By Jack Swift

Johnson County Historian

While looking through my books and magazines the other day, I came across a couple of editions of the Readers Digest that I had acquired sometime ago. Both were of interest in that they were published near the time of my birth. It was the Digest’s 17th year of publication. One was dated March 1938 and the other was published in December of 1938. I was born March 22, 1938.
Now that has been a long time ago, but I like to reminisce about the past. Both magazines were full of interesting stories. I noted it was before the Digest began accepting advertising. It would be hard for me to pick out one of the articles as being best because all of them were interesting. Some of the headlines drew me to read some of the stories included in those editions. Oh, by the way, the price per magazine and the yearly subscription tells a little about the way things were as far as costs are concerned.
While the prices per products and services were low, the value of a dollar was much more then than now. The magazine per copy was 25 cents and a year’s subscription was only 3 dollars per year. A topic of interest to me in the March issue was one entitled “We Are What We Eat” condensed from Collier’s Magazine. Collier’s will be remembered by some as a popular magazine of general interest that was published for several years. The article explores the place diet has in our lives, comparing various diets of certain nationalities as to how they developed. I noted that there is a lot of emphasis on diet today as well.
Another topic caught my eye. The article was titled “Leading a Dog’s Life” It was interesting to note that the author pointed out that dogs who do heroic things such as rescuing people from burning buildings take no thought about the consequences of their actions, whereas sometimes people have an underlying motive such as glory and honor when they are heroic.