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Answer Honestly
by Mary Alice Drwick

Do you live your religion?
Is apathy the great American disease?
To how many of these questions can you answer “Yes”?

How many times have you:

Run errands for a shut-in?
Cleaned house for a cripple – using your own supplies?
Spent days visiting nursing homes?
Mental institutions? Cancer wards?
Prepared a feast and invited the poor and hungry, instead of the well fed?
Offered encouragement – not ridicule – to a “loser”?
Put money last, not first?
Extended hospitality where you cannot expect return invitation?
Forgiven and forgotten, so completely that you forgot what you forgave?
Stood treat, or did a good deed, for a stranger?
Felt sorrow, not scorn, for all our hungry Americans you see standing in line, while passing a food stamp office?
Found a neighbor a good job?
Cared for an ailing infant for a new mother?
Done a week’s wash for that burdened mother?
Maintained vigil beside some one you knew was dying?
Escorted a bereaved widow to the undertaker?
Decorated graves for families who have moved away?

Relics of Change

Some of the old time printers that I have worked with have kept their tools in a metal box with trays, and a lid, like a fishing tackle box. This custom originated in the days of itinerant (“tramp”) printers.

Ink crusted aprons were the bulkiest parts of his belongings. Tweezers and a bodkin were normal equipment. As were stubs of pencils.

There usually was a collection of makeup rules, worn thin and rounded at the corners. Maybe cracked or lacking a piece. The range in widths of 13, 12, 11½ and 11 picas, reflected the progression of changes in newspaper columns that he had endured. If he dated back before country weeklies could afford linotypes, he also had 26½ em makeup rules for two column handset news or editorials. And 25, 24, 22 and other makeups for ad guts.

He had worn out several brass 12-inch line gauges, so the numbers were unreadable. He saved each one as a trophy, with memories.

Either as a stone (lockup) man or pressman he probably had both the T shape quoin key and the L for corrections under the curve of the press cylinder.

He may have had a carpenter’s six-foot folding rule; wooden with brass click joints. And a seamstress’ yard long cloth tape measure. Although column space was often measured by string, without figuring inches. This story plus this story should fit above this ad.

If he had handset ads – and especially if earlier in life he had handset columns of news – he would have a supply of “dutchmen” and the pocket knife to sharpen them. These were usually wooden kitchen match sticks, whittled wedge shape, to drive into loose lines of type.

Winter Magic
by Edna Johnson

A whiteness fogs the world this morn
To smooth and soften every shape
Beneath a pristine spread; an ermine cape
Now mantles hills and plains; while born
Mid-air, a frosting forms for all
The trees and bushes like a hall
Of gauzy lace to now adorn
The landscape with a veil of white
On ebon web. Look long – this bright
Array of quiet, frozen firm
Will soon be gone; and winter-spun
Enchanting beauty will be shorn.

Wrap Session

United Parcel Service will not accept packages tied with string. Or will snip off the cords, and reinforce with tape.

Postal sorters do not like strings. They tangle in conveyors of newer methods of zoning and routing. Yet people come into the postal sub station vowing that they have been instructed by post office clerks to always add string to taped packages.

In spite of repeated publicity on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines, illustrated with pictures, about masking tape and cellophane tape not being strong enough, parcel after parcel comes botched any old way.

We use lots of filament (strapping) tape – and waste time, keeping others waiting in line – patching the mistakes of the uninformed and the indifferent.

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by John T. Cowles

Whatever happened to brass composing* rules? None of my usual suppliers seem to have heard of such!

I have had to make my own. Since I hate to cut up a nice piece of 2-point brass, I make composition rules from other strip metal. Aluminum is easiest to cut accurately.

They can serve for makeup lift, or shifts in the form.

* With ears extended from upper corners

Cool, Man, Cool!

I hear that fashion designers have started a trend toward shorter and shorter skirts.

Some local gals, in miniskirts, have not waited for the trend to develop.

But – !

Why be a trend setter in the coldest months of the year?

Letter to Two Dear Friends
by Katharyn Machan Aal

I dreamed of Iowa again:
We sat on the cushioned couch
Sipping Dr. Pepper
With Kojak on the screen
And mounds of laundry everywhere
Slowly cooling to wrinkles.
No more Snickers? you asked.

I went to the coat closet
And wheeled out a barrowful of chocolate.
It was Iowa and you
After all.

Jingle Bells

Driving a good team on a bob sled was an entirely different experience than using a farm wagon. Or even the family going to church in the spring wagon.

The sled ride was smooth and silent. And faster. Even work horses that had hauled hay to cattle all week seemed to enjoy trotting briskly on cold days, with trace chains jingling.

Genuine Original

Singers of old songs like to do their own “arrangement” on records or for public appearances. Usually, I like them better the way they were written. The way I have come to hear them in my mind.

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Wastebasket Treasures
by Irma Bachman

Your boss bought some paper flowers and used them many a day.
He got tired of them, so he threw them all away.
You saved them. Then the story followed through:
You tossed them away. To me they were like new.
I picked them up and dusted them off slightly.
I took them to a nursing home, where they now bloom delightfully.

One man’s garbage can be another person’s treasure.
I can’t throw away anything that will give anyone pleasure.
Consequently, my house is a clearing house for junk;
If I had to pass a test for neatness, I’m afraid I’d really flunk.
But happiness is the aim in life – of that there is no doubt.
So I’ll always try to find a place for everything before I throw it out.

Hang On!

In my teens, when I had to drive a sled, instead of riding horseback, I liked to catch up younger and wilder mustangs. We got there faster.

Still later, I broke and trained farm colts for neighbors, before the spring work began. If the sled flew at a mad gallop across the snow drifted fields, I was convincing a new pupil that trying to run away was just a merry game that I urged on. They soon gave up.

Slight of Hand

A little old lady paid for a few stamps, at the Eastdale postal station, with a brand new 20-dollar bill. After all the crumpled, dirty, tattered currency one handles in a day’s time in a public place, it was delightfully pale and smooth and stiff. It also was thick and heavy.

The poor woman got all flustered, and looked like she would cry, over her carelessness, and the near loss, when I returned to her the second crisp new twenty, stuck to the back of the first.

Tools of the Trade

As a compositor at the Press-Citizen, making up pages of linotype slugs in chases for the press, I carried my tools in the pockets of my apron. In the bib pocket, an official double end propel-repel markup pencil, choice of red or blue lead.

An unofficial green ball point pen, as my distinguishing trade mark, until others thought the idea was so good they copied. Five inch pointed scissors. In the right hand main pocket, an 11 em makeup rule.

An 8 inch (instead of 12) pica pole, leaning out for quick draw. A prying knife, intended for lifting engravings and stereo plates that had been taped to base. We all used them as bodkins and as makeup rules with greater leverage.

In the left hand picket, a six foot reel type rule, graduated in picas and inches. Five inch tweezers. Box end wrench (hexagonal, that I had filed out square) as my own personal “quoin key” to save going to hunt up a crank every time I needed to tighten or loosen the screw-thread controlled multiple wedge “quoins” of the newspaper page chases. Other compositors repeatedly borrowed my wrench. Some copied, and made their own.

by Lenore H. Hughes

I took some People Watchers to the booth at the missionary convention where I displayed my books for sale. Folks grabbed up your journal. Later, some came around asking for “that paper with the picture of the wind blown girl on the front.” November issue. So pictures attract first.

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People Watcher
amateur journal

3,000 copies distributed among friends and through monthly bundles of

Amalgamated Printers’ Association
American Amateur Press Association
British Amateur Press Association
National Amateur Press Association
United Amateur Press
United Amateur Press Association of America

Lauren R. “gehry” Geringer
Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Articles without bylines written by editor

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