Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reader comments: Porcine poetry, Pennsylvania and US invasions

Let's dive right into another fascinating and fabulous collection of reader comments...

"Piggy Pork: His Odyssey" by Thomas Yost Cooper:
Back in January, I linked to this 2011 post on a Facebook page about Hanover, Pennsylvania, history, and I recently received a couple of great responses. These two women remember Thomas Yost Cooper (1884-1967), the one-time city editor of The Evening Sun and sometimes poet.

Patricia Anderson Sullivan writes: "Mr. Cooper lived in a stone house right beside mine on Meade Avenue. My sister, Nancy, and I liked to 'visit' some of the older neighbors and he always welcomed us. He even let us roller skate on his driveway. I think he wrote more than one Piggy Pork book. They were sold at Croft's corner store on Hanover Street. I bought at least one of his books. I will always remember him."

Nancy Anderson Johnson writes: "He meticulously cultivated a variety of fruit trees and raspberries in his yard. He kept a white paper bag in his pocket with big gumdrops ... [that] he would share. I remember an kindly elderly gentleman; always seemed to be dressed in a suit."

Great details! Now I almost feel like I can picture Mr. Cooper. And all of this can help keep his memory alive, too.

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Rupert Croft-Cooke observes Ruth Manning-Sanders with the circus: Wendyvee of Wendyvee's writes: "'I passed the Count with the monkey cart and his little cavalcade of ponies' ... is the best thing I can imagine writing."

I'll second that. Indeed, Croft-Cooke and Manning-Sanders had some incredible times, traveling with circus caravans in the first half of the 20th century.

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1916 postcard from Norristown's State Hospital for Insane: There were numerous comments about this postcard in the last roundup of reader comments. To those, Stan Huskey, editor of The Times Herald, adds: "Only a few buildings at Norristown State Hospital are still in use. At this point there are probably about 200 patients left, mostly in buildings 50 and 51, where criminals suspected of having some type of psychological disorder are taken. The hospital was designed by the famous Wilson Brothers and Company, who designed such prestigious buildings as the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington D.C., where President Garfield was assassinated, as well as the main building for Drexel University."

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Some ephemera within the Chemical Heritage Foundation museum: My wife, whose blogs include Our School at Home, writes: "I just have to second Chris's comments about how awesome this place was. I would recommend it as highly if not higher than anywhere we've gone to date in Pennsylvania (and I'm rather fond of my PA field trips!)"

And there are still so many places to explore! One of the first-time Pennsylvania field trips we are hoping to make this summer is to visit Cherry Springs State Park, one of the top dark-sky preserves in the United States.

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EndoPest and EndoWeed make gardening MORE FUN! Anonymous writes: "Hey! My Grandma used that stuff to get the Japanese beetles off of her roses! (It didn't work.)"

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Zita Spangler: From St. John's Reformed to Rolling Green Park: Of this 2011 post, Richard Snyder writes: "In 1945 through 1955 my family lived two blocks away from the main entrance to Rolling Green Park. Every summer my sister and I had season tickets to the swimming pool, and we walked there from our home, in bare feet on the hot dusty dirt roads. ... Every Fourth of July we watched the Park fireworks from a field beside our house. In the winter we walked on the frozen pond. ... Every day during school season we walked thru the lower end of the park on our way to the school. I was little and never got to ride the big roller coaster. Surprisingly enough our name is Snyder, and here we lived in Snyder County."

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Why you never write the name of the person you love in your textbook: Anonymous writes: "Since books were expensive, in many schools children shared desks and books. I am imagining the two girls writing notes to each other in the book since they probably would get in trouble for talking while they were supposed to be reading."

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World War I propaganda fiction: "At the Defense of Pittsburgh": Bart Ingraldi, who authors the ephemera blog, adds this historical context: "This series of books may be more historically accurate than one would think. They have a strong similarity to Kaiser Wilhelm's Operational Plan 3, drawn up in 1903. It was the planned invasion of New York and Boston by the Imperial German Navy. The plan was shelved in 1906 when the Germany realized it didn't have the resources to succeed."

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