Hidden Gems 2 – Nothing New Under the Sun
February 06, 2013
Last week I blogged about an inscription I found in a book I had obtained through WorldCat and MCPL's Interlibrary Loan Department. This inscription about the author of volume is what I call a "hidden gem," or something found in a book that is relevant to my personal world. This blog is the second in a continuing series of "hidden gems."
First, I’ll give you a little background about this latest gem. I grew up on the Kansas side of the state line in Johnson County. I moved away from KC in the seventies but returned to KC about ten years ago. When I returned, I set up a household in the northland on the Missouri side of the border. I enjoy hiking the various trails around Platte County for my daily exercise. I especially like the trails along the Missouri River in English Landing Park (in Parkville) and Weston Bend State Park (south of Weston). Placed along many of the trails in these parks are displays about the Lewis and Clark expedition, local history, and the flora and fauna of the area. These displays sparked my interest in learning more about the history of Kansas City, especially on the Missouri side of the border (which the Kansas schools seem to ignore).
The other day, I was reading a book titled Memories of Weston, Missouri that I checked out from MCPL. Near the start of the book, I came across my "hidden gem." It was a description of an advertisement in the Weston newspaper dated March 10, 1852. The advertisement was for passage on a wagon train to California (the first transcontinental railroad wouldn’t be completed until 1869). Weston lost about 400 citizens to California during this Gold Rush period in the late 1840s through early 1850s. The ad states, "For $150 (cash, in advance) they would include provisions, ‘good, new tents and double wagon sheets (but not bedding or blankets), and allow fifty pounds of baggage per person ‘free’."
Now, for the reason this small excerpt is my own personal "hidden gem." My wife works for an airline that advertises that its passengers' bags still "fly free." Actually, to fly free, the bags can’t be over a certain weight. As you may have already guessed, the airline’s weight limit is fifty pounds! As the radio announcer Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you know, the rest of the story."