Did you see any meteor fragments?

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

All that commotion last week created excitement, fear and anticipation for many folks in our area seeing that meteor falling and hearing the loud noise it generated. Experts say it fragmented about 14 miles above ground. But several said their homes shook and windows were broken by the loud burst.

This occurrence reminded me of a similar experience I had in November 1954 while I was student at the University of Alabama.

I was participating in my normal R.O.T.C. drills near Denny Chimes when suddenly we saw this bright, fast-moving streak in the sky. It lasted for only a few seconds, but there was no apparent noise. That night, watching the news, we learned it was a streaking meteor that actually hit the ground in Sylacauga, Alabama. In fact, it went through the roof of a house causing structural damage and hit a woman who lived in the house.

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The falling fragment caused bruising to one of her sides, but she was able to walk.

Of course, the incident created national and international news coverage. The grapefruit size “rock” became coveted by several local, state, national and international organizations. It was finally awarded to the Alabama Museum of Natural History in 1956.

By the way, I increased my knowledge of meteors and meteorites. A meteor is a falling fragment, usually burning up before it hits the earth. However, if a rock-like fragment does not completely burn up and hits the ground, it is called a meteorite. I understand that these falling fragments can be seen in abundance at night. They are normally called “shooting stars”.

And now I am reading about searches along the coast and in Mobile County for possible fragments of last week’s event. Some say fragments did hit the earth, but so far no one has come up with any of them.

Now let us take a look at some news from 1966.

The Atmore Post office underwent a complete renovation, adding extra wide service windows and 3,200 feet of additional space. H. C Williams was the postmaster back then.

Nell Hill, long time postmistress at Canoe Post office, announced her retirement that year. I can still see her now driving that little one-seater Nash Metropolitan. When her brother, Russell Stillings, traveled with her from Canoe to Atmore it made for a tight squeeze. Nell, who was married to Dr. Clark Hill, named her grandson after him.

ECHS Principal Travis Black was named to head up the District One Secondary Principals Association. In later years, after he moved to Montgomery, he would often come out to the Auburn University-Montgomery (AUM) baseball games, where we would talk about his time in Atmore. He was an avid supporter of our team and he came by the day the team flew to Idaho to play in the NAIA College World Series. By the way, that was the first and only time my wife flew in a plane. Eight of us flew out there thanks to help from Boyd Sigafoose, who had connections with management at the airport. Our tickets were ridiculously reduced due to his efforts.

Mrs. J H Biggs, The Atmore Advance Lottie Community correspondent, was recognized for her devotion in reporting all the news from that community.

The State Farm peach orchard opened its gates for peach sales that year and folks from all around came out to purchase those big and juicy peaches. This orchard was well known throughout the state and surrounding states for these remarkable peaches.

Several from here went down to Mobile Municipal Auditorium to see the Lawrence Welk Show on tour. Welk had one of the leading network programs in 1966.

I remember also another event I attended that year. George Green received two tickets to a Rocky Marciano appearance in Pensacola. George got those tickets via his dad and a drug store operation. He invited me along and we actually were able to shake hands with the Heavy Weight champ that 1956 night in Pensacola.

Did you know a caravan of popular movie stars included Atmore on a southern tour in 1952?

Next week I will tell you the names of some of those celebrities and why they came through our town.

Also next week, we will have more news of interest from years gone by.

….yes, it always whispers to me……those days of long ago…