Saturday, April 15, 2023

1979's "Zed and the Monsters"

  • Title: Zed and the Monsters
  • Author: Margaret Cecile "Peggy" Parish (1927-1988), best known as the originating author of the much-loved Amelia Bedelia series
  • Artist: Paul Galdone (1907-1986)
  • Publication date: 1979
  • Publisher: Doubleday & Company ("a presentation of Weekly Reader Children's Book Club")
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 60
  • Of note: This is, oddly, one of the lesser-recognized works by both Parish and Galdone, as it's not listed on either of their Wikipedia pages, as of this writing. It's fondly remembered by some who were children in that era, though.
  • First four sentences: "A long time ago, there lived a boy named Zed. Zed was clever, really clever. But he was lazy, really lazy. Zed only worked when his pockets empty, plumb empty."
  • Last three sentences: "Zed walked faster. His rocking chair was waiting for him. And Zed was in a hurry to keep it company."
  • Random sentence from the middle: "The monster caught a gloppy handful of noodles."
  • Assessment: The book seems like modern retelling of the tales from Scandinavian folklore (some featuring Ashlad) in which clever boys use their wits to defeat gigantic, incredibly stupid trolls.
  • Goodreads rating: 4.67 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review: In 2016, Joseph wrote: "I checked this book out at the school library 6 straight times in 2nd grade until the teacher put a stop to it. Checked it out again in 3rd grade because new teacher."
  • Amazon rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review: In 2014, Dinkus wrote: "This was a favorite of my children. They loved this book as children and now that they have little ones of their own, I was able to buy 2 copies and put them under the tree. Of all the gifts they received this Christmas, I think my daughters were most excited to receive this book. I used funny voices when I read to them as children — and they plan to do the same with their own." (Doing voices is definitely one of the best parts of reading to kids. I would use all sorts of different voices when reading Ruth Manning-Sanders stories to Ashar at bedtime. I would also, while we were on driving trips, make up stories featuring Star Wars characters, leprechauns and other amusingly-voiced characters. Sometimes the high jinks involved things like Darth Vader having to juggle babysitting a half-dozen cats.)

Monday, April 10, 2023

Snapshot & memories: Family outfits of 1972

This four-generations photo was taken on Sept. 16, 1972, which makes me — the short blond dude on the right — 21 months old. I look very much in need of a nap, which is usually the case these days, too.

It's that era's typical line-the-family-up-on-the-lawn Kodak snapshot. The location is the house on Oak Crest Lane in Wallingford, at which I would come to reside about 13 years later. Mowing that lawn became my job. The septic vent (far left) was a little lower in the ground by the mid-1980s, so we put a bucket over it to keep from inadvertently running it over with the mower.

From left are:
  • My great-grandfather, Howard Horsey Adams (1892-1985), who is enjoying an adult beverage
  • My great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988)
  • My grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham (1919-2003)
  • My mom, Mary Margaret Ingham Otto (1948-2017)

It's humbling when you consider that the combined lifetimes of the folks in this photo span everything from the Spanish-American War to World War I to the 1918 influenza pandemic to the Great Depression to the creation and dissolution of the Soviet Union to World War II and straight on through to the moon landing, personal computers, iPhones, the first Black U.S. president, the Trump era and COVID-19. This group has seen a combined (counts on one hand) two Philadelphia Phillies world championships.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

The cats of Papergreat join the Barbie movie meme fun

I'm a sucker for a fun and easy-to-use meme-making tool. So I joined the fun this past week and made these movie posters with the Barbie Selfie Generator that's an ingenious part of the marketing for Greta Gerwig's upcoming film.


Sunday's postcard: Bethlehem bridge

Here's a quick postcard from the shoebox on a Sunday morning as I'm setting up, hopefully, for a day of spring cleaning, sorting, pruning, list-making and simplifying. Oh, and catching up on correspondence. I'm so behind on everything. Also, there are a lot of cats here.

Feature on this creased, undated card is the "New Broad Street Bridge" of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The bridge was built in 1909 and I believe it's still in use today. When it opened 114 years ago, it replaced an iron-and-wood bridge that had dated to 1871.

The bridge was built by Cramp & Company of Philadelphia. According to, which features a 2019 photo of the bridge from ground level, it cross the Monocacy Creek and is 431 feet long, with five main spans.

The postcard was published by the Leighton & Valentine Co. of New York City. It was mailed to John J. Andrew of Plymouth, Pennsylvania. The message is in pencil and cursive. Here's what I think it states:

Dear Brother [?]
I am sending my best Regard too [sic] you and we are getting along fine. I got board with george my Brother on tuesday night 20 dollars a month and wash clothes too in slavish people. answer soon John.

"Slavish people" must refer to Slovak Americans, many of whom settled in Pennsylvania. The address provided for John is 528 Selfridge Street in Bethlehem. According to Zillow, the house that's currently there was built in 1923. This card has no date, no readable postmark and the stamp has been removed, so I have to idea if it was mailed before or after 1923.