1964 was an active year in city’s history

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The year 1964 comes to mind as I write this week’s column, particularly that fishing trip taken by Ben Haley and Doctor St. Amant.

It seems these two men went on a fishing trip near Stuart, Florida. While they were fishing out in the Atlantic Ocean a huge sailfish was hauled in. Now, Ben jokingly claimed he snagged the fish. It was so large that some reporters from that area wrote a story indicating it was a “record catch” and both men landed it. Ben, who claimed he caught it, always told that story to all his friends at coffee shop gatherings and each time he told it the fish got a little bit bigger. We kidded him so much that he brought us a photo with both men holding up the giant fish. We never did get the doctor’s side of the story, and we will never know the true story concocted by these two anglers. However, their photo did show that the fish was real big.

There were a few more 1964 events of interest.
Kimbrell Cunningham, who was active in Boy Scout work for many years, received the “Silver Beaver” award. He was one of only a few in the nation receiving that coveted award that year.

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I have mentioned this several times about Atmore drawing national attention that year when the train carrying Mrs. “Lady Bird” Johnson, the wife of Lyndon Johnson, stopped at the depot to pick up a passenger. That passenger was Mrs. Thomas, the first wife of Dr. J. B. Thomas. A cousin of “Lady Bird,” she rode into Mobile with her that day on that special passenger train.

Highly regarded former ECHS principal Robert Hodnette died that year. He devoted 33 years of his life to the school and the county school system.

Curtis Forrester, Leroy Wiggins and several other northwest Florida leaders received approval to begin construction of the Walnut Hill Water System.

The McCullough School burned that year.

Now here is some nostalgic news. You remember that little girl on TV many years ago advertising a carpet store over in Mobile? She had a catchy ad, “Open 8 to 8 So Don’t Be Late.” Occasionally I see her doing these ads again but now she is a beautiful “grown up” young lady. It only seems like yesterday when she began these TV appearances. There is a young boy, too, who appears in these ads. I wonder if he is her son.

Another TV ad that had been very popular for several years has faded from our view. Remember those two pretty young women, Brenda and Dianne, who did those Leon Atchison Furniture commercials? Well, they don’t do these commercials anymore because that store went out of business. I often wondered if these two were sisters.

Mobile, in earlier days aired other familiar ads. Remember this one? “The best of food for friends and family can always be found at The Tiny Diny on highway ninety.”

Mobiles Rug and Shade Company lured listeners and viewers in the 1940s and 1950s with its taunting musical theme on the 5 p.m. “Mystery Shopper” program. One shopper, if selected, was featured on that show each day and was awarded gifts and free meals. Everyone tuned in to learn the identity of that day’s mystery shopper. The musical theme was taken from a Mozart interlude but it sounded like the popular tune “Tonight We Love.”

And, of course, who can forget nationally recognized Billy Mays, the guy with the high pitch voice. Sadly, as I am sure you know, he passed away. He was regarded as TV’s best “pitchman.”

Finally here is one for you. It’s one that I wrote a few years ago and still get emails saying “tell it again.” Don’t laugh. It’s about my remedies to rid leg cramps. I have tried several remedies to rid the pain of leg cramps. I tried tonic water blended with quinine but this created a problem with my blood because I take Coumadin each day. I even elevated my legs but did not gain relief. Then one day I read about a remedy that was guaranteed to stop those cramps. So I decided to give it a try. Well, after two days I was totally amazed that the cramps completely went away. In other words, they “VAMOOSED.” So what is that remedy? Believe it or not it is a BAR OF SOAP. That’s right. I peeled the wrapping off bar of Dove soap and placed the soap under the sheets at night.

Now, I cannot offer an explanation why this “cured” my cramps. But, I can definitely state “the cramps are gone.” That soap also leaves a pleasant fresh odor under the sheets all night long.

I suppose that is why old folks back in the 1930s and 1940s would take dark green ferns to make lather and rub the cramp areas. Some also claimed those ferns mixed with water made great soap.

Another cramp remedy came from a friend who swears it works. He said when you go to bed at night place your shoes against the wall — toes up — and sleep like a baby free from cramps. Who knows? Perhaps it does work. I do not question him, just like I would not like my soap method questioned.

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at exam@frontiernet.net.