Remember When: Valentines Day 100 years ago
100 years ago, slang words like “heebie-jeebies, hotsy-totsy, high-hat, speak-easy, jalopy, and dumb Dora” were “copasetic (cool)!”
Song hits of 1920 were “Look for the Silver Lining,” “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time,” and “Swanee (How I Love ya,’ how I love ya,’ my dear ole Swanee).”
Why do I look back a century ago and peruse the old local newspapers? For one thing, it is inspiring to see how far our city and citizenry have progressed in this length of time. Those business leaders of yesteryear set a good example for our present day business people and civic club members who work to make Andalusia and Covington County a wonderful place to live and work. The newspaper Editor Duggar always wrote good stories crediting those who made things happen whether it was a new business in town, a newcomer family, a civic event, a social event, a school event, church events, travels of the locals, advertisements to promote businesses, or just the news events that publicized citizens working together.
“Congress declared even back 100 years ago, ‘The South is in the saddle!’” The Andalusia Star (Semi-weekly edition of February 13, 1920) reported that Southern agricultural crops and livestock production were at an all-time high. This was due to the outstanding climate and cheap farm lands that Northern farmers were already awake to that fact. “If you want to make money,” the article read, “just invest in farm lands of this section, and you will not have to wait long until you can get one hundred per cent on your investment. This fact accounts for the establishment on the part of the great meat packers of plants in various sections of the South.”
Reading the report of the day explains why Swift Packing Co. out of Chicago came to Andalusia about this time and opened their meat packing business. The executives that arrived built six or more Sears-Roebuck homes for their families to live in. The packages arrived by train and included every piece of building material to construct the homes which plans were selected from their catalog. (Those homes built in the early 1920s still exist today and are located in various neighborhoods in Andalusia.) The local paper reported, “We need more houses and we need them now!” (The same is true today!)
“Alabama Voters Tired of the Mud – Alabama pulled herself out of the mud Monday by voting the twenty-five million dollar bond issue. More than sixty of the sixty-seven counties cast a majority of their votes for bonds. Some of the counties went almost solid for the big bond issue. Andalusia went 344 to 43 in favor of the bond issue. Judge A. L. Rankin is wearing a broad smile today. He was manager in Covington County of the ‘Good Roads Campaign,’ and he feels much elated over the result.”
“Charming and unique in every detail was the Valentine party given Saturday afternoon when Miss Lila Mae Britt entertained the members of the Young Ladies Club and the ladies of the school faculty. Decorations of red hearts and beautiful red carnations were used in profusion giving a spirit of good cheer to the lovely scene. Mrs. L. E. Brown and Miss Inez Leach served fruit punch and heart-shaped mints. The bowl was surrounded by red japonicas and ferns. Miss Myrtle Pitts received the lovely door prize, a (heart-shaped) box of candy. Miss Gorrie received a Kewpie doll. After the card games, a delightful plate consisting of pressed chicken, wafers, pickles, sandwiches with an ice cream course was served. The guests acclaimed Miss Britt was a most cordial and gracious hostess.”
“On Arbor Day, we expect to have appropriated exercises by the school assisted by the three fraternal clubs, also an address by (Editor) Oscar M. Duggar. We will plant five water oaks on the campus as memorials to the boys from the Andalusia High School who lost their lives in the world war (WWI). Memorial services will be conducted by Rev. D. P. Slaughter. – Mrs. C. B. Mathews, Chairman, School Committee of the Civic Improvement Club.”
“I have a good work mare. Will work anywhere, Weighs 1000 lbs. Also wagon and harness. Will sell both together or separately to suit purchaser. G. W. Weeks
“Try the Vulcan Plow. Well-finished, Strong, Durable, Long Snoot. When buying a plow, consider quality first, price second. For Sale By Tisdale and Brooks.”
“GOODYEAR CLINCHER TIRES IN THREE SIZES – The prices will suit you. J. M. Taylor”
“The Women’s Club of Red Level held a most enjoyable meeting Thursday afternoon at the beautiful home of Mrs. A. B. Powell. Miss Sue Patterson, the accomplished music teacher of the Red Level High School, rendered some piano selections.”
“WANTED – Scrap Iron and Brass. Benson Foundry & Machine Shop.”
“LAND – CITY PROPERTY – We will sell it for you. We have it to sell you. Buy a lot in Three Notch Court. Andalusia Real Estate Co. Milligan Bldg. Phone 329”
“FORD PARTS – You can get genuine Ford parts. Andalusia Motor Co.”
“SATIN SLIPPERS and PUMPS – Tennis Shoes for Misses and Ladies. Shreve Dept. Store”
“Valentine is candy time. Fresh shipment of Nunnally. A. M. Riley (The Rexall Store).”
“CHEAPER FLOUR – The U. S. Grain Corp. has delivered to SESSOMS GROCERY COMPANY, Wholesale Distributors, Wheat Flour at a price not to exceed $1.65 per 64 ½ lb. Cotton Sack.”
“FOR SALE – Slightly used Ford with Self-Starter. Perfect condition. Charles Henderson.”
“If the ground hog showed his shadow on the 2nd, there is not evidence of the fact from the brand of weather being handed us this week.” (I guess that tradition was going on even 100 years ago!)
“Dr. and Mrs. G. L. Wood of Abbeville are new arrivals in Andalusia. Dr. Wood has opened offices in the McArtan block over the McEachin-McGowin Drug Store and has entered upon the practice of his profession. He comes to us highly recommended as a physician and as a citizen. We welcome him and his good wife to our city.”
“All the doctors of Andalusia have sailed in a request for a hospital for this city. Andalusia needs a hospital very much. If someone will take the lead in the matter, it can be made a certainty in a short time.”
“Twenty-nine states have ratified the (19th) amendment granting suffrage to women. New Jersey was the latest to enter the list. It requires thirty-six states to ratify before the amendment becomes effective.” (This was reported in The Andalusia Star, February 1920. To say the least, this writer was shocked, astounded, and even flabbergasted to research and read about the history of Alabama’s vote in 1919. “On September 22, 1919, the Alabama legislature voted AGAINST ratifying the 19th amendment. Although the vote was a disappointment, it was not much of a surprise. Anti-suffrage sentiments were very strong in Alabama. Women like Pattie Jacobs, President of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, fought hard for women’s right to vote but could not make much progress!”) Did we learn that in school in Alabama history?
“RUST PROOF CORSET – We handle the well-known Red Fern and Warner Rust-Proof Corset. Just received our Spring styles. Drop in and get yours now. Anderson & Hudson’s.” (100 years later, I hear, the ladies of today are wild about SPANX!)
REMEMBER WHEN medicines from 100 years ago advertised in the local newspaper were Calomel, Quinine, Sloan’s Liniment, Castor Oil, Mother’s Friend, Chichester’s Pills, and Aspironal ? Better than Whiskey for Colds and Flu and Rheumatism and Legrippe, it was advertised.
REMEMBER WHEN, women were not allowed to vote? For heaven’s sakes, girls, go register to vote if you’re not already registered, and then, when it’s time, VOTE! I wouldn’t be surprised if Suffragette Pattie Jacobs didn’t roll over in her grave and go visit the legislature!
Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at email@example.com.