I know it’s really spring now – Gatewood’s is open again! As soon as I found out, I ran up to get some pansies and onion sets. (I’ve even planted a few onions in my garden already!)
What better way to celebrate spring’s return than with a long overdue reader column?
After I wrote about the A&P in January, Sydney Susie remarked on some of the changes in grocery stores since the 1950’s. She noted, for example, how back in the ‘50s nothing came in sealed packaging and the only lettuce available was iceberg.
Sydney also brought up how Hoosiers used to refer to green bell peppers as “mangos.”
I’d always wondered about that myself, so I did some research and discovered that wasn’t just an Indiana thing. It was common throughout the Midwest.
It seems mangos first came to this country during colonial times when they could only be shipped pickled. Other fruits also came pickled and eventually the term “mango” came to refer to anything pickled, as in a “mango of cucumbers.”
One of the most popular “mangos” was a green pepper stuffed with spiced cabbage. That’s supposed to be the source of the confusion between the tropical fruit and the garden staple.
Jeanne Flanders pointed out that Don Jellison also wrote about the 1916 Cicero boys basketball team once and he mentioned an additional detail of the “greasy pig” incident that I left out.
(That detail is actually in Lois Costomiris’ book; I just didn’t have room for it in the column.)
If you remember, Anderson wanted Cicero disqualified from the state tournament for unsportsmanlike conduct because the Cicero boys came back for the second half of the final sectional game wearing an olive oil “liniment.”
In the book, Cicero player Guy Bauchert offered the explanation that the team had been too rushed to wipe the liniment off before returning to the court.
He went on to explain that Cicero used the liniment because Anderson knew Cicero’s players were accustomed to practicing in unheated areas and intentionally tried to slow the Cicero boys down by cranking the heat way up in the gym. (Anderson had home court.)
Although Cicero wasn’t penalized for the incident, Bauchert’s comment, “But two can play at that game,” makes me wonder if the team was really that rushed to return to the court.
Whatever the truth of the matter, at the very least it’s safe to say there was no love lost between Cicero and Anderson that year.
Deb Kelly Morgan sent a copy of the cover of the Prairie Farmer magazine (some references call it a newspaper) from August 12, 1939. The cover photo is similar to one Sid Davis gave me. Both show the enormous audience that gathered at Forest Park for the WLS/Prairie Farmer National Barn Dance performance.
Deb said her father, William Kelly, saved the old cover because he appears prominently in the photo. He was about seven years old at the time and was being hoisted above the crowd so he could see better.
The caption beneath the photo indicates more pictures from the picnic could be found inside the magazine, so if you have access to that issue, check it out. You might see some local people you’d recognize.
Good news for wildflower lovers! The Blatchley Nature Study Club plans to hold their annual wildflower walk again after having to cancel last year due to the pandemic. Ed Snyder passed along a flyer that shows the walk scheduled for April 24.
(Don’t worry, I’ll try to stick a reminder in closer to that date. I just thought after dealing with the pandemic and February’s lousy weather, we could use something to look forward to.)

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com