Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Memories of my town

Actually, it's not "my town" and never was--I haven't lived there for 50 years. But after I started a new blog about what's on my bookshelves, I was reminded again of my connection to print. At my new blog, I'm mostly transferring, copying, or revising other entries about my books, but am eyeing my bookshelf of books printed in or about the county in Illinois where I grew up. So I'll quote here from Don Smith's privately published memoirs (1997):

    "Mt. Morris has been more cosmopolitan than its size alone would dictate, partly because of the presence of the seminary and then the college but largely because of influences associated with the publishing trade. Printing is an inherently literate business; and Kable's emphasis on magazines--rather than wallpaper, food cartons, or oilcloth--meant that editors from Chicago and other cultural centers regularly visited the Mount on business. Similarly, management people from Kable's, as well as Watt and Kable News, often visited major cities on business. All these contacts with the outside world helped create a small oasis of sophistication amongst the corn and soybean fields. . .

    One of my classmates [class of 1946] followed his father and his father's father there [Kable's], and the tradition was extended into the fourth generation when both of his sons joined the printing company's ranks. . . Mt. Morris attached considerable important to intellectual and cultural concerns as reflected in the excellence of the schools, the public library, and the town's near-professional concert band. . . few homes were in disrepair, and there was no real slum or shantytown. Most residences were handsomely landscaped one-and-a-half or two-story structures, and a certain amount of house-and-garden one-upmanship and peer pressure kept even sluggards in line. . . [there being] generally no substantial difference between the home of top Kable executive and that of a pressman."
Smith does a nice job of weaving together his family and personal memories with the town's considerable history, even mentioning some sources I've never seen, like Kable Brothers Company, 1898-1948, and the late-1980s Memoirs of H.A. Hoff, the school superintendent, both of which I assume are on someone else's bookshelf. Don Smith taught journalism at Penn State, State College, PA for 33 years.

2 comments:

RennyBA said...

I got quite a lot of Happy Fathers Day greetings too and of course I was happy and glad.

But you see; In Norway we have Fathers Day in November so I take it the once I got was for my FIL in US:-)

American Daughter said...

Goodness, you are an interesting person! When I read your posts, quite often I wish you lived near me.

But that is what is so terrific about the weblogs. Your ideas are right there just as if you did!

You really are good at weblogging.