Tag Archives: World War II

The idiosyncrasies of Daylight Saving Time

pink sunrise

Sunrise in pink.

By Bruce Stambaugh

As a kid, I loved when Daylight Saving Time (DST) arrived, mostly. At first, school days began in the dark. The upside was that we had more daylight time in the evening to play and do chores.

That seemed like a fair trade to me. Excuse the pun, but times have changed since the origin of DST. I’m not sure humanity has, however.

Believe it or not, DST originated in ancient times before clocks existed. Various civilizations adjusted their schedules, not their clocks, to the natural lengthening of warmer months.

Amish volleyball

Evening recreation.

Ben Franklin’s humor accidentally credited him with the suggestion of DST. When awakened by the sun at 6 a.m. in France in 1784, Franklin jokingly suggested in an essay that the French could save a lot of money by getting up earlier in the morning. That would result in fewer candles burned in the evening.

Folks in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada were the first to use DST in 1908. The idea didn’t catch on until the onslaught of World War I when Germany resorted to using DST to save fuel for the war effort. Great Britain soon followed suit.

The same thing happened when the United States entered World War II. To save fuel, DST ran from April 30 to Oct. 31. In one form or another, DST has been around ever since.

Today’s use of DST in the U.S. dates to the 1973 oil crisis in the Middle East. DST now runs from the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. Altogether, 70 countries use some form of DST.

Despite its semi-annual adjustments, folks still get confused by the change of time. A simple rule is spring forward an hour in March and fall back an hour in November. Note the cheeky references to “spring” and “fall.”

Farmers often get the blame for initiating DST. In fact, the farmers I talk to hate it, especially if they milk cows.

Amish farmer, hay wagons

Late evening wagon train.

When I was an elementary school principal, I often made home visits. In some Amish homes, I noticed that the household clocks remained on standard time.

Others apparently used the art of compromise. Clocks were set back a half an hour. Perhaps these methods were mild forms of protest. Whatever the reasons, people always seemed to know what time it was regardless of what the clocks said.

That’s more than others could say. This simple idea led to some chaotic timekeeping. In 1965, the state of Iowa had 23 different start and end dates for DST. Even the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Min. didn’t change time equally.

To bring order to all of the chaotic clocks, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 making DST uniform. Well, mostly. Arizona and Hawaii still don’t use DST, along with several U.S. territories.

For good or for ill, the intent of this checkered history of playing with time was to save energy. Research has shown that concept is flawed.

I can see both sides. Earlier risers would just as soon avoid manipulating the clocks twice a year. Those who desire extra playtime after work or school are happy for the extended daylight.

That remains the justification for DST. It doesn’t save time. The tactic merely adjusts the clock to accommodate more daylight for more citizens.

My less than nimble fingers protest resetting the many digital devices that don’t self-correct. The child in my heart, however, still enjoys the adjusted daylight.

kids swimming, summertime

Summertime fun.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

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Filed under Amish, history, human interest, nature photography, photography, rural life, weather, writing

Schuler remains young at heart

Feeding the birds is one of life’s pleasures for Judson Schuler, of Millersburg, Ohio.

By Bruce Stambaugh

In every way, Judson Schuler, 94, belies his age.

His mind is as sharp as a tack. He recalls incidences from 60 years ago as if they happened yesterday. And yet, he can more than carry his own in conversation about current events.

For a man is his 90s, Schuler has maintained his health, too. He attributes that to his regular physical workout routine three times a week at a local physical fitness facility.

“I like to stay active,” Schuler said. “I think it’s one of the secrets to staying healthy while getting old and enjoying it.”

He is true to his word.

“I still like to mow and help out with raking and gathering the leaves,” Schuler said. Given the size of his property, that is no small task. Schuler lives on Briar Lane in Millersburg, Ohio. His late wife, Beverly, was the daughter of the president of Briar Hill Stone in Glenmont.

“The original idea for our development was that every home would be built using their stone,” Schuler said. “It was to be a model for what could be done in construction.”

“Bev and I built this in 1956,” he said. “It still suits me well.” Accordingly, the home was built using the decorative, multi-colored sandstone. The Schuler’s were married 62 years. Schuler has a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

The living room and den to the back of the stately home both have large windows and sliding glass doors that afford Schuler good views of the wildlife that he so adores.

“I enjoy feeding the birds, especially the goldfinches,” he said. Indeed, he has a thistle feeder and a hopper feeder in the spacious backyard. His binoculars hang at the ready by his favorite chair.

Schuler also gets great pleasure from watching other wildlife, like squirrels and deer that scurry through his tree-studded backyard. Though he wouldn’t ever say so, Schuler certainly has earned his right to leisure away his days.

Schuler was a noted attorney in Holmes County for many years. He practiced law well into his ‘70s. His late brother, John, was one of his partners. Ray Miller was the other.

“I still have an office in the firm,” he said. “That was part of the sale, that John and I would always have an office to go to.”

Schuler said that when he began practicing law in 1946, Millersburg had six or seven attorneys.

“Now I think there are 20,” he said with an ornery smile.

Schuler said he no longer practices, but that he still goes to the office occasionally just to check in with the other attorneys. The Critchfield, Critchfield and Johnston law firm bought Schuler’s Millersburg firm when he retired.

“My middle name is Critchfield,” Schuler said. “I’m a second cousin to that family.”

Early in his attorney days, Schuler was once the Holmes County prosecutor. But his heart was in private practice.

With his successful career behind him, Schuler takes one day at a time and enjoys every minute of his experiences. That approach might be because his life has revolved around relationships with his clients, his friends, his community activities and his family.

Schuler has served in several civic capacities. He was the local veterans service officer. He served on the development disabilities board, the airport authority, and several years on the board of directors of the Commercial and Savings Bank.

Schuler was also appointed by the governor to serve on the Ohio Public Health Council, which processed all the rules for mental hospitals, nursing homes, and even public water supplies.

“That was an incredible experience for me,” Schuler said. “I learned a lot during those 12 years.”

Schuler is also a member of the American Legion Post 192 and was made a life member of the Killbuck VFW.

Schuler served in the Army during World War II and fought in the battle of The Bulge. He can rattle off details of war stories as if they had happened yesterday.

He likes to read a lot, too, focusing on “the great people at the beginning of the Republic.” Schuler also likes golf and of course, watching Ohio State football games. He has owned season tickets for 50 years, as he received both his bachelor’s and law degree from The Ohio State University.

Though he has traveled the world and had many exciting experiences, Schuler still considers himself “a small town guy.” Likely, there are plenty of local people thankful for that.

Judson Schuler, of Millersburg, often relaxes in his den.

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A survival story for the season

By Bruce Stambaugh

The story didn’t get much play in the mainstream media of the United States. But I found it incredibly noteworthy if not uplifting, especially during this Advent season.

If you missed it, here’s what happened.

Sometime in late September, three teenage boys slipped into a 12-foot boat and headed to one small Pacific island from another. Unfortunately, their outboard motor ran out of fuel before they could reach their destination, the atoll island of Tokelau.

If you have never heard of it, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t either. Curious though, I looked it up. It’s part of an archipelago many miles northwest of Samoa.

Samoa I had heard of. As a child, I perused the many shiny black and white photographs that my late father had taken when he had visited Samoa and surrounding islands during his stint on the U.S.S. San Diego during World War II. The water buffalo and the thatched roof huts of the Polynesian island natives fascinated me.

Maybe it was that bit of sentimentality that drew me to the story initially. Once I read the first few sentences, however, I had to know the full story.

With no oars and no fuel, the boys and their tiny boat drifted far away from any land. Soon they were deep in the expansive Pacific, adrift with only a handful of coconuts they had thrown into the “tinnie,” the colloquial tag for their vessel.

The blazing sun beat down on them, and they parceled out the coconuts, the only food they had. The boys floated aimlessly for days, parched without vital drinking water.

Day after day they sat helpless in the tropical sun searching the horizon for signs of land or other boats. A series of fierce storms cropped up at night, nearly capsizing the boat. The boys hit the boat’s bottom and clung to the sides to steady their small vessel.

The storms provided an upside, however. The boys lapped at puddles of the fresh rainwater left by the downpours. Once, at night, a ship passed close to them, but because they had no light of their own, the boys could only watched in despair as the big ship glided by.

Once the coconuts were gone, their only food came in the form of small, flying fish that happened to jump into their boat. Another time, a bird landed on their boat and one of the boys managed to grab it. They devoured it raw.

Again desperate for water, the boys began drinking small amounts of seawater. Near the end of November and some 50 days after they had left their little atoll, a deep sea fishing boat approached them. This time it was during the day, and they and their little boat were rescued 800 miles from where they had originally launched.

The boys spent a few days in the hospital to regain nourishment and strength, but it would be more than two weeks until a boat would take them back to their small country of 1,500 residents.

Fascinated by this amazing story, I typed in Tokelau into Google Earth. I wanted to get a visual on their tropical homeland in the middle of the Pacific.

Sure enough, the program took me right to it. I zoomed in to see the series of small islands, all formed from volcanoes. The residents lived on the rims of the inactive craters. Amazingly, picture icons were posted. I clicked on them, and shots of a tropical paradise emerged. Swaying palm trees, pristine beaches, and deep blue bays beckoned.

I mentally kept connecting this joyous, improbable survival story with the one on which the Advent season is based. Like the Bethlehem account from long ago, with its unlikely cast of characters, this miraculous tale had to be shared, too.

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