Newspapers, magazines in my early life
My family, as I was growing up, always subscribed to two newspapers and to several magazines.
In the early 1940s newspapers and radio stations were not plentiful in northwest Arkansas. Back then we always subscribed to the Southwest TimesRecord as our daily paper. The Times-Record was published in Fort Smith, and came to us by mail.
In those years the Pea Ridge community was a one-rural-route community, so our mail was delivered to Route 1, Pea Ridge, Ark. We may have had a box number, but if so I never knew it, and it was not necessary to write a box number for the mail to reach us. Russell Nichols, Route 1, Pea Ridge, Ark., was enough of an address for the mailman to know where to deliver our mail. Zip codes hadn’t been invented back then, and out-in-the-country locations didn’t have street-like names for roads or house numbers such as we have today. Our Times-Record
newspaper was delivered every day, but always a day late.
We also always subscribed to the Benton County Democrat. The Democrat
was a Bentonville newspaper, published weekly. Their offices were along south side of the first block of West Central Avenue in Bentonville. The Democrat
often carried local Pea Ridge news, and many Pea Ridge businesses advertised in the Bentonville paper. I would very much like to be able to look up some of the old copies of the Benton County Democrat,
although I understand that most of the originals were lost when a fire destroyed a portion of the Massey Hotel building some years ago.
My first memories of reading the newspaper comes from the war years, during World War II. My Dad would come into the house after the evening’s chores were done, sit in his rocking chair between the black wood heating stove and the radio stand near the southeast window in our living room. I would sit in his lap and he would read parts of the paper to me, especially the comic page, with Little Orphan Annie, Detectives Dick Tracy and Sam Ketchem, Allie Opp, Little Lulu and her friend Sluggo, Dagwood and Blondie, Li’l Abner by Al Capps, and Mutt and Jeff. Dagwood and Blondie is the longest running newspaper cartoon that I am aware of. The Bumstead kids have never grown up, although some 80 years have passed. Dagwood still works for J.C. Dithers, still gets chewed out nearly every day, and Herb is still Dagwood’s neighbor and friend. But, now, Blondie runs a catering business instead of being a stay-athome Mom, and Dagwood goes to work in a carpool instead of every day almost missing his ride on the city bus line. Dick Tracy and Sam Ketchem introduced the two-way wrist radio, which is the pre-cursor of today’s cell phones and smart phones. We have them now in a big way, but the idea for them was hatched in the 1930s.
Our magazines at home were mostly farm magazines. We were long-time subscribers to the Farm Journal. Also, early on, we subscribed to a similar farm magazine called The Country Gentleman. The Country Gentleman went out of business while I was still a boy, but the Farm Journal endured for long years. We also took the Hoard’s Dairyman, a large format magazine devoted to dairy cows and milk production. After 1953, milk production became the main focus of our farm operation, and the Hoard’s Dairyman magazine helped us keep abreast of