Twice in my life I have had the fear of drowning. The first was when I was a teenager and I was learning to water ski on Norris Lake.
I was up and moving along at a good rate of speed when all of a sudden I fell face forward and splat, my face hit the water and for a moment I thought I had consumed the entire body of water.
The other time was at the Town House Motel in Corbin. Most of you know it as the Economy Inn which is being torn down to make way for a new Splash Pad.
When it was new the Town House was a beautiful motel. Out front it had umbrellas tables and a giant sign full of lights.
When I-75 came along it meant the demise of most of the downtown motels. Most of the motels eventually were torn down but the Town House remained under new ownership and the name changed.
At the rear of the Town House was a nice swimming pool. My nephew, David Witt, was the lifeguard at the motel during the summer months. That gave me a free ticket to go swimming there.
I know you shouldn’t have favorites, but David is my favorite nephew. Afterall, he was responsible for me meeting my wife of 55 years and for that he is invaluable. Not only that, when we were young we did many things together. Later he became my dentist and he would always say, “Uncie Don did that hurt?” And I would answer “No.” Then he would say, “Well then I will try harder,” that is to insinuate that he would try harder to make it hurt.
David and his wife Linda now live in the Villages in Florida.
But back to the fear of drowning. Usually there were only the two of us at the pool.
One evening I was floating on my back and starting to sink and became disoriented. There was David not offering to help and was never concerned about my splashing and struggling to reach the side of the pool. I believe he got a kick out of it. Of course if I had been in real trouble he would have come to my aid.
So, the motel holds special memories for me. Its demolition will make way for a fun place for our young people.
•Another reminder of the past was when I saw a menu of the Wilbur Hotel of Corbin posted on Facebook this week.
The ad that appeared in the newspaper, which I estimate was about 1958, read; “Enjoy your Sunday dinner in the restful atmosphere of the Wilbur Hotel Coffee shop.” The menu listing for the Sunday dinner was fantastic.
But the special part of the ad was in the opening of the invitation. It read “Hear Lucille Hodges at the Baldwin organ, and Wanda Steele, vocalist, sing your favorite melodies.”
Wanda “Estep” Steele is my sister who had a beautiful voice and sang for many occasions throughout the area.
The Wilbur had an elegant setting. The closest setting we have today is at Seasons Restaurant which is beautifully decorated.