Two generations ago: Summer 1968


By David Shumway



This summer of 1968 is turbulent for the country, with riots and protests following the assassinations of MLK and RFK, increasing violence in anti-war protests, and a violent national political convention in Chicago. Bringing it forward, it’s forever a part of us who lived through it, affecting us like the depression or WW2 did our parents.

But here in quiet (and completely white) Beavercreek Township, Ohio, things are a bit calmer, with much more localized concerns. Beavercreek is growing, fast. Housing, apartments, and commercial development applications, with accompanying issues of zoning, esthetics, water supply, and drainage, are inundating the harried Trustees, who are more adept at rural issues … like delaying roadside mowing to provide more cover for nesting pheasant.

And on the continuing incorporation front, a relaxation to the three-mile rule governing annexation has emboldened Beavercreek’s adversaries, primarily Fairborn and Dayton, to flex their muscles with a new spate of destined-to-fail legal challenges and suits.

But there are lighter moments too. The inevitable and newly-formed Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce is hosting a dance with an Indy 500 theme. Also partying are the Athletic Boosters, with an Ox-Roast fundraiser, complete with queen (Joni Novotny), and 5,000 attended the Independence Day celebration at Frank Zink field (no parade). Not to be left out, my busy Jaycees is hosting their first “Battle of the Bands” competition at Beaver-Vu Skatearena, with six bands (with names like Filet of Sole and Prolific Mynd). And 490 happy kids were just graduated from BHS, and perhaps (appropriately) saw Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron in “Promise her Anything” at the Belmont Auto Theater. Hmmm?

Tuna 19¢/can. (Bringing that forward, tuna is being depleted as demand grows and prices rise.) Remember the Colonial Restaurant? They offer a New York strip steak dinner, $1.85. I don’t remember this one, but “The Sombrero” Mexican restaurant on Dayton-Xenia is advertising “Mexican burgers” for 30¢. It’s no longer there. I guess it was ahead of its time; the Tex-Mex craze hadn’t taken hold.

Home Federal is paying 4.5% on savings accounts and 5.0% on a six-month CD (Bringing that forward, those numbers would be about 0.1 and 0.5 today, were Home Federal still here.) Also in banking, Winters Bank is introducing (in words which would be unacceptable today) “new double checks to pamper a woman” because “a woman thrives on extra care.” Yuck!

Mother’s day is appropriately recognized of course, but interestingly we are asked to buy Beau Brummel ties, Swank jewelry, and Jade East cologne for Father’s Day.

Ah ha! Here’s a telling tidbit: A major push is underway locally “for a strong enforceable gun control bill.” Pending Senate crime bill S-917 says “…and prohibit the mail-order sale of handguns and over-the-counter sale to persons who do not live in the dealer’s state.” (Bringing that forward, well, as expected, the bill died).

Some things change; some things stay the same.

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By David Shumway

David Shumway is a local resident and guest historical columnist.

David Shumway is a local resident and guest historical columnist.