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August 23, 2002

If you were reading a copy of The Perry Daily Journal on Monday, May 14, 1934, you would have learned that the Poor Boys club and the Lions club were to meet in a charity donkey baseball game at the fairgrounds. The paper did not say who would be the beneficiary, but the page one story did state that the Poor Boys thought the Lions were too old to be much good at the game. Responding to that charge, J.E. (Tiny) Lang of the Lions club assured the public that certain members of his club were very adept at donkey jockeying. The article added that there had been rumors about the Poor Boys, too, claiming that they had “arranged for the rent of a donkey in order to become accustomed to fielding balls with both feet off the ground.”

Elsewhere on the front page was a brief story about the Perry high school band playing in Oklahoma City for the annual convention (district conference) of Rotarians in this district. The band, directed by Professor Leopold Radgowsky, had 42 members. The Perry club registered 100 percent attendance at the conference.

In another story, the newspaper gave a rundown on the Perry high school commencement exercises, scheduled for that week in the PHS auditorium. Bob Donaldson was to give the valedictory address and Ruth Hauer was to give the salutatory. Lucille Ritthaler would play a violin solo and Harry Donaldson of the Perry board of education (father of Bob) would present the diplomas. Rev. O.L. Shelton, minister of the Ponca City Christian church, was to be the guest speaker.

Coverage of school events continued in another story, telling that 51 rural school districts in Noble county would have students in the annual eighth grade graduation service scheduled for the following day in the Perry high school auditorium. A total of 155 eighth graders would get their diplomas. The PHS orchestra would play selections, Rev. David Thomas would give the invocation, Joe Osborne would give the salutatory address, Aleen Plumer would play a cello solo, Rachel Adams would give the valedictory address, Frank Ley would play a trumpet solo with James Parker as accompanist, the commencement address by Dr. J.C. Muerman would follow, diplomas would be handed out by Allen Fitchett, county superintendent, and James Parker would play the recessional. (How many of us remember when the rural school eighth grade graduation program was such a big event?)

The back page of that edition had a half-page ad for Camel cigarettes featuring a large photo of Frank (“Bring ‘em Back Alive”) Buck with a ringing endorsement of the brand. (For those of you not familiar with the name, Mr. Buck was a celebrated animal trapper who specialized in bagging exotic and ferocious beasts in the heart of Africa.) On the same page were smaller ads from the Brownie Drug Co., operated by Charlie Watson, offering the new $5 Sheaffer’s Feathertouch fountain pen, and an ad by our family business, the City Drug Store, announcing that “an up-to-date radio service was now available at the store three days a week.” The service was provided by G.E. Prout, “government licensed radio engineer, representing Sargent’s Jewelry and Radio Service of Ponca City.”

And that’s how things were, on May 14, 1934, in Perry America. Thanks to Virginia Gengler for providing a copy of that day’s newspaper.