A couple of weeks ago my sister Mary Griffin, who lives in Champion, gave me some old books that she found when sorting through boxes left by our mother. Among those old books were a couple of textbooks we used in grade school many years ago, an old Webster's Academic Dictionary and another one titled "The Story of Jack Halyard," a fiction book.
Talk about making good use of textbooks - one titled "The Beginner's American History" had my name in it along with my three brothers. We four were close together in age and, since we didn't have a lot of money, that book got passed down from older brother Elmore to Dale to me and then to Wayne. We all had to add some written comments in various places in the book.
In the Webster's Dictionary were a number of old newspaper and other clippings, some very funny and interesting. Most of them unfortunately were not dated. Looking through them, I think the dictionary belonged to a William Webster who married Mary Parker, sister to my great-grandfather John. They had migrated from Vermont to Ohio and lived in the Hudson area.
One of the humorous clippings was called "Cured on Homoeopathic Principles." Here is what it said: "The Grant County (Illinois) Herald relates that a man named Lyon was bitten three times on the foot by a rattlesnake while binding grain, and fell to the ground. He was carried to the house, drank half pint of alcohol and camphor, then a quart of whiskey, then a quart of pure alcohol, feeling no symptoms of intoxication. The next morning he felt some numbness and pain in his limb and drank another pint of alcohol, then swallowed a quarter pound of fine-cut chewing tobacco, boiled in sweet milk. These doses, which it would be supposed would kill anybody, had no injurious effects, and the fourth day after the bites he felt well enough, only a little soreness from the knee down."
Yes, all of that would have been enough to kill anybody. But who knows if it were true or just a great exaggeration? With all that alcohol, he certainly would not have felt much pain. No, I'm not recommending that cure for rattlesnake bites.
To illustrate how different things are today, let me share another one with you. It is titled "Ravenna-Warren Limiteds": "The new Limited service between Akron, Ravenna and Warren over the N.Q.T. and C.A.& M.V. lines will be inaugurated next Monday, May 1. Limited cars for Wayland, Newton Falls, Leavittsburg and Warren will leave Ravenna over the C.A.& M.V. at 7:43 a.m., and every two hours until 5:43 p.m., which will be the last Limited for Warren.
"Local cars from Charlestown, Wayland, Newton Falls, and Warren and intermediate points leave Ravenna at 4:15 a.m., 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 7 a.m. and every two hours until 9 p.m. 10:43 p.m. last car east.
"Local cars for Atwater, Alliance and intermediate points will leave Ravenna at 4:45 a.m., 5:20 a.m., 6 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 8 a.m. and every hour until 7 p.m. Direct connection is made at Alliance to and from Canton and Salem."
A year when this service was started was not on the clipping, and I don't know if this was an interurban type system or regular trains. Some of you may know the history of these railroads. With the price of gasoline these days, we may wish we could go back to this kind of travel, but then we may be too addicted to the freedom of our "wheels."
My mother used to tell about getting on the old Pennsylvania Railroad that went from Ashtabula to Warren and riding to various points in between. It was the best way to travel distances many years ago. Now the Pennsylvania Railroad isn't even in existence. It has become the Greenways Trail used for a different kind of travel.
Yes, as we know, times change and things are sure different today, but it's fun to look back.
Parker grew up in Trumbull County and is an independent writer for the Tribune.