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Football standouts scored big for Atmore

By By Lowell McGill
Last week, a portion of my column was inadvertently omitted. So I will include that portion in today’s column. What happened was we failed to “jump” the column to another page. It is common practice in the newspaper business to continue a story on another page when space is “tight.”
Picking up from last week with news and events from 1955 and 1975, Glen Latham, head football coach at ECHS, was named Coach of the Year by the “Birmingham Post Herald” newspaper. Latham guided the 1974 Blue Devils to the 1974 Class 3A championship. Lou Ikner, a standout on that team, who went on to play football at the University of Alabama, was named to the All-Southern High School football team. Other team members garnering recognition included Joe Latham, Jimmy Woods and Curtis Coleman.
Another local football standout, Jimbo Walker, was named to the All-Southern Conference football team. The former Escambia Academy grad was a member of the Pat Dye-coached University of East Carolina team.
In 1955, Auburn University conducted a unique “Shearing” school here. The idea behind the school was to eliminate pain for sheep as their wool was sheared. They even brought in a special instructor from Australia to conduct the school. While there were not many sheep herders from our area in attendance, it was learned that many came from other states mainly, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.
Wyona Dunn, a former ECHS beauty, was named to the 1955 Azalea Trail Court in Mobile. She shared the spotlight with Lee Ann Meriwether, the reigning Miss America.
Atmore boasted five dry cleaning firms that year. They were John’s Cleaners, Merit Cleaners, Atmore Cleaners, City Dry Cleaners and Singleton Laundry and Cleaners.
Atmore’s youth leagues took on a bright outlook with the announcement by Vanity Fair to build a new Little League park near their main plant.
John G. Wingard, owner of Wingards Jewelers, was recognized as one of a few “Certified Watchmakers” in the state.
Dedication for the new Escambia Baptist Secretary office in Wawbeek was held that year. The Rev. N.H. McCrummen of Selma was the guest speaker. The popular pastor had previously served at Atmore First Baptist Church.
In some current news, the AARP has gone on record endorsing the new health plan. Many of my friends told me this week they immediately cancelled their membership to this organization stating, “They were not speaking for me.” I don’t want to become involved in politics, but I told my friends not to fear because this health plan, in my opinion, will never clear the U.S. Senate. By the way, did you notice that vote came on a Saturday night when national news is normally slow?
Here is some interesting news for all you cat lovers. The residents of a town in Massachusetts voted last week to make it illegal to own more than three cats. Those who did not comply would ultimately be required to purchase a “kennel license.” The law was passed following neighborhood feuds where cats “fought” and “meowed” all night long.
It is Monday, as I write this column, and Hurricane Ida is “heading our way” according to many, aggressive news sources. All the headlines indicate it will be a strong storm. And, they could be right, but in my 30 years of flood adjusting I have never seen a storm bring major destruction when cool, dry conditions in the atmosphere prevail. Storms will usually “fall apart” when the warm waters of the Gulf grow cool.
Since the storm is still coming as I write I do know that for the first time in 30 years I will not be making plans to head out to storm sites to adjust losses. Age is not the predominant factor for my retiring, but, it is all those new fangled software programs that are currently required for adjusting. It seems experience and expertise is no longer required. Moreover, I have found that more emphasis is now placed on your becoming a computer whiz. I am only kidding. I would not trade for anything all I have gained from having been involved in this career. Most of all, I guess, I will miss all those wonderful people I have worked with for all these many years.
One friend who now works with weather predictions told me our “neck of the woods” would be very wet this winter. He said El Nino conditions, which have something to do with warmth in the Pacific Ocean, would create lengthy rains along the southeast and southwest coasts. I hope this will not be bad news for farmers. I remember on one occasion back in the 1980s this occurred in Louisiana and I can still see wrapped Christmas gifts floating in homes filled with high water.
Next week we will have more news about people and events from 1975.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net