NTMWD Plant Smart 2024

A Pizza History

by | Oct 21, 2022 | Opinion

The old question, “Where would you go first if you had a time machine?” is an easy one to answer for me. I’d visit all of my favorite long-since-gone childhood cafes, diners, and restaurants.

Not all, but one stop may soon be possible, without the help of H.G. Wells.

Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had some great places to eat. Ms. Mac’s served the best chicken fried steak ever. Mesamore’s had a plate lunch that was great. And the Tastee-Freez chili dogs were so good John Mellencamp mentioned them in a song.

Ashdown did not have a pizza parlor when I was growing up, but Texarkana did.

A man named Harold moved to Texarkana from Alabama. To my knowledge, he opened the town’s first pizza restaurant in the 1960s. It was aptly named, Harold’s Pizza. 

Harold’s first location was downtown, but in the early 70s he relocated to Stateline Avenue on the Texas side. Kmart had a strip shopping center next door, which was where Harold’s was located.

My father took us to Harold’s frequently. He’d order a large sausage pizza and we’d share it, with any leftovers going home with us.

Later, when I worked at KTFS radio in Texarkana, I’d order a pizza from Harold’s, put on a long song, usually American Pie or Do You Feel Like We Do, lock up the station and drive over to pick it up before the record ran out.

I can confess this now, but that was a huge no-no when I did it. Many things could have gone wrong, including the record skipping or getting stuck, or the boss showing up unexpectedly.

Time passed and Harold’s went the way of Ms. Mac’s, Mesamore’s, and Tastee-Freez. It closed. I never thought I’d dine at any of them again. But after a recent column where I mentioned Harold’s, an email popped up in my inbox.

“Mr. Moore, I am Harold’s daughter from Harold’s Pizza. I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your article…we are thinking of having a fundraiser to create a scholarship in memory of my son…we are thinking of making pizzas…Harold’s original recipes. Still have a few details to work out but I thought you might be interested! Harold’s family really enjoyed reading your article! Brought back lots of memories! – Susan”

I was very interested. I wrote her back and energetically told her so. She responded that she wanted to do a test run of pizzas before any fundraiser would take place, and she asked if I would be willing to try some pizzas.

Well, she didn’t have to twist my arm.

The timing of all this was working out perfectly. During exactly the same week she was thinking of doing a trial run of pizzas, I was speaking at a fundraising event for the Texarkana Library.

God has a way of making things fall into place.

Susan and I exchanged phone numbers, and per her instructions I called her when we were leaving the fundraiser. That gave her just enough time to put the pizza in the oven, bake it, and meet us on our way back home.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect to receive two Harold’s Pizzas in pizza boxes, with the same aluminum foil lining the bottom of the box, just as I remembered fifty years earlier.

But there they were. They looked the same. They smelled the same. Most importantly, they tasted the same.

I couldn’t believe it.

I asked Susan how she was able to recreate the same pizzas her father had made so many years earlier.

She said she had worked in the parlor for many years, and her dad had passed on every aspect of making his pies.

Susan had worked hard to get everything as close to the original process as possible, including the sauce, which she said was her specialty.

Even with the passage of time and possible variances in ingredients, she had hit a homerun with the pizzas. They were just as I remembered.

So what’s next? I asked her. If she does a fundraiser and it’s successful, would she consider reopening Harold’s?

Only time will tell, she told me, but she said it’s possible. I assured her that if she does bring back Harold’s, I’ll be her first customer.

The only thing missing will be her dad and mine. Since there’ll be some empty seats at the table, I’d love for you to join us. You can share a pizza history.

By John Moore

Subscribe RH Love

0 Comments

Order photos

Related News

Phelan wins re-election bid, seeks speaker post again

Phelan wins re-election bid, seeks speaker post again

House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, narrowly won re-election in a hotly contested runoff race and has vowed to seek his third term as speaker, drawing threats from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to oppose any of his supporters in the 2024 primary. “I’ve done it...

read more
Additional disaster assistance approved

Additional disaster assistance approved

Seven Texas counties have been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for grants for emergency work and replacement of disaster-damaged public infrastructure, after severe weather and flooding struck much of Deep East Texas, Gov. Gregg Abbott’s office...

read more
Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

You would think that there’s only one way to fold towels. But, you’d be wrong. Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, my momma showed me how to fold them, as well as shirts, socks, underpants, and other personal sundries. I assumed that this skillset would carry me all the...

read more
The Lawn Moore

The Lawn Moore

America really is The Land of Opportunity. Even if there’s only one opportunity, and that opportunity is cutting the grass.  Ashdown, Arkansas, was a pretty typical small American town in the 1960s and 1970s.  Kids weren’t just handed things. If we wanted...

read more
A myth understanding

A myth understanding

In the South, we believed with all of our hearts what we were told when we were children. Even if it was wrong. In the 1960s, the RCA color console TV my family had on Beech Street in Ashdown, Arkansas, could make you go blind. It could if you believed what our mom...

read more
On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

Colorado State University researchers are calling this year’s hurricane season forecast “the most aggressive” ever, the Texas Standard reported. They say there is a 54% chance a hurricane will strike the Texas coast, and a 25% chance it will be major. Justin Ballard,...

read more
Fixer Uppers

Fixer Uppers

Recently, I saw something I haven’t seen in many years. A young man driving a car he was fixing up. It was an older Mustang. By older I mean a 90’s model. The car had spots of primer, there were a few dents, and the exhaust system appeared to be loose. By John Moore...

read more
Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

One economist is calling it “the most profitable 22 minutes in Texas history,” according to the Texas Standard. The total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 is expected to draw up to a million visitors to the Lone Star State, especially in its narrow path of totality....

read more
Order photos