Pineville, Louisiana may not have dilapidated buildings like this still standing on Main Street but after being away from Pineville since October of 2007 there weren’t as many changes as I thought there would be when returning to the city I have spent close to 60 years of my life.
One of the biggest changes in Pineville was the new Lowe’s store that was built where the old Wal-Mart store had been unoccupied for many years.
The new football stadium at Louisiana College probably was the most striking new structure in Pineville. After sharing D.C. “Bill” Bates Stadium with Pineville High School for many years Louisiana College finally has a stadium which is on campus and the football team no longer has to ride a bus to Pineville High School for their games.
There were some cosmetic changes to some stores like the KFC restaurant on Highway 28 but for the most part there were very few noticeable changes that caught my eye. Since I didn’t see some parts of Pineville there may be some changes that readers may want to inform me about.
Pineville will always be home for me even though I am living in south Louisiana now after having lived in Tennessee for the three years and four months prior to moving to Sulphur, Louisiana.
My memories of Pineville go back to the first day of the first grade at Pineville Elementary in 1950 and playing Little League baseball for Bates Insurance, Jimmie Walker and RC Cola and then later playing for Bert Dennis Realty in the Pony League at the Sandy Canyon baseball field.
One tragic memory was the night we were playing in a game when someone yelled “that plane is going to crash” and we saw a plane crashing in downtown Pineville into the National Cemetery grounds.
Another tragic event was seeing Pineville Elementary destroyed by fire in 1958 and seeing Tommy Kohara the photographer climbing the fireman’s ladder to take photos of the fire from above.
Four years later after graduating from Pineville High in 1962 I said goodbye to Pineville to join the Army and started basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Will never forget marching to this song in basic during the height of the October missile crisis:
I don’t know but I believe
I’ll be in Cuba by Christmas Eve
After returning home for a couple of weeks after basic training ended once again it was time to bid farewell to Pineville again as I boarded a train for Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for postal training in January of 1963.
When ending the six months duty for the Army Reserve I decided to go ahead and join the regular Army in May of 1963 and boarded a plane for San Francisco and landed in Hawaii in June of 1963.
After serving in Hawaii from June of 1963 to January 1966 I boarded a troop ship heading toward Vietnam and four months later when I fulfilled my service obligation in May of 1966 it was exciting to gain altitude over Saigon knowing we were safe from enemy groundfire and on the way to Pineville as my ultimate destination.
It would be eight years later after working those years for the Alexandria Town Talk before moving from Pineville to Monroe, Louisiana in April of 1974 to work for the Monroe Morning World for a couple of years returning in March of 1976 to Pineville.
For the next 31 years Pineville would be home till moving again in August of 2007 to Knoxville, Tennessee and living there till December 20, 2010 when we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana.
While this visit was a very short one I hope there will be many more in the future and hopefully for a longer duration.