1973 Pee Wee football, coin collection not lost

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
Back in 1973 Atmore sports fans were avid supporters of our “Pee Wee”” football teams.
I’ll be bringing you a nostalgic look over the next several weeks at some of these teams whose names you will recognize even today.
Stan Spears, assisted by Dale Sanspree, Harrison Sanspree, and Gene Norwood, coached the Packers. Team members were Ricky Dean, David Grant, Neil Amos, David Dean, Randy Johnson, Richard Drew, Kippy Powe, Joe Andrews, Joey Albert, Scott Daniels, Mike Pugh, Dale McGee, Jeff Byrd, Greg Dorriety, Stan Spears, Don Woods, Nathan Daniels, Lamar Ward and Houston Sanspree, Jr.
Speaking of the Sansprees, Atmore celebrated a special day for Danny Sanspree on Feb. 17, 1973. The former ECHS and Auburn Tiger football standout was recognized for his accomplishment on the gridirons at Auburn and in the Southeastern Conference. Two of his Tiger teammates, Johnny Simmons and Dave Beck came down to help honor Danny on his very special day.
A “unique” motor vehicle accident prevented the showing of a rare coin collection that year. A trailer loaded with several thousand dollars of rare coins was detached from the truck hauling it and overturned in a ditch on Hwy. 31. The showing of the coins was an event sponsored by The Bank of Atmore. Fortunately all coins were recovered and another show date was rescheduled. As a side note, several local teens were seen, reportedly, scouring the site after the coins were all gathered up hoping to find any loose ones in bushes and ditch. None were reported found, however.
Lowell Harms of Davisville won top prize of an ultra modern electric sewing machine at the Ernest Ward High School PTA Festival.
Local cattleman, Bill Brown, was named president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association.
Well known cowboy movie star Ken Maynard passed away that year. He was rated one of top “Big Four” old-time Saturday matinee heroes. Other members of that quartet were Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson and Buck Jones.
Bessie English assumed the position of Atmore’s Welcome hostess. The organization greeted and presented “welcome packs” to newcomers moving to town. She succeeded Armontine Biggs who held the post for several years.
The Band Of Porch Creek Indians held a special pack meeting at the Poarch School in the spring of 1973. Tribes from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi attended the affair. Chief Houston McGhee, son of the late Calvin McGhee, conducted the gala meeting.
Speaking of the Creeks, some employees at Wind Creek Casino breathed a sigh of relief last Thursday upon learning that plans to build a lavish casino on Perdido Key, Fla. Were squashed.
The far most western tip on Escambia Florida, which joins Baldwin County, was rumored as the location for the gambling site.
Dave Kimmons, who has relatives and fiends working at Wind Creek told me they became somewhat concerned, actually disturbed, after news stories surfaced several days ago that a new casino was coming to Northwest Florida.
A story in the Pensacola News Journal Thursday reported “plans for a bingo parlor on Perdido Key no longer include bingo machines.” Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins told proposed developers that electronic bingo machines would be illegal, according to the PNJ story.
The story further stated “…in written opinion released last Wednesday, Eddins said Florida gaming laws do not permit electronic bingo casinos, similar to the Wind Creek electronic bingo casino in Atmore, Alabama.”
Residents of Perdido Key, who had aired their objections for a casino, also expressed a sigh of relief after learning of the legal decision, the paper reported.
I did not speak with local Creek officials regarding this decision, but a few employees told me they were overjoyed after learning ‘our employer can now concentrate on bringing us even more job opportunities here at Wind Creek.”
I had the opportunity to meet the parents of Phil Savage this past weekend, while attending a birthday party for my sister who lives in Orange Beach. We discussed old time Browns players like Alabama’s Ozzie Newsome and All-Pro running back Jim Brown. Phil was the former general manager of the Cleveland Browns. I gathered some really interesting information about the Savage family. I’ll tell you more about it next week including news of his doing the radio” color commentary” on the upcoming University of Alabama “A-Day Game” along side Tide radio voice Ely Gold.
I’ll also have two late breaking medical stories. Those who take daily doses of warfarin (coumadin) and those who are facing heart by pass surgery will certainly want to learn about this.
Can you believe undergoing bypass surgery without having your chest pulled wide open (as I had five years ago)? Well, a new procedure will eliminate an operation of this sort.
I’ll also have some great news for veterans regarding pensions and medical benefits that are not normally aired by the Veterans Association.
I am also researching subjects of interest for others who have emailed me.
By the way, I want to thank those who emailed and called me regarding the Social Security $250 checks, which will be sent out next month. I had written about this in a couple of columns. One person told me my column was the only news site he found reporting on this stimulus package. I am glad to learn of news like this, because I thoroughly research all my stories before I air them.
My good buddies who gather a few times each week at Busters like to ‘rag” me about some of my “late breaking stories,” but each one of them took a liking to the $250 stimulus story. The reasons, most of them are Social Security recipients. They are waiting on that “big check”, as they call it. Our “close knit gang” includes Johnny Coker, Troy Byrd, “Brother” Mike Grindle, Leon Lyles, Woodrow Pettis, I.G. Nichols, Joe Pendleton, Richard (our Mobile friend who stops by while on his route delivering medical records,) Boyd Sigafoose, “Big Dave Kimmons” and our dear friend Marlene Forester who sits at another table and takes in all our gab and jabbing each other with jokes and pranks. These are just plain, down to earth, ordinary folks, (my kind of people) who enjoy close friendship with each other. Never any boasting, never any quarrels, but always a lot of clean and congenial camaraderie.
The floods of recent days may pull me away for a few days as some claims are beginning to drift in, especially in Mobile County, the Mississippi Coast and Southeast Louisiana. But this will not prevent my writing weekly columns. It seems like NFIP won’t let me retire. And, this makes me very happy. You don’t find too many careers where a person of my age is still wanted and needed.
As I use to say on WATM back in the early and mid fifties….stand by, stay tuned and join us again next week…”
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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