Archive for September, 2016

A Bit of Jocular Journalism


The year is 1942. There is a world conflict raging “Over There,” and the average person’s wedding tended to be a modest affair with a minister and a few dozen guests. The bride likely wore a tailored suit, with perhaps a small, veiled velvet hat—not rationed, like rubber, but still heavily taxed as a luxury item during war time—atop a home-styled ‘do.

The couple are my parents. They had met working in a Saint Louis munitions plant and decided to marry shortly before my father enlisted in the Navy and prior to their 22nd birthdays.

The reporter is my father’s younger brother, Paul Williams, who went on to become an award-winning journalist but—based on his youth—was presumably a cub reporter or fledgling editor at the time. The Society beat was covered exclusively by women back then. But this is more a fluff piece than a serious column, so apparently an exception was made.

Enjoy. This could be the very dose of humor you crave, after a week overflowing with disturbing current news reports. With thanks to my cousin, Janet, for dredging this gem up out of the family archives, I offer you . . .


-Love Conquers Cleaners-

Editor’s note: For some reason known only to society editors, St. Louis society pages didn’t carry any of this interesting stuff about a Topekan’s wedding day.


M.H. (Bill) Williams, Jr., ex-Topekan now employed in a St. Louis war plant, was married at 3 p.m. Saturday and got around to eating breakfast by 6 p.m. of that hectic day.

His brother, Paul, a State Journal Staffer, returned to Topeka Monday morning with a long story of frustrated haste and missing pants.

Paul was best man, and the bridegroom had to wait two hours at the St. Louis bus depot for his arrival. Then they set out for a suburban county seat, 40 miles away, to buy a license.

They wasted 80 miles of tires, because they found that the bride, too, had to sign the application and she was still at home. It took another round trip to fix that.

Less than three hours before the wedding, the groom had to:

  1. Pick up the ring from the jeweler’s.
  2. Get the bride’s corsage.
  3. Get his best suit from the cleaner’s.

Bill got the corsage; but when he called for his suit a clerk said the pants were missing; they were at another shop 40 blocks away. And the jeweler said he’d sent the ring out; it wasn’t ready yet.

The bridegroom, a bit frantic, dashed home, met the jeweler’s messenger and got the ring, dressed for the wedding (with a substitute pair of pants) and started out again after his best pair.

He finished dressing at the cleaner’s, reached the bride’s home a half-hour late, waited still longer for a late witness.

It began to rain before they reached the minister’s, and a tire went down; also they had to stop and find an envelope for the minister’s fee.

Paul said Bill resumed breathing at 6 p.m. when he sat down to breakfast.

P.S. The bride’s name was Anne Robinson of St. Louis. Her clothes were very pretty and so was she.


September 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

A Short Tweet Regarding Tweety-Bird Legs


In case anybody out there can relate, I’ve gained five pounds since we moved to Texas last year—two-and-a-half pounds in my right thigh and two-and-a-half pounds in my left thigh.

This does not thrill me. But I can guarantee you, if I lost every ounce of my newly acquired bulk over the next few months it would not noticeably reduce the size of the saddle bags I’ve taken on since we  relocated to the southwest. I know this from long-term experience.

What is it with this exclusively female phenomenon? My husband—whose belly weight sloughs off like melting snow whenever he drops a few pounds—has a term for my predicament. He compares it to the FILO principle of first-in, last-out.

On-line definitions of FILO as a loan-funding arrangement are every bit as confusing as my adipose problem. But the acronym says it all without complicating matters further, so I won’t ramble off into complaints about how my body tends to compound the interest on these flab deposits.

Still, I have to ask, what biological logic am I missing here? For the past ten years, I’ve worked hard to build muscle and keep my metabolism firing. Yet some pig-headed, estrogen-driven internal mechanism pushes onward, thwarting any effort to direct stored calorie reserves to, say, a bony sternum or angular shoulder blades.

I guess it all boils down to that Mars/Venus thing, reduced to the cellular level. My husband also builds muscle mass more easily than I, and gets by with a lighter workout schedule. Because of the hormone differences and that lean tissue advantage, we women are genetically coded for FILO and the guys benefit from LIFO—last in, first out.

Modern medicine has come up with an equalizing remedy, however. They call it LIPO. But since the mere thought of being sliced into, selectively melted, and vacuumed out leaves me feeling all gooey inside, I’ll probably just make peace with toddling about on the lower limbs of a cartoon character. At least I haven’t turned yellow and sprouted feathers.




September 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm 4 comments

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