Saturday, January 20, 2024

Another Sweetniks doll by Lada Draskovic surfaces

Whoa! On the heels of November's post about one of Lada Draskovic's 1960s Sweetniks dolls showing up on eBay, a reader has gotten in touch and shared the story of her Sweetniks doll. It's incredible how many of these are still around and in great condition.

Kita from Texas wrote to share her information and the above photos of her Sweetniks doll, which she has kindly given me permission to share here:

"I was searching to see what I could find out about my beatnik doll. I ran across your blog about these dolls. ... I thought you would like to hear of another 'sighting' of the Beatnik/Sweetnik Doll! ... I wish I could remember where in San Antonio, Texas, my mother bought the doll. I will need to research if there was a Saks there. I thought most likely it was a famous store named Joske’s in downtown San Antonio. I was with her and I remember telling her I really wanted it. Too bad, too, that I don’t know what she paid for it. ...

"I have had her since the early 1960s and bought it new. She was enclosed in a plastic top, but I discarded that when I put it in my china cabinet, years ago. I am the original owner and for some reason I kept her all these years. She is in excellent shape, as you can see from the pictures. I always kept very good care of all my dolls and didn’t actually play with them. I was an outdoorsy kid, which was good luck for my beatnik! ...

"I am considering selling her. But, I would like to get her into the right hands, being that she is so rare. Not a strand of hair is out of place after all these years and lots of moving. ... A museum would suit her fine!"

Kita added later that she contacted Sotheby's for a possible auction consignment, but was told that they had no information on Draskovic's Sweetniks and couldn't help her further. These unique dolls truly remain a mystery! Meanwhile, another reader posetd this intriguing comment: "I have what I’m pretty sure is a Sweetnik doll from the early 60s — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra." I asked for more details, but haven't heard anything further.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Farewell Titan, aka Titanoboa,
aka T-Dog Terwillinger

It's been a sad week. We had to say goodbye to Titan yesterday and helped him cross the rainbow bridge. Fortunately, we were able to do it at home, so he was in his familiar surroundings, around loved ones. He was 8, or maybe 10. We have little idea, really. We adopted him in the summer of 2018, and he was already very fully grown. (His name fit him well.) He had been at several stops before us, but never permanent ones, because he's always been a problematic cat, one way or the other. But we accepted him fully, problems and all.

He started as a TNR'd feral cat and had the tipped ear to prove it, but this was not an outdoor cat with outdoor cat skills. Or indoor skills, really. He drooled and ate and took naps, during which he snored. He peed where he wasn't supposed to. Often. But he was also incredibly friendly and gentle. Visitors loved him, probably because he happily galloped over to them as soon as they came in the door. Eventually, some people just started coming to visit Titan, not necessarily us. 

As we accumulated kittens in the past two years, Titan was our go-to cat for introducing the kittens to the adult cats. He accepted them all, and they used him as a big pillow for their naps. 

Here's the very nice tribute that Ashar wrote on Instagram:
"You were the gentlest giant who thought that he was just a wee tiny baby. You loved getting sink drink which usually involved you getting drenched. You loved to cuddle and sit with us. You made us laugh with your ridiculous laying positions. You chripped when you purred which sounded a lot like a tribble from Star Trek. You loved rolling around outside. You enjoyed food. Most of all you also managed to cheer people up and everyone loved you. You were such a good boy.

"You will forever be remembered in our hearts. We love you Titan."
Above: Titan and Mr. Bill.
Above: Titan the work-from-home pandemic helper cat #1.
Above: Titan the work-from-home pandemic helper cat #2.
Above: Titan meeting Autumn
Above: Titan napping with Bandit
Above: Titan eating from Big Boi's plate this week while Big Boi sits nearby (it's a long story)
Some final outside time this week.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Book cover: "The Chesterfield Gold"

  • Title: The Chesterfield Gold
  • Author: Roger Pilkington (1915-2003). In 1992, he wrote about crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Hindenburg.
  • Cover design: Barbara Nunan. (I can't find anything about her, which is a bummer.)
  • Illustrator: Piet Klaasse (1918-2001)
  • Original publication date: 1957
  • Publication date of this edition: 1971
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (an imprint of Penguin Books, London)
  • Editor of Puffin Books: Kaye Webb (1914-1996). She served as the editor of Puffin Books from 1961 to 1979.
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 189
  • Back cover price: "25p 5/-" 1971 was the year of Decimal Day in the United Kingdom and Ireland
  • Dedication: "To Hugh and all young people who can handle a boat." Pilkington had a son named Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington (1942-1986). 
  • First sentence: "Where are we, Daddy?"
  • Last sentence: "Only it's rather a different size."
  • Random excerpt #1: There's no better place for a good sound sleep than on board a small boat in a harbour, and in the submarine basin at Dover, the Dabchick's crew were asleep as soon as they were in bed.
  • Random excerpt #2: All in all, Michael thought that the American was rather nicer than a crook out to be.
  • Random excerpt #3: Right beneath the great statue of Liberty with her lamp held high in her hand, the smack clipped round the stone bull-nose of the island, straight in front of the oncoming Marguerite
  • Rating on Goodreads: 4.67 stars (out of 5)
  • Reviews: Alas, there are no reviews of this boating thriller anywhere online. If you've read it or remember it, feel free to comment below and be the first person to review this book in cyberspace! The book is part of what's called Pilkington's Branxome Family series. Kirkus reviewed one of the other books in the series, 1958's The Missing Panel, and I think it kind of has the same seafaring flavor as The Chesterfield Gold, so this is what Kirkus had to say: "One panel of a priceless Antwerp altar piece was missing. Though the thief had confessed his guilt just before his death, there was only an enigmatic riddle to help the Bracome [sic] children discover its whereabouts. Peter, Michael and Jill, traveling with their parents in their little boat ... set out to recover the altar piece. A cave-in in an underground labyrinth nearly ends their search. Some of the plot devices are melodramatic. It's a no-holds-barred derring-do adventure story of three British youngsters on a chase, with some effective cliff-hanging before success."