She believed that Emmitt and Mack gave the name “Hill Top Courts” to the place.

13. “Scott” brand toilet tissue was used at the courts.

14.  Mary Bales said, "Glenn Blair had these rooms when I got married and worked at First National Bank with him in 1966.  He and his sweet wife gave Buster and I a week there...until he had to leave for his ship, USS Walker...517".

I.  The General Hill Top Courts Area:
1.  There was a beautiful pyracantha bush behind cabin # 12 with lovely red berries.

2.  There was a very large hedge of honeysuckle (about 7' tall,  25' long, and 3-4' thick) behind the Hill Top Café.  The smell of the honeysuckle was wonderful, but the sting of the many yellow jackets wasn’t too pleasant.  The hedge would also attract many types of moths, especially the sphinx moth.

3.  Hill Top was built next to U.S. Highway 81.  It was U.S. Highway 81 when Glenn bought in to Hill Top on September 21, 1949.  He paid Mack Digby $ 8, 084.59 for half interest in Hilltop Courts, Café, and Station.  U.S. Highway 81 later became I.H. 35.

The original check that purchased Glenn Blair's half interest in Hill Top Courts.

4.  Roy and Josie Whiteley’s home was south of the Glenn Blair home, on the other side of our large field. They had several children.  Billy Blair remembers going inside their home once with his mother. The inside walls of the home were covered with newspapers.  The floors were either dirt or some floors had loose linoleum roofing shingles laid on top of the dirt. There were also loose shingles spread on the ground immediately outside the home.  The Blair kids and Whiteley kids would sometimes play together.  One of the children’s names was Mary.

The Whiteley's home (on right). The culvert where Bobby & Billy
Blair played "Army" was just in front of this home
 and to the right of this picture.
(Image by Billy Blair in 2005)

5.  Glenn stated that the reason he sold the home/ land at Hill Top was because he learned that the exit ramp for Interstate Highway 35, which was being built, was not going to be right at his location.  This meant that the value of his property would be very little.  He sold it to Texaco before this happened and got a good price for it at the time.  (Note: The latest theory, as of 2005, is that Governor Rick Perry’s new major highway through Texas will come in right through Pearl street, which is the road which runs right in front of where Glenn’s home used to be located at Hill Top.). The land at Hill Top has been bought and sold a couple of times since Texaco bought it in 1971.  It is currently owned by a man who lives in Salado, Texas; he is the husband of one of Jeannine’s golf friends.

6.  Mack Digby’s philosophy of “build things as cheaply as possible” caused problems at Hill Top. This is why H.O. Blair asked Glenn to buy out Mack Digby’s ½ interest in the courts.

7.  Mack Digby and Emmitt Digby owned Hill Top Courts.  Emmitt got tired of Mack.  Emmitt sold his half to H.O. Blair.  H.O. got tired of Mack.  H.O. and Glenn were getting out of the trucking business due to two bad freezes in the valley.  They wanted them to start hauling out of Florida.  H.O. got in bad health - Glenn ran it and didn’t charge H.O. a penney.  After H.O. died, Glenn got 3/4's of the courts and Aubrey Blair got 1/4.  Aubrey never did anything at the courts, but Glenn never charged him anything.  Glenn sold his mother’s, Bertie Bell (Swan) Blair, home in Holland; it had been deeded to him.  Glenn had the little house at Hill Top next to his home built for her with the money.

8.  There was a large field next to the Glenn Blair home (on the south side) which was covered with bluebonnets and Indian blanket flowers.

Indian Blanket
(Image by Billy Blair)
(Image by Billy Blair)

Faded view of field of flowers immediately south of Blair home at Hill Top.
View is NW to SE.  Note the baseball backstop, culvert under IH-35, and
homes on east side of the highway in upper part of the image.

When Glenn began having the field mowed to make way for a Little League baseball field, the flowers disappeared because the field was mowed before the flowers went to seed.  Someone in our family (I think it was Glenn) said that Glenn gave the baseball backstop to Robert Aguilar and that it was on a field close to where the train intersects Main street just north of UMHB.  It looks very similar to the one at Hill Top, but both Jeannie (Blair) Pittman and Jeannine Blair don’t think it is the same backstop.  They believe Robert Aguilar had that one built.

9.  Bellview Courts (immediately north of Hill Top Courts): Gilbert and Katie Smith owned the courts first.  Katie’s mother helped run the courts also.  The Smiths had three children: Craig, Debbie, and Stanley.  They were good friends of Billy Blair.  Joe Burks owned these courts after the Smiths.  He had a daughter named Barbara.  She got bit by a rattlesnake before they ran the courts.  She had scars from it, but didn’t die. There was a gas station that was part of Bellview Motel.  The Smiths leased it to Joe Burks.  Arthur Washburn (who was a preacher in 2007) also ran that service station.

Hill Top Courts: Memories

1.  Billy and Bobby Blair both played baseball.  Glenn turned his field at Hill Top into a baseball field; this eliminated the need for him to have to drive back and forth across town to take the boys to practices.  The boys were on different teams and practiced on different days.  Bobby was on the “National Guards” (who were very good) and Billy was on the “Giants” (who always came in last place).  One team practiced on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  The other team practiced on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Billy Ed Wilson built a very sturdy, metal backstop for the field.  The backstop went to the Agilar property on the east side of Main street where Main street crosses the railroad tracks after we no longer needed the field at our home.

Billy (left) & Bobby Blair at Hill Top Courts home in baseball uniforms.
(Billy was on the "Giants"; Bobby was on the "National Guards" team).

(PICTURE OF THE BACKSTOP).  One of the reasons that beautiful field of bluebonnets, Indian blankets, Mexican hats, and yellow flowers is gone is because of Glenn installing the baseball field.

The birds were owned by Mr. Higginbotham, who lived about a quarter mile northwest of Glenn Blair’s home.  His home was on top of a hill and he wouldn’t keep his birds penned up.

Higginbotham home in the 1990s (looks the same). View is SE to NW
(Image by Billy Blair. Taken on December 21, 2007)

About 4 am every day, the birds would come to Hill Top making a bunch of racket and waking Glenn and Jeannine up as well as the people staying at the courts.  The guineas would go in a group to Hill Top Café and feed on the food scraps they threw out back.  Glenn “shooed” the birds back towards Higginbotham’s place.  They would run a little, fly a little....  There was a clothesline on the north side of Glenn’s home that had big eye hooks to attach the wires to (before they had a fence at the house).  Glenn “shooed” the guineas back to Higginbotham’s place. One flew into the hook on Glenn’s clothesline and hung itself.  Mr. Higginbotham was a large, gruff old man who thought he was God, according to Glenn.  He was mad about his dead guinea, so he stopped everyone he saw in front of the First National Bank in Belton (where Glenn worked) to tell them how Glenn was killing all his guineas.  Mr. Higginbotham wanted Glenn to take the dead guinea to Hill Top Café and have them cook it.  He said he would come there to eat it.  Glenn said, “I think I just left it on the clothesline.”  Jeannine hated the guineas because they would get under the windows and wake her kids up before dawn.
(Note: Another version of the story relayed by Glenn on an earlier date: “Guineas would come several hundred yards from Mr. Higginbotham’s home on the hill across the street (north of Glenn’s home).  He was a large, gruff man.  I asked him to keep his guineas home because they were waking us up each morning.  The guineas would eat the food scraps behind the Hill Top Café.  Mr. Higginbotham said, ‘If they bother you, why don’t you just shoot them if they come by, have the café cook em, and tell em to call me !’  I shot toward the guineas to spook them.  One flew straight into our clothesline and strangled itself on the wire where the line attaches to the large hook.  I sent it to the café and told them to cook it and call Mr. Higginbotham.  They did, and he ate it.  The next day or the day after, Mr. Higginbotham showed up at the First National Bank where I worked.  He stood outside on the sidewalk by the driveway and told everybody he knew that passed by about mean old Glenn Blair who killed his guineas.”).

3.  Jeannine Blair said she made Bobby and Billy’s suits out of H.O. Blair’s old suits.  She would turn them inside out so that the material looked new.

4.  Jeannine said the family used to listen to “The Goodmans” Christian music show while getting ready for church when living at Hill Top.

5.  Glenn would hold all the rooms at the courts on July 4th for Dan Coats (the Belton Rodeo announcer when the rodeo was held in the outdoor arena).  Dan would stay at Hill Top and would also give the rooms to his crew for the rodeo: Cowboys, Indians, trick riders, entertainers....  Glenn said it was a lot of fun watching the Indians sing and dance (and probably drink) out in the grassy area behind the gas station.  (PHOTO OF DAN COATS & MART DIGBY AT OUTDOOR RODEO ARENA).  H.O. and Loraine would sit by the water tower at the courts and rent rooms at first.  The court office was built for Glenn to run his insurance business.  Jeannie (Blair) Pittman remembers closing off the U-shaped  driveway at Hill Top during the July 4th rodeo for the rodeo folks.  The Indians would set up bonfires in the driveway.  An Indian couple taught the Blair kids one or two Indian dances.  Those connected to the rodeo enjoyed staying here because they could stake their horses up in the field to feed.

6.  Hill Top water system: At Hill Top, they had a wooden tank for water because it was out of Belton city limits.  It was putting pressure on the water system and they didn’t have enough water pressure to the rooms at the courts.  Glenn went looking for a solution.  He found some steel containers from Ft. Hood.  Motors came in containers.  They were about six feet long and 3 feet tall.  They had steel straps from four directions welded to the sides to suspend the motors in the containers.  They were selling the containers at Ft. Hood.  They had steel “I” beam runners (6" thick); they had four under each container’s bottom.  They had a huge rubber gasket to secure the lid.  Glenn bought two boxes and turned them upside down on top of each other.  He bolted them together.  They had a 40 feet deep water well at the courts.  They thought that 30 psi would be good.  They had pipes run to the courts, station, and café.  A gauge measured the pressure; it was 15 psi.  A man came out and checked it and said, “Blair, do you have any idea how much pressure you have here?!”  The 6" steel beams were starting to bend upwards from the pressure.  He said we were lucky it didn’t blow up.  Finally, the town annexed it and ran water to Hill Top.  We never had to use the water system.  They remained on the pressure tank until they left Hill Top.  The containers were in a small 10 X 10' building about 8-10 feet behind the gas station.  The old water tower at Hill Top was about 12-15 feet to the ground and sat on a platform.  The cistern where it was hooked together was 5-6' in diameter and over 8' tall.  (INSERT DRAWING).

7.  There were restrooms on each side of the gas station.  The men’s bathroom was on the north side and the women’s was on the south side.  There were no bathrooms in the café for help or customers, so they used the bathrooms at the gas station.  Billy Blair remembers that these bathrooms always seemed to be filthy.

8.  Skunks lived under “little grannie’s house” at Hill Top.  The skunk had babies under the house.  (Another version: Jeannine said, “One year, we had a rash of skunks; one had gotten under little granny’s house.  We had to have a man come to get rid of it.  I believe the man’s name was Mr. Whitley.”).

9.  Glenn shot a skunk at Hill Top Courts that came up in the yard.  Jeannine said that everyone was surprised because he killed it with only one shot from his .22 rifle.  There was snow on the ground.  He shot it with his .22 automatic rifle.  Billy remembers getting off the school bus one day at home to a strong skunk smell; his dad had shot it (Don’t know if these incidents were the same ones).  This rifle is still at Glenn’s home on 24th street in Belton.  It was the same rifle that Jeannine used to light the match in the tree when they were dating.  Glenn purchased this gun prior to their marriage in 1946.

10. Jeannine remembers Jackie White, Bobby Blair, and Billy Blair having a big popcorn fight in their bedroom.  She said, “It was a huge mess!”

11. Glenn and Jeannine’s children met the Decker boys (Doug, Dan, and David) on the schoolbus when they lived at Hill Top.  Doug and Dan were twins.  Doug was a dancer; David was a magician and liked sports.  They were all kinda weird and feminine.  They lived across the street from the current Expo. Center in Belton. Their house was 9/10's of a mile south of their home at Hill Top Courts.

12. The Johnson family lived on the IH 35 access road north of the Ford dealership.  They had five beautiful daughters.  They lived in an old, rickety house.  Their father was a professional gambler.

13. Mary Blair made many cheese sandwiches for her brother Billy and polished his shoes.

14. Bobby and Billy argued over who would mow which part of the yard and who would empty the trash in which part of the house.  Bobby felt that Billy had it easier because Billy mowed the smaller front yard, which had less items to mow around (concrete table, swingset, light pole...).  Jeannine said, “I did a lot of mowing at Hill Top.  Bobby didn’t exert himself too much regarding work.”  Lucy (Caudle) Blair said every time she came to visit Glenn and Jeannine, Bob would be on his couch, by his table, watching TV.

15. Bobby and Billy had their toy, plastic soldiers at the foxhole area.

16. Bobby would always get into trouble with his parents because Billy would fall asleep in the den and Bobby would leave him there instead of waking him up and getting him to bed.

17. Bobby encouraged Billy in sports because he felt that Billy had good athletic ability.  He also encouraged Billy in Math, but it didn’t work.

18. According to Jeannie, Bobby and Billy didn’t play in the culvert much (under IH 35) because it got dark and had spiders, bugs, ....  Bobby adds that he and Billy would go through the culverts to get across IH 35 to get to Billy Wilson’s home. This was so that their mother wouldn’t worry about them trying to cross Interstate highway 35.  Bobby and Billy found many crawdads in that concrete culvert.

March, 2006 picture of culvert entrance under IH 35
(View is N to S).  Looked the same minus the graffiti and lack of shallow water.
This one was at east end of the "Crawdad Hole".  There was
another culvert by Dunlap's Veterinarian Clinic north of
Hill Top Courts which we also used to go under IH 35.

19. Most of the time, the Blair kids rode the school bus to school.  They walked a few times.

20. According to Jeannie, one year they got bunny rabbits for Christmas.  A black cat attacked and killed the rabbits.  Glenn was going to shoot the cat, but couldn’t tell the difference between the black cat and the black bunny.  This happened when Jeannie was little.

21. Glenn used to have banty roosters and hens at Hill Top which nested in the horse barn.

22. Jeannie states that the family would eat late and stay up late because dad got in late from work.

23. Mary Blair remembers holding a box of fireworks for the other Blair kids.  She was given a lighted punk to hold also.  She held it over the box and it accidentally set off all the fireworks.  The rest of the kids were mad at her.

24. Bobby and Billy taught Mary how to tie a rubberband around a large wad of speargrass to throw it at someone.  A good spit on the end of the speargrass even made it better!


25. Mary remembers all the kids jumping down the three steps into the den.

26.  Bobby and Billy would climb the wooden sides of the barn barefooted in the summer to see who could stay on the hot, tin roof of the horse barn the longest.  Bobby jumped first.  Then Billy jumped off into the tall grass/ weeds and cut his big toe badly on a piece of broken glass off a Dr. Pepper bottle.  This happened when Billy was about 7-8 years old.  The barn was probably about ten feet tall with a slight slope on the roof from front to back.  The first to see the injury was Jeannie, who told Billy to wash his toe off in the sink.  Harry Stewart worked at the Hill Top Courts filling station.  He may have previously been a fireman.  He came over, cleaned the toe, and held Billy’s leg up.  The doctor told us to keep the toe clean by soaking it in hot water.  There was a lot of blood with the injury.

27. Mary said that Bobby and Billy never used to “take up” for her, even on the school bus.  Except for one time when Larry Montgomery was bothering Mary.  Billy came back and told him to stop.  Bobby and Billy wouldn’t let Mary go with them to the “crawdad hole”.

28. Bobby seemed to feel as though Billy was the favored child and always had things easier than the others.  Bobby made comments to his mother later that he was “kicked out of the cradle too soon” because Billy came along too quick.

29. Jeannie remembers a family with the last name of Ming who lived on the road west of the road in front of our home at Hill Top.  They raised horses.

30. Jeannine wouldn’t put a light fixture (just a bulb) in Bobby and Billy’s room because they were always breaking it.

31. Bobby and Billy were always playing “hat toss” with Sports cards and round baseball card disks, which had colorful borders around them.

Bobby (left) & Billy Blair at home at Hill Top by swing and see-saw.
(View is west to east. Note large honeysuckle hedge in background).

Part of one of the 6 ft. long chains that the swings hung from, along with two
of the 2" X 3 1/2" hooks that attached the swing seat to the chain.
(Image by Billy Blair on 1-10-15.  Billy has these items).

32. Jeannie remembers the seats on the swingset originally being thick wood.  One of the kids, either Bobby or Billy, walked behind the swings and got a large cut over the eye.  Then Glenn replaced the seats with flexible, form-fitting leather seats.  (Note: Glenn and Jeannine don’t remember one of the kids getting a cut over their eye.  They think Jeannie may be thinking of when this happened to Billy at a motel at Carlsbad, New Mexico).

33. Harry Latham kept his 4-H sheep in Glenn’s horse barn after they didn’t use it anymore to keep horses in.

34. One time, Jeannine fertilized the fruitless mulberry tree in their front yard by measuring circumference, not diameter (She was never very good at Math).  She put three times as much fertilizer as needed.  They watered it to spread the fertilizer out.  That tree grew faster than you can ever imagine!

 36. Jeannie (Blair) Pittman stated that George Black’s parents used to clean Hill Top.  (Jeannine said she didn’t remember this).

37. Jeannie (Blair) Pittman remembers her mother re-doing her bedroom and not allowing her to see it until it was finished, even though Jeannie tried to “get a peek”.  The room was painted pink and had flowered curtains.  Her mother re-finished a dresser for her also.

38. Jeannie (Blair) Pittman remembers sitting on a concrete block or slab when they were laying the plumbing around the frame for the original Glenn Blair home at Hill Top.  It was a pier and beam house.  She said the house had stacked cinder blocks or something like it to support the house.  (Another time she mentioned this: “When I was 2-3 years old, I remember our original peer and beam home.  It was outlined with the original cinder blocks with pipes being placed inside for plumbing....  Dad was talking with some men, probably construction workers.”).

40. Jeannie remembers when the Glenn Blair home had only one bedroom.  She, Bobby, and Billy all slept on the double bed.  Glenn and Jeannine had a green vinyl sofa; the back would fold down so it would lay flat.  They slept on this fold-out couch.

41. Jeannie remembers a fan in the house that her mother would put wet towels over to cool the air.

42. The first evaporative cooler in the house to provide cool air.  It was in the one bedroom in the north window so it could blow down the hall toward the rest of the house.  There was also a west window in that room.

43. Jeannie remembers her family using brooms, wet towels, and hoses to fight fires that were started from people throwing cigarettes out on IH 35 close to their home.  Twice there were fires that got very close to the home.  Billy remembers a man in a pickup truck kicking a burning tire out of his truck to keep some hay from igniting.  As he drove off, the tire began a fire in the median of the highway.  Billy (and either Bobby or some of Billy’s friends) helped put the fire out.  Glenn’s wife, Jeannine, said that Glenn would go out with wet toe sacks and wet brooms to fight the fires.  Gale Cosper remembers accidentally setting the field behind Hill Top cabin # 6 on fire (before Glenn built the house for his mother there) by throwing a sparkler in it.  She thought she was going to get into trouble.

45. Gale Cosper remembered one time tossing a sparkler in the field at Hill Top and accidentally starting a fire.

46. Bobby Blair said that the culvert off the dirt road on the west side of his family’s home was a major hang out and play army hangout for he and his brother Billy.  This was about 100 yards south of the house by a very tall weed area in which he and Billy would play army with friends.

47.  Bobby remembers making a large salt map ( I believe of South America) with one of the Lisenbee boys (Jeannine thought it was Clarence Lewellen) for a school project.  Kids, possibly relatives, came to the house; his parents hid the map under their bed so that the kids wouldn’t mess it up.  The kids were playing “hide & seek”.  One of them hid under his parent’s bed and, yes, messed up the map.

48. Bobby remembers Billy getting sprayed by a skunk they were chasing across the field by their house and having to have a tomato juice bath in a washtub to get off the smell.

49. Bobby remembers jumping off the horse barn.  Billy followed his example; Bobby encouraged him to run and jump, which Billy did.  Billy cut a large slice off his big toe on a broken coke bottle.  Bobby said that Billy was always the one to get cut, stung,....

50. Billy remembers playing “hat toss” with baseball/ football cards in their bedroom.

51. Jeannine remembers the wooden floors in the Hill Top cabins being removed and replaced with concrete floors.  Several frogs (“toad frogs”) were found under the wooden floors.  Jeannine picked up a few of them and put them in a coffee cake box.  She wrapped it, put a lid on it, and gave it to aunt Cody Hyer as a joke.  Odell and Corrine (“Cody”) Hyer lived on 14th street in Belton, across the street from Pearl Digby.  Cody opened the box and reached her hand inside.  One of the frogs moved and Cody let out a scream.  Jeannine thought she was going to faint.  Jeannine felt terrible and said she was sorry about a dozen times.  Cody was mad at her for this “joke”, which was unlike Cody.

52. Couples, outside of the Glenn Blair family,  who came to Glenn’s Bar-B-Que/ homemade ice cream parties at Hill Top:
     a.  Jim and Doris Sanders
     b.  Harold and Beverly Hembree (He was pastor of First Christian Church; she was odd).
     c.  Roy and Margaret Heartfield
     d.  Roy and Susie Cowan?
     e.  Bob and Norma McGuire (He was Margaret Heartfield’s brother)

53. Jeannine Blair remembers putting avocados or sweet potatoes in glass jars (with toothpicks in the sides for support) to grow plants in the kitchen at Hill Top.

54. Glenn would go to Joe Smith’s grocery store on South Main street in Belton (south of Nolan creek bridge on the west side of the road).  He would buy tons of stuff to Bar-B-Que (brisket, chopped and sliced beef, chicken, sausage).  He would marinate it overnight.  He would also make homemade ice cream.  In the early days, we would sit on top of the ice cream freezer with a towel under us while someone hand-cranked the ice cream.

55. While living at Hill Top, Glenn would periodically take the family to the hill country west of Austin to look for deer and chase armadillos.  Glenn took a lot of  movies of the deer the family saw on these trips.

56. When Glenn would go to the store to buy 2-3 items, he would always return with 2-3 bags of groceries.  Billy remembers the first time he was with Glenn buying groceries when he spent
$ 100.00.  Billy felt as though they must be the richest family in town because the grocery cart was overflowing with food.

57. Jeannine Blair remembers Bobby carrying Billy around by his neck.  She was lucky to have reached Billy before Bobby accidentally choked him.

Some of Glenn Blair's fishing bobbers, hook, and weight.

Part of Glenn Blair's fishing rod, 1964

Glenn Blair's fishing reel, 1964

58. Billy Blair remembers his mom and dad taking the kids to the lighted fishing dock at Lake Belton at night to catch perch.  He also remembers his parents taking the family in the family boat to Lake Belton.  It was fun to unload/ load the boat onto the trailer.  Billy remembers the first time his dad let him steer the boat: We were heading towards the dam and Glenn let him slowly turn the boat away from the dam.  He also remembers catching a tiny perch in his hands while loading the boat onto the trailer and taking the fish home as a pet.  It only lived a few hours.  Billy also remembers having an aquarium in their bedroom: Once, they put perch and crawdads from the crawdad hole down the road in the aquarium.  It looked beautiful until the perch fanned all the gravel to make a nest, which scratched the aquarium glass.  Then the crawdads impaled the fish with their pinchers and ate them.

59. Jeannine said that one Christmas she bought hamburgers from Hill Top Café for Christmas dinner and that the family never let her forget it.

60.  Jeannine Blair said that Glenn would allow a certain amount of money for his kids to buy comic books and then would just dole out the money.

61.  Billy remembers going to “the crawdad hole”, which was 3/10's of a mile south of their home at Hill Top courts.  He would go with close friends Larry Wilson or Vernon Clayburn as well as his brother Bobby.  They would usually try to catch crawdads or play “army”.  The first red pincher crawdads Billy ever saw were here. They tried to catch them with bacon on a string tied to a large stick.  They would hold the bacon at the top of the crawdad hole and the crawdad would occasionally grab it, but would let go when they tried to lift it out. Jeannine Blair remembers, "I remember Bob and Billy coming back from the crawdad hole filthy.  They would put crawdads in the bathtub to watch".  Billy remembers using a seine net to drag the water by the sand bar to catch crawdads. It resulted in several good catches.

"Crawdad Hold", our usual "entrance", west side.
(Appearance in late 1950's: Only a couple of large trees and
short weeds on top of bank.  Probably about 2 - 4 feet of water with
sand bar on back, left side of this picture)
Image by Billy Blair, March 11, 2006.

"Crawdad Hole", east side looking west.
(The large tree in the creek bed was upright on left side in
the late 1950's and was the largest tree on the creek).
Image by Billy Blair, March 11, 2006.

62.  Jeannine remembers one time when Billy, Bobby, and Jeannie watched Glenn killing a skunk in their back yard with one shot.  There was snow all over the ground.  The skunk died instantly and put it’s feet up in the air.  Jeannine said, “You’ve never seen more impressed kids in all your life!”  This happened before Mary was born.

63. In 2008, Jeannine remembered when Bobby and Billy were young and would go to the crawdad hole, they would bring fish back and put them in the bathtub.  When it was time for everyone to take a bath, she would say, “Get the fish out of the tub; it ‘s time for everyone to take a bath”.

64. On November 27, 2008 Jeannine and Lauren Hickman were talking about recipes and Jeannine told her about the homemade, fried pies she used to make.  She would cut two circles of dough (about the size of a large hand), put the filling in between, then press the edges with a fork and deep fry the pies.  Sometimes, she would just use one circle of dough and fold it over.  She also told Lauren about how she would buy Patio enchiladas in a can.  She would add chili, cheese, and chopped up onions.  She would put a thin layer of chili on top and then sprinkle grated cheese on top.  She would heat it up for 15 minutes in the oven and then eat it with crackers.

65.  Jeannie (Blair) Pittman remembers Glenn giving his kids a drumstick chicken bone to chew on when teething after he would remove all of the grissle from it they could choke on.  She said the kids loved it because they could hold it perfectly, loved the taste, and it made the perfect thing to chew on.  She said if a kid was in a bad mood, the good tasting chicken bone cheered them right up.

66. Bob Blair remembers having a tooth knocked out in junior high school during football practice when he was doing a tackling drill without a helmet while the coaches watched.

67. Bob Blair remembers Glenn Blair buying he and Billy boxing gloves so that we wouldn't hurt each other anymore.

68.  Billy Blair remembers Glenn Blair always wanting to buy a black "jockey man" statue to put on his front porch.  A lot of the nicer homes had them at the time.  He never did buy one.

69.  Things Billy remembers being part of his childhood:
     a.  Popular TV shows: Hee Haw; Dukes of Hazard; Flipper; Bonanza; Dragnet; Sea Hunt; The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau; Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color;
     b.  Watched cartoons only on Saturday mornings.
     c.  Played in the dirt.
     d.  Spankings were always in the realm of possibility.
     e.  Family had a rotary phone.
     f.  TV got only about five channels.  Color TV not invented until about Jr. High School.
     g.  School began with the "Pledge of Allegiance".
     h.  Had a bedtime.
     i.  Rode in the back of pickup trucks.  Seat belts not in existence.
     j.  People recorded the "Top 40 " hits from the radio on casette tapes.
     k. Played in the creek.
     l.  Rode your bike all day long without helmets.

70.  There was a large section of honeysuckle behind the Hill Top Cafe.  It had many yellow jackets and white lined sphinx moths (also called hummingbird moth) which would hover around it all the time.  We really enjoyed the sphinx moths; not so much the yellow jackets and their nests.

71.  In August, 2013, Bob Blair said, "I slept my senior year in high school in Jeannie's bedroom with pink curtains since Jeannie had gone to U.T. in Austin to begin college.  Dad promised he would replace the curtains".

72.  Billy remembers walking south of their home on the dirt road (west side of house) with his mother holding a pail and helping her pick dewberries which grew alongside the road.  Gourd vines also grew by the road.  Bob and I would pick them and let them dry out so that we could throw them or put firecrackers in them and blow them up (sometimes when we would play "Army").

73.  The Bellview Motel was just north of Hill Top Courts; The family of Craig Smith, Billy's friend, ran the motel.  On Monday, October 4, 2010, Billy noticed that the old motel was being torn down as part of IH-35's expansion.

NOTE: Sources for this blog post are combined with the post on Glenn & Jeannine Blair dated February 28, 2013.