Richard Hyatt: Let's go back, way back into time

October 24, 2013 

It seems like only yesterday … well, maybe the day before yesterday.

The month was November and the year was 1972. I was fresh off the two-lane state highway from Atlanta, trying vainly to properly pronounce Buena Vista so I could find the road where I had rented an apartment on a previous trip.

I was different and so was Columbus. And what I found 41 years ago was very different from what we find today:

• Doug Wallace was tossing chalk and forecasting the weather on Channel 3.

• Wells Dairy was bottling milk and Kadie the Cow was standing guard at Kinnett's.

• Bibb City was still a city with a mayor and a town cop.

• Columbus Square was the place to shop.

• Spano's served delicious bread pudding.

• WCLS, a 1000-watt AM station, played the best music in town.

• The Astros played baseball at Golden Park.

• Firm Roberts -- the originator of the Scrambled Dog -- was still making his signature item on Cusseta Road.

• Heidelberg College came all the way from Ohio to win the inaugural Stagg Bowl in Phenix City.

• J.R. Allen was mayor of Columbus.

• The Ralston was still a hotel.

• Elvis-impersonators performed just about every night of the week at the Jacopa Club in Phenix City.

• There were two daily newspapers -- the Enquirer in the morning and the Ledger in the afternoon.

• You could drive an automobile across the 14th Street bridge.

• Cotton mills were still important.

• Professional wrestling filled the seats every Wednesday night at the Municipal Auditorium and promoter Fred Ward pulled big TV ratings for his live matches on Saturday afternoon.

• The only McDonald's in town was on Macon Road.

• Bill Heard was a car dealer, not a theater.

• If you wanted to eat a good steak, you went to the Coco Supper Club, and if you wanted a good pizza, you called Joe Nocera at the Villa Nova.

• Disgraced Army Lt. William Calley was under house arrest in an apartment near Fort Benning's Main Gate.

• Television stations went to bed at night.

• Starbucks was brewing coffee in Seattle but not Columbus.

• Our four-year school was known as Columbus College -- not Columbus State University.

• The sports editor of the Columbus Enquirer -- a fellow named Hyatt -- sported a head full of dark hair.

-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at hyatt31906@knology.net.

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