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Weekly Columns!

All your favorite weekly columns and letters to the editor- online!

 Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt
Monday afternoon a caller at this newspaper's front counter was looking for information about his family. Earlier in the day he had visited the Nuckolls County Locomotive-Gazette office and Rebecca Fullerton told him about the historical books we have for sale here. With family connections in both Jewell and Nuckolls counties he spent nearly $60 buying paperback books which give glimpses into what life was like here a century or more ago.
While at our counter he told stories about his successes and failures while tracing family history.
The thrill of finding information about an ancestor recorded in a newspaper was obvious.
But sometimes historical newspapers used abbreviations and terms that are no longer common, leaving some of us scratching our heads. For example, reading this week about an incident in Jewell County, I encountered the word gauzy. The reporter wrote the accused explanation for his actions was rather gauzy. That isn't a term I've ever used in reporting a story. Though I thought I knew what it meant I turned to the dictionary and learned gauzy means transparent, as in "his story was rather transparent." The accused was trying to explain why he purported the woman he was living with to be his wife while he was actually married to another woman. Do you suppose those hearing the story thought it was filled with holes? Or was the meaning of the story clear and easy to understand?
Sometimes we need to understand the current meaning of the word. While I was attending journalism school I was never allowed to substitute the word "ladies" for women. My professor applied the word lady to those woman who practiced the "world's oldest profession." I assume you understand that term.
The term car was not be substituted for automobile. Cars were what the railroads used. Automobiles were a type of motor vehicle, not at all like a car which rode the rails.
Gasoline was the fuel that powered your automobile. Gas was a vapor that fueled your furnace, not the liquid fuel place in an automobile storage tank.
Words like gay and rainbow have taken on different meanings since I was in journalism school.
And there are some words like "extant" that are still used ocassionally that I have a hard time remembering. I don't know why but when I encounter that word I have to stop and try to remember if it means the no longer in existence or still in existence. As in the extant courthouse. (If it is a word you also have trouble with, I'm pleased to report the dictionary says it means currently existing, not destroyed.)
In the old newspapers, there are death notices describing many of the women as relicts. It didn't mean they were ready for the junk yard. Relict was used to describe a surviving spouse, often a widow. It comes from the Latin term "relictus," meaning "relinquished" or "left behind."
Née is French and means "born." It is used to indicate a woman's maiden name.
Instant (Inst.) ­ This is used to refer to the current month. For example, a newspaper article published in December that says "12th inst." means December 12.
Proximo (Prox.) ­ Essentially meaning "next," this is used in newspapers to indicate the upcoming month. So "12th prox." in a December newspaper would mean January 12.
Ultimo (Ult.) ­ This refers to the previous month. A December newspaper that says "12th ult." is referring to November 12.
Old style/New style (O.S./N.S.) ­ These terms refer to dates that are either prior to approximately 1752 ("old style") or after about 1752 ("new style"). This is because in 1752, Britain (including its American colonies) adopted the Gregorian calendar, which resulted in skipping 11 days that year. To make matters even more complicated, the first of the year was moved from March to January. So to remove
confusion, newspapers around the time of the change included "O.S" or "N.S" to indicate which system was being used for the dates they provided.
Name abbreviations are common in old newspapers. Some abbreviations are merely the first few letters of the name followed by a period, while others are contractions (the first part of
the name plus the final letter). Some abbreviations are derived from the name's Latin equivalent, which makes them a bit trickier to decipher. For example my given name of William was often written as Wm. Since my grandfathers were both named William, family members have called me by various names and I've used Bill with my work at the newspaper. Once upon a time that would never have been permitted. I would have been William, even though both my paternal and maternal grandparents were William. I'd like to be a spy in the corner years from now when genealogy researchers are tracing real estate record and find the name of W. A. Blauvelt buying and selling Jewell and Nuckolls county properties in perhaps three centuries.
Other common name abbreviations include Chas ­ Charles, Geo. ­ George, Jas ­ James and Thos ­ Thomas.
When it comes to state abbreviations, I was trained to follow the Associated Press style book which differs from the abbreviations preferred by the postal system. For example, the post office would have us use NE but NE is confusing. I regularly have people ask if NE stands for New England. Once we even had a trucker try to deliver more than 40,000 pounds of newsprint to Superior, New England. He got clear to New York state before he discovered the 50 states of America did not include one called New England.
While this newspaper generally follows the old Associated Press stylebook (for which we have multiple copies) the latest version of the stylebook advises against abbreviating state names. According to the Associated Press, the post office format has caused so much confusion, newspapers should spell out the complete state name


A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan

Kathy and I are dealing with some health issues and getting to know our new primary care physicians at the same time. In addition to routine check-ups and lab work, we're both dealing with specific problems as well. I teased Kathy about what I called the reverse sexism I encountered at our appointments.
She saw her doctor in the morning. When it came time for what I called her "naked time" with the doctor, I was essentially ushered out of the room, leaving just Kathy, a nurse and the doctor, all women. They didn't say it, but the tone was, "why don't you run along now."
Fast forward to my appointment in the afternoon. Same clinic, different female doctor, no nurse. When I was told to drop my drawers and stand up, Kathy was allowed to just stay there, "behind" me, probably smirking. We've both had a lot of lab work in the past few weeks, in addition to ultrasounds and X-rays. We are both scheduling colonoscopies for the near future and I have been referred to a specialist for my other issue.
I was avoiding weighing myself until I lost the remaining six inches of my goal, but it is impossible to see a doctor without getting weighed, so I found out I weigh 224, which is at least 100 pounds lighter than a couple of years ago, but still 35 pounds or so from my goal of 185. My blood pressure is a bit high and I have to start taking something for it, but otherwise, I'm in pretty good shape.

Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Maybe Spring 2018 has finally arrived. Regardless of the weather conditions, school spring activities carry on. Starting last weekend, despite cold temperatures and ice and snow, several school proms and post-proms were held. Now all this week, wonderful photos are proudly displayed on social media of daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
It is great seeing the girls in their beautiful prom dresses, displaying their fashion tastes. Most girls had bare shoulders and arms showing. It made me cold knowing what the temperature was outside to see them standing outside in front of some photo opportunity in the background. Some proudly had their long skirts pulled up showing off their sandals or open toed shoes. Girls had their long hair up in circling braids or twirled down their backs in long curls. I noted that most of the girls from the different schools in their prom dresses had full skirts with simple bodices. They all looked so elegant! There didn't seem to be many in the strapless dresses as that were worn in the past. Colors of the dresses seemed to be brighter this year and many had large flowered material for the full skirts. There were still some who chose to use pastel colors and some had pearl, sequins or embroidered designs on the fabric. Thankfully for this grandmother, who had two granddaughters attending proms last weekend, they each chose beautiful full skirted dresses that made them look like the princesses they are. How grown up they looked in the photos!
Boys were dressed in their finest suits and tuxedos complete with ties and dress shoes. They looked so handsome in their photos.
I am thankful these prom photos were shared. It is wonderful seeing the young men and women all dressed up in their finest.
Other school spring sports activities that started this cold first part of spring are golf and track. Daily practices are held outdoors in the cold and the meets have been windy and frosty for participants and fans. Winter coats, stocking caps and gloves are worn trying to remain warm on the track fields and in the stands.
Hopefully, soon the weather will change and get back to the usual expected warm spring weather. Keep those prom photos coming on the social media to be enjoyed! Where has the time gone? I remember when those young men and women were little children. Guess that dates this grandma.