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Smithfield, RI Weather

50 Years Ago Today

By Jim Ignasher

Airman Brian P. McCaffrey of Greenville was stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, as a Computer Administrative Specialist.

1st Lt. Peter J. McGuire of Greenville was serving as a platoon leader in Vietnam.

James J. Motta of Georgiaville enlisted in the navy.

Richard Kanea, USN, of Greenville, came home on leave after serving one year aboard the USS Whetstone off the coast of Vietnam.

Donald C. Boucher, USN, was serving as a crewman aboard the submarine tender USS Canopus, attached to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

Robert V. Tessitore of Greenville returned home after serving three years with the Army Corps of Engineers, and sixteen months in Germany.

The Junior Naval Cadets of Smithfield announced that radio classes would be given every Thursday to any youth interested in joining.

The Balfour-Cole American Legion Post on Pleasant View Avenue announced its plans for starting a new Boy Scout Troop in town. The troop was open to all boys between the ages of 11 and 17.

The Town of Smithfield was advertising for the position of “Permanent Patrolman” for the police department. There was a time when the town utilized part-time reserve officers to augment the full-time force, which is the reason for the word “permanent” in the ad. (The reserves were disbanded in the 1980s.)

Minimum requirements were a high school diploma, height, 5’ 8” or taller, and weight no less than 145 pounds, and all candidates had to meet accepted physical and medical standards. Starting pay, $4,882.50 a year, with benefits. Applications could be obtained had by seeing Chief of Police Arthur B. Gould at the police station, which in 1966 was in Town Hall.

The School Department was also looking for two custodians. Starting pay was $1.75 per hour with benefits.

On October 10, a California rock-and-roll band, The Beach Boys, released “Good Vibrations”, a song that became a number one hit.

The Smithfield Players Theatre Group advertised it would begin rehearsals for their upcoming production of “You Can’t Take It With You”. Anyone wishing to volunteer to help could contact Mr. George Reilly.

The Greenville Grange, once located on Austin Avenue just in from Route 44, held a whist party and penny social on October 15th.

It was also on October 15th that then President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act creating the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, thousands of New England buildings have been placed on the register.

Industrial National Bank was offering 5 percent interest on one-year savings certificates of $5,000 or more. For those keeping score, that comes to $250. Don’t you wish today’s money market accounts offered even half that amount?

A local dealership advertised a 1964 Corvair, 2dr., with a standard transmission, radio, heater, and four new tires, as well as a “stunning black exterior with a sleek red interior”, for $975. The Corvair was mentioned in Ralph Nader’s book, “Unsafe At Any Speed”.

Sewing classes, sponsored by the Smithfield Recreation Association, began October 20th at the Esmond Recreation Hall on Esmond St. Classes were open to anyone 10-years or older, and were administered by Mrs. Clarence King, and Mrs. John Buckley.

The Greenville Public Library formally opened its new Children’s Wing by hosting an open house for town residents.

Rotary telephones were the norm for many households in 1966, but “touch-tone” service was slowly making headway. One New England Telephone ad urged subscribers to “Keep in touch with the times”, and “Do the touch-tone tap, in place of the old dial twist”.

St Thomas Church in Greenville held a Halloween Festival and Bazaar on October 28 and 29.

On October 31st, ghosts, goblins, and things that go “bump” in the night prowled the evening streets knocking on doors to homes adorned with glowing jack-o-lanterns.