A day in 1938


On October the 7th 2016 I turned 78 years old. I hesitate saying I will celebrate that fact, but I will acknowledge it. I will celebrate the fact that my family and I will be together to mark the occasion, but due to the fire hazard aspect my wife has went to numbers on my birthday cakes instead of all those candles several years ago. I do thank God for allowing me to be here this long, so I can enjoy my family all the way up to great grandchildren.

As I was looking through the Sedalia Democrat’s archives at the Library one day, I decided to look up what was happening on the day of my birth. I already knew I was the most important thing that happened in my family that day, but I wanted to see what other earth shattering news had been made on Oct. 7, 1938. The archives have a lot of information about all the important things that happened in Sedalia and around the world on that day, with one major exception, but I guess their reporters couldn’t be at Bothwell Hospital that day.

The front page stories on Oct. 7, 1938 included one about a man named Adam Richetti, a man who went to the gas chamber for his part in the infamous Kansas City Massacre. The article said he was a companion of Pretty Boy Floyd. There was also a sports article with the headline “Cubs beat Yanks” and a little box with a factoid in it that said a Grasshopper can jump 100 times its length. Sports and grasshoppers must have been a lot more important in the thirties, because you seldom see them on the front page anymore. On page six there was an article about Adolph Hitler being annoyed at people throwing flowers at him every where he went. Apparently someone with great aim had hit him in the face, injuring him. The article didn’t say if the man forgot to remove the flower from the pot, but from our perspective today we could wish it had been something heavier.

An article on the religious page written by D Carl Yoder said parents shouldn’t worry if a child is selfish at a young age, because most grow out of it. This should ease many mothers’ minds.

In the comic strips Alley Oop was taking a friend for a dinosaur ride, Wash Tubbs was trying to help Captain Easy regain his memory, and the Peanuts gang and Marmaduke were nowhere around.

The most interesting thing I found in the paper was the 1938 prices which even taking inflation into account looked cheap. You could have rented an apartment on Wilkerson Avenue the day I was born for $3.00 a week, or you

could have bought a 5 room home for $495.00. A ton of coal to heat the home was only $4.00, and a six year old car at Holland Motors at 206 East 3rd Street was priced at $165.00. I looked for it, but I guess they sold it already.

Dad could have celebrated my birth with a fried chicken dinner at Wenner Bros Cut Rate Drug located at 400 South Ohio for just a quarter, including dessert. The advertisement did not say if the tip was also included.

For those who needed it a bar of lifebuoy soap was on sale for 3 cents with a coupon at Star Cut Rate Drugs. A pint of gin could also be bought there for 89 cents. (For medicinal purposes of course.)

There were a lot more news items in the newspaper the day I was born but I searched everywhere for the announcement of my arrival to no avail. You would think a story like that would have gotten its own box on the front page right next to that grasshopper story.

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Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.

Sedalia Democrat

Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.

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