Skip to content




Paul Osborne

     People aren’t shocked by much today — at least not like they were a century ago. One of the interesting aspects of this week’s “Scrapbook” article on Faries Park (Pages 4 and 5 of print and online editions), is how much shock a woman caused in the community because she showed too much “cuticle” while swimming in the park!
     Okay, how many of you know what is meant by “cuticle” since that term is not used today — and hasn’t been used for many decades?
     Check out the article (pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions) for the answer.
     Although Decatur residents were much more modest in their public attire a century ago, even decades later, in the 1940s, a woman could be arrested for wearing shorts downtown!
     A newspaper photo that made national news showed Phyllis Meece and a frtiend wearing shorts downtown to celebrate the end of World War II in Lincoln Square! They were pictured hugging the policeman in Lincoln Square during the celebration!
They were not arrested for their “attire”.
     Phyllis, who passed away not that long ago, was somewhat of a trailblazer when it came to breaking down barriers.     She was a longtime subscriber of this newspaper and corresponded regulary with me after she and her husband, Jack, moved to Elizabethton, TN many years ago.
     The photo shown below, which went “world-wide” after a Herald & Review photographer shot it on VJ Day, 1945, shows Phyllis Meece (mostly hidden behind the policeman) and a friend in Decatur’s Lincoln Square wearing shorts in public and hugging a policeman to celebrate the end of World War II. They were not arrested for wearing shorts downtown.
     Of course, nearly 80 years later, there is no dress code for downtown Decatur — except you’d better be wearing something when you go out in public!

     Jack and Phyllis owned Decatur Trunk for many years and they were early supporters of this newspaper.
Before they left Decatur, where they had spent their lives, to move South, they stopped by the Tribune office to say goodbye.
That was the last time I saw them although Phyllis stayed in touch via email until a few years ago.
     Phyllis was a frequent contributor to the humorous stories that are printed on the back page and she forwarded to me many items to share with Tribune readers.
     Jack passed away on Dec. 31, 2013 and Phyllis passed away on June 3 of this year at the age of 96.
They were quite a couple and firmly rooted in Decatur’s history —especially on VJ Day, 1945.

     • ANOTHER ANGLE — A few weeks ago I wrote about how backing into a downtown angled parking space is illegal (at least in the 100 block of South Water) and how I didn’t know that because no signs inform drivers of it.
Well, guess what?
     James Towner sent me an email that read: “Awhile back you mentioned that it was illegal to back into an angled parking spot downtown. We were just in Texas on college visits for our daughter and noticed in downtown Arlington back in parking is required. They even have a page with step by step instructions. I always try to back in or pull through when I park and there is alot of data supporting that. Anyway just wanted to share this.”
     Thanks, James. I still think it is safer to unload the trunk of your car by backing in to an angled parking space.
It is safer to unload at the curb than in the street where cars are going by a few feet from where you are standing at the rear of the car after you have parked “head-in”.
     Actually, pulling out of the space is also safer, in my opinion, when you can see if traffic is approaching — which you can’t see if you are backing into the street!

     • DANGEROUS — I think one of the most dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians is where East Prairie Street and North Franklin Street meet just south of the downtown post office.
     Drivers have a tendency, when they pull up to the stop light and prepare to run right on Franklin, to not see pedestrians who are crossing to the right of them.
     That’s because the drivers are looking left (south) to see if any traffic is coming on Franklin so they can turn right on Franklin.
A friend of mine got hit by a driver not paying attention several months ago and I’ve about been hit a couple of times.
Fortunately, even though the traffic signal informs me to “Walk” that doesn’t mean much if a driver want-ing to turn right doesn’t see me.
     One morning last week I nearly got run over at that intersection by a church van!
     I didn’t get a close look at the driver but I’m quite sure that it wasn’t Jesus behind the wheel!
     There has never been a greater need to walk and drive defensively than in 2023.

     • RECKLESS — I’m hearing from more and more readers about the reckless driving they have witnessed on our city’s streets.
Shelli Brunner, in her column on page 6 of the print edition, details some of her experiences and how she was almost involved in a terrible wreck due to the reckless driving of another motorist.

     • ABOUT OVER — I can’t believe that the season for the Decatur Municipal Band is about over!
In fact, August 13 in Fairview Park and August 14 in downtown’s Central Park will witness the “End of Summer Finale”.
On August 16 the Muni Band will be at the Devon and that’s it for the summer series!
Where did the summer go?

     • GREAT NEWS! Governor JB Pritzker, TCCI, Richland Community College, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Oppor-tunity (DCEO) joined local leaders last week and partners to break ground on TCCI’s new electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur. (Story on page 12)
     As I mentioned on WSOY’s Byers & Co. last week, I’ve always loved the public/private partnerships that are forged in our community because they are so impactful on our future.
     This announcement last week is a classic example of why I have such confidence in our future.

     • THOUGHT for today — “How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine.”— Wayne Dyer

     I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00. to discuss the issues impacting our community.


Leave a Comment