Historical Society holds annual dinner

Picture (from left): Sarah Webster Vodrey, Jeff Hendrickson, and Dottie Orlo. (Submitted photo)

EAST LIVERPOOL — East Liverpool Historical Society held their 36th annual Dinner on Nov. 3, at the East Liverpool Country Club. The sixties decade was a time of great social and political change.

The young people revolted over the conservative norms of the time in the way that they dressed, viewed sex, experimented with drugs, listened to music, and denounced the Viet Nam War by staging peace rallies with chants to “make love, not war.” Tim Brookes, President of The ELHS, welcomed a full house of members and guests, where each year, the society focuses on a historical theme and how it affected the nation, world, and our fine city. He portrayed the Editor of The Evening Review in the late 60’s, Glenn Waight. He discussed the news that was central to the time and how it played into economics, culture, and politics of the sixties. There were some major changes that were occuring in 1968 as the East Liverpool School system was making a large change. The majestic Central School building that had served students on Fourth Street since 1895, was closed with the class of 1968, and a new high school was set to open on Main Boulevard. He also humbly discussed how many of our young men were drafted or joined in the fight of our nation in The Viet Nam War which greatly had a major effect on economics, politics, and sociocultural issues of the time.

The sixties also saw a major shift in music with the Beatles invasion on Feb. 9, 1964 where 73 million Americans viewed them on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles Revolution forever changed music. Sarah Webster Vodrey, dressed in the clothing style of the sixties, Jeff Hendrickson, and Dottie Orlo, accompanist, performed “Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64,” written by Paul McCartney and performed by the Beatles in 1967 as one of the six selections enjoyed by all. Mrs. Vodrey told the audience that she particularly loved the song, “Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64,” because or her fond memories of her father, Jackman Vodrey, always singing it around the house when she was young.

Mayor George Willshaw, portrayed by Bill Hogue, told the townspeople about some of the pressing and exciting news that was happening such as tearing down The Museum of Ceramics on Fourth Street to make way for a “much needed” public parking lot, as well as excitement about the anticipated new state Route 11 that would play a major part in linking “our great city” with Pittsburgh and eventually to Canton. This was seen as an avenue for progress and businesses to be attracted to the city. The mayor discussed how some of the shift in the town’s census was due in part to the real estate market with the suburb of Calcutta growing in size.

This fact was verified by a successful, jovial, local realtor, Emmanuel Bondy, portrayed by Bill Gray who amused the audience with his parody of one liners.

Poetry readings were a large part of the culture of the sixties and Linda Henderson gave an excellent performance with her poetry readings, some written by soldiers of The Viet Nam War. One particular poem, “A Night in Viet Nam,” was especially touching and thought provoking because the poem, written by a soldier, described the other war that they were fighting, fear of tiger attacks at night in the jungle. Other poems recited by Henderson were “A Day in Viet Nam” and “A Visit With Uncle Walt.”  Dr. Robert Walker, local songwriter, musician, for over 47 years, entertained the audience with selections by the Beatles, “Norwegian Wood,” and “”For What It’s Worth,” between poetry readings.

The Viet Nam War took many of our young men and our little corner of the world wasn’t spared. Bill Hogue and Linda Henderson gave a beautiful, solemn tribute to the 12 men from East Liverpool and one from Chester, that lost their lives for our great nation.

The Hot Dog Shoppe is synonymous with East Liverpool. Opened in the sixties and home of the famous chili dog that people near and far always flock to, Dr. Robert Walker loves it so much that he wrote a song, “The Hot Dog Shoppe Song,” and performed it for a very warm, uplifting finale to the dinner. So, the next time that you crave a hot dog from the Hot Dog Shoppe, go to You Tube, listen to “The Hot Dog Shoppe Song,” and smile about all the great people, places, and history in our fine city.