Amarillo is no secret to the weird, the weird and the wonderful. Our features, arguably the most famous, are a massive steak and half-buried cars covered in generations of graffiti. I don’t think anything compares, however, to a national holiday that started in Yellow City; Mother-in-law’s day.
Be careful what you say about your mother-in-law
Mother-in-law’s party started because someone’s mother-in-law got offended, if you can believe it. It ended up involving the First Lady of the United States, massive parades, and national attention; but it all started with a mother-in-law who got a little upset about something someone said.
It’s hard to believe, I know, but these are the facts as they were presented to me.
A media man who offended his stepmom
According to several articles and memorabilia on the lesser-known Inspirational Mother’s Day, things started in 1934. It was then that the editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, Gene Howe, published something that angered his mother-in-law.
His mother-in-law and mothers-in-law across town, raised enough hell for Gene to apologize.
Hard to believe a bunch of stepmoms blowing something disproportionately, I know, but that’s supposed to be how it turned out.
The excuses were the ones none of us will ever live up to
This is where I have a problem with Mr. Howe. While I’m not sure exactly what he posted and how bad it was, nothing excuses this level of “raising the bar” for future generations of sons-in-law.
Howe hosted a citywide event that eventually became a public holiday, known as the Mother-in-Law’s Day. Didn’t he think how hard it would be for the rest of us to live up to such a grand spectacle? Was there no “bro-code” in 1934?
In real Amarillo fashion, things got weirdly and crazily out of control
According to legend, Will Rogers mentioned it on his national radio show. Film crews showed up to record the strange event. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly even sent her greetings.
The hotels were filling up. Soon the city was a bustling center of mothers-in-law. Hope they were all as kind and cordial as yours and mine.
Mother-in-law’s Day keeps growing, growing and growing
… so much so that the governors have declared it a public holiday on several occasions. On the fifth anniversary of begging’s biggest exaggerated apologies, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself took part in the parade.
Supposedly there was much more 125,000 people present.
The parade route lasted 10 miles. There was even a giant tank carrying a small militia of mothers-in-law. It was a 165-foot-long battleship carrying around 500 mothers-in-law, who I’m sure all had great things to say about everyone’s choice of dress.
Mother-in-law as we know it today
Finally, there would be a Mother-in-Laws Committee that would choose the winners. In the 1970s, the American Society of Florists got involved. They were the ones who decided that Mother-in-Law’s Day would be celebrated on the fourth Sunday in October each year.
This year, Mother-in-law’s Day is officially celebrated on October 24.
Thank you to all the mothers-in-law
Of course, being a mother-in-law is difficult. Mothers-in-law have long been the counterpart of many jokes. I am honestly fortunate to have a wonderful mother-in-law.
Seriously, she’s awesome.
This Sunday, be sure to wish your Mother-in-Law a Happy Mother’s Day, or you may never hear the end.
Downtown Amarillo over the years
Downtown Amarillo has undergone an incredible metamorphosis. Take a look at the photos below to see just How? ‘Or’ What that has changed a lot – you won’t believe the difference.
Untouched by Time: Historic Polk Street Homes Then and Now
You know you’ve entered the historic Amarillo district once you’ve taken the red brick roads downtown. A unique reflection of the past and the present, the historic homes of Amarillo seem to sit perfectly against the sidewalk.
These carefully designed grand historic houses are some of Amarillo’s finest neighborhoods. But most residents will agree that nothing beats the stunning regal beauty of the grand mansions of Polk Street. Built by the founding fathers of Amarillo, the impending estates of South Polk are a sight to behold.
Check out these awesome comparison photos that show how these magnificent structures have remained almost untouched through time.
LOOK: This “Amarillo Pictorial” is an amazing collection of historical photos!
Wow. Just wow.
Robbi McDaniel Rivers unearthed this amazing magazine published in 1931. You will find the many Amarillo buildings and monuments that you know and love – they are all new in these photos!