Wednesday, September 9, 2020

On a distressing news day, here's an old postcard of a good boy

“... You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. ... ”

[Record scratch]

You're probably wondering why I'm crafting a blog post about a silly old postcard on a day featuring forboding orange skies across California, first-graders all over the nation trying to navigate Zoom, and infuriating revelations from a guy who once covered a burglary involving plumbers in the 1970s and is now giving us the lowdown on who knew what and when in the year 2020.

Why? Because, if only for a minute or two, perhaps we need a little break.

Enter Chum.

Ths EKC real photo postcard dates to between 1930 and 1950, based on the design of the stamp box on the back, which is mostly pristine. The text on the front states:

296 "Chum" Goff's Pacific Cottages — Seaside, Oregon

And the name Boyer is printed in the lower right-hand corner. The photographer and/or publisher, I reckon.

Seaside, located in northwestern Oregon, is a small city that today bills itself as "a place to relax, recreate, or contemplate the complexities of the universe." It seems it's always been a bit of a vacation spot. Here's a little advertisement from the June 24, 1932, edition of The Oregon Statesman for Goff's Pacific Cottages:

I can't find anything about Chum, though. He looks like he belongs in a Charles Grodin movie; perhaps Beethoven, of course, or the wonderful Seems Like Old Times. Chum also looks like a good boy who probably doesn't need a lot beach time, given all that fluffy fur.

So, that's it. I hope y'all enjoyed this moment with Chum.

Now back to your previously scheduled dystopia. Or just spend some time surfing through the Papergreat archives and forgetting about the world. That works, too. Leave a comment and say hello.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Old grocery store photo #1

This week I'll be sharing some old grocery store photos I came across. Most of them aren't that great, but they're interesting artifacts. For many, grocery stores evoke clear memories of our youth. In some ways, they've changed so much over the decades (especially aesthetics and technology). Yet perhaps no change was as stark as the one that occurred this year, when the grocery store experience came to involve masks, social distancing, carts being wiped down, hand-sanitizer kiosks, arrows on the floors (though that was a short-lived thing in our neck of the woods), no small amount of shopper anxiety, and certain shelves being perpetually bare. Many have turned to online ordering and delivery, and might never fully go back.

I don't know the where or the when associated with blurry shot, or any of the other photos in the batch. Best guess would be early to mid 1960s, but perhaps we'll be able to refine that a bit more once all of the photos are here for folks to crowd-source.

The Edgemar sign, as shown in this photo, might refer to Edgemar Dairy in Santa Monica, California. Here's a wonderful recollection, written by a person named Sherri and posted on Chowhound in 2014:
"Growing up in Southern California, 1950s & 60s - A couple of times a week, Otto from Edgemar dairy arrived with milk and whatever else he thought we needed. There was a slot built into our house with metal doors on both sides so he could put it in and we could take it out from the kitchen. He rarely used this since he just walked into the house to re-supply. As kids, we always wanted him to leave sweets but we got eggs, cream et al instead. The Helms bakery man brought us all manners of baked goods. Our ice cream man was grumpy so we called him the Bad Humor Man but he always found a root beer popscicle for me. I never knew that you could buy hairbrushes at the store because of The Fuller Brush man who supplied us with every kind of brush imaginable. Later, early 80s, Virginia Beach, we had a Mennonite dairy deliver milk. It was my huge splurge since it cost more than twice as much as milk from the USN commissary. He also brough ice cream (rarely since it was sinful) and heavy cream that literally stood a spoon in the little glass bottle. Fond memories all."
(Full disclosure: Otto from Edgemar Dairy is no relation.)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Book cover & great link:
"War of Nerves"

I'll provide the usual vital statistics for this silly book. But if you just want to skip ahead to the good stuff, check out Jure's incredibly entertaining 2017 review on the Alpha-60 Books blog.

  • Title: War of Nerves
  • Series: Attar the Merman #2
  • Cover text: "A superhuman avenger battles evil forces bent on the destruction of the sea!"
  • But not that kind of Avenger: Correct.
  • Author: Robert Graham (a pen name for Joe Haldeman)
  • Cover illustrator: David Plourde
  • Back cover blurb: "The villain Rasputin was blackmailing the U.S. Government, threatening to detonate 40 drums of deadly nerve gas in the Caribbean. If he succeeded, it would mean the total destruction of every living thing in the area."
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Cover price: 95 cents
  • Year: 1975
  • Pages: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • Strange credit: "The voodoo prayer in Chapter 11 was taken from the excellent book Haiti: Black Peasants and Their Religion, by Alfred Métraux. Copyright, ©, 1960, by Editions de la Baconnière."
  • Another strange credit: The copyright and "produced by" credit for the book belong not to the author, but to Lyle Kenyon Engel (1915-1986), who was described as a "fiction factory" in the obituary written by the Los Angeles Times. So we can reckon that Attar the Merman was his idea. He had much more lucrative ideas during his career.
  • First sentence: One moonless night not too long ago, a formation of American PT boats slipped unnoticed past the southeastern corner of Cuba through the Windward Passage and sped west.
  • Last sentence: Attar asked Hamilton for a nice quiet assignment next time.
  • Random sentence from the middle: The president owned real estate in Florida.
  • Best review: As mentioned, please go read Jure's review of this book. Here's just one excerpt: "What does make our hero memorable are his sidekicks which are introduced in the third chapter. This is definitely the highlight of the novel and it requires multiple readings!"
  • Also a great review: Joe Kenney discussed the book in 2010 on his blog, Glorious Trash.
  • Spoiler alert: One of Attar's sidekicks is named Grampus.

Postcard mailed from Addison, Pennsylvania, in 1912

Addison is a tiny borough in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, that was settled in 1798 but not incorporated until the same year this postcard was mailed from there: 1912. It sits along the historic National Road and had a tollhouse for that pike that still stands today. This postcard features the Central Hotel and it was published by The Express Printing Co. of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

The short note on the front states: "Where I ate dinner at Addison." That's it for the message, which is addressed to Miss Almeda Lewellyn at 68 Murray Avenue, Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The April 4, 1928, edition of The Evening Standard of Uniontown notes that "Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Lewellyn and Miss Almeda Lewellyn motored to Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon where they were the guests of relatives." A different Uniontown newspaper, The Morning Herald, notes that Miss Almeda M. Lewellyn, "a well-known local resident," died in Pittsburgh's Mercy Hospital at 2:20 o'clock on February 16, 1944, "following a lingering illness." It doesn't state how old she was when she died.

As far as the Central Hotel goes, there's not a lot. A July 1, 2019, Facebook post by the Fayette County Historical Society/Abel Colley Tavern & Museum features the same postcard image and these tidbits:
  • This postcard dates to 1908.
  • I believe the Mitchell family ran it [the hotel] for a while.
  • "Believe Beth-Center had football camp in Addison in 1960, and stayed in this place."
  • "When I visit back home - on my way back to Virginia, I always drive through Addison. Beautiful in autumn."
  • "Grandma Tishue was born there I believe."
  • "yes she was she told me stories of how she had to be quit because of the guests and how she loved to ride down the stair rail she would get into trouble for that. the room just off the main room room you enter is where her father died."