DAYS GONE BYE: What was Sputnik?

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, June 18, 2023

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I hadn’t thought about that word, Sputnik, in a long time until I was gandering at an old Kiwanis Show Boat program from back in 1959 showing several of the Kiwanians having special names for that musical production.  There was Coleman “Shotgun” Moseley, James “Possum” Armistead and Erskine “Sputnik” Braswell.

Don’t know why Erskine got that name for the show, but I most surely do recollect that first Russian space capsule put up there in the sky by the name of Sputnik.  Seems like every time we looked up in the sky after that and saw any object, we shouted out “Sputnik!”

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I got to looking at the 86 business sponsors for that Kiwanis show, with most of ‘em gone now, such as Webb-Jackson Lumber, Barnes & Son, Braswell Brothers, F.B. Rutledge and Sons Drug Co, Mayer Brothers, R.A. Grable & Sons, B.J. Levy & Son.  Wonder how come there are not that many family owned business places these days?

Change of subject:  I rummaged through my necktie closet the other day.  Wide ones, real wide, narrow, loud, not loud.  All kinds.  Just wait, and I reckon they’ll come back in style. If you’re gonner save a tie, be sure to use the back of it to wipe the gravy off your chin.

Hey, be careful what you put on paper.  I came across a 1935 affidavit while I was checking title down at the court house the other day.  The fellow who signed it was, I’m sure, doing the lady a favor, who was in a dispute about the signing of a deed, but don’t know how she took it when she read his words, “She’s an old, old woman, but I’ve never known her mind to be bad yet.”

I wish I could find that old view master my brother, Billy, and I had back yonder in the fifties.  We didn’t have video cameras or even television, so why not View masters that cost about two bucks?

Those real early fifties….I recollect songs like Shrimp Boats Is a Coming, Cold, Cold Heart, and Tell Me Why, with picture show folks the likes of John Wayne, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Abbott & Costello, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Betty Grable and Doris Day.

Where were you, if here atall, when General of the Army Douglas MacArthur gave his famous “Old Soldier” speech to Congress after Harry Truman fired him from heading up the Army during the Korean War?  I listened to it up at my Great Aunt Hazel Cooper’s.  Nannie was mighty patriotic all the years I knew her.  She got a dog during the big war, and named that dog, “Churchill.”  Nothing wrong with that…’cept Churchill started having puppies.  He was a her.

Then towards the end of the decade of the fifties…up goes that durn Sputnik, and things ain’t been the same since.