50 Years Ago – February, 1966

Originally published in The Smithfield Times.

By Jim Ignasher

It’s been said that the more things change, the more they remain the same, for the following news item has as much relevance today as it did half-a-century ago.

The winter of 1966 was a snowy one, and three Smithfield mothers, concerned for child safety, took it upon themselves to shovel sidewalks along Pleasant View Avenue in the area of Anna McCabe School.

A letter to the editor of a local newspaper applauded the women for their efforts. It stated in part:

“Three cheers for the women who went out and cleared a path for the youngsters, but now with a new snowfall it is impossible for the children to walk anywhere but in the street. Perhaps we must wait for a serious accident to enlighten our town.”

The writer also encouraged more mothers to get involved. “How about some noise mothers!  It might be your child who is hurt.”

Evidently the “noise” was heard, for the “militant mothers” as they were dubbed, went before the Town Council to state their case, and before long the Smithfield DPW went out and cleared the sidewalks using plows and backhoes.  Judging by the picture in the newspaper such equipment was necessary, for the frozen snow had been plowed too high to be shoveled by hand.

The “Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.” announced plans to open a Smithfield-Glocester-Scituate chapter.  An introductory meeting was scheduled for February 22 at the Greenville Baptist Church where it was reported a demonstration concert and talk would be given to “show perspective members how Barbershopping can enrich their lives and that of others in the community.”

The concert was to be given by The Neptunes.

Seaman recruit Albert R. Dufresne, 17, of Coolridge Ave. entered basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.  Coincidentally, W. Terrance Lafferty, also of Coolridge Ave., graduated from the same place on February 18th.

Steven S. Wyman of Esmond was promoted to Cadet Technical Sergeant while attending the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was scheduled to graduate in 1967, at which time he’d be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal William Servoss, of Austin Avenue, was serving as a tank crewman in Vietnam.

February 7th through the 13th was designated “Scout Week” by the National Boy Scouts of America.

February 8th was designated “uniform day” when scouts everywhere would wear their uniforms.

Despite the cold, Smithfield Cub Scouts from Dens 3 and 7 enjoyed a day outing at Wionkhiege Farm on Log Road, where they ate box lunches and rode in a horse drawn sleigh.  Chaperones were Betty Boyle, Mr. and Mrs. Art Lafferiere, Ruth Phillips, Mrs. Joseph Oliver, Lorraine Kirkwood, and Betty Pryce.

On “Scout Sunday” Scout Leader William D. Henlin of Greenville received the prestigious St. George Award for his “outstanding contribution to the development of Catholic scouting in the Diocese of Providence.”  The award was presented by Aux. Bishop Bernard M. Kelly.

It was announced that final preparations were underway to occupy Smithfield’s new high school as of March 1st.

The high school Chess Club reported a membership of more than fifty students and was going to begin a regular program of meetings.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Creative Writers Club was “also on the road to establishment” however it was noted that their membership was more selective.

At a P.T.A. meeting at the William Winsor School, guest speaker Rev. Stanley Pratt of the Greenville Baptist Church, lectured on “How are young people facing up to life?”

The Smithfield Junior Women’s Club sponsored a Valentines Day dance at the Foster Country Club on February 12.

Speaking of valentines, long time Smithfield residents, Mr. and Mrs. John S. Resendes, Jr. of Fenwood Avenue, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was reported they had fifteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

A Mardi Gras dance was held on February 22, at Anna McCabe school with music provided by The Rimshots.  It was evidently a formal affair as ties and jackets were required.

On February 13, Rhode Island’s Governor John H. Chafee was honored at a dinner held at the Club 44 on Putnam Pike sponsored the Smithfield Republican Party.

On February 26, Senators Walter J. Kane of Smithfield, and Thomas DiLuglio of Johnston, addressed a group of college-age democrats at a state-wide convention held at the Crown Hotel in Providence.

Renovations to the interior of the Greenville Baptist Church were begun and were expected to take two months to complete.  Changes included lowering the height of the pulpit platform and rearranging two of the choir lofts.

Keeping in mind it was still February, there was a want ad posted for a young man to drive an ice cream truck for the upcoming summer season. The ad stated it was a “good financial opportunity for a go-getter.”

A cosmetics company was seeking “particular women to present their beauty preparations.” The hours were flexible, and the ad assured there’d be no door-to-door canvassing, and no home-parties required.

Speaking of beauty, the Smithfield Lions Club announced it would be taking applications from young women who might wish to participate in the upcoming Miss Smithfield Contest scheduled to be held in April. This contest would be preliminary to competing in the Miss Rhode Island Pageant.

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