Tales from the Morgue

Once upon a time, the Arizona Daily Star held a "traffic gripe" sweepstakes. Prizes were $50, $25 and $15 for first, second and third place entries.

Meanwhile there were weekly prizes and some of the entries were included in the paper.

The contest lasted a few weeks and we son't plan to re-publish every entry the Star ran; however, since this was the fourth year the contest happened, we will look for the winners for each year.

We think if such a contest were held today, our inboxes would explode.

Read a few entries here. From the Arizona Daily Star, January 5, 1958:

Pet Traffic Gripes

Parking Meter Dilemma Wins Prize for Pastor

His Car Was Tagged, But He Wins $5

Today's prize-winning $5 traffic gripe concerns a Willcox clergyman who came to town and got "taken in" by the parking meters.

It was submitted by Rev. J. Marvin Davis, of Willcox, and he certainly seems to have some points in his favor.

Today's Folger coffee winners are Gertrude von den Steinen, of 3708 S. Lundy Ave., who sent in a clever verse about "The Other Fellow," and Mary MacMurtrie, of 846 E. Windsor Rd., whose pet peeve is about parents who ignore the jaywalking law.

You'll find the peeves below. Meanwhile you have until tonight midnight to get your entries in for the Traffic Gripe sweepstakes, the grand prizes of $50, $25 and $15 for the three best peeves submitted during the contest.

Just tell in 100 words or less your pet traffic peeve and mail it to the Arizona Daily Star. It must be postmarked before midnight tonight, Jan. 5.

Here are today's prize winners and some other good peeves:

Parking Meter Peeve

"My grip has to do with parking meters.

"Dear Police Officer:

"On the date of your parking citation, my wife, our daughter, and I drove the 87 miles from Willcox over to Tucson to so some shopping and to take in a movie—"Around the World in 80 Days.

"After driving around several blocks several times trying to get in a 'Park 'n Shop' Lot, we finally parked at the location indicated on your citation. This was at 2 p.m. at which time I put two nickels in the parking meter by our car and went directly to the Fox Theater. At intermission time, which was at about 3:50 p.m., I left the theater and walked back to my car to re-park it, a distance of two and one-half blocks. I looked at the meter I had fed the two nickels and it showed 12 minutes parking time left. Your citation was on the windshield. I began trying to figure out what was wrong. I was parked in the middle of the block, so went towards the corner and counted the parking meters down to our car and discovered that I (presumably) should have fed the parking meter beside the rear tire of the car in front of me.

"May I suggest that some lines painted on the street or curb indicating which parking space goes with which meter would be most helpful to the visiting motorist. Some such simple expedient would encourage out-of-towners to continue to come to your beautiful city rather than wish they hadn't."

Rev. J. Marvin Davis
Box 307

No, Not Me!


  runs stop signs?
  The Other Fellow.

  follows too closely?
  The Other Fellow.

  drives as if his is the only car on the road?
  The Other Fellow.

  disregards most traffic rules and regulations?
The Other Fellow.

  is the Other Fellow?
  To everyone but yourself

Gertrude von den Steinen
3708 S. Lundy Ave.

Fudging Freddy

"My pet traffic gripe is labeled Fudging Heddy and Freddy. You will be driving along a main thoroughfare and they will want to pull onto it. So instead of waiting for a break in traffic, they will nose their car into your lane 2 or 3 feet. It forces you to either stop or pull out of your respective lane. Their mode of operation is the same on making a left turn.

LeRoy Schlueter
5702 E. Rosewood

Wonder Boy

"My pet gripe is 'Wonder Boy'. The guy who has a car load of passengers and has to turn his head and take his hands off the steering wheel to talk to them. You wonder how this guy gets where he's going."

John Sikora
6117 S. Morris

Jaywalking Parents

"My chief traffic gripe is parents who ignore the "jaywalking law."

"A young man, his two little boys in town, hurries across North Stone in the middle of the block. A mother, parked on the far side of the street from school or church, honks furiously to attract her children as they start for the corner. 'Cross over here,' she yells, 'I'm watching,' and across the street they dash.

"These parents not only break a law, but all unknowingly teach their children that it's all right to do so. . . .

"Jaywalkers endanger their own lives and constitute a hazard to drivers. . . ."

Mary Mac Murtrie
846 E. Windsor Rd.

Having recently fed a meter downtown more than $1 for an hour of time, the Morgue Lady at first had no sympathy for the pastor. Then she realized that in the 1958 economy, he probably made so little that two nickels was probably a hefty price.

We will search for the story of the sweepstakes winners and post it soon. Later will come other years.

Johanna Eubank is an online content producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

About Tales from the Morgue: The "morgue," is what those in the newspaper business call the archives. Before digital archives, the morgue was a room full of clippings and other files of old newspapers.