Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Want some pie? Course ya do!

For the first recipe post of 2019, we turn to this spiralbound booklet from 50 years ago — "Prize Winning PIE RECIPES from the All Ohio Electric Bake-A-Rama PIE & CAKE BAKING CONTEST."

This was part of the Ohio State Fair in the summer of 1969, and it was sponsored by "Your Investor-Owned Utilities."

Types of pies included in this publication are: apple, blueberry, cherry, fiesta, lemon, mince meat, peach, pumpkin, raisin, raisin-walnut, raspberry and rhubarb. Apple, cherry and peach pies have the most recipes.

I'm going to post Mrs. Rose Etta Blackwood's recipe for Fiesta Pie, because we like to veer away from the common and toward the unique here on Papergreat. It's the only Fiesta Pie recipe in the booklet.

Filling (makes 10" pie)
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 package (16 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed and drained (reserve 1/4 cup syrup)
  • 1 can (1 lb., 4 1/2 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/2 cup shred coconut
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Slice bananas into bowl, add drained strawberries and 1/4 cup of strawberry syrup, pineapple chunks, coconut and lemon juice. Stir together sugar, tapioca and salt. Mix lightly with fruit mixture. Spoon into prepared pie shell.

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 7 tablespoons cold water

Measure flour and salt in mixing bowl. Thoroughly cut in shortening. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork after each addition. Mix until all flour is moistened. Shape into ball; divide in half. Roll out one half of dough and gently fit into pan. Roll out remaining dought and cut slits in it. Place on filling. Fold under excess pastry, even with edge of plate. Pinch with fingers to form a high standing collar. Flute edge. Cover edge with 2" strips of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking. Bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

If anyone makes and enjoys this one, let us know in the comments how it went. Rose Etta would probably love to know, too.

Book cover plus a little more:
"The Ghosts About Us"

I was originally going to write about this book cover two days ago, but I found some interesting material that deserved more time and research. So I zig-zagged and posted the football book on Sunday, and here is the ghost book today...

  • Title: The Ghosts About Us
  • Author: Clara Baker Burke (who died April 9, 1979, at age 90)
  • Cover design: Betsy Roosen Sheppard (who died April 6, 1979, three days before Burke, but at age 39)
  • Publisher: Dorrance & Company, Philadelphia, which I strongly suspect is related to Dorrance Publishing Co., a vanity publisher founded in 1920 and based out of Pittsburgh.
  • Publication date: 1969
  • Original price: $2.95
  • Provenance: No ownership marks inside. Purchased used for $3.50 in 2018 at The York Emporium.
  • Pages: 42
  • Format: Hardcover. (A revised, 60-page paperback edition was published in 1971.)
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "The question of life after death and, in particular, the question of whether the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living, has always been a controversial and intriguing subject. This unusual book documents the author's personal experiences, and those of many others, of communication with the souls of departed friends and loved ones."
  • First paragraph: "I am writing from a nonsectarian standpoint, to favor no religious denomination, to advocate the tenets of no religious sect. However, I do believe the time has come when our religious leaders and scientists must unite in attempting to solve the mystery of life."
  • Last sentence: "We must have a greater sense of life, we must see more clearly the unreality of death, we must think of the departed as living and progressing."
  • Random sentence from middle: "The only thing I could say was that her aunt's spirit, or ghost, must have been present with her at the time the picture was taken and the sensitive film in the camera was able to catch her reflection." (Note: The Norristown High School photograph mentioned in this sentence is included in the book.)
  • Review excerpt: On December 23, 1969, a review by Dorthea Reynolds appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) under the headline "Ghost Book Hopes to Help The Recently Bereaved." Here's a lengthy excerpt:
    "If you are looking for a spooky ghost story, this is not the book for you. On the other hand, it might be just right for a recently bereaved person or in helping to destroy one's fear of death, since the book is a nonsectarian treatise on the continuity of life. ... The author dwells page after page on the theme of everlasting life. In fact, she prefers most any other description than the word death. ... Accounts of her own and those of her friends' experiences with ghosts are put forth with soft-spoken sincerity. ... Mrs. Burke points out how disappointing it must be to those who have passed on to find their loved ones, who are still living in the flesh, do not recognize their ghost identities."
  • Who was Clara Burke? To me, the rest of Burke's life is more interesting than her 42-page self-published book about the 1960s/1970s fad of ghosts and the afterlife. (She published the book about four years after the death of her husband, Clarence Baldwin Burke, so it's only natural that she might have been especially preoccupied with life after death.) The dust jacket, meanwhile, notes that she was a 1915 graduate of Philadelphia Metaphysical College. I can't find any other references to that college, but I suspect that it was similar to the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, which was founded in 1881 to teach the precepts of Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science.

    But what about the rest of her life? Her April 10, 1979, obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer notes the following:
    • Early in her married life, she helped found a local chapter of a women's suffrage organization, which later became the Whitemarsh Township Women's Citizen Committee in 1919.
    • She helped to establish the public library in Plymouth Township and, according to the Inquirer, "played a major role in persuading township fathers to recognize the need for a paid police force."
    • She and her aforementioned husband, who was an insurance executive, "entertained" an estimated 5,000 convalescing World War II soldiers and veterans at their own home and at Overlea, a Chestnut Hill recreational home.
    • She was once lauded by Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Bliss, who served as Surgeon General of the Army from 1947 to 1951, for her dedication to re-introducing injured soldiers to the community.
    • She operated the 55-bed Clara B. Burke Nursing Home in Plymouth Meeting from 1947 until the time of her death. (The facility, under different management, is now called the Fox Subacute at Clara Burke, Inc.)
    • In 1966, she became involved in the Shin Seng Children's Home in Ansung, Korea, [possibly a misspelling of Anseong] and established the Clara B. Burke Korean Orphans Fund.

    I think some of the above accolades might be taken with a slight grain of salt; it appears Burke handled most of her own publicity. But it's undeniable that she and her husband did a lot of good, especially for wounded soldiers returning from the battlefronts of World War II. And it's notable, I think, that she got George C. Corson, a retired judge from the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, to write the foreword to her 1969 ghost book. He wrote: "I have been acquainted with Mrs. Burke and her many projects for 50 years and have helped with some of them. I have spent a number of weekends with her and her late husband aboard their cruiser in the Chesapeake Bay area, and I have the highest regard for her."

    A final note: The dust jacket states that Burke was working on her next book, to be titled Ghosts and Haunted Houses. I can't find any evidence, however, that it was ever published.

Monday, January 14, 2019

One-of-a-kind family photograph

This group photograph was taken during my parents' wedding day on June 14, 1969. They were married at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and the reception was held at nearby Rolling Green Golf Club. So one of those two places was the likely setting for this shot.

As the person who inherited the bulk of the family photographs — and, dear heavens, it's a lot of photos — I believe I'm in the best position to say that this is the only shot that contains all eight of these people in the same photograph. So it's a pretty neat piece of my family history. My father and my uncle are the only two people in this photograph who are still alive.

From left:

  • Howard Horsey Adams (1892-1985), a great-grandparent of mine on Mom's side. I called him Pop-Pop. Read a bit about him here.
  • Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988), Howard's wife. I called her Mimi. Her collection of ephemera from world travels has contributed greatly to many Papergreat posts.
  • Charles Ingham, Mom's brother, who now lives in Texas. Great sense of humor.
  • Helen Chandler Adams Ingham (1919-2003), Mom's mother. Daughter of Howard and Greta. I called her Beembom. Her life and travels have also contributed greatly to this blog.
  • Mary Margaret Ingham Otto (1948-2017), my mother. Read through the Mom's Life label to learn all about her.
  • John Alan Otto (born 1947), my father. Now lives in Florida with his wife of 23 years, Sally. More pics of Dad here.
  • Olive Virginia Hartford Otto (1914-2006), Dad's mother. I called her Bambi.
  • John Alexander Otto (1911-1991), Dad's father. I called him Pappy. He was a World War II veteran and once bowled a 300 game.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Book cover: "I'd Rather Be Wright"

  • Title: I'd Rather Be Wright
  • Subtitle: Memoirs of an Itinerant Tackle
  • Cover blurb: "A football rebel hilariously recounts the laughter, pain, and absurdities of fourteen years spent in the Lilliputian world of football's establishment"
  • Author: Steve Wright (1942-present)
  • Assistant authors: William Gildea and Kenneth Turan
  • Cover artist: John Twohey
  • Publisher: Prentice-Hall Inc.
  • Original price: $6.95
  • Provenance: Originally sold at Bookland in York, Pennsylvania, per the little gold sticker on the inside flap of the dust jacket; was once in the possession of Lee Stotsky, per the name written on the inside front cover; purchased recently for 50 cents at the antique store in York New Salem.
  • Publication date: 1974
  • Pages: 205
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "With his lively charm and uncompromising wit, Wright recalls the many famous personalities he was associated with: Vince Lombardi, George Allen, Wellington Mara, Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, Fran Tarkenton."
  • First sentence of foreword by Dave Anderson: "Steve Wright was never all-anything."
  • First sentence of introduction by Gildea & Turan: "On first glance, the world is not crying for Steve Wright's book."
  • First sentence: "When I think about the University of Alabama, I spit."
  • Epilogue: "Even 6-foot-6, 250-pound football players can't arrange life the way they want it, and Steve Wright's first year out of the National Football League did not end up quite as he had envisioned. The energy crisis and its shortage of gasoline made his planned rambles through the wilds in a gas-eating camper impossible, and at the same time a new professional group, the World Football League, was formed. The league made Steve and offer and, ever pragmatic, he accepted and signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Fire. The beat goes on."
  • Random sentence from middle: "One of the problems I had was that I'm a Levis and shirt guy, I dig comfort."
  • Goodreads rating: 3.67 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In October 2011, Jake wrote: "It started out pretty funny and it had the potential of being a football 'Ball Four' but quickly devolved into a repetitious pattern of 'This team didn't understand me so screw 'em.'"
  • Amazon review excerpt: In December 2004, Yolanda S. Garcia wrote: "If you want your athletes on pedestals, skip this book — but if you want to read about the real blood, sweat, booze, broads, pills, and road life from an earlier era of pro ball written by a guy with a wry self-knowledge and affection for the whole game, in spite of/because of everything — then this is for you."
  • Note: The Steve Wright who wrote this book and played in the NFL in the 1960s and early 1970s should not be confused with the Steve Wright who played in the NFL and USFL in the 1980s and early 1990s and later appeared on Survivor: Redemption Island.

Mystery RPPC: Feeding chickens

On the quacking heels of Friday's real photo postcard of feeding time for some ducks, here's an old RPPC showing the feeding of the barnyard chickens. There's no information and no date on the postcard, so all we have to go by are the particulars of the AZO stamp box, which indicate it was produced between 1910 and 1930.

There is a wide variety of hens and roosters in this yard. And that seems to be a pretty small basket the woman is holding, so I guess this would have been one of several feedings. I've never raised chickens myself, but a quick glance online shows that average chicken requires about 1/4 of a pound (four ounces) of feed per day. That works out to about 3/4 of a cup. One website notes, "so one very large chicken should be fed 1 whole cup per day."

(Full disclosure: Our five cats, who I sometimes affectionally nickname "Chicken," are fed five small to medium meals per day. Under this agreement, they allow me to live.)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Florence Darlington: An epilogue about the beginning

Previously on the Florence Darlington chronicles...

It's been a heck of a week for research on Florence Darlington, who has a minor but apparently crucial tie to my family history. In posts this past Sunday and Tuesday, I finally discovered and confirmed some details about her life with reasonable certainty. That includes her date of death and place of burial.

The biggest piece of the puzzle still missing was information about when and where she was born. But reader Charlie Connelly has swooped in as a history hero and provided some information to fill in the blanks. Connelly, who contacted me on Twitter, is an author whose books include the splendid Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast, a history of BBC Radio's iconic maritmie weather report. You can check out his spiffy website here.

Here's the information that Connelly provided about Florence Darlington, which kind of brings things full circle. He says he found much of it on Ancestry.com (which I don't have a subscription to).

  • Florence was born on June 24, 1895, in Wilmington, Delaware. Her parents were Ida L. Walker and Evan J. Darlington.
  • She was issued a Social Security number by Delaware in 1973 (which helped to provide secondary confirmation for her dates of birth and death).
  • She is listed in the 1940 United States census, as the 45-year-old wife of Leon G. Moore. Fifteen-year-old daughter Jean is also listed on that census. Leon is listed as a brokerage salesman. There is no occupation noted for Florence.
  • And here's a little more about Florence's parents. Her father, Evan J. Darlington, was born on August 31, 1856, in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Elisha and Sidney P. (Stern) Darlington. Her mother, Ida J. Walker, was born on May 22, 1858, the daughter of John Walker Jr. and Sophia D. Heck. Evan and Ida were married on April 8, 1886. Evan is described as follows: "He is a bookkeeper in Wilmington. He is a crack marksman, having inherited a love for the use of firearms, and with it a rifle which belonged to his grandfather; and, like his father, is noted for proficiency with this weapon."
  • Florence's siblings were Bertha W. Darlington (born 1887) and Helen Darlington (born 1889). Recall that it was Helen Darlington Husband's 1979 obituary that provided one of the key clues on this interesting research journey.

Thank you again, Charlie! It's fair to say that we now know, as recorded in this week's three posts, all of the key genealogical details about Florence Darlington Moore's life and death. We don't some of the fun stuff, such as books she liked, her favorite meal, her hobbies and her pets. But those are, sadly, the things that get lost in the sands of time if they aren't recorded in letters, diaries or blogs. And we don't know the circumstances of how she knew my great-grandparents and introduced them, or if they even kept in touch after that. But some mysteries will always remain, won't they?

Friday, January 11, 2019

1907 RPPC: Feeding the ducks

This real photo postcard features a nice woman who is feeding and watering the ducks. I hope she's not fattening them up for the dinner table, but I reckon that's a possibility.

The card was postmarked at 9 a.m. on August 15, 1907, in New Holland, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs, 5-1, on that day. The Cubs, with Tinker, Evers and Chance, won the World Series later that year.)

The postcard was mailed to Miss Mary E. Steinmetz of Reading. That fits a person I discovered who was born in 1905, so I guess it's possible this postcard was sent to a toddler, perhaps as a "hello" from a relative.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Happy 71st birthday, Mom

Mom would have turned 71 years old today. I've written a lot about her life in the past two years here under the Mom's Life label. Today, I just wanted to share some cool pictures of her. These exist as 8x10 photographs, probably circa 1967 or 1968. There's no date or further information on the back of the prints. Perhaps she was helping a fellow Lycoming College student by serving as a model for a photography class; the interplay of light and shadow seems to be some of the focus. Whatever the case, I think they're pretty neat.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Newspaper items from
100 years ago today

It's always interesting to dip into the past and see how much things have changed. And sometimes how much they have not changed. These items are from the Thursday, January 9, 1919, edition of The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat of Keokuk, Iowa.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In Search Of... Florence Darlington
(aka Florence Darlington Moore)

Keeping up the momentum from Sunday's honkin' huge post, I think we can say at this point with 85 to 90 percent confidence that Florence Darlington Moore is the Florence Darlington we're looking for. The one who introduced my great-grandparents and thus helped, as one of the butterflies flapping its wings far away, to assure my existence.

We think we know:

  • She's from Delaware
  • Her mother was Ida L. Darlington, who died in 1925
  • She married Leon G. Moore, who died at age 72 in January 1966
  • She had a daughter named Jean Darlington Moore
  • Jean married World War II veteran John Woodside Croft, a South Carolina native, in May 1949

What we still don't know yet are the birth year or death year for Florence Darlington Moore. We think we know that she was alive, though, as late as May 1979, when someone with her name is mentioned as a survivor of her late sister, Helen.

So let's turn our attention today to her daughter and son-in-law. They lived more recently, and so it was easier to find a little about their lives.

  • John Woodside Croft was born on January 10, 1922, and died on February 12, 1977, at age 55.
  • Jean Moore Croft was born on July 26, 1924, and died on October 26, 2004, at age 80, having outlived her husband by 27 years.

Jean's obituary on Find A Grave, frustratingly, doesn't mention her parents:
Jean Moore Croft,
Rehoboth summer resident
Jean Moore Croft, 80, who spent summers in Rehoboth Beach, died Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Houston, Texas.

Mrs. Croft was born July 26, 1924, in Wilmington. She attended Stuart Hall Preparatory School in Staunton, Va. and graduated from Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Mrs. Croft spent every summer at the family's beach house in Rehoboth Beach. Although Mrs. Croft spent the majority of her adult life in the south, Rehoboth Beach was always "home."

Mrs. Croft was a member of The Junior League Tea Room, Houston Racquet Club, Retired Officers Wives Club and St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John W. Croft, in 1977.

Mrs. Croft is survived by her children, Linda Moore Croft of Atlanta, Ga., Diane Croft Murray, Holly Croft Hardin and John W. Croft, Jr. all of Houston; and her grandchildren Laura Murray, Ryan Murray, John H. Croft, Cara Croft and William Hardin.

Services were held in the Old Church of St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas. An additional funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004 at St. George's Chapel at Angola with burial following in the adjacent All Saints Cemetery where Mrs. Croft will be buried near her beloved hometown of Rehoboth Beach.

Contributions are suggested in loving memory of Mrs. Croft's husband to the American Cancer Society, P.O Box 570127, Houston, TX 77257.

Arrangements by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Lewes.
So, she lived out her days in Texas, but was buried back near her "beloved" Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I wonder if she's buried near her parents.

* * *


And it was then, using "Jean Moore Croft" as my search term in Newspapers.com, that I discovered Florence Darlington's obituary...

She died on Thursday, December 22, 1988. This is the entirety of her obituary in The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware:
Florence D. Moore
REHOBOTH BEACH — Florence D. Moore, 94, of 11 Pennsylvania Ave., died Thursday of heart failure in Lewes Convalescent Center.

Mrs. Moore was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Her husband, Leon G., died several years ago. She is survived by a daughter, Jean Moore Croft of Houston, Texas; four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in All Saints Cemetery, Angola.
The "died several years ago" part about her husband is an understatement. She outlived her husband by 22 years. I'm a little bummed that the obituary doesn't include more information, such as when she was born. But we can assume, given that she died in late December 1988, that she was probably born 1894. Which is close to what I reckoned all along.

It looks like mother and daughter are, indeed, buried in the same cemetery: All Saints Cemetery in Angola, Delaware.

Here's a final fascinating bit of Twilight Zone level trivia: Florence Darlington Moore died exactly one week after my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams, who herself had died at age 94 on December 15, 1988.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Mount Zion Lutheran Church cemetery photos

Longtime readers know that I love a good old cemetery. We have many of them here in central Pennsylvania. In this case, these are the artsy-fartsy Instagram versions of photographs that I took while I procrastinated on my Christmas shopping on December 15 at Mount Zion Lutheran Church at 2164 Mount Zion Road in Springettsbury Township, York County.

According to the church's website, "Mount Zion’s beginning goes back to 1844 when farmers in the area met in various homes to worship and hear the preaching of Reverend Martin, a Lutheran minister. Within a few years, a Reformed pastor was added to the ministry. By the cooperative efforts of the Lutheran and Reformed parishioners, the first Mount Zion Church was built with the cornerstone for the wooden structure laid in 1851. Later in 1890, a new and larger brick structure was built. The bell from this church now rests in front of our present building."

I didn't take any photos of the church buildings, just the graveyard, which dates back to the very beginnings of the church in the mid 19th century. Here they are...

Related photography posts

Some nice Postcrossing arrivals from the holidays

My mailbox was full of festive and fun ephemera throughout the holiday season, much of it thanks to Postcrossing. Here are some of examples of the international goodness that came my way...

Above: The postcard showcases the museum port of Carolinensiel in East Frisia, Germany, near the Netherlands. The postcard is from Jeanette in Leiden, Netherlands, who writes: "Hello Chris! My downstairs neighbour's also called Chris Otto. That's really weird to see. Hope you had a nice birthday and I wish you happy holidays! This is the time of year that I love for the lights and coziness, decorations and friendly atmosphere."

Above: "13 Dec. 2018. 11° C. Hello, Chris! Greetings from Japan. My name is Michiko. I live in Yokohama where is famous for Chinatown. On this postcard, you can see one of a scene from The Tale of Genji that is classic Japanese literature written by Murasaki Shikibu. The left stamp is Issun Boshi (one-inch boy) of fairy tale. And the right one is a Japanese folk song Hamabe no uta (At The Shore). Now, I'm going jogging. Have a nice day!"

Above: The caption for this Ceci Chui illustration states: "Da-sui-yan. 'Hitting villains' is a popular folk ritual in Hong Kong. People going through hard times visit hitters to seek revenge against enemies or rid themselves of bad luck. For a nominal fee, these hitters exorcise demons by chanting, beating paper effigies of villains with a worn shoe, and burning the effigies." Meanwhile, the postcard message, in a lovely combination of print and cursive, states: "Greetings from Hong Kong. My name is Kathy. I work as a nurse in hospital. I love travelling and collecting dolls from different countries. Sometimes I take photos of my dolls when I go travelling just like my avatar. Merry Christmas!"

Above: "Hi, Chris. I'm CHIA-KAI, CHANG. I am a high school student. I live in Nantou in Taiwan. In Nantou, I can see the mountains, but Nantou is in the center of Taiwan; I can't see the sea. How about you?"

Above: "9/12/18. +19° C. Greetings from Taiwan! This is an ad card, but I like the Christmas image on it, hope you'll like it, too! Jenny."

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Staged shelfie just for the halibut 2

"I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

In Search Of... Florence Darlington

In June 2016, I wrote about Florence Darlington, who, it seems, is a somewhat mysterious and crucial figure in my past. I have a single family photo of her, upon which is written "Florence Darlington, Wilmington, Del., Introduced Greta Chandler to Howard Adams, 1914?"

Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988) and Howard Horsey “Ted” Adams (1892-1985) are great-grandparents of mine on Mom's side. If we are to take this photo inscription at face value, then Florence Darlington is responsible for their first meeting in the same way that Marty McFly is responsible for his parents' first meeting. (OK, not the same way at all.) Without Florence, they might have never met and married, and I obviously would not be here. Zoinks!

That's the operative assumption, at least. How much can you really trust one inscription on a century-old photograph?

I have long wanted to discover more about Florence Darlington. The only thing I had to go on is that she would have been based for at least part of her life in the Wilmington, Delaware, area. I also assumed that she was roughly the same age as Howard and Greta, and thus was probably born in the 1890s.

On the other hand, I don't even know if Darlington is her maiden or married name. A big mystery, indeed.

Here is the process that I've gone through online in trying to learn more about Florence's identity and life. As you will discover, it appears there were some missteps along the way.

* * *

1. A gravestone

This gravestone, discovered at Find A Grave, is for a Florence B. Darlington who lived from 1856 to 1930 and was buried in Cumberland Cemetery, 447 North Middletown Road, in Media, Pennsylvania.

The intriguing aspect is that Howard and Greta lived much of their married life in Swarthmore and Wallingford, which are adjacent to Media in Delaware County.

But the dates don't seem to work. This Florence Darlington would have been nearly 60 when she introduced my great-grandparents to each other.

Quality of this clue: 1 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

2. A fatal explosion

On the afternoon of November 21, 1929, an old hot-water boiler — years past due for inspection — exploded in the basement of the McCrory's five-and-dime store at 416 7th Street NW in Washington, D.C. The final death toll was six, with about three dozen injured.

Reports of this event mention a Mrs. Florence Darlington.

An Associated Press report in the November 22 edition of The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, states: "Those seriously injured were: Charles Decker, five years old, internal injuries; Mrs. Ida Decker, 34, fractured skull and internal injuries; Warren Thayer, 50, fractured spine and broken neck; Mrs. Florence Darlington, 50, internal injuries, and Miss Lulu Carter, 34, both legs fractured."

A different version of the Associated Press' coverage, featured in The Scranton (Pennsylvania) Republican on November 22, adds this: "The last victim to be identified was Mrs. Florence Darlington, whose husband, alarmed at her failure to return home, found her in a serious condition with internal injuries at the hospital."

A day later, this Florence Darlington died. The November 23 edition of The Baltimore Sun has this news item: "Washington, Nov. 22 (AP) — The death list in the explosion under a five and ten cent store yesterday rose to six today with the death of Mrs. Florence Darlington, 50, who succumbed to internal injuries."

We can assume that Darlington was the married name of this particular Florence. Her age would put her birth year around 1879, which is closer to the range we might expect but still about a decade off. Frustratingly, none of the news coverage of this Florence Darlington states where she was from. We might guess it's somewhere near Washington, D.C., which would make it less likely this is the person we're looking for.

Quality of this clue: 1 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

3. Memorial Day high school festivities

Memorial Day was on May 26 in 1913. The next day's edition of The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware, reports: "There was no address at the opening exercises at the Wilmington High School yesterday morning, but the student exercises were well rendered. ... Miss Florence Darlington (read) "Labor," [sic] by Thomas Carlyle."

There's a high probability this is the Florence Darlington we're looking for. In this case, Darlington is her maiden name and, being a high school student in 1913, she was likely born between 1894 and 1896, which is the ideal time frame for knowing Howard and Greta.

This clue, however, doesn't give us much of a lead for what happened to her later in life.

Quality of this clue: 6 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

4. An obituary from 1979

Flashing way ahead to the May 26, 1979, edition The News Journal of Wilmington Delaware, there is an obituary for Helen Darlington Husbands, who died at age 89. It mentions that she is the sister of Mrs. Florence Darlington Moore of Rehoboth Beach (also in Delaware).

It's very likely this is our Florence Darlington. She would have been in her mid 80s in 1979. She married a man named Moore and took his last name, and she was still living in Delaware.

Is this information — a married name that's quite common — enough to discover more about Florence Darlington?

Quality of this clue: 8 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

5. An engagement announcement from 1945

Plugging "Mrs. Florence Moore" into Newspapers.com and searching for Delaware news, I came across this item in the May 16, 1945, edition of The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware:
"Announcement has been made of the engagement of Miss Rose A. Moore, daughter of Mrs. Florence Moore of Stanton and Mrs. Thomas Moore of this city, to Staff Sergt. Frank W. Pirozo of Norristown, Pa."
BINGO! Three new full names to work with: Florence's husband (ex-husband?), daughter and son-in-law.

(This is assuming that the Florence Darlington Moore mentioned in the 1979 obituary is the one we're looking for, and, crucially, that this is the same Florence Moore.)

Quality of this clue: 9.5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

6. A picture of the daughter

A few days later, on May 25, 1945, the News Journal repeated the engagement annoucement, this time accompanied by a picture of Rose A. Moore. Here are photographs of the possible mother and daughter side by side...

Quality of this clue: Pending.

* * *

7. Florence's daily life

In a May 16, 1947, article in The News Journal, Mrs. Florence Moore is listed as the member of the faculty at Krebs School in Newport, Delaware.

Quality of this clue: 5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

8. Florence had a son, too

The June 12, 1953, edition of The Star-Democrat of Easton, Maryland states: "Mrs. Florence Moore, of Wilmington, has been spending a two week vacation with her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Moore."

Quality of this clue: 8 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

9. Rose had a baby

The August 14, 1953, edition of The Star-Democrat states: "Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pirozzo and son, Robbie, and Mrs. Florence Moore are the guests this week of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Moore."

Alarmingly, however, this gives us a different spelling of Rose's husband's last name. We now have Pirozzo and Pirozo as possibilities.

Quality of this clue: 4.5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *


Now I have a headache. This obituary is from the the January 29, 1966, edition of The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware.

L.G. Moore, Retired Broker, Dies
Leon G. Moore, 72, a retired manager of the Francis I. du Pont & Co. brokerage office in Wilmington, died unexpected Friday in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Mr. Moore had lived at 11 Pennsylvania Ave., Rehoboth Beach, since his retirement and was vacationing with his wife, Mrs. Florence Moore, in Florida at the time of his death.

Mr. Moore was a World War 1 veteran...
We now, unless I'm going crazy, have two different strands of Mr. Florence Moores from Delaware. The "Mrs. Florence Darlington Moore" mentioned in the 1979 obituary (#4) is noted as being from Rehoboth Beach. So was she the one married to Leon G. Moore?

And then we have the whole separate thread, I think, of the "Mrs. Florence Moore" who was married to Thomas Moore and is mentioned in #5 through #9. Now that I think about it, there was a leap of logic between #4 and #5 that might have been faulty. Upon further review, I'm not sure the maiden name Darlington appears in any of the news items that discuss the woman who was married to Thomas Moore.

Quality of this clue: 9 (on a scale of 10).
Frustration involving this clue: 11 (on a scale of 10).

I think I have to go back a few steps, probably starting with searching about Leon G. Moore. Doing that, I find...

* * *

11. A fresh Darlington connection

A series of classified advertisements in late May and early June 1925 editions of The News Journal state that Leon G. Moore was the assigned executor of the estate of a Wilmington resident named Ida L. Darlington.

BINGO! (Wait. Where have I heard that before?)

This can't be a coincidence or faulty logic, can it?

So it appears that Leon G. Moore is much more likely to be the actual husband of the Florence Darlington who is possibly responsible for my existence and, by extension, this blog. (What a legacy! If only she knew.)

And Ida L. Darlington is, most likely, Florence's mother.

If that's correct, we can forgot all about those other people I mentioned in the middle of this post.

These Moores, meanwhile, had a daughter, too.

The February 26, 1949, edition of The News Journal announced this:
"Mr. and Mrs. Leon G. Moore, 726 Nottingham Road, announce the engagement of their daughter, Jean Darlington Moore, to Mr. John Woodside Croft, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Croft, Aiken, S.C. Miss Moore is a graduate of Stuart Hall, Staunton, Va., and Harcum Junior College, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Mr. Croft, a graduate of Clemson College, served for three and a half years in the Army with a motar [sic] battalion in Europe and as a captain in the CIC In Japan. He is with the DuPont Company. The wedding will take place in the spring."
Here are Florence and Jean (from the News Journal engagement announcement), side by side:

This time, I think, there might just be some resemblance in the eyes and mouth. I think we're definitely on to something here.

So I have Jean Darlington Moore and John Woodside Croft to research, moving forward. I hope I can use their histories to trace backward and find some more information about Florence Darlington Moore. That will have to be another day, though. I'll close (finally) with this picture of Jean and John on their wedding day in May 1949.

Conclusion of the search

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sci-fi book cover: "Gladiator-at-Law"

  • Title: Gladiator-at-Law
  • Co-author #1: Frederik Pohl (1919-2013)
  • Co-author #2: C.M. Kornbluth (1923-1958)
  • Cover artist: Richard Powers (1921-1996)
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Publication date: Original date is 1955. This is the second printing from February 1962.
  • Pages: 171
  • Format: Paperback
  • First-page promotional blurb: "In this world, young lawyer Charles Mundin battles a great combine of corporate interests — battles them in board meetings and in dark alleys — in a struggle that lays bare some brutal promises of the future ... promises we are beginning to make right now."
  • First sentence: The accused was a tallow-faced weasel with "Constitutional Psychopathic Inferior" stamped all over him.
    Last sentence: "We've got cleaning up to do."
  • Random sentence from middle: Mundin began to wonder why they had bothered to come, as the pay-raise was lackadaisically approved by a unanimous voice vote.
  • Goodreads rating: 3.50 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2015, Brandon wrote: "As social commentary in general, it warns about excessive difference between rich and poor, though as a story it is certainly interesting how the ghetto ends up being in the suburbs. The bubble house technology is the primary science fiction aspect, and the description of those reads not unlike some of the articles in today's world about smart houses."
  • Amazon rating: 4.4 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2008, David F. Nolan wrote: "I read this book when I was a teenager, nearly 50 years ago, and just finished re-reading it. It holds up surprisingly well for a half-century-old work of speculative fiction. Sure, the technology is dated, and you have to mentally multiply all dollar figures by a factor of 20, but as social commentary it's still readable and even engrossing. P&K's portrayal of a decaying, corporate-controlled America is well crafted."
  • Notes: Kornbluth's numerous pen names included Cecil Corwin, S.D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond and Scott Mariner. ... In a back-cover blurb, The New York Times praises the novel as "possessed of a bite and savage vigor which makes it one of the outstanding science-fiction novels of the year." ... Other Ballantine books advertised on the last page, all for 35 cents apiece, include The Funhouse, Fahrenheit 451, Strange Relations, Childhood's End, The Climacticon, Turn Left at Thursday, and Not Without Sorcery. ... I kept getting confused and thinking the title was Gladiator-in-Law, which would be a very different book.

Lost Corners of Twitter Creepiness

Christmastime is more about ghosts, spirits and spooky moments than perhaps we'd like to admit, what with Dickens' A Christmas Carol, AS2 Clarence Odbody, the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas series (featuring many M.R. James tales) and, most terrifying of all, Michael Keaton's Jack Frost.

So perhaps it was appropriate that a creepy little Twitter thread popped up a couple days after Christmas last week. It was started by Valerie (@ValeeGrrl), who is Deputy News Editor for a nifty website called Scary Mommy. This was her initial offhand observation of a moment in the parenting life...

That post has gotten nearly 26,000 retweets already, so many folks have seen it. But that's still just a drop in the bucket compared to all the humans on Planet Earth. So I think it's worthy of being preserved as a future Lost Corner of the Internet.

What really makes it great, though, is all the replies to Valerie's tweet. They represent a veritable gold mine of paranormal-twinged instances of possible past life regressions and childhood visits with deceased relatives. (Or perhaps just cryptomnesia or playful storytelling in some cases.)

Here are some of my favorites:

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Auburn: "You can't equal it for $1250"

This 1907 advertisement for The Auburn from Cycle And Automobile Trade Journal isn't quite as cool as the advertisement for The Dragon that I wrote about last year, but it's still interesting.

The Auburn, as it was touted 112 years ago (seven years before the birth of Norman Lloyd) was a five-passenger touring (open) car with a 100-inch wheel base, a pressed steel frame, 24 horsepower and the capacity to travel between 3 and 40 miles per hour.

All of this for just $1,250 in 1907, which is the equivalent of — gulp — more than $33,000 today. That amount of cabbage these days would get you, according to Google and certainly not me, an Audi Q3, a Mercedes-Benz CLA, a Lexus NX or an Infiniti Q50. I'm good with my Civic, thanks.

Auburn Automobile Company, which manufactured this namesake car, was in business from 1900 to 1937 before succumbing to bankruptcy. In 1926, Errett Cord, then the owner of Auburn, partnered with Duesenberg Corporation, which was famous for its racing cars, to launch a line of high-priced luxury vehicles — the Duesenberg Model J.1 Ongoing love for that era's vehicles spurred the launch of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club in the early 1950s. Of Auburn (under Cord) and its Duesenberg subsidiary, the club's history page states: "The cars they produced are today among the best known and visually stunning in the world. It is fair to say that no two car companies — anywhere, anytime — incorporated more new concepts into their products over a period of so few years."

The company went out of business in 1937, but its Art Deco headquarters in Auburn, Indiana, now houses the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, which opened in 1974. The building is also a National Historic Landmark.

1. Various sources put the total cost of the 1928 Duesenberg Model J between $13,000 and $19,000, which would be between $190,000 and $277,000 today. Unless your grandfather was a crown prince, this was not your grandfather's car.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

1906 Dutch "Gelukkig Nieuwjaar" postcard & odd folk figure

Happy New Year! This old postcard from the Netherlands has "Gelukkig Nieuwjaar" — that's Happy New Year in Dutch — printed on the front. In addition, someone wrote the date January 1906 in the bottom corner, along with a signature that looks like Bartha P. Smit. Could it be this Bartha Smit, who was born in 1877 in Alkmaar, Netherlands, and died at age 41 in 1918. She was married to Hendrik Bruin. But that's just one possible Bartha Smit from the Netherlands. There are surely others who also fit into the correct timeframe for writing on this postcard.

Another question is the illustration on the postcard itself. What is that thing?? Someone wrote "Belsnickle" on the back of the postcard at some point, perhaps guessing at the identity of the folk figure. I guess that possibility can't be ruled out. That German/Pennsylvania Dutch figure was associated with Christmas and sometimes carried around a switch or bundle of sticks to punish naughty children. Belsnickel/Belsnickel/Belschnickel/Belznickle/Belznickel/Pelznikel/Pelznickel also gives gifts to the good children, but I don't see a gift bag in this illustration.

I reckon this is our first mini mystery of 2019. May our year be filled with fun mysteries!