Youths worked summer jobs in programs

Published 2:35 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
Taking a brief look at some news of interest from 1975, a large number, 176 to be exact, of Escambia youths were given summer jobs as a result of the US Summer for Youth Program.
They worked for three months in various jobs throughout the county. I had mentioned this in a column a couple of years ago and later received an email from a man who said he was one of those summer employees. He credited Onree Owens for helping him get the job.
The city had three unique visitors back then when a trio of young men pedaled their bikes from Carlisle, Pa. to visit friends. It took them several days to make the 1,200 mile trip. They came to visit Chuck and Patti Dettling and family. Chuck was affiliated with Masland Carpets and he and his family formerly lived in Pennsylvania.
Following mentioning of two local golfers scoring holes in one, that same feat was pulled off by John Harvey a few weeks later. Little John, as he was known locally, was an avid golfer.
Larry Ridgeway of Huxford was appointed financial director at the University of South Alabama. The former ECHS grad was also a graduate of USA.
Steve and T.R McKinley celebrated their first year in business in the summer of 1975. And, as most of you know they still operate the auto repair shop on Hwy. 31 West in the old Shell station.
I think this son and father duo maintain one of the cleanest auto garages in this area. When you walk in that building you’ll not find oil or grease on the floor. It will be totally sparkling. You will also be impressed with T.R.’s art work and hand lettered signs situated on the interior walls. He is an outstanding artist by all rights. And, the two are excellent mechanics, as well.
McRae Apartments opened for business in 1975. There were 75 units in the initial operation.
I realize it is not proper to write about ailments but I find myself offering an apology upfront for my writing a short column this week. I was hit with a flu bug a couple of days ago and it has really sapped my energy and concentration.
At the doctor’s office the lady at the reception desk told me that my doctor has been bombarded with patients with similar symptoms. With all this “stuff” going around it would be wise to wear a mask when going to the doctor during this epidemic.
People sneezing and using a handkerchief were most common the day I was there. Indeed, something is “going around”.
I was impressed by a 68-year-old lady who told me this is the first time she had seen a doctor in more than 50 years. She said her health has always been good, and “I always take care of myself,” she told me. But, she said “these flu pains are too much for me to handle this time.”
I learned also that the emergency room at the local hospital was getting its share of patients.
So, here’s hoping my strength returns next week when I will have a full column.
By the way, I hope you pay particular attention to the Santa Sleigh photo in today’s paper. The talents of James Norris are quite evident in that scene. He tells me he receives several request each year from residents who want a Santa, Sleigh and Reindeers in their yards. I understand his prices are very reasonable, in fact, more reasonable than larger firms.
One other thing. Did you notice The Advance’s new at Home magazine? I am anxious to add my nostalgic stories and photos in upcoming issues.
I wish each and every one a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I also wish good health and happiness to all our readers.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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