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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 8, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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March 8, 2013
 

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From page 1 delving deeper and deeper into the past as the mystery thickens. As of last week, we had confirmed usage of the phrase as early as the 1940s. But from San Diego comes an email from reader Dan Austin (who apparently suffers from the same malady known as "trivia- mania" as do I) who found an article in the April 8, 1925 issue of the Catalina Islander referencing the two-word phrase "over town." Our own Chuck Liddell, author of the weekly Time Capsule column in the Catalina Islander, went into action and not only found said article, but discovered that the Ill article was actually Jim Watson referencing an even Columnist earlier article from the April 7, 1914 issue! (It appeared in a column entitled "Little While Back," meaning that--ironical- ly-it was an old-time version of Chuck's own Time Capsule). I won't bother you with the whole passage, but the money quote where the phrase appears involves a gentleman named Peter Lubetich and his dealings with the Knights of Columbus during a trip to the mainland. The final sentence in the passage reads, "Pete also vigorously denies tak- ing out a marriage license while over town." There you have it. While it is spelled as two words, it nonethe- less is clearly our earliest refer- ence so far to this colloquialism. Next, you need to know that the Catalina Islander newspaper in those days was owned and nearly exclusively operated by Judge Ernest J. Windle, who-- next to William Wrigley, Jr.--was about as iconic a town patriarch as Avalon has ever had. Judge Windle was a profoundly educated, deep thinking man and when he wasn't hearing what few legal cases were brought before him in old Avalon, he was work- ing his newspaper business and writing news articles, features and assorted thought pieces. Everything that went through the paper in those days was either written by him or personally approved by him, so I would ven- ture to say the term very well may have been first used by him. But where did Judge Windle come up with the term? Did he coin the term or was there histori- cal precedent in his life that influenced his choice of words? This is where it gets really interesting. If you'll recall in the first column on this subject, there was an accompa- nying photograph of the tiny English town of Overtown above my caption that facetious- ly asked "Did Catalina Islanders get the term 'overtown' from the settlement of the same name in England's county of Lancashire?" At the time, I never dreamed that the two could possibly be related. Little did I know how close I may have been to the truth. You see, only last Saturday I was speaking with the judge's grand-daughter, Sue Bray, when I learned that Judge Windle was not only born and raised in England, but he was born and raised ONLY TWO MILES AWAY from that very same village of Overtown, Lancashire. What are the odds that the man who almost certainly first used the term "overtown" on Catalina Island grew up just down the road from the only other town in the world named Overtown? .... March 8 through March 14 Shows Nightly at 7.:30 Matinee- Saturday & Thursday at 4:30pm Again, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, the word 'overtown' is the local Islanders' word for "the mainland,' and can be heard around Avalon just about any day of the week or hour of day. You've got it, my dear Watson! Or do I? As it turns out, Overtown, Lancashire, is appar- ently not the only Overtown after all. In fact, I found two other settlements in the UK named Overtown, one as far south as Swindon and the other far to the north in Lanarkshire (not Lancashire), Scotland. I also don't quite get the con- nection of why Judge Windle would reference Los Angeles, California, with the tiniest of burgs near his hometown. Perhaps the term "overtown" is some archaic British geographical term that was given to small settlements that overlooked wide lowlands or something to that effect--some- thing that could sorta-kinda apply to Los Angeles. (Low and behold, a quick trip on Google Earth shows that all three Overtowns in the UK are indeed located on small rises overlooking the sur- rounding landscape ). This reference on Judge Windle's part could, of course, be a facetious one--an inside joke that be shared with his sister Sarah, with whom he had made the trip to California. For exam- ple, nicknaming the metropolis of Los Angeles with the same name as the tiny hamlet of Overtown, England, might be akin to some- one from Avalon jokingly referring Meet Willy. Willy is a 2-year-old half Pomeranian and half Chihuahua pup. "Really, he thinks he's a Labrador," said Linda Rhoutsong, who owns Willy with her husband Mike. "He loves to swim and will follow me across the pool." Linda said Willy is her baby and goes all over Avalon with her. She says he is popular with everyone he meets, and espe- cially the ladies who all love Willy when they meet him. Do you have a pet you would like featured in the Islander's Pet of the Week feature? Send information and photo by e-mail to editor@thecatali- naislander.com to Los Angeles as Two Harbors because of the "two harbors" of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Of course, it could be that I'm just way over-thinking this whole Ilavid Montano Wendy Hernandez Colby Cushing Jethm Flynn LOreen Saldana Rctul C ares Nora Reyes thing: We'll see what (if anything) comes up over the next week. Jim Watson is the author of "Mysterious Island: Catalina," available on Amazon, Kindle and in stores all over Avalon. i|' Are you a writer, or would like to be one for the Catalina Islander?. New reporters and guest columnists are welcome. For more information, send email to editor@thecatalinais- lander.corn or call (310) 5tO-05OO. 81 ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... FrJday~ March 8, 2013 ................ THE CAIFALiNA is~DER ---4--