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Smithfield, RI Weather

50 Years Ago

50 Years Ago November 1966

By Jim Ignasher

It’s been said that the more things change, the more they remain the same. November of 1966 was an election year, and party mud-slinging was just as active then as it is today. One local political advertisement in particular got my attention; its banner read, “Half Truths For Sale At Giveaway Prices”. Catchy.

In 1966, the comedy movie, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum was released, which is the reason for one local paper’s play on words, “A funny thing happened on the way to the Petrified Forest”, which was a story about a Greenville couple who happened to get stopped by the Sheriff of Holbrook, Arizona, while they were passing through on vacation. The officer’s stern look broadened to a wide grin when he announced to the driver that he and his wife had been selected to be judges at the nearby Navajo County Fair currently in progress. With their consent, they would be treated as guests of the town, and all their motel and meal expenses would be taken care of. They agreed, and found themselves judging various contests in the company of a couple from California who’d also been stopped by the sheriff. When their stay was over, they continued on to the Petrified Forest.

On Nov. 8, the Greenville Grange held an apple contest. Exactly what the contest entailed wasn’t stated.

Charles E. Grady, President of the Smithfield Lions Club, announced that Lions International would be holding a “Peace Essay” contest open to those 14 to 22 years of age, in an effort to generate an “understanding of peace” to tomorrow’s leaders. The local winner would go on to compete in state-wide and national contests where the grand prize would be $25,000 in grant money for education or career development.

The Smithfield Public Health League moved into its new office on the second floor of town hall.

The pre-teen football team “Smithfield Raiders” won the Northern Division Championship with a 14-0 win over a team from Franklin, Mass.

Later in the month they went on to win the “Apple Bowl” game held at Burgess Field where they defeated the Cumberland Colts.

Fourth grade students from the Dorothy Dame School in Esmond went on a field trip to Plymouth, Mass. to tour the Mayflower II, and Plymouth Plantations to learn about the Pilgrims. Teachers leading the trip were Miss Mary Kingley, and Mrs. Mildred E. Arnold.

On Nov. 10 a teenage “record hop” sponsored by the Smithfield Recreation Department was held at McCabe School.

Later in the month another dance was held at Smithfield High School, where it was announced that for the first time those attending could dress casual, or, “casual within the limits of neatness.” This meant that girls could wear slacks or jeans instead of dresses, and boys weren’t required to wear jackets and ties.

On Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day ceremonies were held by members of the Smithfield American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts on Greenville Common.

Pvt. Raymond W. Laboissonniere of Esmond was serving with the 1st Howitzer Battalion, 103rd Artillery, of the Rhode Island National Guard at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

On Nov. 12, St. Michael’s Church held its annual Christmas Bazaar.

On the 15th, NASA’s Gemini XII containing astronauts James A. Lovell, and Buzz Aldrin, successfully “splashed down” near the Bahamas thus marking the end of the Gemini program. Both went on to fly missions in the Apollo program, and in 1969 Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

For those who wanted to dine out on Thanksgiving one Smithfield restaurant was taking reservations, offering a Turkey dinner “with all the fixins” for $3. Children under 12 were served at half-price.

Meanwhile, with the end of the year in sight, local car dealers were trying to clear their inventory of all 1966 models, promising great deals to anyone interested.

And with winter coming, one local fuel oil dealer was advertising 200 gallons of oil for 26.60 cents per gallon, plus tax. Customers were expected to pay cash on delivery.