To our readers: This New Year's Day, Star Tribune Opinion is republishing old letters to the editor and their original headlines (with slight edits and print dates added).

Though these missives come from writers of a different era, the themes below still resonate. If the past really is another country, the people there do have some remarkable similarities to us — whether enduring war or disease or merely complaining about the snow.

Happy New Year.

Elena Neuzil, Letters Editor

More Christmas Lights

To the Editor:

One thing we should all make it a point to do is to string up more colored electric lights this Christmas than ever. Those lights give cheer in the darkened night, and this is one time when we need all the cheer and courage we can get. A blaze of light in every home will serve as a symbol that one democracy has not been blacked out; that there is one country where there is still "peace on earth, good will to men."

In other lands there can be no such cheerful symbol. A gaily bedecked Christmas tree would only be an invitation to an enemy bomber. Over here we can string up lights wherever we please and no dictator can tell us no. Let's string them on our Christmas tree, frame our doorway with lights, and hang them on hedges and trees in our yards. At Christmas time, let's get away from the bleak war news and into the bright lights.

Edrene Buckheister, Winona, Minn., Dec. 5, 1940

The Genuine Christmas Spirit

To the Editor:

There is a difference of opinion as to the best way to celebrate Christmas. One interpretation is that the spirit of gladness comes in liquid form — strong drink that brings a spell of artificial inspiration.

I believe the spirit of Christmas is centered in the Christian spirit of good will and love.

Gordon J. Ring, Minneapolis, Dec. 24, 1940

A Dainty Holiday Gift

Mr. Editor:

A nice little holiday gift is a grape sachet. It is made in the form of a cluster of grapes with felt or artificial leaves, and is both pretty and useful. The grapes are made of purple velvet or silk, by overcasting little round pieces on the edge with strong thread and drawing them up in the shape of grapes; the grapes are stuffed with light cotton on which sachet powder is sprinkled, and finished by a wire stem. The separate grapes are then arranged in a cluster by attaching these fine wires to a central rubber stem from a bunch of artificial flowers. It makes an elegant little present for anybody.

A.B.C., Dec. 23, 1882

Motorists vs. Car Towing

To the Editor:

We university students approve of snow clearance, but why does it have to cost some of us so much money? The signs are put out the day before, and if you don't happen to be the vigilant kind that checks his car every few hours, you find the car is towed away. It costs over five dollars to bail it out of Koehler's garage plus two dollars for a ticket. All of which no doubt makes Koehler's garage, Bishop's garage and the city budget very happy, but it a rather needless blow to the budget of "U" students.

Isn't there a better, more humane way to handle the situation?

Stanley Esterly, Minneapolis, Feb. 5, 1953
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To the Editor:

Rather than haul your car to a garage, couldn't the trucks move your car to the other side of the street or to another street while the snow is being removed and then haul it back after the operation has been completed? Then, because of the cut in distance hauling, Koehler and Bishop might be induced to cut their minimum charge to $3.50 or so. The charge could be collected at the court house when the ticket is taken care of. This would eliminate the inconvenience of running down to the court house to get a release and then to the garage to claim your car.

Doug Peterson, Minneapolis, Feb. 5, 1953

A Messenger's Plea

To the Editor:

I am a messenger and am on the night shift. We, like everybody else, have our woes. The winter season is upon us, and the streets are becoming slippery and more hazardous. Traffic therefore has become our greatest trouble.

We have our rules. Lights, both on back and front, a warning device for pedestrians, are required. We are not allowed to disregard stop signs or break any traffic regulations. If we do we are subject to dismissal.

Our wish is mercy from the midnight speeders, from many returning from beer parlors who force us almost over the curb, from drivers who skid the last 15 feet over the yellow line when the sign says "stop." And from the drivers who try to make it as miserable as possible for bike riders, who have the right to all the privileges of a motorist, seeing that sidewalk riding is prohibited.

Everett J. Vizenor, Minneapolis, Dec. 1, 1936

Open-Air Schools

To the Editor of The Tribune:

The item in your editorial column stating that Chicago, as a means of combating influenza, is considering making each school in the city an open-air school, is a pertinent one. This action is contemplated because the 700 children in the open-air schools did not develop a case of the disease.

In Minneapolis there had been an active campaign looking toward the establishment of open-air classrooms in every school in the city. To this end the Anti-Tuberculosis Committee, through its children's worker, Miss Florence Leininger, has cooperated actively with the board of education. The response upon the part of the teachers and parents has been most gratifying, and the interest of the superintendent very encouraging. The Marey school, this fall, had the honor of being the first all open-window school in the city. It is expected that this movement will spread rapidly among our schools.

In conclusion, it is hoped that one lesson we shall learn from the present epidemic will be a greater love of the out-of-doors, and a dispelling of the old bogey that fresh air is dangerous.

Paul L. Benjamin, Oct. 24, 1918

Smells Like Christmas

I think that more letter carriers ought to write up something for this department. I myself appreciate reading the news from other carriers. The other day I came home and found a sack of oats at my gate. The day before Thanksgiving I found a chicken in one of my boxes, and last Friday one of my patrons gave me a chunk of fresh pork.

I water my horse on the way. I drive up to the tank and there is always someone there to uncheck my horse so I don't have to get out at all. I don't believe there are many patrons kinder to their carrier than mine are.

E.A. Pomeroy, carrier No. 2, Plainview, Minn., Dec. 11, 1903
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To the Editor:

I have for some time past been reading this news corner with great interest, and had almost begun to despair at the good things being heaped on Brother Pomeroy of Plainview.

But a grand surprise was to be mine. I did not get a hunk of pork or a nice, plump chicken and certainly have no one to water my horse. But the grandest of all, I got a dandy fur coat and a pair of gauntlet mittens, and of course a merry Christmas.

Every patron on my route had joined in the giving and I thank them very much for their good will.

My route is twenty-five and one-half miles long and I have served it since it was first inaugurated three and one-half years ago. During that time I have missed but seven days.

Wishing my patrons, brother carriers and the editor a Happy New Years, I am respectfully,

John H. Grandy, Carrier Route No. 1, Jan. 1, 1904