1978 concludes; new shopping center coming to Coats

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It’s December 1978 — the children were surely getting excited about Christmas coming soon while possibly the adults were simply ready to turn the page to a new year. The Dec. 4, 1978, edition of The Daily Record recorded that State Rep. Carson Gregory had been re-elected as president of the N.C. Spot Breeders Association; whereas, his son, Joe Gregory, was elected as the secretary-treasurer at the annual meeting.

Likely that was exciting news for the Gregory household, but some additional news that was really creating anticipation was the new shopping center across from Coats High School. From my classroom in the high school, the students witnessed the preparation of the site to the construction of the mini mall that would eventually become the center of activity for shoppers from Angier, Buies Creek, Coats and beyond.

The drawing card for the shopping center was the new supermarket which was expected to open in the middle of January. Carlie C. McLamb and his brother-in-law, M.T. Strickland, would be owners of the Coats IGA, but Strickland was to have complete charge of the Coats store (Daily Record, Dec. 7, 1978).

The Grim Reaper had visited Coats before the IGA would open. Robert Waylon Poole, 64, of Coats, Route One, had died on Monday. His services were held at Rose Funeral Home Chapel with burial in the Williams Cemetery and surviving him were his wife, Virginia Baker Poole; three daughters, Mrs. Billy Patrick, Mrs. Jewel Tysinger and Mrs. Brenda Norris. His sons were Robert Willis and Charles Monroe Poole. Elsie Godwin, Gladys Johnson, Lentis Poole and William Poole were siblings (Daily Record, Dec. 12, 1978).

Farm owners in Grove 1 and Grove 2 Townships had selected the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Committee. Representation in Grove 1 was Charles R. Ennis, Victor McLeod, Bernice Johnson and Larry Byrd while on Grove 2 there were Rupert Parrish, Daywood Langdon, Junius Denning, Hoyt Stephenson and Lane Gregory (Daily Record, Dec. 14, 1978).

Mr. and Mrs. Billy Olin Stewart of Route 2, Benson, announced the birth of Kimberly Venecia Stewart at Rex Hospital. The mom was the former Nancy Sue Parker. L.O. Parker of rural Dunn and Mr. and Mrs. Olin Stewart were grandparents (Daily Record, Dec. 15, 1978).

Certainly the merchants were warning the public that they had only four days to shop for Christmas. Danny and Vicky Glover had no worries for their children’s letters to Santa had been written, sealed, stamped and were on their way to the North Pole. Santa could read their letters in The Daily Record in case the letters were lost on route to Santa’s workshop. Danny Jr. was in Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Dannenburg’s class. He wanted from Santa an Outer Space Shoot Out set, a guitar and surprises. Younger sister, Tammy, wanted a baby Wet-N-Care, a riding toy and a dog (Daily Record, Dec. 21, 1978).

The Coats Woman’s Club hosted a party for 30 children at the O’Berry Center in Goldsboro. Mrs. Herbert L. Johnson was the Woman’s Club president and the Ninth District Chairman of the NC Federation of Woman’s Clubs for O’Berry Center. The members presented each child a wagon and Christmas gift (Daily Record, Dec. 26, 1978).

J.C. Allen, recreation commissioner for the Coats Town Board, was master of ceremonies when the Recreation Department honored the Midget, Pee Wee and Pee Dab football teams and cheerleaders with a banquet. Doug Stevens, the Rev. Floyd Turlington and Mayor Ronald Coats were on the program. Members of the various teams were presented trophies.

Members of the Pee Dab team were Ron Avery, Wesley Sweatman, Gabriel Knittle, Jeffrey Holmes, Steven Rambeau, Tim Stevens, David Dixon, Jesse Dixon, Mike Brown, Alex Gregory, Clay Stephenson, Brian Johnson, Henry Storm, Will Pope, Brent Hodges, Paul Ennis, Dale Gregory, Kerry Danger, Larry Byrd and Joey Stephenson. Sonny Sweatman, Joe Gregory, Clarence Ryals and Bill Danger were coaches.

Members of the Pee Wee team were Dion Blue, Wade Compton, Chris Ennis, Kent Hodges, Manuel Hayes, Tommy Johnson, Mark Kramer, Mark Langdon, Travis Lee, Michael Matthews, Mickey Messer, Allen Mosby, Leslie McLean, Robbie Pleasant, John Roberts Jr., Toby Stevens, Doug Thornton, Adam Turlington, Tracy White and Mark Williams. Head coach was Robert Pleasant and assistant coach Floyd Turlington.

Pee Wee and Pee Dab cheerleaders were: Chief Shannon Lucas, assistant chief Rhonda Pope, Jill Pleasant, Andrea Ennis, Amy Brown, Marla Langdon, Amy Parrish, Alice Anne Roberts, Georgia Ennis, Lee Tart, Tammy Williams, Tonya Wood, Lisa Williams, Kelly Williams and Lisa Pleasant. The mascots were Harriett Roberts and Anita Pleasant.

The members of the Midget team were Thomas Johnson, Pernell Green, Stacey Johnson Jr., Paul Capps, Anthony Mangum, Rannie Lee, Jay Lamm, Ronnie Tart, Dean Turlington, Kenneth Denton, Darryl Ennis, Elton Stewart, Terry Edwards, Mark Patterson, Keith Lemon, Marty Hockaday and Kim Johnson. The head coach was Danny Stevens and assistant coaches were Tony Turlington and Gary McKinnie.

Chief cheerleader was Samantha Stewart and her assistant was Kim Gregory. Joyce Johnson, Judy West, Charlotte Gregory, Sue Jackson, Brookie Betts, Dana Danger, Beth Pope. Melinda Stanley, Foy Pope, Tracy Ivey, Michelle Gregory and Denise Williams were on the cheering squad (Daily Record, Dec. 26. 1978).

The Dallas Jones and Carlie C. McLamb’s families had shared Christmas Eve for the past 45 years. At the beginning there were four people but in 1978, the number rose to 32 (Daily Record, Dec. 27, 1978). Wonder if the families continue to be close after the original four died?

I do know a new calendar year was displayed — 1979. The year was marked by the nuclear reactor going haywire at Three Mile Island. The Iranians had taken hostages at the U.S. Embassy. The great jumps in the price of gold — triggered by fears of inflation — had created a new infatuation with the precious metal. The movie “Superman” created a comeback of the comic strip character Superman.

The Three Mile Island accident and a prophetic movie “The China Syndrome” gave new strength to the anti-nuclear movement. The summer of 1979 was a disco one. No. 1 songs were “Hot Stuff,” “Love You Inside and Out,” “Good Times” and “Ring My Bell.” Slit skirts and baggy pants made fashion news for the umpteenth time. The Susan B. Anthony dollar was introduced with great hoopla, but because of its similarity to the quarter, the public rejected it.

The damage incurred on Sept. 12-14 by Hurricane Frederic amounted to $752.5 million in insurance losses. The Voyager spacecraft located the hottest spot in the solar system — an area between Jupiter and Mars where the temperature measures between 300 and 400 million degrees Celsius.

The consumer price index rose 13.3 percent which was the largest jump in 33 years. The bank rate went to 14.5 percent. A haircut in the House of Representative barbershop cost $3.50. In a benchmark palimony case, Michelle Marvin, actor Lee Marvin’s longtime companion, was awarded $104,000 for reconstructing her life after she split up with the actor (Dickson, Paul. “From Elvis to E-Mail.” Massachusetts: Federal Street Press, 1999, pp.239-242).

In the Coats area, people were reading about the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Barefoot’s daughter, Cathy Jo Barefoot, to James Mike Holmes, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Turner Holmes. The couple had been married at Coats Baptist Church on Dec. 12 (Daily Record, Jan. 4, 1979).

A neighbor of the Barefoot family also had a wedding which was that of Gary Denning, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lamas Denning. Gary had married Martha Ellen Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Brown. The couple marred in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Raleigh (Daily Record, Jan. 5, 1979).

Michael Jefferson Wood, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Wood, was engaged to marry Cindy Jo Hobson (Daily Record, Jan. 9, 1979).

We know that colds are contagious but are weddings and engagements? The new year seemed to have had an unusually large number of such announcements. James Timothy Pollard, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Pollard, was married to Charlene Allen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Stanley Jr. The private ceremony was at Red Hill Church. Mr. and Mrs. B.A. Norris were grandparents of the groom (Daily Record, Jan. 10, 1979).

H.A. Turlington Jr. had been re-elected as president of the N.C. Duroc Breeder’s Association (Daily Record, Jan. 1, 1979). What did you think the Grove Township men surely were recognized in breeding hogs? Do those breeder hog associations exist today? Do we even have hogs of all ages and sizes in hog pens today?

I do know that Millie Etta Langdon, 76, of Coats, had died on Wednesday. Her sisters, Lucy Weaver and Lula Byrd, were her survivors (Daily Record, Jan. 11, 1979).

Good news came for the children of the Coats community. The town had received $96,135 for the park from the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. The funds, coupled with a $125,000 loan from the Farmers Home Administration and local funds would be used to construct a $265,000, 10-acre park on the southeast side of town. Farmer and developer Gerald Langdon, who lived in the Coats area, donated the land for the park (Daily Record, Jan. 16, 1979).

What a wonderful visit we had from a large group of folks from the Mount Zion Methodist Church from Garner. The volunteers shared and laughed along with the group as memories about the many items on display were shared by both tour guides and visitors. They want to bring back their Boy Scouts troop from Mt. Zion when we have our Scout history on display.

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