Sometimes, when things seem too overwhelming in the present, I retreat to the past.
Things weren't any better then, despite what people might think, but it kind of gives me comfort to see some of the awful things from the past that we survived.
A trip through the old files is always an interesting experience. Odd, I know, but in July 1917 there were American troops arriving in France for World War I, where many of them would die. There were an unknown number of people killed in race riots in East St. Louis. The News-Democrat included a lurid account of a miner killing himself in front of his family by drinking carbolic acid.
Exactly how does this help, you might be wondering?
Actually, I think it's the other stuff in the paper, which is entertaining, that I like best, like the shoe store advertisement touting shoes for women with "stout ankles."
Or the predictions that didn't come true, such as when the Rev. Drewes came to town with his revival, foretelling the end of the world.
"Last evening he declared that everything indicates the second coming of Christ -- that the event is near at hand," the paper reported.
"People are becoming lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Hearing profanity is common occurrence. In spite of our boasted morality and civilization, prostitution of every kind, and war and murder are the fruitful topics of daily papers," Drewes told his listeners.
Yet, somehow we survived.
1917 was a time of double standards.
Another story reported how two Belleville policemen raided an establishment in Bressler Alley said to be burning the red light, a euphemism for prostitution.
They arrested the owner, a Mademoiselle Owens, three young women said to be working there and six men who apparently were their customers.
"The men were released and their names withheld by the police, but the women were fined by Justice Lautz," the article read. "The entire bill, amounting to $72.50, was paid by Mme. Owens."
And we know that profession survived but occasionally now the men get fined as well as the women.
On a lighter note, a St. Clair County assistant state's attorney and his young woman friend eloped for a marriage by a priest in Ruma, but found her mother and brother there when they arrived. The woman was a stenographer in the attorney's law office. The marriage still went off without a hitch.
No word on whether either relative was toting a shotgun, though.
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The injured goose at Bellevue Park that I wrote about last week has been captured and is undergoing rehabilitation at Treehouse Wildlife Center in Dow, Ill. The fishing line binding the goose has been cut and its leg freed. The bird will be examined for any problems and released back into the lake if possible.
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