I don’t envy the library employees who labored to document, scan and archive electronic images of The Daily Oklahoman from the day OPUBCO opened its doors. But I sure do appreciate them.
Last year I was doing some research that led me to discover this feat had been accomplished, so last night I logged on to do some more. This time for the Chronicles. I wanted to see what Labor Day Weekend was like in Red Dirt country fifty years ago.
What I found was a slice of life that made me laugh, frown, send a clipping to my colleague at OSU and think about my friends who are politically active. I experienced quite an array of emotions for the hour I perused the September 1st, 2nd and 3rd issues of the paper. Then I tried to decide how I would put all that information into a small Friday morning blog posting.
The decision I arrived at was to provide you bullet points of what stood out to me, provide you with a few visuals, then encourage you to try this type of exercise on your own if you enjoyed it. Here we go…
- The Oklahoma local and county fair scene was being announced in several sections. In Beaver, OK they were announcing festivities in a recently completed complex that cost $150,000 to construct.
- H.E. Bailey and group were doing the final studies to put in a turnpike to travel eastward. I’m sure the Tulsa World reported the project as traveling westward.
- Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee were preparing to “tie the knot.”
- OU and OSU were gearing up for their first football games of the year to be held later in September. OSU was celebrating being voted into the Big 8 conference; 1960 would be their first year to compete although they had petitioned many years prior. OU had just finished a pre-game scrimmage and was concerned about two injuries they sustained during the contest. They did win the scrimmage, however.
- An OU professor was being investigated. He was under suspicion for being a “Red.” The “Red” theme was all over the paper. “Red China” was the title they used for that country in a national headline. This professor story was sad to me. From what I could tell, all they knew at this point was that he and his wife had “legally updated their passports while in Moscow” on an academic trip.
- And speaking of Moscow, Khrushchev was in the news because the US had refused to provide him an actual red carpet to walk on into the United Nations building due to a classification of his status “being one of the 60 states represented” rather than “a dignitary.” There was another international article wherein a student from Africa was warning her fellow students back in her home country not to attend a Russian university, as she had, because of extreme derogatory names she was called while there.
- People were gearing up for their Labor Day weekend cookouts. Sound familiar? I’ll bet you wish we had 1960 grocery prices!
- In fashion, the new fall line was being introduced at Peyton-Marcus in downtown Oklahoma City.
- People were getting married, people were dying and babies were being born.
- The weather was exceptionally hot for this time of year.
And, Governor Edmondson was trying his best to educate the state about several legislative measures going to a vote of the people very soon.
- I noticed that in the business section there were many announcements from local business and industries about new hires or new appointments to management. All of the names were male.
- A young pro golfer had been found murdered in Lawton. There were other crimes and murders as well.
- And, I read a nice recipe in the food section on how to prepare garlic bread with a clove of garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese.
So I wonder…what has changed? The Oklahoma culture is still here: Football season, Labor Day cookouts (standard across our country), the local and county fairs, community, politics and the news.
It seems that most of what has changed, besides the fashion, are socio-political factors. There isn’t a “Red” scare any more…but there are others, right? Are people of various skin colors still being threatened with persecution and derogatory name calling?
Okay. Perhaps not all that much has changed.
However, the technology to retrieve this information is a huge difference. People will cook with technology that wasn’t invented in 1960. The football games will have real-time updates on the internet and entertain the crowd with multimillion dollar big screen “wow factors.” Brides-to-be will be utilizing event management software by an account set up online within their wedding planner’s website. People will take digital photographs of their fair entries and send them to their family around the country.
There are differences. Perhaps a bit of the socio-political paranoia is gone…maybe.
But there sure are similarities as well.