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Random Thoughts
by Chester Grant

Most Americans know very little about my country outside of the general opinion that is a land of ice and snow, thirty degrees below zero, and populated by a few Frenchmen, Indians, and Eskimos, with a handful of Mounties, or RCMP to keep order. Now, I am not saying that you know nothing about Canada, but I do not live in the Rockies or near Seattle. I live approximately three or four thousand miles from Seattle. Nearer Detroit.

I am thirteen years old and have been reading our daily newspapers since I was four. I am an incurable “book-worm,” and read about a book a day, not counting all the myriads of magazines. I read most of the classics before I turned ten, and now glean my material from the adult section of our public library. I have developed quite a rapid reading rate; I find Shakespeare’s writings somewhat interesting, and have found many fine witticisms.

I am afraid that Mr. Fred C. Eichin is giving me more than my just due of compliments. (Confidentially, I like them, as would anyone else.) However, I have nothing to my literary credit but a “yen” for writing, and a couple of unpolished drafts of stories, and a few miscellaneous credits, and yet Mr. Eichin has such faith in me as to recommend me to the NAPA.

In a previous letter mention was made of the NAPA convention, and I thought, “Gee, I certainly would like to go to that.” However, I feel I would be out of place in a group of older, experienced writers. I wish, though, that Mr. Eichin wouldn’t give me a big build-up, I really don’t deserve it, and I don’t want people expecting too much of me, and then disappoint them.

Reading is by far my favorite pastime. I don’t know what I would do without reading. I have read a few stories by Vincent Starret, a great authority on Sherlock Holmes stories. Mr. Starrett was born in Canada, as was Stephen Leacock, our greatest humorist. His books are wonderful, and you shouldn’t miss reading at least one.

I have read H. G. Wells, H. Rider Haggard, and Jules Verne. I am an admirer of Charles Lamb, and enjoy his dissertations immensely. I also like science fiction. I have written several short humorous stories, and one science fiction story. At present I am working on a S. F. novel. However, it needs some retouching, in fact, a re-write job.

The National seems to be about the best organization of its kind. The journals I received I found to be real high-class material. I am grateful for the publications received.

I intend to go through the university for journalism, and am attempting to garner a thorough knowledge of this field. I enjoy composing, printing, and editing.

All for now.

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Your Constant Friends
by Fred C. Eichin

“Real friends, like good books are rare,
And should be chosen with great care.”

However, friends can be temperamental. Consider great writers and their fitful friendships. But their books are your friends forever; always ready to welcome your various moods, and share their treasures with you. Books, thy name is Constancy.

For humor you have Pickwick. Recall the episode with the horse; the elopement; that cunning rascal Jingle; the breach of promise suit; Sammy Weller; Rev’d. Stiggins and his pineapple rum; the party at the “sawbones” home – ad infinitum. Hilarious, indeed. And, occasional pathos to chasten your exuberance.

In Oliver Twist you find Mr. Bumble, the beadle, excruciatingly funny; Fagin, Bill Sikes, and many others. The marvelous Tale of Two Cities. Oh! That glorious Mr. Dickens! His quarrel with Mr. Thackeray does not deter your enjoyment of the latter’s Becky Sharp, poor Dobbin, Henry Esmond, Col. Newcome, and a host of others.

Becky Sharp matches wits with rascal Jingle. Henry Esmond abhors Rev’d. Stiggins. Mr. Pickwick and Col. Newcome are fast friends. Costigan versus Pecksniff. What a gallery of fascinating people. What fun! However, the books remain peaceably upon your shelves, despite the author’s differences. The books quarrel not between themselves, nor with you. They are Your Constant Friends.

A Zulu king, noticing an Englishman reading a book, watched with great interest the play upon the features of the reader. Joy, surprise, eagerness, hesitation, sorrow, in fact, the gamut of emotions.

That book was a miracle to the king. He must have it, and so declared to the astonished Englishman. Although an impossibility to read the book, the king insisted, emphatically stating “If you can get such satisfaction by looking at that book, so can I.” Of course, this was conveyed through his interpreter. Possessed of the book, and delightedly turning over the pages, the king registered the same emotions as did his white brother, so great was his faith in the power of the book.

Therefore, how much greater must be your pleasure: YOU CAN READ, and do not have to simulate the actions of this Zulu king. Great praise to William Caxton, the first English printer. Great, indeed, is your fortune. Begin now and live with these immortal books. You are judged by the books you read and enjoy.

Who has not thrilled to Dumas’ stirring Three Musketeers? (Thackeray and Stevenson rapturously praised the series). Told in living words. And, Monte Cristo, a thriller indeed, and the magic last line “Wait and Hope.”

Did you not suffer with Jean Valjean and Fantine in Hugo’s immortal Les Miserables? Remember that marvelous episode of the candlesticks when the Bishop thrillingly declared: “I have bought your soul and given it to God!”? A long book? Yes, but worthily so. Complexities of life cannot be told in short stories. You must live with the characters, and that is why long books are important. Don Quixote, and War and Peace, to mention two others.

Then there is the rollicking Tom Jones, written by that scholarly Henry Fielding, who also combined philosophy and ridicule, in his vividly written, stirring book; the first English novel of lasting stature, as readable, and enjoyable, today as when first written.

Do not famously remark: “I have no time for books. I read only newspapers and magazines.” Gone, tomorrow, are those daily papers, magazines, and so-called “Best Sellers.” But, immortal books remain forever, awaiting your summons. Why deny yourself your enviable birthright?

Yes, books are Your Constant Friends!

by Carla Patsuris

Who seeks an everlasting
Way of Life is told
That only Gold
Is worthy of recasting.

And what is Gold?
A melting down,
A molding to a crown
Or, a coin to hold.

While Humans growing
Are born and famed
And in Finality named –
For their own showing.

The Bible and Omar
by Fred C. Eichin

Election time draws nigh.

The 32nd chapter of Psalms, 9th verse reads:

“Be ye not as the horse, or as the ass, which hath no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with a bit and bridle, lest they come to thee.”

Will a “bit and bridle” be required to restrain our ebullient members?

Omar wisely wrote:

“The Moving Finger writes: and having writ,
Moves on; nor all they Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a word of it.”

Also, Humility is a priceless virtue:

“And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour’d
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.”

The above admonitions should suffice.

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by Carla Patsuris

In my wee room,
Where once I dreamed
Of resounding fame,
How great I seemed.

Yet here with God,
With sea and sky,
And the silent night…
How small am I.

by Carla Patsuris

A grave of silent men
Came home today
And women’s hearts
Were giant tears…

The sun will set tonight,
The moon will rise…
The stars twinkle on.

Birth of a Tradition
by Dora M. Moitoret

Working on the Nominating Committee the past year, brought to light a movement among our amateur printers that may well presage the birth of a new tradition in amateur journalism’s official affairs. The printers want to print, rather than hold office. At least three so expressed themselves when queried as to being a candidate. “I don’t want to give my time to being an official, I just want to print.”

It is true that all three of these printers have held offices in earlier years. The amount of correspondence necessary in any official’s daily life, plus the preparation of reports and the compilation of records, certainly does take a printer away from his press. Two editors have recently expressed themselves (Castleman and Bradburn) and both have assured us that other activities will be subordinated to publishing so far as they are concerned.

I think this is a healthy situation. The amateur journal is the meat of the association; friendly letters are the whipped cream cake. Once a member is firmly established and is printing for the joy of printing, the letters become less important; the mild honor of holding an office fades in glory before the bright fame of publishing one of the best papers of the year.

To release the printers for their greater task, then, it may seem wise to do as the association has done this year: elect to office members who are non-printers but enthusiastic in their loyalty nevertheless. At least it brings us to a point worth some consideration.

News From Chicago
by Fred C. Eichin

A second meeting of the Chicago Press Club, first established in 1880, has resulted in a successful revival. Mr. Emerson Duerr is president, Mr. Ostergaard, vice president and this writer is Treasurer and Editor in chief. Previously he edited and published The Free Lance, a quarterly of 16 pages, devoted to the writings of Chicago members. This publication will again be resumed.

The Fossil’s Reunion

Celebrated will be their Fiftieth Anniversary, Saturday evening, April 25th, 1953, by a banquet to be held in Town Hall Club, New York City.

Members throughout the nation will be present. Messrs. Ostergaard and Eichin, from Chicago, will be there. Many members from the West Coast will be coming, and reservations indicate a large attendance.

Carla Patsuris, Lexy Rosbrook, and many other famous non-Fossils, will be guests. Yes, youth will have its fling, even among the Fossils. Possibly, Carla will be inspired to greater heights (but not age), and Lexy will write an Ode to The Fossils. Ypee!

ABE MARTIN sez: “The’ biggest disappointment is meetin’ someone we’ve heard so much about.”

by Fred C. Eichin, Co-Editor

This issue is my surprise gift to Chester.

His Random Thoughts are ‘gleaned’ from his letters to me.

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Chester Grant, Editor
Salt Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
National Amateur Press Ass’n and others.
Entered in all Laureateship contests.
Ostergaard Press No. 1 Spring 1953

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