One summer when I was growing up I stayed with my grandparents, who lived on the South side, for several weeks. During this time, my grandmother bought me some kind of small surprise for each day. The one I remember was the blank scrapbook. She had gotten my father started with making scrapbooks when he was young and she had one of these and showed me. Most of what he had were clippings from the Youngstown Vindicator.
One of the things I discovered was that beyond all the news stories, there were a number of syndicated features scattered throughout the paper. I felt like if I collected them, I could get a real education! Not shown in the graphic were Lindley Vickers column, his observations of Mill Creek Park, which I clipped religiously. There were some others that were quite informative: Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures, the Junior Editor’s Quiz and Ask Andy. The latter two featured a question a reader sent in and, in the case of Ask Andy, the child who sent in the question received a 20-Volume World Book Encyclopedia (remember encyclopedias?).
There were a number of others. Health Capsules offered some health advice. Petunia and Heloise offered housekeeping tips. There was Goren on Bridge and I remember a chess column, which was one of the ones I clipped when I was in my chess phase. I learned chess notation so I could replay the games and learn chess strategy. Graffiti was the equivalent of the memes we see all over Facebook these days, a clever saying on the “wall.”
One of the more unusual that I collected because my dad did and was a continuing feature for many years was “An Evening Olio.” You are forgiven if you confuse this word with “oleo,” a butter substitute. I never saw this word anywhere else but “olio” refers to any type of medley, a mix of items. It can refer to a spicy stew from Spain or Portugal or a miscellaneous collection of things. The “Evening Olio” in the Vindicator was a miscellany of poetry, Bible verses, and pithy observations. The one that appears above includes a verse from Langston Hughes and the observation that “The trouble about the speaker who is wound up is that it takes so long for him to unwind.”
One feature that was not syndicated but I think may still appear is the “25-40-50-75 Years Ago” column, a great resource for local history. There was also a “Points for Parents” and “Pet Doctor” feature. You could find out how to take care of your kids and the family dog or cat. Of course there were the weekly “Marjorie Mariner’s Kitchen Corner” columns filled with recipes and cooking advice.
I look back and I am amazed at what an interesting mix of features could be found in the pages of the Vindicator. Beyond the funnies and the sports pages, the stock quotes and the society pages, and national and local news, there were all these little features for kids and adults that made this a family paper. You really could learn a lot about your world, develop your interests, and find out things about Youngstown you never knew. I never thought, as a paperboy, of the treasure I tossed onto people’s porches every day. Now I understand why some of them were impatient if I was late…
To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!