Patti Golden

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Patti Golden

Patricia Kirkpatrick Golden, 76, was lovingly raised by her maternal grandmother Annie Meredith at 2743 College Street, a two-story home near the intersection with King Street. They had moved to Jacksonville from Macon, GA in 1953 when her grandfather died, because Annie always wanted to live in the “big city” of Jacksonville and she had relatives here. Golden was in the tenth grade and remembers the aroma of delicious donuts from the Dixie Creme Donut Shop and the equally irresistible smell of Ezell’s Bar-B-Cue.

“My ‘Mama’ Annie was a spitfire with a memory like an elephant,” Golden said. “Her sister, my Aunt Jennie Reid and my cousins lived here. On visits to Jacksonville we rode the bus from Jennie’s home in Springfield downtown to catch another bus to Jacksonville Beach. It was a long ride, but I was with my cousins and we were so excited to see the boardwalk, wooden roller coaster and all the rides. Restaurants and shops opened to the ocean…you could sit down and watch the waves, or stand at a counter and eat. Hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries all tasted like the best food you ever had, just because we were at the beach. Annie looked for a house in Springfield but couldn’t find what she wanted. Then she found the perfect home on College Street with enough space for my aunt and cousins to move in with us.”

Golden has fond memories of Avondale, Murray Hill and Downtown, especially of working in all the movie theatres. Her first job was as a Murray Hill Theatre cashier, thrilled to be making 60 cents an hour. She remembers no violence and no foul language in the movies. Her fondest memory is of Saturday mornings when parents dropped off their children at 9:30 a.m. to buy tickets for the Kiddy Matinees.

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1956 Bishop Kenny Senior photo

“Kids would line up way out the door for children’s movies and cartoons. The tickets only cost 15 or 20 cents…ushers constantly roamed the aisles watching the children. It was practically a daycare service and parents could run errands or grocery shop while their children watched movies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday,” she said.

Golden also worked as cashier Downtown at the Arcade Theatre on West Adams Street across from the Hotel Roosevelt (now The Carling apartments). She remembers that the Arcade had dual entrances and box offices on Adams and Forsyth Streets connected by an Arcade hall.
As a high school senior Golden, 17, returned to her cashier job at Murray Hill Theatre, closer to home. It was owned then by Cecil Cohen, who would become her future father-in-law. In June 1956 she graduated from Bishop Kenny High School, which didn’t require uniforms, which she liked.

“As a non-Catholic attending Bishop Kenny, my friends thought they would outsmart the nuns by always using me to ask religious questions which were sure to trigger a long, drawn out explanation…effectively ending class for them,” she said. Golden is a member of Evangel Temple.

Golden remembers riding the city bus to and from Bishop Kenny and getting off on Edgewood Avenue to sit and do her homework in a cafe across the street from Murray Hill Theatre. The management allowed her to stay there until she left for work at the theatre at 4:30 p.m. She began selling movie tickets at 5 p.m.

“They were so nice to me. I was there every day and always had a Coke while I did homework. They sold mouth-watering donuts baked in the back of their kitchen. Right next to the theatre was Hoke Harris Shoe Store, a dime store and a realty office. Edgewood Theatre used to sit on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Plymouth Street where Jones College is now,” she recalled.

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David Cohen and Patti Kirkpatrick at the front door of the Murray Hill Theatre

After graduation from Bishop Kenny, Golden married David Cohen, now deceased, in November that year. The couple had four children. One daughter died in infancy. The couple moved to a Murray Hill cottage-style bungalow with three bedrooms, hardwood floors and a perfect small yard, convenient to everything.

Over the passing years, Golden divorced, remarried and bought another Murray Hill cottage close to her home, where her grandmother Annie could live near her until she died in 1982. After her grandmother’s death, Golden had repairs done on the second cottage and workers found the date 1942 imprinted underneath the toilet seat. That is when she believes both of her cottages must have been constructed.

Golden loves Murray Hill and says it is because of the “good ole’ hardworking” people who live there. She spends most of her free time with her family which includes four grandchildren and one great grandson. Holidays are spent together, especially Christmas which is a treasured time of year.

“Usually about 23 of us gather at my home for breakfast and read the Bible story before we open gifts. Then it’s lunch time and we visit until everyone conks out for a nap. They may leave to go visit other relatives, but they’re always back in the evening for leftovers!” she said.

By Julie Kerns Garmendia
Resident Community News

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1962 Patti and David Cohen

 

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