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Arrowsmith Printing: Entreprenuership in Small Town Iowa in Mid /Century

Updated on March 27, 2014

Two Young Parents Take Risk: Find Their Bliss

In 1948 Fritz and Marjorie Arrowsmith took their 2 children Micheal 7 years and Margo 6 months and moved halfway across Iowa with no car, $100 in the bank and $6500 in debt. The printer and former high school journalism student took on the job of reviving the weekly newspaper, The Solon Economist, that served Solon and its surrounds, including little towns, bigger cities and many farms.

Note: I am the 'little Margo' of this lens. Fritz and Marjorie are my parents. This lens is a tribute to them, for being the kind of parents, the kind of business people, and the kind of risk takers who made this country great. I was so happy to make this my first lens to honor them and to anchor other lenses about small business, the passion that I inherited from them.

September 22, 2008

The American Dream: Fritz Arrowsmith's Story

How a Poor Country Boy with No Money Did It

Fritz Arrowsmith was raised in Bayard, Iowa and was considered poor in a poor community. Raised by his great-grand-mother, at age 7 he began his first endeavour, picking up coal from the railroad tracks so they would have something to burn in the stove during cold Iowa winters. He worked through high school, but also played (leather helmet) football and basketball. He could have had a scholarship to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but didn't have the $10 to register for school.

He met Marjorie when they were both 18 and it was love at first site. They married 6 months later. Her brothers laughed. At each anniversary Orval would laugh and say, "You keep this up and I will have to admit I was wrong!" They were still holding hands on their 69th, just before Marjorie died.

He was too old to be drafted for WWII, but enlisted anyway. Marjorie worked in a factory, he was a bombardier who was stationed in New Mexico and trained others.

After the War they settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa, had their second baby and settled into a nice house with the help of the GI Bill. Fritz crossed the Omaha, Nebraska to work at a daily newspaper in Omaha.

But Fritz was restless and Marjorie was there to help him. They found an ad for a struggling newspaper in Solon, Iowa, a town of 200 people; found a banker who liked them enough to lend two inexperienced young people with no money $6500, what was then a lot of money, and off they went to make their dream.

The Girl Next Door Finds Her Prince - and Helps Create a Kingdom

Marjorie Byrd was the middle of five children. Her father worked for the railroad, which meant that during the depression, while she only had 1 skirt and two blouses for 4 years of high school, there was food on the table every day for everyone.

It also meant that they moved a lot and she was shy. She was 'woman athlete of the year' in one high school playing basketball, track and doubles volleyball. But she was shy and typically prudish for the day.

But when she spotted a grocery clerk who had all the good looks of a Hollywood star, making orange juice at the July 4, fireworks, she did something very out of character. She went up and said, "Too bad you don't squeeze anything besides oranges"

Good thing she did because he was shyer than she and although he had his eye on her, he would have never asked her out.

They were married 6 months later. She waited five long years for Micheal, then went to New Mexico with her husband during the war. It took seven more years to get Margo. Then she and her prince settled down in a nice house in Council Bluffs.

But her man wanted his own newspaper and when they found one they could afford and a banker who liked them, she picked up stakes with him and moved into a life of long hours, but satisfying work. She loved being a housewife, but considered herself Fritz's partner in all things.

She was a very creative woman who wrote columns and was the social secretary for much of the town of Solon, Iowa. She also made the dress you see in the pictures, with a daughter dress for Margo. Good thing, however, that she and Fritz shared the housework, very unusual for the 1950s!

Getting Down to Business

Dreams aren't fantasies, they are putting the pedal to the metal.

The work was hard, but this couple was willing and able to do it. Solon, Iowa in mid century was a friendly and safe place, so 'it took a village' to raise the kids. Michael was old enough to play all day, when not in school, and Margo, the only baby in town was never without people who wanted to play. Although the work was hard, they were the bosses so when either child needed attention, they could stop and attend with love and attention.

But there were 18 hour days, 6 and sometimes 7 days a week. The first year was the hardest as they learned the business. Fritz had been an apprentice printer, starting out in weeklies for $3.00 a week. It was the depression then, and he was thrilled to have a job where he could earn a trade. Marjorie made $1.50 in the local grocery. Neither had any business training or experience in publishing a paper. But Fritz always wanted to be his own boss and Marjorie was a creative and social woman who enjoyed writing and getting out to meet people.

Fritz was publisher, Marjorie editor, with a weekly column. But when the crunch came, they both did everything, including selling advertising, the lifeblood of the business. Selling meant walking all through the town and taking buses to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. You should know that Iowa winter were often below zero and they didn't even count the wind chill on the flat land in those days. They were tired, but happy.

Solon was a friendly town and they also managed to make some close friends and had lots of good times. Jim and Gina Wilson, remained close long after they left Solon and Whit, the principal and his wife, and Dr. Jean and her husband were in the social circle. Pot lucks were popular and when Fritz and Marjorie got the first TV, their apartment above the shop became a gathering place. They were also able to get away, with the kids, to the Sunday gatherings at the Wilson's Cedar River cabin.

Fritz Was the Chief Linotype Operator, but Marjorie Could Run the Monster Also

Fritz Was the Chief Linotype Operator, but Marjorie Could Run the Monster Also
Fritz Was the Chief Linotype Operator, but Marjorie Could Run the Monster Also

Fritz and Marjorie at the Linotype

This Monster Was the Greatest Innovation Until the Computer

In Arrowsmith Printing, Video Part 3 Fritz tells us about this machine; the complications and dangers of using it. We learn that this monster was an essential part of the newspaper history. It was the evolutionary link between hand typesetting and offset. Offset is now outdated.

As Margo, the daughter in the family, what I remember about it is the oft repeated phrase: "Don't touch the linotype!" I had access to the entire shop, but knew that this machine was especially important and not for little fingers and play.

In part 7, he introduces a character who lost his arm to the machine and tells us how the man ultimately triumphed, after a fashion.

What It Looked Like Before Computers!

Thanks to Mike Amidon for sending me this picture.

Here we see 'the galleys'. This is what came out of the linotype. The lead 'pigs' went into the linotype, where the operator would type in the stories. Each line had a separate piece of type. After proofreading, any mistake would be retyped and then replaced in the 'galleys' as you see them here.

And they did this each and every week. Big city papers did it several times a day.

Fritz Arrowsmith, at 91 Paints a History of the Newspaper Business - The hard work, the hardware, the rewards and challenges.

These videos are part of a series wherein Fritz remembers aspects of the business. If you see him start to choke up, it is because he remembers the love of his life, Marjorie, who died 3 years ago after 69 years together. They worked together, raised kids together, kept a home together. In this case togetherness was a good thing.

Note: See below for information on the surprisingly inexpensive and easy to use camera that I used to make these videos.

Any Purchase Here Will Contribute to Heifer International: The Pay It Forward Entrepreneurial Charity

It Took a Village

And Solon, Iowa Was Certainly That

Fritz and Marjorie's two children Micheal and Margo settled into the small town.

Margo spent a lot of time in a playpen in the shop or (believe it) on the sidewalk while her parents worked. She slept, played with toys or was entertained by the townspeople or her parents who took breaks to be with her. Sometimes someone would just come and take her to the park. No one ever dreamed there could be any danger there. And there wasn't.

Michael was able to play anywhere he wanted around the town. It was small and everyone kept an eye on the kids.

As the kids got older, Margo was able to walk on the Main Street and go into stores. The post master would stop his work when she entered the Post Office to play for a little while.

It got a little harder for Michael. The dark side of mid century was that tolerance and diversification were not common values. As he got older, the kids realized that he was the only Protestant in a town of Catholics. There was a lot of teasing and some bullying. But he was a good athlete and found friends.

Throughout it all, Fritz and Marjorie, being their own bosses would stop whenever one of the children needed them. The kids grew up in and around the family business much like many of the kids on the surrounding farms. The town just offered more adults to fill in.

Fritz Gives Tribute to Marjorie

She Breaks Their Rule About Controversy

The Arrowsmiths wanted a paper that was just about local news. High school sports, store openings, neighborhood parties were the fair of the Solon Economist, Wilton Advocate and Durant News. The townspeople and farmers needed, loved and used it to help knit the community closer.

However in 1959, something happened that got Marjorie to change the long standing policy. Wilton and Durant were going to abolish girls' basketball! Enjoy Arrowsmith Printing video #5 where Fritz proudly talks about how she went into action!

The picture is of Marjorie in the uniform she wore for Perry High School in 1932. She was so passionate about the importance of girls' sports because she was an athlete long before Title 9, when female athletes were rare! She won part of her cause because she had become a very good writer.

Note: She played 3 court ball. In 1959 girls were playing 2 court. No one thought they were strong enough to play like the men. In video #5 Fritz puts that lie to rest!

Iowa: Great Place to Grow Up

And of course, like the farm kids, they were also put to work in the business as it became age appropriate. When the family moved to Wilton, Iowa to take over the Wilton Advocate and then the Durant News, the kids became more part. Michael went to football (or basketball or track) practice and to practice for the high school play, but on Wednesday nights he was at the shop helping to get the paper 'to bed'.

Margo, 7 years younger, was sent to the local movie theater with 26 cents. This covered admission, a bag of popcorn and state tax. Years later, in another town and another business, she was also given jobs and the 'salary' of 50 cents an hour.

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this the "Lens of the Day" 9/22/08! There are so many great lenses to choose from.

Dad was tickled and Mom would have been thrilled!

On 9/25/08 this lens hit #1 in Business and #11 overall on 10/5/08! Thanks so much!

The Wonders of Squidoo

I received this comment yesterday. I don't know how he found the lens. But here is the exchange.

************************************************

Mike Amidon wrote

Margo-

My family purchased the Solon Economist from your parents in about 1952. I think my dad was as passionate about running a small town weekly as Fritz was. So I grew up in Solon too and went to school there with my 2 brothers.

I remember having to help print the Economist every Wednesday night. My mom fed the big sheets of paper into the printer. Dad created the stories on the linotype machine. My brothers and I ran the machine that folded the papers.

My older brother Phil wrote a goofy column that described life in Solon from the perspective of our cat Durwood. I still have a few old copies of the Economist stored away.

Father Carl Clems, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic church, would stop by every Thursday morning to read his copy in the office. We lived in the apartment upstairs. We sold the Economist in 1961 and moved to Iowa City.

**********************************

Dad was so pleased to hear this, it got him and me, thinking about more, I replied:

********************************

Margo_Arrowsmith wrote...

in reply to Mike Amidon I remember Father Clems also, he was great friends with Mom and Dad and I used to sit on his lap and play with his Irish Setter, Calancy! The Catholics in town were a little offended, but Mom and Dad, who were very respectful of the clergy, thought they he liked the fact that they talked with him like he was a regular person. They were the only ones in town who did that. He must have been very lonely there and appreciated them.

So we lived in the same apartment, you and I. Were Mom's green picture drapes still there? She made them in between putting the paper to bed and taking care of kids!

Thanks for taking me back and reminding me of more! I can't wait to share this with Dad.

**************************

Then today there was this:

Mike Amidon wrote

Margo-

Don't recall the drapes. Of course, I was only 6. Things I do remember about Solon:

Listening to the loud talking coming from the American Legion at night in the summers when we had our bedroom windows open.

Wednesday night band concerts across the street. My brother Phil played the trombone. The ladies sold kolaches and they kept glass bottles of pop in large round metal animal feed bins, filled with ice to keep the pop cold. All the cars would honk whenever the band finished a song. Enjoyed watching drunks leave Kessler's tavern and stagger down the street.

Riding my bike out to Lake McBride to go swimming. In the winter, we'd go ice skating on the lake and take some of the Solon kids with us.

Shopping for school supplies at the Shop Rite store (owned by George Florshinger (sp?)).

Finding half-smoked cigars behind the American Legion and sneaking down to the creek to north of town to finish 'em off.

I have some photos I could send as well via email.

I answered:

in reply to Mike Amidon Later today I am going to make a separate module for your comments, and anything you choose to ad.

I was 5 when we left (1953, not '52) so I don't remember the cigars, and while I remember the band concerts, I don't remember the specifics.

I do remember the grocery store. I would go in by myself, under five, and the owner would let me take what I wanted. Mom and Dad went over and asked them to teach me that that wasn't right. They just thought I was cute and wanted to give, Mom and Dad wanted to teach me.

The Solon Economist Today: Still a Family Based Business! - Kudos to Them for Maintaining the Integrity of the Paper

and the spirit of small business! Makes my heart sing!

The Greatest Generation - Fritz and Marjorie Were Two of the Best Examples

These books by Tom Brokaw are about the generation that saved us from fascism, the Arrowsmiths certainly did their part. And then they built the country back from the depression and war to end all wars.

And of course, there is the book about the children of the Greatest Generation.

"Is This Heaven?" ..."No, Its Iowa" - Field of Dreams

I had lived away from Iowa for many years when I saw Field of Dreams. It's a great father/son or just family movie. But when Shoeless Joe stepped out of the cornfield and asked, "Is this Heaven?" he was told, "No, its Iowa." My heart leaped, because in spite of the cold. cold winters and hot, hot summers, Iowa is a little Heaven.

The Music Man A Colorful Picture of Old Iowa - "There is something to say, about the Iowa way we treat you....

....when we treat you which we may not do at all"

Actually Iowans are very friendly, but this song from The Music Man still feels like home.

"We can stand touching shoulders for a week at a time and never see eye to eye....

but we'll give you our shirts and our back to go with them, if you crops should happen to die"

Now THAT'S the Iowa I remember.

The Amazing Camera That Made These Videos - Inexpensive, Easy To Use.

I have made many promotional videos for local business people. They are always surprised when they see my little camera. They are always pleased and amazed at the quality that comes from that little orange box!

The videos of my father were all made with little gem of a camera.

The Old and the New - Some Things Changed, But a Lot Stayed The Same

Fritz talks with the young publisher of the Raleigh Ledger, S. Robinson. They talk about the differences, but mostly the similarities of publishing newspapers from mid century 20th to the 21st century

Fritz bought one of the first Polaroid cameras. Not having to wait for film to be developed for stories was a boon to business!

Fritz bought one of the first Polaroid cameras. Not having to wait for film to be developed for stories was a boon to business!
Fritz bought one of the first Polaroid cameras. Not having to wait for film to be developed for stories was a boon to business!

Solon, Iowa in the spring. - A currect resident shares the joys of spring with her family

Those winters are long, but it just makes spring all the sweeter.

Fritz and Marjorie's Beloved Hawkeyes - Just Couldn't Talk About Fritz and Marjorie without the Hawkeyes

They were both great sports fans and especially backed the Hawks. It didn't matter how busy they were or how cold it got, they never missed a game! I know for a fact they were both cheering like crazy watching this game.

This video 'The Stand' reminds me of their spirit.

All Things Arrowsmith - Its Fun to Find Things With Your Name

Check the Street Sign, You Can Get That With Your Name!

Arrowsmith [VHS]
Arrowsmith [VHS]

Really great old movie, Ronald Coleman's voice is worse the price!

 
ARROWSMITH Street Sign ~ Personalized Family Lastname Sign ~ Gameroom, Basement, Garage Sign ** ALUMINUM
ARROWSMITH Street Sign ~ Personalized Family Lastname Sign ~ Gameroom, Basement, Garage Sign ** ALUMINUM

As cool a name as Arrowsmith is, you can also get this with your own name. Get two!

 

Fritz Arrowsmith A Living History of the Newspapers

Mom and Dad ate it hot from the oven with butter!

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 20

Ingredients

  • 3 c. flour
  • unsifted
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Grease two 9 x 1 1/2 inch layer pans; line bottoms with waxed paper. Sift together dry ingredients into large bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. Gradually stir in water and vanilla until smooth and blended. Pour into prepared pans. Bake in 350 degree oven about 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Cool completely. Remove from pans. Makes 2 layers.
Cast your vote for Mom's Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

I share all messages with him. He is amazed by this internet thing, but also excited that he is now part of it. And truly touched that his dear wife is remembered here.

Fritz Would Love to Hear From You - Well, and Me Too

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    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a good lookin guy

    • unsinkablewoman profile image

      unsinkablewoman 8 years ago

      hello

      I just wanted to say first that I wish they still made men like your dad, and woman like your mother

      its not often you find people that would stay together in this day and age,through all of that.

      So your a lucky woman to have had a set like them.

      good luck in all you do your friend,D

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is a great way to encounter this story--I really enjoyed looking at the photos and traveling that route with your parents those many years ago. Thanks!

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      A very inspirational lens. Thanks for sharing your family story.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This really is a little cross-section of America at its best, and it's wonderful that it's a collaboration between your dad and you. Thank you.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is a very sweet lens. What a great way to honor your parents. 5*s

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I enjoyed so much reading about your family. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • EshanMonteath profile image

      EshanMonteath 8 years ago

      This is absolutely fantastic! One of my favorite lenses to date, and thank you so much for sharing. I was from Eastern Iowa before I moved to Alaska, then Texas, so I even know where Solon is! Great lens :)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      What a wonderful tribute.

      5*

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      This is so far the best lens I have read on Squidoo.

      What an pleasure to be able to read about your parent's lifestory.

      I give it a 10, never mind 5.

      Poutine

    • BFunivcom profile image

      Allan R. Wallace 8 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      Ben Franklin, as I'm sure you know, was also a printer. He would have been excited to know of your parents lives, and of yours. You, too, live your own life - congratulations. "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." - Benjamin Franklin

    • Barkely profile image

      Barkely 8 years ago

      What a fantastic tribute. Squid Angel thumbs up to you:) Looks like a wonderful testimony to your parent's life.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      wonderful lens! so well written... 5*s

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Beautifully written tribute! Great story! I enjoyed every sentence!

    • profile image

      sbucciarel 8 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. firestormforum.com Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at http://www.squidoo.com/firestorm

    • Webcodes LM profile image

      Webcodes LM 8 years ago

      Fantastic tribute to your parents. 5 well deserved stars. Thank you for visiting my Lisbon lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, the old linotype. Our company supplies products to the printing industry, so I feel a special affinity to your parent's business. Delightful lens -- love the OLD pictures. 5*****

    • profile image

      Jesi 8 years ago

      Oh Really Fabolous

      Interesting lense, passing on to my friends too

      Room AC

    • DesireeRichardson profile image

      DesireeRichardson 8 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I lensrolled your lens to start up biz network and favorited it for reference.

      Desiree Richardson

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      This is a fabulous tribute! Please tell Fritz I said hello and am inspired by both of your parent's story.

      My father was also very successful as a printer for the trade. I lost him 2 years ago and miss him terribly.

      ***** from one printer's daughter to another!

    • profile image

      nack4greatness 8 years ago

      Great page and good story!!!

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 8 years ago

      great story and pictures!!

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 8 years ago from Chico California

      Congratulations on Lens of The Day!! WEll Deserved!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Hi dear! Congrats on making LOTD! :)

    • tea lady 2 profile image

      Pat 8 years ago from Midwest, USA

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day! Great story.

    • profile image

      hesika 8 years ago

      Thank you for your story. What you show is what I saw in my life too and what always is true: If there are two people (wife and husband), who work together, who complement each other, who belief each other, who do what they love to do, those people always will be successful.

      Give a greating and thank to your father.

      And for your business the greatest success - and enjoy it!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      How fitting that I am listening to Songbird sung by Eva Cassidy as I read this Most Beautiful lens. Your heart shines to mine, thank you!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Congrats on making lens of the day :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      The world of the 1950s was a kinder gentler time where much could be done if great effort was put into a dream, those of us living in 21 first century do not find that to now be true. Today business is no longer conducted with a handshake and start up loans are at a rate that makes starting a business very risky. I loved reading your lens because it shows me clearly what is wrong with today.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens with a most important theme and congratulations on LOTD. We owe a lot to people of that generation and sadly there are so few of them left, what I call straight up people. Best of luck.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congrats on Lens of the Day! Thank you so much for sharing the story of your parents!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      Wondeful lens with an important theme and congratulations on LOTD, richly deserved. We owe a lot to people of that generation and sadly there are so few of them left, what I call straight up people. Best of luck.

    • profile image

      blossom123 8 years ago

      Really interesting lens. Yes no doubt this become the lens of the day. Thank you for the lens

      Free articles

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day! How exciting! This is a beautiful lens and a great story!

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 8 years ago

      I love inspirational stories such as this. Great job and congratulations on LotD! :)

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • ChristopherScot1 profile image

      ChristopherScot1 8 years ago

      Great lens and congrats on Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      CosmeticSurgeryIreland 8 years ago

      Lovely warm and affectionate and interesting.

    • ebay-grandma profile image

      ebay-grandma 8 years ago

      Beautiful tribute. 5's

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a fantastic tribute. You have inspired me to make a lens about my parents one of these days. Well done on getting Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Well deserved honors for such a remarkably special lens.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      CONGRATULATIONS on LOTD!!! well deserved...

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 8 years ago

      Great lens, 5 stars and congrats on LOTD!

    • SoSimplyStephanie profile image

      Stephanie 8 years ago from DeFuniak Springs

      Nice lens! 5* Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What an inspiration! We need to hear more about how people beat the odds and make it. I am in love with this lens. Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      texasshutterbug 8 years ago

      Thanks for the inspirational story. Its stories like these that keep the american dream alive. Iowa is a nice place to live. My only complain it gets to too cold but then again im a Texan where snow is rare

    • profile image

      serendipityrose 8 years ago

      Fascinating lens! I look forward to reading more of your lenses!

    • profile image

      site-builder 8 years ago

      Great Job Margo. Looks like you've learned a lot from your Dad and Mom.You have picked up where they left off using the internet/squidoo. Bravo!

      One more five star rating for you.

    • profile image

      ShortSaleRealtor 8 years ago

      great lens hi 5 and congrats on lot d

    • profile image

      danskapia 8 years ago

      I think this bio is a great thing for anyone to do whether it's on squidoo or not. It's a nice gift for other family members to be able to know about other family members.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      What a beautiful story... Squid Angel Blessings to you, and congratulations on your LOTD honor.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Both my father and mother were born and raised in Iowa; giving birth to 5 children, and raising them also in Iowa. I left Iowa at 20, which I think was good, because it gave me perspective. I came back to Iowa at 32 after divorcing to raise my little boy, as I felt Iowa and it's social/work ethics are perfect for raising a wholesome, well rounded child. I wasn't wrong. From a veteran Iowan Squidoo-er, welcome! (and congrats on LOTD) :)

    • billco1 profile image

      billco1 8 years ago

      Very nice lens. Great way to document part of your family history.

    • ctavias0ffering1 profile image

      ctavias0ffering1 8 years ago

      What a wonderful piece of family history and so well documented here. 5*

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 8 years ago

      Congratulations.

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 8 years ago

      Congratulations.

    • profile image

      gods_grace_notes 8 years ago

      You’ve Been Peeped By a Giant Squid, and you have warmed my heart with your story. I love your passion and pride for the accomplishments of your family, and rightfully so!

      You're a shining example of love in action, my heartfelt congratulations to your Father and Mother; for I am sure that she is peeping too!

      Congratulations, and blessings to your entire family,

      Connie

      : )

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 8 years ago from California

      What an absolutely fabulous story, lens and tribute. The photos added to the storytelling. Thank you for sharing. 5 stars, a favorite and I'm a FAN! Bear hugs, Frankster

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 8 years ago from California

      What an absolutely fabulous story, lens and tribute. The photos added to the storytelling. Thank you for sharing. 5 stars, a favorite and I'm a FAN! Bear hugs, Frankster

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      congrats on LOTD :D ...very sweet lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      extra especial it's a 1O!!! I WISH YOU THE BEST

      GREAT JOB

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 8 years ago from USA

      BRAVO! Standing Ovation! Mom & Pop Shop - Small Town Proud 5*

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      What a great lens and story. Loved it!

    • GreenRevolution profile image

      GreenRevolution 8 years ago

      Great lens and a wonderful story! This is a perfect example of how the American entrepreneurial spirit built our country. 5 STARS for this terrific lens! Excellent job and congrats on achieving LOTD!

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      Congratulations on LOTD!!! Very interesting read it is too ;)

    • profile image

      ZBT 8 years ago

      A true testament to a real American family... Bravo! You were awarded Lens of the Day!

      Good for you, you deserve it.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nice lens and congratulations on earning Lens Of The Day. Not only is this a great tribute lens, it's about something which is so close to your heart - your family. Really nice job.

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 8 years ago

      I find the title very sentimental and nostalgic. Excellent lens you've got here.

    • profile image

      roysumit 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD. Fantastic lens. You poured your heart out in it.

    • profile image

      merilyn 8 years ago

      Margo, Thanks for writing this - it gives us courage when we read stories like this.

      My Dad's 93 and can't get over this internet thing either. If his vision was up to it he'd have lots of great yarns to write.

      Congrats on being lens of the day.

      You lens was a great example of how to do it. Thanks

    • profile image

      sdccpro 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your success

    • profile image

      TrueFX 8 years ago

      Absolutely support everything said here. Fantastic lens with a soul!

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 8 years ago

      I love the tribute to parents lenses! My dad was blind and lived to be 100!

    • profile image

      BethErickson 8 years ago

      You have a very wonderful lens, Margo. You helped inspired a lot. 5 stars for a great lens. :)

    • profile image

      ClaudetteKeith 8 years ago

      Congrats on lense of the day!

      Great work!

      Claudette

    • Homeguide LM profile image

      Homeguide LM 8 years ago

      From one Iowan to another, within this lens you hit the nail on the head when it comes to living in Iowa

    • profile image

      DianiaLee 8 years ago

      Truly a GREAT lense, This tribute would make a really good movie!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      I will tell Dad about your movie suggestion. He will love it. The only problem is that there isn't anyone now who is handsome enough to play him!

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      nancydodds1 8 years ago

      Its very nice lens and interesting thanks for providing this lens. Recently i posted lens on Mortgage in UK This lens will be very useful for your home.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      A hearty SquidAngel Blessing for this great page!

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      What a wonderful story and Inspirational.5 stars.

    • profile image

      J_ben 8 years ago

      very inspiring story.. a motivation to move forward..:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this information. 5 stars for you.

      Marketing-YTB

    • unsinkablewoman profile image

      unsinkablewoman 8 years ago

      Congrats Margo

      Your A Hit

    • profile image

      nancydodds1 8 years ago

      My 5 stars for you. Its very interesting lens and wonderful information you had presented. You can visit my profile.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      Great to hear of a paper that is still locally owned. As papers that "serve" my community, and neighboring communities have been taken over by big national companies, their coverage of the smaller towns have decreased.

      I used to be able to get regular news about my town in the big dailies, but not any more. They don't totally ignore us, but they fail to keep up with a lot that happens that may only be of interest to readers who live in the small towns.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a marvelous tribute. It says so much about your entire family - your sense of ethics and depth of love. You shine through as such a wonder, yourself! Thank you so much for sharing this. A warm handshake to your dad. Reminds me of "it was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Life truly is what you make it...by your perspective.

    • profile image

      posheak 8 years ago

      you are correct! I agree with what you said in your profile

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 8 years ago

      I love looking at old photographs, so that immediately attracted me to your lens. To be inspired by the story of your parents was icing on the cake. What lovely parents you have, full of gusto! 5 stars

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      The lens is quiet interesting and the story is well explained. The photos are natural to look at. A big 5stars for your lens.

      Checkout my blog

      http://printerssearch.net/

    • profile image

      kickthe9to5 8 years ago

      It is nice to hear that a newspaper is still owned locally. It is heartwarming to hear your story. I know why you dedicated this to your parents. Awesome lense!

      Tina

      kickthe9to5.com

    • mekon1971 profile image

      mekon1971 8 years ago

      Awesome lens, very deserving of LOTD and all the kudo's and squiglets that come with it! Beautifully done!

    • profile image

      real_estate_hawaii 8 years ago

      Nice old photos! great lens.. thanks for sharing.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I read this before, but this is an awesome lens. Love the old photos. What a great tribute to your parents.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      What a wonderful story. Angel Blessings to you!

    • Family-Legacy-Mom profile image

      Family-Legacy-Mom 8 years ago

      What a great Family Legacy you have! I'm impressed. You did a great job.

    • profile image

      jpetals 8 years ago

      I agree with WhitneyWells, very deserving of LOTD! Enough information to fill 20 lenses! What a wonderful way to honour your parents.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens and congratulations on the LOTD

    • PattB LM profile image

      PattB LM 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your family's story, Margot! I especially enjoyed the videos, and am so glad your dad got to participate, I bet that meant a lot to him. Well-deserved LOTD! 5*****

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Merry Christmas from the Totally Awesome Lenses Group.

      Lizzy

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I truly appreciated this lens. Obviously you had a wonderful upbringing and appreciated your family. I'll be back to see your other lenses. 5*s, favorite, fan and lensrolled.

    • julcal profile image

      julcal 8 years ago

      Margo, this is a great lens! Very deserving ***** I still have a LOT to learn!

      ~ Julie

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 8 years ago

      Excellent and inspiring lens! I can definitely see why it was LOTD!!!! 5*s, favorited and lensrolled!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 8 years ago

      Lens of the day.. wow, I can see why! Wonderful story of the human heart and small business.

      FIVE GLORIOUS STARS!

      Aloha, Kathy

    • MattTaylor LM profile image

      MattTaylor LM 8 years ago

      Your Mom and Pop are truly and inspiration to me! I too am an entrepreneur and love to read about how other beat the odds to become successful. Thank you so much for telling this story...

      Matt

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile image

      Adrienne Jenkins 8 years ago

      Too awesomely awesome. Love the story, the content, the You Tube videos.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Margo...another very touching lens. I loved this story of your parents' lives! You and your brother are very cute!!! 5*'s.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Too convoluted to explain how, but I came across this accidentally and it is great to have somewhere to read about part of my family I never knew enough (my dad's sister and brother in law). Haven't watched everything yet, but be sure I will. So best to all the family. Still remember visiting them in the camper in Flanders, NJ many years ago.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      [in reply to Beckybyrdburkhart] [in reply to Beckybyrdburkhart] Becky, wow, I just got friended by Bobette on FaceBook and now this. Go into my profile and contact me to tell me how to reach you. If you want to read more about Dad, here is another lens.

      My Dad The Gold Standard I was just thinking about the humungous Raggedy Ann doll you made for Sarah, who is almost 38! Times flies.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      [in reply to Beckybyrdburkhart] [in reply to Beckybyrdburkhart] Becky, wow, I just got friended by Bobette on FaceBook and now this. Go into my profile and contact me to tell me how to reach you. If you want to read more about Dad, here is another lens.

      My Dad The Gold Standard I was just thinking about the humungous Raggedy Ann doll you made for Sarah, who is almost 38! Times flies.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Fantastic lens! Beautiful job telling your parents' story. 5***** and a favorite

    • wyrm11268 profile image

      wyrm11268 7 years ago

      Great family story - well done a most enjoyable read.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Margo-

      My family purchased the Solon Economist from your parents in about 1952. I think my dad was as passionate about running a small town weekly as Fritz was. So I grew up in Solon too and went to school there with my 2 brothers.

      I remember having to help print the Economist every Wednesday night. My mom fed the big sheets of paper into the printer. Dad created the stories on the linotype machine. My brothers and I ran the machine that folded the papers.

      My older brother Phil wrote a goofy column that described life in Solon from the perspective of our cat Durwood. I still have a few old copies of the Economist stored away.

      Father Carl Clems, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic church, would stop by every Thursday morning to read his copy in the office. We lived in the apartment upstairs. We sold the Economist in 1961 and moved to Iowa City.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      [in reply to Mike Amidon] I remember Father Clems also, he was great friends with Mom and Dad and I used to sit on his lap and play with his Irish Setter, Calancy! The Catholics in town were a little offended, but Mom and Dad, who were very respectful of the clergy, thought they he liked the fact that they talked with him like he was a regular person. They were the only ones in town who did that. He must have been very lonely there and appreciated them.

      So we lived in the same apartment, you and I. Were Mom's green picture drapes still there? She made them in between putting the paper to bed and taking care of kids!

      Thanks for taking me back and reminding me of more! I can't wait to share this with Dad.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Margo-

      Don't recall the drapes. Of course, I was only 6. Things I do remember about Solon:

      Listening to the loud talking coming from the American Legion at night in the summers when we had our bedroom windows open.

      Wednesday night band concerts across the street. My brother Phil played the trombone. The ladies sold kolaches and they kept glass bottles of pop in large round metal animal feed bins, filled with ice to keep the pop cold. All the cars would honk whenever the band finished a song. Enjoyed watching drunks leave Kessler's tavern and stagger down the street.

      Riding my bike out to Lake McBride to go swimming. In the winter, we'd go ice skating on the lake and take some of the Solon kids with us.

      Shopping for school supplies at the Shop Rite store (owned by George Florshinger (sp?)).

      Finding half-smoked cigars behind the American Legion and sneaking down to the creek to north of town to finish 'em off.

      I have some photos I could send as well via email.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      [in reply to Mike Amidon] Later today I am going to make a separate module for your comments, and anything you choose to ad.

      I was 5 when we left (1953, not '52) so I don't remember the cigars, and while I remember the band concerts, I don't remember the specifics.

      I do remember the grocery store. I would go in by myself, under five, and the owner would let me take what I wanted. Mom and Dad went over and asked them to teach me that that wasn't right. They just thought I was cute and wanted to give, Mom and Dad wanted to teach me.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      [in reply to Mike Amidon] Mike, please send the pictures and I will post them here. You can send me a message here by clicking on my profile or through facebook. I will send you my email.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 7 years ago

      Margo, this is such a wonderful lens and it has been fun reading it. What a history. Thanks for sharing. Five stars and a favor.

    • SaraMu LM profile image

      SaraMu LM 7 years ago

      What a wonderful lens. I am originally from Iowa with family who lived in Solon. I also have a background in journalism so this was quite a treat!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 7 years ago

      A wonderful story, thanks for sharing it...Blessed.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Re-blessing this wonderful lens. I too have a background in journalism and enjoy learning more about pioneers of the news industry.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Margo, this is a piece of history. What a great family to belong to.

      Blessed by an angel! ~ Love to you...

      Susie

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens and a very interesting story.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for sharing this story!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 6 years ago from Lancaster PA

      A wonderful tribute to everything family and family business. Your dad was so lucky (and happy) to have you in his life. And a belated congrats on LOTD!

    • jgelien profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      What a lovely story about a special family. I enjoyed reading your lens very much.

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 6 years ago

      What a beautiful and wonderful and precious lens about your parents. It really is touching. And very interesting, as well, to learn about the ways of the paper back then and the girls' sports issues, too!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Great story about your family and its business. You deserved LOTD! Great job!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Great story about your family and their business. You deserved the LOTD - congrats.

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 6 years ago

      Small business is the life's blood of the economy, no matter what folks like GM and their ilk believe. And entrepreneurs are the backbone of the country.

      -Art Haule

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      An amazing story...your parents had great faith and your father was (and is) a very enlightened man (evidenced by him sharing the housework in the 50's). It truly does take a village to raise a child and thankfully, you and your brother were surrounded by guardians all the time. Your mother really inspired me, she was a woman before her time. For she knew that maintaining equality (even in sports) was key to raising the bar for women and (I am sure) her wonderful daughter, Margo (you) were the inspiration behind that. I absolutely LOVE this lens (thanks too, for visiting, liking and commenting on mine). You have been able to touch other souls and you have learned much from your mother's strengths. Take Good Care, Rose

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 6 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I really liked this lens! I worked in the printing trade for many years, so some of the pictures brought back good memories. Congratulations on winning Lens of the Day for this great lens. It's a great tribute!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 6 years ago from Quezon City

      Wow, this is such a wonderful tribute to your amazing and inspiring parents. You are lucky to have them and they are lucky to have a supportive and appreciative daughter like you. It is truly amazing that your family's printing legacy lives on through the Solon Economist! Btw that exchange with Mike Amidon is particularly entertaining. ~Blessed~

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      Blessings from a fellow Iowan!

    • TheyCallMeVarmit profile image

      TheyCallMeVarmit 6 years ago

      This is an amazing lens. So personal, and educational...just completely stellar. Thanks for making this lens, it is truly one of a kind.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      An excellent story and wonderful tribute to your parents. Angel blessed :)

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      I was only halfway done with this when I re-tweeted your tweet about this blog. This lens was a great tribute to your parents. Thanks to people like your parents, the news continues to come to the little rural communities.

    • profile image

      7Suze7 6 years ago

      Lovely story. Thanks

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 6 years ago

      What an amazing and inspiring story. Your parents are people we could all learn from - taking risk and finding bliss.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack2205 6 years ago

      Lovely tribute. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Oh Margo, I started to cry when I viewed the first interview you showed here of your father at 91 (he looked like 70). What wonderful parents. . .I see where you get your drive to do some good in this world.

      BTW, on my lens (you liked before I added 25 yes / no polls), there are already 5 lovely comments from other lensmasters about you. (http://www.squidoo.com/good-heart).

      Fondly,

      Rose

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Lensrolled to: Squidoo people with a good heart

      Stay Well, Rose

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Just featured this lens in the right sidebar widget of my good-heart lens. Take Care, Rose

    • Krafick profile image

      Krafick 6 years ago

      Great lens.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This is an absolutely brilliant lens, one of the best kind, it's a personal story, and wonderfully told in a way that almost makes you feel you are there. Lensrolled to my One Hundred Years Ago lens, thanks for lensrolling to mine.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 6 years ago from London

      What a truly wonderful lens. It's so informative in so very many ways. I can well understand how it won LOTD but it seems to me it's got a whole lot better since then!

    • profile image

      RobGrawberger 6 years ago

      An incredible lens of life's journey. Very interesting reading your correspondence back and forth with Mike Amidon. Kind of made me think of things when I was growing up. Great Job

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I heartily applaud your gathering of memories from your parent's lives and video taping your dad talking about various topics.

      After self-publishing the book of my mother's memories, I'm on a campaign to get everyone to save family memories. The project not only saved family history for the next generation, but it brought us closer together.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Wow, what a wonderful tribute to your parents! You certainly have happy memories of growing up. Great lens.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      What an interesting read and a lovely tribute to your parents. I greatly enjoyed listening to the videos as well.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 5 years ago from Western Mass

      what a terrific personal lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Margo--beautiful, beautiful lens! I see by some of your other writing, that your father has passed on, too, now. I'm so glad that he was able to see how touched people were by the story of Fritz and Marjorie. I was sure I'd read this lens before, you had recommended it to me once in a comment, but somehow, I hadn't. However, today I can rectify that by giving a thumbs up, favoriting, and bookmarking a lens that's such a wonderful tribute to a way of life that's almost gone now. I grew up in the 50s in the Midwest, too. I lived in a small town, somewhat larger than Solon, Iowa, but just as friendly, and secure. It was a wonderful time and place to grow up. Thanks for a wonderful lens!

    • profile image

      theprintcenter 5 years ago

      Wow, what a great lens! I also run a printing company, as you can probably tell from my username and picture. Its great to read about the amazing history of printing and about your family. Thanks for this amazing lens!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      Love this lens! Can't believe I'm just getting around to viewing it. Great pics and Fritz looked like a fabulous man. Sorry I missed him! But, I have Gert, my own national treasure.

      My folks own a liquor store/bar in College Park, MD. Their story is not so unlike your folks - they were freaking out about having a $230 mortgage - how were they going to pay it every month! Like your folks, they were successful through hard work, intuition, and just a bit of luck.

    • profile image

      tomwfox 5 years ago

      This is a charming story, Margo, and I especially liked reading about the printing technology of the day. For what it's worth, I recently read that Cisco Systems bought the Flip video camera business about two years ago, but now Cisco has decided to end the Flip camera because that business does not mesh well with Cisco's core business. It makes no sense to me.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Now I see where your writing talent came from :) This is a beautiful story, although it describes a hard working lives of your parents. I'm so glad I came across this lens and learned it was your very first lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading your family history and of your childhood. It is all the best of what we can be as a nation, should we choose to return to the good parts and let go the greed and corruption.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi Margo - In your picture "What It Looked Like Before Computers!" what we're seeing is not galleys but FORMs being built for a flatbed press. See the lowest part of the picture...that is the left-most column of the front page. To its right is the masthead of the paper (which I can't make out). In that left-most column you see about 5-6" of SLUGs from a Linotype. The slugs were taken from a galley of slugs, a galley being an imprecise number of slugs but about 22 or more inches. You build the form from the top down so have to learn to read and visualize upside down thus I say the leftmost column but you have to turn the page over in your mind.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      What a heart-warming tribute! I've got millions of memories of my parents, but haven't yet been able to put them down in a coherent form. And I don't want to lose the memories. You have done a beautiful job!

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 4 years ago

      I came back to say that your moms line was a good one you are right she liked what she saw"Too bad you don't squeeze anything besides oranges" how funny she was!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I remember hot type from the Montreal Gazette, at which I would arrive at the last minute with my book reviews/music reviews while still in university in the 1960s. Small country newspapers have bred a lot of big city journalists and these vignettes are particularly interesting in an age of online news, replete with typos, mis-spellings and grammatical errors because there is no grown-up person to check the copy:)

      Carl Edgar

      Ottawa, Canada

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image
      Author

      MargoPArrowsmith 4 years ago

      @anonymous: So glad to hear from people who remember and care about this important part of history.

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