The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Gwen Cornwell
Remember When 

Better Learn to Be Good


I remember being a kid and having my mom telling me what could happen if I didn’t learn to be good. The very worst case scenario was to be put in jail and being fed only bread and water. I couldn’t even imagine! Bread and Water only. I could envision the glass of water, but I was never sure in my mind if your bread would come cut into pieces, or just one big slice. The good point was, it was probably homemade bread.

Some years later I lived in the small town of Opheim and got to see the local jail on a daily basis. Yes, I was even in it once or twice, but as pranks only. I am sure other community jails were very similar. Being older, and somewhat wiser (at least about jail conditions), I might have chosen to impart more than the diet information to my children.

I wondered about sanitary conditions, or was that even a concern? No TV of course, that wasn’t invented yet, probably no radio and no plumbing. What was used for heat? Maybe a kerosene stove. I am sure the daily needs of prisoners were attended to by the town policeman or sheriff.

Unlike the western movies we see, the jail facilities that I remember in small communities did not have lockup cells in the Sheriff’s office. My question, did that make jailbreaks easier, or just more work for security? I am pretty sure you didn’t get to have educational classes (other than what you gleaned from other prisoners) and that was what we might refer to as the “school of hard knocks.”

I am pretty sure healthcare and physical fitness were not considered as important during your stay, either. I am not sure how much those stories shaped my life growing up, but it did make me think and didn’t hurt me much either. Then again — that is my thought only.


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