In the 1960s, scooping the loop and hanging out in downtown Seymour were rites of passage for teenagers.
No one remembers it better than Dick Morrow, who, with his twin brother, Steve “Mater” Morrow, was a fixture, as constant as the parking meters on which they leaned.
Dick Morrow, now 65, lives in nearby Scott County but said his memories of that time are some of his fondest.
Although he is battling stomach cancer, he hopes to relive the past by attending this year’s Scoop the Loop event Aug. 22.
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He wishes his brother could be there too, but Steve Morrow died nine years ago of a heart attack before the resurgence of Scoop the Loop in 2011.
“If you didn’t know Mater, you missed a chance of a life,” he said.
“He was the funniest man you’d ever meet.”
Scoop the Loop, which was revived by Seymour resident Erin Hays, brings around 1,000 people to Seymour for one night of cruising the scene, meeting new and old friends and showing off rides. There’s live music and food, and this year a car show will be conducted during the day at Shields Park.
“I think it’s the best thing that ever happened to Seymour,” Dick Morrow said of the event. He came three years ago but wasn’t able to stay long, he said.
It never took long for the Morrow brothers to get ready to spend their Friday and Saturday nights downtown.
“We lived right upstairs, in that blue building there,” Morrow said of the building on South Chestnut Street that now houses Prestigious Affairs dress and tuxedo shop. “Back then it was Eckelman’s Shoe Store.”
They lived there for about 14 years.
Being seen downtown during that time period was really the thing to do, Dick Morrow added.
While adults shopped or stayed in their cars and trucks, the teens congregated outside the old Hooks Pharmacy building, where the Community Health Clinic is now, Morrow said. When the stores closed, the adults left, but the kids stayed.
“When you hung on the parking meter, you got to see all your friends and everyone that was downtown,” Morrow said.
“And there was nothing else to do.”
With gas at 35 or 40 cents a gallon, it was cheap entertainment, too, he added.
At that time, every downtown parking spot had a parking meter.
Morrow said the city needs to bring them back.
“It would help solve some of the parking problems downtown and would bring back a lot of memories for people,” he said.
Times have changed for all communities, including Seymour, but not for the better, Morrow added.
“Kids today, don’t know what they missed,” he said.
Scooping the loop back then was what youth did instead of spending time on Facebook.
“We didn’t have cellphones or the Internet back then,” Morrow said. “If you had something to say to someone, you met them downtown. We got to flirt with the girls and talk to the guys.”
It’s even where he met his first wife.
“I walked out in front of her, and she darn near hit me,” he said.
You didn’t have to have a car to hang out downtown, but it was better if you did or knew someone who did, Morrow added.
Besides hanging out, Morrow said downtown Seymour is where a lot of the local musical talent of the day would meet and start bands.
Morrow was a member of Crepe Soul, a band he named that featured Fred Booker and would later include John Mellencamp, Morrow said.
“John asked if he could use the name Crepe Soul and I said, ‘John, I wish you all the luck in the world.’ If I would have known then what I known now, he would have signed a heck of a lot of paperwork,” Morrow said.
But Morrow said he holds no hard feelings against Mellencamp.
“I always liked John, you can’t help but like him,” he said.
Since moving to Scott County in 1982, Dick Morrow said he’s only been back to Seymour a handful of times. But when he does visit, he doesn’t recognize much anymore.
“The town has changed so much,” he said. “It’s like driving into a completely different town. The people I see up here I don’t know, and it used to be everyone knew everybody.”
Businesses he used to frequent like Ritz Cafeteria, Ring-A-Bring-A-Pizza, the first delivery pizza place in Seymour, and the old youth center above Hooks where there was a boxing ring, are long gone.
“The town moved east,” he said. “Walmart came in, and the stores downtown started to close.”
Scooping the loop came to an end in the mid 1990s as police began cracking down on loitering, noise and littering.
Morrow said he misses the old downtown Seymour but knows it will never be that way again.
“It’s gone,” he said. “This town will never be like it was in the ’60s and ’70s. There’s no way you could bring back the atmosphere and the people.”
What: Scoop the Loop 2015
Where: Downtown Seymour
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Aug. 22
Cost: Free for all ages