Thursday, February 5, 2015

From the readers: Talking letters, capitol buildings and more

It's time, once again, to turn the blog over to you for a "From the Readers" post. Thanks, as always, for your emails and comments. They are greatly appreciated.

Phonic Talking Letters from 1941: This post from June 2012 continues to spur a lot of interest. I have received a couple of new requests from people who would like to purchase the set that I featured on Papergreat. Alas, I sold them a couple of years ago to one of the first people who queried about them. It turns out they're pretty difficult to find, and people still want to use them for educational purposes. One suggestion I've made to people is to check regularly on, which is an interesting marketplace of crafts, homemade goods and vintage items, including ephemera. I've seen some Talking Letters posted on there, although more often as individual cards and less often as full sets. Good luck, if you're seeking them.

Anyway, here's an edited email I received from one woman who was hoping to buy the Talking Letters:
"I taught school for quite a few years in the ’68 to ’93 range. I really enjoyed it and had a perfect set of the Phonic Letters — still in the original box. I could shoot myself for giving them away! My two youngest grandchildren are now 5 & 8. Their mother is Japanese and bless her heart, is absolutely no help in teaching them phonics, rules or anything like that. She tries but still has trouble sometime understanding English herself.

"The 5-year-old little boy ... is the one having all the phonics and reading problems and I am trying to help. The second day of school I picked him up. I asked him how he liked school. He said that he didn't like it at all — they did not teach him to read! I explained that it might take a while. The third day of school, I picked him up again. Again I asked, 'How was school today,' his response was I still don’t like it, I still can’t read!!! We are now trying to work on that!!!"

"How Spider Cooked His Children, And Found Them Bitter": Posting on Facebook, Sharon writes: "Great! I read Anansi Boys a week or two ago which was my first introduction to Spider stories."

Coupons from the E.H. Koester Bakery Co.: Janice Koestler asks, "Could Koester fresh bread be related to Koestler's Bakery in Vicksburg, Mississippi?"

My answer is that I don't know, but I wonder if any readers out there have any insight on a possible connection. Contact us in the Comments section.

Great links: Prokudin-Gorskii's color photographs of Russia: An anonymous commenter writes: "It just goes to show how people leave a legacy behind with their work and travels when they dedicate themselves to doing their best. I would never have guessed that those images were over a century old. The quality of the pictures of Russia makes them look quite modern."

(Note: I recently had a followup post with additional Prokudin-Gorskii favorites.)

"A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband": Anonymous writes: "Blimey, that 'Teenage party' recipe sounds like a cholesterol nightmare!"

Props for use of the word "blimey" in your comment!

Randomly pulled postcard: Connecticut's State Capitol: Jim Fahringer writes:
"While I have only ever seen the Pennsylvania State Capitol building and perhaps the Maryland State Capitol building as a little boy, state capitol buildings are beautiful monuments to man's creative and artistic talents and superb craftsmanship. The stately buildings are indeed awesome and will never ever be able to be built again because there is no way we could afford it at today's prices for those materials — gold leaf, precious marble, beautiful paintings, stained glass, frescoes, glass chandeliers, etc. In addition many of the pieces of artwork and statuary and furniture could never be found. As I understand it most state capitol buildings cannot be insured because they are irreplaceable. What is really sad is that a very low percentage of our population have ever visited their state capitol building. I took fourth-grade classes to the state capitol in Harrisburg for 40 years and each time I go I see and experience something new and more beautiful than before. If you have never visited our Pennsylvania State Capitol building, you owe it to yourself to go and experience this monument of superb beauty which has been called the 'Most Beautiful State Capitol Building in the Nation.' The public tours are free."
Thank you for your comments, Jim! I believe I'm the only member of my family who hasn't toured the capitol building in Harrisburg, and this makes me want to put it on this year's travel list (along with Markleton, of course).

Mexichrome postcard: Grotesque (or chimera) atop Notre Dame: My wife writes: "If you sold a wallet-sized reference card of the bottom image, I'd buy it. You never know when you'll need to identify one of those suckers in the wild."

Maybe I've stumbled upon the idea that will make me rich!

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