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Column: Listen up, kids (especially if you're hungry)

WORTHINGTON — Schools are back in session. For many, the first week has slipped by. Kids — let me give you one word of advice: listen. Just listen. This is so important.

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The United States was bombed into World War II when the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That was Dec. 7, 1941.

A gunman killed Pres. John Kennedy. That was Nov. 22, 1963. A gunman murdered Pres. Abraham Lincoln. That was April 11, 1865.

I didn’t listen to the teacher one day. I didn’t learn how important it is to know when something happened. I didn’t listen to how important dates are. I tell a story. People ask me, “When was this?” I dunno. I dunno. That really takes the edge off things.

I remember when pizza came to Worthington. There was a reverend living with his family in the little house at 715 11th Street. He was organizing, leading a new congregation. He called the Daily Globe to tell of a food he was introducing to Worthington to boost his small income. Pizza. I went to talk to him.

The good man was making pizza in his kitchen and then in a new oven he installed in his basement. He would deliver pizza anywhere in town.

Pizza? What is pizza? He showed me. I tasted it. First time. Wow! But this was the question from household to household — what is pizza? Worthington’s first pizza parlor, first opportunity for pizza pie, was doomed. It didn’t last six months. It wasn’t until people at Minneapolis and Sioux City and other far away places became familiar with pizza that Worthington embraced that diet staple of today.

When was this? Well, you see, I didn’t listen that day. I didn’t appreciate the importance of dates. A Christian pastor introduced pizza to Worthington in the late 1950s or the first years of the 1960s.

It is like this with hamburgers, although this time I wasn’t the one who didn’t record the date. It was the early 1930s. A Worthington man, Harry Hogan, moved a small, white frame building on the edge of the Firestone property (Mick’s Repair) on 10th Street. It was a lunch counter with stools down the center of the building. Harry had a specialty: he fried ground beef patties on his grill and slipped the patties between buns. Harry had a jar of mustard and a bottle of ketchup on the counter. This is a hamburger he explained — everybody in America is eating hamburgers and now they have come to Worthington. If you wanted to take hamburgers home with you, Harry wrapped each burger in a square of wax paper and slipped the burgers into brown paper bags.

This is surely a milestone. A time of revelation for Worthington. A change in everyone’s diet.

When was it? Well you see, no one recorded the date. We really don’t know.

It is thought — again, we don’t know — it is thought Nic Casareto introduced Worthington to ice cream cones at his ice cream parlor in the Hotel Thompson. Casareto waitresses with dip-pers pressed hard ice cream into cones. It was E.O. Olson, founder of Worthmore in the big creamery and produce building on Ninth Street, who made ice cream cones Worthington’s most popular treat. E.O. opened an ice cream store facing on Ninth Street with two windows at the front where customers could come to order cones. Come they most certainly did. Hundreds of local residents on some summer evenings.

Worthmore ice cream cones were three-dip cones. “I’ll have one dip of chocolate, one dip of cherry nut, one dip of maple nut…and then, for my sister, give me a dip of vanilla, a dip of chocolate chip, a dip of strawberry…” It was amazing. Hard-working Worthmore waitresses remembered these orders and filled them. Worthington was eating ice cream cones. They were five cents each — later a dime. Ice cream cones surely were the most popular treat, the greatest new dessert Worthington ever met.

And when was all this? Well — it began in the 1940s. One summer, of course.

But you see, we hadn’t learned to remember dates.

Keep this in mind, kids. Listen to everything your teachers tell you.

Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.