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ONDBEAT: Harking back to the memorable summer of ‘69

It’s almost time for the annual Woodstock anniversary, this one a real milestone. Do you know where you were 50 years ago?

Many of today’s 21st century youngsters weren’t born yet, but their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents may have some stories to tell — not necessarily about Woodstock.

I was just a mere middle-schooler that august month, also known as August. Rather than Woodstock, the biggest news we received was that my sister and new brother-in-law had run off to a justice of the peace to get married in Bryson City.

Jane was only 19, so my parents were pretty sore about it. Now, a half-century later, the still-hitched couple is planning their golden anniversary in the Smokies with five grown kids, three sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and nine grandchildren. Despite our parents’ initial misgivings, I guess it’s going to stick.

My contribution to the big party has been to research and compile music from the era along with assorted media commemorating it — a Life magazine bearing their exact elopement date filled with photos and stories about Woodstock, Sharon Tate and Norman Mailer’s lengthy essay about the July 1969 Apollo 11 moon trip. I found a copy of this issue on eBay costing 45 times more than the original 40-cent 1969 price.

I also bought a newly released, commemorative New York Times publication, “Summer of ’69,” at a local supermarket and decided to throw in two Mad magazines from the era, also purchased on eBay for I’d-rather-not-say. When it comes to the cost of living, let’s just say the price of satire has gone up compared to the “35-cents-cheap” price it was 50 years ago.

On the off chance there happened to be any news about Woodstock, I looked up yellowed copies of The Brunswick Beacon from 1969. Back then, the paper cost 10 cents a copy and $3 a year (outrageous).

The front-page news honed in on a partial lift of a quarantine for Brunswick County “swine growers.” Miss Brightie Holden had been appointed headmistress of Lockwood Academy. Carolina Power & Light Co. announced plans for a proposed Brunswick Nuclear Electric Plant to be completed in 1976 for an estimated $300 million. I guess the price today would be $300 billion.

Willetts Ford in Bolivia touted a “36th year sale,” advertising a Ford F-250 with six-cylinder engine, heater, defroster and side mirror for $1,919.

Beacon correspondent D’Lilia Huffman’s “Winnabow Roundup” offered the following tidbits:

“Sorry to hear that Mr. Herbert Potter’s tobacco barn burned down Friday night.”

“Mike and Pearl Allen look nice riding in the new Mustang.”

“Jencie Stump, Janet Long and Gussie Tharpe enjoyed a trip to Yaupon Beach Sat. night.”

Thriftway grocery advertised a half-gallon of Coble Citation Ice Milk and quart of Little Mommie liquid detergent for 39 cents each.

There was no news about Woodstock, but there was a front-page story and photo about beauty queen Miss Coca-Cola and her twin sister Miss Rhode Island visiting Ocean Isle Beach.

Charles Fraser of Hilton Head came to town to discuss plans for developing Smith Island, aka Bald Head Island, which Charlotte businessman Frank Sherrill wanted to sell for $5.5 million. (See previous comment about bargain nuclear plant price).

Laura Lewis is assistant editor for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.