Remember This? by Brad Dison

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Magnificent Mayor Stubbs

by Brad Dison

Just over one hundred miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, sits the small, picturesque, historic town of Talkeetna.  It is a small town with a population of about 900 residents.  Talkeetna is the last stop for tourists and climbers destined for North America’s tallest peak, Mount McKinley.  Much of the village’s income comes from tourist who visit for hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, hunting, rafting, and flightseeing.  Local artists, craftsmen, and musicians sell the products of their crafts in shops throughout the town.

The candidates for the 1997 Talkeetna mayoral race were not popular with the villagers.  They longed for a good, honest candidate.  One of the villagers suggested they nominate a well-liked villager nicknamed Stubbs.  Secretly, the residents spread the word that on election day they would write in their vote for their preferred candidate.  Stubbs made no political speeches, never asked the people to vote for him, nor did he do anything other than his normal day-to-day routine.  One supporter proudly told anyone who would listen that “He’s everybody’s guy.”  Without do so much as a handshake to gain a vote, Stubbs became mayor.

Stubbs spent most of his time, not in a stuffy office away from the public, but in Nagley’s General Store where he mingled with locals and tourists alike.  Well-wishers who were unable to find Mayor Stubbs at the General Store only had to look next door at the West Rib Pub and Cafe where he always had his choice of seats and drank water from a wine or margarita glass.  Mayor Stubbs never drank alcohol.  Mayor Stubbs loved socializing with tourists and hammed it up for cameras.  Everyone who met him said “He’s got a great personality.”

Shortly after becoming mayor, word spread beyond Talkeetna of his charisma and charm.  His popularity grew into fame when newspapers around the nation reported on his vibrant personality.  People flocked to the town to meet Mayor Stubbs and have their picture taken with him.  Mayor Stubbs was always happy to oblige them.

Mayor Stubbs always oversaw but never participated in the yearly Wilderness Woman and Bachelor Auction and Ball.  During this charity event, local bachelors were auctioned off to the highest bidders and spent an evening with the winning bidders.  Not to be left out of the festivities, they held a wilderness woman contest which consisted of several tests of strength and endurance “to show these bachelors what women are made of…Alaskan grit!”  As always, Mayor Stubbs socialized with everyone present.  Local residents could not have been happier with Mayor Stubbs.  When a reporter asked Geoff Pfeiffer, waiter at the West Rib Pub and Café, how he liked the mayor, Geoff replied, “We all love him.”  He explained that he and his coworkers vied for their chance to wait on the mayor.

On the night of September 7, 2013, a vicious dog attacked Mayor Stubbs as he was taking an evening stroll through town.  After what must have seemed like an eternity, Mayor Stubbs escaped from the dog’s clutches.  Mayor Stubbs suffered a punctured lung, a long deep gash on his side, and several bruises.  Bleeding and weak, a local resident loaded Mayor Stubbs into his vehicle and drove an hour to the nearest hospital.  Staff at the hospital were afraid that Mayor Stubbs would not survive what turned out to be a three-hour surgery.  Word quickly spread of the vicious attack on Mayor Stubbs.  People from all over the world wished him a speedy recovery on his Facebook and Twitter pages.  Many of them sent donations to help pay his exorbitant hospital bills.  The residents of Talkeetna did their part as well.  Mayor Stubbs’s donation jar at the general store soon overflowed with coins and folding money.  To their relief, Mayor Stubbs made a full recovery.

As soon as his health returned, Mayor Stubbs returned to his position in Talkeetna.  Once again, he spent most of his time making pleasantries with locals and tourists.  Mayor Stubbs held the office of mayor until he died in his sleep on July 22, 2017.  People all over the world mourned his death and posted letters of condolence on his Facebook page.  Mourners also shared pictures of themselves with the beloved mayor.  They noted that for him to have been mayor at all was an amazing achievement.  Normally, a candidate had to be eighteen years of age to run for office, but the overwhelming support for Stubbs made officials take drastic action.  You see, Mayor Stubbs was elected when he was just sixteen years old.  Mayor Stubbs was also…a cat.

 

Sources:

  1. Decatur Herald and Review, September 4, 2013, p.22.
  2. The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) September 7, 2013, p.2.Brad Dison Nagley StoreABOUT BRAD
    A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.comThe “Remember this?” book is now available for preorder the following website…BradDison.com. Order your  copy today!

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Maitland Made a Difference

by Brad Dison

During World War II, most Americans felt it was their duty to help the war effort according to their individual talents. Factory workers retooled their machines and made a large variety of instruments of war such as airplanes, tanks, ships, and bombs, just to name a few. School children led scrap metal drives to aid in the recycling and remanufacturing processes. Actors sold war bonds to raise money for munitions. Everyone, it seemed, had some special talent that could aid in the war effort.
Maitland had his own talent. As a child, Maitland daydreamed about flying airplanes. He had read newspaper accounts of Charles Lindbergh’s flying career as a U.S. Air Mail pilot and of his first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis. His father, however, had other plans. Following high school, he wanted Maitland to attend Princeton University and to return home to take over the family’s hardware business. When he graduated in 1932, rather than return to the family business, Maitland moved to New York and began a different career.
War loomed on the horizon. Maitland earned enough money from various jobs and he became a licensed pilot. All of the hours he had spent daydreaming about flying had come true. In November, 1940, Maitland tried to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps., predecessor for the Air Force. The Army rejected him because, at 32-years-old, he was over the maximum age requirement for cadet training and his weight was lower than their minimum requirement. Maitland’s father had fought in the Spanish-America War and World War I, and both of his grandfathers had fought in the Civil War. Maitland was determined to do his part in the conflict.
Maitland was not one to give up easily. In February, 1941, he tried to enlist again. The Army needed pilots, and Maitland was a college graduate and, more importantly, a licensed pilot. The Army ignored his age and low body weight, and on March 22, 1941, enlisted Maitland as a private. In January, 1942, less than a month after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Army promoted Maitland to second lieutenant and sent him to train cadets at Kirtland Army Airfield in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While stationed at Kirtland, Maitland was one of many soldiers who appeared in a recruitment film for the Army. “Winning Your Wings” played in theaters across America, and the Army estimated that the film was responsible for an estimated 150,000 new recruits.
Maitland trained pilots for nearly two years but he felt his talents could be of better use as a combat pilot. In November, 1943, Maitland appealed to his superiors to be sent to active duty. He had proven his worth as a flying instructor but the Army had many other good pilots who could train the new recruits. His commanding officer reluctantly granted Maitland’s request and transferred him to England to join the 445th Bombardment Group as a B-24 Liberator pilot.
On January 7, 1944, Maitland led the 445th Bombardment Group on a bombing mission to Ludwigshafen, Germany. Maitland and the 445th joined up with the 389th Bombardment Group. After bombing their targets, the two groups turned to join up with the main formation for their return to bases. Maitland realized that they were flying thirty degrees off course, which meant that they were flying toward an area of German occupation and away from the protection of the main formation. He radioed the leader of the 389th and told him of the error. The leader of the 389th disagreed with his calculation and said he would continue on his heading. Maitland had a tough decision to make. He could make the thirty-degree correction and, if his calculations were correct, lead his men to the safety of the main formation. His other option was to stay with the 389th and face the German fighter planes. Maitland realized that if he and his men abandoned the 389th, they would have almost no chance of survival against the German Luftwaffe. Maitland stayed the incorrect course.
Within minutes, German radar operators noticed that the two groups of bombers had become separated from the larger formation and scrambled fighter planes to intercept them. When the men of the 389th and 445th saw the German planes, they tightened their formation. The German fighters began firing at the American bombers and the B24 gunners returned fire. Maitland could see most of the bombers of the 389th in front of him. He watched helplessly as German fighters destroyed the lead plane of the 389th. The pilot of the downed bomber was the officer who disregarded Maitland’s course correction. Maitland took command of what remained of the 389th and made the course correction he had suggested earlier. Maitland was right. Within a short time, they rendezvoused with the main formation. Seeing the vast number of bombers and fighter escorts, the German fighters retired from the fight. The 389th lost seventeen airplanes and their crews. The 445th group, Maitland’s men, suffered no casualties.
Maitland’s actions, his superiors concluded, had saved the 389th from what would have been total annihilation. Maitland was promoted to major and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Air Medal. A year and a half later, Maitland earned the rank of full colonel and became one of only a few soldiers who rose from private to colonel in four years.
On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally and the war in Europe ended. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. World War II, the deadliest conflict in human history, was over. In the Fall of 1945, Maitland returned to the United States and to his pre-war career. He continued to be an active member of the Army Air Forces Reserve. On July 23, 1959, Maitland earned the rank of brigadier general. In February, 1966, he flew as an observer in a B-52 on a bombing mission in Vietnam. On May 31, 1968, Maitland retired from the Air Force when he reached the mandatory retirement age of sixty. For his service, he received the Distinguished Service Medal.
You probably know Maitland more for his non-military career. Maitland became the highest-ranking actor in American military history with a career which spanned more than fifty-five years. He starred in more than eighty films including such titles as “The Philadelphia Story,” “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” “Vertigo,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Rear Window,” and the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Many airmen owe their lives, and we, Americans, owe our freedom in part to Maitland. You see Maitland was the middle name of … Jimmy Stewart.

Sources:
Matzen, Robert. Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: GoodKnight Books, 2016.
McGowan, Sam. “Jimmy Stewart’s Rise from Private to Colonel.” WarfareHistoryNetwork.com. Accessed July 10, 2020. https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/10/19/jimmy-stewarts-rise-from-private-to-colonel/.
YouTube.com. “’Winning Your Wings’ – A USAAF Recruiting Film With James Stewart.” Accessed July 10, 2020. https://youtu.be/aqbErTgiqSY.

 

B24 Liberator from the 445th Bombardment Group

ABOUT BRAD
A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

 

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Nurse Crawford’s House Call

by Brad Dison

At about 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 1933, just before sunset, Nurse Hattie Crawford walked out of her apartment in Miami, Oklahoma. A man approached her and asked if she could tell him where Nurse Crawford lived in the apartment building. She told the stranger that she was Nurse Crawford. The stranger told her that a friend of his had been injured and needed help pretty quickly. It was in Nurse Crawford’s nature to help anyone in need. She sensed no danger and saw that the stranger seemed panic-stricken. She agreed to go without hesitation. Rather than taking her himself, the stranger gave Nurse Crawford instructions. He told her to take the bus to Afton, Oklahoma, about fifteen miles southwest of Miami, which she did. Within half an hour, Nurse Crawford disembarked from the bus at Afton not knowing exactly what to expect. The stranger was there waiting for her in a car with another man she did not know. She entered the sedan and they drove to Vinita, Oklahoma, about fifteen miles southwest of Afton.

The stranger and his companion drove Nurse Crawford to a dark, seemingly abandoned house on the outskirts of town. The sun had set and the car’s headlights were the only illumination. As they approached the porch, a woman opened the door of the house. Nurse Crawford immediately recognized the woman as someone she knew but had not seen in seven or eight years. They spoke only for a second or two before the woman led Nurse Crawford to a bedroom by flashlight, the only light in the house. In the bedroom, a man lay in bed with a gunshot wound on his left leg and similar wounds on his left arm. Nurse Crawford knew better than to ask how he received the gunshot wounds. She asked for bandages and rubbing alcohol. The woman gave Nurse Crawford the rubbing alcohol and tore a bed sheet into strips to use as bandages. Nurse Crawford cleaned and bandaged the injured man’s wounds as good as she could by the dim glow of a single flashlight. Nurse Crawford gave the woman instructions on how to clean and dress the wound.

As soon as she had finished treating the patient, the two men ushered Nurse Crawford out of the house and drove her back to Miami. Unlike the earlier trip, they drove Nurse Crawford all the way back to her apartment building. During the return drive, the two men asked if she could return with them the following night to check on the injured man’s condition. She quickly agreed. They gave Nurse Crawford the hefty sum of $5.00 for treating the injured man, which, adjusted for inflation, would be just under $100 in today’s money. They warned Nurse Crawford not to tell anyone of the incident, or else.

Nurse Crawford’s initial plan was to immediately notify the police of the incident, but she took their warning seriously. She was paranoid that someone was watching her. She feared what would happen if she reported the incident. On the following day, Nurse Crawford waited for the two men to pick her up and deliver her once again to the injured man. Five o’clock came and went. Then six o’clock, then seven o’clock, but the men never returned. Eight days later, on December 14, 1933, Nurse Crawford finally gained enough courage to report the incident to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Nurse Crawford told a deputy about her providing aid to the injured man. The secretive nature of the whole incident got the attention of Craig County Sheriff John York and FBI agent H.E. Hollis. Nurse Crawford described to them the location of the house, described the house itself, along with the furniture within. She explained that she saw the outside of the house only by the headlights of the car and the inside of the house by flashlight. Nurse Crawford said she did not know the men who escorted her to the house, nor was she certain of the identity of the injured man. She was certain, however, of the identity of the woman, whom she was acquainted with several years earlier.

Sheriff York immediately recognized the place Nurse Crawford described as being the home of Mrs. Jane Hall. Mrs. Hall had not lived at the home for several years and left the house in the care of custodian Bob Hill. Bob told investigators that he had no knowledge of and had not given consent to anyone to occupy the house. He granted the investigators permission to search the house.
At daylight on December 15, 1933, Sheriff York, Ottawa County Sheriff Dee Waters, several deputies, and Agent Hollis surrounded the home of Mrs. Jane Hall, but found it to be unoccupied. While searching the home, officers found bloodstained bandages and rags in a bathroom cabinet. They also found a bloody undershirt in another room. Once they were certain the house was unoccupied, one of the deputies drove Nurse Crawford to the home. She immediately recognized it as the place where she had treated the injured man on the night of December 6, 1933. Sheriff York made arrangements and had the home kept under constant surveillance. For several days, deputies kept watch at Mrs. Hall’s home to no avail.

As had happened many times before, law enforcements officers had missed their chance. The woman who allowed Nurse Crawford into the seemingly abandoned home and the injured man whom she had helped were…Bonnie and Clyde.

Source:
United States Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, File Number 26-3779, December 23, 1933, Report by Special Agent H.E. Hollis.

ABOUT BRAD
A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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Old Friends

by Brad Dison

On a warm day in July, John Adams lay in his bed at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. The aged former president had been unable to leave his bed for several days. The unmistakable sound of cannons firing in the distance got his attention. It was a sound he remembered all too well. His thoughts raced back to the events of the American Revolution. Following the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, it was he, then a 34-year-old Boston attorney, who successfully defended the British troops against charges of murder. None of the other local attorneys would take on the case for fear of reprisals. In the trial, Adams proved that an angry mob had provoked and attacked the British soldiers. The soldiers had acted in self-defense.
Although Adams had defended the British troops in the Boston Massacre trial, he spoke out and fought constantly against what he, and many others, considered unfair taxation and unjust attacks by the British Parliament. As a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses, he argued aggressively against Parliament’s ultimate control over the colonies. He was one of the first people in Congress to argue for total separation from Great Britain.
Adams’s thoughts raced back to his old friend, Thomas Jefferson. While Adams argued for total separation in Congress, Jefferson watched, absorbed everything, but said nothing. Adams had never heard Jefferson speak more than a word or two in Congress, and that was usually a simple aye or nay during a vote. Adams and Jefferson developed a friendship over the issue of independence. Before the Congress declared independence, Adams formed a committee to draft a formal Declaration of Independence. Reluctant at first, Jefferson completed a draft of the Declaration which the committee edited into the document’s final form. On July 2, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration. Adams predicted the second day of July would be celebrated annually throughout the country. Congress approved the Declaration on July 2, but officially declared independence two days later, which is why we celebrate independence on the fourth of July and not the second of July.
The war raged on until October 19, 1781, when the British General, Lord Cornwallis, surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. America had won its independence. Adams, Jefferson, and the other founding fathers spent the next eight years developing America’s system of government. Adams and Jefferson had spent years as envoys in separate countries trying to garner support against the British, and, once the war was over, as ambassadors of the new country.
Adams and Jefferson wrote letters to each other frequently and spoke highly of their friendship in letters to others. In a letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote that Adams “is so amiable, that I pronounce you will love him if ever you become acquainted with him.” Adams expressed his affection for Jefferson in a letter to him in which he wrote “intimate correspondence with you…is one of the most agreeable events in my life.” Their friendship grew stronger when Jefferson arrived in England on diplomatic business. Adams was currently serving as an ambassador to Great Britain. Adams and Jefferson toured several English gardens and visited William Shakespeare’s home. Adams recorded in his notes that they chipped off a piece of Shakespeare’s chair “according to the custom.”
In 1789, the presidential electors cast their votes for the first President of the United States. The candidate who received the most votes became president and the candidate who received the second most votes became vice-president, a system that seems foreign to us today. George Washington won by a landslide followed by Adams. George Washington served two terms as president with Adams as his vice-president. All the while, Adams and Jefferson remained friends.
George Washington’s announcement that he would not accept a third term as president created a power struggle in Congress. The members of Congress broke off into factions, the Federalists and the Republicans. The Federalists chose Adams as their candidate and the Republicans chose Jefferson. Adams, who had argued and played a large part in convincing the Congress to vote for independence, and Jefferson, who had drafted the Declaration of Independence, were on opposite sides. When the electors tallied the votes, Adams won the election by just three votes. Adams became president and Jefferson became vice-president, the only time in American history where the president and vice-president were from opposing political parties.
Adams and Jefferson were often at odds over policy but remained friends. Adams served just one term as president. He lost his reelection bid to his old friend, Jefferson. Before he left office, Adams made several last-minute political appointments who were Jefferson’s political rivals. Due to the appointments, Adams and Jefferson stopped corresponding altogether.
Jefferson served two terms as president and retired to his home, Monticello, in 1809. For eight years, the old friends had had no direct communication. They only heard about each other through friends. In 1811, Jefferson learned through mutual friends that Adams had said, “I always loved Jefferson, and still love him.” With this simple statement, Adams and Jefferson renewed their friendship with another series of letters which continued for the rest of their lives.
Upon hearing the cannons firing again, Adams was jolted back to the events of the moment. He inquired as to the reason for the firing cannons. Someone at his bedside answered that they were firing cannons in celebration of independence from Great Britain. It was the fourth of July. “It is a great and glorious day,” Adams replied. Newspapers reported that “he never spake more.” At around 6:00 p.m., John Adams passed away. Some historians have claimed that when Adams realized that death would soon take him, he uttered the phrase, “Jefferson survives.” Unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died five hours earlier. John Adams, the man who convinced Congress to declare independence, and Thomas Jefferson, the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence, both died on the same day, July 4, 1826, … the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Sources:
John Adams, “Notes on a Tour of English Country Seats, &c., with Thomas Jefferson,” April 4-10, 1786, in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., Diary and Autobiography of John Adams (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1961), 3:185.
Jefferson to Madison, January 30, 1787, in PTJ, 11:96.
Adams to Jefferson, March 1, 1787, in PTJ, 11:190.
Jefferson to Rush, December 5, 1811, in PTJ:RS, 4:313, 4:314n.
The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), July 10, 1826, p.2.

The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), July 10, 1826, p.2.

            John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

ABOUT BRAD
A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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The Saline Slashing Incident

by Brad Dison

In the 1930s, the small village of Saline, Louisiana, had a population numbering around 600 people, mostly farmers and sawmill workers. Its main claim to fame was its watermelons. The sandy soil provided the best environment for growing watermelons. The Saline Truck Growers Association began holding a celebration in the village each July to coincide with the watermelon harvest. People from all over the region converged at Saline to join in the festivities. Some reports estimated 8,000 people attended Saline’s second Watermelon Festival. For a small village of only 600 people to have an influx of several thousand people must have been a sight to see.
In 1932, Saline’s mayor and vice president of the Saline Truck Growers Association H.E. Sudduth shipped the two largest melons of the season by rail to then presidential nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt and vice-presidential nominee John Garner. The melons weighed in at 110 pounds and 90 pounds respectively. Local farmer Webby Driggers grew the prized 110-pound melon. A few weeks later, Mayor Sudduth received a letter which stated:
“I have been a long time in writing to thank you for the most delicious watermelon which you sent me some time ago. Will you please extend to the association my appreciation of their sending me this extraordinary fruit? We have all enjoyed it, and are regretful that it is gone. Please also thank Mr. Driggers, and extend to him my congratulations. Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
All good things must come to an end. In July, 1933, Saline had a major incident which most people, even those who have lived in and around the small village all of their lives, have forgotten. Those who have not forgotten the event rarely speak of it. People arrived for the annual festival on foot, by wagon, by automobile, and by train. During the celebration, several conspirators pulled knifes at a predetermined time and slashed over 500 unsuspecting victims. Rather than running away, the crowd gathered closer. The conspirators slashed into the bodies of their victims and removed their insides. Let me remind you that this story is true and apologize for its gory nature. The wild crowd reached for the random bits and pieces of the poor victim’s insides and shoved whatever they could grab into their mouths. Men, women, and boys and girls of all ages ate the pieces of raw red meat, the heart being the most sought after.
Sheriff Henderson Jordan, mostly remembered as a member of the posse which two years later ended the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde, compared the slashing affray to the murders credited to England’s Jack the Ripper. One eye witness told the sheriff, “It was just slash, slash, slash. There weren’t many out of the 500 that weren’t hurt.” By the next morning, no evidence of the murders could be found. The conspirators disposed of the what remained of the victims’ bodies in an undisclosed location. Sheriff Jordan and his deputies spoke with several eye witnesses and questioned the conspirators but made no arrests.
Although watermelons have remained a staple crop from the area around the small village of Saline, the 1933 watermelon festival was the last of its kind held for fifty years. Five decades later, after many of the citizens who were present at the slashing had died, citizens of Saline revived the watermelon festival with moderate success. Without most of them knowing it, festival goers celebrate each year the slashing that occurred in the small village on that hot July day in 1933. If you visit the village during the festival, you will see all sorts of depictions of the slashing victims including signs, t-shirts, face paintings, and other paraphernalia. The slashing victims were watermelons.
Sources:
The Shreveport Journal, July 29, 1932, p.14.
The Shreveport Times, July 29, 1932, p.2.
The Shreveport Journal, August 19, 1932, p.3.
The Shreveport Times, July 4, 1933, p.4.

1933 Saline Watermelon Festival

ABOUT BRAD

A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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The Good Samaritan

by Brad Dison

The true measure of our character is often determined by how we treat others, especially strangers. The origin of the Good Samaritan dates back to the Bible. In Luke 10:30-34, Jesus told of a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along his trip, robbers attacked and beat the man. They stole his clothing and left him for dead. The first two men to pass the traveler purposefully avoided him. It was a man from Samaria, the third traveler to come upon the injured man, who showed him mercy. The Samaritan bandaged the injured man’s wounds, took him to a local inn, and nursed him back to health. Since that time, anyone who has helped a stranger with no expectation of personal gain has been referred to as a good Samaritan. The following is the true story of a modern-day good Samaritan.
On June 8, 2013, a group of tourists were taking in the sites in Toronto, Canada, on what was the final day of their cross-Canadian train trip. Jim Walpole, a retired General Motors manager from Defiance, Ohio, and his wife, Marilyn, a nurse, were among the group of tourists who walked down King Street East toward historic Old Toronto. Marilyn led the group, followed by her husband and the other tourists.
Along the walk, Marilyn heard a slight moan coming from behind her. Jim had tripped on the sidewalk and fell into some construction equipment. As Jim fell, a piece of scaffolding gashed his neck. Jim held his hands out to break his fall. When he hit the ground, he broke one of his fingers. Marilyn turned around and saw that Jim’s face and clothing were covered in blood. Jim laid bleeding on the sidewalk in a daze.
The good Samaritan was smoking a cigarette a short distance away, and saw Jim fall. The good Samaritan could have continued smoking his cigarette. He could have looked away, but not this good Samaritan. Before anyone else responded, the good Samaritan sprang into action. Without hesitation, he crushed out his cigarette and ran to render aid to the moaning, bleeding man. He knelt down beside Jim and quickly assessed the situation. The good Samaritan removed his scarf and placed it over Jim’s neck wound to slow the flow of blood. The good Samaritan reassured Jim in a soft, calm voice that he was going to be fine.
Toronto restauranteur Ben Quinn also saw Jim fall and saw the good Samaritan rush to his aid. Ben saw that the saturated scarf was no longer absorbing blood. Ben ran to his car and retrieved a towel. The good Samaritan replaced the saturated scarf with the towel and applied pressure to Jim’s wounded neck. They were afraid to remove the towel and check on the wound because they feared Jim would bleed to death. If the gash had severed Jim’s jugular vein or his carotid artery and had they removed the towel, Jim could have bled to death within a few short minutes.
Although Marilyn was a nurse, she allowed the good Samaritan to help. She later explained; “He really knew what he was doing. That’s why I thought he was a doctor. He had no qualms about getting blood all over him. That would be a real concern for some people.” When the ambulance arrived and medics took over for the good Samaritan, Marilyn asked him “What’s your name, sir?” He simply responded, “John.” Marilyn said “I didn’t ask for a last name because I didn’t figure I would remember it.”
The medics transported Jim to Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, just a few short blocks away. At the hospital, a doctor carefully inspected Jim’s neck. To Jim’s relief, the doctor reported that the scaffolding had missed the critical vein by only an eighth of an inch. The doctor closed the neck wound with ten stitches and set his broken finger. Jim considered himself lucky.
John contacted the hospital following the incident and was relieved to learn that Jim would make a full recovery. A reporter followed up on the story the following day and asked John why he, a man who had no medical training, had stepped in to help someone he had never met. John humbly replied, “Any citizen would do it. It’s nothing special.” John wanted to avoid drawing attention to his actions. Marilyn and Jim were certain John had saved Jim’s life.
Like Jim and Marilyn, John was only in Toronto for a short time. John was in Toronto for just three days performing as the famed Italian lover Casanova in a traveling opera called “The Giacomo Variations.” Everyone’s focus was on Jim’s neck and not on the good Samaritan who stepped in to help. Under different circumstances, they certainly would have recognized John from movies such as “In the Line of Fire,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Johnny English,” “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “Red,” “Con Air,” “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and a plethora of others dating back to the 1970s. John has appeared in over one hundred film and television productions. He is currently starring in two tv series; “Space Force,” and “The New Pope.” John, the good Samaritan, also starred in a movie which bears his name, “Being John Malkovich.”
Sources:
Luke 10:30-34 (New International Version).
The National Post, (Toronto, Canada), June 10, 2013.
The Gazette, (Montreal, Quebec), June 11, 2013, p.24.
The Desert Sun, (Palm Springs, California), June 12, 2013, p.D7.
IMDb.com. “John Malkovich.” Accessed June 12, 2020. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000518/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0#actor.

Brad Dison1


ABOUT BRAD

A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.