January, February ‘72 holds many eventful moments
By Lowell McGill
Strolling through the January-February 1972 Advance archives this week I found a few events that I thought would be interesting to some of you.
The congested Southland Telephone party line was finally resolved. Bill Corman, owner of the company, introduced the one party system. You remember how frustrating it was having to wait for someone on your party line finishing a conversation before you could make your call? Also, it meant the end of “listening in” on conversations by fellow party liners. Many secrets became first hand information on those old party lines.
Bids were taken by the state for making Hwy 21 from north Atmore to I-65 into a four lane road. This strip of road had become a bottleneck in getting out to the interstate. Traffic had become heavier on this stretch as everyone used this road to gain access to I-65.
Holman Prison began an advertising campaign to hire more security officers. The prison also released a request that new employees be referred to as officers, not “guards.” It was a prestigious gesture and rightly so, as newly hired officers would now be required to have at least a high school diploma as a prerequisite.
Congressman Jack Edwards announced that all of Escambia and Baldwin counties were being added to District 4. He made several trips here during this time for speaking engagements and getting to know his constituents.
W.O. Higdon, State Employment officer CEO, announced the opening of an employment office in Atmore. At that time those seeking employment had to travel to Higdon?s Brewton office. Bill Cargill was named to oversee the Atmore office.
In his later years after he retired Bill built up a weekly route of taking orders for seafood. He traveled to south Baldwin and brought back some of the biggest, best tasting oysters I ever ate. I am sure many of you ate some of that delicious seafood.
I remember talking to Jackie Sims one morning at one of our coffee sessions. He invited Ben Haley, Johnny Woods, Dale Deas and I to a luncheon that day sponsored by his employer Kerr McGhee. The guest speaker was Hank Kimble, the comical absent minded county agent on the TV show “Green Acres.” I was not able to attend, but Johnny did go and told us he really enjoyed listening to Kimble.
Ben, incidentally, was honored that year for having given the most amounts of blood in Atmore. In fact over the past 15 years he was said to have donated “several gallons” of blood.
Another well known person spoke here that year. Mickey Andrews, the talented former University of Alabama football player, was the guest speaker at the Escambia Academy annual All-Sports banquet. Andrews, who is the present associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Florida State University, was the head coach at Livingston University at that time.
The City of Atmore recognized several city policemen for outstanding service during these two months. Included were Jake Phillips, Clarke Singleton, Gary Todd and Joe Lalak Jr.
Florida State University began a study of Creek Indian culture and history. The information was later used in a book published by the University. Several local creeks were honored at a banquet here for that occasion. Some of those in attendance were Eddie Tullis, Buford Rolin and Chief Calvin McGhee.
Atmore Assembly of God teachers were recognized as “Teachers of the Year.” They were Mrs. Agnes Allen, Mrs. Irma Johnson and Clay Whitehead.
Tony Albert was named to a third term as head of the Atmore Little League and Babe Ruth Leagues.
The State of Florida introduced the “No Fault” insurance plan. This meant that every driver in the state must carry liability insurance.
Speaking of insurance, I learned from an internet site that we here in Atmore had better hope and pray that we never get hit by a hurricane as we did a few years ago. It is my information that our insurance premiums could be doubled or even tripled if that should happen. We could be identified with all those living near the Gulf who now pay unbelievable rates. As you know many of those folks down there have seen their premiums soar out of sight. And, some have been cancelled by their insurance carriers.
I wrote in one of my recent columns that a proposed plan to combine wind and flood coverage in one policy was a bad idea. I stated that I thought it was very unfair for tax payers to help underwrite a policy of this nature. Why should our tax money be used include wind and hail coverage in the flood policy? Legislators apparently felt as I did because they voted it down.
Finally, what is this gasoline situation coming to next? Again, from the internet, came the story of a fight breaking out between two men at a service station somewhere up north. It seems that one man drove his big automobile up to the pump to fill it up with gas.
Another man pulled up at the same time. He looked at the size of the car and told the driver “it is people like you driving these big automobiles causing our gas prices to rise.” He went on to say if every one drove a moderate size car there would be less demand for gas and prices would come down.
Well, I am sure before all these rising prices are over with you are going to hear of many more instances like this.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org