The Ladies Page


| September/October 1960



Country Echoes

By MAE BABER, R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

It is surprising, in life, and pleasant, to have unexpected and illuminating experiences. They have a way of adding a zest and tang to life that keeps one interested in adventuring new places and new interests. It need not end until life ends if one is blessed enough to remain healthy and able-bodied. Even those who are handicapped and shut-in can pursue a hobby, this conclusion I drew at the Pond du Lac Steam Show. In the building where the hobbies are on display I met a man, an interesting man, with an interesting hobby. The man is Donald Espenson of 3229 S. Day field, Milwaukee 7, Wisconsin. He has a collection of between five and six hundred watch fobs, all mounted on several sheets of background material. I didn't specifically notice of what they were made. He has only been collecting these for about four years and this year won first place in the Senior Collection Class at the South Gate show in Milwaukee. I asked him if he had traveled a lot to collect these and he answered in the negative. 'No, I have gotten most of them by writing letters,' he replied. The thought struck me at once. What a chance for shut-ins! This man was well and whole and yet he had not done a great deal of searching which involved travel.

Why not, you who are unable to get around amongst others, develop something like this ?

Some of the watch fobs were advertising pieces, some were state emblems, some school awards and some presidential. One old-timer had a girl with high button shoes gracing it. There were old steam engine fobs -- Avery, Case, Russell and Port Huron. The most attractive one was beautifully colored and had the name Holman of Canada on it. Oh yes, there was even one advertising Kelloggs Corn Flakes. I was rather startled to see two with swastika emblems on them, but upon inquiring I learned that the swastika is really the emblem of good luck. How sad that it was used as an ugly sign of dictatorial power. One of them was the advertisement of the Swastika Fuel Co. of Raton, New Mexico.

On a table adjacent to the fob display was a collection of Political Campaign material from 1860 to 1956. Jack Putnam had this on display. This included campaign buttons, ribbons, pictures and other things used in the campaigns of Wm. J. Bryan, Wm. McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, Woodrow Wilson, Alfred Landon, and Thomas Dewey. I didn't get the man's address.

I was intrigued by the old time hearing aid made of a piece of hose with a funnel on one end and the other end equipped with a form of nozzle with holes in it to place in the ear. There was an old hand pump vacuum cleaner of a custom in Holland that used to be observed. There the poor unfortunate young man who was served tea in the blue cup kept for that purpose knew he was not favored and need not come back again. I wonder if the color had anything to do with the expression 'feeling blue'. My mother came from Holland when she was four years old, however she knew about this.