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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

The times, they aren't a-changin'
Old newspaper clippings
reveal the continuity of daily life

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

Recently, at a large antique sale, Ruth and I purchased a small wooden box about the size of an egg crate. It had a padded, hinged lid, rusted casters and was obviously very old. Used as padding inside the lid were preserved copies of the Boston Sunday Post dated April 18, 1900, and a copy of the Bangor (Maine) Daily News dated Nov. 3, 1920.

One article told how stock speculation had now became a science, removing much of the risk of the volatile stock market trading. Another article warned motorists to avoid traffic at a certain location as construction on an elevated tramway had begun. A preacher who had aroused the wrath of John D. Rockefeller said he had been misquoted by the media and didn't say that at all.

An advertisement touting cures for kidney ailments, aching backs, urinary problems and other maladies said taking generous doses of "Swamp Root" medicine would cure the ailments or your money back.

The "best for the bowels" cure was Candy Cathartic, which works while you sleep. No side effects were mentioned as long as you didn't oversleep.

A man who tried to commit suicide was found hanging in a jail cell by his suspenders. He was cut down, revived and returned to his cell minus his suspenders. He now had something to do while doing time ... hold up his pants!

There was another unusual announcement, a meeting for the board managers of the Anti-Tuberculous Association would be held in city hall at 4 p.m. Thursday. A flashy ad said, "If the trademark inside the lid doesn't read Victrola, it isn't a Victrola." The Penobscot Motor company advertises a complete set of parts for Maxwell Automobiles and will ship orders the same day received.

The Bangor City Markets Page listed the following prices of food items for the week: small pork sausages, 9 cents per pound prepared; cured bacon, 11 cents; lard, 7 cents; fresh pork ribs, 11 cents per pound; kerosene, 12.75 cents per gallon; corn, 50 cents per bushel; and sugar selling for $5.37 per 100-pound sack.

The terrible grips of consumption can be cured almost instantly with Dr. Slocum's Marvelous potion, guaranteed unconditionally or your money back. This ad required a half-page section.

The current war news stated the British were advancing on Pretoria and the Boers numbered about 8,000 troops. The British were awaiting new supplies and remounts before advancing further.

Adm. Dewey announced he would be a candidate for the presidency while the purchase of the Danish West Indies by the U.S. had the French bowels in an uproar. A popular column entitled "Cloakroom Stories" was published weekly about the antics, scandals, mishaps and weird happenings taking place in the White House and hallowed halls of Congress. Do you think this could be the first paparazzi?

Although written 109 years ago, and in spite of all the so-called progress and advancement taking place since that time, not much has really changed after all, only the names, places and dates.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" August 22, 2009 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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