50 Years Ago – March, 1974

50 Years Ago – March, 1974

By Jim Ignasher

     Elaine J. Cullen of Pleasant View Avenue completed basic training at Lackland Air Force base in Texas.

     The Emblem Club organized a “What America Means To Me” poster contest and members of Cub Scout Pack 44 of Smithfield participated. The winner was 8-year-old Kenneth Brown whose poster depicted uniformed cub scouts of all races.

     If one went to the Apple Valley Cinema in March of ’74, they could have seen Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in the police drama, “Magnum Force”; or Steve McQueen in the Devil’s Island prison movie, “Papillion”; Elizabeth Taylor in “Ash Wednesday”, and last but not least, “Chariots of the Gods”, a documentary based on Eric von Daniken’s book of the same name which speculated that ancient astronauts had visited Earth.

     One “Chariots of the Gods” advertisement asked, “Did spacemen visit Earth in ancient times?” followed by “Now we have proof!” This was in a time when governments didn’t acknowledge that UFO’s exist.

     Old Stone Bank was offering free power tools to anyone that took out a loan for $1,500 or more. One could choose between a finishing sander, a hand-held drill, a cordless hedge trimmer, or a jig saw. The interest rate wasn’t stated.

     On March 3, over one-hundred visitors were on hand at the Smith-Appleby House to witness the mortgage signing of the newly acquired building which the historical society planned to restore. On display at the ceremony was the original deed to the house dated March 3, 1725.

     On March 4, Smithfield police detective Hawkins Hibbs, Jr., gave a talk at a meeting of the Maplewoods Women’s Club, a local service organization, about the dangers of illegal drugs and drug addiction.

     On March 7 local cub scouts held a pinewood derby at the Greenville Baptist Church. Thirty-five scouts participated, racing their home-made derby cars along a forty-foot long track. The winners were: Jeffrey Cummings, 1st place; Kevin Dione, 2nd place, and Gene Giancaglini, 3rd place.

     On March 10, Cub Scout Pack 3 of St. Philips Church held their 7th annual Blue and Gold Dinner at the Elks lodge. The guest speaker was Sergeant Charles DeCarlo of the U. S. Army Special Forces, who demonstrated survival equipment used by the military. Among those cub scouts in attendance were: Christopher Manocchia, Alan Priestly, Bernard Hawkins, William Bennett, Michael Carr, Thomas Cullen, John Lusher, John Reynolds, William Dalton, and Raymond Antonelli.

     Maria Detri and Joanne Strain, students at Smithfield High School, raised money for the Easter seals organization by selling “smile Lolli-pops”. The funds were used to help children at the Meeting Street school.

     On March 18, the Apple Valley Junior Women’s Club held a meeting at the Club 44 restaurant. The guest speakers were Mrs. Shirley McCleod, assistant director of the Women’s Club of Rhode Island, and Mrs. Dorothy Palmer, of the Rhode Island Historical Farm.

     On March 20, the Smithfield Golden Agers celebrated their 11th anniversary as a club with a St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Esmond Recreational Center. The club’s treasurer, Miss Mary Keough, who’d just turned 92, was presented a corsage by the club’s president, Margaret Sanderson,

     On March 24 the public was invited to attend an open house at the Smithfield Boys Club, which is today the YMCA. Free swimming all day was offered in the newly opened Olympic sized pool, with refreshments consisting of free coffee and cookies.

     From March 26 through the 30th, Smithfield High School students presented a play by Gilbert and Sullivan titled, “The Sorcerer”; the light-hearted story about a sorcerer who mixes a love potion that causes the population of a small village to fall in love with the first person they see. The performance was directed by Jane Calderara, a 1972 graduate of Smithfield High.

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