Sunday, April 2, 2017
This photo of the St. Elmo pool hall in Norfolk, Virginia. It was the favorite haunt of the world famous Wimpy Lassiter and also was featured in the book, Hustler Days, which is available from online retailers. It was taken by photographer Harry C. Mann and is available under common licensing from the Library of Virginia.
You also can learn more about the pool hall and Lassiter in the book, Hustler Days, which is available online.
Former sailor John Pizzuto was a St. Elmo's regular during the late 1960s. He sends us this brief recollection of his time there.
"Most of the players had a nickname, mine was Sailorboy. I kept Sam Bass in beer money Saturday afternoons, getting straight pool "lessons" from him. Carolina kept my cue behind the bar when we were out to sea. I played golf and straight pool with Old Red. He was pretty old and towards the end of my time there, he didn't come in very often. At the time he seemed like he was in his 70s. Some of the other regulars were Cab Driver, Onion Head Red and a pretty good player named Cash McCall. He ran a bartending school.
One Saturday afternoon, I was practicing alone. One of the regulars egged me into asking "that old man in the chair" to play some nine ball. I walked over and asked, but he politely declined. I awkwardly offered him a spot. He shook his head. As I walked back to my table, the regulars all started laughing, asking me if I knew who that was. By then, I figured it must be Wimpy. I had heard he came in from time to time, but I had never seen him. I walked back over to where he was sitting and offered my hand in apology. He shook it with his left."