By Norris Chambers

           It seems that radio repair shops and TV repair shops attracted a lot of characters. Maybe that’s because characters operated them. Some of these characters were pretty good checker, chess and domino players.

            In my first shop on White Settlement Road I had a big room on the back and one on the west side. These rooms were not needed for the operation of the business, so I soon acquired the usual crowd of characters who took the back room as a game room. I didn’t object because I like good games too. We also had some music players who came by frequently and made their melodies in the west wing.

            Two of the regular chess players also played chess by mail. In the days before computers many things were done by mail. You could even find a mail order bride without much effort.

But these characters were married and confined their mail business to chess games. There were numerous clubs that you could join without charge. These groups would set up games between members and the games would be played by mail, using penny post cards.

            The club matched two players of similar skills in different parts of the country. The players played two games at the same time. To begin a game, the player who moved first marked his moves on a postcard and sent it to his opponent. The games were designated game #1 and game #2. The opponent set the chess pieces on the board displaying the moves and decided on his next move. He sent a card back to the first player describing his moves.  And so the game continued.

            This type of play was possible because every square on the board is numbered and the chess pieces are named. All that is necessary to indicate a move is to name the piece and the number of the square where it is to be moved. Checkers are moved the same way, such as 8-11. It takes several weeks to play the two games.

            After winners are determined in a match they are matched with other winners to eventually name a club champion. The losers are matched with other losers and the games continue.

            I joined one of these clubs and played several games. I found it interesting and entertaining. I never made it to club champion, but I did win a few games.

            When these game players and musicians weren’t playing, they engaged in tall tale telling. I wasn’t old enough then to tell them Old Timer Tales but sometimes I turned on the hidden microphone and made some pretty interesting tapes.

            One of the most faithful of the tale tellers was Don Carlos Mirike. Carlos, whose father developed the first sub-division in White Settlement in the early 20’s, was a retired lawyer and a veteran of World War II. Another old codger, Mr. John Pearl, had been a cowboy in his youth

and told many tales of the days when the cattle and sheep men fought over open range. I heard him tell several times how to do a fast draw with a pistol. He emphasized that you should shoot as you bring the gun up and not waste time aiming. I never tried any of the fast draws.

            Since radio and TV repair shops have just about disappeared it gets harder and harder for characters to find a place to get together and tell their tall tales. In earlier days they met at cotton gins and swapped tales while waiting for the cotton to be ginned. In smaller towns the general store, town garage or barber shop served the purpose