Suddenly some brilliant red leaves have appeared on a few trees anticipating the arrival of fall not far away for our hometown that shivered a little, when the temperature dropped to about 60 degrees this past Friday morning.
Several weeks ago this column gleaned news items from 1972, and I commented on a photo of the Newport Rescue Squad at Rattlin’ Cave just east of Newport. A couple of cave explorers had gotten stuck. The Plain Talk photo caption did not identify the rescuers.
Fortunately I got a call from Mark Cureton last week and he was able to shed some light because his father, David Cureton, was in that front page photo on the left squatted with his hand outstretched to assist. Another man in the photo was Charlie Talley, upper left. He is a brother to Bud Talley.
I vaguely remember David, who died in 2003. Mark said that his father joined the Rescue Squad in 1964 and was among the men who were at the United Airlines crash site near Parrottsville. He served until 1974. You might remember him from the Country Sounds Band or know his widow, Alma Cureton.
Mark worked for about 25 years with Tuff Tork, a lawn equipment transmission builder. He was forced to leave work because of a health problem that he still deals with. He and wife, Gloria Cureton, live at Northport. You might have seen her working at the Newport Farm Bureau Insurance office.
I have gotten a lot of comments on these looking back pieces so I returned to 1974 around February to March in the Newport Plain Talk archives. It is a time period that I remember well just starting my career in journalism.
Because I was at the first wild turkey release I couldn’t help but notice the photo of game and fish agents Marson Gentry and Ron Sanders. They made the first turkey release in the Andrew Johnson Wildlife Management Area. They also released deer at Meadow Creek Mountain.
It is difficult to believe that there was a shortage of gasoline because of the OPEC oil embargo. Many towns struggled and long lines of cars were commonly seen at gasoline stations.
The March 1 Plain Talk reported that the county was getting its allocation to relieve gasoline shortages. The government recommended that drivers only purchase $3 per time. Of course fuel cost was lower and our current price of $2.19 per gallon and ample supplies suits me.
There were plenty of advertised sales and it was heady days here for Big K Store. You could by men’s oxford shoes for $3.77. How about a black and white RCA 15 inch TV for $99.88? Remember Polaroid cameras? Film was on sale for $2.53. Young people ask, “What is film?” Big K was located at the Westgate Shopping Center.
One of the big developments that year and one that stood out for the decade is Lakeland, which you know today as the site of Baneberry. Developer Cliff Anderson of Missouri acquired 1,300 acres from Percy Monroe and Paul Hielman, according to the Plain Talk story.
One of the photos showed Miss Lakeland Sheila McMahan.
In other business news, Dollar General made its appearance in Cocke County. Dollar General bought Dollar Stores in Greeneville and Newport. Trula Maloy managed the Westgate Shopping Center Dollar General.
Did you know we had a Radio Shack then? Troy Ingle operated Ingle’s TV sales and service on Broadway. His partner was Otis Mills. They had acquired the property in 1966 from Hoyt Staton, famous for his Furniture Palace.
I gleaned several photos that you see here, especially a women’s bowling team; just-for-fun faculty basketball team from Cocke County High School, and also the annual Ford family reunion held at Mt. Zion Church. One figure that remains in my memory is Dr. B. Parker Ford, who helped me know the Ford family and learn much about him, hog herding, and Grassy Fork.
I ended my short journey through those months looking at a vehicle sales ad from Stinnett Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge, still in business and going strong with Marc Stinnett following in the footsteps of his late father Cleo Stinnett. The ad featured photos of the early 1970s D-100 trucks with prices ranging from $2,915 to $3,893 featuring the 318 cubic inch engine. All new in 1974 is the Dodge Ramcharger. Good deals then and now.