By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
My fondest memory of the old Gulfport Shipley doughnut shop goes all the way back to when I was a member of the Mississippi Air National Guard from 1971 to 1976.
After I checked in for weekend duty at the base in Bayou View, it was time for me and a couple of other Guardsmen to drive down the street to Shipley, where we would hang out and then ride through the neighborhood before it was time to go to lunch.
I thought the Shipley doughnuts were the best around, and my favorites were the good ol’ glazed and the paczki kind filled with chocolate or vanilla icing.
The doughnut trips were the only good thing I experienced in my long and boring National Guard career, and it’s amazing none of us was caught being MIA from working on what looked like Korean War-era generators at a time the Vietnam War was still being fought.
I was lucky our unit was never activated. I didn’t want to go to Vietnam. I was a war dodger, though never a doughnut dodger.
The Gulfport Shipley was at Hewes Avenue and Pass Road, but it’s long gone from what it is now one the city’s ugliest strip malls about one mile north of Highway 90 and the beach. When I drive past there on my way home, I always think of what it used to be like.
The Dizzy Dean fast-food restaurant was right across the street and Tastee Donuts, also a favorite, was at Courthouse Road and Pass Road.
The reason I bring up my fondest Shipley memory is that the company is looking to make a long-awaited return to the Biloxi-Gulfport market, according to a story in the Sun Herald.
I’ve been to the Shipley shop in Hattiesburg, the closest to the Mississippi Coast, and to ones in Houston and Starkville, but my last trip was in 2005.
I’m hoping my next trip will be much closer to home.