by Louise Weibert Sutton
IN ALL NATURE instinct is the guideline which times and moves every living thing. The birds feel an urge to fly south when the first chilly days of another fall begin. The worm spins a cocoon, and goes to rest in it, assured that he is safe, till the second phase of his earthly life begins. Bears and other hibernating species decide that it is time to find a place in which to sleep out the winter. The tree drops its summer garments and becomes dormant until spring. Even man has an urge to get ready for the closing-in time, and finds himself wanting to store away what he can for the winter ahead.
In the spring there is an awakening. There is a quickening. Birds feel that the northern lands are calling them again, and fly toward them. The cocoon opens, and a winged beauty steps forth and lifts butterfly colors to the air. Bears come forth and sniff at the ground, and begin their yearly hunt for food. The trees and shrubs respond to the sunshine, and begin to deck themselves out in green again. Man, too, feels the urge to be up and doing. The world around him calls him to renewed activity. Thus instinct is ever present, no matter what the season, telling all the world’s occupants little secrets of time and place.
In man there is still another instinct that causes him to wonder. It is the instinct for eternity. His mundane mind tells him, “No, it can’t be.” But his inner self continues to point out that he is akin to the eternal, no matter how he denies it. This instinct is as real and true as in all the other creatures, yet man pushes it aside, and even makes up arguments in refutation of it. He is too “scientific,” he says, to believe in such things! He is here just by chance, and chance only, and when he dies he’ll just be dead, and that’s that!
The destiny that guides the birds and causes the worm to make a cocoon is not for him. He is lord of his own destiny, and it ends right here in the same place his life started. He need not heed his conscience unless he just wants to. That it, itself, is another instinct is laughable too. That it would guide his destiny to better things, he doubts. It just happens to be that uncomfortable something that bothers him when his actions get a little far-out – that is all!
I sometimes wonder why, when man has such a facile mind, he fails to use it to figure out the whys and wherefores of instinct, instead of using it to deny it. Where did this quality of life come from? What great intelligence put it into all things, to guide them through life? Is man to trust instinct, too?
Some say that, if man trusted his instincts too much, he’d turn into a horrible creature. I say that, if man becomes a horrible creature, it’s not so much any instincts that might make him so, as his own willfulness and lack of commonsense.
Animals mate by instinct. Yet they don’t force a female out of season. Animals hunt for food, but they don’t kill for fun only. Is man a lower form of life than an animal? I don’t think the average person is. There are some freaks in all species, and the freaks will always be different, but the normal will do the usual, accepted thing, and I think this is as true in the human world as in the animal kingdom.
One of the most beautiful things instinct does is point us to a Creator. In all men there is a search for a Fundamental Beginning. Some say it is the chance something that they call evolution. Man just began out of sludge, or evolved from an amoeba, or a monkey, or something; he had no Creator. So we don’t have to worry about conscience, or retribution by a God who expects morality. They are answerable only to themselves. Yet, by instinct man knows differently. That is why he often finds himself on a psychiatrist’s couch, or facing a suicide’s grave.
To be uncreated releases him from personal responsibilities for his doings, and he can “do his thing” as he wills. Why clutter up his life with a “God” who dominates things?
This is another instinct man derides, yet it is part of his nature too.
I don’t know if lower animals have a God instinct. Man boastfully claims he is god of all things, but he isn’t. He can only go so far in his godship. He still has to look further to a greater source for any really final answers, no matter how great he may think he is in the eyes of his dog or his horse.
I do, however, know that we would worry less over life and death if we allowed instinct to guide us more. If we feel we are responsible to Some One somewhere for what we do, we will avoid many things that might otherwise hurt us or others. If we allow our consciences to guide us – unless we have squelched our consciences to where anything goes – we will usually be sorry when we do whatever is hurtful to another, and make amends. If we admit that there is an instinct for eternity, we will not fear death so much when it comes – unless that same conscience, spoken of before, runs us crazy because of a life so badly lived we ourselves cannot even be at peace because of it.
Instinct is the roadmap of all living things. It points to a real purpose in life, too. If birds felt it was to no purpose that they seek a warmer clime, they might perish in the cold of the northern woodlands. If the worm failed to make a cocoon, he’d be unprotected from the elements and die. And thus, if man thinks he is just a “here today, gone tomorrow” creature who need not prepare for a future yet unseen, he will ruin his chances, too, by actions which might offend the very Force that brought him into existence, and never know the peace of being at one with the Elemental Being that created him for such an eternal destiny.
Man admits that there are more than three dimensions to life. But he seems to forget that not all dimensions may be visible to the human eye. The dimension of the spiritual is as real as the other dimensions, though we may lack the one sense that defines it. Yet, if we would be wise, we will be thankful for instinct. It points to a hereafter, and a true reason for our being, so let us heed it well.
by Mary E. Brunori
When one views a perfect rose
Just from the bud awaking,
He thinks not of the dung that goes
Into its beauty making.
When one meets a noble man
Whose deeds are goodly known,
He thinks not of the errors that span
The babe through man full grown.
Tis thus I tell me oft times
That one day I shall rest
And view my sons in their primes
With sole pride in my breast.
Ice Cream Social
by Carolyn T. Vale
The parlor party had no
age limit while references
required little experience
in the sweet tooth trade.
Talent asked opportunity
to include entertainment
for the performances joined
by sharing a cone divided
with many colors. Taste
sensations pleased the
palate of children while
adults watched with greedy
eyes a world they could
not trip into.
by Stella Craft Tremble
The summer hours wing by and close too soon,
The fruitful season leaves us at high noon…
October dons a multicolored coat
As Autumn wind rings out metallic note.
Gold leaves float gently from the maple’s height,
The flowers are rocked to sleep by frosty night.
Be still, my heart, the sun may hide his smile,
All nature lies quite dormant for a while,
But Spring will step upon the hills again
Heralded by song of meadowlark and wren.
Her oracles of miracles-shall be
Arbutus, violet, anemone.
Be hopeful, Heart! Lift up your voice and sing!
Beyond the sleep awaits another Spring!
What It Takes
by Harry Slocum Tordoff
MARK TORDOFF clenched his teeth to endure the pain of the injured right hand. The circular saw had hit so fast that the only remembrance he had was the sudden grabbing sensation, and searing pain. Then the sight of his own blood, covering everything around him. His strength and stamina kept him conscious during the ensuing moments, the throb of his fingerless hand pushing even the excitement of his fellow employees into the dim background.
It seemed hours before the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. Every jar of the vehicle was absolute agony, but the only thought running through his mind was, “A family at home, and my right hand crippled; what good am I now?”
After his wound had been treated, he was put to bed in the hospital ward, where he saw so many people worse off than he that his philosophy changed forthwith. “By Gosh! If they can make a living, so can I,” he said to himself as he lay there, letting the medication take hold, and finally falling asleep.
This took place in the year 1906. I was just one year old at the time. As you have probably guessed by this time, Mark Tordoff was my father. This story is intended to depict the lives of him and my mother during the hard years that followed this tragic time in their lives; to show the courage they both displayed as they battled this misfortune and won, working hard for what they received, but asking quarter from no one.
When Mom got the news, her Yankee spunk came to the fore and, when Dad returned from the hospital, she worked by his side with the will of a pioneer woman.
His hand healed, leaving only a thumb and the stub of his forefinger. The other three fingers were gone completely. But what that man couldn’t do with that stub and thumb wasn’t worth doing. He was a “go getter.”
Not long before this took place, Dad and Mom had bought a small farm in the Menton Section of Providence, Rhode Island. It contained three and three-quarters acres of land, house and outbuildings. There was a small pond about center on the place, from which Dad later cut ice, which he stored in a small ice house for summer use and for sale.
Naturally, as is the case with most of us, they had a sizable mortgage on the place, which Dad had planned to pay off with the fruits of his labors. Now the hope for those fruits was dimmed, but dimmed, not smothered. His spirit was strong, and he made use of every opportunity that came his way.
To begin with, his old boss refused to take him back, crippled as he was. “What could you do with that hand?” was the question he put to Dad when he tried to return to his old job. I can remember hearing my father say, “I wanted to show him in no uncertain terms what I could do with that hand, but for once I held my temper.”
There was a large ledge of stone on the farm, so he put his brains to work, borrowed money to buy a pair of horses, a tip cart, harness, and a thing used in those days to dig excavations with, called a “scoop.”
With this outfit, he went into business for himself digging cellars, laying the stone walls (which were the predecessors of our present day cement ones) with stone that he himself blasted from the ledge. Business improved as the years went on, and he eventually paid off the mortgage on the farm, and accumulated quite a bank account.
One day he asked Mom to give him the bank book, as he wanted to show it to his old boss. I’ve heard him say, so many times, “I got more satisfaction watching his face pale, when he saw the figures there in that bank book, than I would ever have gotten, had I let my temper get away from me, when he asked me that question.”
During the years that Dad was working his fingers to the bone to support us and bring his new business into being, Mom was doing more than her part, both in the house and much of the necessary outside work that Dad did not have the time to do. She did much of the outside work that should have fallen on the shoulders of my brother and myself as we grew older but, self-sacrificing soul that she was, she would do it so that, when Dad arrived home, he would not find it undone, and upbraid us.
Now that I have become older, (my brother has passed away) I feel ashamed that I did not do my share, instead of thinking always of play, but I guess this is a feeling we all have as we begin to pile on the years. We find out then what it means not to have the younger ones pitch in and help out a little, but we always have that knowledge come to us too late.
I remember one year that Mom picked over a hundred dollars worth of strawberries (at twenty cents a basket) from the berry bed behind the cow barn, all by herself because I wanted to play rather than help her pick those berries. Oh! memory can be bitter as well as joyful.
When I was 13 years of age, our first barn was burned to the ground, taking the lives of six horses with it. Dad rebuilt, a larger and more pretentious building, but in three years the new barn burned, taking four more beautiful horses with it. My father felt that he had “had it” and sold the place in two parcels, but we never felt the pinch of hunger, or wanted for a good home.
These two people are an example of what our modern generation derides as “the establishment.” I wish I had the guts and stamina of that so-called “establishment,” and for these imitations of what they will never be – real men and women – I ask you one question: “Where would you be without said ‘establishment’?”
Comments on the Bundle
by Joseph F. Bradburn
In Campane 87 Bill Haywood offers a comprehensive article on the relative merits of offset and letterpress printing in amateur journalism, backed up by facts and figures from Bill’s own shop. For those who may be thinking about buying some offset equipment and going into printing as a trade, the investment figures cited may be a warning for caution.
On the other hand, we do have printers in the association who are making substantial contributions to the bundles by means of offset. Larry Switzer checks in with another in his series of inspirational publications, this one featuring poems and short articles by Helen Middleton Amos. In the autobiographical interview she admits that an excessive degree of shyness has troubled her throughout her life.
Mike Horvat shows three excellent examples of printing by the offset method, but the contents do not seem to justify the elaborate presentation. I would have been more pleased to see him present a few poems or prose articles from NAPA authors, rather than the items he selected.
Incidentally, Mike is interested in building up a library of amateur journalism on a permanent basis. Anyone looking for a home for unwanted items can drop him a line.
Another example of combining offset and letterpress is in The Questionmark for January, 1980. Lenore Hughes has reproduced part of an historic old amateur journal with some comments by a Connecticut historian, as well as other copy by various authors. My files show I have the issue of The New England Star which preceded Lenore’s issue, but it does not indicate a planned sale to anyone. I have sent Lenore some data from Spencer’s History and other sources, in the hope that her friend can come up with more information.
Several publishers have complained about a lack of really good prose articles in the manuscript bureau. Lenore has been urging the authors to get busy, so perhaps the situation will be corrected in a short time. The bureau does seem to have an abundance of poems of all sizes.
Matt Kelsey has embarked on a new career as a novice with the Brothers of the Christian Schools, as well as a new journal, Backstreets. He believes that one way to encourage more participation in the bundles is to publish more detailed comments on the papers and their contents. Fortunately we do have some who strive for excellence in their work, but we also have a considerable number who recognize their various limitations, yet want to participate anyway. Too much adverse criticism would probably chase them into other less demanding associations, or perhaps cause them to abandon the hobby completely.
Harold Segal touches on this subject in Campane, with a plea that some of the more vocal critics of the association modify their remarks a bit. He also has a few kind words for the manuscript bureau and its present manager.
Robert Halbert and Charles R. Sikorski team up to bring us a treatise by Edgar Allan Poe on the merits of “Anastatic Printing.” It would have been interesting to know what the outcome of this process was, if not lost in history.
FIVE HUNDRED COPIES of this amateur journal are being printed, featuring some material from the NAPA Manuscript Bureau. To satisfy postal requirements, be it noted that this journal is distributed to members of the National Amateur Press Association through the monthly bundle. Other copies may be sent first or third class by the publisher-member, who is Joseph F. Bradburn, La Plata, Md. 20646. This journal is handset, and printed on an 8×12 C. & P. press.