Saturday, February 3, 2018

1950 postcard from
Daddy the deer hunter

The Curt Teich & Co. linen postcard — "Canoeing in Maine" — was mailed from Passadumkeag, Maine, on November 7, 1950, as the Korean War was starting to escalate half a world away. Passadumkeag is a tiny river town in just about the middle of nowhere in central Maine. Good hunting territory, one would imagine.

The card was mailed with a one-cent stamp to Carol Midura of Rahway, New Jersey, 500 miles southwest of Passadumkeag. If I found the right Carol in an online search, she would have been about 12 years old in 1950 and would be about 80 this year.

The note, written in pencil and cursive, states:
Hi Carol
Are you a good girl. Daddy did not get a deer. Don't eat too much because dad will bring one home.

Akron Restaurant: "Homespun Pleasures of Lancaster County"

On the heels of the Jakey Budderschnip business card and the Soudersburg Motel business card, here's a third old Lancaster County business card. This one touts the Akron Restaurant, which once offered Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine in the borough of Akron in northeastern Lancaster County.

The restaurant's proprietors were Mr. and Mrs. Warren Royer and, based on the hours of business, the only time they got a "breather" was on Mondays, with a 2 p.m. closing time.

The Akron Restaurant is mentioned in passing in "The Homespun Pleasures of Lancaster County," a lengthy and glowing travel article by Michael J. Lephy that was published by The New York Times in 1981. Lephy states: "at the Akron Restaurant in Akron, I discovered shoo-fly pie as it should be: a stickily delicious combination of molasses and breadcrumbs served warm in a pie shell and topped with freshly whipped cream."

The restaurant is, as you have surely guessed by now, no more. A January 2016 article by Chad Umble details this chronology:

  • Circa 1950: Warren G. and Dorothy Royer opened a restaurant in Ephrata, about three miles northeast of Akron.
  • 1954: Akron Restaurant is relocated to Main Street in Akron. Traditional Sunday dinners become a big draw.
  • 1971: Restaurant moves from Main Street to nearby, larger location along Route 272. (So, this business card might be from 1971 or earlier.)
  • 2004: The Lewis family, the restaurant's third-generation owners, sell the business to the Mountis family. The restaurant is closed temporarily.
  • May 2007: Restaurant, under the Mountis family, reopens as the Akron Restaurant, Bakery & French Toast Factory. There are some notes and reviews of this era on this Roadfood message board.
  • July 2010: Restaurant closes for good.
  • January 2016: Work begins to remodel the building into an outpatient rehabilitation center.

Friday, February 2, 2018

"Mountain Man" QSL card

This undated, never-used York County QSL card, with the call sign KCD 0301, was for Art and Jo Mumie of Columbia, Pennsylvania. Apparently "Mountain Man" was their nickname, and there is a definite "out in the woods" feel to the illustration on the card.

The ham operators' full names are probably Arthur A. Mumie and Joann Ann Mumie. They are senior citizens now and probably trying to keep their lives quiet and low key, so there's no need to delve any further on them.

It's enough that this little slice of one of their hobbies from about a half-century ago has now been saved for posterity. It's a cool QSL!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Linking up with the world
via Postcrossing

It's been a while since I shared some of the joys of reaching out to people around the world via the Postcrossing postcard exchange. Shown above is a postcard I received recently from Alice, an astronomy-loving, stargazing college student in Shanghai, China, home of 24 million souls. Alice wrote:
Hello. Greeting from Shanghai of China. This postcard was brought when I visited Nanjing (Chinese city). And this is Sun Yat-sen's presidential palace. Has a history of over one hundred years. If you haven't been there. Maybe you can visit by yourself. Welcome to China!
Meanwhile, here are some recent email responses that I have received from international Postcrossers who received postcards from me:

  • From Jan in Belgium: "Hi Chris. Thank you very much for your card. You have a beautifull and good readable handwriting, nice to read. You have an interesting job. You do a great thing to help animals, specially alpacas."
  • From Wong in China: "Thank you so much for the pretty card and your kind message. The lovely pic, amazing collection of stamps as well as your kindness has really made my day!"
  • From Kate in Russia: "Hi Chris, amazingly black and awesome purring gentleman wish to tell you they are safe and have already settled pretty well. Have just been to your blog and should say it's really great! I quite agree to the statement about strange times. ... Hope you will get more interesting and vivid postal stories."
  • From Johanna in Australia: "Hi Chris, your son has impeccable taste in postcards! I am so pleased that he chose this one for me. It's gorgeous! If you are after reading some Australian literature, you might search for the list of Miles Franklin Award winners. But then, my current favourite hasn't won it yet. Try Richard Flanagan. He won the Booker prize for The Long Narrow Road to the Deep North — but you might want to start with Death of A River Guide. He has such a knack for using the specific and personal to show the universal."
  • From Hanne in Germany: "Thank you for this lovely postcard, I like it very much! And thank you for greetings to my parents and my 2 cats. ... Chris, warm greetings to you and Dover and the United States! Wish us all a peaceful time, to live lucky and to keep our wonderful world!"
  • From Monika in Germany: "Hello Chris, thank you for the wonderful Christmas card and your good idea. It is a very interesting card. Wow, this card is more than 100 years old. I think, this is the oldest card I ever get."
  • From Gunta in Latvia: "Chris, thank you for the postcard! I have a cat that looks just like yours sleeping beside my keyboard at the moment."
  • From Maria in Russia: "Hallo, Chris! Privet! Thank You and Ashar for this pretty nice card. My two small daughters love cats so much. (We have one at home) Sure Baba Yaga lives not far from us! And my girls afraid her. I never heard before about Ruth Manning-Sanders, I'll find information about her. Special thanks for really nice stamps! Beaver — the best one! Have a nice days and all the best!"

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Fanzine flashback #3.5b:
Fantasy Advertiser from 1948

Here's some more about the 70-year-old issue of Fantasy Advertiser that I first wrote about on Sunday. (If you put #3.5 and #3.5b together, you'll essentially have one full post in this series — a post that should have been #4.0 — but now I've gone and zotzed the numbering of this series for good. Oh well. Future archivists will just have to deal with it.)

First up, some information about editor Norman E. "Gus" Willmorth. In the August 1944 issue of Futurian War Digest, which is fully available online, Willmorth provides this autobiographical insight:
"First, due entirely to natural causes I was born. Way out west where men are men and fantasy fans grow. Being a precocious child, I learned to read at an early date and have been at it since. Having cut my eye teeth on fairy tales of the type foisted on to children, I cannot give the exact date at which I began to enjoy the Exalted Literature, but I can remember THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF NILS as well as selected portions of Grimms and Anderson. I would say that it was in the early thirties that I, situated more or less in the backwoods away from the general civilisation of the world, encountered my first science-fiction magazine. Enflamed by this chance reading I more of less forsook the classics in my search for more of this consuming what of Wells, Verne, Poe et al, that I was able to lay a hand to. From about '34 on my reading of S-F mags was more or less steady — the diet consisting of Astoundings because that was the only mag other than Argosy that was sold at my particular newstand (there was only one in the town). About the time Wonder became thrilling we moved to Chelan, Wash., where in the course of time I became familiar with and collected others of the fantasy family. Here I organised a small fan club — The Lake Chelan Fantasy Fictioneers, with myself as nominal head. And my magazine collection spread over the whole of the county. ...

"Then the army intervened and I moved from active fandom into active service. Aside from a short period in which I was stationed in Los Angeles proper, I have been more or less out of touch with fan activity in the United States since that time. However, arriving upon these English shores, I pitched in for some serious fanning, grasping as it were the fleeting hand of opportunity as it was raised to knock. Here I've been several places and did several things. I cannot claim to have been the most active figure in the islands, but I tried to keep up with the hurly burly of the rest of the crowd anyway. And shall some more, Ghu Willing."
Ghu, if you wondering and didn't click on the link, was the first fannish deity (called ghods) and was created by Donald Wollheim and John B. Michel in 1935.

You can read more about Willmorth's time in England during World War II, when he brought UK and U.S. sci-fi fans together, at this link.

* * *

Moving along, this issue of Fantasy Advertiser isn't entirely advertisements. Here's a bit about some of the articles and news items included:

  • In a lengthy editorial that touches on numerous topics, Willmorth implores U.S. readers to send extra copies of fanzines to the United Kingdom, where readers are hungry for them. He also congratulates Gerry de la Ree, co-publisher of Loki, for his recent marriage.
  • A full-page advertisement promotes the July 1948 second issue of The Moon Puddle, produced by Chad Oliver and Garvin Berry out of Galveston, Texas. According to Fancyclopedia 3, only one issue of this zine was published, so it's possible this is an advertisement for an issue that never came to fruition. If it was published, it would have included articles titled "The Vicissitudes of A.E. Van Vogt," "The Shaggy BEM," "Ghastly Patrol," and "Ghosties, Ghouls, and Gravin!" The Letters Editor was listed, tongue in cheek, as Abdul Alhazred.
  • R.A. Elcun has a short column noting other current fanzines, including The Fabulous Faust Fanzine, Fantasy Review, The Fanscient, Sparx, Fan Artisan, Shangri-La, Macabre, The Sydney Futurian, Spearhead, Tympani, and Canadian Fandom.
  • Julian Parr has a two-part article focusing primarily on German-made fantasy films.
  • Earle Cornwall pens an obituary for writer and journalist W. Paul Cook, who had died in January 1948.
  • And John Newman provides a two-page summary of the Whitcon, a UK convention that was held at the White Horse on Fetter Lane in the Holborn district of London and which featured a bookshop tour, rare magazines and illustrations, and A. Bertram Chandler as the guest of honor.
* * *

Finally, here are some advertisements and other images from within this issue of Fantasy Advertiser. The third item is a cartoon by artist Bill Kroll, who is credited just as "Kroll" here.

School days: 1948 workbook for young English students

  • Title: The New Continental Practice Exercises in English 1
  • Authors: G.A. Eichler and Emma M. Snyder (According to a separate source, Eichler's full name is George Augustus Eichler.)
  • Illustrator: John Lehman
  • Publisher: The Continental Press (Elgin, Illinois; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California)
  • Year: 1948
  • Pages: 96 pages, all perforated
  • Format: Staplebound
  • Purpose: From Page 2: "This book is designed to focus attention, in simple ways, on a few beginning concepts of oral and written English. The work emphasizes exploratory observation rather than formal training. The child discovers for himself how certain things are done in written language and in speech."
  • Content areas: Capital letters, sounds of letters, ABC's, words with multiple meanings, logical sentences, telling stories, using the correct word.
  • Types of exercises: Circle the answer, speak the word, connect the dots, fill in the blanks, multiple choice.
  • Vocabulary used: 279 words, excluding the proper names of characters Nip, Tom, Sue, Mew and Jack.
  • Longest vocabulary words: Balloons, gingerbread, sometimes.
  • About the publisher: Continental Press was founded in 1937 by Horace E. Raffensperger, a supervising school principal, and is still around today, based in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania (Lancaster County). ... It sells "quality, affordable K-12 materials" that can be adapted to meet many different curriculum needs, including Common Core and English as a Second Language. It specializes in reading, mathematics, and test preparation materials. ... And they're hiring! (As of this month, anyway). They are seeking "an experienced, detail-oriented graphic artist/typesetter to design and layout print and digital workbook publications. Candidate must be familiar with creating style sheets and master page templates and have the ability to prioritize projects, work independently, and meet deadlines." ... On the company's "About" page, current CEO Daniel Raffensperger states: "Continental was my father's vision and I'm proud to see it through. He helped teachers and students overcome the daily challenges of academics."

1925 photo: Dorothy Deemer
and the chipmunks

This semi-mystery snapshot features a young woman from nearly a century ago who is dressed like Han Solo and is sitting on a wooden porch, playing with a pair of chipmunks. At least, I think they're chipmunks. The size and markings seem right, and they're definitely not squirrels. The only other possibility I can come up with is that they're chinchillas. Whatever they are, she seems to have them eating out of her hand.

The photograph, including the border, measures 2⅝ inches by 4⅜ inches.

Written on the back is "Dorothy Deemer 1925." Under that, someone has written and twice underlined the number 15.

There's also a blue stamp for Graves Studio in Chadron, Nebraska, home of President Gerald Ford's biological father.

I can't find much about Deemer, beyond that fact that she landed a job as an English teacher about a decade after this photo.