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January 9, 1996

Rummaging through some of my disorganized files the other day, I came across a four-page section of The Perry Daily Journal dated Thursday, July 7, 1938. The reason it was still in my file in the first place is not clear, but I found it interesting and hopefully you will, too.

The pages were numbered three, four, five and six. In those days page three was the Women's Page, same as now. The principal story there in this issue was about a miscellaneous shower that had been held the previous day in the Presbyterian church honoring Miss Lucille Ritthaler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Al Ritthaler. Miss Ritthaler and William Clarence Graham were to be married on July 11 in the home of her parents at 609 Ivanhoe street. Rev. David Thomas of the Presbyterian church was to read the marriage vows. Hostesses for the shower were Mrs. Nina Bowman, Mrs. J. H. Vandenberg, Mrs. S. E. Laird, Mrs. W. H. Kirchner, Mrs. T. O. Munger, Mrs. Harry Donaldson, Mrs. R. W. Treeman and Mrs. C. E. Edgar.

A column of news from Red Rock community was on the same page, written by Mrs. Lillie Wieland, and her phone number was given as 64-F-55 for the benefit of area residents who had news to call in. Mrs. Wieland also wrote up the Red Rock news for the Ponca City News. One of her items in The Journal that day stated that Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Dickson had been shopping and visiting in Perry the previous Saturday.

Page four that day was the editorial page, or features page. The masthead listed W. K. Leatherock as editor and publisher, but no other staff members were named. A small box beneath the masthead contained the quotation: "If you would avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing." Sound familiar? It's at the top of page one on each of today's Journals and has been for years. Also on page four were to local editorials, one claiming that patches of Noble county's corn crop reached from 8 to 15 feet high. The All American Corn Processing Co. will be glad to know that we used to raise a lot of corn in this county.

The other editorial that day focused on Perry's good fortune in having an ample supply of good water. A two-column editorial cartoon related to congressional approval of a $12 billion farm appropriations measure. Also on the page was a two-column sports cartoon about the Poughkeepsie Regatta (always followed with great interest in Perry); also, a story about the semi-pro Perry Merchants' 15-4 victory over the Enid Eason Oilers and their upcoming game with the Stillwater Boomers (Roy Winkler was expected to pitch for Perry). A column of baseball standings showed the Merchants to be in third place in the Northern Oklahoma league, trailing first place Fairfax and the second place Boomers. Enid, Crescent and Blackwell rounded out the league.

Page five contained general news and page six had a column of news from Billings, written by Mrs. A. L. Herde (telephone 919-F251). She reported that the wheat harvest there was nearly finished and that most fields made from 6 to 14 bushels per acre, although some reported 20 bushels. Mrs. Herde also announced that Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kasper had sold their grocery store to Mr. and Mrs. Mack Lewis and that the Kaspers planned to do some traveling.

Those were all interesting to me, but the thing that really struck me was the turnover in advertising accounts that has occurred in the 57-year interval since then.

A state-wide election was coming up so there were a few political ads, such as: W. S. Key, Democratic candidate for governor, with a quarter-page ad; Henry S. Johnston and, Judge W. M. Bowles were to speak that night in the public square, with music by "the Perry Band," according to a small ad; Robert L. Smith, Democrat for secretary of state, and Will Rogers (not the comedian), seeking reelection as congressman at large, each had a small ad.

These were the big advertisers: The Famous Department Store, more than a half-page ad; Safeway, less than a half page; smaller ads from Barge's Grocery, Galaway's Grocery, Johnson's Grocery, Wilson's Cash Grocery; Dotts Appliance Co., Hamous & Hopper Pharmacy, Monroe-Lang Hardware, Marcy Furniture Exchange, Brownie Drug, Marie Catherine Beauty Shop, Smith's Variety Store, Donaldson & Yahn Lumber Dealers, First National Bank, Frisco Railway, Col. Sherm Trussel and Col. Otto Hirschman, auctioneers, and Dr. O. W. Boyer, Dr. F. C. Seids and Dr. A. M. Crowder, dentists. I'm sure you noticed right away, as I did, that of that group, the only advertisers still in existence today are Donaldson & Yahn, with new ownership, and the First Bank, which is no longer a national bank.

Yes, that is quite a turnover, but come to think of it, 57 years is a pretty big time span. Our town's merchants have changed and so have we. Time marches on!