March 9, 1999
Once again the readers provide enough interesting tidbits for one of these columns. Serving that purpose today is a copy of the November 16, 1953, edition of The Perry Daily Journal, found by Mike Shannon in a storage room at his Foster's Corner Drug Store on the east side of the square, and passed along to me.
The big local news items of that day were the start of the annual membership drive of the Perry Chamber of Commerce via a mail appeal and the kickoff of the final phase of the 1954 Boy Scout finance drive. This was a time when the local United Fund effort was in limbo and Perry citizens were contacted almost monthly for contributions to some worthy organization.
At the Chamber of Commerce, Dale B. Ream was secretary-manager. He was directing plans for mailing 383 letters soliciting membership dues to raise funds for a 1954 budget of $12,500. C-C memberships were sold in units costing $20 each. A drive kickoff banquet was scheduled at the First Christian church social hall. Al Bollinger, an officer at the Exchange Bank, was president-elect of the chamber for the coming calendar year.
Heading up the Boy Scout finance drive, which had a goal of between $1,200 to $1,500, was B.N. (Buck) Goolsby, chairman of the campaign. Mr. Goolsby was part of the management team at Dotts Hardware, owned by Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Dotts, parents of Mr. Goolsby's wife, Bonnie. At the time, Perry had four Boy Scout troops, two Cub Scout packs, and one Scout Explorer post. The local Scout organization was part of the Pioneer district in the Will Rogers Scout council. Perry men on the Will Rogers council were Bert W. Byerley, vice president; E.L. (Bert) Con, chairman of the camping and activities committee; and H.C. Donahue, Charles Monroe Jr. and Leo Johnson, members. Perry members of the Pioneer district board of directors were Paul Hathaway, E.W. Benedict, Leo Johnson, Bill Parker, Bob Donahue, Ray Baughman, Emmett Rosser and Dr. Charles Martin. Out of all those local names, only Dr. Martin is still a Perry resident, and to his credit he is still an active member of the Boy Scout program.
Another page one story in that yellowing old newspaper related that Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. was distributing new city phone directories to local patrons. The new phone books listed 1,388 residential phones in Perry plus 96 extensions; and 380 business phones with 207 extensions. In addition, 362 rural phones were part of the Perry exchange. Of the latter, 108 were on eight-party lines and 236 were on what was called multiple party lines. (Eight-party lines weren't multiple lines?)
Other things were going on in this bustling little prairie city that week. We were all set to host the state convention of the Anti-Thief Association, with an estimated 175 delegates expected. It was the second consecutive year for the convention in Perry. Ralph Vance of Perry was president of Foster lodge, the local organization, and also served as national treasurer of the ATA at the time. Leo Rolling was heading up the ticket sales committee for the group's banquet in the First Methodist church. Other members of his committee were Byron Bartow, Adolph Zavodny, Ralph Vance, Jess Osborne and Kenneth Blecha.
As you can see, a lot of things were going in Perry and it took a lot of manpower to make everything click. Not much has changed in that regard, but nowadays the names of today's civic workers are different and many of them are ladies, not men. Thanks to Mike Shannon for this interesting bit of nostalgia.