Spring Comes to Japan
And So Does Helen
Most of the material in this Standpipe and in the Griddle which has just been published is already out of date. The Wessons are on the move again. Mr. Editor has signed up to stay in Tokyo for two years with the Textiles Branch of the Economic and Scientific Section of General MacArthur’s headquarters.
Yes, that reads Mr. Editor. The “Lieutenant” was abandoned when Wessonmale took his discharge in Japan to accept the position with GHQ. It carries the impressive title of Market Analyst and Statistician.
Helen will journey to Tokyo sometime this Summer, if plans are carried out according to schedule. She will become a member of the Tokyo-wan APC immediately. A thriving ajay hotspot will develop in Japan; The… Thing, the Helen-Crane Fantasy journal, and the assorted Standpipe Editorial Board Publications are expected to enjoy a period of booming prosperity.
For the moment, address Mr. Editor at
Textiles Branch, ESS
APO 500 San Francisco
and Mrs. Editor at the usual
Weehawken, New Jersey
The occasional meetings of the Tokyo-wan APC have not only given me a wonderful excuse to dress up in my pretty pink pants and battle jacket, but better still, they have provided me with the mental stimulation that I crave, as I pace back and forth in my cage of a battalion headquarters, performing duties that have become disgustingly routine.
Of course, I might mention the fact that the Correspondents’ Club has what is probably the best mess in Tokyo; so visits to Crane pay off nicely in terms of a couple of first-rate chow sessions.
Crane and I are seeing as much of each other as we ever did at home while I was working for the Journal of Commerce and he was uptown with The Times. Not only do I make the regularly-scheduled TWAPC meets, but I get down to Tokyo – only 70 minutes by train – every four or five days on my own hook. I’ve been prowling around, writing on the side for my old paper, and for several other publications. It feels swell to get back into the old groove after three and a half years.
Not the least enjoyable feature of my visits to Tokyo has been the glimpse I have gotten of the lives and feeding habits of that erratic and brainy gentry who comprise the foreign correspondents’ colony.
Crane’s Times Bureau colleagues, Lindsay Parrott (The Boss) and Clinton Green, have unwittingly provided a great deal of APC atmosphere to the TWAPC meetings. It’s just like the good old days in Elizabeth or Brooklyn or Philly: Everyone eventually gangs up and insults Wesson, tromping on his self-respect.
Don’t think, now, that I live in Tokyo and occasionally commute to work up here in Okegawa. I do put in some licks of work each month – like the Air Corps’ flying time – so that my conscience won’t hurt when I sign my pay voucher.
After a brief month of glory and power as Supreme Potentate of a Jap airfield and surrounding villages, which my former platoon of L Company occupied, I was yanked upstairs to battalion headquarters. They found out that I’d been a communications officer with my old outfit in Europe, and decided maybe my talents were going to waste.
Life was interesting for a while after I talked the Major into letting me string wire over a goodly portion of Central Honshu. I still have engaging moments when one of my troubleshooting crews finds that the Japs have discovered that about 100 yards of our field wire is just ideal for tying up bales of rice.
Enemy Fire Effective
by Sheldon C. Wesson
It is a shock to learn that Alf Babcock has resigned from NAPA in a huff. It is more of a shock to learn that his action comes as the result of second-hand criticism from a second-rate Historian.
Babcock has overcome personal and technological difficulties in achieving his impressive publishing record. He has maintained his activity in the face of conditions which would have discouraged others with less energetic enthusiasm for the hobby and for the art of printing.
The only people who are not criticised in this hobby of ours are those who are completely inactive. If Babcock had published nothing by excerpts from the Constitution, he would have been criticised for something or other. The more one publishes the more he lays himself open to criticism, almost as a natural sequel. That Babcock’s publishing and letter-writing efforts were devoted largely to controversial subjects left him doubly vulnerable to criticism. He should have expected it.
I claim to be one of his best friends and severest critics. I led a campaign against him at the 1945 convention. But at the same time I have admired his volume of publishing activity. Others doubtless feel the same.
Furthermore, why anyone should take Ken Weiser seriously is beyond me. Pardon me for patting myself on the back, but I opposed his election as Recorder at the convention and feel now that my opinion has been entirely justified. He was given an office with the full knowledge on the part of his proponents that his past record of activity had shown him to be unreliable. The amazing bit of logic behind his nomination was that the responsibility of office might make something of him. It hasn’t. His activity merits only a stifled yawn.
His report as 1944-45 Historian in the December National Amateur was particularly inept. The grammar was poor; the cohesion worse. Sentences scrambled madly over the face of the page without rhyme or reason, and facts wandered dazedly behind them. His criticism of Babcock was second-hand stuff, culled from the 1945 convention’s proceedings. On the other hand, he must have strained his vocabulary in ladling out the saccharine oil with which he anointed the other officers.
I am surprised at Babcock for taking him seriously.
Fifth Column in the Mimeo Ranks
by Helen V. Wesson
Move over, Wesson; move over, Vic. I wouldst plop myself between you in the Anti-Mimeograph Association. Never have I met a more cantankerous contraption, except Josephine and Josette.
Lee Hawes sent me his No. 30 mimeo, and I want everyone to appreciate Gator Growl. From the results, you’d think it was simple as zip. What that kid went through to produce GG, you’ll only realize if you try to do the same yourself. I ran off ten envelopes and went out and bought a Speed-O-Print. The SOP has an automatic feeder invented before the shortage by paper companies for greater profits. I can feed a press with better register, and faster, than that mechanical arm, with 99% less waste.
Verily, the mimeograph is a mental-torture device designed, I’ll bet, by printer-husbands so their ink-happy wives appreciate them when they are around.
14 February 46
Operator, gimme Heaven
That the son was of
Gimme Sugar Charlie Willyum
You know, the guy I love
Get the board at Okegawa
Try the 3d HQ
I wanna tell him I am lonesome
Feelin’ kinda blue
I wanna tell him that I miss him
Send him hugs and kisses
He’s busy now? Can’t be disturbed?
THEN TELL HIM I’M HIS MISSUS!
Tell him that I’m here to state
That if he wants another date
To bill and ooo and osculate
‘48 IS MUCH TOO LATE!
Ask him will he wilco
Bill Sounds Off – Pffft!
Bill Groveman, by his own modest admission, has left in Europe a trail of broken hearts and depleted groggeries. Seems he’s grown up, and now we’ll have to call him William. Maybe even William H. And so WH has written my fair Helen a letter which could have been used as a prologue to the Decameron.
He hinted at some length on his Sex Life in Europe and his devastating effect on the women and the beer of England. But he went one step too far. He speculated on my possible reaction to the half-pint female beings that are roughly described as women in Japan. This I resent. And so I herewith make public portions of a Letter. Enough said.
16 December, 1945
My Gawd, the Groveman favors us Wessons with a letter. I say US, politely ignoring the fact that it was addressed to Helen only, because we swap ajay mail anyhow. Your confidences are therefore hardly secret.
I see that your ETO service has made a man of you, old bean. Or maybe I’m just judging prematurely from outward appearances. I can’t say, though, that your tendency toward mild displays of idiocy has diminished to any noticeable extent.
To think that our little Bill should have become a pubcrawler and a skirt-chaser! No, I hardly think you’re the little Bill that talked of socialism and paleontology with Jim Morton while Bernice McMarthy fed Vic Moitoret and me macaroni at an APC meeting. Ah, to think that your youth should have thus fled, and you have emerged from the hardening of the war a completely debauched, tough, experienced man of the world. I dare say it’ll be difficult for a Man of your experience to exist with ordinary people in such a commonplace atmosphere as that of an American school.
But tell me – just as one world traveler to another – what made the girls in Germany so easy for you? Did they succumb to your manliness or your chocolate bars?
And do you know what happens to bad little boys who tell men’s wives about geisha girls, pulling up clods of nonsense from the depths of their abysmal ignorance? Yes you, Jack. Don’t look around.
Let’s Bray at Moitoret
by Sheldon C. Wesson
A weird assortment of prose and poesy emanating from Massachusetts under the title of Cemetery Rabbit tends to enhance the reputation of the familias Moitoret – a reputation which, before the Blessed Union, could be best described by those who knew Vic as, shall we say, uh, weird.
Vic is my dependable cohort and/or opponent in the battles which we have waged sporadically against each other and everyone else in sight for some five years. My affection for him is intense, but he is a crook and a plagiarist. The name Peripatetic Press belongs to Helen Wesson. She uses it for Josette, the unreliable 2 x 4 which she carried around during our Stateside Army wanderings.
Toss a Rock at Babcock
by Sheldon C. Wesson
As one self-acknowledged Master Craftsman to another, I congratulate Ralph Babcock on his return to the rigors of civilian life. But even such typographic gods as he are apparently not immune to the profanity of error, for he displays a Moitoret-ian assortment of typographic monstrosities in his rabbit-hutch number of Weaker Moments.
This publication agrees with Ralph’s observations on the evils of teen-age segregation. Incubation carried to the extreme may result in cremation. Bill Groveman has already rebelled openly at the ladies’ tendency to slosh sugary sweetness all over the little ones. Others may follow.
A & BPC
by Helen V. Wesson
As the wife of a self-admitted APCraftsman, and an active member of the virile-but-draftable Amateur Printers’ Club in my own right, I feel it my duty to cluck at the poets and pink lemonade literati of the Blue Pencil and Charades Club. Nevertheless, I was probably the first to remit my 12 bits for their Annual Dinner and would have been the first to show up had not Bill Groveman stopped at the Hotel Times Square to inquire about the affair.
Mike Perlgut joined us, and a miniature APC meet was held in our corner during the chicken a la king. Followed a Quotation Quiz which the APC lost to the BPC, Jenning’s play on Newton D. Baker, and a penny game in which my penny aged from 1939 to 1944 when I dropped it, and Bill drew a penny with two tails.
When the meeting adjourned, the APC went down to the bar and drank beer and discussed such vital topics as the ETO and Fraternization; the Aleutians, or Men Without Women; Life, Love and Sex, and what a mess the Superior Generation has made of the world.
The BPC sipped ice cream sodas at the drug store.
It Pays to Advertise
The copy-writers who prepare advertisements for the English-language newspapers are going hog-wild. Highschool English is being trotted out of dusty closets of memory, and whoppers like this one, placed by a Kyoto dance hall in the Tokyo Mainichi, appear:
Welcome Allied Forces!
Come and Spend the Night Quickly
With Our Beautiful Girls!
Which is not what they meant. The place is closely supervised by the MPs. One dance hall extended the hand of friendship in a big way:
Today is Washington’s Birthday!
You are Thousands of Miles from Home, and
Only Us to Comfort You!
SS-wa Tokyo-e Ikimashita
This Seventeenth Siamese Standpipe is printed in Tokyo, on nondescript paper requisitioned from the Japanese army quartermaster depot which Ex-Lt. Editor’s outfit controlled. That’s the only way to get paper in Japan these days, we reckon.
Getting copy from Helen was more difficult. The mails were so terribly snarled up during the first few months of this year that even airmail letters took months to wander dazedly between Tokyo and Weehawken.
This issue is dated April 1946, with the hope it may reach members of the National Amateur Press Association, the United Amateur Press Association and a few of the American Amateur Press Association some time before April 1947. With a wobbly Jap printer working on it, and a wobbly Army Postal System taking over from there, we have our doubts.
Helen V. Wesson
Sheldon C. Wesson
A Standpipe Editorial Board Publication