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Small Town, U S A

The Way I See it

January 21, 2018
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I don't have any definite proof and haven't looked for any statistics or studies about this, but I get the feeling that readers of newspapers are somewhere in the golden years of their lives. I know my three daughters and their families do not read the newspaper. So with that in mind, I direct my full attention to you. You're a grandma or grandpa and you literally grew up in the newspaper era. My folks got the Gazette, the Register and all of the local papers throughout my time at home and beyond. I loved the newspaper back then and still love reading the paper today. But that is not the subject of this column...

Since for the most part, we are pretty much what they call us....."Baby-Boomers." We were born in the 40's and 50's and to simply be blunt....WE GREW UP IN THE BEST ERA EVER. Don't you think?

Chelsea, like Montour, Tama, Toledo, Belle Plaine, Brooklyn, Traer, and others were the best places in the world to grow up in. "Small Town, USA." We all grew up together and if some family happened to either move away from or into our was BIG news. It just didn't happen that often. Speaking only from my Chelsea perspective, if you were born in Chelsea or the surrounding area, that's where you stayed for most of your life. Year after year, same kids in the same grades from Kindergarten through, at least the eighth grade. Even in high school there wasn't too much change.

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John Sheda

The house you were born in back then was probably the house you lived in until you left for military service, college or a job out of town. Maybe some remodeling here and there but pretty much the same. Of course Chelsea was a little different due to our annual floods. Little by little people was moving up on the hill directly north of town, but even then it didn't happen until the early eighty's or so.

As kids, we played our summer games together, (baseball, football, tag, riding bicycles and just running all over town) and in the winter, we had our favorite places to ice skate and go sledding. Monopoly was a fairly big indoor game to play along with some various card games. Television? Hah! Who really had time to watch TV. Oh sure, there was Dr. Max & Mombo, (Marshal J. before them), and perhaps some Saturday morning cartoons, but besides that, television was not in our vocabulary too much. Kids back then were always on the go.....weren't we?

Everyone in town knew each other and for sure there were poor families and well-to-do families but for the most part we were all neighbors. Everyone worked, made their living, went to Church on Sunday and we all attended basically the same schools. As far as I remember there was no real economic status in Chelsea. When a stranger came into town, we all knew about I. Chelsea for most of my growing up years was self-sufficient. We had our grocery stores, barber shop, post office, hardware store, feed store, restaurant, coffee shop, gas service stations, schools, churches and everything else that makes a small town independent of the big cities. Oh yea...............we also had a couple of taverns too!!!

I'm not sure how clear this article is but my objective simply is that we, the majority readers of newspapers, lived in what

I think is the greatest generation. Don't you concur?

Let me know at or call me at 319.327.4640.



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