Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Learning the Results
November 10, 2006
When this appears in print the fat lady will have sung, but I am writing it before we know the election results. So I am wondering what this Wednesday morning will be like. We have certainly progressed in getting election results to the people
Dave Fishell of the Museum of Western Colorado, tells about the Daily Sentinel's method of announcing the winner of the World championship baseball game in 1910. I think we can safely assume that the same method was used two years later . Taking a few liberties with the exact wording, this story might have appeared in November, 1912, The Daily Sentinel is pleased to announce to its readers and to the politically interested public in general that it has arranged to secure the results of the presidential election between Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft. The returns will be wired to the Sentinel directly. We will then post the results on billboards outside the Sentinel office. It is believed that the public will appreciate this stroke of enterprise.
We hope it didn't snow that Wednesday morning.
In 1924 KOA, Denver, came on the air and we could listen to it on the crystal set Dad and I had built out of an old oatmeal carton and copper wire. We finally got a real radio to keep my mother happy. She wanted to know the results of every election "right now." She never ran for office, but she was a true political junkie and a life long Republican. I inherited the political enthusiasm, but not the party.
Eventually communication got better, but vote counting and its complications did not always keep up with technology. After all, in 2004 it took five weeks to know who was President.
There was one election that got the information out a lot slower than usual. Remember 1948 when Thomas Dewey went to bed thinking he was President? The next morning he found that he was out of a job and Harry Truman was President. I'll bet Dewey skipped breakfast that Wednesday.
Then there was the 1964 election. By that time I had seen the light and become a Democrat, but my High School son was a rabid Goldwater supporter. The morning after the election I tried not to gloat, but he and I shook hands politely and I took him out to breakfast.
The Wednesday following the election of 1984 was a bad one. The morning after Geraldine Ferraro and that guy she was running with (oh yes, it was Walter Mondale) were defeated I couldn't stand myself or anybody else and went out to breakfast at 6:00 am. When the poor waitress tried to be pleasant I snarled at her that I was there to sulk and please leave me alone. She did!
But there was the Wednesday morning after the 1997 election when there was cause for celebration. The Mesa County Library District mil levy was released from the restrictions of Tabor. My friend the philosopher, who was also the Library Director, and I hit the street at 6:00 am and we went to breakfast -- of course. We loaded up on cholesterol and talked about the importance of libraries. I won't mention the two Library elections that followed that one.
So I'll go to breakfast Wednesday morning and hope it is a happy one. In any case, elections are like streetcars. There's always another one coming -- I hope.