Wayne Russell who lives near Harrisburg recently sent me the
July, 1956, issue of "Farm Journal and Country
Gentleman" because he found my letter to the editor there.
The drought was severe 42 years ago, and farm wives were sing-ing
the blues. My letter was sort of a rebuttal:
"We are farmers who aren’t singing the blues. Come
what may with prices, allotments, soil banks, parities and
subsidies, my husband and I still feel we’re in for our best
"In spite of the price tragedy and three drouth years,
we’ve gone into debt to add five rooms to our house;
we’ve bought a movie camera and projector; we’ve taken
a trip to old Mexico and built a small swimming pool.
"Crazy? We don’t think so. Our children are five and
seven. They belong to us now but in 10 years they’ll belong
to the world. So we’re going to enjoy life with our young
ones while we have them and worry about the mortgage when they
leave the nest.... When they are in college we’ll need
something to keep us busy; the mortgage will do just that. To us
that saying about don’t put off till
tomorrow...’ means don’t put off living. We’re
looking forward to our next 10 years!
I should have mentioned that farming was not our only income.
But we were brave to buy and do the things we did at the time.
Wayne attached a note saying, "The September Issue says that
Sue won $25 savings bond for most reader votes for her
letter." I had forgotten.
Through the years, I’ve sent letters to the local papers.
Columbia was slow to get a second public swimming pool.
Fayette, Jefferson City and Fulton had pools, and Columbia people
drove to those towns to swim. The Water and Light cooling tank
was converted into a huge swimming pool, 175 feet long and 85
feet wide. This outdoor facility was extremely popular in summers
but it was closed for good after the 1945 season. It was thought
to be irreparable because untreated water from an adjacent lake
continually forced its way up into the pool through cracks in the
east end, which was nine feet deep.
My suggested solution for the problem came too late. It was
scheduled to serve as the base for the new cooling tower.
Many letters supported the idea of a year round facility. With
perseverance and patience, the Hickman High School pool was the
Here’s a part of a letter to the editor that I wrote one
year in late summer:
"We found it possible to shell out a few
twenties’ for fireworks to make kids happy on the
Fourth of July. Now let’s send an equal amount to Ronald
McDonald House to make these other kids happy."
Sometimes I’ve written letters opposing things:
"Don’t give my husband whisky for Christmas." It
was accumulating in his liquor locker from one year’s eggnog
to the next.
To oppose legalized gambling I quoted my Uncle Jess, who was a
card shark and operator of various tables in Tijuana, Mexico,
gambling houses. He said, "Don’t leave Missouri in a
gambling mess for your descendants. It will take generations to
clean it up!"
I also quoted a small-town banker who said gamblers are
cashing welfare checks to get gambling money. Free liquor on the
boats opens billfolds and pocketbooks. It also increases the
number of drunks in the 24-hour traffic snarl.
The interaction of readers with editors and other readers
seems to be at an all-time high, just now. I find that Trib Talk
and letters to the editor are high on my reading list, after
I’ve read "Zits" on the comic page, of course!