For any of you that saw me entering the library a couple of weeks ago, no there was no emergency. I went in on my own accord. I can count on one hand the times I have been there in my entire life. I will have to say, our local library is a very amazing place to visit. The folks working there were very nice and helpful. It was obvious I did not have a clue what I was doing.
As I was watching “Silence Of The Lambs” for at least the 100th time the other night, Jodi Foster gave me an idea. With the help of Hannibal Lecter, she was doing research to locate and catch the serial killer, Buffalo Bill. She was looking through one of those machines that I found out just today they are called microfilm machines. She was looking at old newspapers trying to find out information to catch this dastardly villain.
My thought was, could I go to our local county library and do the same? Turns out you can. You can look at our local newspapers as far back as they existed. The young lady helping asked me what year I wanted to look at. I just closed my eyes and picked one and I happened to land on 1949.
I am not sure how long I was looking as I sat, but I found it so interesting. It was like reading about the “Andy Griffith Show.” All the smaller towns had their own section of the paper — Buford, Danville, East Danville, Mowrystown and many others. Most businesses had an ad of some sort. As disturbing as it may sound, there was even a section entitled colored news.
Being pre-Facebook, the classified section was huge. James Curry on Rout 8 had something for sale. You could write him a letter to inquire or just stop by and see him. No phone number was listed. I assume maybe he did not have one. There was also a large write-up about a murder in Carmel. All in all, I really enjoyed looking at the old papers. I plan to go back and look at some different years, and I would encourage anyone to do the same.
We all talk about back in the day moments and “the day” can be anywhere in a span of 75 years or so depending on the age of the person speaking. One thing all of us say is how different it was back in “our day.”
But, if you stop and think about it, in so many ways it was not that different.
● There was crime in 1949. We had the murder in Carmel.
● Advertisers wanted your business by advertising weekly specials on services offered.
● It was a pre-Facebook way to let the community know of events in the area.
● There was division in our community by ethnicity sections.
● Most folks wanted to see their name listed in the community news.
● I am sure folks then talked about back in the day as we do. Maybe how nice the ’20s were.
All that we read since Adam and Eve tells us that there will be good times and bad for us all. We can do what we can to prevent or to cause them. But, like the T-shirt says, “it happens.” There will always be good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. That is not to say that 2020 will not set many records for a variety of events. These will be talked and written about for the next 100 years, but be it 1941 or 2020, history will be made in various forms.
Writing this reminds me of one of the many nights I went coon hunting with my wife’s grandfather, Herb Countryman. For those of you that have tried this sport, it can be very exciting at times, but there is also a lot of down time — time where there is not much to do but talk. During one of those down times Herb was telling me about his childhood and the many things both right and wrong that he did. I will never forget one thing he said: “I guess I was as bad as what I had to be bad with.” Isn’t that true? As the years pass and more things are made known to us, doesn’t that give us more opportunities to screw it up?
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.