50 Years Ago – December, 1966

50 Years Ago – December, 1966

By Jim Ignasher

    Renovations at the Greenville Baptist Church were nearing completion in time for Christmas. Georgiaville cabinet maker and craftsman, Hilliare Guindon, built a new communion table. John McGrillis, a stained glass artisan from North Providence made new windows, and a paper mosaic mural for the Baptistry wall was made by Mrs. Marjorie Jaswell. The church also received new gold carpeting and a colonial style brass chandelier imported from Holland.

     One hundred years earlier Smithfield’s oldest church had undergone another major renovation when it was raised from its foundation and the vestries were built underneath. In 1966 it was reported that a record of this modification could still be seen on the back of a small closet door in the church.

     The public was invited to see the work.

     Mrs. Claire Kamanski of Greenville was appointed Mother’s March Chairman for the Smithfield 1967 March of Dimes fundraising campaign. The March of Dimes organization fights birth defects through medical care and education.

     In 2016, many do their Christmas shopping via the Internet, but in 1966 The Outlet Company of Providence advertised that those wanting to avoid crowded stores could to do their shopping by telephone. This was an innovative idea for the time.  

     Diane Ceccofiglio, 13, of Greenville, won 2nd place in the National Accordion Competition held in New York City. She played Manhattan Concerto by Eugene Ettore. Diane had been studying the instrument since she was four-and-a-half.

     Wayne Pratt of Boy Scout Troop 3 in Greenville was one of 17 scouts from the Narragansett Council to attend the 12th World Jamboree being held in Idaho in the summer of 1967.

        On December 10, the Swinging Square Dance Club of Greenville held a Dance at the Laurel Grange on Snake Hill Road.

     It was also the season for Christmas parties.

     St. Philips Rosary Guild held theirs with a pot-luck supper at the former parish hall on Smith Avenue.

     The Dorothy Dame Parent teachers Association held theirs on December 13.

     The Apple Blossom Garden Club celebrated on the 14th with a Yankee Swap.

     Smithfield Cub Scouts Pack 4 held their Christmas party at McCabe School where they put together baskets of food to be distributed in cooperation with other town organizations.

     Other organizations that celebrated the season included The Mothers of Twins Club, The Smithfield Lions, and the Georgiaville Fire Company which included Santa’s arrival on a fire truck.    

     In a time when Smart Phones were non-existent, those wishing to take “home movies” to capture the holiday moments could use what was called a “home movie camera”. One store advertised a Japanese model for $119.95, or $12 down. Of course after the film was developed one needed a 16 mm projector to view the movie. They could be had for $209.50. A movie screen was extra.

   Smithfield military servicemen home on leave included: Kenneth W. Branch, Leroy Card, Jr., Maurice Limoges, Roy A. Mariotti, Russell A. Molloy, Joseph Payette, William Servoss, Ernest Stallings, and Stephen S. Wyman.

   Paul A. Rathbun of the U. S. Air Force, was promoted to Master Sergeant.

     Among the new Christmas songs released for the 1966 season were, “Someday at Christmas”, by Stevie Wonder, and “If Everyday Were Like Christmas”, by Elvis Presley.

     On December 18th the annual tree lighting ceremony sponsored by the Apple Blossom Club was held on the Greenville Common. Carolers were led by Joe Lopez, and Mrs. Fred Wilkes of St. Thomas Episcopal Church played the carillon chimes.

     On Christmas Eve the northeast experienced a nor’easter that included thunder and lightning, and dumped up to a foot of snow in some places thus making December 25, 1966 a “white Christmas”.  






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