A Glimpse of the Past
Brookhaven citizens took a look into the past at the May meeting of the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society Tuesday night.
A “Community Spotlight” video featuring Brookhaven, broadcast by Jackson news station WAPT in May 1975, was shown at the meeting.
“I loved it,” said Janet Richardson, a retired teacher who was at the meeting. “It brought back so many memories I’d forgotten I had.”
The hour-long video featured an interview with then-Mayor Houston Case, who during the show said he was “proud and privileged” to be from Brookhaven. Other interviews included officials from the chamber of commerce, the school district and the recreation department.
To show off Brookhaven further, the show included performances from area choirs and others. Chris Smith was part of the Brookhaven High School quintet that sang on the show.
“It was exciting,” Smith said. “None of us had ever been on TV before.”
Smith, who was 17 in 1975, now works as a coordinating nurse at the Lincoln County Health Department. She said she was surprised to see the video again.
“It’s just amazing. I didn’t know anyone had recorded it,” she said. “I’m glad to be a little part of history.”
In addition to the BHS choir, a quintet from Alexander Junior High School performed, as well as dancers from Mullins Elementary and some area gymnasts. There was even a ventriloquist.
Randy Redd, who is now performing on Broadway in New York City, was 10 years old when he played piano on the show. According to his mother, Mary Lu Redd, he won the spot at an open audition for the show.
“Community Spotlight” not only showcased Brookhaven’s talented citizens, it also shined a light on what the city had to offer back then.
About 20 commercials featured area businesses, including clothing stores The Sassy Cat and Montgomery’s. While most of the stores no longer exist, a few, such as Piggly Wiggly and State Bank, are still around.
“Seeing those companies was great,” said Laverne Phelan, a Brookhaven resident. “That’s where I used to buy my clothes.”
The video brought back a lot of memories for many of the approximately 30 people who came to see it at Tuesday’s meeting. Another thing it reminded them of was the fashion.
“I loved the clothing,” Phelan said. “All those wing-tip shoes and the leisure suits.”
Gerri Roberts, who has lived here since 1957, agreed.
“I think it was very typical of that time,” she said.
Fashion aside, it was clear that everyone at the meeting enjoyed reminiscing about the past.
“I thought it was very fun,” said Jan Melancon, an area resident and member of the society. “The local people are very proud.”
At the meeting, Society President Tammie Brewer said the group hopes to sell the video as a fundraiser in the future and they are working to get approval from WAPT to distribute it.