June rumblings rolled into July thunderheads that dumped rain on Thursday laced with blazing bolts of lightning until the cooler night air arrived for our hometown at this mid-month point in time.

Out and about folks tell me they like to read the reviews, as I have sometimes done gleaning glimpses of past years in the Newport Plain Talk files. That’s what I did last week to stay out of the rain. The year was 1966.

Politics continued to capture the front pages because of the upcoming August primaries, the GOP Primary being August 4, 1966. In a late June edition there were announcements for Donald Cody, a candidate for state representative; and the circuit judge race pitted attorney Fred L. Myers, Sr. against the incumbent Judge George R. Shepherd.

A young Ben Hooper II appeared in a single column photo announcing he had been selected by Howard Baker Jr. to be Baker’s Cocke County Campaign Manager. Baker was running for the senate and you know how that turned out. Hooper had been interested in politics, something that runs in the family.

In 1964 Hooper was elected to be a delegate to the 1965 Limited Constitutional Convention. I happened to bump into retired Judge Hooper at Lowe’s last week and told him I came across the photo and story. He recalled he had been asked to work with another politician but instead he chose to help Baker.

The Newport Rescue Squad always seemed to be in the news as a new organization building public support. A photo at a roadblock showed Capt. Tunney Moore, and squadsmen Neil Rader, Roy Metcalf, and Creed Hill.

Summer has always been a great time to shop, and the Newport merchants regularly advertised sales in the Plain Talk. One advertiser then that still announces their sales is Newport Dry Goods.

In 1966 the bargain retailer featured dresses for $2.99, swimsuits, $2.99, and men’s tennis oxfords and loafers for $1 per pair. The ad noted that Knox Williams was changing its business name back to Newport Dry Goods. I’m guessing that a young Carroll Kyker had started his career there. He still owns the nostalgic business off East Broadway.

Something you saw then but seldom today was a house raising and face-lifting for the Tyson Parks family in the French Broad community mid July 1966. The committee for the rebuild project included Hillary Ramsey, Billy Smith and Scott Vick.

A two-page ad, we call a “double truck,” announced the grand opening of Jack’s Drive Inn off Knoxville Hwy. on July 7. The remodeling created all new interior, and a 36-car curb service. Do you recall your visits there in summertime?

The July 11, 1966 front page photo showed a truck that was too tall to drive under a large overhang awning at Tennessee Motor Court. James Briggs reported $15,000 damage to his business. The truck was carrying beans to Stokely cannery and the driver had stayed there overnight.

The fresh beans were a variety from the University of Tennessee agricultural farmlands and were grown especially for Stokely Van Camp. Elsewhere and later that year the locals were harvesting their half runner bean crops. That’s the way it was the summer of 1966 in Newport.

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