With the knowledge that I am dating myself and preaching to the choir, I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane and talk about Neosho as I remember it as a child in the mid- to late-1980s.

With the knowledge that I am dating myself and preaching to the choir, I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane and talk about Neosho as I remember it as a child in the mid- to late-1980s.
Now, there are many, many people whose memories stretch back much further than mine. Fredine Haddock, I understand, is one person who can tell you stories about a Neosho that no one else remembers, simply because they weren’t born yet.
Most people I know are older than me, and while their recollections may not go as far back as Haddock’s, they remember long-gone places in Neosho that I never saw. There are new people moving into the community all the time, so some of the things that even I remember may cause a few to say “I didn't know that.”
That stated, here we go.
One or two Saturdays a month, my mom would take my sister and me to the Neosho/Newton County Library, which at that time was in the yellow-brick church building at Jefferson and McKinney streets. The building was built as a church and is a church again, but when I was a kid, it was the library.
The children’s department was downstairs and had a separate entrance facing McKinney, which is the one we always used. The adult section and main library were upstairs. You got to it by a narrow, winding, wooden staircase. I still remember the smell of that library.
Afterward, we would often go down the street to Granny’s Ice Cream Shop on the corner of Main and Jefferson streets, across from what was then the now-demolished First Baptist Church. The little, white building is empty, except for the back part, which is a private residence, I believe.
As I only learned much later, Granny’s exclusively served Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I would get a strawberry ice cream cone, my sister vanilla and my mom pistachio, which I thought looked disgusting because it was green.
We might frequent Big Spring Park, with its big clock and wading pool, the trout and the koi we could feed, as well as the nearby Safeway Mural, which fascinated this country boy from McDonald County.
When we went grocery shopping, we usually went to Ramey’s, which was where Orscheln is at 840 Harmony St. Before then, the building was Walmart, though that was before my time.
I only remember Walmart on Neosho Boulevard, where Save-A-Lot is. The parking lot light poles – those tri-fixture ones – are the same ones as back then.
In front of Ramey’s and where Service One Federal Credit Union is located was Fantastic Sam’s, where I sometimes would get my haircut. There was this vending machine full of toys. If the barber put a piece of your hair on the top of the machine and you spun around three times and said “Fantastic Sam” with each spin, a toy magically would come out.
At that time, Taco Gringo was basically the end of the business district to the south. We often would stop there for their famous bean and cheese burritos (probably about 50 or 60 cents apiece at the time) with that distinct sauce. In fact, Taco Gringo and McDonald’s were the only fast-food places we ever patronized. Don’t ask me why.
My mother worked for a time at Golden Corral on the boulevard, where Happy House is at 1025 S. Neosho Blvd., though we never ate there.
Another place I never went to was the big water slide that was on the east side of the southern end of the Boulevard. I remember it winding down the hillside like a big, blue snake. I always wanted to give it a go, but my mom said I’d get hurt.
I remember when where the Walmart Supercenter is was a field and there was nothing else in that area that I recall except for Neosho Inn, Edgewood Bowl and a trailer sales lot. I do not remember Edgewoood Drive-In, with its big screen, but only Edgewood Bowl, which later was on the same lot.
As I said, I realize most people who read this probably are going to think, “Well, I remember a whole lot more than that.” I’m sure they do. I just was feeling a little bit nostalgic. It feels good to think about the simpler days of childhood.

Wes Franklin writes a weekly column.