Then She Ate Some Pie and Went to Bed


On Friday, I had lunch in Spencer with a friend, did some shopping (at Wal-Mart), and attended to some business affairs (got our farm in the system at the county Farm Service Agency office). By the time I was done and got back to Walton, there was just no sense driving the two and a half miles down our rocky road and through three creeks–and back–to be at home for a short time, so I spent an hour hanging with Georgia. (Are you new here? Have you not read about Georgia?) The kids get off the bus right next door, at the old farmhouse. (And if you don’t know about the old farmhouse, you really need to go here and read the Old Farmhouse Tour archives.) Plus, I haven’t spent enough time with Georgia lately and you never know what she’s up to. You have to keep on top of her. She might be out climbing a ladder into a tree or something if you don’t watch her. (I don’t make this stuff up!!)

She’d come across some things she’d set aside for me to look at and she got them for me. One of those things was this newspaper.
It was the December 1, 1960 edition of our county newspaper. She’d wanted me to see it because it had an article about the hard-won election to the sheriff’s office of my great-uncle, C.W. “Doc” Dye.
Back then, the paper cost five cents.
Actually, the article about my great-uncle was kinda boring. But! Wow! A newspaper from 1960. I was enthralled. You know, in that I’m-trying-to-kill-an-hour kinda way. Look at the ads! I loved the ads.
The paper really felt very 1950-ish to me. But, it was only just barely into the 60s, and after all, this was a small town paper in a very rural county. It was still 1950 here.
The movie showing at the Robey that week was Elmer Gantry.
“BLESS HIM! DAMN HIM! Tens of thousands of believers shouted his praises! Three women damned his soul!” Starring: Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons. (Co-starring Shirley Jones.) The Robey disclaimer: The Management of the Robey Theatre DOES NOT Recommend this Movie for Anyone under 16. (This must have been before standardized ratings.) See more about the historic theater here. (Over 100 years old, it is one of the longest continuously operating movie theaters in the U.S.)

The classifieds were pretty interesting. Look! A 1947 Dodge sedan. Check out the phone number. THREE numbers. 291.
Let’s all call him.

I’m worried about this Hereford steer. I hope they found it.
In other news, they were still talking about the presidential election. Nixon beat Kennedy in Roane County.
A bizarre accident was reported (not to mention the bizarre reporting). “Miss Penny Stephens, a Dental Hygiene student at West Liberty State College and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Stewart Stephens of Parkersburg Road, Spencer, suffered painful, but not serious injuries when she fell from an automobile near West Liberty Wednesday of last week. She was on her way here for the Thanksgiving holiday. The car door flew open on a curve and Miss Stephens careened to the roadway. The vehicle was traveling very slowly when the mishap occurred, but Miss Stephens was bruised nearly all over from her shoulders to her knees.”
I think somebody pushed her. Don’t you?

And… “What can be a better choice for this season of the year than the tangy goodness of a fresh apple pie?”
The article goes on to suggest that the secret of perfect pastry is a package of your favorite pie crust mix. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

The secret to perfect pie crust is right here.

And then I found the Personals and if I wasn’t already enthralled for real, I was then.
I love the personals! No, it’s not Single White Female stuff. It’s 1950s personals. It’s GOSSIP!!

“Mr. Ralph Carper of Walton was attending to business affairs in town last Wednesday.”

In case Mrs. Carper was wondering where he was.

“Mr. and Mrs. John Dye [one of my dad’s cousins] and son Carson were visiting in Akron, Ohio this past week with Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Young.”

“Mr. and Mrs. M.K. Giersch and children, Margaret Ann and Fred of South Charleston were Thanksgiving guests of Mr. and Mrs. O.F. deGruyter.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Clay Miller will leave Thursday for a two-week Caribbean cruise.” BRAGGING MUCH? And oh, for the innocence of December, 1960 where this didn’t represent an invitation to burglary.

“Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Moss and grandchildren of Newton were shopping in town last Friday.”

And on and on, an entire HALF-PAGE of gossip. So can I just say……..

Ms. Suzanne McMinn of Walton attended to business affairs and lunched in town on Friday followed by shopping. THEN SHE ATE SOME PIE AND WENT TO BED.

I’m so sending that to the paper.


  1. Leah says:

    That old news is interesting. The personals sounds like us chatting on What are you doing with your day on the forum,ha,ha!

  2. Debbie in Memphis says:

    I love reading old newspapers. My grandmother used to save the papers with “big stories” in them. Of course, she also saved egg cartons and aluminum foil…but that’s a different story 😆 but y’all should have seen the stuff we found in her smoke house and attic after she passed. Heavens have mercy!

    What’s really neat is that you don’t even need a Personals column in the paper to send your story to. This blog is your own private Personals column 😀

  3. coffeejitters (Judy Haley) says:

    this is too coool! I just love old newspaper with a look at how life was so different

  4. CindyP says:

    I love finding old papers……when we were doing some remodeling (complete gutting) of our house there were LOTS of newspapers in the walls……I sat for hours reading the news of the 50’s. My husband then finally took the papers from me and put them up for later reading — he wasn’t much into reading and just couldn’t figure out why I wanted to read OLD news!!

    Remember, store bought pie crust was the big thing!! they’d been making it by hand for years, and whudda thunk you could buy one that was just as good!! I’ve given your recipe to my mom, WHO CANNOT MAKE A GOOD PIECRUST, so hopefully before she dies (her words) she can make a good piecrust!

  5. Michelle Willingham says:

    I have a BOX full of old newspapers from the 1960’s that I had laminated. I used to put them out for the kids to read when they were finished with their tests. It was SO HARD to keep them quiet. They went ballistic over the prices of clothes and toys. And they still went straight for the comics.

    Stories about Kennedy’s assassination and the moon landing? Meh. they wanted to know about how much a car cost back then. :devil2: Can’t say I blamed them.

  6. Cathy J. says:

    I loved your post today! Thanks, again for a good day’s start!

  7. jane says:

    Love the old news! Is there a story line in there? I can still hear my grandmother say her phone number when she answered the phone – it was 3 numbers. My phone as a child began with OR and then 4 numbers. Loved the personals- the fashion, Nixon!!! Well we know the rest of that story – I use to live in a small rural farming and ranching town in West Texas ( that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent – me) and they still have the personals in their paper – only it is way longer and more in depth – half the time I could not figure out what is going on, who is this? They all wrote in about their vacations too – like we didnt already know – I mean only 5000 in town an all. I sure do think using this paper find from Georgia, the personals and ads here – you have your next book.

  8. Christine says:

    LOL, sad thing is my little hometown STILL has that kind of reporting complete with the personals. 😆

  9. Ulli says:

    LOVE the personals in the paper! I grew up in the Akron, OH area (with a couple years in Parkersburg/Vienna WV) and worked at Goodyear for several years. We used to say Akron was the capital of WV because so many people came up to work in the tire/rubber factories. True! Half the teachers in my high school were from WV. Gotta love the good old days…

  10. Becky says:

    What a find! I love reading old newspapers. Makes you wonder about life in those days.

  11. Stacia says:

    Small town papers are still like that. Even though I’ve NEVER lived in the town where my Grandma does (pop. 700), there was a write-up in the paper when I had my baby. Every time we visit her, or she visits us, it ends up in the paper. Of course, I think my mom’s cousin works for the paper.

  12. Remudamom says:

    Our small town paper still does this. After grandma’s birthday the paper said “Julia celebrated her 75th birthday with cake and ice cream and her grandchildren, who played the guitar and sang for her.

  13. Cathy J. says:

    Congratulations on your photo in Taste Spotting!

  14. Kacey says:

    OH, I love, love to read the “gossip” stuff from small town newspapers. The town my dad grew up in still does that stuff. And what’s even better? They have a 50 years ago section! So we get to read about things that were happening when my grandparents were still there. Very fun.

  15. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I worked for the local newspaper that had a newspaper morgue in the basement that included papers from as far back as 120 years ago! It was fascinating to go down there and read.

    I miss the personals, or “society” columns from back then, especially in the southern newspapers. They elevated gossip and hoity-toity “news” to a fantastic level. My mother’s niece would positively be beside herself when we visited because she could have the newspaper cover the event. People visiting from the big city? It was BIG news. HA.

    Thanks for linking to the pie crust recipe. I’m planning to make some chicken pot pie this evening. And anyway, life is all about the pie.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  16. Linda says:

    I live in a small town only 2 papers a week and they still put this in a church section and they also have a hundred years ago section that my mom likes to read and find things in about her family. I aiways wondered where they found it. I guess they must have a hundred year old arcive.

  17. Kim W says:

    Loved the Personals – I was thinking the same thing about the ‘invitation to burglary.’ Ha! I’ll bet they left all their doors and windows unlocked during their whole trip, too. I miss those days.

    Blessings from Ohio…

  18. Abiga/karen says:

    Once again a very clever idea to write about. :snoopy: That was neat. I used to like to read papers that were wrapped around stored items in my mom’s attic years ago. Sadly we have none left now. Blessings.
    P.S. We have our two mama goats now. I hope we can end up milking them after the kids are born as they do not like us to touch their udders. We are trying to get them used to it. They are so friendly and fun.

  19. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    What a fun discovery for a long wait for the kids! Like some of the other posters, I can tell you that my sister’s small town in PA still has the “gossip” personals.

    I think we’re all wondering if Clover has called her Mom! Maybe she should put something in the paper! Would it be “Lady goat held against her will by wild western ram begs to return home to her children” or “Satisfied lady goat decides to extend her visit with Cowboy?”

  20. Laura says:

    My grandma still writes a column for the local weekly paper that is little more than gossip. We finally had to convince her that she shouldn’t report that people went on vacation until AFTER they came back. It had never dawned on her that crimals would read her report.

  21. KCRanch says:

    When we redid the kitchen in our old (100+) farmhouse we found a layer of 1921 newspaper used as liner under the first layer of linoleum. That was a fun read for us.

  22. trish says:

    “I think she was pushed” had me laughing so hard!!!! I love this blog.

    Have a great day!!!

  23. catslady says:

    I can’t believe they used the word “damn” :bugeyed:

  24. TSannie/annbb says:

    Pie before bed is always a very good thing. I have a personals column my M-I-L saved from the ’50’s telling all about her big adventure traveling 20 miles to her sister’s house for a visit. O the excitment never ends!

  25. Kaye Manro says:

    Oh wow, Suzanne– how much fun that must have been going through that old newspaper! It’s interesting to note that the movie theatre is still there, gossip still abounds, and a 9th grader at the HS can get his pic in the paper while he makes a shot during a basketball game. (my friend’s kid) Great stuff. A quaint and fun place to live– I love visiting Roane County.

  26. Patty says:

    The newspaper is great! Don’t you just love old finds like that. I especially liked hearing the gossip. That is the true mark of a small town!

  27. lady under the oaks says:

    Love the old newspapers…. There is a little down up in north florida (my mom’s family grew up around there (on a farm!) that has a little newspaper we call the “Daily Astonisher”. Has all this neat stuff – who visited who, anniversaries, wedding, birth, reunions….personals… You do not want to be arrested there because they have it all in black and white what you were charged with and your name and age! We love it even though we no longer claim any relatives in the area….living relatives that is…The cemetery is there…and we can hear the giggles we are sure.

  28. jean says:

    I wish we could go back to that innocent time. I really like the gossip. I also miss the old obituary, they use to tell you what caused the death – heart attack, car accident, wife caught him cheating etc. Oh the good old days.

  29. Runningtrails says:

    lol! You are so funny, Suzanne! Such a dry wit!
    Interesting paper!

  30. Suzette says:

    I love old newspapers! And, since my did was the advertising manager for a smalltown newspaper when I was growing up, I especially love the ads in old newspapers. Thanks for the little trip down memory lane.

    Speaking of such things…don’t you love the wedding announcements in smalltown newspapers? I mean, with the total description of the dresses and flowers and who served as what (including who presided at the guest register and who served the punch).

    It’s America! Pure and simple.

  31. Brandy says:

    Wow! Georgia knows you well. *G*

  32. Tori Lennox says:

    What I want to know is what the heck are “ski pajamas” (in that first picture of ads)???

  33. Susan says:

    My dad was a contractor before he retired and used to bring home the newspapers that people used as insulation in the walls of homes. I loved to go through them! :happyflower:

    How is Annabelle doing?

  34. Lisa Carper Stott says:

    OH SUZANNE!!!! I am so excited to look at this old paper, I have some old checks I found in an antique mall in Ravennna, OH. They are interesting and from the 1940’s! I have several old checks that were wrote to a Harry Starcher. I believe that he owned a auto repair/gas station back then too! I am pretty sure it’s the same Harry Starcher! BUT one more thing, Mr. Ralph Carper was my great uncle, brother to my Grandpa. That’s was neat to see his name on there. I am thinking for genealogical purposes many years down the road, we should keep up the gossip! I am planning the first Carper reunion this May in Amma. I invited Mrs. Carper. Let’s hope she makes it! I so want to tell her about your article!

  35. Winifred says:

    Oh that newspaper was great.

    Never mind the cow that got lost, what about that poor little boy who lost his coat and glasses. He probably got a good hiding from his dad for that. These days it would be cheaper to buy a new coat than place an ad!

  36. Jodie says:

    :woof: Old newspapers especially obits are the genealogist’s friend. I love ’em. And alas I didn’t grow up in a small town. The large ‘burb that I live in now with 250,000 people is the smallest town that I’ve live in. I do long for a farm or rural B&B that I can call home, but my non-tool-using husband would not survive living in the country. He grew up in Detroit of the 50s and 60s, then a major metropolitan area. Now it’s a waste land. He ran a newspaper in a small town in south Texas – The Nixon News. I’ll have to ask him if he printed a gossip column. Thanks for the smile for the day. I love to eat some PIE and go to BED! My hubby makes the best sugar-free pie (he’s diabetic).

  37. Estella says:

    The world was a much simpler place in 1960.

  38. Lola-Dawn says:

    I love old newspapers too! Once my Dad and I ripped a wall down and discovered 40 year old newspapers used as insulation. We spent the next 3 days reading papers instead of finishing the reno job! I had a problem with our local Personals Column writer. In the early 1970s, I went to a baby shower, and she was there to “write it up” – she received invitations to every single social event in town well into her 90s. At that time, I had recently separated from my husband, and didn’t want her to write me up as Mrs His Name. I wanted to be called LD My Name, but she wouldn’t have any part of that. So the guest list that appeared in that week’s Personals Column included all the proper (married) ladies – Mrs George Brown, etc – “and others”. I was those others! Maybe it would have been easier to swallow if a good pie recipe had been included …

  39. Tressa says:

    First – What are ski pajamas? Well, at that price, who cares?!! I’ll take 4 pair.

    Second – I wonder what ever happened to Miss Penny Stephans. I bet she was pushed. YOu should look into this. Inquiring minds want to know.

  40. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    Suzanne – I used the pie crust recipe to make homemade chicken pot pie last night. My son almost fainted from joy when he returned from his 12 hour shift to find one on the kitchen counter for him. It was delicious. I used a mixture of butter flavored and regular Crisco.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  41. Kristin says:

    I loved to read the paper in Maywood, NE when I was a kid because I was always in it! Well, when I would come to visit each summer, it was reported in the paper – Kristin, the granddaughter of Mr & Mrs. W.E. Corlett will be visiting for the next two weeks…and what that also meant was….She will be with her cousin and they will be in some sort of trouble from now until she leaves. LOL It was always harmless trouble, but trouble nonetheless.

    Thanks so much for posting the pictures from the paper. I love the old stuff!

  42. Carly says:

    Oooh Suzanne do you have a picture of the one about John Dye (my grandpa) and Carson (my dad)? I’d love to show it to my sisters – we love that stuff!

    I’m Carson’s oldest, we met at Evelyn Dye’s funeral two years ago and John Dye’s funeral last year, not sure if you remember – LOVE your blog, it’s great to see all the happenings on the farm – especially since I’m stuck up in Ohio on my postage stamp-sized lot in the suburbs of Columbus (someday my husband will be convinced that I need to buy a little bit of land in Roane County)! I also love your recipes- grandmother bread is awesome!

  43. Andrea says:

    I moved from the Reedy/ Spencer area about 5 years ago. I still get home sick. I love reading your blog, it keeps me close to home! Thanks a bunch. Keep up the good work!

  44. Julie says:

    Our little small town paper, The Hartselle Enquirer, still has articles like this. The writer updates everyone on new babies, prayer requests, hospital stays and the like. It makes me thankful for small towns. :sun:

  45. katherine jenson says:

    :sheep: I lived in Rugby, ND in the mid 90’s and like you….the paper read like the 50’s. So and so had dinner at so and so’s. They had meat loaf, green peas, mashed potatoes and gravy and then they played cards until 10:00. Apple pie was served for dessert!

    No kidding. This was the news! I loved it! Thanks for sharing your newspaper…it brought back a lot of funny memories!

  46. katherine jenson says:

    :sheepjump: PS: I wonder if ski pajamas are another name for long johns? Anyone know?

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