Before Fixit, there was Mr. Fixit, a quirky amalgam of Dear Abby, Google and T.D. Mischke. The column made its debut in the Minneapolis Star on Aug. 12, 1924, under the byline "George Fixit."
For 86 years, Fixit deftly answered questions about food stains, home repair and city ordinances. In the early years he also offered advice to the lovelorn and offbeat philosophical musings. And if you had a question of an extremely personal nature, he’d send you a response by mail, provided you sent him a stamped, self-addressed envelope. An interactive feature of the first order!
Karen Youso held the con as Fixit for three decades before taking a buyout in May 2010. In its final months, the column became a shared chore for overworked reporters and copy editors. The last Fixit was published on Oct. 10, 2010.
Here are selected Mr. Fixit items from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune of March 1-3, 1951:
The Answer Must Be ‘Maybe’
Q. I am a 20-year-old girl. I am madly in love with a man who is 30. I know this man has been on very close terms with other girls. I am in bewilderment whether I should marry this man or forget him. I know it would be very hard to forget him, for his memories would haunt me. I have been seeing another man more my age, but he does not have as much sex appeal as the older one. Should I forget the man I have so much feeling for? Please give me some sound advice as I am in desperate need.
A. Tom Jones, in the novel of that name by Henry Fielding (1707-1754) was on very close terms with several women. Nevertheless, Fielding considered the reformed Jones a good matrimonial risk for his chaste heroine and permitted their union in a “happy ” ending. The duration of their happiness is a matter for speculation and so are your prospects with the “sheik.” I only wish to point out that your query is neither new nor, I fear, susceptible of a conclusive answer.
– MR. FIXIT
Q. Is there a town named Centerville in Ramsey county, Minn.?
A. Centerville is in southeastern Anoka county, Minn.
Inter Resting, Indeed
Q. (1) I have been partially dehoused. My girl’s boy friend won’t let me in weekends. I seen the X. P. Diter and he told me to go to the county seat and get a squatter’s claim deed and then throw her boy friend out. I did, but her boy friend said the claim was only good on government property and I should join the army and take it with me. Then he threw me out. Will it help me get back in if I apply for membership in the American Kennel club? (2) I am certain you must be wearied by being queried by cantankerous trollops, sanctimonious slatterns, and bachelor bacchanalians …
A. (1) That will give you plenty of yelp. (2) As Chief Lahkjaw says, “I’ll slatternly bacchanalian trollops against a whole cantankerous fellers, though it sank Timonius.”
– MR. FIXIT.
Q. I maintain that when the temperature is minus on the thermometer, for instance –28 and changes to –20, it is considered to be rising.
A. You’re right.
– MR. FIXIT.
Is She Older? Cash In
Q. This problem may seem trivial to you, but I don’t know exactly what to do. I am going with a girl older than I am. How much, I don’t know, only from what I hear, she may be 12 years older than I am. I am 24. I think a great deal about her, and the feeling seems to grow every time we go out, and I know she feels the same about me. I want to know if I should keep on going with this girl or break off with her. If I should break off with her, how should I go about it? It is in my mind. A very hard thing to do.
A. At the age of 35 Benjamin Disraeli, earl of Beaconsfield, married a widow 12 years older than he, and they were, by all accounts, very happy. Of course (according to the Encyclopedia Britannica) she brought to him a “house in Park Lane, a considerable fortune and the unceasing devotion of an affectionate, but not particularly intellectual, nature.”
– MR. FIXIT.