On January 13, 1947, pre-election violence was mounting in Poland, Palestinians were accusing Jews of bombing a Haifa police station, and there was growing support for Sen. Vandenberg's proposal to ease U.S. policy toward Argentina.
Postwar America was worried about the bomb. But The Post's editorial page ridiculed a proposal to disperse all U.S. defense industries underground. And advice columnist Mary Haworth said a wife who didn't want to bring children into "a world of atomic wars" was selfish and needed to see a psychiatrist.
District Commissioners thought a 2 per cent retail sales tax would help balance the city budget. Bing Crosby opened in "Blue Skies." And The Washington Post announced a few changes: the comics were being restored to pre-war size, there was a new adventure strip called "Steve Canyon," and, next to it, a new local column by W. E. G.
W. E. G., soon to become well known around town as Bill Gold, began his first District Line column with an anecdote about a woman who left her apartment and ran smack dab into another early morning hiker, Harry Truman, but couldn't keep pace with the president. Gold also noted it was time Washington got on with the business of building a new national stadium and that "what this town needs is a good 5-cent cigar that sells for less than 15 cents."
More than 34 years later, Bill Gold has met more than 8,000 District Line deadlines and raised well over a million dollars for Children's Hospital, not to mention contributions to other good causes such as Heroes, Inc., the fund for families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Gold has yet to bring professional baseball to Washington, but while he has been trying, a number of other good deeds have been accomplished: he has saved countless readers from the panhandler, broken thousands of chain letters; he has crusaded for home rule, school library books, the English language, summer camp safety and the loose loads bill; and he has started our days with a provocative and entertaining collection of news, views and anecdotes about the city he loves.
After today, the District Line column goes into retirement and Bill Gold will write for this newspaper "only when the mood is upon me." Bill also will be representing The Post in the community in a variety of ways.
A group of District Line fans has come up with what we think is a marvelous salute to one of the best loved journalists in Washington -- inviting all of you to join all of us in signing a special "Bill Gold" scroll written by "District Liner" I. Frank Goldenberg. Well-wishers may come to The Post lobby at 1150 15th St. N.W. and sign the scroll between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. today through Tuesday, June 30.