Take a break from the gloom and doom of the coronavirus reports! I’ve got more amusing and / or odd old newspaper items that — hopefully — will generate some smiles and remind you our forefathers were just as human as we are.
The November 30, 1923 Noblesville Daily Ledger described a “Lemon Party” held by the Young Ladies Mission Circle of Noblesville’s Christian Church (What was it with Noblesville and lemons in the 1920s? Remember the man who got drunk on lemon extract?)
Everyone who attended the gathering was required to bring one lemon. The lemon was cut open at the door and the seeds inside were counted. The person who brought the lemon then paid two cents for every seed as an admission fee for the party. Juice collected from the lemons was put in a container to be used later for refreshments. (Lemonade presumably.)
The attendees were “very pleasantly” entertained by an eleven-piece orchestra, humorous readings and a play that included the performance of a song called (ahem) “Bohunkus.”
For their efforts, the members of the Circle raked in the grand total of $29.40.
I can’t really improve on this next item from the “Sixty Years Ago” column of the November 20, 1937 Noblesville Daily Ledger, so I’m just going to run it as is:
“Teacher at the Klepfer school (a Fall Creek Township school) permitted a social party at his home to end in a dance. Patrons much exercised, even indignant. Also trespassers in the Federal Hill school building, burning the wood, disturbing things and leaving the smell of old cheese. W. A. Conner, teacher, indignant.”
(I don’t think I want to know how the smell of old cheese happened, but I’d be indignant, too!)
Right beneath the notice about the schools was this little tidbit: “Sheridan had a saloon, rid themselves of it and now have a reading room.” (The temperance movement was really strong in this county, even in the 1870s.)
The Republican Ledger (the Ledger went through several name variations over the years) of August 5, 1887 reported an ordeal experienced by two of Noblesville’s most prominent citizens.
It seems merchant Newman Levinson and Judge William Garver were playing checkers in the consultation room of the county treasurer’s office one evening when an absent-minded deputy treasurer locked up and went home, leaving them stranded.
Levinson managed to get out by “the bold expedient of leaping from the window.” The Judge, however, “dared not hazzard the leap” due to his “ponderosity,” so Levinson ran off to fetch another deputy treasurer to unlock the door and let him out.
(I don’t know what gets me more — the image of Newman Levinson, the father of famous clothing merchant Harry Levinson and famous Chicago lawyer S. O. Levinson, and grandfather of famous fashion designer Norman Norell, vaulting over a window sill, or the notion that the two men had such an intense game of checkers going in a county office that they failed to notice the sun going down.)
Finally, there was the report in the May 20, 1960 Noblesville Daily Ledger of an “urgent” call received by the police switchboard shortly after midnight the night before. A woman told the communications clerk her parakeet had just flown out the door and she needed someone to locate it.
Sgt. Joe Bay asked for “volunteers on the dangerous parakeet squad assignment.”
Alas, although the feathered escapee was spotted early that morning around 7th and Pleasant Streets, Bay couldn’t “find a single volunteer to shinny up the tree.”
I don’t know if the lady ever got her bird back.
Maybe the officers got too busy answering another complaint in that same area — a street fight between two 4 year-olds.

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