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By Jim Ignasher
Fifty years go stores everywhere advertised their Christmas sales with ads that depicted everything from Santa Claus, to winter scenes, to religious depictions of the Holy Family. One retailer advertised a solid-state portable stereo phonograph, “Designed with the teen in mind”, for $88. Another had 3-speed, reel-to-reel, mono-tape recorders for sale at $77. These items were considered Hi-tech for 1967. Today’s teens can use their hand-held phones to do what these bulky items did, and with better sound quality too.
The Family Store, once located at 625 Putnam Pike was selling wool coats for $30, and The Village Pharmacy in Greenville Center was selling five pound boxes of chocolate for $8.50. Unfortunately both stores are no longer in business.
Fresh cut Christmas Trees could be had at local farms and at a few lots along Rt. 44.
On December 10, a “Gala Christmas Frolic” was held by the Smithfield Democratic Town Committee at the Dillon Knights of Columbus Hall on Douglas Pike in North Providence. Tickets were $5 per couple.
The Rhode Island Chief’s of Police Association held their annual Christmas party at the Club 44 restaurant on Route 44. Smithfield’s police Chief Arthur B. Gould was in attendance.
The Smithfield Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol held their Christmas party at the Smithfield Recreation Center in Esmond.
The new St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Georgiaville opened its doors after holding services for the last time at the “old” St. Michael’s Church which at the time stood on Homestead Avenue. (The 95-year-old building was later torn down.) The old church held 400 parishioners; the new one was designed to hold twice as many. The altar of the new church is made of Monet Verde Marble from Italy.
U. S. Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice James M. Gallagher of Greenville was attending Radar Training School in New York.
Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Robert L. Higginbotham Jr., of Greenville was serving in Vietnam.
U. S. Navy Seaman Recruit David A. Brann of Greenville completed basic training.
Troop 55 of the Smithfield Girl Scouts toured the Rhode Island State House and got to meet then Governor John Chafee. Rosemarie Cullen was the troop leader.
On December 16, Santa Claus arrived in Greenville Center riding a shiny red fire truck to be there for the annual tree lighting ceremony. There had been much preparation for his anticipated arrival.
Smithfield’s Apple Blossom Garden Club had erected a wooden Crèche which contained figures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Colored lights had been strung, and at the given time, were illuminated by Senator F. Monroe Allen of Greenville.
Mrs. Olive Wilkes of St. Thomas Episcopal Church played the carillon chimes while the youth choir of the Greenville Baptist Church sang Christmas carols.
Santa had plenty of candy canes to give away, courtesy of The Village Pharmacy.