Jeff Jardine: Old Modesto papers touch on great moments in history

08/04/2014 8:06 PM

08/04/2014 8:07 PM

From the emails, voice mails and other sources:

PAPER TRAIL – Every so often, people will bring in old newspapers they have found while cleaning out a room or attic or basement. The natural assumption, I suppose, is that we dinosaurs in the newspaper business still appreciate the old broadsheets, and they are correct.

Several weeks ago, Carol Willsonand Don Gerlach lugged in a box of old papers, most of which were Modesto Bees or its predecessor, the Modesto News-Herald. I finally got time to thumb through them, and what a window of history they delivered. Some of the dates and headlines:

• News-Herald, March 4, 1929 – “Presidency Passes To Hoover.” Seven months later, the stock market crashed and, in essence, began the Great Depression.
• The Bee, Sept. 28, 1938 – “Four Power Conference to Avert War in Europe is Called.” Hitler used the event in Munich to assure France and Great Britain that Germany would just seize Czechoslovakia and then stop. And they believed him.
• An extra edition of the Alturas Plain Dealer and Modoc County Times, Dec. 8, 1941, bearing a headline that wouldn’t be written today – “US – JAPS AT WAR.” No exclamation point. None needed.
• Bees from May 7 and Aug. 15, 1945, reporting the ends of the war in Europe and Japan. Subhead from the latter says it all. “7,000,000 Men Will Be Released From Armed Service In 12 Months.”
• A Bee special section from July 6, 1954 – “The People’s Own and Debt Free.” This section detailed the retiring of the bond for the original Don Pedro Dam, built in the early 1920s. And the front page from the May 23, 1971, edition includes a huge photo of the dedication of the New Don Pedro Dam. Behind it, the water level was beginning to rise as 3,000 people looked on.
• Bee editions from 1959 and 1962 detailed the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. From Washington’s birthday, 1962, following John Glenn’s successful orbits: “Khrushchev Hails Glenn, Urges Space Effort Pool.” From this, one might argue, came the International Space Station. In between came the July 21, 1969, Bee edition detailing Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon.
• A Bee story on Oct. 30, 1966, details the planned construction of the Columbia College campus.
• A July 28, 1974, Bee headline speaks volumes – “Committee Votes To Impeach Nixon.”

In 85 years, you’ll still be able to find out what happened today by going onto the Internet or whatever replaces it. But it won’t have the feel, smell and antiquity of those brittle old broadsheets. Thanks, Carol and Don, for the flashbacks and history lessons.

VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN – Kelli and Arianna Tanghe of Modesto have been running as a mother/daughter disabled racing team for nearly two years. Arianna, 14, has cerebral palsy and visual impairment. Using a custom running chair, Kelli has pushed Arianna across the finish line in 28 races, including 17 half-marathons, a full marathon and several 5K events.

“Our mission is to inspire and encourage assisted athletes to participate in endurance racing,” mom Kelli said.

They’ve been featured previously on The Huffington Post, Women You Should Know and other online sites. Now they are in a different type of event. The Tanghes entered a photo of themselves in the Runner’s World Cover Contest, with the winners in male and female divisions getting future cover shots.

Visitors can go to the Runner’s World contest site and vote for their favorites to determine the finalists, with voting ending Aug. 15. Then, around Aug. 26, a panel from the magazine will choose the winners in each category.

“It isn’t about winning,” Kelli wrote in an email. “It’s about having a mother/daughter disabled racing duo on the leaderboard.”

FREQUENT RIDER MILES – Kim Cercle-Kent knows all too well every mile of the road between Marsing, Idaho, and Modesto. She has made the trip weekly for years to work with disabled children and young adults at the Care-Ousel therapeutic riding program. This driving thing among the horse culture must be contagious.

A few years ago, Crystal Petralli moved to Modesto and brought her business, Cornerstone, with her. She gives equestrian hunter and jumper riding lessons at a facility behind Modesto Feed on McHenry Avenue. But she also maintains her school in Saratoga, near San Jose and 92 miles away. It’s not Idaho, but it is time consuming.

“(Cercle-Kent’s) makes my drive look like a walk in the park,” Petralli said. Petralli is conducting summer camps here in town. Visit www.ridemodesto.com for more information.

EVEN IN A DROUGHT – The cliché that the best way to get it to rain is to wash your car is alive and well. Took mine and my wife’s through the car wash Sunday afternoon. Of course, it sprinkled Monday morning.

The same theory apparently applies to RVs, having watched a gent a block away give his travel trailer a pressure washing Sunday evening.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – Wes Van Vuren, raised in Escalon and a longtime school teacher in Ripon, has published “What Goes Up,” a novel based on the complexities of growing up. The book, priced at $16.55, is available at Amazon Books and other online booksellers.

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