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The more things change ...

August 30, 2008
By Howard Riley,

The more things change the more they stay the same, as the old saying goes. I have right here in my possession two copies of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise dated Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, 1952, and the national news was all about the presidential election. What follows is lifted from those two publications.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, general of the Army, was the Republican candidate for president of the United States, and Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois, was the candidate of the Democrats.

Now before I get into the local news from 1952, I can safely predict (remember, you heard it here first) that Ike will beat Stevenson by a landslide. As a matter of fact, I can predict that Ike will carry 39 states to Stevenson's nine, Ike will win 442 electoral votes to Stevenson's 89, Ike will win the popular vote 34,025,529 to Stevenson's 27,375,090, and Ike will end 20 years of Democratic control of the White House.

Article Photos

Don Duso says he has only about five of these new cars for sale and that they can run up to $2,200 if you want them loaded, which would mean music and heat back in 1952. The famous Jeep was born from the Willys-Overland factory in WWII. (Don is going to be one of the guest speakers at Historic Saranac Lake Day, Sept. 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Guggenheim Camp on Lower Saranac — don’t miss it!)

Doesn't this sound familiar?

Isn't there a guy from Illinois running this year against another war hero? Now try this one on for size, 1952/2008. In 1952 the unpopular Korean War was raging, and it is said that is the reason President Truman decided not to run. Truman had the lowest approval rating of any president (since such polls have been conducted) except, guess who? President George W. Bush.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking at a news conference in - where else? - Denver, Colorado, said this: "The great subject of peace and how to obtain it overshadows all other subjects because it affects all others." Then Ike went on to say that he would touch on that subject in every campaign speech.

Now the local news

I keep telling anyone who will listen that there was a time, similar to now, when the Canadian dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar. So in August 1952, one had to pay 104 and a quarter cents American to buy one Canadian dollar.

The lead story on Aug. 12 went like this: "The great influx of Canadian tourists into Saranac Lake this season has resulted in an increase in receipts of from three to five thousand dollars a week in Canadian money.

"This compares to a total of from three to five hundred dollars a week in recent years when there were restrictions on how much money could be taken out of Canada."

That story went on to say that George LaPan, president of the Adirondack National Bank and Trust Company, would accept Canadian money at the prevailing rate with no loss to the merchants if the merchants also agreed to accept the Canadian money at the prevailing rate.

More from page one

A headline read, "S.L. Summer Theater to Return Next Year." Kendric Parker, head of the theater group, made that announcement at a Rotary Club luncheon. The summer theater was located in the beautiful Odd Fellows Hall, which was torn down to make room for the parking lot of the Hotel Saranac. No one in their right mind would let something like that happen today destroy a great building for more asphalt!!!

Hubert O'Connell was general chairman of the Red Cross Bloodmobile Drive, and Andrew Fortune was recruitment chairman. They reported that 140 donors had registered for the drive. The blood drive used to be a big deal here, and in 1952 there was an "urgent need because of the Korean War.

Local doctors would volunteer to work at the blood drive, and it was like a social hour, getting a free lunch and visiting friends. Over the years I gave six gallons of my O-negative blood, and I remember Dr. Richard Bellaire saying to me: "I once saw a fellow get a pint of your blood, and he jumped right up and started doing a jig."

Now here, I thought, was an unusual story to put on page one, with this headline: "Naked Man Frightens Colony of Nudists."

"Members of the Heritage Nudist Colony in Finchampstead, England have offered a reward for the capture of a naked man. Club officials reported today the man has popped up, stark naked, from behind bushes several times while women and children strolled quietly in the secluded grounds of the colony.

"Despite their complete sartorial similarity, members insist the tall sun-tanned man definitely is not one of them. The members have organized full-scale hunts when the man has been spotted but the chase had been delayed when members have had to don clothes in case the chase carries them beyond the bounds of the colony."

Whew! Can you imagine the guys picked to be in the police lineup to ID the guy when he was finally caught?

These old copies of the Enterprise were given to me by Mark Cartmill. Our good friends Mark and Lori are moving to Kentucky, even as we write, where Mark has accepted a position of athletic director at a small college in the bluegrass country not too far from Lexington.

Mark was at Paul Smith's College for l5 years or more, and Lori, a nurse, was with Dr. Dave Johnson's medical group for many years. Their son Connor is still in high school, so he will be going with the family. Daughter Erin is in St. Augustine, Florida working and going to school, and Josh, who spent eight years in the Marine Corps, is in school at Potsdam State.

I know it happens all the time, but it does seem strange that a family that is such an important part of a community can move away and the only ones who even know about it are their friends and colleagues. It is like they disappear.

Someday after Mark is settled, I'll write a column about this unique college that has one of the largest endowments in the country. There is no tuition for any student. Mark made many trips to Ireland over the years, and I will miss swapping stories.



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