February 8, 2012

Middle Bass Monday: Erie Island Mirror

In December 1949 Belle and Doug Cartledge published the first issue of Erie Island Mirror which, their records show, was published monthly (with some exceptions) until September, 1951.  At the time, they had three children, aged 32 months, 17 months, and 3 months.  They also had animals, as revealed by the following item in the January 1951 issue of the Mirror:

"Next month we would like to say a few words about goats.  As you know we have two ourselves, but you may not know that we get around four to six quarts daily of wholesome milk from them.  Perhaps there are a few other facts about goats which you may find interesting.  See our next issue."

What's most interesting about that paragraph is that roughly two decades later they'd get a new goat, who soon became an island fixture, following people on daily walks to the post office, running up the stairs inside our barn to investigate / spy if she heard noises to the south of our property, and breaking into the house at every opportunity to clean the dining room table of the contents of the sugar bowl and anything else even moderately edible.

I can only guess that Milt's renewal arrived while Mother was in the middle of addressing this postcard.
My parents studied books on owning a small business and on marketing, which shows in their mailing products.

January 1951 Erie Island Mirror.

The issue had one page of Put-in-Bay news; two pages of Middle Bass news, three pages of advertisements, and a page titled "Festive Fruit Cake for The New Year."  The page features a photo of a two-layer frosted cake in the shape of a bell and the recipe, which calls for a "handy package of Layer Cake Mix."  Oh, the times they were a-changin', with women all over the country eschewing bake-from-scratch cakes in favor of those handy packages.

I'll scan the issue once I determine how to take it apart without damage. Meanwhile, here are the top news items:

"The coldest night recorded was Dec. 26 [, 1950].  Unofficially 15 below zero on Catawba, 5 below on Put in Bay, zero on Middle Bass, and [illegible] on North Bass."

"On Friday, BILL MILLER and BILL MARKET drove to Port Clinton in a Model T tourer.  (BILL MILLER has since been called to service in the Coast Guards and is stationed in California.)"

"We helped LESLIE BRETZ unload a bulldozer blade off the plane the other day.  We understand that this is an accessory for his Ford tractor, to use for scraping and also to plough snow off the roads.  It is anticipated that now it won't snow again all winter."

The mentions of the temperatures and of Bill Miller remind me that Miller's Ferry began running regular trips to Put-in-Bay last week and was contemplating adding trips to Middle Bass this week. That 15 below zero and 5 below zero were hardly atypical when I was a child on the island.  Boats running in February?  No.

Anybody hanging on to the illusion that global warming was invented by scientists (because . . . why? Are scientists notoriously wild and crazy guys who like playing practical jokes on the rest of the world?) can catch a ride on Miller's and spend the trip contemplating what open water on Lake Erie in February portends for the rest of the world in the coming decades.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! I think that is so cool your parents published that, and I wonder where it was printed too.
I remember the goat in the 60's, following us to the West Point...

Mary Jo Cartledgehayes said...

Thanks for your comment. I've got the ledger they kept for the business and can probably identify the printer from their records. I'll let you know in a future post.