PART 5: Lloyd Kellam Remembers
High School Football, Burned at the Barbershop

December 28, 2013

(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.  

I wanted a bicycle like everybody else had and my Daddy said he’d get me one, and he did. But when he got one, I got a bicycle with a wheel on the front of it and a basket about that big. You all have remembered seeing it or one like it. It was a delivery bicycle and after I got it one of my jobs was to go to a place called “Eastern Shore News” and deliver newspapers on Sunday. Going in people’s houses, I used to deliver newspapers and go in to collect for them. And I can remember going in different houses and different people and realizing how they were just a little bit different or they had different religious artifacts on the wall or pictures and furniture like they did. I sort of realized now that I had an appreciation for things even though I didn’t know what kind of appreciation it was. Some old women that I look back on now, that I wanted to get out of their house in a hurry because they wanted to dote on you a little too much, but they had such nice furniture. I realize that now maybe if I like nice furniture that was my going into all these nice houses.

One big thing — sports! When I grew up in grammar school, Father Miller started a football program. I think they played football here maybe back in the ’20s but it sort of died down and they didn’t have it. Father Miller started football. Boys started playing football, not enough equipment, but they started. Later on, Dan Wilkins came to help him coach and then wound up being coach alone. But the teams that we had for such a little town, most of the teams we played had more kids on the football team than we had in the high school! I think George was on one of these teams. I know Mike was, I know Tommy was. Father Miller scheduled a game with a team in Wilmington, Delaware, called Salesianum High School. That was a Catholic high school that had, if I’m not too far wrong, about 2,000 boys it seemed like. It was a big school. Anyway, the town or school or somebody paid, they rented two cars on the train. Took them up to Wilmington, played football, did a fairly good job, didn’t win, but came back. Going back in my memory, I know that Granby’s junior varsity, or second string, supposedly played Cape Charles. But one of the boys that later moved over here that played first string for Granby, said that it was named their second string but it was really most of their first string that played Cape Charles. And Cape Charles did very well. It was like 31 to 13, I think was the score, in fact, I know that was what it was.


But anyway, they played the only high school in Williamsburg. Here’s Cape Charles and back in those days they graded schools A, B, C and we were a D! We didn’t have any other schools around and we were playing B schools and some A’s! And not doing too badly. My good friend over here, Amos, in 1950 Northampton played Cape Charles and we beat Northampton 93 to nothing! There’s more! We didn’t have any lights on the field and the game lasted so long and it was getting dark, they stopped the game I think seven minutes early so the referees could get back. It was getting so dark, we couldn’t play! About a year ago, they had a list in the Richmond Times Dispatch of records, high school football records that still stood. And there was a boy in Cape Charles at that time named Amos Dickinson who scored five touchdowns as an end and that is still a high school record. I was proud of that myself because I had been center and centers don’t score and I think when they got the 92 to nothing I said, “I’ve been playing all these years and will somebody let me score?” And I remembered this, too, that all you have to do is get in the end zone and I was through the end zone and 10 feet past it! I was so happy to have scored!

But we started out playing football when we were young kids. I think back about it and Tom and George were older than us, but when it came time to play in sports, they roughed us up a little bit, but they started teaching us when we were young. And we all liked to play touch football or run-’til-you’re-down. We had a hundred kids in high school, probably sixty of them were boys, we’ve had seventy kids out there doing a football game at lunch time. Am I right? And playing soccer, we had a hundred people, girls and boys, out playing soccer and we didn’t have but a hundred in the high school.

[Audience member]: Can you tell us about I.D. Carmine’s Barbershop?

This is a story I told before and these two boys up there know it. I hope I tell it exactly the same. I used to go to a couple different barbershops. I sort of liked to go to Carmine’s because it was longer and there were a lot of men in there and you could hear what was going on. Trust me, men in barbershop on a Saturday morning telling me where they [lowers voice]. And anyway, you go in and the first problem is you have to wait an hour or hour and a half. And Cheese Carmine always had a front chair and it came my time and Cheese called me and I got up in the chair and this particular time Cheese cut my hair. He had all these guys in there and they were talking and he said, “Guys, look at this.” He put his hands on my head and he said, “Just look at this! Poor Lloyd has got a head like a god.” I swelled right up! Cheese said, “A goddamn mule.” I was so embarrassed! When I got home I decided I wasn’t going to go to Cheese anymore.

So the next time I needed a haircut, I went down to Slim Colonna’s. Slim’s was right next to the Radium Theater. When I came back home, Mother realized my hair wasn’t cut the same as it had been before and she said, “Where’d you get your hair cut?” And I said, “Slim’s.” She said, “You can’t go in Slim’s anymore.” “Why?” “Because he’s got pictures of naked women. I’ve heard men that talk about them, and I don’t want you to look at them.” “Yes, ma’am.” So I didn’t go to Slim’s anymore.

The next time I needed a haircut, I started to going to Harry Rudy, he was down the next block. Harry cut my hair a couple times and there was this thing on the wall up there of the services he would do for you. You know, they would even give you a manicure. There was a thing up there that said “singe.” And I asked, “Harry, what’s a singe?” He said, “We fluff your hair all up and just burn off the top of it. It makes your hair healthier.” I said, “Will it make it curly?” He said, “It will probably make it curly.” “As long as my hair’s been straight,” I said, “I think that’s for me! I want one.” He got it all and lit that little thing and before he could get it out, it burned me. I said, “Harry Rudy doesn’t know what he’s doing” [lots of laughter]. So I wound up going back to Carmine’s Barbershop, at least he appreciated my head!

This is Part 5 of Mr. Kellam’s reminiscences.  Click for Part 1,  click for Part 2, click for Part 3, click for Part 4.)

CLICK HERE for Part 6



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