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Wate and Fate: 1955

Wate and Fate: 1955

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1955. "Don Wasson" is all it says here. In addition to "Meet me at Lee's." 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.


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As a young lad, close scrutiny revealed to me that all of the coin slots dumped into one plenum.
My baloney detector thus triggered, I didn't cough up.

Wasson and the Pulitzer

Don Wasson was the city editor when The Columbus Ledger won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for covering the Phenix City cleanup and the Albert Patterson assassination. I knew him when I worked in the Alabama legislature while in grad school at Auburn and also when I was later press secretary to Gov. Fob James. He, like many Ledger reporters and editors, gravitated west to Montgomery over the years, including Ray Jenkins, who later worked in the Carter administration. He was a true old-school journalist and commentator.

The other four (or more)

Wasson's pose with his hand lifted to his hat and his lovely brogues and all that talk about the scale made me take a while to notice the other two pairs of people: inside the store, a man and woman staring directly at the photographer, and the two on the street, whom I'd like to think are mother and daughter (note the cuffs and shoes of the shorter woman). And if I stare into the glass in front of the beautiful plywood grain above the panda, I imagine I see the reflections of possibly three dresses or skirts with legs attached.

How much is that panda in the window?

I never knew what it cost, but I had one just like it that accompanied me through my childhood in the 1950s. Lee looks like he has a nice assortment of goods for a drug store. Our neighborhood drug store had a soda fountain and sold candy but not stuffed animals or pots and pans. I chiefly remember its smell: vanilla.

All for a penny

There was one of these in my neighborhood.

For a penny, the lightest one of us would get on it, note the weight, then the next biggest, and then subtract the first number and get two for the price of one. We never could get three on there without it locking up on us.

The other thing on ours was someone had removed the "e" from "Fate". I don't remember if Weight was misspelled.

Lack of Privacy

After trying changing at drug store scales, Clark Kent found the ambiance and privacy sorely lacking. He then tried a phone booth which he found fit the bill. The rest is history.


Donald Forrest Wasson was born in 1918 in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of Oscar and Mabel Wasson. His wife was Aline (or Aliene depending on the city directory involved). He passed away in August of 1994 in Montgomery.

According to the 1954 Columbus city directory, he was the news editor for the Columbus Ledger and his wife was a clerk at the First National Bank.

In other words, someone took a photo of their boss.

Character readings

From an auction listing:

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