I have been blessed to retain quite a few memories from a very early age. As I have grown older, by one way or another, some of these memories have become connected, through facts that I have since learned. This is the story of two of those memories from the 1940's that "connected" in 1985.
Memory 1 is from sometime during the warmer months of 1942. My father, who was killed in an accident on Sept. 1 of that year, took our whole family to see a very popular regional entertainer perform at the school house. I remember the show very well, and I think it was this experience that got me to enjoy music. The entertainer's name was Roy Hall. He had played all over the Virginia, North Carolina area, and had a radio show on WDBJ in Roanoke, VA. I remembered that sometime later I heard he was killed in an accident.
Memory 2 is from a summer morning, also in the 1940's. Someone (but not my father) had taken my mother, my two brothers, and I to the scene of a fatal auto accident. While I did not remember where it was, I can, to this day, describe the scene in vivid color and great detail.
All my life I always kept going back in my mind and wondering just who Roy Hall was, what actually happened to him, etc. This was in the days before computers, and I was having a problem, since I no longer lived in the Virginia area, finding out anything about him other than the fact that he was from the Winston-Salem, NC, area. I work for an airline, and entertainer George Hamilton IV used to be a regular rider on our flights. I knew George was from the Winston-Salem area, so in 1985 I saw that he was booked on our flight one day. I watched for him to check in, and when he did so, I said, "I know you are not old enough to remember a singer named Roy Hall, but I wondered if you might know an older person in North Carolina who is musically knowledgeable, that might be able to help me?" Before George could answer, the total stranger in line behind him spoke up and said, "You mean the Roy Hall who was killed in an auto accident in Roanoke, Virginia in the early 40"s? I used to play in his band!" I was truly floored.
I told the gentleman not to tell me anything about the accident, and then I described my memory to him. He said, "Yes, that was it. You went to the scene of Roy Hall's accident." And he went on to tell me exactly where it was (in Roanoke, VA, where we were living at the time). The date of the accident was May 16, 1943. (An ironical sidenote: At almost the same time Roy Hall's life was being taken, my future wife was being born in Floyd County, VA).
So I have laid these memories to rest now, in story form for my grandchildren, BUT, if there is anyone out there who is reading this right now, and can offer any information whatsoever about Roy Hall, I would appreciate hearing from you. I was able to locate a newspaper photograph of the car, and it confirmed that my early memory was indeed accurate.