According to 1942 files of The Slater News, Ground Hog Day, like many other traditional happenings, still took place even though America was knee-deep in WWII.
On the front page of the Feb. 5, 1942 News, the following story gave central Iowans hope for an early spring and a poke at the pain of heating their homes.
No shadow, but is spring near?
“Mr. Ground Hog, when he ventured out from his winter home last Monday, had no chance whatsoever to see his shadow and if his weather prediction is correct, spring should be just around the corner.
“However, the coal man seems to think otherwise and has his patrons convinced that we’ll have a lot of blustery weather yet and keeps making coal deliveries. Nothing like being on the safe side – plenty in the bin.”
By the way, an advertisement also appeared inside that week’s newspaper with the following prices: Dallas Lump Coal, $6.05 a ton; Dallas Egg Coal, $5.80 a ton; and Dallas Nut Coal, $5.55 a ton (all in lots of two tons or more).
A traitor to his country
The Norwegian heritage of many area residents was evident in this article.
“Vidkun Quisling, who turned traitor to his country and is the most despised Norwegian in all Europe, was installed as ‘prime minister’ of Norway by the Nazi regime last Sunday in a sort of a farce ceremony.
“Quisling is having his day, but wait till the war is over, and he’ll have an army of mad Norwegians on his trail and it will be a sad day for him if they ever lay their hands on him.”
(That prediction proved true. In 1945, Quisling was placed in front of a firing squad and executed for embezzlement, murder and high treason against the people of Norway.)
A big ‘grab’ in Congress
Naturally, our nation’s leaders were in the news back then like they are now. Seems as though they never cease making friends of their constituents.
“Nothing of late has been so disgusting to the average citizen as the action of Congress in voting for themselves a pension for life.
“Getting as they do large salaries, the Senators $10,000 a year plus expenses, the whole thing looks like a big ‘grab’. Coming at a time when the people are asked to sacrifice, save, pinch and pinch some more, their action looks unpatriotic to say the least.
“How any self-respecting Senator or Representative, Republican or Democrat, could vote for such a bill to feather their nests is beyond us.
Things really haven’t changed much have they?
Make it big in ‘Life’
Another story that week dealt with the war, but with a mid-Iowa touch. “Two Roland boys, twins, Harry and Harold Martinson, who joined the navy last fall, are now getting national recognition.
“The two brothers took their physical examinations and patiently waited for the day they were 17 years old that they might get their wishes filled.
“They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Hjelmar Bernhard Martinson. The twins, so very much alike, are featured in six pages of pictures in the Feb. 2 issue of Life magazine.”
Not too high
Prayer was also in the news. Although the Chicago Board of Trade held a daily prayer session, there were some skeptics.
“It is said that the Chicago Board of Trade has a prayer session every day at 11 a.m. People look upon the practice with mixed feelings. One voiced his sentiments: ‘I bet you those prayers never get any further than the ceiling’.”
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.