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How a Medford moment made its way to an Italian airport

We were recently at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy. While passing departure Concourse D, we passed a very interesting black-and-white photo mural. It was a picture of young women holding copies of a freshly printed Mail Tribune from the 1940s with a headline about Sicily expressing appreciation for the Allies. In the background you can see a "Medford Printing" sign. Do you know what this celebration was regarding, and why the mural is in the Rome airport?

— Pat and Paul, via email

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but obviously what it's doing in Italy went missing in this photograph's appraisal. Thankfully, that's where we here at Since You Asked headquarters are snapping to action.

We have our esteemed, not-retired-yet no-longer-here colleague Paul Fattig to thank for doing the legwork for us. He and individuals who were there came forward in two "Off the Beaten Path" columns written by Fattig, which ran Jan. 4 and March 8, 2009.  Two Lake Oswego travelers saw that very Oregon photograph in front of the Intineris book store at the Rome airport.

Thanks to Fattig's sleuthing, we can tell you the photograph was printed in the Aug. 1, 1943, edition of the Medford Mail Tribune. In the photo, you'll see our longtime editor and publisher Robert W. Ruhl looking dapper in a white suit, hat and bow tie, and nine paper carriers, Virgie Vanderpool, Doris Hannah, Pauline Hoffard, Evalyn Watkins, Corinne LaTourette, Jeanne Nelson, Joan Coleman, Betty Beer and Janet Horsley ready to deliver a July 23, 1943 edition with an above-the-fold headline "ALLIES CAPTURE HEART OF SICILY."

As for how the photo made it across the continent to a European airport, well, sometimes the truth is blander than fiction. The photo came from an Italian website that directs businesses to stock images, www.mymediastore.it. Sometime between the book store's opening and the 2009 columns, the photograph was removed from the website.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.