This drawing went with a short article advertising the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund, a charity for the poor. The article talks of the unemployed father who finds it hard to go home to the family for the Christmas season with nothing. It still runs every year, and you can donate at the link above.
Tag: 1920 Page 1 of 2
This comic references Prohibition where someone is trying to smuggle a liquor filled pumpkin across the Detroit river between Canada and the United States. Though Ontario had Prohibition at the time, it did not ban the manufacture of alcohol so there was still smuggling from Canada to the USA.
Like Real Golf, It Is Played With Clubs and Balls, But There the Resemblance Ceases – Local Rules That Exasperate the Expert and Delight the Dub – A Remarkable Mushroom Find.
By Gregory Clark, August 21, 1920.
Muskoka golf is a game all by itself. In fact, all summer resort golf is a game apart. It has certain points of resemblance to the Royal and Ancient Game played by all successful business men and ministers of the Gospel at the city clubs.
But one brief glance at any summer hotel links will suffice to show that except for a similarity in balls and clubs, a new and delightful and mysterious sport has been improvised.
The rules differ in the various districts. These, however, are typical, being from a links at the northern extremity of Muskoka.
“A ball which is played on to stoney ground or amid boulders or in front of a stump, may be removed two club lengths without penalty.
“When sheep or cattle stray on to the fairway, players are requested to drive them off or wait until they are clear of the fairway before resuming play, as the farmers of the neighborhood have suffered severe losses to livestock on the links in past years.
“Players whose handicap is 15 or less in recognized clubs will be provided with a small whistle at the hotel desk, and on the sounding of this whistle all other golfers will move to the side of the course and give right-of-way, permitting the more expert players to pass through.
“Players who desire to rest owing to the heat must move off the fairway.
“Lady/golfers who have been in the habit of picnicking on the fifth green will please move to the grove 50 yards to the right, where benches have been provided.
“Ladies with small children must not have them accompany them on the round unless accompanied by a nurse or governess.
“Perambulators must not be taken around the course.”
Needless to say, this game, as described in the above local rules, proves a severe shock to the gentlemen who have seen “golf” mentioned in the hotel advertisements. The golfer who sets out to play a game immediately after arriving at the summer hotel returns hastily, in about an hour, with a strained, frightful expression on his face, and devotes the rest of his two weeks’ holiday to canoeing, sailing and swimming.
One class of persons, however, secures a real and profound pleasure out of Muskoka golf.
These are the second, third and tenth-rate golfers who can pose on hotel verandahs as great and distinguished golf players.
You see, there is no likelihood of their being found out. At home, at their own club, their status is known. Their pathetic, profound rottenness at golf is everybody’s knowledge.
But up in Muskoka, where they are known to nobody, one of these poor fellows, togged out like Harry Vardon or George Lyon, with a great bagful of clubs, can get enough pleasure posing about as a he-golfer to last him the rest of the sad season.
Of course, it takes some manipulation and diplomacy. He must not be found out. He must, if possible, play his games when nobody else is on the course – early In the morning or at hotel meal hours. But that is easy.
“Great snakes!” he says, with superior and confidential disgust, “I can’t play with all those dubs foozling their way, about the course!”
So he hunts around until he locates among the hotel guests some other impostor and platonic liar like himself – for there are always numbers of them at every summer resort. And these two stick together, playing golf indefatigably, morning, noon and eve. And at meals, on the verandah on wet days, and on the links, whenever the opportunity presents itself, they pose, they redeem all those years of dubbery at their home clubs, they register the emotions of Ray and Ouimet, addressing the ball.
Once in a while they are caught.
As for instance, at a great Muskoka hotel last week. A big, arrogant gentleman with an enormous golf bag which contained all tools of the trade had been saying:
“The best score on this course ever made was thirty. I’m out to beat it!”
Everybody in the hotel knew he was out to beat.
He was very canny: Few people had ever been able to see him tee off.
One early morning this big chap encountered a little, slim boyish fellow all in the white flannel uniform of a Muskoka canoe cootie.
“Come for a round with me, my boy?” asked the big fellow, kindly.
The frail boy went and borrowed a girl friend’s clubs.
“Thirty is the best score on this links, and I’m out to beat it,” declared the big fellow, as, they limbered up on the first tee.
He smashed out a vast hooked drive that went fully sixty yards.
The slim lad gracefully whammed out a low, smooth one-hundred-and-seventy-five yard drive to the fringe of the green.
Carramba! The big fellow had al made his first false step. He had inadvertently mated up with one of the most promising young whizz-bangs of Toronto.
It was melancholy. The boy did the round in thirty-three. What the other score was nobody will ever know, for it was submerged in a great clamor of –
“I’m stale! I’m off my game! Rheumatism in my wrist! Simply awful!”
One last Item on Muskoka golf concerns a fine, old dignified gentleman. Picture him sitting on the verandah at sunset, discoursing amiably on matters that would interest the younger folk.
“A most astonishing local phenomenon has come to my attention,” says he. “I was out earlier this evening hunting for late mushrooms and puff-balls, in the selection of which I am something of an expert. I came across five, in the fields yonder, of the most remarkable specimens of the mushroom family; perfectly spherical, covered with minute embossed patterns, and solid: quite as hard as wood!”
And here the old gentleman drew from his pocket and bent his short-sighted gaze upon – five new golf balls.
And five gloomy golfers rose in the sunset and slew the old gentleman.
By Gregory Clark, November 27, 1920.
Conductors and Motormen are Not to Be Blamed If They Get Grouchy as a Result of Their Daily Contact With These Pests.
Conductors and motormen come in for a lot of criticism.
But what about certain types of the citizenry which add to the gayety of nations on street cars?
There is the Knee-Leaner and the Crowd-Wiggler; there is the Strap-Scorner, usually of the gentler sex, who rather than go to the trouble of hanging on to a strap, prefers to wedge herself comfortably in between two or more persons, and there sway at peace, taking all the jolts nice and softly against one or the other of her neighbors.
Then there is the Tram Somnambulist, who, the instant he gets into a car, seizes a strap and goes into a trance. These Somnambulists are a very common variety, and when five or six of them go to sleep just inside the back door of the car, it is almost impossible to shove past them to the freer forward end of the car; and no amount of shouting by the conductor or jostling even by expert Crowd-Wigglers can disturb them in their trance.
Then there is the Foot-Flattener. This is usually a middle-aged or elderly lady. She staggers up the aisle of the car making every effort to tramp on men’s feet. And when she succeeds, she turns furiously and gives her victim a fierce glare, thereby making everyone else in the car think the victim had his feet sprawled out in the aisle, or even had deliberately attempted to trip her. This Foot-Flattener is a very strange type. You would think her trampling accidental unless you studied her. No doubt her vicious conduct could be traced, psychoanalytically, to an early disappointment in love, or to mal-feeding when an infant. It is a form of misanthropy, unquestionably.
There is also the anxious lady who in a crowded car works her way up to the front; six or eight blocks before her own stop, and there stands firmly fixed in front of the door. Everybody who has to get off at the intervening stops lines up behind her thinking she is going to get off, and only discover her to be one of the fifty-seven varieties of street car Whiffenpoofs when the motorman starts the car again. Then they fight their way past her, but it doesn’t make her stand aside. She is determined not to miss her stop.
But the Whiffenpoofs are not all ladies. Take the Knee-Leaners: Middle-aged men, who seem obliged, every time anyone crowds past them, to lean their knees against those of the person sitting in front of them.
The best procedure for a young lady who suspects she has a Knee-Leaner in front of her is to draw a hat-pin absently from her hat and hold it in her hand.
One of the worst types of men is the one who reads his paper as if he were in his study at home. He turns the pages, no matter how crowded the car. And anyone who does not lean away to enable him to turn the page is liable to get an elbow in the eye.
Then there is the hearty gent who looks like a contractor, who conceals a lighted cigar-butt in his hand. He does not smoke it. He just conceals it under his palm. And what is more deathly than the fumes of an expiring cigar – a contractor’s cigar?
Nor should the Ogler be forgotten, the smartly dressed man who on entering the car, carefully surveys all the ladies present and then seats himself opposite the prettiest one and proceeds to stare fixedly at her throughout the journey. Personally, whenever I see an Ogler, I go and hang on the strap in front of him and treat him to close-up of my coat buttons.
My favorite hate, however, is the expert Crowd-Wiggler, male or female. These are the ones who work their way slowly up the crowded car, picking the spots and the instants when the crowding is worst to heave themselves into it, and squeeze and squidge themselves amid the helpless strugglers.
Have we not been working in a wrong direction when we criticize the conductors and motormen? Are those ungentle ones among them not soured by daily contact with these many varieties of street car Whiffenpoofs?
Editor’s Note: A wiffenpoof is a generic term for an imaginary creature. You can tell in these very early stories that Greg used to take the street car to work.
By Gregory Clark, October 2, 1920.
Henry Ford Started Something Which May Turn Out to Be Either the Real Thing in a Price Decline, or, Again, It May Only Be a “Flivver.”
Mr. Ford certainly started something when he tooted his horn and commenced to lead the way back to the good old days.
It’s to be hoped this pilgrimage of his will have more success than his peace pilgrimage during the middle of the war.
But it is creating an awful ruckus high and low over the town.
“I always knew,” declared a magnificent lady, who has been enabled to move, owing to her husband’s success in pulpwood the past couple of years into the Hill district – “I always knew that man Ford would do something terrible. I’ve had a premonition. Every time one of his staple line of goods would toot its horn behind our limousine, it sounded to me like the cry of doom. And now, look at him! If prices come down, where will a clever person be able to make an honest fortune?”
The great lady sniffed tearfully into her hankie.
“It will drive us all back to those bad old days before the war,” she cried, “when a man had to be wicked in order to make any money. My poor husband can’t sleep at nights; and at five o’clock in the mornings, he starts making trips to the front door in his nightie to see if the paper has been delivered with more terrible news in it. He’ll catch his death of cold one of these days. And I blame that man Ford!
“I just feel as if I were in an elevator these days, going down, down, down!”
On the other hand, the poor office worm, the “salary man,” the “white collar slave,” is bucking up marvellously. Note him in the street car coming down these mornings: spry, frisky, sporty. That tired feeling seems to be leaving him. See him nudge the stranger beside him jovially and read a paragraph out of the paper about another one down ten per cent.”
“Shoot Luke,” he chortles, “or give up the pistoler!”
But the stranger he so amiably jiggles is a merchant. And this merchant has a store-full of high-priced goods on his hands and mind.
He glowers at the salary man, and says belligerently:
“That’s all right! That’s all right! Don’t let’s get eager over this thing! If goods come down to where you’d like ’em, where will your 1920-style salary come from? Eh? Where from, I ask you? Eh?”
And the undampened salary man moves further up the car, looking for an unmistakeable salary man to joggle.
For you can tell a man’s business by his face these days.
The salary man, the poor fish who belongs to some department of industry not deeply affected by the ups or the downs of business, wears an expression of almost holy glee on his face, as did the fathers of sons immediately after the Armistice. Those whose business is likely to be tinged for a while by a drop in prices wear that expression of ill-concealed gloom which marked the munitioneer when the Armistice was duly and inevitably signed and sealed.
There are others who are neutral: young follows with nothing much at stake either way. One of these expressed the view of a large group of younger men when he said, a couple of days ago:
“Well, it will be quite an adventure to have to get out and find business for a change! Think of it: having to go and dig business!”
Of course, there is no real reason as yet for either jubilation or alarm, but there are always those who must leap one way or the other on the least provocation.
But the salesmen are busy.
“Now is the time,” they say, “to buy a nice winter overcoat!”
And indeed it may. The price of that overcoat is slightly reduced, in deference to Mr. Ford. So that it this hue and cry for decreased prices is only another false alarm, it is, in fact, the time to buy that coat.
So the pessimists buy and the optimists hold off, saying to each other, scornfully:
“Why, he’ll be giving us that coat in a few weeks.”
And no man can say who is right and who is wrong.
If it is another of the many false alarms, those who are buying now are doing good business. If it is the honest-to-goodness “decline” the cheerful and irrepressible predicters are wise.
But either way, it is a gamble.
At all events, Mr. Ford has provided the liveliest feeling in Toronto since the last time Mayor Church was elected. And I, for one, have dug up the flags and bunting and spiral confetti left over from Armistice Day: and on the hour eggs hit 35 cents and boots $5 a pair, I am going to declare a public holiday in my family and astonish the neighbors.
Editor’s Note: I’m not sure what news article prompted this story, but it seems Henry Ford might have been talking about the 1920-21 Depression and the reduction in prices due to deflation.
The phrase “Shoot, Luke, or Give up the Gun” is cowboy slang for “Do it or quit talking about it.”
A munitioneer was a businessman who made munitions in World War 1. There was a lot of resentment of them during the war due to profiteering.
Tommy Church was mayor of Toronto and opposed by the Toronto Star.
In a Rainy Season What Would the Poor Folk Do But Discuss the Vamp?
And as for Amateur Summer Postmasters, They Act the Heavy Villain in the Piece.
By Gregory Clark, July 31, 1920.
Two subjects provide practically all the serious conversation at summer hotels and cottage resorts, to wit: the vamp and the amateur postmaster.
Every summer resort has a postmaster, either one of the hotel clerks or one of the farmers of the district who has been invested with this great dignity for the months of June to September, exclusive. And if every summer resort hasn’t a vamp, they nominate one anyway.
This present summer to date has been so wet, and so much time has had to be spent on cottage verandahs and in summer hotel sitting rooms that it is hard to say what our summer resorters would have done with out the postmaster and the vamp. We have allowed indoor sports, such as crokinole, flinch, ping-pong, etc., to decline in favor of dancing, golf, canoeing, etc., with the result that on a rainy day there is nothing to do but gossip.
The amateur postmaster of a summer resort is regarded with suspicion from the start.
“He reads all my picture postcards,” declares a spirited and sun burned young lady. “He pretends to be reading the address, but I can tell he is reading the other part by the look on his face.”
Does he deliver all letters when received? Does he send out immediately all letters given to him for postal? “Well, ask any young lady at a summer resort. She’d give any thing just to have a look behind the letter rack made of old boxes – to see how many of her letters were being held.
Why would he keep them? There’s the mystery. Why, indeed? He’s just a meany, and does it to spite young people whose letters are so important.
And as to parcels, especially boxes of candy!
“My dear,” said a bride on her first summer holiday as a bride, when she had neither the company of a crowd of young admirers nor the company of her young husband working in the city, “My dear, Freddie told me in a letter last Friday, over a week ago, that he was sending me a box of Mary Brown chocolates. Where are they, do you suppose?”
And here she sinks her voice to a whisper –
“My dear, I saw the lid of box of Mary Browns lying in the post-office!”
Some older woman ventures the thought that perhaps Freddie forgot to send the chocolates. But the young bride takes grave offence at such a view.
“I wish I’d had the nerve,” she says, “to ask that postmaster who had sent him a box of Mary Browns.”
However, in a day or two, the Mary Browns do arrive from Freddie, nice and fresh. Query: Why had the postmaster concealed them all that time?
And as for newspapers! Well, anybody can tell you what happens to newspapers. If a hotel clerk is the postmaster, he hands your paper out to the favored guest of the hotel. And if he is one of the local farmers he hands it over to one of his farm neighbors. Some summer cottagers have it all figured out: the papers are given away in turn, so that if there are six subscribers to paper in one resort, each subscriber misses his paper only once a week.
“And if you don’t believe it,” say the cottagers “just take a walk through the hotel (or neighboring farm house, as the case may be), and see the papers with the name labels torn off!”
Few summer postmasters escape this sort of accusation. The cottagers will give him the keys of their cottages all winter for caretaking purposes. But as postmaster, he is not above suspicion.
As to vamps, some of the bigger resorts are blessed with more than one. Then the cottagers and hotel boarders divide up into political parties and fight each other over which has the worst vamp.
On a boat in the Lake of Bays two ladies from different hotels met. The scenery was beautiful, but –
“My dear,” said the one with the sunburned nose, “you should see the vamp we have at our hotel. I’ll point her out on the wharf on the return trip. My dear, she’s a big fat blonde with two children, and I’m sure her immediate ancestors were moujiks. And she’s simply scandalous. She dances beautifully, you know, but she’s such a big, fat, damp creature. And the men simply chase after her. Aren’t men the limit? Why, there’s one man from the States with his wife and children and this big blonde has vamped him right in front of everybody. Danced five dances together last night!”
The other lady, the one with the zinc ointment on her nose and lips, has been obviously impatient to butt in.
“Over at the Hoo-Hoo,” said she, “we have one that has anything beaten I’ve ever seen. She’s a little mousey thing with orange hair. She never goes canoeing, swimming or anything for fear she will get sunburned. She just haunts the hotel and vamps a different man every day. Yes, my dear, a different man every day. She selects her new victim before lunch, vamps all afternoon, dances all evening and by night, he is a feeble-minded ninny. And what they can see in her! A little, skinny, squeaky sort of kitty-kitty! She’s vamped all the grown men one after another and now she’s down to the baby boys in red blazers, of eighteen and twenty.”
And if the resort hasn’t one of these reliable types, they manufacture one out of the best material at hand. For there has to be a vamp. A summer resort without a vamp would be as incomplete as if water, pines and moon were missing. And she is nothing new. In 1890, if I remember correctly, she was a coquette. In 1900, she was a flirt. In 1920, she is a vamp.
I can find no reference to Mary Brown chocolates as all searches default to the fast food chain, Mary Brown’s Chicken.
Moujiks are Russian peasants.
A vamp is a woman who uses her charm or wiles to seduce and exploit men. It became a popular slang term in the early 1920s because of a movie called “The Vamp” released in 1918.
This illustration by Jim accompanied an story by Mary De Lisle written in a “working girl” slang about how not buying imported luxuries like clothes, helps the local economy, but how that backfires as the gentlemen prefer ladies with expensive new clothes.
In 1910 There Were But Three Tea Rooms in the City – Now There are at Least 224 – A Study in the Transmutation of a Residential District.
By Gregory Clark, September 18, 1920.
In 1914 there were, according to a rum-hound of my acquaintance who has turned eminently respectable and sells second-hand motor cars, one hundred and twelve liquor bars in Toronto.
To-day, according to a tea-hound of my acquaintance, there are in Toronto no fewer than two hundred and twenty-four tea rooms of the various types.
What this indicates, I will leave to both the Referendum Committee and the Distillers’ Liberty League. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, however outmoded.
Tea rooms, which now constitute, with the movies the principal downtown diversion of the young, are of quite recent origin in Toronto. As far back as 1910, there were only three in the city.
To-day, there are dozens within a two hundred-yard circle of King and Yonge streets. They are popping up in the semi-business and residential districts. Fine old mansions which you have admired for years as stout homes that have defied the encroachment of business, are unexpectedly sprouting out genteel signs announcing “Tea Shoppes,” with old-fashioned names prefixed, such as Mary Anne, Sarah Louise or Eliza Jane.
There is one on the Humber. There are two away up Yonge street where motorists roam. They are scattered at random all over the city; the sprinkling becoming thickest on Yonge, between Queen and King.
They are of all sizes, shapes and fashions. The oldest of the tea rooms are furnished in the Victorian or side-whisker style of interior decoration. In them, you will find the last relics of horsehair furniture in use. The walls and all other space not needed for actual teaing are covered with brass and copper pots, pans, and old china, including Buddhas and porcelain cats.
Others are done in very modern style; very matter-of-fact chairs and tables, no decoration but wall paper; quite restauranty.
But the latest type of tea room, known as the “Tea Shoppe,” is the one that has sprung up the last year or two in the threatened residential district. These “tea shoppes” are designed to be “homey.” They are quaint, and frankly unmodern. Hence the “shoppe.”
Close by a block or two away, business shouts its conquest. Houses have been altered into stores. On the very street the “tea shoppe” is on, several houses have been secretly taking boarders for ten years past. Within the past year, four of those fine old residences have been unostentatiously remodelled into duplexes. The relentless advance of “business” has put the dent in residential. A “modiste” has placed a modest brass sign, like a doctor’s, on her front door. Another stranger has recently moved into the street and a much larger sign has appeared on her house-front – a French name daring, snappy; with the single word “robes” beneath it.
By these subtle changes does a fine old street move from residential to semi-business.
For, as sure as fate, somebody then opens “tea shoppe.”
Let me escort you to a nice, homey cup of tea into one of these latest tea rooms.
It is not a hundred miles from Bloor and Yonge streets.
On the door of what appears to be la fine old residence of a judge, or retired merchant or some other distinguished citizen hangs a quaint sign in white and gilt with, let us say, the legend: “Ye Maggye McGintye Tea Shoppe.”
There is an iron fence around the lawn and flowers in the borders. On the massive front door is a big brass knocker.
Does one knock or just walk in? While standing in doubt, a watchful lady behind the curtains of the parlor window sees your indecision and hastens to open the door to you.
She is a middle-aged lady of spinsterly bearing. She welcomes with a dignified smile.
Inside, you fear for an awkward moment that you have intruded into a private home. But a glimpse of many little white-covered tables within the dim parlor reassures.
The parlor and dining-room are given over to little tea-tables. Beyond that, the house is left as “homey” as possible. Crowded along the walls are the articles of normal furniture – the 1890 period furniture, red plush covered, bandy-legged, with innumerable scrolls and squiggles. On the walls, sepia prints of deer and pleasant scenes of rivers with spires in the distance. Aye, even to the gummy portraits in oils of the ancestors of the house. Behold, in one corner, a “what-not,” seldom seen but oft referred to; a little three-decked, three-cornered table, with, among other items on it, a pink sea-shell.
Let us sit at one of the tables. We are indeed “homey.” For the first time since childhood, since last you were at Grandmama’s before she gave up her old home, you sit on a horsehair-covered chair, and feel the fine prickle of the hairs working through your clothing. You begin to understand, now, the fashion for heavy broadcloth trousers, crinolines, flounces and bustles which flourished a generation and more ago.
The ladies who wait on you are all middle-aged and “homey.” The dishes are old-fashioned, chipped to a nice degree of antiquity; the menu card, written in quaint, old-fashioned script reads:
“Special blend of Maggye McGintye Tea, 15 cents a pot.
“Toast – 15 cents.
“Cinnamon Toast – 20 cents.
“Sandwiches, pickle, cheese, nut, tongue, ham – 25 cents.
“Maggye McGintye trifle – 25 cents.
“Ice Cream – 20 cents.”
Yes, it is very homey. At all the little tables, people have their backs to you. A soft symphony of talk and dishes fills the house. The ladies-in waiting stalk in and out amongst the tables.
The patrons are mixed. The University is only a couple of blocks away, and there is quite a sprinkling of Varsity people preparing for the opening, talking enthusiastically about lifeless matters. There are also some arty people (the ladies, of course, smoking plain 18-cent cigarets) – talking rather more loudly than others about what Varley is doing, and what Lauren Harris’ sixteenth study of Snow will be. The rest are mainly young people, fled in here, shoulder to shoulder and back to back with strangers, in order to be alone.
All the while, an elderly and melancholy gentleman with a worried and beaten look about him may be glimpsed through doorways, past curtains; a harried air to him. He is not doing anything. He seems to have come downstairs to look for his tobacco pouch, and doesn’t know how to get back, unseen. Several of the ladies-in-waiting stare warningly at him as be makes his stealthy dashes from curtain to hallway.
This is Mr. McGintye, Maggye’s father. No doubt as fine a business man, in his day, as ever swung a walking-stick down Yonge street.
But in the process of transmutation of residential district, this old gentleman has been shanghaied by his womenfolk, given the name of McGintye and made partner in tea shoppe.
Editor’s Note: All I could think of while reading this story from over 100 years ago was the appearance of Starbuck’s coffee shops everywhere.