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Visiting San Diego to attend a reunion with his Naval Academy shipmates, Vic Moitoret, Rowena and Alan found time to tarry in El Cajon long enough to spin a few sea tales and set some type.

Vic sez: “I’m Amazed”

Be warned! If you’ve never before visited Gale Sheldon’s print shop [and this is our first visit] you would do well to demand an updated plat, a guidebook, St. Bernard with brandy cask, emergency rations, etc. – and you will have notified your next-of-kin. Only then should you venture beyond the third rack of typecases into the Distant Regions with any expectation of finding your way out again. I would conjecture that many amateur printers would probably think he had passed away and somehow had managed to wind up in a special Printers’ Heaven.

Or, to put it more succinctly: Like Wow, man!

“A mighty maze! But not without a plan.” – Alexander Pope

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“What a person does – those are the things that he has. You may find other things on him, but they are not his.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Where Has All the Freedom Gone?
by Gale Sheldon

“Our freedom is disappearing.” Many people would agree with that. The increased regulations, laws, restrictions, taxes and greater government involvement in all aspects of life are the culprits in our diminishing free society. Or so says the pessimism that America is no longer the land of the free. There doesn’t seem to be much individual freedom anymore.

In doing all this griping, maybe we have been looking in the wrong places. Most of us have narrowed the area of our skills; we’ve become specialists. In a complex society we’ve settled on one or a few skills which do not take advantage of all our varied talents. We have become doctors, accountants, computer programmers, drywall specialists, teachers and typists. Because we depend upon others for so many things we need and use, we can get by with one or a few specialized skills.

One result of all this – especially if we’ve lost our job – is that we feel hemmed in, confined, bottled up. We have no place to turn. Since our one skill is no longer useful, our freedom is gone. It was not someone else who took our freedom away, not regulations, taxes nor government. We did it by limiting ourselves.

Our preoccupation with restrictions blinds us to what really stands in the way of freedom: our ability to do things. Because we must live in a society we must accept some restrictions; it is necessary for survival. If we become hermits, Robinson Crusoes, our restrictions become the restrictions of nature and our own abilities, rather than those of society. How well could we survive in such a wilderness? Put in this context the restraints of society do not seem so confining.

Freedom has been described both as the lack of restrictions which might prevent us from doing things, and as the greatest possible number of choices that we can have. But even with few restrictions and many choices we are still not free. We must be able to exercise our freedom. That means we must be able to do something – we must have skills. Drafting house plans, preparing income tax returns, building a patio, landscaping a home, repairing a lamp are all useful accomplishments.

To the extent that we develop skills and can do things, these skills become part of us, and they determine who we truly are. The things that we can do are the things that make us free.

That guy from Hemet says it’s
Better than Going Fishing

Hemet’s Bill and Elza Gordon drove down to enjoy a few days near the beach and stopped by for a brief afternoon visit here to check out the current status of the local private press and specifically its most recent acquisition: a linotype. I couldn’t persuade Bill to set a stick of type [you know how these linotype fellers are, if they can’t punch it out on a keyboard, it’s too much trouble] but he eagerly checked the condition of several fonts of matrices for me. Bill says that fiddling around with an old linotype is even more fun than going fishing. Or even printing. 2-15-82 G. S.

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This rare issue was published in a burst of ambition initiated by a visit from the Moitorets, encouraged by the Gordon interlude, utilized time swiped from other more trivial endeavors and took advantage of the septuagenarian platen still warm from its recent tussle with pages for NAPA WEST. This bit of glitter from the bottom of the pan was swished up by the old prospector himself: Gale Sheldon, El Cajon, CA 92020, who urges all fortune hunters to stake a claim in the New Eldorado at St. Pete on July 3, 4, 5. I hear it’s gonna be a reg’lar Bo-nanza.

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