Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Letter from Pittsburgh’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The third of his daily log entries, a letter written from the train in Pittsburgh, Pa., arrived too late to appear in the June 15, 1932 Pekin Daily Times, so it was printed on page 4 of the June 16 issue. This log entry, which concludes with a 1930s version of snapping a picture of one’s meal and sharing it on social media, follows below:


Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pittsburgh, Pa.,
June 14, 1932

This letter is being written from Pittsburgh. Don’t get it confused with the messages which are wired.

It is the morning after the first night on the train.

Some of them, I think, didn’t sleep so well.

You see, at Chicago they hooked on two more coaches – one loaded with Peoria teachers and the other empty. We had that empty spotted and got first choice of the center seats in it.

Across from John T. and me slept Karl King and Paul Hannig. And across from Joe and Dean slept Maurice Moss and Milton Taylor. Maurice is the lad who won his trip by getting the most new subscribers to the Times. I think he deserves a prize as the best sleeper, too. He slept eight hours, with only a five-minute interruption at Akron.

By fixing the seats as I had described, we had good beds in which we could sleep full length. Our gang got the first pillows that the porter came thru with, so we were fixed.

I should have explained that the Pekin cars are on the tail end of this train. Then TWO diners. Then our coach and the Peoria teachers ahead. Some of the more alert of the teachers, as they came thru to dinner, discovered “our gang” with a coach to itself, so they promptly moved in.

They had a different technique. They hadn’t brought all their glamorous new pajamas just for girls to see. They promptly donned their new silk sleeping duds, asked us to show them how to fix their beds, and they added much color to our car – so much, in fact that when news of our harem got back “beyond the diners” we had quite a few callers. I won’t mention [microfilm damaged] Paul Schermer’s wife wouldn’t let him come up.

Being discoverers and homesteaders of our coach we sort of assumed authority. At 8:30 we set our watches ahead to 9:30. I got unanimous consent for lights out, and after a couple girls in the front end had had a smoke we bedded down for the night.

Most of us wakened at Youngstown, and before we were far into Pennsylvania, the entire car was arousing. Ablutions begin at 3:30 Pekin time. It doesn’t take boys long to wash the front of their faces, but it takes a woman forever, so we loaned them our wash room too.

Knowing the mob would be up early, the dining car crew prepared at daybreak. The first call for breakfast came at 4:30 Pekin time. The tables were immediately filled by Tazewell county folk from B. D. (back of the diners). That makes me think maybe they didn’t sleep so well back there.

But I don’t blame them for crowding toward the diner. Read what we had for dinner last night:

Fruit cocktail, celery, assorted olives, soup, puree of green peas, rye croutons, consommé, hot or jellied, broiled fresh fish, parsley sauce, roast whole boned squab, chicken Parisienne, browned potatoes, string beans, Dixie salad dressing (lettuce, tomatoes, golden bantam corn, green peppers), rolls, muffins, berry roll, wine sauce, fruit meringue with whipped cream, cheese and crackers, coffee, hot or iced, Kaffee Hag, Instant Postum, Tea, hot or iced, milk, buttermilk.

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