Reflections: Comparing December 1932 to today


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



Reading or listening to the national news today can be discouraging and one wonders if we will once again enjoy more pleasant times.

I was scanning a “Morrow County Independent” issue of December, 1932 published 89 years ago and the front page story touched my heart. It was titled “Human Suffering in County Cited by Relief Worker” and it was an interview with Morrow County Red Cross chairwoman, Mrs. E. M. Mathews, who described the “pitiful conditions uncovered in the county.”

This was in the depths of the Depression.

Mathews said “The most pitiful cases in the county are in the homes where babies are born. Instead of picturing the approaching birth of a baby as a blessed event a mother in this county looks upon it in horror. There are no baby clothes to keep it warm and the mother does not receive the proper attention.”

She explained that “only the prompt action of a Red Cross worker in finding a suitable home for an expectant mother kept her baby from being born in a circus wagon in Morrow County!”

She continued, saying Red Cross assistants had discovered one family in the county living in a house with no windows. The wind and rain beat in upon the bare floor. The children ran around in their stocking feet and the family was utterly helpless.

She said: “As the winter blasts began to blow last week, kind neighbors brought window glass, sheet iron and canvas to cover the open windows.” She noted the Red Cross had furnished flour and clothing for this family for many months.

She noted the workers meet people who “last year were sitting on top of the world but today with the head of the family out of work and their meager savings depleted, they are suffering and ashamed to admit it to any relief worker.”

This feature describes the relief given by the Red Cross, from more than two car loads of flour and 3,000 yards of materials given to house wives to be made into sheets and wearing apparel. Mathews also detailed other relief given including men’s trousers, overalls, play suits, knickers and bloomers!

She added that much help had been given by local churches, clubs and individuals.

Those were bad times, but we recovered, and we will recover from this pandemic.

Looking back

70 years ago: Effective Jan. 1, the cost of the penny post card was to be raised to two cents; Walter Kramer purchased the confectionary in downtown Cardington from Leon Longworth; homes in the Riverview addition had telephones installed this month.

50 years ago: Fred Gliem, Lutheran Memorial Camp manager, reported a record low temperature of minus 21 on Jan. 16.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist