Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Linton motored to town on Sunday to spend the day with Mr. Linton’s ailing parents. They were met at the elder Linton’s home by friends Zelda and Frank Cook, and they shared an evening meal of roast pork, potatoes and fresh garden vegetables. A delicious lemon pie and coffee for dessert complemented the evening.
If the paragraph above brought back any memories of simpler times, it is because it is typical of the news collections from small towns and communities that were printed in the local paper 50-100 years ago. People loved to read it and the fact is—they still do.
Some local papers still today have someone penning the comings and goings of the people in their community. They report when a child is born or baptized, a wedding takes place, someone builds a new porch, a birthday is celebrated, a dog is lost and sadly those last goodbyes to the pillars of the community as they pass on.
I gleaned the following from my Colorado hometown paper that runs a section called Peaks of the Past.
The following was published exactly this way 100 years ago:
We hear it talked that Silver Cliff has two candidates for mayor. The regularly nominated one should be re-elected.
L.C. Atkinson, president of the Geyser Silver Mining Co., was an arrival from the east Tuesday, on visit to the property.
Laundry business must be flourishing. Lew Key has just bought the lot adjoining his premises on the east of Silver Cliff.
Plowed patches of ground up and down the Valley indicate that the farmers are preparing rapidly for their spring planting.
Our friend Burke of the Maverick Billiard Hall says he drank salt in his coffee last Thursday morning, and then it dawned upon him that it was the first day of April.
The opening of Edman and Clancy’s last Saturday was well attended by the ladies from the towns and surrounding country. The fairer sex was all fitted out for the Easter show.
We humans still have a basic need to stay connected to the people and events around us on an almost personal level. Today’s writing style has changed to catch the eye of an attention-deficit generation and give just enough information in the first sentence to beg patience for a paragraph.
The buzzwords and catch phrases change as fast as we can run the remote control through 300 channels and the acronyms have become a complete language of their own, something akin to hieroglyphics.
However, with a quiet moment and a thought, I can go to the time when a little matronly woman in a floral dress, hair in a tight bun, is sitting at a lace tablecloth-covered table putting notes on a tablet with a freshly sharpened pencil.
Thelma stood before her wall phone and gave it one quick crank. Myrtle, down at the telephone office, answered. Thelma greeted her heartily with a “Mornin’ Myrtle,” and then asked to be connected to 511.
This happened only after Myrtle inquired about the family. Thelma assured her all was well except for that touch of arthritis that hitches her git-along from time to time.
Thelma spent the afternoon sipping tea and contacting her regulars for the week’s news. Who hosted Thanksgiving dinner and with whom, what kind of cake was served at the Sherry Harper baby shower, and where did the card and domino players gather this week?
Thelma could make news out of no news.
When the readers finally got a glimpse at Thelma’s story, they felt like they had a visit from those mentioned throughout. With a warm feeling in their hearts, they went back to their daily lives that didn’t include an iPod, flat screen TV, computers, faxes, scanners or cell phones.
They quite possibly sat on the porch that evening, recalling those events they hadn’t attended and those people they hadn’t seen. With all their lack of technology, I believe they were more connected to life’s important things than we are today.
To connect once again, we are going to have to disconnect. You know, from all those electronics of which I own at least one of each. Be right back—my phones are ringing.
Julie can be reached by two phones, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), text, tweet, Instagram, messenger, or even by a note card.