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90 years ago: Christmas trees, clearance sales, and other topics

By Jim

As 1928 quietly, seamlessly merged into January 1929, speakeasies rocked, the American economy rolled (with few seeing and fewer heeding the approaching cliff's edge), and bootleggers and black marketeers worked overtime. Amelia Earhart, then the aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, pushed for more and better aviation schools and higher standards. And, on the day after Christmas, Mark Twain's childhood sweetheart, immortalized by Twain in "Tom Sawyer" as Tom's best girl, Becky Thatcher, died in Hannibal, Missouri, age 91 years and 25 days.

Serious matters roiled Europe. In Munich, Germany, a play in which the Deity was presented as wearing golf clothes and knickerbockers inspired patrons to pelt the stage with vile objects, empty the theater, and create quite the disturbance in nearby streets. Meanwhile, in Londinium, Rev. P.Y. Knight, vicar of the village of Ryehope, declared artificial legs displaying silk hosiery in shop windows constituted "a menace to public morals."

But meanwhile, back in The Shire...

Christmas passed off quietly, said the News, while noting the merchants had enjoyed a good holiday season and that "Many poor families were remembered with baskets of good things." Sobriety reigned, with "no drinking in evidence on the streets;" many of the young folks attending college at distance came home for the holidays; and the weather, said the Chance correspondent, cooperated better than it had for the past several Christmases. Several people, including Mrs. Lizzie Grissom (widow of Mr. M.L. Grissom) and Mr. and Mrs. Hardin W. Cundiff, received radios as gifts, and Mrs. Ann Lizzie Walker had a full house for Christmas with all seven children of her living children, their spouses, and seven grandkids in attendance.

The Courthouse area was gaily decorated, thanks to a joint effort. Local businessmen pitched in to buy two Christmas trees (one for the east end, one for the west end of the Courthouse lawn) and ornaments for the trees. The Civic Committee of the Woman's Club decorated the trees, and the Kentucky Central Electric Co. ran an extension cord (figuratively speaking) to power the lights for the trees.

The new year opened on a somber note in Adair County with the death of Judge W.W. Jones on the first day of January. He, a native of Cumberland County, had long resided in Columbia and was well-known in the region as a lawyer, judge, and "public minded citizen." He was also long associated with the Bank of Columbia, where he served as President for several years.

Several families were afflicted to some degree or another with flu; the recently completed bridge at Milltown, at 250 feet, was said to be "the longest concrete bridge in the state;" and Mr. Josh Wilson announced his candidacy for sheriff in the August primary. Mrs. Julia Allen Powell, who spent most of her girlhood and her early married life near Columbia, wrote to the News saying in part that while she loved Missouri, her home of nearly threescore years, "my heart clings to my old Kentucky home."

Garrison Motor Company (Frank Garrison, Raymond Farris, and Banks Hancock) offered the "new superior line of larger, more beautiful Whippet fours and sixes;" Bennett Motor Co. (E.J. Bennett and Ray Flowers) had the Durant line; and $650 (f.o.b. Flint, Mich.) would put you in a top of the line Chevrolet from Columbia Motor Co..

Lerman Bros.' had clearance sale underway, and Herb Taylor, not to be outdone, announced a knock down drag out sale of his own wares, beginning January 10th.

Those seeking a nostrum for various aches, aliments, maladies, and pains found plenty of options in the News. Among the products advertised in the paper 90 years ago: Black-Draught, for biliousness, indigestion, and constipation; Scott's Emulsion (flavored cod liver oil -- yum!); and 6.6.6., for colds, flu, dengue, bilious fever, and malaria.

And the clock ticked on. . .

This story was posted on 2018-12-30 08:51:35
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