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1966: A year to remember

1966: A year to remember 1966: A year to remember

Bobby Neely makes me laugh. He’s known for that. I am sure he is doing the same thing in Bloomington where he is a police officer and family man with two children. He popped in the library to reminisce about growing up in downtown Corydon during the ’60s. His parents were Bob and Grace Neely who ran a jewelry store on Chestnut Street, and Grace worked for Lamon & Davis across the street for several years.
This ‘interview’ consisted of me throwing out subjects and Bobby Neely launching into a myriad of anecdotes that cannot all be included in the 400 words of this column. But we must zero in on a specific, so I think the year 1966 seems to be a focal point that works. He has three memories of that year.
The Dream Theatre burned down in April of 1966. Located at 215 E. Chestnut where Dr. Moss, O.D., now is in business, the Dream was fabulous. Neely saw his favorite movie, ‘The 300 Spartans,’ there for the first time and hung out in the balcony causing discomfort for all the ‘date’ couples wanting a romantic getaway. His mother across the street at Louie Lamon’s would run over for popcorn while she worked until 8:30 on Friday nights. His biggest shock was seeing how small that empty space looked when the debris from the fire was cleared out.
‘It always seemed so big when you were in there watching a movie,’ Neely said.
Connie Rainbolt Miller was Pancake Festival Queen in 1966. Connie was ‘the girl next door’ before the Neelys moved downtown to Chestnut Street. Neely loved the Pancake Festival! Elm and Beaver streets were cleared for the rides to set up. He fondly remembers the squirt-gun wars that were always a part of the Friday night street dance.
‘Those pancakes tasted so good on Saturday morning,’ he said.
Also in 1966, the sesquicentennial was going on and Neely remembers that Lyndon Johnson’s personal chef was cooking beef brisket at the fairgrounds.
‘Maybe because it was the first time I ever had beef brisket, it was the best one I have ever tasted,’ Neely said.
Neely told a story about his children and their reaction to his sudden regressions into childhood. He asked his daughter, Hannah, once, ‘So you like to ‘trade’ at Hollister?’ Oh, the ridicule that followed that old-fashion usage of ‘trade!’ He remembers ‘trading’ at Griffin’s and Renneker’s on Friday nights when the cars were cruising and the liar’s bench was full.
To paraphrase a popular saying about the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon: ‘You can take the boy out of Corydon, but you can’t take the Corydon out of the boy.’ Neely may live now in Bloomington, but Corydon is still enthusiastically alive in his memory.