Saturday, July 2, 2016

You never know what you'll find in the fine print (especially in the 70s)

The August 1977 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction contains — in addition to a novella by Greg Benford, a science column by Isaac Asimov, a cartoon by Gahan Wilson, and a full-page advertisement for Dungeons & Dragons — a little classified advertisement section at the back of the book.

Titled "Marketplace," it contains the usual advertisements for people looking to buy and sell out-of-print books.

But some of the other items are strange, obscure or creepy. Here's a rundown:

  • "STARTRIPPING" Epic SFantasy novel in comics form. Thick, high quality stock, color cover and dust jacket! 1.50, make checks payable to David Reulet. Send to Dave Reulet and Dragon Grafix, RD #6, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 12066. [Me: Does anyone have this book??]
  • HOROSCOPE: Send birth date/place/Time - $10.00: Keddy, Box 203, Oquossoc, Maine, 04964 [Me: $10 in 1977 is the equivalent of $40 today. Yikes!]
  • DATES GALORE! Meet singles - anywhere. Call DATELINE, toll-free (800) 451-3245
  • MAD SCIENTIST and lovely assistant seek fascinating new acquaintances. So. Cal. P.O. 367, Sunset Beach, CA 90742. [Me: Um.]
  • BEAUTIFUL MEXICAN GIRLS needing American boy-friends. Details, Photos "Free." World, Box 3876-Fan, San Diego, CA 92103
  • ESP LABORATORY. This new research service group can help you. For FREE information write: AL G. Manning, ESP Laboratory, 7559 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90046
  • AMAZING TIBETAN EYE CHART. Helps eliminate glasses. $2.00. Donley, Box 988D Port Hueneme, California.
  • Join organization for world freedom. Terry, 3482 Marques Court, 94546

It would be interesting to check in with some of these folks, nearly 40 years later. I'm especially interested in how Terry's efforts are going.

Other classified posts

Friday, July 1, 2016

Five random old postcards
(Besh tasodifiy eski otkritkalar)

(Besh tasodifiy eski otkritkalar is "five random old postcards" in Uzbek, as a courtesy to the 27 million folks on Earth who speak that language. Also, "Paper-great" in Uzbek would be something along the lines of Qog'oz-ajoyib, which is actually awesome.)

Up first is this mid-century linen postcard showing the "Grand View Peak" near Port Jervis, New York. Other postcards of the era refer to this as Grandview Peak (one word). The additional text on the back of the postcard states: "1800 feet above sea level; 6 counties; Shawangunk Mountains; 200 miles of scenery."

The Shawangunk Mountains are also known as The Gunks, not to be confused with The Gonk.

I don't know if this building still exists or what highway it is/was on, so any help in that regard would be appreciated. I do know that I'm generally opposed to entering cliffside dwellings that are held up by stilts.

The only handwriting on the back of this Genuine Curteich-Chicago/Imperial Press postcard is "March 30, 1953."

This unused Dexter Press postcard features what was then known as the National Wax Museum of Lancaster County Heritage. The waxy scene on display is William Penn receiving his land grant for what would become Pennsylvania from King Charles II in 1681.

The museum opened in 1969 and was the brainchild of Dutch Wonderland founder and potato farmer Earl Clark. The museum scenes depicted many famous elements of Lancaster County history, including the Ephrata Cloister, Thaddeus Stevens, the Christiana Resistance and James Buchanan at Wheatland.

The museum was eventually renamed the Discover Lancaster County History Museum. It was closed for good on December 30, 2006. Its wax figures and other fixtures were auctioned off in 2007. According to a story on, Davy Crockett sold for $925 and the full scene of Ben Franklin visiting Lancaster in 1755 sold for $4,100.

This cute illustration of a cat eyeing two chicks is the oldest postcard in today's batch. The postmark is difficult to make out, but I believe it's August 1910. The card was mailed with a one-cent stamp to a man named Carl in tiny Millhousen, Indiana.

The cursive message on the back of the card is difficult to read and perhaps not entirely in correct English. It's something about who does and doesn't like chickens. And it ends with "I bet not."

If I ever have another blog, it's going to be called "Oh! You Chicken!"

This Dexter Press postcard shows some period cars parked in front of United Witch Hazel Distillers in Trumbull, Connecticut. Going by the trees, it's either late fall or early spring.

Here's a little bit about witch hazel and the fate of this factory from Trumbull, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2004:
"Witch hazel, an alcohol-based lotion used to treat bruises, sprains and minor skin problems, was produced in Trumbull for over half a century. Located on the site of the former Tousey Shirt Factory on Broadway in Upper Long Hill, the witch hazel operation began in 1923 when the Stepney Witch Hazel Company, owned by Chester G. Emack, purchased the property. They Hoyt Brothers, Inc. continued to operate at the site from 1935 until 1951, when Humphreys Pharmaceutical Company of Rutherford, New Jersey, took over. ... Operating from November to May, the company manufactured 1,000 gallons of witch hazel per day and as many as 185,000 gallons per season. ... Disaster struck the United Witch Hazel Distillers on November 1, 1974. A spark from a defective switch to an electrical pump connecting two alcohol tanks caused a flash fire. The first, which broke out three days into the processing season, resulted in a total estimated loss of $325,000. ... The factory was demolished and was never rebuilt."
I wonder if witch hazel was used in the production of Witch Cream.

This card was postmarked in 1973 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and mailed to Mr. and Mrs. Aldo Del Bene of Yonkers, New York. The short note states: "Hi Bev & Aldo. Having a fine time. Thanks for taking care of things. Best wishes. Love, Mom."

Last up: This unused postcard shows some people who are braver than I standing atop the "Frankenstein Trestle," across the Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

First reaction: "Nope, nope, nope, nope."

According to the Wikipedia page for Hart's Location, New Hampshire: "In 1875, the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad completed its line up through Crawford Notch. Passengers thrilled to traverse the Frankenstein Trestle, 520 feet (158 meters) long and 85 feet (26 meters) above the ravine floor, and then the Willey Brook Bridge, 400 feet (122 meters) long and 94 feet (29 meters) high."

The line was abandoned in 1983, but parts of it are still used for the Conway Scenic Railroad. One of its excursions goes across the Frankenstein Trestle.

Here are some 2012 views of the trestle from photographer and blogger Erin Paul Donovan.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Family photo: 5 guys at Laurel High

Here's another cardboard-mounted photo from the family archives. This one is labeled "Laurel High School 1909?" and it features my great-grandfather, Howard Horsey Adams. (That would be Laurel, Delaware.) Howard was about 17 years old at the time, and this is about five years before he was introduced to my great-grandmother.

Here's a closer look at the photograph...

And let's zoom in further on the five young men...

My great-grandfather is in the front row, on the right. Here's the (almost) full rundown, per the notes on the back of the photo:

Front row, from left: Unknown and Howard Adams

Middle row: Clifford Studley

Back row, from left: Elijah Hastings and Carleton Hearn

So, if any of you are related to Clifford, Elijah or Clareton, then this is confirmation than our ancestors used to hang out!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nice discoveries: Mina's Ghost and Maxim Peter Griffin

I purchased the eponymous CD "Mina's Ghost" partially because I liked the folk-pop sound of the London-based band and partially because I really dug the cover art by Maxim Peter Griffin.

Mina's Ghost is a nice little discovery. If you like trying new music, you can check them out on SoundCloud. ("Bad Decisions" is a good place to start, but start anywhere.) You can discover more about Mina's Ghost here and on Facebook.

Maxim Peter Griffin has been mentioned on Papergreat before, in "Questions, answers & mysteries with Hookland's David Southwell (Part 2)." It was through Southwell that I discovered MPG. His "job description" on his Twitter account is "Illustrations, Field Notes, Cartography & Psychedelic Geology." If you go to his artwork-filled website, you'll find a weirder, more whimsical biography:
"Maxim Peter Griffin is dark green and of tweed. Eater of the sausage bun, fleeter through the market place, lamenter of Stan, he is tea van happy.

"He walks, at least a whole day of each season, here-to-theres in between and the wish to walk more. On walking he photographs; the pictures follow. He prefers to picture the places he has been.

"He has been to Horseshoe Point, to Biscathorpe, through old tracks and salt flats and Fine Art in Bath. He has admired pylons' lines, motorways, barrows and deserted villages across the road.

"He has been to more cemetaries and made more headstones than he ever intended, although was able to invoke a few vikings in stone and onto their Way.

"Driven on by German electronica and ambient shouting, hounded into the late night by drinking of too much tea, he now makes pictures from the middle of Lincolnshire, dipping their edges in other places.

"There is talk of tumuli."

He's somewhat spread out, in bits and pieces and dribs and drabs, all across the Internet, but here's a guide to some of the places to find Maxim Peter Griffin in the wild:

Summer fun: Roller-skating, swimming and more at Playland

This will bring back memories for certain generations that grew up in York County. It's an unused black-and-white postcard showcasing Playland, a sprawling recreation facility that was located on Lincoln Highway just east of York. Playland offered roller skating, swimming, miniature golf and more. It started as Playland, but changed owners and names several times during its existence, which was from 1941 until 1985, when a fire tore through the facilities.

When I came across this postcard, it was also accompanied by this label. Not sure what its purpose was. It might have been pasted to the front of a brochure box. The small graphics are pretty nifty, though the portrayal of miniature golf leaves a bit to be desired.

Given its years of operation, much has been written about Playland and many memories have been shared online. It was the scene of countless happy childhood memories. (And you can feel free to share your own in the Comments!) Here are some places to read more about it:

I wasn't much of a roller-skater growing up. In the first half of the 1980s, I did have a pair of those adjustable metal contraptions that you attached to your sneakers. I would cruise around the sidewalks a bit on those, watching for bumps and cracks. In Montoursville, we had a roller rink — I think it was called Great Skate — where I attended a few parties and skated around on their oval. I also remember taking breaks from the skating to play arcade games such as Frogger and Defender. I'm not sure how long Great Skate lasted in Montoursville, but I don't think it had the longevity or the depth of memories associated with Playland.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This week's summer reading

Near Hanover Junction Railroad Station, York County, Pa. (June 2016). Instagram photo by me.

OK, kids (and kids at heart), summer vacation isn't just about sleeping in, playing Atari and riding your bikes down to Pop's Corner Store to buy bubble gum and baseball cards. You also need to keep nourishing your mind. So here are a dandy dozen articles of note about national and world events, with some history, sociology and pop culture mixed in.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Breaker boys: Postcard of child labor in Scranton, circa 1910

This damaged postcard, from around 1910, shows the Marvine Breaker (the tall building in the backgorund) and the Breaker Boys — child workers. The location is Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The postcard was made in Germany and published by C.S. Woolworth, also of Scranton. It was never written on or used.

Breaker boys' tough and dirty job was to separate the impurities from the coal by hand, and without gloves. Most breaker boys were children, and this form of child labor, which began in the 1860s, did not end until the 1920s. Their job is described in this Wikipedia excerpt:
"The removal of impurities was done by hand, usually by breaker boys between the ages of eight and 12 years old. ... For 10 hours a day, six days a week, breaker boys would sit on wooden seats, perched over the chutes and conveyor belts, picking slate and other impurities out of the coal. Breaker boys working on top of chutes or conveyor belts would stop the coal by pushing their boots into the stream of fuel flowing beneath them, briefly pick out the impurities, and then let the coal pass on to the next breaker boy for further processing."
You can see breaker boys performing their duties in this postcard that was featured on Papergreat in 2011.

Job hazards for the children included frequent hand and figure cuts and accidental finger amputations in the machinery. Those were the minor hazards. Some were crushed to death under piles of coal or mangled in conveyor belts and gears. If they survived a few years of this labor, they might have asthma or lung disease as a parting gift. (Actually, if they survived being breaker boys, they most likely got sent down into the coal mines.)

The breaker boys in this postcard/photo look content. Maybe they were told to smile. Or maybe they were new recruits who hadn't yet spent much time perched over the coal chutes.

Some of them have objects that look like flowers. That might, though, be the result of the person hand-coloring the postcard and taking some artistic license. Here's a closer look at some of the breaker boys of long ago...

More info on breaker boys