What did you do to celebrate a day that poets will write about?
June 3 was a big day for y’all. I hope you went to church before you started the celebration. If you had a parade, I missed it, but I bet it was nice.
If you’re scratching your head because you’ve forgotten this important day, consider that the first bikini was worn in public in Paris in 1946. But that’s not what you were so excited about.
Stan the Man Musial hit his 300th home run in 1955, but that pales in comparison to what we celebrated.
Howard Cosell’s first TV show was in 1957 on June 3, but so what?
In 1964, the Rolling Stones began their first US tour – with Bobby Goldsboro (“And Honey, I miss you”) and Bobby Vee. Close, but no cigar.
In 2012, Tiger Woods won his 73rd PGA tour event (this was before his wife took a golf club to his head).
In 1974, Yitzhak Rabin formed a new government in Israel. That’s the right year, but it’s not the event we went crazy about.
If you still haven’t figured it out, June 3, 1974, is the day (it was a Monday) that I came to work for your favorite hometown newspaper (The Chronicle).
That means I finished year 42 on Thursday, June 2 and started year 43 on Friday. That means, together, you and I have been part of 2,184 editions of this newspaper. More than that, really. For several of those years, we also published a Monday edition (and what is now the Wednesday paper was published on Thursdays).
When I started work here, Frost Walker was mayor of Clinton. Leon Gilbert had been city manager less than a year.
George Penland was chairman of Laurens County Council, which was a fairly new political animal, having been started in 1972 with Joe Holland as chairman.
Laurens County was part of SC Senate District 2 and, along with Greenville County, had five senators. David Taylor was “ours.” The other four were from Greenville County and included Verne Smith, Harry Chapman and later, Nick Theodore and Dick Riley.
By 1974, Joe Holland was representing District 15 (Clinton) in the SC House, Gene Stoddard was the District 16 (Laurens) representative and Marion Carnell was from District 14, which includes part of Laurens County.
Clinton lost its resident representative in the SC House in the last reapportionment when lawmakers split the district right down Broad Street. I will never forgive them for that.
When I walked in the front door of The Chronicle’s fairly-new offices for the first time and was greeted by Kathie Barker, I wasn’t any taller than I am now and I weighed probably a few pounds less.
The biggest change, physically, in the past 42 years has been on top of my head. When Donny Wilder first hired me, I had me some long hair, at times touching my shoulders. I don’t recall him ever telling me to get a haircut. Maybe that’s because Ernie Segars, who soon came to work here, also had long hair and he was always the favorite.
At the time, I was married to My First Wife. We had been married about two years. I saw her last week and she really hasn’t changed much. It doesn’t seem fair. Her husband must really be treating her like a queen.
I was childless as a fresh, young, eager advertising sales person. In the years since, I have become the father of two and the grandfather of four. That has been the sea change in my life – even bigger than the hair.
Are there things I would change if I could in the last 42 years? You bet. I would try to be a better husband and father. I’m the perfect grandfather, so I’m good there.
There’s not much I would change professionally. There might be one or two stories I wouldn’t write if I had a second chance. But, overall, I’m pretty content with my work here for you.
(Larry Franklin is publisher of The Chronicle. His email address is email@example.com.)