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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Tattle Tales by Noah: Bang Me A Kettle

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  • The “poor” made their own fun and during the depression of the ’30s, Morton was mostly poor.
     
    Not in spirit, mind you, because an empty billfold, back then, was the norm. In the 1930s, the affluent drove a black Packard Motor Car.
     
    Autos of color rolled off the line later and were an immediate hit, although Henry Ford vowed his invention would remain black.
     
    Running boards were fashionable, and it was common practice to hitch a ride in that manner.
     
    My longest ride on a running board was to the country to “chivaree” a farmer who was in a honeymoon mode, but had yet to throw a party.
     
    It was a surprise event as dozens of cars arrived (unexpectedly) with horns blowing, and the banging of pans and kettles.
     
    Obviously Morton’s townspeople were struggling for some lively activity.
     
    I saw no reason to remove the running board on autos as they were useful and attractive but maybe a bit frightening to have Grandma on such a feature today.
     
    To “chivaree” was a harmless prank done with spontaneity by rascals of both sexes hungry for excitement. Booze and vittles did flow and when the newlyweds had neither, they furnished dough.
     
    Ozzie Bauman was probably the most gentle 18-year-old this writer ever knew. Morton was a village of 1,200 in the ’30s and almost every family had ties in one way or the other.
     
    Young Ozzie drove a truck for Mathis Lumber and to know him was to love him.
     
    Train wrecks were few and far between and when they did happen, a fatality usually occurred.
     
    Harley Davidson had produced a two-wheel cycle and it was a wild ride indeed to climb aboard.
     
    The Big War had not yet happened when young Oscar was killed at the infamous Goodfield Crossing, better known today as the Busy Corner.
     
    The driver was an Underwood lad who was instantly killed also. Morton was in total shock and never forgot the Bauman kid with the heart-warming smile.
     
    The Village of Morton had a major attraction in the ’40s that performed two blocks off Main Street.
     
    People from across the entire state of Illinois came to see his magical “folly,” and for many it was a repeat performance.
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    He was a doctor of chiropractic procedure and one of widespread notoriety. Alfred Homer had two sons, named John and Herb, and this writer attended grade school with them both.
     
    John was nicknamed “Red” as he and brother Herb had as red a hair as a rooster’s comb. Their dad was no “quack” by any stretch of the imagination as patients gave glowing reports, and cars lined both sides of Main waiting to be treated by Dr. Alfred Homer.
     
    A kid I knew chummed with Red Homer and frequently suffered migraine headaches.
     
    Red Homer encouraged him to see his dad. After doing so and receiving one severe crack of the neck, Doc turned him loose.
     
    To this day he’s experienced no migraine repeats, and is living testimony in support of an alternate form of treatment.
     
    Dr. Homer and his family appeared and disappeared from Morton in a short span of time.
     
    Ole Doc Homer was a fine fellow and an upstanding citizen of our community.
     
    His practice may have been considered “folly” at one time, but now exists in sizeable numbers.
     
    Could be old Doc was ahead of his time and his “folly” wasn’t magic after all.
     
    Before television, Morton listened to the radio.
     
    Philco had a box that was almost static free, and sold for about a fin. Although that was big bucks in the ’30s, it had great entertainment appeal.
     
    In 1931, a couple hillbilly comedy writers created a show in their hometown of Waters, Ark., as they had a store in Pine Ridge where comedy unfolded by the hour.
     
    They had a pickle barrel as a checker board and a game was always on. They were Lum and Abner and their store was tagged the Jot ‘em Down.
     
    Their show gained widespread attention when the two of them added characters such as Cedric and Grandpa Spears, and it took to the air 30-minutes-a-day.
     
    It was broadcasted until 1950 when the real deal (TV) hit the market and never turned back.
     
    My blind brother was overjoyed listening to radio shows such as Fibber McGee and Molly as it shed a bit of light on an otherwise dark world.
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    Morton did make its own fun, and did keep a positive approach through the toughest of times. Failure was never an option.
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