Looking back: Nothing much happened in Atmore in 1966

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Probably the most exciting thing to be happening in Atmore 50 years ago in 1966 was the opening of a new department store.

West Brothers was to open on Aug. 20, and they had plenty of advertisements with bargains galore.

The new store was to open at the corner of Presley and Church next to the Piggly Wiggly. They had room-size rugs for less than $10, ladies’ blouses for 97 cents, washcloths for 10 cents each, towels were two for $1 and the store was giving away a 23-inch television. Oh, yes, I can’t forget to tell you about the sale they had on ladies’ girdles for $1.87 each.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

If you are as old as me, you will remember when all the ladies wore a girdle, hoping it would help hide those little extra pounds around the middle. If you know me now, you probably think I needed to wear one, but that was back in my skinny days. We wore a lot of goofy things back then. I remember when I wore gloves and a hat along with my heels when I got ready to go to church. At some point, most of us dropped these things by the wayside. It’s a good thing I guess, although I do think the younger generation is not nearly as modest with their clothing today as we were back in the “olden days.” Some things are better left alone.

Besides the opening of West Brothers, the whole town was getting ready for back to school sales. Downtown parking meters were to be covered and parking was going to be free for those shopping for the items they needed for the new school year. There was expected to be 7,400 students attending the county schools and the Escambia County school board had hired 36 new teachers for the year.

First Assembly of God Church broke ground on a new church on 6th Avenue.

I remember saying something earlier about the strike going on at Alabama Power. Well, apparently it was still a problem. Alabama Power put a whole page advertisement in The Atmore Advance. It told what a lineman’s salary was and compared it to what had been offered. An average salary was a bit over $7,000, which went a lot further back then.

The last thing I saw in the newspaper for this time period was a story about a man, Will Adams, who celebrated his 116th birthday. Adams was born a slave in 1850 in Virginia and sold to an Alabama plantation owner when he was still a child. These are the stories that hit you right in the heart. Can you imagine the parents of that baby and how they must have mourned the loss of their child?

Thank goodness some things have changed in the past. Things are not perfect, but we have come a long way.

I can tell you one thing. I would surely have loved to interview that man. I bet he could tell some stories. It made me remember a time when I was in elementary school and, along with my classmates, had to write a history of my small community. My mother took me to visit an old man who lived nearby. I sat on that man’s front porch and listened to him tell me stories that he remembered from his younger days. I think that experience was one of the things that led me to have such an interest in history. I have that interest today and if anything, it is stronger than ever. You never know just how someone may influence you in your lifetime.