May is that month that changes everything for eighteen year olds and their families, the time when the days of high school are fading into a past that will never be forgotten along with the friends who made that past so special. The Dairy Queen, the Frosty, and the White Midget hold special places in the minds and hearts of many alumni of B.B. Comer High School and Sylacauga High School because these places were places friends gathered and memories were made.                                                                                                                             
            The first White Midget was opened in North Augusta, South Carolina, around 1947 when Mrs. Ruby McDiarmid , her brother, James Newman, and her sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. George Matson purchased the diner and put it there.  It was a great location because the Savannah River Site was just beginning and employed some 10,000 people in the production of nuclear material for war efforts. The site was near Aiken, SC, and about 25 miles from Augusta, Georgia where Camp Gordon was located.  Plenty of customers made the diner very successful, and a dining room was soon added.  This first Midget pretty much guaranteed that the one in Sylacauga could be a big success, too, because it also made good business sense, The White Midget became a part of Sylacauga in 1951 when Mrs. Ruby McDiarmid purchased a diner in Indiana and brought it to Sylacauga on a flatbed truck. She had it carefully located on Fort Williams between Ham’s Gulf Service Station and the Pure Oil Station on the corner of Anniston Avenue. Many people came through Sylacauga in those days because it was on the Florida Short Route; and the White Midget, and Leon Bice’s Old Hickory Restaurant stayed busy. I have looked at the picture many times of that little diner, but Mrs. McDiarmid’s son Ray had to tell me that Sylacauga’s White Midget was not the first White Midget. I would be interested to know how many of you knew that.          

              In 1953 Mrs. Ruby traded the White Midget to her brother, Claude Newman, for a house and two tracts of property.  Claude stayed at the original location a couple of years, but he wanted more room. At that time there were ten stools at the counter and a curb hop window, but no room to drive around. Claude secured an ideal location on the Old Birmingham Highway where there was room for a large dining room and plenty of space to drive around the building.              
              The story goes that some of the local high school boys including Earl Lewis, Bennie Stewart, and Mike Mizzell traveled to Birmingham to visit a diner, the Sky Castle on 7th Avenue South. It was there that WSGN radio had a glass walled booth perched over a base of concrete block from which deejays like Tommy Charles, Sylacauga’s Doug Layton, and Duke Rumore, all well-known Birmingham radio personalities,  took requests and played music to a crowd of teenage customers.  Our local boys liked this idea so much that they brought the idea back to Claude Newman who had an affinity for teens and making money.  He then  built a radio room on top of the roof of the Midget  where local deejays including the iconic L.R. Ross broadcast regularly and played the Fifties rock and roll, not just at 5:00, but at every opportunity.  The teenagers loved it and business was soon booming.               
              The menu included short order sandwiches, T-bone steaks, hamburger steaks, homemade Lemon Ice Box Pie, and even a complete breakfast menu. Soon the call of the kids was, “Let’s go circle the Midget,” and those lucky enough to have a car and parents who approved, would head out to meet their friends and get a toasted cheese sandwich and a piece of pie. Next time we will take a look at a big event held there and the White Midget monument that was erected to remember those happy days.  See you right here!