Friday, September 23, 2016

Verne Goes to the World's Fair

Despite drought that ravaged the prairie states and other hardships of the Depression years, the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair, called A Century of Progress, drew huge crowds. It opened on 27 May 1933 and closed on 12 November. Its success was so great, that it also ran from May 26-Oct 31, 1934.[1] Its lure did not evade Clint and Mary Troutman’s children. Verne was not to be left out. Perhaps, Neville went with him, for she had expressed a desire to go to her mother, who conveyed the message to Verne away from home in Decatur, Indiana attending the Reppert School of Auctioneering.[2] A note in a postcard from Mary indicates that Verne made the trip in August 1934: “Be careful of your clothes and money at the fair that you don’t lose anything.”[3] It seems likely that Verne went with his new friends from Reppert, or perhaps, with, Ruben Strate, his buddy from Winside who accompanied him to Reppert.
He saved post cards from events at the Fair that impressed him and brought home a silver and black metal cane as a souvenir, which he kept in a black footlocker with all of his other memorabilia from high school and pre-marriage days. On occasion, he unfastened the big metal clasp of the footlocker, lifted the lid, and pulled out the 4-H and track ribbons, the yearbooks, letters, postcards and other treasures, and told the stories to his children. My brother doesn’t remember the stories of the World’s Fair. Maybe he wasn’t as curious about the footlocker as his sisters. My sister remembers the black cane. The only items left are the post cards.

[1] “Century of Progress,” Wikipedia  ( : accessed 24 May 2016), “Success.”
[2] Troutman, Mary, Winside, Nebraska, to Verne Troutman, letter, 29 July 1934, news from home; “Assorted Letters, Memorabilia, and other Papers from the Collection of Verne and Lois Troutman,” binder; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[3] Troutman, Mary, Winside, NE, to Verne Troutman, postcard, 1 Aug. 1934, news from home; “Assorted Letters. . . .”

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