The Minor Character
by Lenore Harris Hughes
WITHOUT HARD WORK on the part of the minor characters in the play, those taking the major roles would be a flop,” stated H. T. Hermann emphatically, as he upbraided me for pouting. “All actors cannot be given major assignments. You go back on that stage and be the best minor character ever played.”
I did go back on the stage, studying my role as the curious old lady in the railroad station and playing the part to the best of my ability. It brought applause and praise from the audience after the performance was over. I have had many an occasion since to recall the words and lesson taught me by that small town Superintendent of Schools.
Our high school had only 95 students. It wasn’t because there was a lack of young people around. It was because of the great depression. Many a robust lad had quit school to work on farms. Girls dropped out when they lacked adequate wardrobes.
I walked one and one-half miles to school each day. My wardrobe consisted of two dresses, one of them really belonging to my mother. The other was a dress salvaged from a rummage collection. It was red. Each evening I washed out my one pair of silk hose and hung them up to dry.
Difficult as it was, my father always dug deep in his pockets each morning and furnished ten cents for me to buy a lunch downtown. One could get a hot beef sandwich for that amount. During this brief hour I enjoyed a bit of social life in the town’s one restaurant where we could get a meal for a lonely dime.
H. T. Hermann worked with students like me, boys and girls struggling with the desire for an education while battling the elements for survival. I was registering as a sophomore when I first met him. He looked at me with those deep brown eyes, somber under bristling black brows, and rubbed an almost bald head with his big hand.
“You must take Geometry,” he said, marking it down in solid black script.
“But,” I stammered, remembering my struggles with Algebra, “I don’t like math. It’s hard for me to understand. Can’t I take something else?”
He twirled his pencil between thick fingertips.
“You will need the credit for college,” he said evenly and precisely.
“Oh, I’ll never go to college. My folks cannot afford to send me,” I whined, with an attitude of finality.
“Look here,” his voice rumbled, “You don’t know what you’ll be doing three years from now. You sound like you are speaking of the world’s end. You are going to take Geometry.”
“All right,” I agreed meekly.
My first class that year was Geometry. And who was the teacher? H. T. Hermann, himself. His eyes twinkled at my amazed expression as I stared at him from the front row that first day.
As the days passed by I found the subject quite likable. The crowning point of the year was the triumph I felt when I solved a problem which none of the others had been able to prove. Mr. Hermann asked me to demonstrate on the chalkboard.
When I finished he beamed, “That’s just fine, Lee-Nore.” (He always mispronounced my name. That very fact has endeared him in my memory.) Superintendent, teacher, dramatic coach, senior sponsor, he was all these things to all students.
The final episode involved the graduation ceremony. Knowing the poverty of the small farming community, Mr. Hermann attempted to introduce caps and gowns which we could rent for $1.25. Past tradition had made it necessary for all teenage girls to buy three dresses, all formals – one for the banquet, one for baccalaureate and the third one for commencement. My mother could sell enough old hens to buy material for one dress. The remaining functions I could attend with cap and gown, but for the banquet I would have a lavender silk dress.
Three girls in our class of 12 rebelled. Each wanted to flaunt three dresses. In a class meeting, Mr. Hermann sighed.
“We’ll leave it up to you. If you wish to wear the cap and gown, all right. If not, you may sit on the stage in your new dresses.”
As class poet and salutatorian I stood on the rostrum and quoted my poem, beginning
Our high school days are over,
The course prescribed is done…
but the ideals that Mr. Hermann instilled within me were never finished, as I have carried them with me in all of my lifetime associations.
by Walter W. Hoffman
Light mist lies on the river
And the water ripples quiver
Almost golden in the sun.
White gulls, soaring and flying,
Skim by, piping and crying,
Over the river water.
Sounds of whistles blowing,
Deep and long, of ships going
Out to the sea.
The tall buildings stand
Like castles in fairyland,
Lit by a misty sun.
Out there, beyond the bay,
Is the sea, where forever play
The shadowless winds.
My First Bundle
by Sandy Burns
ONE OF MY FIRST JOYS in becoming a member of NAPA was to learn there were other seemingly sane people who had “Klutterman’s Disease.” All of these years I had been told I had a “problem,” but no one ever identified it other than to suggest it must be a character flaw. I am grateful to Grace Phillips and Willametta Keffer for sending me Emerson MacGregor Duerr’s article which diagnosed the symptoms for me.
Only a very few of my close friends knew about the problem. They tried to help me with gentle suggestions such as, “Why don’t you just throw out all of this junk?” but were sympathetically tolerant when I insisted it was not junk. When I moved last summer, as a friend carried the fifth box labeled “Current Material” to my room, he made a remark about how could anyone have five boxes of current material.
I seldom entertain less intimate friends in my apartment. You know what I mean – those people who would be offended at being served dinner on a table stacked with papers, books, pens and typewriter ribbons. On occasion, however, I would find myself going through a familiar frantic routine of packing everything up, shoving boxes into closets, sliding stacks under my bed and squeezing stuffed envelopes into drawers. When I think of all the people I have deceived into thinking I am a neat, orderly person, I cringe and vow never to do it again (especially when it takes me a month to get everything organized after they leave).
You can imagine what a relief it was to be able to come out of the closet, so to speak. Through conversation and correspondence with various NAPA members, I gleaned very obvious hints that they, too, had similar symptoms (such as “I’ll answer your letter when I find it.”) As I gained courage and confidence, I confessed fully and openly that I was a full-fledged “Klutterman.” My new friends, however, did not try to reform me. They acknowledged my problem as an acceptable part of life, but with sympathy for the inevitable fact that it would get worse when I started receiving my Bundles.
On April 18, 1979, my first Bundle was delivered. I opened it carefully, trying to contain my excitement and anticipation. My son mumbled something about I was acting weird that evening, and asked if I was ever going to start dinner. With a sigh, I stuffed everything back into the envelope, moved some papers aside to make room for placemats, and started patting out hamburgers. It was about 10:00 p. m. when everything was finished and my son was sleeping soundly. As I picked up my precious Bundle, I felt a pang of disappointment that I could read only a few items before I fell asleep.
As I picked up each publication, I felt such an appreciation for the uniqueness of the paper, the various styles of print, the designs and artwork. It was a new experience and a whole new world to me. The writing was informative, inspiring, educational and funny. There were a few publications I couldn’t understand, however, because they were written in a different language. I am going to have to find someone who can translate “Garamond/t,” “Granjon” and “15A30a job fonts” before I can fully appreciate some articles.
When I finished the last publication, I felt that the writers, printers and publishers had introduced themselves to me personally and had shared their love, joy, creativity, commitment and quality, along with frustration, perspiration and exasperation, which blended into dedication to individual expression.
It was worth staying up an extra hour, I thought, as I tucked the last item into the envelope. I glanced at the clock and discovered the extra hour had evolved into three hours of pleasure. I took out an empty box and, with a smile, labeled it “Bundles of Joy – No. 1.”
Parting Words to His Dad
by Richard Brobst
I was just standing here with my teddy bear
And I wanted to say
That I hope you have a nice day.
by Dorothy H. MacAulay
Down the velvet blackness
Of our silent street,
April Rain comes dancing,
On silver slippered feet.
Heel and toe, then curtsey,
April Rain is laughing,
For Winter’s put to rout!
Soft April Rain,
Humming in the dark,
Washing winter woes away,
Whispering in the park!
Kissing all the crocus,
And the daffodils,
Fluffing up their petticoats,
And the tulip’s frills!
Shaking out the lilacs,
Stirring up the rose,
Treading where the peonies
Show their shell pink toes!
Underneath the blankets
Nature spread last fall,
All the little sleepy heads
Hear her urgent call!
by Docothy H. MacAulay
Deep down inside I’m a poet,
But shy when it comes time to show it.
To display all my wares,
Invoke gasps and stares,
Would whittle my soul, and I know it!
What A Joke!
by Paul Burns
HE PURSED his lips; I pursed mine. We flexed our muscles and squared off. A long chilly (the Dayton YMCA gym was chilly that February 1962 afternoon) pause. Then we grappled. He threw me to the mat. I groaned; then I jerked, twisted, kicked and mauled. He fell. I flummoxed him into a leg lock. My arms flailed uneconomically. Wrestling really wasn’t my physical forte, basically.
Soon we both tired. With hearty relief and laughter, we went to the shower room, and from there to the pool for a long, leisurely swim. The heated parts of my body cooled quickly under the thrilling aegis of the frigid fluid. I felt renewed; so did he. When we entered the YMCA cafeteria that evening, we both felt like eternal boys.
His marriage had failed. So had his job as police reporter for a Dayton newspaper, so he was about to leave the Ohio city for Hawaii and a new life. During dinner in the cafeteria that evening, he started eying me funnily. I wondered why. Later he excused himself to make a phone call, and within an hour I understood his questioning dinner look.
Into Dayton’s YMCA lobby walked his ex-wife, and in her eyes expectancy shone. He introduced us. We chatted for a while, the three of us. Then he treated us to coffee in the coffee shop. I felt her eyes and her female brain swiftly evaluating me. I didn’t talk much while this examination went on.
Then we took a long walk around downtown Dayton. When we returned to the YMCA lobby, it was my turn to make a phone call. I really didn’t make it, just pretended to, but from the closed booth I could see them gesticulating excitedly. I saw her face redden with exasperation, disappointment and rage. Then she wheeled around and stomped out.
My soft laughter echoed louder, there in the enclosed telephone booth.
Legend of the Rainbow
by Dolli Schneider
The GREAT SPIRIT
Has placed a RAINBOW
On a silver band.
Sun rays hover above it –
Symbol of constancy
In this desert land.
Between two sons
Stands a stalwart
The three look with love
To the loyal
Wife – Mother.
The legend of this RAINBOW
Sent from the
GREAT SPIRIT above
Is a covenant of a
Future full of
Happiness and love.
Comments on the Bundle
by Joseph F. Bradburn
Leah Warner has written an interesting article in The Rosewood Rambler on the ultimate result if every member became active and published a paper at the same time. While we are in no danger of ever reaching that stage, it does offer fascinating food for thought.
Jim Meagher offers some comments in The Tumbleweed No. 10 on the rapid changes taking place today in the printing industry, demonstrated in part by his own development of a limited size hobby shop into a sizable commercial operation. Incidentally, my dictionary says the word “type” comes from the Greek typos, meaning impression, figure, stamp or type.
Keith Gray contributes two issues of Writers’ Avenue to the bundle, with solid contributions of prose by Paul Burns, Eugene C. Irvine and Walter W. Hoffmann, plus poems by Carolyn T. Vale, Cynthia Sobsey and Paul Burns. Keith has maintained a steady output of quality journals over the past several years, for an impressive total number of pages.
In Experiment 32 I used a poem by Carolyn T. Vale, and didn’t realize she had dropped her membership until I went to send her two extra copies. I sent them anyway with a note inviting her to resume membership, and she reported that she might do so.
Bill Treber checks back into the bundle with No. 6 of The Hell Box, in which he comments on his visit to J. Ed. Newman’s printshop, and other matters of interest. He also swaps recollections with “Gehry” Geringer on miscellaneous equipment found in old printshops.
Bill Haywood is making good use of his retirement, with an issue of Just Our Type in the March bundle and another under way, plus It’s a Small World in progress. Bill includes some welcome comments on various papers, plus a rundown on APC News. Bill has failed to mention, however, the No. 137 produced at Alf Babcock’s shop on August 18, 1979. He probably meant there was no No. 138, since the New Year’s Eve issue printed at Segal’s is numbered 139.
Neil DeRosa reports that his Tall Grows The Corn was in progress when an earthquake struck the area, causing the forms to be scattered and need to be reset. We’ve had floods and earthquakes before which affected amateur printshops, so he becomes a member of an interesting group.
Speaking of catastrophe, Helen Middleton Amos sent me a manuscript in March, and apologized for not retyping it because the house had been on fire and her son had been in a serious car accident, plus surgery. I offer my sincere sympathy to her in this time of trial.
John Carroll comes up with Ricercare to report that he has discontinued Phlugg after 47 issues due to the actions of another member in copying the title. I hope that John will continue to make his interesting contributions to the bundles, regardless of what title he uses to publish them.
Arie Koelewyn sports a temporary pressmark in his Fly Paper No. 2 which apparently represents a mourning figure. Perhaps it is Arie himself, remorseful at directing us to look for page ten in a four-page paper.
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.