Saturday, November 17, 2018

Great-grandmother's 1958 postcard from Munich

This attractively hand-colored postcard of Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, a historic beer hall in Munich, was sent from my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988) to my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham (1919-2003) on May 20, 1958. That was 13 years after Germany's surrender in World War II and 12½ years before I was born.

Greta was traveling through Germany at the time and sent the card back to her only daughter, who was living with them in the oft-mentioned house on Oak Crest Lane in Wallingford.

Hofbräuhaus am Platzl was originally built in the late 16th century, was remodeled just before the turn of the 20th century, was nearly destroyed in World War II and was reopened in 1958 following years of extensive post-war renovations. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, though personally I'd skip it in favor of visiting more castles and ruins and forests.

Here's what my great-grandmother wrote, to the best of my ability to transcribe her cursive, 60 years ago:
May 20, 1958
Sight-seeing by bus this A.M. Warm day, silk dress on. Saw Art Gallery of [?] Museum. Man there played old pianos & organs, very interesting! Had lunch outside in big hotel garden (ours) here. Now having there a tea dance. We ate in basement bar by music (Italian) last night. [?] danced. Going here (picture) to-night. I bought a good camera today. (Alfa) For all of us! That one at home in Swarth., a bargain!
Love, Greta

Saturday's postcard: Tampa International Airport

This linen postcard was mailed with a two-cent Jefferson stamp to Manchester, Pennsylvania, in May 1956 and showcases Tampa International Airport.

Tampa International was called Drew Field Municipal Airport until the early 1950s, when the start of international flights spurred the name change. Later, following the construction of a new terminal, it was lauded for the Tampa International Airport People Movers, which were groundbreaking (for an airport) when they debuted in 1971. (Full disclosure: When we moved from Montoursville to Largo, Florida, in mid-1983, I had some trips through Tampa International.)

Here's the cursive note from this 62-year-old postcard:
Hi Everybody:
This is where we landed and boy was it nice. You didn't even know you were in the air. We are having a nice time. We haven't slept since Sunday, but this is only Monday night about 10:00 P.M. We are pretty tired because we were on the go all day today.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Montoursville 2018: Photos from elsewhere around town

Photo time! Here are some snapshots from my July 13 walk around Montoursville that don't really fit anywhere else in the narrative I've put together but are certainly worth sharing. Some of these are the edited Instagram versions.

TWA Flight 800 Memorial
When TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on July 17, 1996, the 230 souls that were lost included 16 students and five adult chaperones from the Montoursville Area High School French club. The 21 of them were on a class trip to France as part of a student exchange program. The beautiful and peaceful memorial area features a statue of an angel within a grove of 21 trees.

Random cool houses
These are some other houses that I found interesting while wandering through the neighborhoods on that sunny afternoon. One novel thing about the street layout is that some homes are positioned diagonally on corners. Many of these houses are also wonderfully modest in their size. Who needs big houses?

Bonus from the past: Montoursville's pool
Montoursville's Indian Park featured a community pool that was a big part of my childhood when we lived on Willow Street in the early 1980s. That's where I learned to tread water, swim (one of my instructors was named Marty, I recall), and even dive a little bit. Adriane and I, along with our friends, spent many summer days there. It was easy for Mom to just drop us off and then swing back at a prearranged time to pick us up.

To the best of my understanding, the pool officially closed in 2009. It was already completely filled in when I made a visit to Montoursville in July 2012. Here are a couple of (dreary) photos I snapped then.

The second photograph shows the pool's snack bar, which was always hopping in the summertime. Adriane wrote: "Wow. Such a nostalgic picture for me! I can't count how many times I was at that window buying an ice cream!" ... My snack-bar memories veer more toward french fries with the accompanying smell of vinegar and Whatchamacallit candy bars, which were fairly new to the scene in the early 1980s. Mostly, though, I remember the soundtrack of those summers. The local Top 40 radio station played over the pool's PA system, so we were listening to Rick Springfield, Steve Miller, Kim Carnes, Juice Newton, Journey, Survivor, Toto, Asia, John Mellencamp and the like. Great times.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Friends & family recipes scrawled inside "Joy of Cooking"

During one of the many, many waves of cleaning out the house on Oak Crest Lane earlier this decade, it was determined that the battered kitchen copy of Joy of Cooking wasn't going to make the cut for keeping. If you're familiar with it, you know it's a hefty tome and it's far from unique or rare. Plus, at that point, we still had approximately one zillion of Mom's other cookbooks in the Keep pile. So it was out with Joy.

But before we discarded it, I tore out the first few pages and added them to a manila folder filled with food ephemera [hoarding alert]. On those pages, as oft happens with cookbooks, some extra recipes had been scrawled over the years. And, given the handwriting in our family tree, I do mean scrawled.

Shown above is the cookbook's first page, and we see that this copy of Joy of Cooking was originally gifted to Papa, from Helen, on Christmas 1970. Papa is my great-grandfather, Howard Horsey Adams (1892-1985), who was the top chef on Oak Crest Lane. Helen is his daughter (and my grandmother), Helen Chandler Adams Ingham, who was once at Stonehenge.

Here, for posterity (because that's what we do here), are some of those recipes from the pages we kept...

Mina Oliver's salad dressing
  • Kraft's French — 1/3
  • 1890 Dressing — 2/3
  • chives

[OK, I didn't say these were all interesting recipes.]

Untitled Seafood Dish
  • 2# shrimp — clean, cook & cool
  • 2# mushroom — cut into bite size & saute 5 minutes in butter
  • 3# scallops — cut into bite size & saute 5 minutes in butter
  • 5 cans frozen shrimp soup
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
Add the shrimp soup and evaporated milk together and heat. Then add the shrimp, mushrooms and scallops. Last, add sherry and pour over dried noodles.

[Dried noodles??]

Katherine's Chicken Dish
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1½ cup dry brown rice
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 10 pieces chicken, boned
  • 1 can cream mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream chicken soup
  • 1 can celery soup
  • 1 can onion soup
  • 1 can consommé soup
  • 1 soup can H2O
  • ½ cup cooking sherry
  • 2-3 oz. parmesan cheese
Heat butter in skillet & put in casserole. Put rice bottom of pan. Stir in almonds, lay chicken on rice. Heat soups together & H2O in separate pot & then add sherry. Pour over chicken, sprinkle cheese. Bake uncovered for 3 hours, 275° & put foil over when getting dry. Do day before & put in refrigerator. Put cooled soup over & cover & let some air in.

[I have some questions.]

Finally, here's the recipe for Trudy's Fudge (Fantasy), if you want to translate it yourself and service your sweet tooth.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Montoursville 2018:
Our third house

OK, it's time to get this series polished off. I'm at peace with (and actually a bit comforted by) the idea that I could not possibly fit all of my memories and stories about our house on Montoursville's Willow Street into one post. So I won't even try.

We lived at 912 Willow Street from late 1980 until the summer of 1983, so I was ages 10, 11 and 12 during that time — very robust years for childhood memories, much more so than when I was single digits in the hazy, trippy 1970s.

Quick recap
  • First family house in Montoursville was on Mulberry Street (early 1970s).
  • Second family house in Montoursville was on Spruce Street (mid 1970s until summer of 1978).
  • Then we moved away and lived in Clayton, New Jersey, from summer 1978 until late 1980.
  • Third family house in Montoursville was on Willow Street (late 1980 until summer 1983).
  • Then we moved to Florida.

The Willow Street house is in the northeast corner of town, where the elevation begins to rise. It's located at the triangular corner of Willow Street and Fairview Drive, as you can see from this map I used in an earlier post about C.E. McCall Middle School. The backyard, where the driveway is located, is very sloped, making for unpleasant shoveling times in the winter (to which Dad and his back surgery can definitely attest). When we moved in, there was a huge willow tree in the far corner of the backyard, but it was cut down during our time there. We also had a burn barrel for paper trash in the backyard, because it was a much different time then — long before there was much momentum for the notions of recycling or air quality.

Even with the slope, the backyard was a great place for running around with the hose or sprinkler. There were all sorts of nooks and crannies to play with Star Wars figures or Matchbox cars. I remember coming across a walking stick insect once in the bushes. The tree in the corner of the front yard was just starting to be strong enough for a young boy to climb; it's huge and middle-aged now. Best of all, I remember laying in the backyard during dark summer nights to gaze at sky and watch for shooting stars. We were spoiled by those night skies, so relatively unpolluted by man-made light.

To the side of the house, along Fairview Drive, there is a concrete-slab covered porch. We spent much time out there throughout the year — relaxing, conversing with friends and neighbors, bug-hunting or listening to John Williams soundtrack albums on the record player we would haul out there and plug in.

Here are some then-and-now photos of the Willow Street house's exterior...


Side porch


Some thoughts after looking at those photos:

  • I'm glad it wasn't until our next house, in flat Florida, that I began taking on lawnmowing duties.
  • That's not our station wagon in the early 1980s photo of the driveway.
  • I love the front-yard landscaping now.
  • I have no recollection of the huge tree that now dominates the backyard, not even as a sapling (though my memory might be faulty on that count). The tree is also located almost exactly where we used to lay on the ground for stargazing.
  • Fences kind of suck, from an aesthetic standpoint, though I do understand you need them if you have a dog (or small children), so close to the road.

* * *

The first floor of the Willow Street house, when we lived there, contained a formal living room as you came in the front door, followed by a small dining room. From the dining room, there were three bedrooms (sharing just one bathroom) to the right and the kitchen to the left. (I wrote about the kitchen during a "Snapshot & Memories" post in January, so I won't touch on it much today.)

The finished basement was where we spent much of our time. There was a TV room, a rec area that served as both a bar and an area for playing board games or cards, a laundry room, and a large play area just inside the garage door where Adriane and I played with blocks or other toys and then cleared them all away during the holidays so that the live Christmas tree could go up. The basement was fairly dark and it could get damp, too. Probably the biggest Traumatic House Event during our time there involved a damaged drainpipe at the bottom of the sloped driveway; it forced water into much of the basement.

The coolest part of the house was the fully finished attic. The staircase was located off the dining room. The main part of the attic was a long hallway, wide enough to allow storage (books, boxes, etc.) on both sides and still have plenty of room to navigate. Flanking the hallway, on both sides, were storage passages that went the length of the attic. Adriane and I called them the cubby holes, and we played in them all the time. Both cubby holes had terminus points in the small guest bedroom located at the far end of the attic. (That's me in the attic bedroom in the photograph at the top of this post.) The guest bedroom was also a great place to play with friends or to seek out some solitude for reading. The Willow Street attic was great.

In retrospect, the worst part about the house is that it had just one full bathroom on the first floor and a toilet closet in the basement. For a four-bedroom house, it was definitely lacking in that respect. And the kitchen was fairly small. I wonder if it's been retrofitted over the decades. (Hmmm, it appears the answer is no.)

* * *

Ephemera & memories & being a kid

As I said, I won't even attempt to share all of my memories of my time at this house. To keep things simpler, and far more appropriate for the nature of this blog, I'll limit it to some memories related to books and ephemera. Many of this is also tied in with sports, which I was very enthusiastic about at the time. Here we go...

  • I remember finishing an English research paper about lions, complete with every fact I found on a separate index card (for the mandatory footnotes), while watching the Philadelphia 76ers win the NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • I had a small metal box in which I put clippings and other ephemera related to the Philadelphia Phillies. I had boxscores and other tidbits that were cut from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. I think I also made my own Phillies baseball cards, as a project.
  • My favorite magazines were the Street and Smith's baseball yearbooks that were issued late each winter. I absolutely poured over the articles, team-by-team previews, rosters, statistics and schedules. I was also enamored of the Topps baseball sticker albums during this time.
  • When I played Major League Baseball on the Intellivision that was set up in the basement, I would sometimes write out actual lineups for the game, filled with my favorite contemporary players, and then keep the boxscore and subsequently track my players' statistics over several games. (It was good math practice!)
  • I kept notes and statistics about the first season of the United States Football League. I loved that league!
  • Dad would often go get The Philadelphia Inquirer and a box of doughnuts on Sunday mornings. I definitely read the comics, and probably Sports. I'm not sure what else I was reading in the newspaper at that point.
  • Pivoting to something other than sports, I discovered the world of Dungeons & Dragons during this time (which should not be a surprise to regular readers of this blog), though I didn't really play in any groups or know anyone who did. I had the 1981 Basic Set and the other things that came with it in the box. I probably had an issue or two of Dragon magazine, and I was an avid reader of the Endless Quest series. Mostly, I liked to create maps and histories for fantasy worlds. I remember having a small, light-blue-covered notebook filled with maps and ideas, and what fun it would be to still have that to look through. I'm sure I'm the one who decided to get rid of it at some later point, but I can't fathom why. Dad would make photocopies of D&D character sheets for me, but I'm not sure what I used those for, since I didn't play the game. I just remember how cool and special it felt to have Dad bring home photocopies from work.
  • On my bedroom bookshelf, I had a couple dozen of those National Geographic hardcover "Young Explorers" books, courtesy of a gift subscription from Beembom (my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham). I also remember reading a lot of Garfield, Family Circus and The Three Investigators books during this time. Plus, of course, the discovery of Ruth Manning-Sanders at Konkle Memorial Library.
  • We had The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a huge hardcover volume, on the bookshelf in the formal living room. I would often pull it from the shelf and browse for hours. The book is on a bookshelf in my bedroom today.
  • My record albums were an odd and definitely unhip mixture for someone my age. I had the aforementioned John Williams movie scores (Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark); Hooked on Classics; Star Trek tales on vinyl; Mickey Mouse Disco; a half-remembered record that had covers (not originals) of popular movie songs such as "Makin' It" from Meatballs; and another collection featuring covers of classic movie themes such as The Pink Panther and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Those are the ones I can remember (and admit to), anyway. I was not yet into buying pop music on any medium. (And it's crazy to think how much I grew, learned and changed from this kid in early 1983 to the college graduate who bought August and Everything After on cassette in the autumn of 1993.)
  • Mom's college art books were in that bedroom in the attic, along with some of her other forgotten artistic endeavors. I wonder, in retrospect, if she just didn't care for them at that point. Or maybe they reminded her of things that could have been. She definitely wanted to keep them, but never seemed very interested in revisiting them. The bulk of her reading then consisted of Hans Holzer, Susy Smith, Stephen King, etc. This was still a few years, I believe, before she got back to adding historical fiction into her regular reading rotation.
  • And I had a Christopher Reeve/Superman poster on my bedroom wall. Here's proof!

* * *
Wrapping up, I envision three more Montoursville 2018 posts, all of which should come before Thanksgiving and none of which should require the time and effort of this one. We can see the finish line!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thoughts on collections and their inevitable dispersal

I ruminate often these days about the need to starting heading in the opposite direction with my book and ephemera collections.

Maybe 2019 is the year when I should start passing more things along to others; when I should start seriously downsizing my stuff and keeping things simpler and less cluttered for the home stretch. Or maybe 2020. Sooner rather than later, though. Partly because simpler and less cluttered sounds less stressful, and partly because it's ultimately, and always has been, more fun to give than to acquire. (Though I'm still not 100 percent over the thrill of the hunt for a groovy book or piece of ephemera.)

Regarding this line of discussion, I have come across two related news items I wanted to share.

First is a short NPR article titled "Author Haruki Murakami Will Donate A Record Collection 'Beyond The Bounds Of Sanity.'" (There is also an Associated Press story with more details but a much more drab headline.)

The award-winning author's 10,000+ music albums will soon be archived at Waseda University in Tokyo. Of this, Murakami states:
“I have no children to take care of them and I didn't want those resources to be scattered and lost when I die. I’m grateful that I can keep them in an archive.”

* * *

Second, there was a recent Facebook post by Seth T. Smolinske, who I have previously mentioned as being the leading expert and resource on The Three Investigators book series. He posted this photograph and message two days ago:
"Here's one final quick snap of the main bookcase which holds my 'Master Set' of Three Investigators books as it looked on Nov. 4, 2018. I'll post some better pics of the individual shelves in the comments below and/or during this next week. The sale of the Smolinske collection officially begins next Saturday, the 14th of November with some items that came directly from the Random House offices and archives in New York City.

"My sale will take place over the next several months. The plan is to put up select items or groups of items every week or two (unfortunately I've still got a hectic work schedule to try and work around). We'll feature these items here on this page and also on my T3I site. Most items will be listed for set prices, often on my regular T3I sales page, but some will be listed on eBay to sell to the highest bidder. As always, over time, if set price items don't sell then the prices will gradually drop until they do.

"There are a lot of items which are unique or quite scarce, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire some of these things, original artwork, signed books, uncirculated GLBs, and other unique ephemera. But there are also a lot of common items and I trust that there is something for everyone no matter what type of collection you are building.

"Questions and feedback are always welcome. It's best to send me a private message or, even better, contact me by e-mail through my Three Investigators site. Good luck to all!"
One of his followers offered the following comment, which also gets to the core of what people decide to keep or give: "I love it that this collection exists and the effort that went into collecting all of these books. At the same time it is always bittersweet to see an end to anything. At this very moment I am getting ready to sell a train set that has been in the family for a long time. The kids don't want it and that's another story. Just makes me think and get a bit sentimental to see this collection move along for some reason."

Meanwhile, when asked for more details on why he's breaking up his Three Investigators collection at this time, and in this way, Smolinske adds:
"You're asking a question that a lot of folks have asked in the last several weeks and so I'll try to answer it as best I can. There's a lot of T3I stuff that I'm keeping. After all, the early books still spin their magic and truly make me feel like a kid again when I read one. But I promised myself several years ago that I'd give some serious consideration to down-sizing the collection when I passed a few of those 'life-milestones'. And here we are. But it's more than that. I've not had the time I once enjoyed 7 and 8 years ago to spend on the site or with continuing to build and upgrade the collection. I've reached a plateau with the collection and I'm frustrated that I haven't been able to contribute much to the T3I community or add to the knowledge base in recent years. My kids don't have a special interest in the collection and if something were to happen to me I'm not sure what the fate of the collection would be. I think it's a good time to make it available to fans and collectors and give others the opportunity to own some of the really cool T3I things that I've had the privilege to enjoy for awhile. That's pretty much it. I plan to keep my T3I site up an running and I hope that it won't be too long before I have more time on my hands to spend on it."
I think those are some pretty good and noble reasons, and I think it's great that Smolinske will be working to get these items into the hands of those who will enjoy them most. That's what it's all about, right?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mabel Hedrick's postcard message to Warren White

"Lead us not into Temptation!" is the caption for this embossed A. & S. postcard.

The postcard was never stamped or postmarked, but it was addressed to Warren White of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania (R.F.D. #2), and contains the following message in large cursive:

Apples are good
Peaches are better
And if you love
Please answer my
Letter. From
Mabel Hedrick