Sometimes it’s strange how one story can be reported so differently in two different papers. No, this isn’t about politics. It’s about some muffins, prize-winning muffins and the boys who baked them.
On Aug. 27, 1952, the Wilmington Crusader had a short piece at the bottom of the front page about some youngsters winning prizes at the Middlesex County 4-H Fair in Groton. Unless you were one of the kids listed, the article would itself have taken a blue ribbon for “boring.”
Why would anyone pay attention to such a story? The answer lies in the other story, which appeared on the front page of the Boston Globe, four days earlier: “Mother Breaks Arm and Leg, but Gets Prize Winners to Fair.”
“Three Wilmington boys won prizes in a muffin baking contest today, but it cost the mother of two of them a broken leg and a broken arm.”
Right there, you begin to smell a delicious story. But the story submitted to the Crusader left out the best ingredients.
“The boys, Melvin White Jr, 15; his brother Andrew, 10, and William Cossman, (sic) 13, are members of the Allboys Food Club,” the Globe wrote. “The mother, Mrs. Marjorie R. White, 38, is their leader.
“Mrs. White had confidence in her boys this morning as she watched them place their muffins in her auto for the trip to the second annual Middlesex County 4-H Fair at the old Groton Fair Grounds.”
4-H is a youth activities program geared toward rural children run by county extension services under state agricultural colleges.
The Globe article continues: “Making the trip with Mrs. White were Andrew and William; James Cossman (sic) 11, Rickey White, 6 and brothers Bruce, 5 and Craig, 2. Melvin White stayed behind.”
The families were neighbors on Woburn Street in Wilmington, near Lowell Street.
“As the auto neared the Groton line from Littleton on Route 119, it suddenly went out of control and crashed into a tree.
“The quest for honors seemed ended as Littleton Police Chief John Hannigan drove the saddened group to the hospital, where Craig was also held for treatments of face and head cuts and possible internal injuries. The other boys escaped with cuts and bruises.
“Despite her pain, Mrs. White was determined that her boys should have their chance. A friend of Mrs. White was paged at the fair grounds. The friend drove to the hospital, collected the boys and the muffins and delivered them in time for the judging.”
What prizes did the boys win? For this, we turn back to the Crusader story, a news release by someone in 4-H. Andrew White won third place for his muffins. William Cosman, fourth, and Melvin White, Jr., fifth.
Not a mention of the muffins, the accident or Mrs. White’s injuries.
The Crusader article ran with a small headline, “Win first prize at Groton fair.”
Three Wilmington girls have won first prizes at the Middlesex County 4-H Fair, held in Groton on Aug. 22 and 23.
The Misses Jean Bousefield, Brenda Corcoran and Georgette Crispo were all awarded first prizes, which consisted of a cash award for their work. Miss Bousefield had made a crocheted doll. Miss Corcoran made a knitted hat and Miss Crispo a set of mittens.
Other prizes were awarded, as well. Joyce Corum won second prize for a painted tray, while in the third prize division were Rose Marie Enos, Georgette Crispo, Joyce Corum, Patricia Walsh and Andrew White. Fourth prizes were won by Brenda Corcoran and William Cosman, while fifth prizes were won by Jean Bousefield and Melvin White.
Rose Marie Enos won honorable mention, and a blue ribbon for a hooked rug.
67 years later, Jim Cosman writes: I got the Blue Ribbon; Andrew a 3rd; Billy a 4th, and I don’t remember Melvin being there. The group, he said, called themselves the Dough Boys.￼