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Smithfield, RI Weather

50 Years Ago April, 1968

By Jim Ignasher

Long before the advent of cable companies, satellite dishes, and hi-definition smart TVs, people adjusted the “rabbit ear” antennas on the top of their television sets to obtain the clearest picture. However, to get the highest quality reception one usually had to install a large aluminum roof antenna – something that has virtually disappeared from the American landscape, yet there are still a few to be found.

If you can remember roof antennas, then you can likely recall that there were once stores that sold nothing but TVs and stereos. The proprietors stood behind their products, and even made “house calls” to repair them when a vacuum tube failed. (A vacuum what?)

In April of 1968, one local TV dealer advertised that he would install a roof antenna on any cape or ranch style house for the low price of $89.88. This was $30 less than his normal price of $119.95.

USMC Corporal Paul Battey of Greenville was home on leave after serving twelve months at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Stephen G. Lariviere, USN, of Georgiaville was home on leave after serving eight months in Iceland.

Carl Peterson of Greenville, was home on leave before reporting for duty in Vietnam.

On April 6, the Apple Valley Barbershop Chorus performed at the Smithfield High School.

At the weekly meeting of the Smithfield Civil Air Patrol Squadron, six cadets were singled out for recognition.

Master Sergeant Gail Young was named Miss R.I. Civil Air Patrol of 1968, and received a trophy.

Captain Paula Blackmore was selected to attend an Aerospace Orientation course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Captain Rosalie Varin and 1st Lieutenant Lynette Blackmore were selected for Cadet Leadership School at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada.

Staff Sergeant Richard Larkin was selected to attend Advanced Jet Familiarization School, and Technical Sergeant Linda Fornaro was chosen to represent Rhode Island in the Girls Regional Exchange Program.

Charles Greska was appointed the new Squadron Commander, thus succeeding Captain Edward Laurendeau, founder of the Smithfield Squadron, who was promoted to oversee regional communications.

The C.A.P. squadron met every Friday night at the Esmond Recreational Hall on Esmond St.

On April 13, a town-wide litter cleanup was held. Volunteers met at the Town Hall in Georgiaville, and in the parking lot of the First National supermarket in Greenville. (Where Ace Hardware stands today.) The event was sponsored by the Smithfield Conservation Commission. Volunteers included local residents, members of Georgiaville and Greenville scout troops, and town officials.

On April 19, Georgiaville Boy Scout Troop 1 held a family night dinner at the St. Michaels Church parish hall. The troop gave a first-aid demonstration and showed home movies of previous camp-outs. Several scouts received promotions. Bradley Boisvert was elevated to 1st class scout; David Loxson, Timothy Whitecross, George Courtot, and Donald Courtot were elevated to star scout; and Thomas Schwartz, Gregory Shepard, and Darly James were elevated to life scout.

April 20 marked opening day for fishing season. In the weeks leading up to that date, the R. I. Department of Natural Resources had stocked rivers and ponds with 46,000 trout.

If one was considering a swimming pool for the upcoming summer, one local retailer was offering a 16 by 32 foot in-ground pool, including filter, diving board, and one underwater light, for $2,195, if the order was placed before May 15.

At their April 22 meeting held at the Club 44 on Putnam Pike, the Smithfield Lions Club elected new officers. Robert Coyne: President. James Murphy: First Vice President. Stanley Lange: Second V.P. Gilbert Butterfield: Third V.P. Alfred Roy: Treasurer. Kenneth Jessop: Secretary. Alton Harris: Lion Tamer. Dr. John Pascone: Tail Twister.

One local car dealership was offering a new 1968 Javelin, which was a sporty muscle car produced by American Motors Corp. designed to compete with the Ford Mustang.

Others cars offered included a “fully-loaded” 1967 Ford Thunderbird for $3,475; a 1967 Mercury Cougar for $2,490; and a 1967 Pontiac Firebird for $2,795. By a show of hands, how many car enthusiasts would love to own one of these today?

On April 25 it was announced that the tennis courts at the high school were once again open after being vandalized yet again. The culprits were still at large, and would likely be in their mid-60s today.