Sunday, November 17, 2013

A public service message that still rings true 66 years later

In flipping through a 1947 issue of Mother's Ideals magazine, I found it almost too sweet to stand.1 It's packed with poems, passages and pictures about the poignancy of motherhood. But one page caught my eye. Its black-and-white image contrasts sharply with the other flashes of color throughout the magazine. The headline states:


And this is the small type:

A motorist forgot that little boys don't remember the real traffic dangers around them when they are excitedly playing their games.

So Tommy won't be at school today — or tomorrow — or ever.

Tommy might have been your son. He might have been any one of the three thousand little boys and girls whose lives will be cut short by automobile wheels this year.

So that these tragedies may become fewer — YOUR help is needed — drive carefully — extra carefully near schools.

Remember — that little heads rarely give thought to danger — and that little feet turn quickly.

Think if Tommy were YOUR son — and multiply that by three thousands — and please — DRIVE CAREFULLY — because Tommy can't be replaced.2

That's a pretty effective public-service advertisement. And one that is still needed in the 2010s as much (if not more) as it was in the 1940s.

1. Ideals magazine was first published in 1944 and I touched on some of its history in this November 2012 post. Also of note about this particular copy of the 1947 Mother's Ideals are the newspaper clippings that were tucked away inside:
  • A July 28, 1981, clipping from The York Dispatch with headlines about the royal wedding ("St. Paul's is mighty edifice" and "Charles and his princess to live fairy tale life") and a short news item about the ongoing tests of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • Two undated clippings from Lancaster newspapers featuring stories about the history of Mother's Day.
2. That was certainly a lot of em dashes. Did you know that em dashes are also called "muttons"?

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