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Northampton Mercury Friday June 10th 1927, Transcribed by Susan Manton

“Ole Tom” Has the Electric Light

Deer mister editer,

Oim feeling in a queer sort uv a mood ternoight, pretty much oi shuld think as a man must feel as is put is woife away an tuk a new un. Fer th fust toime in ‘istery, barrin them pocket things that flash about, theers electric lights in this ‘ouse an th old lamps bin turned out. It med me feel fair sad sir wen oi seed it a stannin weer it wer put cus day in, day out fer noigh on thirty years its been dooin its job, well an good, an now its sat outside.

It’s a gret step forrard yer noi sir in a many ways. It dooant seem many minnits reely sins oim seed men a mekkin shoes in our village a sitting ound a taller dip, an wimmin a mekkin laece wi no better loight but wi a glass full o water in th middle on em ter mek it show up better. Then we ‘ad th wax candles an fooaks thort as that wer th uppenin uv a doorway to a new Jerusalem amooast. Theers a good many fooaks an orl yit sir as er neer burned ony loight better ner a wax candle an oi dooant noe as theyr lived ony th less ‘appy fer that.

Then theer wer lamps come sir an theers no gensaying as they wer better ony then ‘as a stink uv ther ooan an if they wordnt looked arter jist roight they ‘ad a nasty ‘abit o busting at th mooast orkard toimes. Them as med em got ooer that tho an as oi say th old thong as is a stannin outside now wer bin a dooin dooty an dooin on it well fer gooin on fer thirty ‘ear. Th fooaks as it wer got from oi beleev er gone our of bisness er els oi shuld be amoind ter mek em a present on it fer a show in ther winder. Oi ‘ope th lams as we’er got in now ul stan as lung, but oi ‘ave me douts about that, cos theyr flimmoky lookin things an oim ferd as they wunt stan much uv a nock.

It’s a gret oideer yer noe an oi aent got ooer playin wit h things yit. Some uv us old un ser ony childrern wi wiskers are we? Oim bin sittin ‘ere a pressin the button an watchin the loight come on an oi dooant noe wich is th mooast wonderful, th quick way it comes on er th way it gus orf. Everybody as comes in an orl as ter be showed orl about it an we’er a burnin some power, er wotever they call it, a showin frends ‘ow it works. We shall ‘av ter get a box, oi think, an ax fooaks ter put a penny in fer evry toime they push th button.

You’d a larfer sir if you’d a bin ‘ere th fust noight it wer turned on. Oim got a loight ooer me bed an oi wer that eeger ter see ‘ow that acted as oi wer orf ter bed a soight sooner ner oim bin a gooin fer a lung whoile. Its orl roight sir. Theers no feer o settin th bed afoire thru ‘avin th candle too near an theers no kickin yer toes agen th bed arter putting th candle out on th taeble. Oi wer sucked in proper tho in one way. Fer lung enuff oim bin one fer waekin up oncommon early an oim fer waekin up oncommon early an ‘avin a read ter whoile th toime away. Well, oi thort ter meself, no werritin about th candle now, oi shall be orl roight in th morning, wi nuthin ter do but ter put me ‘and out an push a bit uv a button thing. But wuld you beleev it sir, oi neer wacked till it wer broad day anoi somerooad felt as oi ant ‘ad me money’s wuth.

Theers one thing as oi aent jist ‘appy ooer. Some toime agoo, wen it wer fust talked about oi rit about the poasteses as they wer a putting up ter carry th woires. If oid a noed then wot oi noe now sir oi think oi shuld a rit difrent an oi ‘ope as them pleases as er a tekkin a stand agen ‘aving poles orl thru th please ul win th day an mek th company put th woires under th ground thru th villages an towns.

Oi ‘ad a walk down our village th tuther evening sir an oi never felt so much loike beein in a gret ‘en pen in me loife. We wer a getting pretty well up afoor wit h telefoane woires an poales ter say nuthin o th woireless tho that moastly in fooaks’s ooan gardins. But now we’er got these ‘ere poales fer th loight an th woires orl ooer th please it fair meks yer dizzy ter look up ‘ere an theer.

Theer it is tho, th jobs done now an oi deersay as wen oim a layin in bed a reedin be th loight as is sot jist ‘andy oi shaent werrit ooer th poales an woires. But ther aent no queschun as in th day toime they are a ugly soight an fer th toime they are a ugly soight an fer th toime beein theers one village as wunt be reckoned th prettiest in th county. Th toime will come tho wen orl sich things ul be put underground er els they wunt want poales an woires an then we shall ‘av charnse agen ter tek wer please wit h best lookin.

In th mean toime sir oi shuld loike ter ‘ear wot some o ver frends er got ter say about th best lookin village. Oi noe weer theers one er two as ud tek a bit of beeatin an oi think some fooaks ud get a bit uv a surproise if it wer put ter th test.

Oi shuldnt loike ter be th judge onyrooad fer th verdict ud be sartin ter be rung fer some – Yoors Ole Tom.

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