Sears Catalogue


Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Mister Jalopy in his garage. He showed me a recent acquisition: a 1936 Sears Catalog, which he picked up for two dollars. He narrated a tour of the catalog, pointing out one thing after another — abiding by the advice given in the image above to “show this catalogue to your friends and neighbors.”

Later in the the week, I was reading “Little Heathens:“Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression” by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. This wonderful little book has a chapter on “outhouses” where I came across this unexpected use for catalogues:

There were minimal amenities in the outhouse — the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues, possibly some corncobs, and a large covered pail of lime. One of the more sagacious tricks we learned from out elders was to select a Bible-paper-thin page from the back of one of the catalogues, and scrunch and crumple it over and over again until it became as soft as tissue paper. This was its last and most important service.

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