He told me that his mother and his grandmother worked there in the 1950s. The restaurant was located at the corner of Shelby Street and Carson Avenue. Walt even remembered that the owner’s last name was Halcomb. I remember that restaurant well. From our home on Madison Avenue, that was a direct route to my grandparents’ house just north of Raymond on Shelby Street.
One of my memories of the SouthWind Drive-In was that Mr. Halcomb came up with an idea to erect a small “pole box” on his property and then have someone sit in it for a long time to try to break a world record. I recall driving past it. Lots of guys honked and waved to the gal sitting in it.
Walt informed me that Mauri Rose Kirby, 17 at the time (so was I), spent 211 days living in that box, which was 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 feet. It was equipped with an electric heater, a sleeping bag and a telephone. She stayed up there from August 1958 until March 13,, 1959.
Mauri Rose Kirby was quoted as saying, “I’m glad it’s over. I’d never do it again or advise anybody else to do it.” In October 1986, Dick Turner, former owner of the Tee Pee Restaurant, wanted to have a pole sitter take a shot at the world record. He had just opened a restaurant - The South Pole - near the corner of Southport Road and Madison Avenue.
Mr. Turner attached a 6-by-7-by-9-foot “pole house” to a couple of 43-feet-tall poles next to the restaurant. The “building” was equipped with heat, air conditioning, carpeting, a telephone, a television and a stereo. The real intriguing thing about this pole-sitting adventure was that the young lady who was going to attempt to break the record had not taken the advice of Mauri Rose Kirby, although I’m sure she ample opportunity to discuss it with her.
The lady who spent 516 days atop the pole was 18-year-old Mellissa Sanders, daughter of Mauri Rose Kirby-Sanders. Mellissa entered the box Oct. 26, 1986, breaking her mother’s record May 23, 1987. On March 24, 1988, after 516 days in the air, she finally had her feet back on the ground Mellissa did have some company for at least part of her stay on the pole: her cat - Pole Cat.
I don’t remember much about Mellissa’s time on the pole. I was just returning from about 12 years in Michigan and was in the process of starting a small business. I hope her record is still intact and that she is still listed in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.