Hot News From the 1930s

ALONG the Maine coast a scurryfunge is a hasty tidying of the house between the time you see a visitor coming and he or she raps on the door. A kind of housekeeping. So I was scurryfunging a forgotten drawer and came upon the notes of a boy reporter of 60-odd years ago. Maybe you'd like to know what made the news in a certain weekly newspaper along in the 1930s.

L.L. Bean had perfected his Maine Hunting Shoe and had established his mail order business, and he had a new trout lure he planned to offer in his next catalog. So to test it, L.L. and his brother Ortho took a forenoon off and started for Branch Brook, which was fair trout waters in those days. As they came out of the factory in hip boots, carrying their rods, Ernest F. Morton, the Freeport tax collector, was standing idly on the sidewalk, and he said, ``Well - good luck! Boys! Do you have your fishing licenses?'' The Bean brothers hadn't given that a thought. So departure was delayed while they stepped across the street and bought two fishing licenses from Bob Randall, the town clerk. When at last they came to Branch Brook they stepped through the bushes toward the stream, and what do you think? They met John Perkins, the game warden, who said, ``Mornin'! Can I take a squint at your licenses?'' Ern Morton finishes the story: ``So that explains how-come L.L. made me a present of a new pair of huntin' boot s.''

Walt Johnson stood on the corner to let an automobile pass before he crossed the street, and after a kind of double-take moment he said, ``Well, now - that's a coincidence!''

``What's a coincidence?''

``Well, that was. That was Hubbard, used to be Harvard football captain - an' he didn't know me and I didn't know him!''

In a civil action before Judge Peters, a ``flood'' was being considered, and one lawyer tried to make it sound vast while the other didn't. The lawyer asked the witness, ``What was the dimension of the circumscribed area of the inundation?'' The witness said, ``Huh?'' So the other lawyer, to help things along, said, ``He means how big was the puddle?''

Luigi Valdetti became a United States citizen. In the examination, Judge Andrews asked Luigi, ``How many warships did England send to America during the Revolution?'' Luigi said, ``More'n they took home.'' The judge said, ``You are now a Maine Yankee.''

The earthquake Tuesday night woke Bill Leavitt, County Sheriff, and he thought the prisoners were staging a riot. He fussed into his pants, tied on his sidearm, and pulled the light string. Then the noise stopped. But Bill sat up until daybreak expecting the prisoners to start again. Nothing else happened at the county jail this week.

Limerock Turner (formerly Joseph) had a bag of cement and a bag of 5-10-10 garden fertilizer, and he planted his peas. Then he got ready to top out his chimney and he couldn't find his bag of cement. The peas have not sprouted.

Kathleen Vallee has a copy of her brother Rudy's new publicity photograph. He signed it to her thus: ``To Kathleen, whose fine taste in music is responsible for mine.''

In his lecture at the college, Matthew Woll, the labor boss, referred several times to ``the lazy fairy policy.'' Sent to interview Trotsky, our foreign affairs correspondent was allowed three questions:

1. Is the V.T.B. active?

``Very.''

2. Has the G.C.L. entirely superseded the old G.L.C.?

``Entirely.''

3. How is the W.P.N.K.P.W. working out?

``OK.''

``He tried,'' said our editor about a former reporter. ``But his only scoop was followed by a retraction.''

Pulitzer Prize author Robert P. Tristram Coffin had a brother John. ``Which of Rob's books do you like best?'' somebody asked him. John said, ``I ain't never read none of 'em.''

Our weekly survey shows that everybody over 60 years old is in favor of the Townsend Plan.

A headline says ``Duck Hunters Are Out.'' Yep - at least one dollar for the federal duck stamp.

And Martha Goodrich says the coming election is a lot like her husband fighting a bear. She doesn't really much care which wins.

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