Musings from the HIll, Nov. 12, 2115
Another Halloween has come and gone. Oh, how the years fly swiftly to the sweet by and by of the days of our youth. According to recent polls, Halloween is now ranked just below Christmas in money spent on decorations, costumes and “trick or treat” handouts. Do not forget the rolls of toilet paper used to “decorate” trees which is a waste of energy, time, and money. The adage of the Great Depression “waste not, want not” is generally completely ignored today.
Ben Franklin, a great believer in “a penny saved is a penny earned,” suggested the idea of daylight saving. Hand dipping candles took time and effort and also wasted wood for needed warming fires. Thus, not only did it add time for daylight tasks, it helped preserve needed wood lots along the coasts. A large part of the hilltop timber above State Lake formerly was owned by people who farmed the lowlands.
Ben Franklin was astute and successful as he conducted our national affairs in France, where he lived for years. Never is it mentioned that his steadfast wife, Deborah Read, was terrified at the thought of sailing the ocean and remained home in Philadelphia. She managed their business affairs and thanks to her shrewd handling were in fine condition when Franklin returned home.
Because of Baker University professor W.C. Bauer, we had a power system installed at Baker University in 1907. To prove to the city that allowing him to build a power system for the town was a great idea, he electrified a sewing machine owned by the wife of the Baker University president. This made every other woman in town want their machines electrified, so eventually the town accepted his proposal. Baldwin City had its very own self-sufficient power plant, free from any big-name company. This plant is still used today and is located downtown.
At that time, very few cities in the country, except those along the northeastern coast and Niagara Falls and its environs, had power systems. My early years were lived in Swarthmore, Pa., and later in New Jersey, and we always had central power, sewer and water systems. Baldwin’s power plant was unusual — due to Baker University. They were ahead of their time.
On Saturday, a neighbor drove me to Oakwood Cemetery. We drove to the northern end, where the trees were absolutely gorgeous and in perfect displays of brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. Later, we directed several people to go and witness the beauty for themselves. I do believe, this year, our leaves were not at their peak for Maple Leaf, they were a little behind schedule. We really enjoyed the display, be sure and take your cameras to catch their fleeting wonder.
I would like to thank my helper from Baker University, Sarah Baker, for finding the information about Professor Bauer and aiding me with my columns.