In January 1967, Ray and Katie Cray Ewing celebrated their 50th anniversary. The Ewings are a well-known and well regarded local family, with roots going back to Maryland’s earliest days and branches that continue to grow. In 1975, Miss Katie Ewing donated Cray House, her mother’s home and a rare surviving example of early 19th century post and plank construction, to the Kent Island Heritage Society.
Also in 1967, the new official seal of the nascent Chesapeake College was adopted.
Wikipedia says Chesapeake College is: Nestled between corn fields and Route 50 in the Eastern Shore’s tiny town of Wye Mills. On December 22, 1965 Maryland’s State Board of Education adopted the resolution that created Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake College. This college serves Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. The college’s mission was to help those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to earn a college degree.
Chesapeake College admitted its first four students, one each from the counties the institution was meant to serve, in January 1966. September 10, 1967 marked the ground breaking ceremonies for the new campus, and by May 11, 1969 Chesapeake College had its first graduating class.
This same January 12th edition of the Bay Times also featured a story on Franklin Marion Crouse Lewis, (no relation) ,a retired train station master for the MDV – the Maryland Delaware and Virginia Railroad, aka the Muddy, Dirty and Vicious.
The best part of the 1968 article, A Day in Court, was the defendant who complained that his rights had been abused by the police while administering a highway breathalyzer test.
“They didn’t say it would show beer,” he testified.
In January, 1973, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Tom Shopay visited Centreville Middle School. That’s where I went to 7th and 8th grade a few years later. Coaches Field and Wright are in the picture. Both fine people, Mr. Field was refereeing the day I split my gym shorts in front of the whole school.
Harrison Johnson was my age and in my weight class, but compared to the rest of us, Harrison Johnson was like a grown man. Harrison Johnson had those kind of arms that have so much muscle they look uncomfortable; like they could never be fully at rest. Most guys didn’t even show up to school on the day they were supposed to wrestle Harrison Johnson, but I did. Mr. Field blew the whistle. Harrison Johnson picked me up over his head and slammed me to the ground so hard my gym shorts split front to back. Harrison Johnson pinned me. Mr. Field blew the whistle and I scurried to the shower room holding both sides of my stuff together.
Mr. Field laughed at me in a way that somehow made it more funny than embarrassing.
Portside caught on fire that week in ’73. Portside was an African American club located where the poplar Kent Narrows south Jetty nightclub is now.
A week later it was reported that iconic actor Paul Newman’s son Alan Scott Newman, a former student of the prestigious Washington College in Chestertown, Kent County, paid a $35 fine after leading local police on a high speed chase. Scott Newman, an actor like his dad, but not nearly as prolific, died from a drug overdose five years later.
And finally, it was reported that for the second year in a row there were efforts made for the Eastern Shore to secede from the state of Maryland. It was not the first or last time (1833-1835, 1852, 1945 & 1998) that the more rural side of my state debated breaking off from everything west of the Chesapeake Bay.
When I was a kid, people around here used to sing, to the tune of the Old Gray Mare, ”Don’t give a damn about the whole state of Maryland, whole state of Maryland, whole state of Maryland, don’t give a damn about the whole state of Maryland, I’m from the Eastern Shore.”
They meant it.
Many of us still do.