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Out of the Morgue 1955
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Buddy, the cat of Mrs. Max Whitmore, was returned home after a Halloween mix-up. - photo by Tribune file photo

Each week we’ll take a step back into the history of Great Bend through the eyes of reporters past. We’ll reacquaint you with what went into creating the Great Bend of today, and do our best to update you on what “the rest of the story” turned out to be.

Over the last month, there has been plenty of media commentary on “Back to the Future” day, Oct. 21, 2015, the date in the 1989 Hollywood movie “Back to the Future II,” visited by Marty McFly in his effort to “fix” the futures of his children.  
The fun continues this month, as we take a step back to Nov. 5, 1955, the day that started it all when Marty travels back in time in an effort to escape Libyan terrorists and  finds himself face to face with his somewhat socially challenged high school-aged dad in the 1985 film “Back to the Future” that started the franchise.  Over the course of the next week, while the characters of B2F toyed with fate, here’s what was happening in and around Great Bend.

One big family
Some 350 Christian church members attended the big Christian Church Loyalty dinner on Monday of this week, 1955.  Five churches had a hand in the event, including the Presbyterian, Congregational EUB, Trinity Lutheran and Christian churches.  The Lutheran church women served the the meal and the Presbyterians provided the music on an organ donated by Komarek’s and the sound system was donated by a Methodist.  

School daze
It was American Education Week, and parents of Great Bend students were invited to visit classes and get to know their children’s teachers. Dwight D. Eisenhower, President from 1953-1961, issued Presidential Proclamation 3112, “November 6 through November 12, 1955, as American Education Week, and I ask the people throughout the country to participate fully in the observance of that week. I urge this observance as evidence of appreciation to teachers and school officials for work well done, and as a pledge of citizen interest in better education.”
Today, American Education Week lives on, though from year to year, the dates change.  This year, the NEA has designated the week of Nov. 16-20 as American Education week, and designates Nov. 18 as Education Support Professionals day, providing recognition not only to teachers, but assistants and paras, bus drivers, maintenance people and lunch workers.  Friday, Nov. 20 is also Substitute Teacher day.  
In 1955, the Tribune ran a week-long guest editorial series.  Richard Brining, the principal at Washington School, which at the time was an elementary school, urged readers to consider their investment in teachers.  
“In addition to our investment in our homes and our churches, we likewise have an investment and a responsibility to our schools.  Yes, it costs a lot of money to have a good, effective school system, just as it does to have good homes and good churches.  Well qualified teachers must spend several years in college preparation, so the monetary investment should be great...We, as teachers, feel that your monetary investment in your schools and your teachers should be accompanied by a deep interest, a sincere effort to understand, and a sharing of responsibilities.”

Hitting the streets
New parking meters were being installed on Main Street that week, with one-hour time limits.  They would only take pennies and nickels.  The meters would be installed on the west side of Main from 12th to Broadway and on the east side of Main from 12th to Lakin.  The ones taken out would be reinstalled along 12th when a widening project was completed.  Today, the meters are no longer an issue for those working and doing business downtown.

A bike roadeo was sponsored by the Great Bend Police and Jaycees.  The contest made first-place winner eight-year old Kenneth Mitchell the proud owner of a new bicycle. The tradition continues today, although the Jaycees are no longer around.  The Great Bend Police still conduct a bike rodeo at the beginning of summer each year, and bikes and helmets are given to children on a first-come first-serve basis.  

State officials of the American Legion met with local Legion officers to lay plans for a formal dedication of US 281 as the American Legion highway through Kansas.   According to a March 26, 2015 article on the website, Named for The American Legion, “U.S. Route 281 is 1,872 miles long, bisecting the nation from Canada to Mexico and passing through six states. Among U.S. highways containing three digits, it is the longest. It is also known as The American Legion Memorial Highway.

Just for fun
Twice in one week a stories appeared about a quaint-sounding sign sighted in Larned.  “Progress has its humorous side here.  A construction company is building a new sanitary sewer to serve a portion of the city.  While the sewer is being lid, part of Main Street is blocked off.  A sign on the barricade reads:
“Sorry to inconvenience you.  This sanitary sewer is being built to serve a bigger and better Larned.  When you gotta grow, you gotta grow.”

Mrs. Max Whitmore was reunited with her cat, Buddy, who went missing Halloween night.  
“It all started Halloween night, when it seems a number of cats were shuffled by pranksters.  Wednesday the Tribune told of a child who brought home acat in a “Trick or Treat” bag.  Then, Mrs. Max Whitmore called to say she’d lost “Buddy,” her cat, on Halloween.  thursday an appeal went out for return of Buddy.  Mrs. Whitmore said that many callers had acquired cats on Halloween and others just wanted to give the Whitmores a cat to replace Buddy.  By the way, Nov. 6-12 is National Cat Week.”
Today, we have National Cat Day, Oct. 29.  This year, the iconic meme “Grumpy Cat” was in the spotlight again as President Barack Obama mimicked him in reference to the Republican party on Oct. 29.