Heart and sole in ’76

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2004

You know, it’s hard to believe it’s been 28 years since that gigantic media blitz known as the Bicentennial.

While researching this week’s Lifestyles feature, I took note of the myriad of activities devoted to our nation’s 200th birthday.

Let’s see, there was a Bicentennial Belle pageant (Bonita Simmons was the winner); a patriotic musical play presented by First United Methodist Church; a &uot;precision swimming show&uot; by the Camellia City Mermaids; flag displays by the county’s homemaker clubs; a 45-unit parade that included everything from the requisite beauty queens to covered wagons, and a worship service featuring a community chorus &uot;representing all faiths and backgrounds&uot; and congregational singing.

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Fireworks, costume and beard contests, &uot;games, prizes and hilarity&uot; – even an impromptu square dance to the tune of a 200-year-old violin – were all part of the city’s memorable celebration that year.

And let’s not forget Angie and her wooden shoes.

In 1976 my alma mater, Greenville High School, presented &uot;The Promise of Joy&uot;, a &uot;sequence of historical scenes in music and drama&uot;, written and directed by GHS English teacher (and future published author) Ellen Haygood Wingett.

Packed into the patriotic Tiger Stadium production were such famous events as the Civil War, the rise of Hitler, the death of President Kennedy and the influx of immigrants to the American shores.

Our production’s &uot;poor, tired and hungry&uot; were represented by one of the Braden triplets (I’m sorry, I can’t remember if it was Fay or Kay), Roxie Womack Briggs, and yours truly.

Kay (or was it Fay?) wore a charming kilted outfit of Scottish plaid. Roxie donned a lovely Asian kimono and knitting needles in her hair. As the Dutch immigrant, I wore one of those white winged caps and a cute little pinafore dress Mom made for the occasion.

And then, there were my shoes.

Our production was on a tight budget. The shop teacher made my footwear out of a couple of spare wooden blocks.

On the outside – from a distance – they looked pretty good. How they FELT was another matter.

Let me say this: &uot;classic German&uot; feet and counterfeit Dutch shoes just don’t mix.

So, when our 250th birthday rolls around, I’ll be happy once more to do my part.

Only this time, I’ll get to choose my footwear.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. Contact her by phone at 382-5145, 437-2804 or by e-mail at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate. com