World's Going to Hell
And has been for a long time. Articles about "the good old days" and the current rotten generation:
The Young Man of the Age.
Not long since we saw a tear gathering in the eye of an old man, as he spoke of the past and the present--of the time when he burned pine knots upon the rude home hearth for light to obtain a scanty education, and then compared the ten thousand privileges which are now scattered broadcast around every door. O, said he in tremulous tones, the young men of this day do not appreciate the light of the age they live in. The words of the old man made us sad, while at the same time we felt mortified that so many of our young men fail to improve the advantages within their reach--They are even continually muttering about their lot, and pushing for positions where they can win the reward without the sweetening, purifying, ennobling sacrifice of toil. The mist-cloud enjoyments of a day are eagerly sought after, to the exclusion or neglect of the more honorable, intellectual and useful. In truth, few of our young men know anything of the value of the privileges around them.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, July 31, 1852, page 1
Modern Improvements.Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, April 28, 1854, page 1
"Modern improvements"? I wonder where they are. Perhaps it is the fashionable cloaks that take leave of their shivering owners at the hips; or the long skirts, whose muddy trains every passing pedestrian pins to the sidewalk; or the Lilliputian bonnets, that never a string in shopdom can keep within hailing distance of the head; or the flowing sleeves, through which the winter wind plays around the armpits; or the breakneck high-heeled boots, which some little, dumpy feminine has introduced to gratify her rising ambition, and render her tall sisters hideous; or the gas-lit-furnace-heated houses, in which the owners' eyes are extinguished, and their skins dried to a parchment; or, perhaps, it is the churches, of such cathedral dimness that the clergymen must have candles at noonday, and where the congregation are forbidden to express their devotion by singing, and forced to listen to the trills and quavers of some scientific stage mountebank; or perhaps 'tis the brazen irreverence with which Young America jostles aside gray-headed Wisdom; perhaps the comfortless, forsaken fireside of the "strong-minded women"; perhaps 'tis the manly gossip, whose repetition of some baseless rumor dims the bright eyes of defenseless innocence with tears of anguish; perhaps 'tis the schools where a superficial show of brilliancy on exhibition days is considered the ne plus ultra of teaching; perhaps 'tis the time-serving clergyman, whose tongue is fettered by a moneyed clique; perhaps 'tis the lawyers who lie--under a mistake! perhaps 'tis a doctor, whom I saw yesterday at Aunt Jerusha's sick room, a little thing, with bits of feet, and mincing voice, and lily-white hands and perfumed mustache. I wanted to inquire what ailed Jerusha, so I waited to see him. I wanted to ask him how long it would take him to cure her, and if he preferred pills to powders, blisters to plasters, oatmeal to barley gruel, wine whey to posset, arrowroot to farina, and a few such little things, you know. He stared at me over his dickey, as if I had been an unevangelized kangaroo, then he sidled up to Jerusha, pried open her mouth and said "humph"--in Latin. Then he crossed his legs, and rolled up the whites of his eyes at the wall, as if he expected some Esculapian handwriting on the wall to enlighten him as to the seat of Aunt Jerusha's complaint. Then he drew from his pocket a box with a whole army of tiny bottles, and uncorking two of them he nipped out a little white speck from each, which he dissolved in four quarts of water, and told Jerusha "to take a drop of the water once in eight hours." Tom Thumb and Lilliput! He might as well have tried to salt the Atlantic Ocean with a widow's tear! He should be laid gently on a lily leaf, and consigned to the first stray zephyr.
Ah, you should have seen our good, old-fashioned Dr. Jalap; with a fist like a sledgehammer, a tramp like a war horse, and a laugh that would puzzle an echo. He was not penurious of his physic; he didn't care a pin how much he put down your throat--no, nor the apothecary either. He pilled and potioned and emeticked and blistered and plastered till you were so transparent that even John Mitchell (and he's the shortest-sighted being living) could have seen through you. And then he braced you up with iron and quinine till your muscles were like whip cords, and your hair in a bristle of kinks. He was human-like, too; he didn't stalk in as if Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington were boiled down to make his grandfather. No, sir; he'd just as lief sit down on a butter firkin as on a velvet lounge. He'd pick up Aunt Esther's knitting needles, and talk to Grandpa about Bunker Hill, and those teetotally discomfrizzled, bragging British, and offer Grandma a pinch of snuff, and trot the baby, and stroke the cat, and go to the closet and eat up the pickles and doughnuts, and make himself useful generally. He didn't have to stupefy his patients with ether so that they needn't find out how clumsily he operated. No, it was quite beautiful to see him take a man's head between his knees, and drag his double teeth out. He didn't write a prescription for molasses and water, in High Dutch; he didn't tell you that you were booked for the River Styx, and he was the only M.D. in creation who could annihilate the ferryman waiting to row you over. He didn't drive through the town with his horse and gig at breakneck speed, just as meeting was out, as if life and death were hanging on his profitless chariot wheels. He didn't stick up over his door "at home between 9 and 2," as if those consecrated hours were all he could bestow upon a clamorous public, when he was angling in vain for a patient every hour in the twenty-four; nor did he give little boys shillings to rush into church, and call him out in the middle of the service. No, Dr. Jalap was not a "modern improvement."
AN OLD MAN'S COMMENT ON MANNERS.--Not long since, as I was riding through one of the adjoining towns, I met a group of boys and girls returning from school. Their merry laugh and play was somewhat checked at the approach of my carriage, and the grey head in it. They ranged themselves alongside of the traveled path, and as I passed, each boy took off his hat and joined the girls in what, in my young days, we called "making their manners" to me. This phrase is obsolete now; it means that the girls curtsied and the boys bowed. It is a long time since I met with such attention. Passing along our streets in the city, the young misses twirl their umbrellas in my face, the boys drive their hoops against my tottering limbs, and set up a loud laugh when it knocks away the old man's cane. Young gentlemen, as they are now called, I believe (they used to be called boys at that age), four feet high and less, puff their cigars in my face, and spurt their tobacco juice on my clothes; and young misses, ladies I should say, of about the same height, make wry faces at the grey heads who do not give them the better part of the sidewalk. You see, Mr. Editor, I cannot for the life of me call things by their present names. I have outlived the language that Parson Wilson, Deacon Dexter and Mr. Taft taught in the public schools, but I do want to know whether the conduct of those country boys and girls does not savor of "old fogeyism," and whether that of our city young gentlemen and ladies is not "progress." If you don't know, will you ask the superintendent, or the mayor, or the professor of didactics, I believe they call him.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, November 11, 1854, page 2
What Is Our Progress?Our modern progress is merely a change. We invent machinery to spare muscular labor. Great is our shout of praise when a new sewing machine, for instance, comes in. The croakers who hint that, after all, it may not be such a boon to the weary operative, are laughed to scorn.
BY AN OLD FOGEY.
Well, we have been running machinery at a top speed this half century, and now the apostles of progress are again crying out. The sewing machine, in two years, destroys the spine of our women and renders them sterile. The working men are burning down houses in riot (as at Chicago), demanding the reduction of labor to eight hours a day. Medical authorities concur that the lack of healthy exercise, combined with the cramped condition of people who work on machinery, is rooting out and absolutely destroying the lives of laborers in civic hives. Ministers of the gospel and the moral censors of the press agree that our large manufacturing centers are the hotbeds of crime and misery. What in the world are we going to do, then?
We can't be old fogeys and acknowledge that our fathers understood some things better than we. We can't tear down the machinery, and employ and give happiness to three times as many men. That would be too medieval to be thought of. We must go on, like in tight corsets, to consumption and early extinction of the race; permitting our places to be filled by foreigners who come from those slow countries beyond the Great Sea.
It really seems as if the spirit of evil takes especial delight in marring every step of our modern progress. If we travel faster, we get smashed up, and sent, unprepared, to kingdom come. If facilities of emigration are afforded to this generation beyond all preceding, countless souls are lost or driven to shame by the transition. The intellect of man sharpens and the body decays. The beardless youth of today knows more than his grandsire of yesterday. We have brought the hills of the moon within fifty miles of us; but faith in the Son of the Omnipotent God, who died for the world, is dying away. With every good we progress towards evil. The bright coin is ever dimmed with the filthy alloy.
By pride and avarice, the evil spirit seizes hold of every successive scheme of modern progress. If wages advance, another story goes up on the house of the laborer. Silks supplant cotton; two hours more are added to the domestic slave. Old-fashioned solid erudition vanishes, and trashy sentimentalism usurps its place. Men are made beasts of burden to support shams. The newly discovered machinery only adds to the demands of luxury. By great ingenuity, the archenemy of man so orders things that we have sensation preachers even, and the loudest declaimers against shams are the greatest shams themselves. No one wishes to labor, either, as an old fogey. The very sewing girls go to their homes at seven, with books in their hands that they may be mistaken for wealthy misses. The devil inspires the heart of the employer with avarice, and then he tunes the wheel of progress to the doleful key that suits the strain of human misery; so he (the villain!) stirs the heart of the household of the poor man to luxury and vain display, till the stooping shoulders and whitening hair of that poor man mark the premature approach of darkness. The remedy for all this is to abolish the worship of appearances--vain shadows. Esse potius quam videri. Be, rather than seem to be.
Democratic News, Jacksonville, September 10, 1870, page 1
It wasn't so when I was young,
We used plain language then,
We didn't speak of "them galoots,"
When meaning boys or men.
When speaking of a nice hand write
Of Joe, or Tom, or Bill,
We did so plain--we didn't say
"He swings a nasty quill!"
And when we seen a gal we liked,
Who never failed to please,
We called her pretty, neat and good,
But not "about the cheese."
Well, when we met a good old friend
We hadn't lately seen,
We greeted him--but didn't say,
"Hello, you old sardine."
The boys get mad sometimes, and fit,
We spoke of licks and blows;
But now they whack him on the snoot,
And "paste him on the nose."
Once, when a youth was turned away
From her he loved most dear,
He walked off on his feet--but now
He "crawls off on his ear."
We used to dance when I was young,
And used to call it so;
But now they don't--they only "sling
The light fantastic toe."
Of death we spoke in language plain,
That no one will perplex,
But in these days one doesn't die--
He "passes in his checks."
We praised the man of common sense,
His judgment's good we said;
But now they say, "Well, that old plum
Has got a level head."
It's rather sad the children now
Are learning all such talk;
They've learned to "chin" instead of chat,
And "waltz" instead of walk.
To little Harry, yesterday--
My grandchild, aged two--
I said, "You love your grandpa?" Said he
"You bet your boots I do."
The children bowed to strangers once,
It is no longer so;
The little girls as well as boys,
Now greet you with "Hello."
O, give me back the good old days,
When both old and young
Conversed in plain, old-fashioned words,
And slang was never "slung."
Iowa South West, Bedford, Iowa, January 16, 1875, page 2OLD TIMES.
What Our Forefathers Did for a Living.
Half a century ago bellows-making was a thriving trade. Every house had its pair of bellows, and in every well-furnished mansion there was a hung a pair by the side of every fireplace. Ipswich, in Massachusetts, acquired quite a notoriety all over New England for the elegant and substantial articles of the kind it produced. But as stoves and grates took the place of open-air fireplaces, and as coal was substituted for wood, the demand for bellows diminished until the business as a separate trade quite died out. The same is true of flint cutting. Flints were once necessary, not only for firearms, but for tinderboxes, and a tinderbox was as necessary for every house as a gridiron or a skillet. Everyone who looks to childhood of forty-odd years ago must remember the cold winter mornings, when the persistent crack of the flint against the hard steel sent up from the kitchen an odor of igniting tinder and sulfur, which pervaded the house. I have no more idea of what became of the flint producers than the old man of sorrowful memories who, three or four times a week, called at our door with brimstone matches, for sale at one cent the half-dozen bunches. Both have been as completely banished from England and New England as have the red Indians and the Druids. Then, again, are gone the pin-makers, who, though they have been in their graves this quarter of a century, still figure in lectures and essays to illustrate the advantages of division of labor. Instead of a pin taking a dozen men to cut, grind, point, head, polish and whatnot, as it used to do, pins are now made by neat little machines at the rate of three hundred a minute, of which machines a little child attends to half a dozen. Nail-making at the forge is another lost industry. Time was, and that in this nineteenth century, when every nail was made on the anvil. Now, from one hundred to one thousand nails per minute are made by machines. The nailer who works at the forge has a small chance in competing with such antagonists, and he would have no chance at all were it not that his nails are tenfold tougher than the others. As it is, the poor men follow the all but hopeless vocation, and are compelled to live in handgrips with poverty. In the days of Presidents Madison and Monroe, and even later, straw bonnet making was practiced in every middle-class house where there were growing families, and straw plaiting formed the staple of domestic leisure work. At my grandfather's, around the huge kitchen fireplace, Caesar, born a slave, who sat on an oak bench, directly under the gaping chimney, and we boys, who crowded upon the settee, used to pass winter evenings splitting straw, while the lassies were plaiting them. Then bonnets were bonnets, covering the head with a margin of a foot or two to spare, and presenting a sort of conical, shell-shaped recess, in which dimpling smiles and witching curls nestled in comfort. The work has vanished, and will never reappear, unless the whirligig of fashion should glide again into the forsaken track.
Corvallis Gazette, March 16, 1877, page 4
How People Lived Fifty Years Ago and How They Live Now.
[C. C. Coffin in May Atlantic.]
A half century ago a large part of the people of the United States lived in houses unpainted, unplastered and utterly devoid of adornment. A well-fed fire in the yawning chasm of a huge chimney gave partial warmth to a single room, and it was a common remark that the inmates were roasting one side while freezing the other; in contrast, a majority of the people of the older states now live in houses that are clapboarded, painted, blinded and comfortably warmed. Then the household furniture consisted of a few plain chairs, a plain table, a bedstead made by the village carpenter. Carpets there were none. Today few are the homes, in city or country, that do not contain a carpet of some sort, while the average laborer by a week's work may earn enough to enable him to repose at night upon a spring bed.
Fifty years ago the kitchen "dressers" were set forth with a shining row of pewter plates. The farmer ate with a buck handle knife and an iron or pewter spoon, but the advancing civilization has sent the plates and spoons to the melting pot, while the knives and forks have given place to nickel- or silver-plated cutlery.
In those days the utensils for cooking were a dinner pot, teakettle, skillet, Dutch oven and frying pan; today there is no end of kitchen furniture.
The people of 1830 sat in the evening in the glowing light of a pitch knot fire or read their weekly newspapers by the flickering light of a "tallow dip"; now, in city or village their apartments are bright with the flame of a gas jet or the softer radiance of kerosene. Then, if the fire went out upon the hearth, it was kindled by a coal from a neighboring hearth, or by flint, steel and tinder. Those who indulged in pipes and cigars could light them only by some hearthstone; today we light fires and pipes by the dormant fireworks in the match safe at the cost of one-hundredth of a cent.
In those days we guessed the hour of noon, or ascertained it by the creeping of the sunlight up to the "noon mark" drawn upon the floor; only the well-to-do could afford a clock. Today, who does not carry a watch? and as for clocks, you may purchase them at wholesale, by the cartload, at sixty-two cents apiece.
Fifty years ago how many dwellings were adorned with pictures? How many are there now that do not display a print, engraving, chromo or lithograph? How many pianos or parlor organs were there then? Reed organs were not invented till 1840, and now they are in every village.
Some who may read this article will remember that the Bible, the almanac and the few textbooks used in school were almost the only volumes of the household. The dictionary was a volume four inches square and an inch and a half in thickness. In some of the country villages a few public-spirited men had gathered libraries containing from three to five hundred volumes, in contrast [to] the public libraries of the present, containing more than ten thousand volumes, [which] have an aggregate of 10,650,000 volumes, not including the Sunday school and private libraries of the country. It is estimated that altogether the number of volumes accessible to the public is not less than 20,000,000. Of Webster's and Worcester's dictionaries, it may be said that enough have been published to supply one to every one hundred inhabitants of the United States.
Ashland Tidings, May 30, 1879, page 1
The oration of Francis Fitch, Esq., on the Fourth at Medford was one of the best examples of that style of oratory that has ever been delivered in southern Oregon. Disdaining to soar to the heights of fanciful imagery, the speaker confined his effort to a review of existing conditions and the probable resultant effects within the next generation of the present tendency to extravagance and corruption in the management of public affairs, and the unlicensed encroachments of wealth and the corporations.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 18, 1890, page 3
Insomnia is fearfully on the increase. The rush and excitement of modern life so tax the nervous system that multitudes of people are deprived of good and sufficient sleep, with ruinous consequences to the nerves. Remember, Ayer's Sarsaparilla makes the weak strong.
Medford Mail, May 11, 1894, page 3
Mail Office Devil:--"Say, the boys and girls last week had lots of fun with their homemade sleds, didn't they? No store sleds here--snow is too seldom. Reminded me of the time when I was a lad. I had to either make my own sled or slide downhill in a sap trough. In those days there were no bicycles, no tricycles, no red express wagons, no store sleds, no air guns, none of the many things which the boy of today thinks is absolutely necessary to his happiness. But, somehow, with a sap trough sled, cart with wheels sawed from the end of a log, and my old muzzle-loading rifle with a broken lock and a buckskin string to pull the hammer back with, a rifle with which I could knock a squirrel's eye nine times out of an impossible ten, I kind o' believe I had about as good a time as do the boys of today."
"Echoes from the Street," Medford Mail, February 4, 1898, page 7
Fifty years ago oratory was the great and winning gift whereby to obtain high station. Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Corwin and others gained their eminence and retained their hold upon the people largely through their oratorical ability. Even as late as Lincoln's day no other capacity was equal to the gift of extraordinarily excellent speech, without which he would never have been president, or risen to eminence. Debating societies flourished in every backwoods school district, and the boy who could talk most fluently was the one pointed out as the inheritor of political honors. In Congress the best speaker was the real leader, and the only great senators were those who could make great speeches. All this is changed, and the orator is generally a bore. The silent man, who plots and logrolls and bargains and counts noses, is the power in legislation. The greatest of speeches in Congress scarcely ever changes a vote on an important measure, and the votes turned by the best campaign orators are few and far between. The practical politician has superseded the orator. In this change the newspaper has played an important part. Voters read the news, and are about as well informed on public questions as the campaign orators or average congressman. It is an era of writing and reading, rather than of talking and listening.
Medford Mail, July 5, 1901, page 2
The growing tendency to look upon marriage as a temporary bond which can be thrown off or assumed at will is the logical result of loose divorce laws and the increasing tendency to imitate the customs of the fast sets abroad. It is high time for persons of all classes to protest against the general laxity of morals that is seen to exist in present-day society. Public sentiment is on the right side, and it is important that the old traditions which once guarded the American home should be revived.
Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 2
A Farmer Pessimist.From Tuesday's Oregonian.
An old farmer, who had a fine ranch in the foothills of the Cascades, and who had been reading in the papers about forestry reserves and forestry laws and reforesting whole regions, was talking these matters over with a government official yesterday. He said the idea made him weary, and he was glad that he had not much longer to stay in this weary world. He said that he had done many years of hard work, and put in his best licks clearing away the forest to make farms. He helped to clear a farm in New England in his boyhood, afterward another one in New York State, later he had, with the help of his boys, cleared another in Missouri, and then he came to Oregon and had been here ever since getting another cleared, and he was done. He should clear no more land, and it would make no difference to him if the whole country were reforested.
He had come to the conclusion that nearly everything in the world would be exterminated or exhausted within a few generations. He had seen the herds of wild buffalo shaking the earth with their gallop, but they were all gone. The wild Indians who had made life a burden to him on several occasions were all disappearing. The wild game and fur-bearing animals were gone or going. The fish in the sea were being exhausted, the whales practically exterminated. The sturgeon of the Columbia had been all caught out, and it was only a question of a few years when the salmon would be all gone, despite artificial propagation, and everything was in the same boat. The timber of the United States would all be cut off in a short time. The coal would be exhausted, and the iron, the gold, silver and copper would be all dug out and used up, the oil wells would be exhausted and there would be nothing to cook with, nor much of anything to cook, and he wasn't feeling very well himself, anyhow. He could not do as much work in a day as he used to, and he could not eat to much, nor walk so far, nor jump so high, and his seeing and hearing were failing and nothing tasted as good as it used to.
The old man's friend tried to cheer him up but found he had taken a bigger contract than he had figured on, and asked to be excused on account of a business appointment. So the old man strolled off, remarking, "When I come into town again I will come in and talk the situation over with you," a thing which his friend says he will take particular pains to see that the old man doesn't get a chance to do.
Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 6
Men and women alike have to work incessantly with brain and hand to hold their own nowadays. Never were the demands of business, the wants of the family, the requirements of society, more numerous. The first effect of the praiseworthy effort to keep up with all these things is commonly seen in a weakened or debilitated condition of the nervous system which results in dyspepsia, defective nutrition of both body and mind, and in extreme cases in complete nervous prostration. It is clearly seen that what is needed is what will sustain the system, give vigor and tone to the nerves, and keep the digestive and assimilative functions healthy and active. From personal knowledge we can recommend Hood's Sarsaparilla for this purpose. It acts on all the vital organs, builds up the whole system, and fits men and women for these high-pressure days.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 10, 1902, page 2
Mr. Vawter's oration was a model, both as to brevity, for he did not talk for the long period that so many Fourth of July speakers do, and the timeliness of the topics discussed, for he did not follow the lines of the average stereotyped celebration oration, but talked of today. Clearly and convincingly Mr. Vawter proved that the pessimist's wail, that public virtue and patriotism were on the decline, was an unwarrantable fear, born of a morbid mind. American political life was growing purer with each year. Conventions were more fair in their deliberations, elections more honestly carried on, and public officials more true to the fealty they owe to the people than at any previous time in the history of the republic. And as to patriotism the events of recent years have shown that the American people are just as patriotic as they were in the days when Paul Revere made his famous ride. He attributed to the American sense of justice and liberty, the cause for the United States attaining the high position it now holds in the world's affairs. The way in which Cuba has been befriended, and the magnanimous treatment accorded to China in that country's late trouble, are without parallel in the history of nations. The marvelous growth of the nation in industrial, commercial and other lines was but another compliment to American brains and energy. Mr. Vawter closed his speech with a masterly defense for the nation's expansion from the time of Jefferson down to today.
"Jacksonville's Celebration," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
There was a delightful schoolmistress who used thus to imporess on her scholars certain refined distinctions: "My dears, horses 'sweat,' young men 'perspire,' young ladies are 'all in a glow.'" In these outspoken days when a spade is called at very mildest a spade, the gentle euphuism is a matter of amusement, to be laughed at with affectionate patronage, like an old-time gown out of Grandmother's chest.
Young ladies have disappeared and girls get quite as warm as their brothers nowadays, and on the whole the change is vastly for the better, frankness being own sister to truth and mortal foe to affectation. Yet, the further we go from the brocade days, the more inevitably we must recognize a price paid for our freedom, a certain stately charm gone out of life and human intercourse.
The formality of those times made barriers, and in barriers, after all, lie the half of romance. It is the face beneath the veil that we are most eager to see, the voice behind the wall that tempts us to most strenuous climbing. What could be prettier or more inaccessible than a young lady all in a glow?
Man is still at heart essentially old-fashioned, and the modern girl, rejoicing in her new equipment of frankness and coifrage and unconventionality, sometimes finds him strangely unresponsive. Theoretically he is thoroughly in sympathy with her, as a reasonable being needs must be, but for all that he dimly realizes that something is missing--a price has been paid. The ostentatiously modest scoop bonnet, with its defensive ruffle behind and its lace curtain across the front, gave a piquancy that the unveiled intercourse of today can never attain.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, October 1, 1903, page C2
PAST AND PRESENT MANNERS OF BOYS AND GIRLS
Editor Mail Tribune: A few days ago,while wife and I were basking in the warm autumn sunshine at our front gate, discussing and admiring the many elegantly dressed ladies passing in their many varieties of autumn colors and costumes that would keep the rainbows guessing whether God gave all his beautiful colorings to the cold, green earth below or the starry heavens above, and to note the indescribable bevies of clean, rosy-cheeked school children leisurely passing to and fro, our attention was particularly attracted to a bright-appearing boy of some 12 summers, perhaps, who came sauntering aimlessly up with but little concern apparently, smoking the favorite cigarette, and stopped in front of us, and without introduction or any preliminary remarks, said: "Hello, Joe and Mary. Did you folks see that old guy of a rainbow of a man that just passed by with gray hair and beard and carrying a cane?" Well, kind reader, if a thunderbolt from a Southern Oregon sky could not have struck us with more force and astonishment than to hear the words just spoken from the innocent lips of this bright, mischievous youth, and our feelings were touched with sympathy and pity for the unlimited neglect of his home training and the lack of a judicious application of that old-time remedy, hazel and peach tree sprouts. But sweet memory at once recalled to mind my limited experience in home training of the boys and girls in the good old pioneer days of 50 years ago. Briefly told, we were taught what obedience means at home and at school and that never-to-be-forgotten indelible copy that manners makes the man, but does the above apply to this fast, busy age of attractive environments, and the knotty question arises, has there been any noticeable improvement in the teaching of manners, morals and the proper respect due to the aged gentleman and lady among the young boys and girls of the 19th century, which we think is the keynote and foundation of their future lives. But we leave this for the modern parent and educator to answer.
Well, we looked our Young America boy acquaintance over pretty carefully and became fully convinced he was not a Medford boy, but one of those no, yes, hello, filthy cigarette, old guy class of boys that had perhaps been smuggled into our clean, virgin city of good manners and morality from some of the old pioneer mossback cities of the north, the home of reform schools and [line omitted] and many other fruit and society pests which, we note, are moving rapidly south to taint and infest and corrupt our beautiful indescribable Rogue River Valley of peace, power and plenty.
In conclusion, permit your humble writer to suggest to the clean, bright, promising young boys of our young city to be prepared to meet all these vicious habits with the manly words, "No, sir."
J. G. MARTIN.Medford Mail Tribune, November 29, 1909, page 6
DEVIL WAGONS RIGHTLY NAMED.For the man who uses shank's mare, the cost of travel has been increased by the man who rides in his automobile. Such is the conclusion of the Massachusetts commission on the cost of living, says the New York World. It is a good deal like saying that the price of cake fixes the price of bread, but it is true, as common experience proves.
So much leather is used nowadays in the manufacture of automobiles that hides are higher, leather is higher and so on down step by step until the price of boots and shoes is raised. It is the same story with rubber. The demand for the crude material in the automobile trade has hoisted prices all along the line, from overshoes to pneumatic tires, and most of all in London, for the shares of new Scotch rubber-plantation companies. The more people ride, the more the man who walks pays for going afoot.
The automobile has developed into an expensive luxury for the people who do not use it. It has added to the cost of maintaining the roads in good repair and of going well shod in dry and wet weather. It has created new styles of clothes and new resorts for dear food and drink. At the present rate of consumption lobsters and champagne are likely to go higher. The only thing that has been cheapened is human life. The cost of high living, as James J. Hill said, has made the cost of living higher. The automobile was well named "the devil wagon."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 20, 1910, page 4
I also remember that I could have bought most of that property over there for a very little money, and just put part of it up. Now a feller has to interview the cashier of the bank before he can hardly look at that ground with a view to having. Well, us old fellers can't help it. We started when the world traveled like an ox wagon and you could see things easily before you go to them. Now, with airships, automobiles and sich like, you have to set your alarm clock for day after tomorrow in order to get up on time to see things before they get by.
"East Main Street Twenty Years Ago," Medford Mail Tribune, June 5, 1910, page 3
The 20th century schools may be up-to-date in many respects but I am of the opinion they are generally sadly deficient in the teaching of articulation. Few young people now-a-days make any attempt to articulate plainly & clearly. It is becoming a lost art. They go on the hop-skip-&-jump in reading aloud or in conversation.
But then, this is a fast age anyhow.
Diary of W. J. Dean, May 3, 1913
TOO MUCH TIME ON NONESSENTIALS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
To the Editor:
I see in yesterday's paper a criticism of the various so-called "supernumerary" textbooks in use in the fifth year of the grammar school. While the writer was a little facetious at times, it seems to me there is much merit in his criticisms. We are told the average school life of a child in Oregon is about six years. Now, if that be true, the fifth year must be the end-all of school life with many.
I have observed the work of many pupils of this grade, and I am convinced much, too much, of their time is spent in studying microbes, diseases and their causes, courses and treatments; the philosophy of history and economics. Large encyclopedias are brought into use, and their investigations are made to cover a university range. Also I have observed that reading and spelling are severe tasks for them, and when children are away on vacation their letters home glitter with misspelling of the most common words. When struggling with a difficult problem, it often seemed as difficult for these children to perform the operation as to know what operation to perform.
The textbooks forced upon our long-suffering children and their teachers seem to call for culture, culture, culture. The system ignores largely the foundation, while already the beautiful, artistic outside and upper finish is being laid on. Too much veneering before the body structure is built.
I rather incline toward the old-fashioned way of teaching reading. Every student read each day. Reading was done with mathematical precision as to pronunciation. There were contests in reading, also much concert reading, and many classic selections were learned by rote and used as basis for further drills and to build up perfect pronunciation with perfect articulation, and for the further purpose of weeding out crudities and mishaps in naming words. Of course, this required time, much time. This left but little time for a fifth grade boy to run down the atomic component parts of a molecule of an organic compound, and but little opportunity to trace out the germs of the Magna Carta in the various ramifications of the history of the Anglo-Saxon world. Neither did it leave many hours each day to acquire the power to force every mouthful of food into its proper classification as nitrogenous, carbonaceous etc.
Reading is the great implement by which most knowledge in the schools and ever after is acquired. An able and delicate use of this implement ought to be the heritage of every man or woman, and it must come to such in the early years of school life. There are few good readers in this day and age. If present methods are pursued there will be almost none a generation hence. Good reading seems in course of ultimate extinction.
The same may be argued with regard to the teaching and study of arithmetic. To acquire skill in adding and subtracting seems to be relegated to manhood years. A great banker told me that young men must invariably learn anew the fundamental operations of arithmetic on entering the bank as an employee.
The teachers have no time for drills. A child gulps down a case of problems and hurries to the next, and so on to the end. Involution and evolution engage his attention while he remains an imbecile of inaccuracy in everyday calculations. No, I am not faulting our teachers. They work like fighting fire to "make the grades." The course of study is packed with big books treating with university subjects, and the law must be upheld that positions may be held. Culture will follow in due course, but true education must begin with a solid mastery of reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling. That is the way Abraham Lincoln began.
PATRON.Medford Mail Tribune, September 9, 1914, page 5
H.S. GIRLS START CRUSADE AGAINST MODERN STYLESA back to normalcy movement has been started in the high school through spite work on the part of the girls towards the boys and the youths on their part retaliating in kind, and there is no telling just where the feud will end, but so far it has convulsed all Medford with laughter. The superintendent and faculty try to put on serious faces and frown on the extravagant action of both sides, but ever and anon glide into some out-of-the-way nook to give vent to their real feelings.
Recently Miss Margaret Cottrell, member of the faculty who has charge the Y.W.C.A. activities, asked the boys to write their opinions of the modern garb, style and facial makeup of the girls. The masculine element of the school went at this very distasteful task with avidity and use of strong and superlative language. What they didn't say about the girls wearing short skirts, low necks, hair over ears, fancy stockings, paint and powder would not be worth reading.
These written answers were read to the girls by Miss Cottrell yesterday with the consequence that the fair ones waxed more indignant the longer they talked and thought over the horrid criticisms. Hence it was that [as] a rebuke to this masculine criticism and to show the boys that they were not so smart as they thought themselves, about fifty of the young ladies came to school this forenoon garbed in the plainest and most old-fashioned clothing they were able to find, hair done up plain and carefully brushed back from the ears, and with an absence of powder, paint and rouge from their faces.
Did this faze the boys? Far from it. They had a card up their sleeves, owing to the fact that someone had tipped them off last night to the girls' plans. Hence they, too, appeared at school today in a very plain garb, wearing ranch or hunting boots, old-fashioned turndown collars and the like. Some of them were so grotesquely costumed that they were ordered home by the faculty.
The next move is up to the chagrined girls.
"I fear it won't last," said Miss Cottrell today, "but the girls look very sweet and the absence of makeup is particularly refreshing."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 24, 1921, page 8
Advertising postcard, circa 1925
WHY STUDENTS ARE STUPIDForty years ago and more, when the American boy or girl went to college, it was to satisfy a desire for education. A student of the last generation who went to college found little lure in the social end of the school; organized intercollegiate athletics did not draw him at all. There were none. If he was a country boy, he came from a family in which there were a few well-read hooks. If he was a town boy, he came from a family where there was a slightly wider environment of books. But books inspired him. Books and a love of reading, the desire to widen his mental horizon by getting into the knowledge of his generation and the wisdom of the ages, furnished the primary urge that sent the American boy or girl to college until thirty years ago.
By William Allen White
(From The New Student)
During the last twenty years, two things have happened: First, the colleges have become tremendously attractive to youth, quite apart from the course of study. Second, the rise of the economic status of the average American family has made it possible for thousands of young people to go to these attractive colleges who have no cultural background whatever, who are not interested in books and reading, and who regard education as merely an equipment for making a living.
Hence we have the hordes of stupid, ineducable college students. The college spirit, outside of college athletics, society and hooch, never touches them. They are strangers to the academic life—as isolated and remote as the wild savage of the forest from all that went with the cloistered life in our old American collegiate tradition. Perhaps the college softens them a little. Perhaps seeing the books in the library and thumbing and memorizing the texts for their classrooms does pull off some of their feathers and rub off some of their barbarous paint. Perhaps they will make homes in which the Cosmopolitan and Motion Picture Magazine and sets of uncut and unread books may decorate the rooms. So perhaps their children, feeding upon this poisoned pabulum, will get some inkling of the love of books and the desire for things of the spirit. Perhaps in another fifty years the college will be an influence in the higher life of the state and of the nation.
But just now the college is the haunt of a lot of leather-necked, brass-lunged, money-spending snobs who rush around the campus snubbing the few choice spirits who come to college to seek out reason and the will of God.
State College News, New York State College for Teachers, Albany, February 15, 1924, page 4
MODERN CHILDREN BEHAVE WELLThe world is moving too fast; there is too much going on. People are apt to plunge in their scramble for a position in the life of speed. There is too many places attracting spare time, there are too many worthless offerings to sap the pocketbook, the nervous system and the home attentions. There is so much going on that it becomes a necessity to neglect business, home, schools and religious duties in order to keep up with the amusements and swift goings of our neighbor. The whole world is tired out, and only hysterically pepped up on false energies characteristic of this hurry, speedy, excitable era of civilization.
Much has been said derisively about the flapper and cake-eater, and possibly justifiably so, but now we have a little information that goes to their defense, proving there must be two sides to all arguments.TOO MUCH GOING ON
Grandmothers who gasp in astonishment at the flapper puffing a cigarette while sitting scantily clad in the anteroom of a dance hall had better save just a bit of breath to withstand another gasp.
The records of the cake-eaters and flappers attending high school today compared with those of the boys and girls of years ago might make the elders a little pink about the ears, particularly the more critical ones, the Kansas City Board of Education announced recently.
Playing hooky is becoming passe, tardiness is greatly on the decline, and the behavior of the students is such that the old-fashioned hickory stick is being used for a chart pointer, the gist of the board's report says.
Back in the old days, we all can remember and confess that only the "sissies" made a perfect attendance record and all that "mother's darling girls" refused to stay away from school occasionally. Truant officers were an absolute necessity in those days, and they were kept busy keeping the young truants in line and marching them back to the schoolrooms.
But now times and things have changed, as grandmother would say, in her argument in denouncing the wild practices of the 1924 youth and miss. The truant officer has become an "attendance officer," and his duties mainly consist of investigating homes and assisting students who would be unable to attend otherwise.
Tardiness is becoming almost nil, the report shows, and the cake-eaters and flappers who are being admonished they are setting too fast a pace might reply: "Yes, to school." The marks for punctuality are much better in the last couple of years than they were in the earlier years, according to the figures in black and white, other arguments notwithstanding.
And then, too, while the flippant miss and her pastry-consuming friend might be burning up the boulevards on the outside, teachers report that the conduct of the pupils in the classrooms today can be admired.
Such tricks as shooting paper wads and placing a tack on the teacher's otherwise soft chair are rarely indulged in, and more rare than that is the compulsory use of a stick to make a pupil behave.
All of which goes to prove both side of the argument that times and things have changed.
Ashland Daily Tiding, September 16, 1924, page 2
THE MODERN SATURDAY NIGHT
What people do on Saturday night is a means by which their character and traditions may be judged, according to a Dayton, Ohio, newspaper. It is true that the times are changing, and that with them Saturday night customs are changing also. It continues:
"Every Saturday night in a very true sense offers a time for a checking-up process in the lives of individuals or collectively of families. There was a time in the history of this people when a solemn hush came over the family as the twilight hours fell upon the city and countryside. Shoes were blackened, cooking was finished, the family altar was set up, and whole families waited in a true religious manner for the dawn of the Sabbath day. But Time is a relentless sort of machine. It crushes ambitions, annihilates traditions, destroys our fondest dreams. Today much of the solemnity which in former days was a part of Saturday nights has disappeared, and one and all, old and young, give themselves over to thoughts of relaxation from the strenuous work of the preceding week and surcease from worry. In a sense it would be a magnificent thing if we here in America could get back to some of the old-fashioned ideas which we have held relative to Saturday nights. If we could sum up, for example, our week's accomplishments and plan for the coming days we could go forward to new and greater tasks, we should gain new inspirations for service to ourselves and to others. This may sound idealistic, but it is the sort of idealism that we need more and more as we progress."
The view taken by this Dayton writer is a righteous one. It is true also that the spirit of idealism of which he speaks is coming to play less and less a prominent part in the civilized world today.
Ashland Daily Tidings, February 28, 1925, page 12
LEGISLATOR BELITTLES GRADUATES
Sen. Eddy Declares Half of High School Students Cannot Place an Apostrophe,
Or Figure Out a Promissory Note--Lack Fundamentals.
PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 16--(AP)--Sweeping declarations that 50 percent of the Oregon high school graduates do not know the difference between "advice" and "advise," "effect" and "affect," and cannot correctly place the apostrophe in possessive plurals, were voiced here today by Senator B. L. Eddy of Roseburg before a gathering of high school teachers and principals and other public school men and women of this city. Following Senator Eddy's remarks, a warm controversy arose at this first public hearing in Portland of the course of the study commission created by the last legislature.
The commission, appointed by Governor Pierce, included Senator Eddy, Dr. C. J. Smith of Portland, and Professor George H. Alden of Willamette University, Salem.
Dr. Alden presided at today's meeting.
Average Oregon high school students are not sufficiently grounded in fundamentals, especially in English, grammar and mathematics, the Roseburg senator complained.
He suggested as a remedy a reconcilement of curricula, the restriction of students' privileges to choose elective studies and a close adherence to the fundamental branches. He would eliminate from high school school courses all study of social problems, civics, political economy and subjects "in the nature of art." He opposed high school credit for music lessons taken outside of the school and home economics courses which, he said, only taught the girls to make angel cakes, nougat and fudge.
The existence of correspondence schools is an indication that high school graduates realize they are not prepared for the world, Senator Eddy declared, saying it was surprising that high school students should take business English courses in business colleges.
"If you give a high school graduate a promissory note with some payments endorsed on the back of it and ask him to determine the amount still due on it, you might as well ask him to translate the Iliad in the original Greek," the Roseburg man asserted.
Meager applause which followed the conclusion of Senator Eddy's talk came from a small group of men. Women composed approximately two-thirds of he attendance, which reached 150.
Following Senator Eddy's report, Professor Alden invited open discussion of the matter, declaring that "whatever you as educators think, it must be remembered the laymen help pay the bill, and they will have something to say about how it is spent."
Superintendent Rive of the Portland schools called attention to the fact that most of the subjects upon which Senator Eddy would lay stress are just as true of colleges, and he questioned placing entire blame on the high schools.
R. R. Tucker, superintendent of public instruction, characterized Mr. Eddy's talk as an "extravagant picture." School people are best fitted to wrestle with the problem of school curricula, he declared.
Dr. DeBuck of the University of Oregon, head of the research department of the Portland public schools, declared that the problems brought up by Senator Eddy were matters of long controversy in the educational field and that there is an abundance of material to be found in them.
"You can't settle problems by counting noses, and that is all that public hearings amount to," he asserted. "Before trying to apply any remedy, the thing to do is to find out exactly what is wrong."
Medford Mail Tribune, October 17, 1926, page 1
POEM IS WRITTEN IN HONOR OF
WIDELY KNOWN PIONEER
At the recent reunion of Southern Oregon pioneers, John B. Griffin, pioneer resident of Kerby, read a poem which he had written in commemoration of the 93rd birthday anniversary of "Grandma" Lewis, who is 93 years old. The poem written by this widely known early settler aroused much interest among the trail blazers and their wives who attended.
His poem follows:
TO A PIONEER
Come, ring the bell for dinnerAshland Daily Tidings, October 22, 1926, page 10
And all rejoice with me.
For this is Grandma's birthday,
And she is ninety-three.
Seventy-three years ago, she came
To the land of the setting sun
And ever since that time
Has lived in good old Oregon.
Wonderful changes have taken place,
Since Grandma crossed the Plains;
Then they traveled with ox teams;
Now they come on trains.
They also travel through the air
And under the ground they walk;
They travel through the water
And eat and sleep and talk.
You can sit in the parlor at night
And sometimes through the day
And listen to people talking
Thousands of miles away.
If you go away from home
And don't get back till night,
And the house is dark as a dungeon,
Touch a button--and lo, you have light.
If you wish to talk to a friend,
Miles and miles away,
Just go to the 'phone and call him,
And say what you have to say.
They used to go on horseback
And sometimes had to walk,
When they went to church on Sunday
To hear the preacher talk.
But now they go in autos
And get there mighty quick;
Have plenty of time to powder the face
And make themselves look sleek.
Now, Grandma has seen all these changes;
And hundreds of others beside;
And has lived through wars and pestilence,
While millions of others have died.
So, gather around the hearthstone
And listen to her tell
Of things that happened long ago,
That she remembers well.
Perhaps she'll tell you about the time
The stars fell thick and fast;
And everyone for miles around
Thought their time had come at last.
She will tell about the spinning wheels
They used in days of yore,
To spin the yarn to make the socks
That everybody wore.
She will tell us how they baked the bread
In an oven by the fire,
And when it raised up to the lid,
It could not get any higher.
She'll tell about the husking bees,
When neighbors gathered in
And husked the corn for Billy Jones
And put it in the bin.
She'll tell us how the girls those days
Made their dresses nice and neat,
To button up around the neck
And reach down to their feet.
But now the girls are different,
They make their dresses thin,
To reach down only to their knees
And barely hide their skin.
Some of them have no dress at all,
But wear clothes like a man;
Perhaps they think it helps their looks,
But I don't see how it can.
They paint their lips as red as blood
And powder to beat the band,
Which makes them look just like a ghost
That is stalking o'er the land.
Now, Grandma don't approve of this;
She doesn't like their ways.
She would rather see them make their clothes
Like they did in the good old days.
But, alas, the good old days are gone,
They will never turn again.
No one will turn the spinning wheel;
No ox will cross the Plain.
No one will try to bake the bread
In an oven by the fire;
They'd rather buy it at the store,
If the cost is a little higher.
No one will help to husk the corn
For poor old Billy Jones;
He has to sit day after day
And husk it all alone.
No covered wagon is in sight,
As you drive your car to town;
They fell to pieces long ago
And the wheels have rotted down.
No more we'll hear the Indian yell,
Nor see a buffalo.
The white man butchered all of them
A long, long time ago.
So now we'll have to bid goodbye
To the good old days of yore;
The good old days we loved so well,
That we'll never see no more.
The pioneers are going fast;
Their race is nearly run,
But then their lives have been well spent;
Their work has been well done.
The last of them will soon be called
To cross the silent river,
And land upon another shore
To live in peace forever.
But hark, the dinner bell is ringing,
Let's go and eat with Gran--once more.
And pray we may all meet again
When Gran'ma is ninety-four.
This carnival of spending, this demand for sport, athletics, amusements and popularity is ruining our schools as well as our individual health. The average family certainly cannot afford to send a boy or girl to college where they have to have a dollar ticket every night for a class dance, a fraternity party, a mask ball, a basketball game, a football game, concert after concert, evening gowns, dance shoes, silly hats, striped stockings, gas, gas, gas. It can't linger long. The carnival resembles that of ancient times before the fall of Rome.
If a business man refuses to buy a ticket to a ball game, a pee-wee party, a dress rehearsal, a class program or a pink tea, he is counted a grouch; consequently he feels compelled every day to dig up his last cent and stand off the freight bills.
Home sweet home is a memory of bygone days, and "where is my wandering boy tonight" includes, as well, the "wandering girl," "wandering mother" and whole "wandering family."
But even to the jazz-crazed youth it must be admitted that it really does look silly to him to see a mother of several children travel several miles two or three nights a week to attend a jazz dance and go through the silly, crazy steps and movements while hanging on to the arm of a lad young enough to be her son, or with an old granddad with watering eyes and a silly grin over the imaginary fun he thinks he is having. What heads we are all getting. Where is the money coming from. And still you hear the talk of "hard times," when you approach a firm on a business proposition. Plenty of money for gas, for sport duds, for moonshine at two plunks a pint, and even for skyscraper apartment houses for the homeless and half-million-dollar art buildings and libraries for colleges all over the world and hardwood reception parlors for the sweet girl graduate to entertain her racing car, vaseline-haired suitor awaiting time for the dance or midnight frolic. Where is the remedy? There must be a remedy, or death and destruction will follow failing health and bankruptcy. Many fads, customs, habits and styles lead to the fastness of the age. The fiery youth propaganda put out by Hollywood, the low dress, loud stocking styles hatched by the fast women of Paris, the overworked attention given to athletics instead of the three "R's," the lack of control in the home, the lack of foresight and the lack of regard for the saving habit; too much credit and too much excitement. Too much going on, too many places to go. There is no present remedy. But the life will run itself out. It will take hard times or maybe a general panic, but it is coming. Then, and not until then, will everyone, young and old, get down to business and hard work again. Then will the silly styles be a second consideration, and more hours be devoted to care of self and sensible living. Flaming youth, as it is termed, is having its day, but we all acknowledge that it is a mighty silly age, and old Nero or Cleopatra were not in it.
Ashland American, March 25, 1927, page 2
Things Were Different--Very Different--in 1881
(The following was read by Mrs. A. J. Coburn at a dinner given in honor of Mr. W. W. Ryan, who completed fifty years with Marshall Field & Company on April 10, 1931.)
Fifty years ago women wore hoop skirts, bustles, petticoats, corsets, cotton stockings, high buttoned shoes, ruffled cotton drawers, flannel nightgowns, puffs in their hair--did their own cooking, baking, cleaning, washing, ironing--raised big families--went to church Sunday--were too busy to be sick.
Men wore whiskers, square hats, Ascot ties, red flannel underwear, big watches and chains--chopped wood for stoves--bathed once a week--drank 10-cent whiskey and five-cent beer--rode bicycles, buggies or sleighs--went in for politics--worked 12 hours a day--and lived to a ripe old age.
Stores burned coal-oil lamps--carried everything from a needle to a plow--trusted everybody--never took an inventory--placed orders for goods a year in advance--always made money.
1931.Today women wear silk stockings, short skirts, low shoes, no corsets, an ounce of underwear--have bobbed hair, smoke, paint and powder, drink cocktails, play bridge, drive cars, have pet dogs and go in for politics.
Men have high blood pressure, wear no hats and some no hair, shave their whiskers, shoot golf, bathe twice a day, drink poison, play the stock market, ride in airplanes--never go to bed the same day they get up--are misunderstood at home--work five hours a day, play ten--die young.
Stores have electric lights, cash registers, elevators, never have what the customer wants--trust nobody--take inventory daily--never buy in advance--have overhead markup markdown-quota-budget-advertising-stock control--annual and semi-annual end-of-month, dollar day, founder's day, rummage, economy day sales--and never make any money.
--Exchange.Medford Mail Tribune, June 12, 1931, page 7
HIS NAME IS MUD.
By L. M. SWEET
Man is of few days and full of trouble. He laboreth all the days of his youth to pay for a gasoline chariot, and lo! the thing is junk and he needeth another. He planteth wheat in the earth and he tilleth it diligently, he and his servants and his asses, and when the harvest is gathered into the barns he oweth the landlord eight dollars and forty cents more than the crop is worth.
He borroweth money from the lenders to buy pork and syrup and gasoline and the interest eateth up what he hath. He begets sons and daughters and educates them to smoke cigarettes and to wear a white collar and lo! they have soft hands and neither labor in the field nor anywhere under the sun. The children of his loins are ornery and one of them becomes a lawyer and another sticketh up a filling station and maketh whoopee with the substance thereof. The wife of his bosom necketh with a stranger and when he rebuketh her, lo! she shooteth him in the finale. He goeth forth in the morning on the road that leadeth him to the city and a jitney smiteth him so that his ribs project through his epidermis. He drinketh of whoopee juice to forget his sorrows and it burneth the lining of his liver. All the days of his life he findeth no parking space and is tormented by traffic cops from his going forth until he cometh back. An enemy stealeth his car, physicians remove his inner parts and his teeth and bankroll; his daughters showeth their legs to strangers; his arteries hardeneth in the evening of his life, his heart busteth trying to keep pace. Sorrow and bill collectors followeth him all the days of his life, and when he is gathered to his fathers the neighbors sayeth: "How much did he leave?" Lo! he hath left it all. And his wife rejoiceth in a new coupé and maketh eyes at a young sheik that slicketh his hair and playeth a nifty game of bridge. Woe is man. From the day of his birth to the time when the earth knoweth him no more, he laboreth for bread and watcheth the devil. Dust he was in the beginning, and now his name is "mud."
Central Point American, January 7, 1932, page 4
WHAT A DIFFERENCE FIFTY YEARS MAKE
Fifty years ago, women wore hoop skirts, bustles, petticoats, corsets, cotton stockings, high button shoes, ruffled cotton drawers, flannel nightgowns, puffs in their hair--did their own cooking, washing, ironing--raised big families--went to church Sunday and were too busy to be sick.
Men wore whiskers, square hats, ascot ties, red flannel underwear, big watches and chains--chopped wood for stoves--bathed sometimes once a week--drank ten-cent whisky and five-cent beer--rode bicycles, buggies or sleighs--went in for politics and worked 12 hours a day--and lived to a ripe old age.
Stores burned coal-oil lamps--carried everything from a needle to a plow--trusted everybody--never took inventory--placed order for goods a year in advance--always had money.
1936Today women wear silk stockings, short skirts, low shoes, no corsets, an ounce of underwear--have bobbed hair, smoke, paint and powder, drink cocktails, play bridge and drive cars, have pet dogs, and go in for politics.
Men have high blood pressure, wear no hats and some no hair, shave their whiskers, shoot golf, bathe twice a day, drink poison, play the stock market, ride in airplanes--never go to bed the same day they get up--are misunderstood at home--work five hours a day, play ten--die young.
Stores have electric lights, cash registers, elevators, never have what the customer wants--trust nobody--take inventory daily--never buy in advance--have overhead--markup--mark down--quota--budget--advertising--stock control--annual, semiannual, end-of-month, dollar day, founder's day, rummage, economy day sales--and never make any money.
The Tattler, Medford, July 17, 1936, page 3 SOHS M46C Box 1
In the Northwest of three decades ago, the older natives often told me that the region had sadly deteriorated in the matter both of honesty, and of friendliness, that those sterling characteristics had gradually all but disappeared with the passing of the frontier, whenever that was. Doors with locks, they vowed, had been unknown in that golden time. Everybody's coat and pottage could be had for the asking, even without the asking, if need were apparent, back in pioneer days. I never believed these assertions for a moment. I had grown up in the same sort of mythology in New England. There, so it was made to appear, the honesty and neighborliness which had disappeared in the era of Grover Cleveland had been common enough when John Quincy Adams was President; and had been even more prevalent, and of much better quality, in the times of Plymouth Plantation. No magic I know of is so wondrous as that worked by time on the memories of men.
Stewart H. Holbrook, Far Corner, 1952, quoted in Ellis Lucia, This Land Around Us, 1969, page 26
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Or maybe not:
With what avidity we used to devour and ponder over the thrilling stories of pioneer adventure! And how our juvenile heart would almost lose pulsation as with breathless attention we listened to the recital of hair-breadth escapes and marvelous feats performed by our good old grandsire in the early days of Kentucky! The time will be, however, when the scenes attendant upon the first settlements in the western states [i.e., the Ohio Valley] will seem tame and commonplace in comparison with the wonderful things men have done in California. When a few more years shall have passed away, some gifted chronicler of events will probably gather up the incidents of '49 and '50, and future generations will read them as a page of living romance.
"The Early Days," Placerville Index, quoted in Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 22, 1858, page 4
THE AGE OF WONDERS.A recent English writer, reviewing the scientific and industrial achievement of the past half century, calls this "the age of wonders," and refers as follows to a few out of the many modern marvels that fully justify the appellation:
We have seen a substance which our ancestors proudly used to obliterate a pencil mark so molded to our use as to make man almost an amphibious animal; a noxious vapor, from which they would turn with disgust, made the means of a brilliant light, which enables the night almost to rival the day. We have seen the surgeon's knife, to them an instrument of necessary torture, divested of its horror by a discovery which gives a temporary insensibility to pain, which enables the suffering patient to wake from nothing more than a troubled dream and find that over, under which, without this, his fortitude might have faltered, or his constitution sunk. We have seen a power which is inexhaustible so long as the elements of fire and water remain, the effects of which our grandmothers may have witnessed with a sigh, when terminating, by a sudden crash, the serene music of their teakettles; but which, by the combined effort of modern science, has become the very hands and feet of the world, the great and almost universal manufacturer for man; the great propeller by which we rival the flight of the bird, and which so unites the human family that degrees of latitude and longitude are little more than milestones on the great highway of the world. And, lastly, we have seen that subtle power which our ancestors recognized only in the minute spark of the electric circle transformed into the faithful, untiring agent of the human mind, bearing its thought from one end of a vast continent to the other with an accuracy which would be in vain looked for in any other messenger, and with a speed which far outstrips the action of the mind which formed them. "Quick as thought" will not do now to express the greatest speed, and "quick as lightning" has become a practical, not merely a figurative expression.
The West Shore, Portland, August, 1879, page 242
What Your Great-Grandmother Did.
She betcheled the flax and carded the wool, and wove the linen, and spun the tow, and made the clothes for her husband and ten children. She made butter and cheese, she dipped tallow candles to light the house at night, and she cooked all the food for her household by an open fireplace and a brick oven. Yes; and when she was forty years of age she was already an old lady whose best days were over. Her shoulders were bent and her joints enlarged by hard work, and she wore spectacles and a cap. Her great-granddaughter, with all the modern conveniences for comfort, refinement and luxury, may be as charming and attractive at forty-five as at twenty. Especially is this true if she preserves her health and beauty by the use of Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription, which wards off all female ailments and irregularities, keeps the life current healthful and vigorous, and enables the woman of middle age to retain the freshness of girlhood upon brow and cheek, the light of youth in her eyes, and its elasticity in her step. Sold by all druggists.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 21, 1893, page 2
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
One hundred years ago a man could not take a ride on a steamboat.
He could not go from Washington to New York in a few hours.
He had never heard of a Pullman palace car porter.
He had never seen an electric light or dreamed of an electric car.
He could not make a cake of ice as big as a lump of sugar.
He could not cool himself under an electric fan or warm himself at a steam radiator.
He could not send a telegram.
He could not talk through a telephone, and he had never heard of the hello girl.
He had never seen a shirt waist or a rainy-day skirt.
He could not ride a bicycle.
He could not call in a stenographer and dictate a letter.
He never received a typewritten communication.
No matter how grave a crime he committed he could never be electrocuted for it.
He had never heard of the germ theory or worried over bacilli and bacteria.
He had never looked pleasant before a photographer or had his picture taken.
He wouldn't have known a complex lens from a jinrikisha.
He had never heard of Neptune and Ceres.
He couldn't measure the distance between the stars.
He had heard of oxygen, but would not have understood an allusion to liquid air.
He had never heard of the molecular constitution of matter, or the conservation of energy, and did not know that he was descended from a monkey.
He was aware that there was such a thing as electricity, but looked upon it as a germ.
He never heard a phonograph talk or saw a kinetoscope turn out a prize fight.
He never saw through a Webster's unabridged dictionary with the aid of a Roentgen x-ray.
He had never taken a ride in the elevator
He had never imagined such a thing as a typesetting machine or a typewriter.
He had never used anything but a wooden plow.
He had never seen his wife use a sewing machine.
He had never struck a match on his pants or anything else.
He had never seen a searchlight or drunk a cocktail.
He couldn't take an anesthetic and have his leg cut off without feeling it.
He knew nothing of geology because geology knew nothing of itself.
He had never visited a free library.
He had never purchased a ten-cent magazine, which would have been regarded as a miracle of art.
He could not buy a paper for a nickel and learn everything that had happened the day before all over the world.
He had never crossed an iron bridge or traveled in a public omnibus.
He had never sailed through the Suez Canal.
He had never used a deadly explosive or tried smokeless powder.
In short, there were several things that he could not do and several things he did not know.
Medford Enquirer, January 5, 1901, page 1
A. W. Sturgis--"I have only one kick coming and that is that I can't live fifty years longer and see what the progress of the world will be then. In the seventy-odd years that I have been on earth there have been many advances, and in the next fifty--well, I would like to see them, that's all. When I was a youngster, it was in the 'good old days' some people say they regret, but I don't. Then the wool was spun by hand in the country communities and wove by hand, also. The hum of the spinning wheel and the bang of the loom was continuous, and after she had woven the cloth the housewife must fashion them into clothing for her growing brood of boys and girls. It is true that cloth wore like iron. It had to. It wasn't possible to give a boy more than one suit in two years, and when he outgrew them they passed on to the next smallest and then on down. No, they can have the good old days those that want them, but I've been there, and I've had enough. Then we thought it was rapid transit if we got a paper published a hundred miles away in less than three or four days. Now we abuse the postal authorities, the railroads and everybody else we dare to when we don't have our daily [paper] from Portland or San Francisco, with all the happenings of the world, in the morning. Fifty years from now I figure the people will be as much farther ahead of us in conveniences as we are ahead of the people of fifty years ago. They will have means of transportation that will distance our fast trains as bad as they distance the old stage coach, means of communication that will make the telephone and telegraph seem slow, and they will read the history of this age with pity for our benighted ignorance and lack of knowledge of higher civilization, even as we read the history of the middle ages."
"Things Told on the Street," Medford Mail, November 15, 1907, page 6
Last revised July 11, 2021