by Paula Johnson
Most of us remember the years some states entered the Union. We learned that Delaware was the first in 1787 and Hawaii was the last in 1959. WRONG! Yes, Delaware was the first in 1787, but Hawaii was not technically our last state.
You don’t say. Puerto Rico isn’t a state yet. Washington D.C. isn’t its own state. Michigan hasn’t kicked Detroit out, and Illinois hasn’t ditched Chicago.
You know those jokes about not fooling with old people? Well, an elderly gentleman, John Rolczynski, of Grand Forks, North Dakota had nothing better do in 1995. He was looking into the ND state constitution and noticed an error.
Section 4 of Article XI failed to mention the executive branch in the oath of office for the three branches of government. To rectify this error and give North Dakota the legal status it has enjoyed since 1889, an amendment was passed in 2012. During the interim of 1995 to 2012, North Dakota was technically a territory, again. The formality of the amendment restored its status to “state.”
Some of you might remember going to the shoe store (not a department store) to get a new pair of shoes. Your feet had grown, and you now needed a larger size. Some shoe stores had a large x-ray machine that the customer would step up to and insert their feet. The machine would x-ray the podalic bones to help fit the correct size to the customer.
John and I used these machines for years at Grothe Shoes in Galesburg. We never thought a thing about it.
These machines emitted radiation that was determined to be detrimental and even dangerous. The radiation was also cumulative. So, if a customer returned several times during the year to be fitted, the customer ‘s risk increased.
In 1971, the FDA forbade shoe stores from using these machines. The state of Washington was way ahead of the rest of the country by passing a law forbidding the use of them in that state by 1961.
The coveted Oscar award which recognizes outstanding achievements in the movie industry began in 1929. It was more like a dinner party for about 250 people. The original The Jazz Singer was not allowed on the ballot because it was part-talkie and a musical. It was thought to be unfair to compete this film against silent films.
The event grew and the award officially became known as Oscar. Since 1942, the balloting has been secret with announcements not made until the night of broadcast. Stars, starlets, and Hollywood’s most famous and wannabees come decked out in the finest attire they can buy, rent, or borrow.
One exception to this is a Hollywood Queen of the 1940s. Up for nomination for her role in Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford claimed to have taken ill with a temp of 104. Upon learning of her win, she immediately called the press.
She received her award in her “sick bed” in full makeup and hair coiffed. In 2008, Crawford admitted to biographer Charlotte Chandler, that she did this maneuver because she may have been in fear of losing to Ingrid Bergman who had won the year before.
This would not likely happen today. As the former gossip columnist said, “When it comes to giving or stealing a show, nobody can top Joan Crawford.” Ain’t that the truth, Mommy Dearest!
Many of us grew up with Smokey Bear and being safe with fires in the forest. Other mascots we may know as a generic name. Mr. Peanut in his formal attire has a very formal name: Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe.
The Michelin Man began in 1898 wearing pince-nez glasses on a chain, smoked a cigar, and was named Bibendum. Ever wonder why he was stark white like a rolling marshmallow? The rubber used to make tires was a milky white until 1917. A carbon black was added to the formula, increasing the durability. In today’s commercials, you might even see Bibendum with his cute dog Bubbles.
Remember the Alamo! Remember The Maine! And let’s not forget the four Rice Krispie elves: Snap, Crackle, Pop, and Pow!