World War II has been over for twenty-four years, but another war is raging in Viet Nam. The space race has been launched, resulting in Americans landing on the moon. Three prominent American figures have been assassinated – President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. The Civil Rights Act has been signed into law and the War on Poverty has started.
Here in Hernando County, the Sun Journal was mostly filled with local news. It consisted of the feats of the Hernando High School football team, which, by the way, had no local competition until Springstead High School opened in 1975. Society news was also popular and even a birthday party to celebrate a local high schooler’s birthday merited a few column inches.
Young Alan Garman was feted for his 17th birthday with a surprise party attended by friends and relatives. The entertainment included a scavenger hunt. I wonder if his surprise will be as great when he sees his name in this issue of the paper.
Other local news included an initiative by the school board to turn Moton School into a vocational/trade school complex. Ken Austin, the school superintendent at the time and for whom Ken Austin Parkway was named, spearheaded the project.
Racial issues took up some of the time in school board discussions. David Reese, the president of the local NAACP, mentioned that “as long as ‘Dixie’ was played at school activities, Black children would not feel part of the program.” Reese also brought up the fact that there were no Black cheerleaders because Blacks were in the minority and there was no chance for them to be elected to the cheerleading squad. Despite the problems we have now, we’ve come a long way since those days.
Taking up much less space was a few lines of national and international news. It was reported that Australia was softening its policy toward the Soviet Union, the U.S. was thinking about developing relations with Albania. George McGovern, who would later run for president, spoke out against Nixon’s welfare proposals. Last, but not least – the U.S. was suggesting steps to keep students calm. I’m sure that had to do with the unrest and riots on the campuses all over the country, but my warped sense of humor came up with a remedy – Xanax.
Publix Supermarket was giving S & H Green Stamps with their customers’ purchases. Most of us over sixty years old remember the books that we used to paste the gummed stamps into. When she had about six zillion saved up, your mother could get a toaster or an iron. Folgers Coffee was selling for 49₵ for a 1-pound can, feline lovers could buy their kitty ten cans of Nine Lives tuna-flavored cat food for just $1 and a 5-pound bag of Gold Medal Flour was only 39 ₵ (if you had a coupon). Across town, Carlton’s, the local supermarket, had Viva paper towels on sale for 29₵ per roll and bacon was 45₵ per pound. U.S. Choice sirloin steak was just $1.19/pound.
A brand new Volkswagen Beetle would set you back $1,799 (dealer prep fee and tax not included). If you didn’t mind one a few years older you’d only have to pay $950 for a 1965 model and if the owner was motivated you could probably shave a little off that price.
Scotties was the “go-to” place for lumber and hardware at the time. When my ex-husband and I were building our home off Sunshine Grove Road in 1985, one of us was there almost every day picking up supplies. I said, jokingly, at the time we should buy stock in the company! In 1969 you could buy a 40-gallon water heater for $58.95. ¼” sheets of 4’ x 8’ plywood were $5.30 each and a hammer would only set you back $1.79.
If you wanted to buy a home in Brooksville, it was quite affordable. A 3-bedroom frame home on 3 acres cost just $15,000. If you wanted an easy commute to Tampa with space for your mother-in-law, you could purchase a 3-bedroom, 3-bath, cement block home just 20 miles north of the metropolis for the low price of $38,500 and it included a one-bedroom guest cottage on the property.
And then there were the humorous quips – some corny, some very perceptive. For example, this one: “Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, virtue is not doing it.” Another one went like this: “My poor husband was a wonderful artist,” said the landlady as she hacked at the pie crust, “and always said he found inspiration in my cooking.” “A sculptor, I presume,” said the boarder, surveying his bent fork.
Another rather humorous article discussed the plight of a 75-year-old woman who became lost while driving in Spring Hill. The article said Mrs. Mary Rauchbaur was “hopping mad” because she had driven six miles and spent an hour trying to find her way out of the community. The woman had recently bought a home in Spring Hill. In her circuitous route, she had been “honking at people and they just kept waving back.” Well, at least she can’t complain that people weren’t friendly. I can sympathize with the poor lady. When I first moved to Hernando County, Spring Hill was very confusing due to the multiple streets named Landover and Pinehurst. My first impression was that the developers lacked imagination in naming the streets here.
The newspaper also carried the story of a hapless fisherman in Spring Hill who caught a five-pound bass in one of the lakes. After landing his catch, the proud fisherman tied it to a stringer and “placed it into the lake after affixing the other end of the cord to a heavy water-filled bait bucket.” The paper goes into great detail about what happened next. To sum it up, the fish, still tied to the bait bucket swam away, never to be seen again, towing the bucket behind him. If fish could talk, that would have been one heck of a “human tale” he would have told his friends.
Stay tuned for our next trip back into time when we’ll be checking on how Hernando County celebrated Halloween in bygone days.