more than 500 weekly columns my faithful readers are aware that some
articles are true and others may have a Trew twist and a bit of tongue-in-cheek
humor. So help me, the following is true, taken from the book, "Amarillo
- The Story Of A Western Town." I credit Paul H. Carlson with the
story and all is based on published facts.
story begins in the hard, dry, financially troubled year of 1934 when
Gene Howe, editor and publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News Corporation
and his "Tactless Texan" newspaper column somehow offended his mother-in-law
She and other mothers-in-law rebelled in retaliation causing such
a ruckus that Howe, in humble retreat, announced that on March 5,
1934, Mother-In-Law Day would be celebrated along with the Amarillo
Fat Stock Show celebration.
intended as a small local event to placate the offended, the celebration
drew national attention when Will Rogers mentioned the upcoming celebration
on his national radio show. Hollywood paid attention and sent camera
crews down to record the unusual festivities. Mothers-in-law from
across the nation including first lady Eleanor Roosevelt sent greetings
of varied nature.
On the appointed days the celebration filled the hotels as mothers-in-law
arrived in droves. A parade down Polk Street drew an estimated 6,000
and Polk Street, Amarillo,
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
|The grand finale
held on the Paramount Theater's stage, featured prizes presented to
many ladies while Howe named Nellie as "the stateliest and most beautiful"
of all. His apology drew a standing ovation from the crowd.
For millenniums mothers-in-law in general had been the butt of jokes,
blamed for divorces or being the obvious reason sons-in-law left for
greener pastures. Not anymore. This was their day as they joined hands
and celebrated the much-deserved apologetic celebration.
each year passed the event grew in size and importance. On the fifth
anniversary Roosevelt agreed to come to Amarillo
to join in the event.
Five governors along with Texas Gov. James V. Allred made the day
an official state celebration. The banks closed and extra police were
hired to protect and guide the parade.
Roosevelt led the parade riding in a blue Buick, mounted a viewing
stand and watched the remainder of the long pageant pass.
One magnificent float measuring 165 feet in length, carried 591 mothers-in-law,
and since I no longer have a mother-in-law I might add, they were
probably all talking at the same time.
To top off the day, Amarillo
Mayor Ross D. Rogers and Howe presented the first lady with a bouquet
containing 5,000 roses, weighing 2,500 pounds and requiring a crane
to lift it to the viewing stand for presentation. Now that is some
bouquet even in Texas.
I know! This sounds like a Texas whopper
but it actually happened right here in Big
A. I can prove it because "it's in the book."