“GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN” does not apply to NAPA Conventions (nor any other) where ‘being there’ is most of it. In thinking back, I do not recall many trips to a convention except for special ones, like that to Tucson, 1961, by train when I took Lorna Doone along to read and didn’t get it finished even by the time I reached El Paso because there was so much to see en route. At El Paso where I was to have my trip ticket validated I was met by two of Viola Payne’s sisters (Katherine & Frances) whom Viola had alerted & who told me that I was to stay overnight at Katie’s, & continue next day by care with Alice Todaro and Mona Gaither.
Our Convention trips by motor home are an exception because they have been combined with vacation travel & we keep Trip Reports; even though I said I was too busy this time to write one, I find that ‘getting there’ is still filed under Total Recall – so see Overleaf. Meantime, as usual, I’m in a rush to get this LN off to the Mailer as we are leaving in 3 days for the October Memory Lodge Pilgrimage in North Carolina before going to Ohio to round off the year’s traveling. Page four of this issue was used in the BAPA LN in September and belongs in our NAPA LN because the article pertains to a former NAPA member, Jim Walsh, of Vinton.
Again, copy on hand must be delayed, and most of all I regret having to postpone using Louise Rayle’s Christmas tribute to her mother, Carrie Barber, who died at the age of 85 on Nov. 5, 1979. I ran across a box marked Unused Copy which was put aside at the time of my father’s death, so I am seriously considering an issue or two to present them, as they are too good to be lost, but I must check their availability.
Rebecca Greenhouse keeps interested in NAPA, but manages to get so involved that she hasn’t rejoined (yet); her “Good Neighbor Day” idea was reported this year which took a lot of time; her only disappointment was that merchants donated awards for schoolchildrens’ essays on their neighborliness, but school officials did not promote it so not many children learned of it.
At Christmas she planned a party for people who had no one to share Christmas with, and altho it was a last-minute (actually two days) inspiration, one church official (it was held at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier) suggested it could be the start of a Christmas tradition. A poem for Good Neighbor Day was published locally:
Who Is My Neighbor?
By Sylvia Preedom of Montpelier, VT
“Love Thy Neighbor,” the Master said.
I repeated the words as I went to bed
And the question kept spinning around
In my head,
“Who is my neighbor?”
A neighbor can be the fellow next door,
The poor chap you’re fighting when
There’s a war.
A neighbor’s a lawyer with office downtown,
The bus driver, teacher, or circus clown;
A neighbor is Jones, pockets full to the brim
Or Brown, who is trying to keep up with him;
A neighbor can sport any color or creed,
Be equipped with a halo, or be wicked indeed;
A neighbor’s your brother and under the sun
We all are God’s children
Every last one.
Blow your icy fingers,
Rub your ruddy nose;
Cheeks aglow of mornings,
Toast your frosty toes.
Cold winds now are blowing
Sharply from the north,
Ice and snow and winter
Daily creeping forth.
Pumpkins now are gathered,
All the crops are stowed.
Farmers take a needed rest –
Next year’s wheat is sowed.
Knowing not Thanksgiving,
Turkeys strut the lawn.
Woe to Mr. Gobbler –
He will soon be gone.
– M. B. K.
I FELT MUCH IN TOUCH with England this past January. A girl’s college in our area conducts ‘Winter Seminars’ to which anyone is welcome; the first two were on Charles Dickens. Our friend, Jim Walsh (considered the foremost AUTHORITY on Dickens in this country, and a member of the Dickensians) wished to attend & as he does not drive we took him & enjoyed the seminars very much.
The lecturer was Dr. Andrew Sanders, the Hon. Editor of The Dickensian & a lecturer at Birkbeck College, Univ. of London. Our newspapers featured him & Jim extensively, which resulted in overflow crowds.
You may recall my “Dickens Issues” of Showcase, nine years ago; it was Jim who inspired them; and he worked up a Dickens Quiz for my Contest News so esoteric that I asked him to simplify it, since none but dedicated Dickensians could answer it.
Jim is a man of many interests; he heard his first phonograph record at age two (it was “A Night Trip to Buffalo” heard at a neighbor’s house) & by the age of 8 he had started a collection which eventually consisted of about 40,000 discs & 500 cylinders of mostly pre-1926 material plus much related memorabilia.
He soon became THE authority on them and for almost 40 years he conducted a department on “Pioneer Recording Artists” for Hobbies magazine. His mail on the subject has overwhelmed him. Many other writers use his knowledge and research to build their own reputations – and some few even acknowledge that without his work, 90% of that history would have been lost. Letters came asking dozens of questions which he patiently answered; then the material appeared, credited to the letter-writer; it did not seem to annoy Jim, but I grew indignant at this draining of his knowledge and strength. And there is a disc jockey whose reputation in this line came from his interminable inquiries of Jim.
Jim lives in a very big house in Vinton, VA & as it became filled with his enormous collection he became concerned of its ultimate disposition. He contacted the Library of Congress some years ago & they were delighted to be offered it, as their own collection prior to 1925 was meager; finally last year, Jim decided it would be safer in their care, so for about three days the packers & movers combined to empty his big house. (Empty? There are still his Dickens items, and some thousands of books!)
The donation was appraised at a value of a quarter of a million dollars; the Library is not permitted to set a value on it, but admitted that that figure was defensible. It is in process of being cataloged & prepared for exhibition in the Library’s new James Madison Memorial Building.
It cannot be very often that a child of two can find his life interest in a hobby that in his lifetime becomes that valuable.
BAPA members may be pleased to note that the very earliest recording is an extremely rare version of “God Save the Queen.”
This is appropriate since Jim, too, is a staunch Anglophile.
by Robert F. Salmon
Berkenhead, Merseyside, England
“In England’s green and pleasant land,”
So song Blake. How could he reck
Of ‘Overspill,’ and ‘Bottleneck,’
Fuel-pump, and garage chain,
Pylon, bridge, and latticed crane
Spilling from Man’s busy hand?
On tailored greens, on doctored earth
In lout-infested public park,
Can we hope to find a lark?
Will his mounting song be sung
In a city’s littered lung?
Must we banish nature’s mirth?
No golden ears, the harvest mice
To hide? No lake, the darting swift
To skim with neither flip nor lift?
No squirrels hoarding winter nuts?
On Nature’s rug, tyre-patterned ruts
That butcher meadows in a trice.
When fertile acres disappear
While houses, paired as Siamese twins,
Led by monstrous roadhouse Inns,
March across fair England’s face
Gouging out new living-space
Vanishes green yesteryear.
In gaping scar, in rotting slum
Where blackened chimneys sear the sky,
And slag-heap rears its bulk on high,
Can we yet build fresh and fair?
Will our filthy, laden air
Grace a new Elysium?
When daisies die, and country lanes
Wind no more from croft to mill;
And man is left with small desire
To lift a flower from the mire
Of bleeding nature. What remains?
(As always, I bite off more than I can masticate – or publish – so if I pretend & ignore Christmas & devote that time to cutting stencils, I may use up all copy on hand before it gets too stale. OKAY?)
ERRATA: ‘Overleaf’ turns out to be page 3; & Page 4 slipped back to Page 2! Sorry.
This is The 1980 Trip Report We Said We’d Not be Writing
Willametta and Martin B. Keffer
We left for the Denver Convention in mid-June in order to spend time with former NAPA member Grace Phillips in Columbus, Ohio, where I enjoyed a long telephone visit with NAPA’s beauteous Sandy Burns. Then we had several days with my father’s 91-year-old cousin in Dana, Indiana. Cousin Nettie has such an alert mind, youthful outlook, and good health (being bothered only by arthritic knees) that she seems a contemporary who knows family history which helps make my forbears seem not so far back. She was working on quilt pieces for a younger member of her large family, since that relative was unable to do close work, and was looking forward to spending the month of July in Indianapolis with another relative.
Heading west, we encountered in Missouri the first of our mandatory minor mishaps; it may have been the record heat which weakened a section of the gas line at the filter, but while we were having lunch at a Rest Area between Wright City & Warrenton, the hose broke. Fortunately, a nearby road service was able to send a mechanic to repair it before we lost all our gas. We do not have factory-installed air conditioning in the motor home as we were too eager for delivery that we couldn’t wait, but having windows open as we drove had always been pleasant, and seemed so even in this heat, but we felt weary so decided to stop at a familiar camp near Concordia – far short of our planned goal for the day. After leveling, connecting to electricity & starting A/C we craved nothing but rest. I promised Martin supper later, but fell asleep and when I aroused enough to offer, he seemed as uninterested in eating as I did.
We awakened refreshed in the morning, but could understand how people can die of heat exhaustion, as many did this past summer. We had an appointment to have the motor home serviced that day in Russell, Kansas, and altho we’d have met it, the station was short a mechanic so asked us to come Monday morning, which suited us as we had not planned to leave cousin Rolland’s until later in the day on Monday.
In Russell my 13-year-old second cousin, Mark Andrew Caylor, joined us and we headed west over the rolling Kansas plains for the Goodland KOA where we spent the night. I was reminded of Irene Lester whose home territory this is, and regretted that word had come that she’d not be at Denver. Before reaching the KOA (where we gained an hour on Mountain Time) we had a second mishap. This, too, was due to the heat which vaporized gas in the tank so when Martin removed the cap at a Rest Area (maybe we should stay out of those places) it spewed out. Since we do not smoke and were thus not holding a lighted cigarette which would have led to a holocaust, the only trouble (we thought then) was that I had to change my gasoline-spattered clothes. But we soon discovered the gas gauge did not work. The Dodge Agency adjoining the KOA said they’d have to investigate if the explosion had damaged it, and then order any needed part, but we weren’t about to miss the convention, so decided to monitor gas vs. mileage, and we managed nicely.
I’d not noticed the extent of amusements offered by KOAs until Mark rented a bicycle, played a round of miniature golf and discovered the Rec. Room and became enamored of a Target game. A player making 2700 points was entitled to extended play, someone had made 5300 points and Mark set out to surpass it. The machine eventually began to falter, showing the superiority of boy over electronics. Mark set out to break 100,000 and the KOA manager asked him to quit at that number. Mart & I retired, as we’d had a long day, and at closing time Mark reported he’d gotten to over 103,000 points.
We reached the home of Elaine & Jess Peck before 1:00 p.m. July 1st, & with Jess’ help tried to park on their front lawn, but could not get level so settled for the driveway. The Sticklers arrived on the 2nd and were able to park crosswise with no problem. They brought two of their grandchildren, Julie & Jeff, who is 11. After that I did not see much of Mark A. as he & Jeff entertained each other. Jess Peck practically adopted Mark & the children spent their spare time glued to the Peck’s big TV.
Jess’ sister, Hazel Peck Wilford, had arrived earlier after a visit with her daughter in Texas; in due course Virginia Baker took over the other bedroom, so it seemed like a college dormitory. Elaine was trying to do a dozen things at once, and one day when she wanted to vacuum & straighten the living room, wash dishes from breakfast and clean the kitchen I told her to go on in to the hotel where she was needed and I’d do it; just before she left she came into the kitchen & moved some paper towels I was using and I told her to get out and stop bothering the housekeeper, which gave her a laugh.
Mark went with the Sticklers on a conducted tour of Denver, which I’d planned to take, too, although during two previous visits I’d taken tours & visiting was more fun. We had a fine attendance. The official organ and various papers give details, but what pleased me was that we elected Joe Bradburn president for his long and devoted service; but for health reasons he resigned and Rowena Moitoret consented to serve.
Our headquarters was the Executive Tower Inn, and the Denver group had arranged an exhibit of printing artifacts as well as a Presentation to the Colorado Historical Society at the Colorado Heritage Center; this was not too far away, and there are shuttle buses, but as none came along we walked, cutting through a handsome park with a good view of the golden domes of the capitol. (I believe it was being re-gilded.)
Fossil Luncheon was well attended, which reminds me that the autumn issue of The Fossil is especially interesting & non-members can get a copy from Russ Paxton for $1 plus postage (which I believe is 40¢). To me the highlight of the banquet talks was one made by Hyman Bradofsky on the activities of an NAPA member of 90 years ago, Samuel J. Steinberg, who lived for a long time in Denver. Toastmaster, Vic Moitoret assured me that Hyman had had no advance warning beyond the few hours given all speakers. I hope his talk will be published as it held me spellbound.
Though a banquet with the presentation of Laureates officially ends the convention, this one was followed by a picnic at Elaine’s which drew as many as at the hotel.
The hotel had a special recreation area open to guests, & as the Sticklers always plan several days at the hotel, they offered & I accepted an arrangement so that Mark could stay at the hotel; but apparently, as we’ve found at many hotels, not everything is available on holidays, tho he did have some activities and went swimming.
Our post-convention plans included a trip thru Wyoming to the Black hills and Mount Rushmore to Wall, S.D. for two nights with Fred & Eunice Lewis, so Mark could see the Badlands, and an indefinite stay at the ranch with cousins he hadn’t yet met, but a summons from Virginia interrupted them. On our departure for the east from Denver we had our third mishap where road-rebuilding narrowed the lanes and a car passing on my left crowded me so that I caught the rear bumper on one of the barriers. I might as well mention here the fourth mishap which was at a gas station in Ohio where I bumped a stanchion on my right (the blind side) & partly crushed the protective shield over the propane tank.
Denver to Kansas state line was 180 miles with no Rest Area (which was just as well, considering our experiences) but Kansas has many excellent ones where overnight parking is permitted. This time we lost an hour due to time change, but still reached Russell in the afternoon and were able to stay a few days with Rolland & Mildred Ehrlich, and two at Doraance with Cousin Elma & husband, Solomon Steinle. The unrelenting drouth in the west was disastrous to farmers, and lack of pasture and hay for winter feed forced the sale of cattle. In the case of my cousin in South Dakota, later word is that lightning destroyed a long stack of baled hay. Farming and ranching are discouraging occupations and I wonder at the persistence and fortitude of the men engaged in it.
After another brief visit with Grace Phillips, we reached home to find everything in stable condition. Our good neighbors asked if we would rent them the motor home for a trip to California (Martin said, “You wouldn’t charge them rent, would you?”). But besides the current mishaps, we had 84,000 miles on it and we said it would need an overhauling first. But their son-in-law, who would do most of the driving, owns and operates an 18-wheeler which he maintains in first-class condition himself, and has said he would not drive a vehicle he had not gone over completely. He assured us it would be ready to use safely when they got back so we are taking off at once to make up for our curtailed summer trip!
Published since April, 1941, for the National Amateur Press Association
Willametta Keffer, Shady Acre, Roanoke, Va. 24014
Assisted by Martin B. Keffer, Printer and Encourager