It is never too late to right a wrong.
This is a good lesson for everyone and, in particular, for the newspapers.
On page 2A of the Sunday edition is the correction of an error – so minor it was not even noticed at the time – in an article published 75 years ago, a few months after the end of World War II.
In a page 7 article of the October 10, 1945 edition of the Daily Home News – a precursor to the Home News Tribune – two names were inadvertently exchanged in a paragraph regarding an event at Lord Stirling School in New Brunswick .
It was a time when newspapers printed every bit of community news; like current Facebook posts, nothing was too trivial to ignore.
In the issue where the front page headlines were about the World Series between the Tigers and the Cubs and “Tokyo Reds Ask Outer of Emperor,” there was room for a paragraph on a school program: “The together under the direction of Mme. John Enk played. Sandra Merolle, Judith Adler took part… “
It was wrong.
It should have been Sandra Adler and Judith Merolle, who were best friends then.
This confusion went unnoticed for three quarters of a century. Fortunately, Sandra, 85, did not dwell on the mistake.
“I found it so funny,” she said. “I’m not upset at all. I didn’t know about it. Judy and I were best friends when we were in high school. We did high school together. Very good friends. Fifth grade with Judy. I am. surprised, especially since Judy Merolle’s mother never noticed – she was very active in the PTA. “
Sandra’s first cousin Stanley Ferman, now 86, was also in the school orchestra and at this performance. The two remembered playing together in ensembles. She played the violin and loved it. He played the clarinet and hated it.
It was her son, Len, who alerted the Home News Tribune to the error. He sent an email on June 21 citing “a bit unusual request”.
Lover of history and newspaper archives, Len, an assistant professor of management at the University of North Florida, has an account with names.com, a digital newspaper archive.
“I really enjoy reading newspaper archives,” said Len, who grew up in eastern Brunswick. “Just for fun I started this thing where for special events or birthdays I was historically looking up when were they in the newspaper. Then I do a presentation for them.”
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He created one for his cousin Sandra’s birthday. For Father’s Day, he made his father the focal point. Stanley Ferman is mentioned in the article of October 10, 1945 just after the confusion between “Sandra Merolle” and “Judith Adler”.
“I was just looking for his name (Stanley Ferman),” Len said. “The funny thing is, I noticed this incorrect ‘Judith Adler’. I remember thinking ‘Oh, that’s a little strange – I’ve never heard of a Judith Adler’. We have Adlers in our family and while Adler is not an uncommon name any central Jersey Adler we probably would have known. of Sandra and Judith were mixed up. “
Len decided to ask for the correction simply because it should be corrected – even after nearly eighty years.
“The correction is that you confused the last names of Sandra and Judith,” Len wrote. “It should have read ‘Sandra Adler, Judith Merolle.’ We would be very grateful if you could print a correction to the story and let us know so that we can get a copy of the document that notes the correction. “
During the Zoom family call on Father’s Day, Sandra noticed the mistake.
“I said, ‘Hey, they gave my name to Judy and gave me the name of Judy!’” She said.
Everyone was surprised that the error went unnoticed at the time. Their family and neighbors were avid readers of the newspaper, Stanley said. And her mother, Estelle Ferman, was also mentioned in the article as “Reports have been submitted by Mrs. Jules Ferman, budget; … ”
“Everyone has read it,” Stanley said.
At the time, Stanley and Sandra, whose mother and father were siblings respectively, lived in the same duplex at 69 Welton Street in New Brunswick. Stanley lived downstairs and Sandra lived upstairs. She settled in Florida and Stanley stayed in central Jersey, moving from New Brunswick to North Brunswick to East Brunswick and finally to Monroe when he “got older”.
“I remember practicing my violin and hearing Stanley practicing the clarinet,” said Sandra. “He was good. I thought he was great.”
“I hated the clarinet,” Stanley said with a laugh. “I didn’t like playing music. The teacher, the conductor, was my next door neighbor. And my mother forced me.”
While Sandra and Judith weren’t so close over the years – one lived in Florida and the other in California – they would hear “bits” of each other’s lives at class reunions. Judith Merolle Vedro died in 2008.
Sandra said she can’t wait to see her name in the newspaper again.
“I am delighted,” she said. “I’m happy to be alive today to see it. Thank you (the newspaper) for taking the time to talk about this. It’s amazing.”
Cheryl Makin is an award-winning reporting and education reporter for MyCentralJersey.com, which is part of the USA Today Network. Contact: Cmakin@gannettnj.com or @CherylMakin.