Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Four Tops and 11/11/11

I had meant to make this a Veterans Day post - for a very good reason. During my research for Veterans Day information a year ago, I found out that Montana led the nation in Selective Service draftees for military service during The Great War. An error in census data accounted for a disproportionate number of young men being drafted from Montana. For those who don't know, The Great War was the First World War, or WWI.

Montana is rural state with a population density of wildlife per square mile that exceeds the number of human inhabitants. I don't know what it is now, but you can bet than even back in 1917, the critters outnumbered us.
Because this piece of paper listed TOPS as the top line item, I got to thinking about who these tops would have been purchased for - probably as Christmas presents, since this is indeed THE holiday order (at least from Zernitz) for C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana. If a young boy born in Virginia City in the early 1890's would have received a top, could he have gone on to serve in WWI? Perhaps. I haven't gotten skilled enough at searching the military records available through the Montana Historical Society, but I will - sooner or later.

I'd also like to point out that Teresa N. Fischer, whose work I truly admire, was kind enough to supply me with the most excellent photographs of three antique tops that she holds in her collection of old toys. Although the red one at the top is the only example in the color of the ones she has, the lighting was such that I could use whatever color I wanted to use for my tops. So, thank you, Teresa.

I also want to say a little something about the title - The Four Tops were at the heart of what came to be called the Motown Sound. I listened to them - on Armed Forces Radio while parked in the jungle of South Vietnam. I'm still here to talk about it, too. So Veterans Day is to honor all those who are veterans of our military, all branches. I greet all Marine Veterans that I meet with this: Semper Fi. For those who know, the greeting means everything. For those who don't, it is short for ALWAYS Faithful.

I will not be able to post on Veterans Day this coming Friday, so I'm posting today. God Bless. 


  1. Wow, an array of great information around tops! Happy Holiday!

  2. As of 2010 there were 6 people to every square mile in Montana. I saw it on a documentary.

  3. I have some of those old tops you wound a string around and threw down on the floor to make it go around. Somewhere.

  4. Again...another great post. Always love your work..and your stories!!!