Archived Story

Nov. 11, 2011, really is a triple day

Published 9:32am Friday, November 11, 2011

Column: Between the Corn Rows

Today is a very special day for two reasons. First and foremost, its Veterans Day. And, second, it’s one of only 12 days that occurs within a century.

That’s right. It’s the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of this century. To put it another way, it’s 11/11/11 in a shortcut form.

Right at this point comes an interesting question. Just when did our present century start? The logical answer is the year 2000. That specific time was when the computers and so many aspects of life were supposed to fail. Somehow we all blundered along and nothing significant actually happened.

However, for the theme of this column, the 21st century’s series of triple days started on Jan. 1, 2001. This was triple one. Just a year, a month and one day later was triple two. Now, today is triple 11. And a year, a month and one day in the future will be triple 12. And that will be the end of this rather odd part of the calendar until the start of the next century.

I’m not sure if there’s another descriptive term for what I’m calling the triple date days. If someone has a better name or designation, let me know.

Credit for inspiring this part of the column goes to Dick Lindell.

Just for the heck of it, I decided to see what some aspects of life in Albert Lea were exactly a century ago.

Nov. 11, 1911, was just another Saturday. In that era the Tribune published newspapers on Saturdays instead of the present Sunday editions. The major news on the front page for this specific issue was based on the Turks and Italians fighting for control of the city of Tripoli in what’s now Libya. Also, steel baron Andrew Carnegie had just given $25 million to his foundation to ”educate people.” (Carnegie was also helping to finance public libraries all over the nation.)

The year of 1911 was the 50th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. This fact was emphasized in the Tribune with daily chapters of the novel, “The Lady of the South,” by Randall Parrish.

A century ago, Albert Lea’s premier department store was Skinner, Chamberlain & Co. where the motto was ”Everything to Eat and Wear.” Their Tribune ad that day featured ladies’ house dresses priced from $1.25 to $3, available on the second floor. Another part of the ad promoted vacuum cleaners, both electrical and hand powered. And to emphasize the store’s motto, the grocery annex part of the ad that day featured fish, mince meat and fresh vegetables. Among the bargains in this part of the store were codfish for 15 cents a pound, a can of lobster for 30 cents, a head of cabbage for a dime and a peck of beets for 20 cents.

For the movie fans, the Idle Hour Theater was showing three films. Each one was short and in the silent form with captions. For live entertainment, the Broadway Theatre would have the Morgan Stock Co. with four vaudeville acts and Aranaldo and his trained leopards starting the next day.

A local news item said the weather in the city a century ago was based on temperature of 17 degrees above zero with sleet and snow. This resulted in slippery streets, and horses and wagons were skidding around and creating traffic problems.

And that’s the way it was for Albert Lea’s last triple 11 day.


Cornstalk comment

Last week’s column about people with the same name reminds me about a television program that was supposed to be on the tubes this fall. The intent was to match an allegedly famous person with another person with the same name out here between the corn rows. Then those two folks would compare their lives of fame and obscurity based on having the same names.

I have a hunch this telecast had the same fate as the one with the Playboy bunnies.

Next week we’ll have an interesting request and/or challenge from a former resident who now lives in Texas.


With just three exceptions, Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.