EARLY ON SUNDAY morning, Switzerland County joined the rest of the country in turning back our clocks one hour, ending Daylight Savings Time for another year.
As I changed the clocks in our house, and had a discussion with my wife as to whether or not our cell phones would automatically change, I couldn’t help but feel pretty good about the extra hour of sleep I was about to get.
It made up for the feeling that I had earlier this year when I lost that hour of sleep.
Getting up on Monday when it was nearly daylight was a plus, too; even though darkness came earlier – but that’s the trade off.
But what the end of Daylight Savings Time really makes me think about is the “good old days” before we participated in changing our clocks.
The days when Indiana didn’t participate in the national ritual.
The days when Switzerland County was well versed in “slow time” and “fast time”.
For those of you who remember those days, officially the clocks weren’t changed, but our close ties to Kentucky and Cincinnati meant that many people who worked where Daylight Savings Time did occur would change their clocks on their own so that they wouldn’t get confused.
So, if you stayed with the State of Indiana, you were a “slow timer”.
If you changed your clock so you weren’t late for work, you were a “fast timer”.
But it didn’t stop there.
There were businesses who went on “fast time”. Dr. Sieglitz’s optometry office was on fast time because of deliveries that were made.
The post office was on fast time because mail deliveries that came from Cincinnati needed to be in sync.
The radio station was on fast time, while the newspaper office stayed on slow time.
The terms “fast time” and “slow time” were a part of our regular language; as events in the newspaper listed which of the two times it would happen; business hours were listed the same way.
Summer weddings were in particular need of clarification, because you didn’t want your guests to show up an hour late – or an hour early.
Little League games played at the Markland Park could make for a late night for parents working on fast time; and some businesses even went to the extent of not changing their clocks; but simply opened an hour earlier than normal.
And that’s how we spent our summer.
And other people got really, really confused.
But we all understood it perfectly.
“The town with two times” became nationally known. National newspapers did stories about Vevay and Switzerland County. National television shows broadcast live from our streets. National radio shows spent hours talking about our town.
No one else seemed to be able to understand how we did it. In their minds, the people of Vevay and Switzerland County were wandering the streets like zombies, aimlessly trying to figure out what time it was.
The rest of the nation shook their heads, and we just lived our lives.
I remember being a part of a national radio broadcast originating from Chicago. I was one of the guests that night; while Mike Wix, who ran our local radio station at the time, was also a guest.
“What time is it in your newspaper office?,” the radio host asked.
“It’s 8 p.m.” I said.
“And what time is it in your radio station?,” he asked Mike.
“It’s 9 p.m.” he said.
We didn’t have to talk much after that, because the radio show host went on and on about how confusing that must be. He was followed by a long line of phone calls from listeners who were simply in shock that a town could be on two times at the same time.
They were confused, we were fine.
There are so many things that make our community so special, but I contend that if you want publicity and tourism, there was no greater national publicity than that week before the nation changed their clocks, and we didn’t.
Well, some of us didn’t.
I have to admit, I miss those times. It takes a special sense of humor to make light of the whole thing, but our county managed to do that.
In fact, there was some discussion, mostly in jest, that we would all move our clocks forward 30 minutes for Daylight Savings Time – so when it was 3 p.m. in Indiana and 4 p.m. in Kentucky, it would be 3:30 p.m. in Switzerland County.
And we’d call it, say it with me, “half fast” time.
Yes, the pun was intended.
But that’s all gone now, because Switzerland County and all of Indiana caved into national pressure and adopted Daylight Savings Time several years ago.
So we lose an hour’s sleep in the spring; and we get it back in the fall.
I guess it works.
But I miss the mess.
I hope that our readers enjoyed the two part report Vevay Newspapers presented on women in our county who have battled, and defeated, breast cancer.
I hope you enjoyed it, but – more than that – I hope that perhaps it provides courage to some women in our county who have not been having regular mammograms. I know that the fear of hearing the word “cancer” can be pretty scary, but what’s more scary is finding out at a point when you can’t do anything about it.
I tell people all the time, the one sentence I never want to hear from a doctor, “I wish you’d come here a month ago.”
When our oldest daughter, Abby, was a baby, she got really sick and we took her to the doctor. After some tests, the doctor came back and told us that she had pneumonia. Seeing the shock in our eyes, the doctor said something that I think of all the time:
“She’s no more sick now than she was before we knew what was wrong with her,” the doctor said. “Now that we know what’s wrong, we’ll fix it.”
I think about cancer that way. Even if you don’t know, you still have it. What you need to do is identify it, know what it is, and then fix it.”
That’s easy for me to say, I know, because I’m not facing that diagnosis; but I want to encourage everyone who might be feeling things going on inside of their bodies to go and have the exam and give yourself and your family that peace of mind.
You owe it to yourself.