Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mary Baumhover unearthed a terrifically interesting nugget in her “Do You Remember When?” piece in our paper last week.

 In August 1932 a girls’ kittenball team was organized in the City of Carroll — with tryouts on a Wednesday evening at the city park.

 Which raised a question?

 What, exactly, is kittenball?

 So I contacted Kuemper Catholic School System foundation director John Steffes, a local historian.

 Here is the explanation he provided for the origin of the name kittenball: “In 1895, Louis Rober, a Minneapolis fire department lieutenant, transferred to another fire company and organized a team he called the Kittens. George Kehoe, captain of the Truck Company No. 1, named Rober’s version of softball ‘Kitten Ball.’ Rober’s game was known as Kitten Ball until 1925 when the Minneapolis Park Board changed it to Diamond Ball, one of at least a dozen names used during this time for softball.”

 *****

 Carroll County is in a uniquely enviable position in the State of Iowa with regard to median-income gain over the past decade. We are one of eight counties to record an increase of median income of at least 10 percent from 2000 to 2010. The median income in Carroll County went up to 10.4 percent during that period to about $34,000, according to an analysis this month by The Des Moines Register.

 Carroll County is the only county to be bordered by more than one county with a similar increase. In fact, we are in the center of something of a wealth pocket as Sac County posted an 11.2 percent median-income increase. Calhoun County’s jumped 10.2 percent, and Audubon County’s increased 12.7 percent.

 The other 10 percent-plus counties bordering each other are Kossuth and Palo Alto in north-central Iowa.

 Lyon County — with its new casino and proximity to markets in South Dakota and Minnesota — showed a 14.1 percent increase.

 *****

 A thoughtful reflection on the stages of life ....

 Smithsonian magazine has published a wonderful interview with writer Martin Amis in its November issue. Amis, 62, offered the following observations: “Your youth evaporates in your early 40s when you look in the mirror. And then it becomes a full-time job pretending you’re not going to die, and then you accept that you’ll die. Then in your 50s everything is very thin. And then suddenly you’ve got this huge new territory inside you, which is the past, which wasn’t there before. A new source of strength. Then that may not be so gratifying to you as the 60s begin, but then I find that in your 60s, everything begins to look sort of slightly magical again. And it’s imbued with a kind of leave-taking resonance, that it’s not going to be around very long, this world, so it begins to look poignant and fascinating.”

 *****

 Quote of the week:

 “I’m a born-again, evangelical Christian, but I don’t go out and talk about it all the time. My mama used to say, ‘If you see a fella walking down the street with a Bible in one hand, watch out for what he’s got in the other hand.’”

 Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour