The Scarlet Cockerel
Number 28, January 1954
Front Cover

Fireside Ploughing
by James Guinane

I CHOSE an evening to muse by the fire on which to read A Day to Plough and found there was a strange companionship between my mood and Earl Henry’s book of verse. The Muse whom Henry consulted as he wrote of a day to plough was not an earthly creature standing in the sun among the newly furrowed fields: she was a lady of more delicate mood casting her influence by a chimney corner where shadows danced in firelight. Only occasionally does she see what we expect the farmer to see: “The second ploughing: corn was two hands high and yellowed in the sun.” More often does she prompt a pondering, “Why all this tilling? Why this fruitless toil?”

The thoughts Henry chooses for his poetic constructions are developed at the close of day when a larger area of the mind wakens to thoughtful purpose. Mental vision expands in the evening’s quietude by the fire, and the bare rudiments of consciousness with which we attend to our daily living are augmented by the opening of fragile caskets deep in the brain where are stored our dim yearnings and a keener sense of beauty and of sadness.

It is in this mood, with all his awareness in sensitive play, that Henry has created the several poetic visions in A Day to Plough. They show him to have that rare capacity for feeling and adventuring among this thoughts, a capacity that so often distinguishes the poet from the mere maker of rhymes. In minor verse-writers, poetic vision ceases with the objects they see before their eyes – a rusted plough, a row of weeds, a dilapidated farmhouse. These objects, dressed in extravagant phrases, they bedaub on the page as a child might smear crude color for its exciting contrasts, and they believe them to be sufficient poetry. But this is not Earl Henry’s ways: his poetry starts, not stops, with physical images, then he moves on to communicate a personal adventure in understanding and builds startling new meaning from his imagery. Any number of uninspired poets could have written:

My harness moulders in the shed;
The chains are red with rust:

But it took the particular brand of Henry talent to add the concluding lines which lift the poem from an ordinary little glimpse to a vision with a meaning that lingers in our consciousness:

But who could have a care for bread
Who love a bit of dust.

They are, of course, very personal visions that Henry records and may not be true for any but a handful of readers; but they are valuable, apart from their poetic significance, for the light they throw upon the character of the poet.

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A Day to Plough has about it the flavor of vintage thinking: there is no raw substance in the ideas Henry taps from his vat of inspiration. So I should judge him to be a man who has done much living in one existence or another. But there is not yet the full quantity of wisdom that we see occasionally in the man who has climbed all life’s hills. Looking down from the final peak one should count the woe of the world not too much:

Henry, however, sees sadness wherever he looks:

“You say you killed this little boy
Because he cried for bread?”
“I say he cried because he starved.
I shot him through the head.”

These are the opening lines from the first poem in the book and they are the advertisement of its whole theme. Each piece is an epitaph recording a life or a love or a dream that has been broken. Of course Henry handles sombre atmosphere well, treating the sadness he sees with a fine ruthlessness that preserves its innate pathos while adding nothing of false sentiment. So his sombre pictures remain real and compel us to accept their validity.

Why should there be this dark cloud on his every horizon? I think the answer would be seen if we could know how he lived, for poetry of the penetrating sincerity of Henry’s is not the result of some deliberate factory process: it is deposited in our ken during the uncontrollable spasms of a man who is sometimes sick at heart. I do not make the ingenuous assumption that the actual writing of Henry’s poetry is a miraculous fusion of fire and spirit when he is no more than a channel for inspiration on high: but the ideas and vivid images that he later moulds into the shape of poetry are the result of some such unaccountable combustion. While Henry’s poetry may broadly be labeled fictional, he cannot so enrich it from his imagination alone: he must give large parts of himself – his observations and his own experience. So if we read his poetry aright we can read much of his personal story.

Bleakness strikes us from the first and can be detected in every poem whether it is “Bill Jones” who goes

… out to the woods to die
like a dog
because God won’t let him die
like a natural man

or “The Girl”:

She wed a lad whom all her clan
Looked down upon in scorn.
Her father shot him just a day
Before her babe was born.

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The bleakness lodges behind our eyeballs like a backdrop to the imagination, against which is set every scene from Henry’s poetic vision. Bleakness of such all-embracing width has been bred in Henry not of some brief literary fancy but of some vast influence that has been at work through his life, directing his toil, dictating his needs, absorbing his thoughts, cutting the very cloth of his living. It is an influence as powerful and as subtle as that of the land that sustains him. The “Okies” of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath knew the fierce control the land held over their lives, and in a similar way Henry is vassal to the unproductive soil – perhaps not directly, perhaps as a member of a community whose fortunes are bound up in the ripening of the corn and the fertility of the fields. But surely, persistently the soil is master of his mood, doctor of the colors he paints with. When he sings “A Brief Ballad” or a “Song to Any Bridegroom,” or in other poems ponders the imponderables, “Man must work,” “There is not long,” it is the soil that succors his vision, lays its impress on the symbols he uses each time: “Now someone else must plough the hill That I have planted down”; Bridegroom let your plough be idle – Spend this morning with your bride”; “One day I ploughed a rocky red-clay hill”; “There are not weeks and months To plough a single field. One day we have to plough And one to take the yield.”

It is a tremendous influence that the land can exert upon a man, as the sea will bewitch a mariner, or the mountains hold a hermit in their spell. Living close to nature’s vastness will add lofty stature to men with the smallest thoughts. Unconsciously they think in acres and leagues where others prize a few square yards; their problems are the erosion of a countryside, not the raking of a few wind-blown leaves. Henry’s poetry has these larger dimensions, undreamt of by most amateur poets. And if his poetry is bleak it is because a bleak land wields irresistible power over his whole being.

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All is not dull repetition in Henry’s communications. Within his broad bleak outlines his questing spirit knows a variety of yearnings and capricious moods. In “Homestead” he discovers:

No happiness is here for me,
And though you bade me stay,
I only know I only see
The road that leads away.

But over the page in “Winter Hut” he dawdles with memories that bind him to his land:

But each worn path I tread upon
Conspires with brooks to keep me near
And even trees whose leaves are gone
Still hold me here.

There are ever these contrasts for Henry is not a static creature but is always moving on journeys of self-exploration. When robbed of human contacts his gregarious nature sorrows:

And when the singers meet tonight
Across the muddy Keene,
Some other lucky lad will light
The lamp for Dally Dean.

But on a visit to “A Deserted Farmhouse” he catches the poignant lingerings of the past and his spirit eager to know new sensations cries out:

I abide
To watch the rotten latch string as it swings
For I claim kin with all deserted things.

Two poems in the book, “Bill Jones” and “One Day I Ploughed,” I had seen before in Marvin Neel’s Chimera and I still fancy them most. Two other pieces, “Ben” and “Sic Semper,” are like “Bill Jones” and might have been written during later visitations of the same Muse. But “Bill Jones” is by far the best. Its character is a real person going off into the woods to die. Without buying our feeling with cheap phrases, Henry excites our pity for a man who, as so often happens in real life, has wronged others but in his last moments prompts us to wish he could stay the retribution that is at hand. It is a well-drawn picture with the kids and the widows and the men who look on all real people with credible sorrow in their glance.

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“One Day I Ploughed” has many pieces of like mood and material but none quite equals it in the noble lines of its structure or in the splendor of its imagination. If ever an amateur poet chiseled columns of fine white marble for his temple of fancy, these are they:

And as I strove to urge my mule along
With hickory withe and clods of sun-baked soil
My heart kept up this single endless song,
“Why all this tilling. Why this fruitless toil?”

Moving in these sublime heights it is not surprising that Henry should often experience incommunicable revelations. Most of us who have hunted in the darkness of the mind have on occasion come upon the brief flash of incandescence that scorches inward sight. Afterwards we are left helplessly blind with our lips groping for the unmouthable syllables we feel must surely exist to tell of what we have so gloriously discovered. Henry, in several poems, tries to convey these bright new glories that have burst upon his ken. But his visions are unshareable, borne of an intense understanding which is not the common property of readers. That understanding a man must win for himself through his own personal striving, not through another’s.

One example is Henry’s “Garden in the Moon,” where he sees men who “look on night as others look on day.” Whatever his bright new vision in this poem, he has failed to make clear its significance; and there are other such examples of obscurity in the book. This is not a criticism of slovenly work, merely a commentary on the way things are.

The publication of A Day to Plough pleased me more than any other event during Harold Ellis’s administration. Though it is Earl Henry’s work that provides the very reason for the book and that gives us such delightful interest, it is to the publisher, Marvin H. Neel, whom I offer my main thanks. He has contributed a volume that shall go on to the topmost shelf of amateur journalism’s library of worthwhile works. The number of these works is small but fortunately there has always been discriminating judgment to preserve a notable quality. Neel has matched Henry’s poetical skill with tasteful printing, charming ornamentation of the book and a clever job of binding. In the physical preparation of the pages he has given the book a mood of its own in subtle harmony with the poetry that makes our reading doubly enjoyable. Two talented craftsmen have combined to give us a sample of the best that amateur journalism can offer.

* * * *

Scarce recovered from ye annual year-end Gladsome Joy & Hello Again binge, we were belted between the eyes this morn with signs of the friendship merchants hawking valentines! January 20! So early?… Let’s see – does St. Swithin’s come early this year, or is it Merry Groundhog Day next? All that’s lacking now is for the hucksters to tool up some devastatingly chic and equally irresistable folder to palatify those federal and state W-2 and 1040 tax bites. A joyful March 15th to you, too!

* * * *

By decree of bust-bucket and fanny-snubber engineers, fashion frowns on stuffiness. If just naturally stuffy – selah! then borrow some baling wire, whalebone, tenply nylon, or whatever else is necessary for retooling the chassis as interestingly as possible. Don’t be yourself – just be interesting.

Page 9 and 10

Night in Damascus
by Margaret Dills Gawthrop

DAMASCUS is unique among the cities of the world. Its past is a fascinating tape of time, its present an unequaled fusion of the old and the new.

During my visit I was piloted from one point to another and given so much detailed information that I felt I could absorb no more. So I planned an evening of my own devising: to go out alone and mingle with the people. It is only in this way that I can ever become attuned to my surroundings.

I attempted to slip from the hotel lobby unobserved, but a young Syrian boy spotted me and insisted that I needed an interpreter. I told him to come along.

We went to the bazaars, where I saw damask, brocade, mosaic work, and rare items such as are not produced anywhere else on earth. I made a few purchases which I hoped to squeeze into my plane luggage.

After walking until exhausted I requested the boy to take me to a French restaurant. He complied with alacrity, for he was sure of the extra fee which would be added to my bill. We entered an attractive looking eating place. I paid the boy and dismissed him. The headwaiter came forward, smiling and bowing. Speaking in French he inquired where madam wished to be seated. In my halting, uncertain French I requested a vantage point in the rear. This accomplished, I found myself surrounded by potted palm trees, exotic flowers, and flashing goldfish, warm lights upon a miniature fountain, soft strings of an orchestra – all in the same mood.

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A waiter emerged with a menu so complicated that I discarded it. I said I would have a simple meal: fruit cocktail, crepes suzette, a sweet course, and coffee. The waiter appeared to be deeply pained. He outlined a meal which would have taken a gourmet all night to consume. As he described the courses he kissed his fingers and raise his eyes toward the heavens. A special wine was recommended for each course. I said I did not wish any wine; I preferred to walk into my hotel that night rather than be carried in. The waiter remonstrated; no wine! That was unthinkable! Limited as I was in knowledge of the French language, I began to detect flaws in his accent. It smacked of east side New York. Moreover, I recalled the efficient, unobtrusive service tendered me in the better restaurants of France. I repeated my order with firmness. The waiter wrung his hands and groaned as if in agony. I was tired and hungry, but also angry; I collected my packages, purse, etc., in preparation for an exit.

At this point a large, heavy-set man appeared at my side. “What’s wrong here?” he thundered.

“From the United States!” I cried, in relief.

“You bet your life,” said the man. He gave the name of a town in Iowa as his place of residence. I said I was from Virginia, and we were practically neighbors. The man said, “Okay, Virginia,” and turned to the waiter with a withering look. “You,” he said, “if the lady wants these – ah – crepes, she gets them, see?”

Oui, monsieur,” whispered the waiter, and scurried off.

“That man never saw France,” said my champion from Iowa.

“I’m of the same opinion. He’s too French to be real.”

My friend snorted. “Ha! In Paris I had ham sandwiches. All I had to do was draw a picture of a pig. Put sideburns on him to indicate bread. The French have imagination.” I agreed, and thanked him for his timely intervention. He scowled and said, “I’ll be here. If that phony doesn’t toe the mark, I’ll throw him out.”

But the waiter was thoroughly intimidated. The food was good, and the service all that could be desired. By this time the restaurant was becoming crowded. The headwaiter approached me in a deferential manner and said he was desolate, but would madam permit two gentlemen of stainless character to sit at her table. I said I had no objection. As a matter of fact I was stimulated by the prospect of this rare opportunity.

Page 13 and 14

The men arrived promptly. One was dressed in the typical garb of the desert Arab. He had a remarkable beard, and I could not determine his age. The other was young, with the olive skin and dark eyes which I had learned to associate with the Bedouins. He was attired in conventional western clothes. Both men clicked their heels and bowed, first to me, then to each other. They ordered an elaborate meal, conversing earnestly the while. Much to my surprise we shook hands after the first course. I thought we were parting, and bade them goodbye, but the meal was continued and the handshaking became a ritual. I dallied with my dessert, for I was interested in these strange customs. The men were courteous and insisted upon sharing their wine with me. I declined; whereupon they rose, lifted their glasses, spoke a few words, and drained the last drop. I decided the situation was getting out of hand. I rose and bowed; they rose and bowed. Something was unanimous – I knew not what. I called for my check and left these stainless characters. My protector from Iowa was waiting.

“You know what?” he asked.

“No, I don’t know what,” I replied; “I am slightly confused.”

“I’d have socked them all, except for one thing.”

“What was that?” I asked.

“You shouldn’t have been here without an escort,” he scolded.

“I’m so sorry,” I murmured meekly.

“No you’re not,” said my discerning fellow citizen; “you had the time of your life.”

Diamond Jubilee
by Ralph Babcock

75 years after those 65 young men met in Philadelphia and formed the National Amateur Press Association, another group – spiritual descendants of the founders – gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate.

Nearly every decade since ‘76 has had its Philadelphia NAPA gathering; this seventh convention in the city of brotherly love drew 72 – fifty at the July 4 banquet being the largest turnout; attendance at other sessions averaged 35.

Ex-president Frank Schermerhorn (ranking NAPA ex-president, 1891, after Fred Heath, 1884) looked in briefly one morning. Surprise attendees were ex-prexies Jennie Plaisier and Robert Telschow. Abnormally few oldtimers appeared, but for the holiday B. J. Ostergaard (Utopian, Chicago, circa 1905) and Life Member Charles Russell joined the old dependables: Vondy, A. M. Adams, Nita Smith, Felicitas, and the Spinks. Eleven ex-prexies attended. There were practically no curious over-the-fence onlookers from kindred AJ groups.

Page 15 and 16

The long-distance title was shared by Wheeler Dryden of California and Dora Moitoret of Seattle.

Tension prevailed for more than a day. “If he comes….” But in the absence of AJ’s most raucous noise, delegates gradually relaxed.

Some (like Kunde) had avoided holiday travel crowds by arriving as early as Monday. By suppertime Tuesday over a dozen were gabbing in the hotel lobby, and before midnight half the total group had checked in. The large hotel was relatively empty. Several representatives were present of the more than fifty couples who have met thru AJ and married.

Celebrities who shunned noisy yakking, the crowd, and flashbulb camera enthusiasts, reconvened frequently in the air-conditioned Kit and Key room downstairs, where the maestro came to marvel at such strange characters who chose the dim corner furthest from the huge TV screen. There political deals and Wesson’s brainstorms (exotic brain-foggers such as coke-with-two-cherries) could be consummated quietly. Accomplishments at these beer-and-pretzel-nut sessions were facilitated by the absence of Skinny Lindberg.

Hearty dinner parties (pompano and rockfish steaks) at Sansome House and Bookbinders gave strength to Philly’s reputation for fine food, and excursions to nearby nickel-in-the-slot Automats helped balance the budget. Participation in the rotating breakfast discussions in the Franklin coffeeshop was another pleasant but unscheduled convention feature.

Sessions began at a leisurely elevenish – some delegates apparently still operating on standard time. Whitbread held the gavel almost uninterruptedly until after elections began.

During roll call – “Wouldn’t be here if we weren’t happy to be here” – Helm responded as Assistant Editor of Happy Daze, Babcock rose with a happy Burp, and young Sheldon Wesson (Burton Crane’s godchild) naturally continued to assume the floor to be his personal platform, asserting his opinions in siren tones.

Social and sightseeing ventures were dispensed with this year and no convention paper was undertaken. Lack of such focal points for post-session past-midnight activity led to an unusual number of bull sessions – several lasting till two and three a.m.

A warm and rainy afternoon produced the usual steamy Philadelphia July Fourth. The one mass departure from Hotel Benjamin Franklin, scene of this year’s activities, was the afternoon visit to the Edwin Hadley Smith collection at Franklin Institute that afternoon. Some three dozen amateurs browsed and chatted among these records and memories of the preceding century. Librarian Walter Pertuch receded into the background while shutterbug fans popped pictures and others thumbed thru some of the 39,000 amateur papers and souvenirs displayed for the occasion in the reading room, or poked among the 50 feet of shelving devoted to the EHS collection of AJ.

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Later Neal Pierce, directing a memorial meeting, spoke of the origin of the NAPA and its early years. Charles Russell recalled the period 1890-1905 and the 1906 convention (which he, A. M. Adams, and Jennie Plaisier attended). Helm Spink covered 1905-35, explaining “the lowest period in the National’s history – the mid-1920’s when there was almost no activity beyond the official organ and conventions.” Vic Moitoret’s prepared review of the 1935-45 decade pointed out “the growth and dwindling of strong local centers” and the activity during World War II in spite of 35 members in service.

Neal paid tribute to those to whom we own a debt of gratitude for helping the NAPA to continue – the ones who formed the backbone of our hobby: Gerner, Edkins, Spencer, Brodie, Miniter, Thrift, EHS, Swift, and Murphy, among others.

Groveman traced the history of the EHS collection, noting “there is no permanence to the hobby; most of the earlier leaders are dead now – thirty years hence most of us will be; the only way they or we will live is in a collection like this.”

Thus did Diamond Jubilee convention-goers take recognition of their heritage at Franklin Institute.

The $5.00 banquet tickets paid off in the horseshoe-tableside seats to a pleasant chicken dinner and verbal frolic sparked by toastmaster Burton Crane, whose reminder that “AJ was founded in the shadow of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Mentally Deficient” was shortly followed with “Old politicians never die; they just smell that way.”

Commenting on overlapping memberships (17 banqueters were Fossils) Fossils President Baber stated that “the line of distinction between NAPA and Fossils is now almost invisible.” “Old Fossils never turn gray,” he observed; “they just almost seem to.”

To represent “The AJ World Outside the National” amateurs with dual membership were drafted to speak. Then Critic Dora Moitoret admitted delight in being asked to toast The Critic. For the Poets, “the heartthrobs of society,” Carla Patsuris stood “amazed – almost aghast at the beauty of what has been.” “Since we are writing for posterity don’t you think we should do our very best?”

Introducing Mrs. McDonald as “The Writer,” Toastmaster Crane observed: “Vondy stayed with the association throughout the grim period (1921-32) you heard about this afternoon and probably has had more continuous years of activity than anyone else the association has ever known.”

Page 19 and 20

Vondy said, “Writers in AJ have the time of their lives. Where else can a writer write when, where, and however he wants to? Where else are there fellows clamoring for copy who will sit up all night printing our stuff? Writing helps to develop our personality and to exercise our imagination.” Regretting recent outbursts, she mentioned what an opportunity writers have for subtlety – for using the English language to soften the blow.

Responding for The Printer, Ralph Babcock concluded that “Pride in achievement is what motivates amateur printers.”

A sprightly interchange between gunmen Smith and Wesson ensued over the privilege of replying as The Pest (“the flea on the body politic”). After the toss of the coin both proclaimed their qualifications.

Crane’s summation, “History will probably record that Tom Whitbread has had about as good a year as any in the last decade and a half,” gave The Retiring President his opportunity. Tom appreciated that many individuals had felt their responsibility to the hobby this year and noted that the percentage of printed papers appearing was greater than other recent years.

The oft-heard “We love our enemies within the association better than our dearest friends outside” was paraphrased again. President-Apparent Moitoret urged, “Let’s have some fights – but keep the personalities out.”

For the most part sweetness and harmony could prevail. Preliminary tangling by the principals of this year’s $2 or $3 dues reinstatement wrangle drew a strong admonition to avoid personalities, i-dotting and t-crossing, and to concentrate on “the big picture.”

The “Philadelphia lawyers,” nevertheless, strove to exhaust themselves in hairsplitting, space-chasing, and comma-transposing. Bonnell’s disgusted “You mean I [got out of a sickbed] and fought to come 500 miles to argue over a lousy dollar?” expressed the reaction of the anti-haggling element of the house. In the presence of several (who may be depended upon to inject unexpected explosive proposals) and the absence of a strongly organized program plan, minor business that should have been incidental dragged interminably.

Ballot-custodian Train’s vacation junket to California threw the opening session into a tizzy with the challenge, “Who’s been messing around with the proxies?” The possibility of a missing ballot or so was ballooned into scarehead proportions including a proposal to heave out the entire proxy returns because two or three for-a-time unidentified characters had visited Train’s home to pick up proxies.

Later the 56 proxies counted proved the futility of this teapot tempest. Apart from universal acceptance of Vic and Alf, an unusual number of blanks proved lack of interest or confusion about the voting. (There were 210 dues paid members.)

Under Heljeson’s chairmanship the proxy committee tour of duty became something more than a chore, including 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and luncheon session camaraderie.

The president-elect appeared to be prepared with plans for action as might be expected of an outstanding naval officer (accustomed to command), born to the hobby, seasoned with 17 years exposure to our history and standards, and promoted from 17 months intensive AJ leadership.

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Sweetness and harmony prevailed in the elections – despite an ill-advised gesture preventing unanimous convention endorsement of Vic. He received 75 votes for president.

In the official editor nominations Wesson declared “Alf may not be an artist, but he has more enthusiasm for the hobby than almost any other two people in the association.” Of 87 votes, 70 were for Al, 7 for Heljeson, and 6 for Lindberg.

Recognition of Hazel Segal’s fine work as Mailer assisted in her election as Recorder over Hamilton on the second ballot, 37 to 25 (17 proxy, 20 convention; against 14 and 11).

Heljeson withdrew from the vice presidency race, giving Rosenberger an easy victory, 56 to 14.

From a scattered field of thirty, Tom Whitbread, Helm Spink, and Ralph Babcock were elected Judges. Spink resigned immediately after installation of officers Friday; Moitoret then extended congratulations on his excellent conduct during his tenure of office, and appointed Bill Groveman.

Convention seat selection was a major problem. Proxy returns reflected the pre-Philadelphia lack of discussion. Without fanfare Seattle had drawn 8 proxies; there were 26 blanks; Brooklyn and Chicago had 5 each; Roanoke, 3.

For Seattle, Dora and Dryden eloquently plead the west coast case. But easterners and conservatives preferred Roanoke – something not requiring a $200 to $500 three-week vacation trip. The Roanoke joker was in making Williametta Mrs. Convention Seat virtually alone – in a situation requiring early and definite hotel reservation commitments. (AJ’s rarely know their own minds or plans until the last moment.)

The convention recessed for supper, to think it over. That evening Heljeson boosted Seattle, and Pallone, Roanoke, observing “the west coast isn’t a hotbed of activity, and economic conditions in the future are nebulous.” On the third ballot Roanoke finally won the nod, 26 to 13, over Seattle.

Of the amendments, only No. 2 and No. 6 mustered enough additional convention votes to pass.

Heckled by itinerant trolley and the pounding surf of resurgent waves of small fry, less stentorian possessors of The Floor had difficulty making themselves heard. In short, acoustics stunk.

Retiring prexy Whitbread charged “loss of interest and increase in dues for the decrease in members…. Unless individual members have time and inclination, the president can blow off steam fruitlessly exhorting to future activity.”

Moitoret’s report as editor shocked and wounded the startled Executive Judges who’d not previously been asked to OK his $157.15 June issue.

Vondy’s efforts at soliciting $5 a year for 5 years from each Life Member and ex-president have resulted in more than a score of contributions totaling $203. In contrast to some $388 in renewal dues, this $203 will serve as a backlog between periodic receipts of dues. As a deposit, Spink noted that it also would minimize our expense for bank charges.

The Amherst English professor who judged this year’s 32 essay laureate entries expressed “enormous interest in [our] activities” but found AJ generally ‘anxious to say something but with nothing to say’.” In effect: overly concerned with clothing and lacking essential guts. He chose Bradofsky’s “The Cricket” for essay spot. John Gillick won the poetry laureate for “Walk No Farther,” and Viola Autry Payne’s “The Face” won fiction laureate.

Physically, the NAPA is in poor shape – less than thirty recruits this year and a current membership of 211. Financially, we’re fondling a $500 bank balance – thanks to that $203 backlog coughed up by our so-called “deadhead” oldtimers. Actively, we have just seen a flurry of publishing traceable in part to devotion to the NAPA and celebration of its 75th anniversary.

For the next dozen years AJ can expect little assistance from “re-enthused oldtimers.” This is the harvest from a paucity of members and activity during the first World War and the sterile ‘20’s.

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The Scarlet Cockerel welcomes contributions – mss. of 600 to 800 words (or less) especially, and short poems. Occasionally, longer material will be accepted for publication. With 27 other 24-page issues during the past 18 years, the law of averages predicts another issue or so this year. Set in 10 pt. Times Roman, printed on 70# Mohawk Superfine, No. 28 (360 copies) is dated January 23, 1954.

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