This morning, I read a piece off the hometown newspaper where I grew up from 7 December 1961. In those days, it was fairly common that every community in the county would have a column....maybe 40 to 60 lines that would lay out the news of that community.
It'd typically read; The such-and-such club held a coffee-social over at home of Ms Jones, Forty ladies gathered with various cakes and pies. The son of Will and Ann Frederick arrived home after the semester ended at Texas Tech. A tree fell on the car of Martin Fulks last Saturday, causing a complete loss, and he is reported to be looking at a new Ford. The widow Norris has installed a new air conditioning system into her house .
I can still remember my dad pulling out these articles and pointing out names mentioned in these columns.
At some point in the early 1970s....they started to disappear. It's hard to say the reason for the end.
I will admit that the clubs often mentioned (the Saturday Social Club, the Home Demonstration Club, etc) all started to disappear in the 1970s. I will also admit that by the early 1980s....lives were more complicated with the gossip being less-friendly and more problematic. One might also agree that stories were getting to a point of where you couldn't tell the whole story without someone getting offended.
If you were to try running one of these local community columns today?
- The Widow Hanks had her nephew visiting, after six months in a Dallas jail for meth distribution. Warren says he's on a new track and just looking for a full-time job.
- A fight broke out as the Home Demonstration Club met at the home of Wanda Sinyard. Witnesses say that several ladies had tossed back shots of Tequila and made offensive comments toward Ms Richards and her new Mexican boyfriend. Police settled the social meeting and arrested two of the ladies for 4th degree assault.
- Cindy Pruitt took up with the Piggly Wiggly manager (sixteen years older than her) and has gotten a $700 tattoo to note her affection for the guy.
- Ronny Jones returned home after six weeks at the University of Florida. It's noted that he was invited to leave the university and not come back.
- Mr and Mrs Smith announced that they will be divorcing shortly. Mr Smith had taken up with the new UPS lady driver, and Mrs Smith was going to start a new relationship with a British cook.
By the time you throw in the gutter gossip, the drug-thug news, break-ins, off-and-on marriage woes, financial issues, and secret affairs going on....our local communities have become something that we'd rather not discuss much except behind closed doors.
It is a bold new era that we live in. Some folks might go and wish upon some simpler time or return to a wholesome era.....but I kinda doubt that it's possible now. We've permanently lost our innocence.