Hambone, ‘Jersey,’ Casinos, Rationing, School Fights,
and What Made Cape Charles Different

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  In 2002, as one in a series of lectures sponsored by the Cape Charles Library entitled “The Way We Were,” Cape Charles native Lloyd Kellam shared the following account.  In 2012, funded by a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the recording, along with 14 others, was transcribed. The Historical Society has now made it available for readers of the Wave.  All the transcriptions are also available for reading at the Museum.  

This is Part 4 of Mr. Kellam’s reminiscences.  Click for Part 1,  click for Part 2, click for Part 3.)

There’s so many things. I can remember one time they had a little Austin automobile and a bunch of high school boys picked it up and put it in the bank window. Do you remember that? You go by sometime and look at those windows on the bank. And it was not on the side street, it was on the front. Right up next to Daddy’s store. They packed that thing in there and there was about an inch on each side.

But we had some characters in town and these are characters! One of my favorite characters was a guy named Pat Richardson. Pat hung around a lot. One of the reasons he was such a character was he was supposed to have, and I think it’s true, he was supposed to have been wealthy at one time or had a lot of land, left home and sold it. But he was a real true sport in his day in that, this money burnt a hole in his pocket, he rented two train cars and took his friends to Philadelphia, put them up in hotels and carried them out to ball games and wined and dined them and brought them back home. That was the way he went through his money until it was gone. And I remember Daddy giving him coffee often. Cape Charles has had some characters.

[Audience member mentions learning the hambone.]

Yeah, a black man named Slim. Does everybody know what the hambone is? I was a schoolboy and I would hambone on everything. Slim used to charge us 25 cents to show us how to do it. Amos could hambone.

[Audience laughs at the sound of hands slapping knees and chest.]

I taught my boy how to hambone. There’s one more boy in here who can hambone. The Cape Charles boys could do it, but they couldn’t do it quite as good as Amos and Lloyd. In fact, at the high school annual, in my senior year, you know how you pass on something to somebody else, it said, “I passed on to Amos my ability to hambone in order to fascinate girls from other schools.” It did work! [Read more…]

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