We came across an old Chicago Sun-Times (October 6, 1961) while going through some old files tidying up the basement. I am not sure why it was saved, but 2 articles struck me and got me thinking that many things that we think are unique to our time are not.
The first was the headline and lead article: Boy, 13, Admits Killing Girl, 7, ‘For The Thrill’. I turned 7 just weeks after that and while relatively protected (?) in Omaha, NE at the time, I can’t imagine that sort of thing happening in my world at the time. But quite obviously stuff like that was happening then and continues to happen now. We haven’t learned to stop it. I bring this up not because I am overcome with fatalism, but because I am sure we can figure out a way to impact these issues now. There has to be a way and knowing it is not only the result of current times and our cultural realities seems to me to speak to the possibility.
The other article that caught my eye was on page 2: A rumor began that some kids had seen a woman in a glass casket in a home while peeking through the window. The house was checked out by local law enforcement and no casket was found, but the rumor would not die. People gathered daily and nightly at the home, peeking in and generally being a nuisance for 8 days. The home owner apparently was overwhelmed by this and used a shotgun to end his own life. As the article concludes: “Apparent suicide, yes…But the underlying cause of death? It had to be the rumor—he did want so much to be left alone…”
So it doesn’t seem I only read the death-related articles, I’ll also mention that they had an article informing readers that that Sunday they would have “a comprehensive report on the problems Chicago area residents would face in case of a nuclear attack” (I do remember that sort of stuff). One other thing (or is it 2) just to put this in “time” context there was an ad for a men’s suit with 2 pair of pants for $60 on one page with their apparent competitor on another with that sort of suit for $38. Maybe simpler times in some ways, but not as ideal as we might imagine.