By CYNTHIA AUKERMAN
In 1950 Union City held its 16th annual First Baby of the Year contest. The ads in the Union City Times-Gazette for that campaign and the New Year's ads provide an interesting look at our community as it was 61 years ago, businesses, people and customs come and gone.
A milk supply was a natural gift for the First Baby. The Purity Dairy offered a quart of homogenized pasteurized milk a day to the baby's family. The phone number was 55. Sunnydale Dairy donated one week's supply of milk because "pure milk means health for baby." Its phone number was 8943.
The Ben Franklin Store donated a sterilizer for all those baby bottles.
Spradling's Oil & Coal Co., on the corner of Chestnut and State Line, gave one gallon of "that good oil to take baby a ride." Smith and Son, home of the Kaiser-Frazier, offered one quart of oil. Kaiser-Frazer (correct spelling, according to Wikipedia, which wasn't around in 1950) was a new car company started in 1945, with the Kaiser being a front-wheel drive.
Baby clothing was a popular gift, of course. Walling's Store offered a romper suit if the first baby was a boy, a dress if it was a girl. Warren's Store and the Boston Store contributed baby blankets.
Car seats were available, but not mandatory, 61 years ago, and Johnston's Furniture Factory promised a free car seat for the First Baby. According to the ad, Johnston's had a branch in Greenville, Ohio, as well as its home location on the corner of Pearl and Howard streets in Union City. Another furniture store, Reed Furniture Mart, location unlisted, offered a baby nursery chair. Midway Furniture Company offered a nursery seat.
DeBolt Electric Shop gave tree lights for baby's first Christmas.
The owners of the Grand and Miami theaters donated a book of tickets to the First Baby's parents to be used at any later date of their choice.
Anderson's offered a toy to the First Baby born in Randolph OR Darke counties.
Miller Shoe Store's gift was a given: baby's first pair of shoes. Not all of the donations were so obvious. Shierling Music and Electric Store, phone number 685, gave a large bottle of furniture polish for the new mother.
Tibbetts Pharmacy gave a gift of talcum, soap, oil and cream. Hunt's Flower Shop promised a "nice gift," no details. Krakoff's donated "tub-ums." Whatever those were, they came in pairs, because Krakoff's gave a pair.
Pickett's Jewelry gave a community silver plate to the First Baby.
Kester's Men and Boys Apparel gave a tie for the First Baby's Dad.
The back of the First Baby ad page contained New Year's greetings from other businesses. City Safety Deposit Co. and Hub City Finance encouraged readers to "bring to this birthday of the year all the happiness you are able, and it will repay in kind throughout its life."
Moore's Store expressed an annual hope: "God willing, there will be no pain of sadness to mar the tender happiness that Christmas ought to bring to all of you."
Union City Lumber Supply referred readers to 1950 as the "best in New Years," and added, "Give it a chance to do you some good."
Only four years past the end of World War II, Broadway Service, owned by Willard Wolf and Ona R. Sutton, were among the businesses sending wishes for a "bright and PEACEFUL" 1950.
Midway Furniture's message was to "earnestly hope your ship comes safely to port in 1950."
The First Baby winner was Malenia Lei, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Own Mangas. She appeared early in the New Year, weighing in at 8 pounds 3 ounces at 4:20 a.m. on New Years Day.