Lankford Chronicles Life at Foster’s Store

Author Wayne Elliot Lankford, who graduated from West Georgia College in 1972, will release his newest book about life and times at the school in the 70s at a book signing at Horton’s Books in downtown Carrollton in November.

Lankford, who previously published The Bike Path, has now written Foster’s Store which centers around the antics of the students who lived at the former grocery store west of campus on Maple Street.

The school has since become the University of West Georgia.

“Back in the fall of 1965, the remodeling of a small retail grocery store began with the intention of turning the once-combination grocery, feed & seed, and gas station, into living quarters for college students,” said Lankford. “Lonnie (L.R.) Foster was now mostly retired from farming and business life and his daughter, Ethel, who also owned a dress shop in town, decided that renting it out to college students would be a good use for the property which was just next door to their own house.”

Built in 1951 the store was converted into rental space in the 70s where a student could bunk for about $35 a month.

The finished book will run about 400 pages.

Lankford said the book is about coming of age.

In 1974 one of the rooms in the converted living quarters was nicknamed “Womb Room” decorated with 70s motif such as stickers, decals, strobe lights, Black Light posters; etc.

There was even a Foster’s Store reunion at one point.

On the fostersstore.com website you can order a DVD about the store for free, t-shirts, mugs, and other memorabilia.

According to legend there was also something called “The Fantastic Experiment at Foster’s Store As Told By A Surviving Lab Rat.” It was the time of the Beatles and tongue piercing. There was a drug scene and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer was the drink of the day among the partying crowd. Lankford, who roomed with a guy, only revealed as “Z,” talks about witnessing his roommate escalate into LSD use and about all the bizarre things he did like the time he danced in front of the Student Center and Lankford denied knowing him. At that time LSD was free. Lankford said “Z” had an easier time talking him into taking acid with him than ditching a Philosophy 101 final.

Then, a few days later it was a Saturday afternoon down at the feed & seed and, like every typical weekend lines moved in and out for work and play. Lankford said he often dances around the story because as long ago as it was, it still scares him to think about it.

He talks about his LSD trip which involves oil on water, something called a Fu Dog, and every color in the rainbow swirling around. That trip wound up being a suicidal journey for Lankford who almost ran into a concrete wall to end his life while he was high.

Supposedly this particular batch had been “blessed,” according to Z who later wound up fighting in Vietnam.

To email Lankford any Foster’s Store stories of things you might have experienced living or visiting there or, send to wayne@fostersstore.com

Lankford said store mates after 1969 thought differently, calling it “the cusp of change.”

“As I started my tenure in 1969 at school I was sure that by the time I graduated the Vietnam War would be over,” he said.

According to Walter Carmichael, Foster welcomed his first tenants to the store and house in 1966.

The inventory of groceries left forever and was restocked with college students.

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