I’m sure there are still readers who remember “Sooner Stanzas,” the rhymes written by the late Oklahoman and Times editor Emery Winn.
He began his career with The Oklahoman in 1947 and soon after began the “Sooner Stanzas.” For 25 years, he worked as an editor, being described, at his retirement as copy desk editor for the Oklahoma City Times in 1971, as “poet laureate of the hill and one of the finest desk men in the annals of American journalism.”
The Oklahoma Publishing Company’s company magazine, “Cuff Stuff, ” for February 1971 said:
“Emery Winn would probably be the last person to entitle himself a “poet.” If asked he would say rather a journalistic jingler, versifier, or rhymer. But the fact remains that Winn has a knack for appealing to all of us with his rhymes. He is uncanny in his choice of subject– it is always just exactly what readers were thinking about. For over 14 years, and in some 4,000 stanzas, Winn delighted readers with his “rhyme in writing,” and many wrote to say ”That’s just what I say.”
Here is one of his rhymes from The Oklahoman for May 23, 1949, as it appeared in the newspaper. It seems appropriate for today.
Now April is the proper time . . . When showers are to fall . . . While May’s supposed to be sublime . . . With flowers, sun and all . . . But something seems to be awry . . . And May has gone to pot . . . We’re threatened with a stormy sky . . . More often than we’re not . . . We do not have a gentle rain . . . When rain comes our due . . . But what we have clogs ev’ry drain . . . And floods the country too . . . And then if rain is not enough . . . To saddle us with woes . . . We have high winds and other stuff . . . And these tornadic blows . . . Keep each of us in mortal fear . . . That we’ll be blown away . . . Or that our homes will disappear . . . And all our livestock stray . . . So let us pin our hopes on June . . . Perhaps it will behave . . . If not I know that very soon . . . My home will be a cave.
– Mary Phillips
This proclamation was published in The Oklahoman May 1, 1910:
“MOTHER’S DAY IS MAY 8; MAYOR’S PROCLAMATION”
“Mayor Harry M. Scales Saturday issued a proclamation settling Sunday May 8, as “Mother’s Day.” The proclamation was as follows:
“Throughout the country, it is fast becoming the custom to set apart a day to be known and observed as Mother’s Day. The idea is a most commendable one, and the day should be commemorated by wearing a white flower or her favorite bloom.
“Therefore, in accordance with the beautiful idea set forth, I, Henry M. Scales, mayor of Oklahoma City, Okla., do hereby declare Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day to be properly observed by the citizens of Oklahoma City.
“HENRY M. SCALES
On May 7, this article appeared:
“Oklahoma City is preparing Sunday to honor one dear to the hearts of all people. To honor the best mother who ever lived — your mother. In accordance with an already old custom in the east, a day is set aside each year, proclaimed as a legal holiday by the mayor and state officials as “Mother’s Day.” In this city the second Sunday in May has been set aside as a legal holiday.
The objects of Mother’s Day is to recall the memories of the mothers that are gone and through loving words and care to brighten the lives of the mothers that remain and to help the children and men and women to a greater blessing in honoring their father and mother.
To call back mother’s words and prayers and the promises made her by the boy who is now a man and to think a little of what she was to her family. Those who are still blessed with a mother may show their appreciation by some deed of gratitude and love.
Emblematic of the day, each person will be asked to wear a white flower symbolic of purity and love, the two characteristics of mother…
“Mother’s day” had its origin in the person of Miss Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, about five years ago, and so rapidly has the idea spread that in New England states, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey it is observed each year.”
The second Sunday in May became the national holiday for Mother’s Day with the proclamation in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.
What was a great idea in Oklahoma City 100 years ago, is still a great idea.
Happy Mother’s Day!
– Mary Phillips