Saturday, June 9, 2018

Read. Dream. Imagine.
Create. Share. Peace.

There were some yard sales across the street this morning, so I ambled over and bought these for a few dollars. They'll be headed to the alarmingly understocked Little Free Library near my workplace in downtown Lancaster.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The ephemera of families separated by the United States

For #FridayReads, I recommend that you read The New York Times article headlined "'It's Horrendous': The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father" written by Miriam Jordan and published yesterday.

Here's a short excerpt:
At first, [5-year-old] José was sad and withdrawn. He did not initiate any interaction with the [Michigan foster] family, but followed directions from [foster mother] Janice, who speaks basic Spanish, to do things such as wash his hands and come to dinner. ...

The one thing that animated him was discussing his "photos," as he called the family drawings.

He introduced "mi familia," pointing to the figures of his parents, brother and younger sister. Staring intensely at the sketch of his father, with a slight mustache and a cap, he repeated his name out loud again and again.

It was "just me and him" on the trip from Honduras, he told Janice one night as he lay in bed shuffling the pictures, taking turns looking at one and then the other.

"He holds onto the two pictures for dear life," Janice said, through tears. "It’s heart-wrenching."
Read the rest of the story here.

Related articles and commentaries

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Where my parents lived briefly, the summer before I was born

I magnified and shared this photo, which is just 1⅝ inches wide, as a #ThrowbackThursday for Dad on Facebook. The caption on the back states: "1350 N. Nevada Oceanside, Calif."

Dad adds:
"Mary and I's first 'house' after traveling from Philadelphia to Oceanside, CA, so I could report for duty at Camp Pendleton. I'm guessing June 1970. We knew Mary was with child (Chris). I remember there was a stray cat we befriended. The cat would catch mice and squirrels and put them on the porch. Not long after we moved into base housing."
I don't believe this house still exists. Nosing around on Mapquest, it appears that North Nevada Street now ends with the 700 block. Beyond that is the Oceanside Police Officer Tony Zeppetella Memorial Highway, which is part of California State Route 76.

Menus and recipes shared by Mrs. Anna B. Scott in 1936

Shown above is the cover of a 6⅛-inch-wide, 32-page recipe booklet that was included as a supplement in The Philadelphia Inquirer on November 15, 1936. There is no advertising whatsoever within the booklet, so it was just a perk designed to spur newspaper sales in the middle of the Great Depression.

The "Cook Book" is presented by Mrs. Anna B. Scott, who also authored Mrs. Scott's North American Seasonal Cook Book in the early 1920s. Here is an excerpt from Scott's foreword to the Inquirer booklet:
"It is important that every housewife know how to set a table correctly and she should definitely strive to prepare and serve correctly seasoned food if it is to be relished by her family and friends. Since taste varies with individuals, this knowledge can only be obtained by practice, making changes when repeating formulas. ... It would give me untold pleasure to assist every housewife personally, but since that is impossible, I hope the above statements and contents of this book will inspire effort which will be crowned with successful results."
The individual sections focus on all the foods and recipes needed for full meals, and so the index is divided into the likes of "Roast Turkey Dinner," "Braised Guinea Fowl Dinner," "Rabbit Dinner," "Oyster Pie Dinner," "Vegetarian Dinner," and "Inexpensive Dinner."

Here's the full menu for the Roast Turkey Dinner, which is clearly NOT designed for your average family struggling through the Great Depression:

  • Grapefruit
  • Celery
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Roast Turkey, Moist Bread Filling, Giblet Sauce
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Turnips or Creamed Onions
  • Old-Fashioned Coleslaw on Lettuce
  • Pumpkin Pie or Individual Molds of Ice Cream
  • Coffee
  • Dinner Mints
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Bowl of Fruit

And here's the full menu for the "Inexpensive Dinner":

  • Tomato Juice
  • Celery
  • Rolled Stuffed Breast of Veal
  • Roast Sweet or White Potatoes
  • Cauliflower, Bechamel Sauce
  • Bread and Butter
  • Beet and Onion Salad
  • Chocolate Sponge Cake
  • Coffee

These are some of the individual recipes from the booklet that I thought you might find interesting.

Sardine Appetizer
  • 1 can small sardines
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon scraped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 hard-cooked egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • Very finely chopped parsley
  • Paprika
  • Rounds of rye bread
Remove skin and bones from sardines and mince very fine, add mayonnaise, peppers, onion, sauce and dry mustard; mix until very smooth. Spread on small rounds of rye bread, spring with finely chopped parsley and fine chopped white of egg. Rub yolk of egg through coarse wire strainer and sprinkle a little over top of appetizer. Dust with paprika.

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/4 pk. sweet potatoes
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash white pepper
Brush bakedish with butter; then put in a layer of sweet potatoes which have been washed, boiled, skinned and cut into half-inch slices. Cover with half the sugar, sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the pineapple, then the rest of the sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, a little butter and the remainder of the pineapple and cover with the sugar and remainder of the butter. Place in moderate oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Serve in dish in which they are baked. This is an exceptionally rich dish. A shallow glass bakedish or pie plate is best.

Mock Turkey
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 2 cups boiled rice
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 raw eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Put the breadcrumbs in a saucepan with two cups of water; cook for a few minutes; add the hard-boiled eggs (chopped). Take saucepan from fire and add the nuts (a mixture of peanuts and pine nuts is best) and the rice. When this is well mixed add seasoning and the raw eggs, slightly beaten. Form this into ten-inch oblong shape, reserving a portion for the legs and wings, which are fastened to the body with toothpicks. Take a tablespoon of the mixture in your hands and press into the shape of a leg; put a piece of dry macaroni in it for a bone and fasten it to the turkey. Do the same to the other side. Form the remaining portion into small pieces looking like wings tucked under; press them to the side of the turkey. Brush the turkey with butter and bake one hour.

Chocolate Icebox Cake
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 18 to 20 graham crackers
  • 8 marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Brush dish about 2 inches high with butter, line with whole graham crackers, breaking crackers in half for the sides. Put in a layer of chocolate cornstarch while hot, then a layer of graham crackers, then a layer of chocolate. Arrange the marshmallows and pour over the balance of the chocolate. When cold, turn out and garnish with whipped cream or serve with a custard sauce.

To make the chocolate cornstarch: Mix the dry ingredients with a little of the cold milk, add to the boiling milk and boil three minutes.

* * *

Final note from Anna: "Make a special effort to use every particle of food for which you have spent money. Gather as many hints on this subject as you can. Save all the water in which foods are cooked for soups, sauces and gravy. If you would avoid waste, learn how to make proper use of all left-overs. Lack of knowledge for the utilization of food makes for expensive living, as much of the nourishment which should be consumed is wasted."

Note from me: See, on this topic that was close to Anna's heart, the 2010 book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), by Jonathan Bloom.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How to promote your hotel with a disturbing illustration of a dog

I'm not sure what folks were thinking 137 years ago, in 1881, when they dreamed up this three-inch-wide Victorian advertising trade card for a hotel in Reading, Pennsylvania. Who said, "This frightening image of a dog with an alarmingly oversized head will help spread the word and bring in more customers."?

Or perhaps it was just a case of truth in advertising, and this was how a hotel of horrors marketed itself. Perhaps this hotel had a Room 237 and a Room 1408, if you know what I mean. Or perhaps it was a trial run for Herman Webster Mudgett before he moved to Chicago a few years later. (I'm joking, but H.H. did spend some time in Pennsylvania and had a short stint at Norristown State Hospital.)

Silliness aside, here's what we know of the southcentral Pennsylvania hotel from the text on the front of the card:
Compliments of the Season
John E. Steinel,
9th Avenue Hotel,
9th and Walnut Streets,
Reading, Pa.

Fine Foreign and Domestic
Wines for the Holidays
John E. Steinel (1854-1907), according to his Find A Grave page, "was 17 when his father died and with his mother continued the father's hotel and brush business." (That was, you will not be surprised to learn, the only Google result for the phrase "hotel and brush business" before this blog post.)

He had a son, also named John E. Steinel, who lived from 1893 to 1943.

Finally, here's an excerpt from History of Reading, Pennsylvania, and the anniversary proceedings of the sesqui-centennial, June 5-12, 1898:
"Steinel Factory — Peter Steinel emigrated from Germany in 1847, and located at Reading. He began manufacturing brushes of all kinds in 1848 on Franklin street near Front. He removed to 945 Penn street in 1853, and carried on the business there until his decease in 1870. He established a large trade, employing from 25 to 30 hands, and distributed his production in this and the surrounding counties by a number of teams. His son John E. Steinel then succeeded him, removing the factory to 837 Walnut street, and he has carried on the same until the present time. He employs from 6 to 15 hands, and ships brushes to different parts of this and the surrounding counties."

Monday, June 4, 2018

Forgotten artwork found blowing down a Lancaster street

I played the roles of trash-picker-upper and urban ephemerologist when I grabbed these pieces of children's artwork off the sidewalk of North Queen Street in downtown Lancaster during my dinner break on this mild Monday in early June.

Each card measures six inches across. Now, they are recorded for posterity before heading to their final recycling resting place (and not a sewer grate or trash-strewn alley).

1917 York postcard with a typed message on the back

This York, Pennsylvania, postcard was used in a curious fashion 101 years ago. It was loaded into a typewriter, and back of the card contains a lengthy typewritten note. There are creases where the card once went through that typewriter roller.

The card wasn't mailed, though. No room was left for a stamp or recipient's address. Maybe it was mailed in an envelope. Or perhaps it was delivered by an owl courier. We also don't know the identity of either the sender or recipient — just the date of the note. Here it is:
The phone was somewhat out of order last evening and you know we could hardly understand anything — will tell you about it when I see you. I understood you that they are going to have the entertainment Thurs. & Satur. Even. well if it is nice that I can use the Auto. I will be at Ness's School-house Thurs. Even., but if it should happen to rain — will be at your place Satur. Even. in good time and than we can decide wheter [sic] we want to go to York or at the entertainment. Will expect seeing your Thurs. Night and also intent taking you home, as it is a pretty good walk for you both ways, but you need not take me in the house as I said Sun. Even., you know I said that only in fun — I would not expect you to take me in the house through the week yet, so do not worry what I said Sun. night. Hoping to see you tomorrow night, I remain your friend,
That's certainly a head-scratcher. There are some things going on between the lines of that century-old message that we will never know about. Regarding the mention of Ness's School-house, there was a one-room school in Windsor Township, York County, by that name.