Back when the ‘most wanted’ were the most fun

Published 7:52 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

National Police Week coupled with a recent television program about Calamity Jane brought back childhood memories of back when the streets of Brundidge teemed with robbers, bandits, thieves and the “MOST WANTED.”

Back then, we were free range children. As soon as the sun came up, we were “let loose” until dark caught us … except when our mamas opened the back and called “Yah, whooo!’ which meant, “Come to dinner!”

Between times, me, Calamity Jane, my cousin, Jessie Jim, other members of the posse rode bicycles, wandered the woods, played in the creek, climbed trees, ate wild stuff and “cased” the town for thieves and murderers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Brundidge Post Office was on the corner of South Main Street next to the alleyway. The postmaster frowned when children came in. We had no business in the post office, he said and always with a frown.

But we did have business in the post office. We were there to look at the “WANTED” posters on the wall around the corner.

We needed to know how the “WANTED” men looked like, just in case they came into town to rob the bank or the jewelry store … or kill somebody,

We studied the “WANTED” posters until we had memorized every mean, mad face on those posters. Then, we went out looking with our BB guns loaded and handcuffs clipped on our belts.

Once we, Jess Jim and me, saw a “MOST WANTED” man in Haisten Hardware. We ran to the police station yelling “A robber! A robber” and scared the policeman on duty half to death.

Daddy said not to ever do that again. The man was just trying to pay his bill. But the fountain pen looked like a knife to us.

One time a man, without a name or a past, came into Black’s Grocery store where Mama bought all her groceries and got all the “news.” She and Miss Grace decided the mystery man was in the witness protection program. For more than a year, he was at Black’s grocery store every day. Then, as suddenly and as mysteriously as he appeared, the man, who came out of nowhere, just disappeared.

For a long time, Calamity Jane and Jessie Jim looked for and waited for the mystery man to re-appear at Black’s Grocery.

He never did.