At least twice a week --- each Monday and Thursday morning --- RememberingTheArgus will provide readers with a glimpse into life in a small western town during the 1950s. This will not be fiction. It’s a look at a ranching and row-crop-supported town bordering the Snake River west of Boise, as seen through items selected from its semi-weekly newspaper of that era.
Our plan is to start Sept. 3 (even though it’s Labor Day) to bring you postings at least through the 1952-1953 school year. That’s when the editor and his classmates started high school in a new building that seemed erected just for them and that’s still in use 55 years later.
That September Don Lynch --- this blog editor’s father and during that era the editor of The Ontario Argus Observer --- began a personal front page column that featured his view on whatever it pleased him to take up. It was usually something going on right in his community, and those around from Vale, to Nyssa, to Weiser, to Payette. In those places, as in Ontario, the resident passions were football and bird hunting, family and friends, sometimes in that order. Now and then, local politics might rear its head.
The stories that we’ll be posting will take up that year’s education debates, bridge collapses, polio epidemic and, in one instance, local officials’ consternation about how to deal with an embarrassing institution that brought dollars to town but made a lot of folks uncomfortable.
Each Monday we’ll post a timely column --- in the context of that time and place --- selected from some 300 that Don Lynch wrote over a period of five years. Some will be chosen for what they have to say about that time of year in that time and place --- though they may have been penned another year.
The idea is to provide some entertaining remembrances for our friends who were with us during those days and, hopefully, give a sense of what was different about those days, and what was also universal, for those who follow us.
Finally, we hope to receive emailed contributions, criticism and comments from our readers to enliven these pages far beyond what we can come up with on our own. If you have something to say, please send it along. We’d love to share it.
--- Larry Lynch in Paso Robles, California, August 15, 2007