This is the fourth and final collection of items used as bookmarks found back when there was still a store named “Huckleberry Books,” home of a large white mouser named “Newman.”
There were so many recipe cards used as bookmarks that it’s hard to count them all. Most were distributed by products used in cooking, others appear to be copies of recipes from friends, written out in longhand or, in some cases, printed by a typewriter. Remember typewriters?
One tiny booklet from Knox Gelatin tells how to make everything from something called “Spanish Cream” to wine jelly … even marshmallows! Another booklet details how you could make 10 delicious salad dressings … so long as you used Wesson Oil. Does anyone use Wesson oil anymore? I don’t think I’ve seen any recently in the store where I shop.
There were several cigarette coupons. Remember when they were included in just about every pack of cigarettes and were redeemable for prizes? When I was a child my parents acquired a small coffee table by collecting enough of them! Dad was a Camel cigarette smoker, and I can remember that when he was working on his stamp collection upstairs in our home, I’d stand beside his desk just to inhale what I thought, at the time, was a pleasing aroma.
There was one bookmark that’s difficult to verify if it’s an original or simply a copy of one. It advertises the Centralia-Chehalis Stage Line and states: “Stages leave Centralia daily until further notice at 7:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. Returning, leave Chehalis at 8:45 a.m. and 5 p.m. Stages will leave Virges’ drug store, Centralia, and C. W. Johnson’s drug store, Chehalis.” Just think, the forerunners of Twin Transit buses were pulled by horses!
Without any doubt in my mind, one of the more remarkable items I found deserves to be here, near the end of this series. It’s not a bookmark but I found it in a box of old books. It’s a 16-page booklet advertising Clark’s 14th Annual Cruise, a 71-day cruise to “Asia and the Mediterranean Sea aboard the White Star Line ship, S. S. Arabic, beginning February 8th 1912.” Twenty shore excursions were included, along with side trips up the Nile River … all at no extra cost.
What was the cost? Would you believe $400, but $500 if you wanted a stateroom all by yourself?
It certainly appealled to snobbery when it wrote “The membership of our Cruises is composed exclusively of representative Americans, without the constant addition of uncongenial foreigners at the various Mediterranean ports.” And then came the final sentence, “Colored people are not accepted.” It was 1912 all right.
The final item in this collection puzzled me for a long time. It’s a small (4 inch by 6 inch) piece of paper with one side filled in an Asian language. The other side depicts a clock with twelve small drawings surrounding the border. The hands indicate that the time is just five minutes away from midnight.
Each hour — with the exception of number twelve —gives the impression of being an island, with a Japanese flag in the middle of it. The one at twelve appears to be the Japan mainland. It took a while before I noticed that all of the flags — except that one at twelve — are on broken flagpoles. What I was holding in my hand was a copy of the hundreds of thousands of leaflets with appeals to surrender that were dropped on Japan from our aircraft in the weeks before the “ultimate weapon” became our world’s biggest concern.
Does it cross your mind as well as mine to wonder what kind of a world we’d be living in … if Japan had heeded the warning that, “Time was running out?”
Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.