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Yesterday in La Crosse

A rainy start to summer, 53 years ago

Brad Williams

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You would have heard Aretha Franklin a lot on the radio in 1967.  She had five hits in the top 10 that year, including “Natural Woman,” and “Respect”…a song which went to #1 that June, La Crosse’s wettest June in 53 years.  The 9.3 inches of precipitation that month was 5 inches above normal…and June 15th was the 3rd rainiest day ever in La Crosse up to that time, with close to 4 inches of rainfall.    

Winona decided to go wet on Sundays that summer.  In an unusual Thursday referendum, 2100 people in Winona voted, and overwhelmingly approved Sunday liquor sales.  The Borden company was promoting a few summer soft drinks.  One was “Moon Dew,” an orange drink with a little cola mixed in.  Borden also sold Jungle Juice and Green Lightnin’.  

Romney decided in 1967 to run for president.  George Romney, that is.  The former auto company executive was governor of Michigan at the time, and became a top Republican contender in the ’68 race until he was criticized for claiming that military leaders tried to “brainwash” him into supporting the Vietnam War.   

Viterbo College had an ad running in Time Magazine, declaring “Berkeley, we ain’t.”  The local Catholic college for women said “we teach femininity”…encouraging students to “use their abilities to complement, rather than compete with, men.”  So, did that mean going to Viterbo would make its female students feel, in Aretha’s words, like a natural woman?  Probably not.  That was 1967, yesterday in La Crosse.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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