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LANNY NORRIS: Remembering childhood at the King Frosty and downtown Russellville

PROGRESS 2019—

“I’ve got so many stories and memories of growing up. Something a lot of people would remember is, where David Grissom has had the Cash Spot, what’s underneath that building is the original fast food restaurant in Russellville, which was built in 1951. It was a smaller building that was added onto later: Norris-King Frosty.

“My dad had it built the year I was born. We were living in Tennessee at the time, and he built that for his mother to having something to do. His father was a printer here in town, and he had the first commercial printing company. We moved back to Russellville – my daddy and his parents and all were from Russellville, so Russellville goes back a long way in my family – when I was 4 years old because my grandfather got in real bad health. He had a brain tumor and got to where he couldn’t run the printing business anymore.

“I was the youngest of four children. My dad took over the printing business, and my mother took over the running of King Frosty. King Frosty was kind of an iconic place because it was the first place that served ice cream and milkshakes and slushes, and they had their own recipes for hotdogs and barbecue and cheeseburgers and the things that went with fast food restaurants.

“I grew up working half time in the print shop and half time in the Frosty. People who are older will remember how good the hotdogs and barbecue were because they had their own recipe for the slaw that would go on both of those. I have people come in my office and talk about how much they miss going to get a hotdog or barbecue because they miss that good taste in their mouths.

“I have often said Daddy built that place or kept it all those years just to be able to feed his family because not only did all of us work there growing up but whenever we were hungry, we would go up there and get whatever we wanted.

“Downtown was such a bustling place. All the traffic would come right through the middle of downtown Russellville until the bypass. We lived downtown; the house I grew up in is still standing behind city hall. So I walked or rode my bicycle anywhere I wanted to go. We had a big yard, and our yard was kind of the football field or baseball field or whatever. Eastside Park had a huge grandstand going all the way down the left field line and right field line. Every small town back in those days had a semi-pro baseball team, and I can remember – he was like an uncle to me – the man who coached and managed the team for several years, and I was bat boy growing up. We traveled all over north Alabama to other towns that had the same setup. Baseball was a big deal back in those days. Guys would work their jobs during the day and then a couple nights a week go play baseball.”

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