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50 Years ago

By Jim Ignasher

April 1969

USMC Corporal Steven Oliver of Greenville came home after serving 13 months in Vietnam. The occasion of his homecoming was all the more joyous as he met his little brother Antone for the very first time, who was born while Steven was away.

Edmond B. Lynch, Jr., of Greenville, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and would be serving with the Chemical Corps.

SP/4 John L. Fournier, and SP/4 Raymond A, Mimande, both of Smithfield, were among 75 recent graduates of the Rhode Island Army National Guard NCO School.

Airman Michael A. Costa of Esmond completed basic Air Force recruit training school and was assigned to aircraft maintenance.

Army Specialist Angela K. Panzarella of Esmond was promoted to SP/4 and was serving with the Signal Corps at Ft. Sherridan, Illinois.

Airman 1/c Richard M. Johnson of Greenville was serving with the U. S. Air Force in Thailand.

Four students from St, Aloysius Home on Austin Avenue received awards for their entries in a ceramics art contest. The winners were Joseph Chartier, Sheilagh Feely, Robert Dumas, and Leo Belmore.

Kathy Marzilli, an 8th grade student from Greenville, won a gold key and blue ribbon for her artistic rendering of “A Still Life Done in Chalk” which was entered in the 5th Annual Scholastic Art Exhibit. The exhibit included 16 art categories, as well as 13 photography classifications. Kathy’s entry was sent to New York to compete with finalists from other states.

One local contractor was offering to install aluminum siding on homes (Up to 1,000 square feet.) for only $449.

The Ford Maverick, a “sub-compact” family vehicle was introduced in April of 1969 to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle, the Chevrolet Vega, and the AMC Gremlin. OK, by a show of hands, how many recall driving one of those?

On April 17 a fashion show and penny social was held at Anna McCabe School to raise funds for a class field trip. Door prizes and free gifts were offered.

The St. Philips Rosary Guild also held its annual Spring Bridge Fashion Show featuring clothing from The Family Store in Greenville. The event was chaired by Mrs. Edwin Leszczyk, and co-chaired by Mrs. Richard Snow. Other committee members included: Mrs. John Higgins, Mrs. Joseph Cullen, Mrs. Peter Mancini, Mrs. Edith Scully, Mrs. George Hebert, Mrs. Francis Beaudry, Mrs. John Kaminski, Mrs. William Walker, Mrs. Roland L’Abbee, Mrs. Gerald Cahoone, Mrs. Thomas Iemma, Mrs. John Grenga, Mrs. Edward Thomas, Mrs. John Driscoll, Mrs. Richard Conti, Mrs. Robert Reall, and Mrs. Joseph Hickey.

On April 19 the St. Peter’s School on Austin Avenue held an auction and cake sale on the grounds of the St. Aloysius Home. The event was administered by Sister Mary Alexis RSM, Mrs. Michael Hession, and Mrs. George Chasse.

It was also on April 19 that “The Soundmen”, a comedic-musical group performed at the Smithfield High School. The men were advertised as bringing “a unique brand of comedy and rhythm capable of breaking a lease or starting a riot.”

The first concept model of what would one day be the Space Shuttle was unveiled by NASA engineers. The model was made of paper and balsa wood.

One local drug store was giving away three Polaroid Land Cameras in a free raffle. No purchase was necessary. For those too young to recall, such cameras offered “instant photographs” in only 60 seconds.

A “swing-a-long” benefit was held at the Smithfield Boys Club. Young volunteer organizers included Thomas J. Connor, Jr., John Pascone, John Peloquin, Thomas Peloquin, Maria Pascone, Sheila Peloquin, Cheryl Pechie, Elinor Peloquin, Maribeth Coleman, Francis Finn, William Connell, Nicholas Simone, and Kevin Bell.

For those who recall sitting in traffic jams on Rt. 44 in Centerdale, construction was begun for the Centerdale Bypass which was set to be completed in November of 1969 with the hopes of relieving traffic problems.