History is what you make it!

Witchcraft was never proved!
Yet, after the town lost four of its six hotels, and three of them right to the ground, following a year-long rampage by hordes of wild womanhood, our taxpayers were left wondering.
Then the papermill erased our embarrassment while swallowing the south side of our business district. Now the nudity and raucous evenings have been all but forgotten while the mill still continues to empty the nearby streets.
It all amounted to a bitter lesson in both necessary protection of property standards and taxation, as well as in the perils of moral misbehaviour.
This emphasis on low entertainment lasted only a couple of years, and was a sort of prelude to the obscenities being tolerated on TV today. It occurred in sharp contrast to what we have come to expect from our New Atlantis people and pastimes, but fortunately times change.
The women were all strangers to the town, as were the majority of the hotel operators. However, incredibly, the nightly shows were being well patronized right on Church Street, where the lewd dancers would wave at passers-by from street level hotel windows or pose provocatively while resting daytimes in bikinis on a boulevard approaching the international bridge.
Running a news picture of the latter incident brought protests from our jail, where a matron recognized a regular tenant and lady of disrepute. Yet no official comment was heard concerning the conduct of the dancer or her backers.
The dancers and their enthusiasts departed about 20 years ago. There were too many expenses to meet, apparently, although it was hinted the entertainers’ pay came partially from their sleeping quarters as part of their contracts.
One hotel was known to be so insolvent that a government loan agency had taken it over. It was thought to be kept going preceding the papermill purchase because an empty business makes for a less profitable sale.
These operators came from the British West Indies via Winnipeg, and lost a son one night in a knife fight. A large dog was kept here for security.
Another hotel, appropriately famed as the home of “Nick’s Zoo,” was exercising some discretion. An unclothed dancer, strolling through the lobby when a paperboy came in, was spanked all the way up the stairs with the newspaper by the owner’s wife!
Considering the overall situation, there undoubtedly were grounds enough in evidence for a police investigation. Only, as one officer pointed out rather bluntly, the law depends on community standards. There having been slight, if any, reluctance to criticize the scene, there seemed no cause for police intervention.
A former hotel inspector, known to be rather strict, has died. The late Alfred Russell, also once chairman of our recreational council, had not been replaced. Our closest hotel inspector, then located in Kenora, suggested legal interference could come from the health department.
A casual investigation showed there was no liquor licence hanging above at least one bar. A meal could be bought in its restaurant although serving food was supposed to be restricted there.
Many factors went unheeded during this lurid period in our social development. Then, almost like magic, the hotels regarded as erring were sold in the start of the papermill’s cleanup. This has been so ongoing, it’s difficult to know when and where it will stop obliterating the old town.
To consider the rules formerly understood here, a pair of clergymen were invited to comment on their understanding of the Lord’s Day Alliance and functions of the local Ministerial Association.
One of them later raised the question at a town council meeting without receiving any satisfaction.
By then, though, Rev. A.B. Schulte, our foremost defender of the conventions, was no longer here to invoke controls in his forceful way.
Anyway, some may wonder whether we have been discussing part of our history as being corrupt—or merely a fun way to make a living!
• • •
When the natural gas company arrived in recent years, there never was a brisker sale of any product and soon practically every home, business, and papermill in sight was turned on to this new heating idea.
Former concerns over gas being dangerous stuff have abated today with just about everyone turned on. But now there is this consideration: the responsibility of the vendors!
We learn this responsibility ends at your outside wall. Ask anyone working around your pipes or reading your meter! The answers I got: “Well, we don’t like it either, but that’s the way it is!”
If your gas alarm or odometer starts beeping, just call 911 and a helpful member of the fire department will come to your rescue—but don’t expect the gas company to step in.
The fireman will check your meter and then maybe tell you in a firm but kindly way simply to “Get out!” The same advice will come from a plumber who inspects your pipes after the signal sounds, possibly late at night.
You might inquire whether the gas company will ever assume any responsibility at all. Leaving home at midnight could prove troublesome!
• • •
While that July 31 windstorm around the Devlin farms and other areas brought damages that other insurance policy holders were never paid for, Ralph Hunsperger of Emo is very happy with the new barn his policy bought for him.
• • •
After spending 60 years overlooking the river in Crozier, Walter and Liz Hendricks have just moved into town and a son will be keeping the family name on the old farm just past the Lowey greenhouses.
• • •
Take your complaints directly to Bell on the new phone book. You know, concerning the smaller print, loss of inside pages convenient for jotting down numbers and, oh yes, deletion of certain place names!
Where did La Vallee disappear, for instance?

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