Monday, August 21, 2017

From the readers: Shakespeare, speeding tickets, school days & more

Whoa, this is the 99th post labeled "From the Readers," which just goes to show how much of a shared community and experience this blog is. Keep the comments and memories and questions coming, so that I can do another 99 of these...

A story in every piece of paper: Frequent commenter "Mark Felt" shared the following, which I appreciate greatly:

"Writing is about culture and should be about everything. That's what makes it what it is."
Irvine Welsh
(Scottish novelist, c. 1958 to the present)

It's about time one of your readers commented on your debut post.

Chris adds: Thanks! There is, by the way, a staplebound book by E. Haldeman-Julius in that photo from Post #1. And it's still on my list of future posts. We'll see if it ends up sharing the same fate as the Seth Seiders/"Pivot Man"/Al Capone post that I teased but never delivered on years ago.

Judy, a black cat and a ghost book: Anna in Spain writes: "Yeah that book cover is totally fictitious. No publisher, no colophon, no author – no nothing."

"Jim and Judy," a 1939 grade-school textbook with a York connection: Anonymous writes: "Was my first reader in Sydney, Australia. Loved this book. Am sad I gave it away when had to move family home. That was a big mistake!"

"The play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king": Joan writes: "I love this post — and I'm glad to know that Ashar's great-grandmom was just as into theater as she is!!"

And Wendy of the terrific website Roadside Wonders, adds: "Go Ashar! Oh, you made me want to watch the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing again. Emma Thompson was fantastic in it."

I second Wendy's assessment of Emma Thompson's performance — in that movie and everything else, for that matter. Spurred by discussion of the Much Ado About Nothing cast, Wendy and I then went off on an unrelated discussion of terrible date movies, and determined that A Walk in the Clouds and Before and After were, indeed, two of the worst date movies of the 1990s.

Our family's funniest member: With regard to the note that my uncle typed up, he believes it might be from 1958, when his grandmother, Greta Chandler Adams, went to Brussels for the World's Fair. In that busy traveling year, she also took a cruise to Bermuda. So those are two possibilities.

Possibly my dream house, but I need to venture inside for myself: Tom from Garage Sale Finds and I had this fun back-and-forth:
  • Tom: A walled-up clock, eh? Is that a nod to John Bellairs?
  • Me: Absolutely, Tom! There's a hand of glory in that story, too.
  • Tom: I'd forgotten that. Coincidentally enough, I discovered the John Bellairs books at a garage sale years ago. I'd never read them until then. I thought they were great books and have always wondered why they weren't better known.
  • Me: Before I read the books, I was introduced to the story by the 1979 TV adaptation starring Severn Darden and narrated by Vincent Price. It was suitably creepy and memorable for 8-year-old me.
  • Tom: I've seen the TV adaption, but it was in recent years after reading the books, which is odd because I always rarely missed those kind of shows when I was a kid.
  • Me: I'm not really in a hurry to watch it as an adult. It cast a spell as a kid that I'm not sure I want broken by my adult eyes.

Putting a basket on your head is as good a plan as any these days: Mark Felt writes: "Mode is a feminine noun in French, and thus 'The Latest Fashion' should have been translated as La [not Le] Dernière Mode. Meanwhile, gotta love the now-obsolete diphthong in 'Diarrhœa.' The individual who 'presented' this card, Stephen B. Mann of West Galway, Fulton County, New York, was born May 15, 1852 and died January 16, 1883. Thus, the date of this card is likely not later than 1883. Indeed, the Museum of the City of New York puts the card in the 1860-1900 time frame. Stephen B. Mann owned a store (possibly a dry goods store with a pharmacy) in West Galway. Near the end of his life, he was also a Director of the Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad (date of charter, September 23, 1879)."

That time in 1914 when my great-grandmother got a speeding ticket: Mark Felt writes: "Great-Great-Grandfather Lilburn would have been especially peeved considering his litigious pursuit of miscreants and scofflaws galore. By the way, on August 21 of this year, Great-Grandmother Greta would have been 45,000 days old."

Tom from Garage Sale Finds adds: "I'll bet she was doing at least 15 mph. Hellion."

It's (it is) important to proof every aspect of your book: I knew it was courting danger to write a post criticizing the grammar errors of others. Mark Felt writes: "Where do you stand on the four-dot ellipsis? Many sources state that an ellipsis should only be used in a quotation where some text has been omitted for conciseness without sacrificing context; yet even putting aside the requirement that it be used in quotations only, shouldn't you have used four dots ('on the spine....') instead of three, since the sentence had come to an end?

"Apostrophes aren't the only grammatical pain in the....


Chris replies: Touché. I will fully admit to being extremely inconsistent on the ellipsis. I toss those dots around like candy. It will probably cost me my shot at the Ephemera Blogging Hall of Fame ..... and rightfully so.

Old booklet for Harrisburg's Capital Roller Rink: Wendy of Roadside Wonders, writes: "Can you imagine 1,300 people at at skating rink now?? Great find!"

Scholastic book cover: "Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians": Wendy of Roadside Wonders, writes: "I don't know how many times per year we got the 'Scholastic' catalogs (the little newsprint that you could order books from) but it always felt like Christmas. Books were the one thing that I didn't have to beg my parents to buy."

Mystery real photo postcard: Well-dressed girl and chair: Commenting on Facebook, Wendy writes: "Stylin' and high-profiling with the rag curls," and Cindy adds: "Love that dress, very sharp."

Very authentic Star Trek postcard for Annika in Sweden: The Postcrossing postcard successfully arrived in Sweden! Annika writes: "Thanks for the lovely card, I love it :-). it just take 8 days for it to arrive, we are lucky this time."

DC Comics in 1973: "You will receive 15 consecutive issues for $3.00!": Mark Felt writes: "Item #9 is Shazam, which restarted publication in 1973, at the time this advertisement was published. Why bother paying 20¢ (or $1.10 or $3.99) when today you can read the first reissued edition here."

Vintage book cover: "A Cruise in the Sky": Mark Felt writes: "The recipient of this book, Lee Mather Brosius, was born in 1908, and thus was ten years old at the time this gift was given to him. Despondent due to poor health, Brosius committed suicide in August of 1951. He had been a resident of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, and had been an attendant at the Danville State Hospital for nearly a quarter century. His spirit lives on via ephemera, ironically intended to last for 'just a day.'"

RIP, Lee. I'll do my best to get your book to a great new owner.

1 comment:

  1. Great Round-Up. I love the conversations that ephemera can spark :)