Saturday, December 15, 2012

From the readers: York Opera House, a cemetery, Elton John and more

Every time I do one of these roundups of reader comments, I think of those wonderful old David Letterman reader-letter segments.

Maybe I'll do this feature in high-definition video format one of these days, reading your comments into the camera while beads of perspiration form on my forehead. That would be a blast, eh?

Until then, here you go...

1962 pocket calendar tucked away inside a book published in 1893: Justin Mann of Justin's Brew Review writes: "Your 'tucked away inside' posts are among my favorite. I like to imagine who the reader was and why s/he used that particular item for a bookmark. Perhaps in this case, the reader wanted to keep track of how long it took to finish the book. Or maybe — and more likely — it was the nearest small, flat item on-hand when a bookmark was needed. Also, it always amazes me how some old pieces of paper can be so well-preserved. I like how you put things in perspective for your readers: '...(and two world wars) later...'. Thank you for this post, Chris, and keep up the (paper)great work!"

Awww, shucks. I'm blushing. Also, your check is in the mail, Justin. Thanks.

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1897 York Opera House program, Part 1: Wendyvee of Wendyvee's writes: "Blake Stough's new post, including a postcard of the Opera House, brought me to this entry. I think this was posted before I started stalking your site. I'm a nut with The Inflation Calculator. ... I'm forever using it when looking at old ads or watching programs that mention prices. Thank goodness I watch Mad Men on my computer; I'm forever flipping back and forth to adjust for inflation."

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Perhaps the most ridiculous book cover produced in the late 1970s: This terrifying illustration spurred a number of responses:
  • "I VOTE YES!" — Wendyvee
  • "Wow, that IS a lousy cover, Chris! Haha! Yes, use Creepy Guy as your avatar." — Jayne B. Lyons
  • "At first glance at the face I thought it was a woman!" — Anonymous
  • "Looks like Elvis in the Twilight Zone!" — Leslie Ann
  • "He needs more bling. Where's the gold chain?" — Anonymous
  • "So goodbye yellow brick road
    Where the dogs of society howl
    You can't plant me in your penthouse
    I'm going back to my...weedwhacker..." — J. McMahan

Well played, McMahan!

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Stock photo of pilgrims and a dead turkey from a 1940 magazine: Mom writes: "If that turkey was shot by that blunderbuss I don't think it would be in that good a shape. And after it's cooked, look out for those little lead balls hidden in the breast meat. There's your lead issue again."

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Phonic Talking Letters from 1941: Kim Strain writes: "1972-73 I was taught how to read with phonics.I remember my mother talking about it with my father and other mothers because at the time the school systems were going to quit using phonics and move to another technique. They were all discussing what a great program they believed it was and how they would be creating a nation of complete dunces if they quit using it. Hmmmm."

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1910 advertisement for West Laurel Hill Cemetery (Wanamaker Diary): Mom writes: "West Laurel Hill Cemetery has many more 'famous' people interred in its grounds. The Wanamakers are there, as are the Strawbridges, Dave Garroway, late of The Today Show, and the Dorrances (Campbell's Soup). On another note, when Laurel Hill first opened, several Civil War generals and heroes were moved from other cemeteries and reinterred there to promote visitation and burial plot sales. It was a place where people took the trolley on weekends to get out of the city and to to walk and picnic."

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Holiday gift ideas off the beaten path: PostMuse of the Postcrossing blog writes: "Anima Designs is similar to Manto Fev and quite wonderful, too. I used to spend a lot of time shopping for ephemera, but these days I'm trying to spend less time shopping and more time writing. And the Forgotten Bookmarks book is on my Giftmas list for a couple friends. I love the blog."

Thanks for passing along the Anima Designs suggestion!

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Gratuitous photo of a dog pushing a cat and baby doll in a cart: Wendyvee writes: "There was an old photobook at my grandmother's house that featured real photos like this (but with puppies). It makes me wonder if it was the same author or if it was just a trend at some point. I wish that I had it because it was adorable."

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Saturday's postcard: Aerial view of Wrangell, Alaska: Anonymous writes: "In 1979 my husband and I spent the summer in Wrangell, working at Harbor Seafoods. I sent my parents the postcard in your blog. Wow, thanks for the memories!"

Thanks for all the comments! Around New Year's Day, I'll round up all of the Christmas-ephemera-related feedback that's been sent to Papergreat this month.

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