Friday, July 01, 2016

Gene Anderson Was No Help At All!

Memories of Hanging Out Behind the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

by Peggy Lathan
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I would always get to Spartanburg early on Saturday nights for wrestling. Being as it is only 70 miles from Charlotte, the home base for Jim Crockett Promotions, the wrestlers loved the fact that it was such a short drive for them.  I remember some afternoon shows in Spartanburg and Ric Flair would get there a little early and sunbathe on the grassy area until time to get ready for their matches.  It was fun to be able to sit there with Ric and chat about all kinds of things.

One week Ole and Gene Anderson were on the card and Ole and I and my two friends, Lynn and Debbie, were throwing a frisbee around until time for him to go inside. It had rained earlier in the week, but the grassy area was fairly dry, except for a mud puddle or two.  One of them tossed the frisbee to me and it was flying over my head, so I turned and ran to try to catch it.  But I happened to step in one of those mud puddles and my feet went out from under me and down I went sitting flat in the mud. What a mess!  Mud all over my shorts and all down my legs.

Gene Anderson
(Photo by Peggy Lathan)
The lady who worked the back door at the Auditorium was named Mable (RIP) so I knocked on the door to get her to get me some towels, but guess who answered the door?  GENE ANDERSON.

Oh, no. This wasn't going to be good.

I told Gene what happened and I needed some towels to clean up.  He just looked me up and down and first thing he wanted to know is if I messed my pants (of course, Gene used the "s" word).  I had to beg and beg and beg and BEG for him to get me some towels, which he wouldn't do because he was having fun making such a big deal out of it, but  Mable came to my rescue with some paper towels.  Lynn happened to have an extra pair of shorts in her car, so I wore a conglomeration of mis-matched colors sitting there on the front row in Spartanburg. And when Gene got into the ring before his match, with that loud voice of his, he made sure everyone within hearing distance in the Auditorium heard that I messed my pants that night.

And for those of you who didn't have the opportunity to know him, Gene was quite a practical joker and loved bringing firecrackers in the dressing rooms. He would buy these little tanks that would roll a short way then pop.  Gene loved setting them off on unsuspecting guys who were sitting on the toilet, knowing that they couldn't get out of the way.  He also stole my shoe once and filled it full of shaving cream.

Gene was a great friend and I miss him a lot. He was one of a kind (thank goodness)!