Most of the local information consisted of short personal items or paragraphs like those that pervaded every local newspaper of its type
By 1932, Wilder’s name no longer graced the reports of the various secretaries or club officers who submitted them to the editor of the Mansfield Mirror for publication. Most of the clubs in operation at the time had a regular monthly meeting day, usually in the afternoon but sometimes in the evening. The Live Wire Club ordinarily met on Thursday evening, the Interesting Hour Club on Tuesday afternoon, the Modern Home Makers Club on Thursday afternoon, the Stitch and Chatter Club on Wednesday evening. The Baptist secretbenefits dating church, the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and Laura’s own Methodist Episcopal church also had monthly meetings of their ladies aids. In addition, the newspaper occasionally noted meetings of groups like the Thursday Afternoon Tea Club, the Bridge and Supper Club, the Busy Bees, and the Community Quilting Club. 16 If Wilder attended any of these meetings, her name was not recorded. Since she often was noted on lists of attendees in previous years and sometimes later on, we can infer that her writing duties largely took her away from club activities during 1932, and if she was in attendance at any of the meetings, it could not have been very frequently.
But socializing was not completely bypassed. The Mirror ran a paragraph about a tea put on by Rose Wilder Lane on Monday, June 13, with guests being Mrs. C. H. Thompson, Mrs. Stella Adams of Kansas City, Mrs. J. A. Fuson, Mrs. George B. Freeman, and Mrs. A. J. Wilder. 17 Rose received more mentions in the paper than her mother did in 1932. Freeman’s home, honoring the same visitor from Kansas City as well as Mrs. R. J. Freeman of Springfield. 18
The long?range outcome of all of this mobility became apparent later on: the same cars that brought people in from the country and nearby towns to shop and go to movies in Mansfield could also take Mansfield’s residents to shop in Springfield and elsewhere
The weekly issues of the Mansfield Mirror consisted of only four pages in 1932. With local government, railroad, and church notices; many ads; and a number of filler stories from other papers and sources taking up space, not much room was left for straight news. One kind of story that got fairly frequent mention was news of the progress of local road?building programs. Considerable improvements were made on the highways during the 1920s, but much work remained to be done. Local town boosters pushed hard for increased state funding for roads, believing that increased mobility would mean more cars on Main Street and more customers in their stores. That was true, but only to a point. They could have detected a clue to the future in local paragraphs in the Mansfield Mirror under the heading “Terse and Not So Terse.” There, one could read about who had had a baby shower, who was entertaining whom in their homes, what young people were attending college in Columbia and Springfield, and how the latest revival meetings were going. Increasingly, however, local residents were going golfing or shopping or attending to business in Springfield, fifty miles to the west on Highway 60. A lot of the local items in the paper mentioned visits to or visitors from nearby towns such as Ava, Hartville (the country seat), Cedar Gap, and Mountain Grove, and more distant places such as Seymour, West Plains, Monett, and Joplin. Sometimes people even drove to or rode the train as far as Kansas City, St. Louis, and Memphis. That was the long-term trend, but the portents were there already by 1932 for those able to read them.