I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.
The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.
So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I write the posts on odd numbered days each month and John handles the even numbered days.
In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.
If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.
My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.
John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.
January 6, 2018 26th Street
By John Rancke
Every town in America has one. A street full of kids. I’m sure if I went down some of the streets in Godwin Heights or South Lumberton or East Lumberton I would find many streets full of kids. In fact we would have anywhere from 10-15 kids playing basketball, football, or baseball in my yard on Cedar Street where the Main fire station is now located on may afternoons.
But 26th street is different because it fed directly into the front door of Varsity Lanes Bowling Center. Yea the Bowling Alley where the Rat Pack hung out. Guys with names like Snake, Hog, and Ham. But that’s gonna be a story unto it’s self later in the year.
Today it’s all about who grew up on 26th street which was only about 7 blocks long. From a Rear Admiral in the Navy to perhaps one of the best all round athletes to ever play at UNC. From debutantes to a Burger King franchisee. And oh yes, there was also a Jungle on 26th street, the northwest corner of 26th and Elm. Imagine the house in the popular movie Jumanji when the vines overtake the house. That’s what was on the corner.
We start with the first house on the left across from the jungle. John Allen Sharpe and his brothers Cliff and Hal. His parents owned The Robesonian before it was sold to a Corporation. Cliff retired after 32 years of service to our country and a very successful naval service record.
Retired Admiral Sharpe
2nd block on the corner on the right Mike and Greg, and Debbie Malinsky grew up. Mike was an outstanding baseball pitcher in high shool and was a very imposing figure on the mound and Greg is a long time musician in Lumberton. Debbie (Faircloth) works with Century 21 in Lumberton. Next door on the short side street (not technically 26th St. but close enough ) Jamie and Julia Wilkerson resided.
Back on 26th two houses down from the Malinskys, a 6’5” young man named Chip Stone grew up. He was also a tremendous baseball pitcher in high school and went on the play collegiately at North Carolina. Now known as Dr. Raymond Stone, Chip pitched a no hitter for the Tar Heels vs Virginia in 1968, winning 6-0. I read a few years ago that it was the only no hitter pitched by an ACC pitcher vs another ACC school for close to 30 years. Chip also played goalie on the club soccer team as it was not an official varsity sport at that time. He also answered an ad in the student newspaper placed by football coach Bill Dooley who was looking for a punter. Chip responded and became the Tar Heels punter. A recent conversation I had in Wilson with Danny Talbot, perhaps North Carolina’s best 3 sport high school athlete and also former quarterback at Carolina described the sound of the football coming off of Chip’s foot as that of a mortar in combat. “THUMP”. Had soccer been a varsity sport , he would have been a 3 sport College Letterman which is almost unheard of.
Stone helped invent and patent a version of the waffle sole. The waffle sole is a rubber outsole that was much lighter and provided better traction than other track outsoles in the market. It is mainly known as the sole created by Nike.
Chip teaching a class
“In this applied physiology lab, we had a grant to study all kinds of sport and recreation injuries, and so we actually came up with a lot of ideas and had some engineers at NC State build stuff for us. One of the ideas we had was for what was similar to the waffle sole. We were trying to prevent injuries in soccer and football with this waffle sole. And so when Bill Bowerman, the guy from Nike, tried to create his patent for his waffle sole which he truly invented, we already had the patent, so he had to buy it from us. It was nothing like his, but we beat him to the punch,” said Stone.
Beside Chip was Jimmy Williams whose Mother was Dr. Doug Clark’s long time nurse. Across the street was David and Carol King. Growing up beside the Kings was Douglas, Spencer, Jordan, and Mary Jo Clark. Beside the Clark’s, the Minges resided. Virginia, Charlotte, Les, Mitchell, and Mark. They had the observatory with the massive telescope on the back of their house. They also had a unlimited supply of Pepsi and Mountain Dew in their garage.
Note the Allenton NC label on Mt. Dew bottle
Back across the street beside Jimmy Williams, David Stephenson grew up followed by the Lormans, Doug, Annette, and Gigi.
Skip over McMillan Avenue and on the right Hank Ward and his sisters Lee and Jane lived. Beside the Ward’s, Louine, Janeth, and William Hutaff grew up. So 26th street had the Pepsi people (Minges) and the Coke people (Hutaff).
Beside the Hutaff house was David and Johnny Phillips followed by The Barringtons with Jay and Dan Barrington and Nancy, Jamie, Joey, and Mary Adams. Across the street we had Jim Nance and on the corner of 26th and Rowland were the Wellingtons, Ginny, Georgia, Johnny, and Jamie. Cross over Rowland and on the NW corner was Sam Kinlaw. On the SW corner of that intersection I dare say many houses had a portrait of their children hanging in their den or living room that was shot in that long ago wooded lot. I know my parents had one. Moving west on 26th street on the left were Phil and Holly Crofton and somewhere during the years Eddie and Nancy Thorndyke lived in across from Margie Silverton followed by Beverly and Larry Nickens. On the intersection of 26th and Shaw on the SE corner lived Katherine, Johnny, Susan, and Dottie Culbreth. At least they lived there when they weren’t skiing and losing their bathing suit tops at White Lake.
The Wilson’s with Coble and Mary Louise lived on the next block. Then we find the Collins girls with Libby, Carey, and Mary who moved into the house formerly occupied by the Bullard boys, Cliff and Drew (before they moved to 34th street). Dickey and Myron Britt lived beyond the Collins house
So we had Coke and Pepsi bottlers on the same street less than 300 yards apart and Burger King and McDonalds franchisees on the same street. Thrown in the Lance crackers man (Mr Nickens) and the major food groups are covered. If my math and memory are correct there were 10 kids that started the first grade together all living on that one street.
Times were good!! Kick the Can every night, dirt clog fights, the Great Steak Caper, the Naked man in the grocery bag over his head, and the Police Chief (Mr. Harris) living right in the middle to keep order. Most of the houses had bells hanging outside their door and at 5pm they started ringing and it was time to get home for supper (dinner for you Northerners).
When we returned to Lumberton in 1989, we chose to live on 26th street for 12 years. Although I didn’t live there growing up, I had spent a lot of time with friends on that street and knew it was special.