This week I interviewed Jack Claiborne; an author and former sports writer for the Charlotte Observer. He grew up in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte (which just so happens to be the place Anna Marie Dinsmore, the main character in my young adult novel will have spent time). He was eloquent in his descriptions of people and places; his memories roamed over his childhood pastimes of going in and out of soldiers' tents bivouacked outside the Armory just before WWII to hearing his principal at Elizabeth Elementary ring the bell at the beginning and end of each day. By the way, that bell just happens to be the one that now rings at UNCC for commencement.
Since I met Jack at UNCC, afterwards I went upstairs to the Special Collections room of the Atkins Library and browsed old Charlotte Country Club magazines, shmoozed with the librarians, and read the Charlotte City Club By Laws from 1952. (This one was interesting: "No lady or group of ladies will be admitted to the dining room unless escorted"). As I was randomly flipping through the South Carolina encyclopedia, I stumbled upon the Laurens Glass manufacturing plant which was the first suppliers of Coca-Cola bottles. Why is that note-worthy? Charlotte just happens to have been home to the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in the Carolinas. For those of you reading this blog who know of my interest and love of glass, rest assured that I'll tie these tidbits into my story.
You know you're a research hound when perusing old country club magazines and hearing random stories about the time period you're researching excite you. Sort of feels as good as finding the right piece to complete the outline of a puzzle. It all fits together.
Coca Cola, Elizabeth neighborhood, Jack Claiborne, Atkins Library, UNCC, Charlotte City Club, Charlotte Country Club, Laurens Glass