On one desk we have a letter tray for Standpipe copy. Fragments of articles, cover layouts and miscellany are thrown into it for enlargement for future issues. Occurrences in the ajay world often cause one of us to erupt a lead paragraph in the fury of the moment. We have cleaned out the copy box at last; and so we give you here these unfinished and un-edited fragments… our
Good Intentions of 1952-57
HVW 1955: THERE ARE TIMES when I fully agree that the only thing to do with a broken-legged cow or a bull-headed husband is to shoot them both. I don’t know what the ratio is of like-minded American wives, but I do know that Japanese women are sentenced to only six years in prison for uxoricide.
HVW 1954: IN HIS YEAR as President, Victor Moitoret chose his chief critic on the basis of personal friendship. As a result, the choice, Rolfe Castleman, was self-admittedly incapable of giving scholarly judgments – and did not have enough sense to remain a figurehead, appointing those of his elders who could. The result was an illogical system, by an inadequate judge, of reducing talents, achievements and personalities into a numbers racket, which surely belongs not to the official organ, but to those few phony National Amateurs which lampoon our hobby to the horror of some and the delight of many.
HVW 1954: AT TIMES, and despite planned parenthood, there have been as many as 20 Wessons in the Japan Clan, maybe more. There are now only 10, a new low. That includes five human beings of assorted sexes and sizes; the dog Lorelei, the canary Beakey John, the mouse Amos Quintus Flavius Nezu-mi-chan, and Myrtle and Schmyrtle the turtles. When kingyo-ya makes his weekly rounds our numbers will soar upwards by six or so – goldfish. The most interesting members added to our family recently, besides Pamela, are 13 tadpoles from neighbor Butchie’s pond – each developing one, two and three legs, and then finally four.
SPW 1954 (Age 7): FOR UN-FINEST COPY. Even if they don’t have anything but umbrellus, they don’t mind it. Now let’s see what they have for dinner. It may be and always is, a
HVW 1957: WE HAD JUST READ that one entry won NAPA Laureates in two divisions, and that this grotesquerie had been officially ratified. In horror, Helen started to write an Epic Poem which would qualify also as History of Amateur Journalism and as an Essay Pertaining to Amateur Journalism.
(This is as far as it got. As it stands now it is also a Short Story with tragic undertones.)
These are the days of mimeographed papers,
Long they are, and weary reading.
S & H 1957: HOW HAS Charlie Heins ever earned the distinction of becoming a Sacred Cow? For years, since his earliest papers – 50 years or more – he has vilified individuals and groups; and everyone sits back and – at the expense of the current victim(s) – holds finger to lips and cautions, “Now don’t get Charlie excited!” Never mind that Charlie and his spouse have cost the hobby many fine amateurs who withdrew in disgust, including the Harlers and one of our current top printers. Never mind that innocent people have been vilified and libeled. Never mind them. Just “don’t get Charlie excited.”
The recent Eternal Feminine sings the same dirty ditty as any other Heins paper of the past half-century.
An actual conversation, 1952
Wes: Speaking of moose, whatever became of Heins?
Helen: I don’t get the point of that.
Wes: Well, a moose is known for its bellow.
Helen: Oh, I thought a moose was known for having its head on a wall.
Wes: Sure… some people listen to Heins bellow and some wish they had his head nailed to the wall.
Helen: Well, that’s true. Heins always did lose his head easily.
And So Into Limbo
SCW 1954: “I HAVE BEEN asked to run for President,” writes a distinguished member of NAPA, “but the presidency only seems to be a kick upstairs, then out on a limb and into limbo.”
It is unfortunately true that our ex-Presidents often seem to fade away – especially this past decade when we have had to go begging for candidates and gratefully give our highest office to anyone whose activity for a year or so has struggled above the level of mediocrity, and who is willing to accept the office.
Every presidential candidate should have a solid record of hard work for the association in other capacities before presuming to run for the top job. I am flattered by suggestions that I run for President; but I won’t, until I feel that I have earned the right to seek the office by (1) having filled several of the other positions on the board, and (2) being personally situated so that I feel sure I can give the office the time it deserves, and can continue active and interested in the years beyond. I never want to feel that the life membership, which is the reward given our Presidents, is a cushion for me to fall back on.
Furthermore, when I run for President, I hope it’s a hot race – at least three-sided – with all candidates having approximately an equal claim for recognition. If I win, I want to be gloriously exhausted with the effort. If I lose, I want to feel that I stood up on my feet and fought. In neither case do I want to feel that I have been shoved in or dished out by part-time politicians who work behind the flaps of sealed envelopes.
I think the record will show that active publishers who earned the office through their activity and their service in the subsidiary offices, have continued to be an asset to the association. Those who were jerked out of limbo have gently receded into limbo.
One of our recent Presidents, shortly after being elected, wrote me to the effect that: “Well, I guess it’s time for me to buckle down and earn my salt in the NAPA.” High time, indeed! A candidate should earn his salt first, and then be so bold as to accept nomination for the top position.
Here’s a list of the past dozen NAPA Presidents – those who have held office during the period of my membership. Try to recall what they did to earn the office and what they’ve done since. How many do you recognize as active ajays today? –
Robert Telschow (dec’d), George Trainer, C. A. A. Parker, Robert Holman, Willametta Keffer, William Haywood, Sesta Matheison, Charles Shattuck (dec’d), Harold Ellis, Thomas Whitbread, Victor Moitoret, Dora Moitoret and Robert Kunde.
Personalities in Print
HVW 1957: IT IS AN Accepted Truth that amateur journals reflect the personalities of their publishers. To what degree, however, has just been impressed upon me by the small papers which Sheldon and David printed this rainy season – Jamboree 3 and Nyubai News 1, respectively.
It was decided that colored paper would distinguish these youthful effusions from the other papers in the Standpipe bundle, and from each other. The paper supplier had many delectable colors in his sample book – but only pink, blue and yellow in stock.
David, 7, always tres gai, chose the pink and demanded a blue masthead. He has always manipulated colors confidently; the covers of all his second-grade notebooks are decorated with bold abstracts of bright color, doodled when he should, instead, have been waiting patiently in line for his turn to hand in his work of the moment. However, Daddy was surprised when David refused to use the blue right out of the tube, thus echoing (without realizing it) Mommy’s oft-expressed sentiments. He directed the mixing of the blue ink to his taste. He also asked for the Brush for his title.
Sheldon, 9½, conservative, with the older male’s ill-ease at showing off except in a dignified spot-light, chose the pale yellow. His choice of the Onyx caps in black was business-like; it suffices for the purpose, he argued. Perhaps influenced by David’s blue run, but mostly because it was more suitable for the subject, he chose a darker (“Yacht Club blue“) for the sailboat. That was his first attempt at linoleum cutting, though he has carved wooden trays of almost professional caliber.
The Headmaster at Yokohama International School once remarked that “Sheldon is curious; David is creative.” Sheldon’s mind, he elaborated, is like a sponge, constantly sucking in Facts on every conceivable subject. So it is Facts which make up the copy for Sheldon’s paper, not whimsy or fantasy. He regards writing copy as somewhat like schoolwork, English composition; he’d rather read – absorb – than write.
If there is a complicated way to do a simple thing, David will do it his own, complicated way, the Head-master said, thus, without knowing, echoing Mommy’s opinion of Daddy (sometimes!). The little “mystery” story he re-told was elaborated upon to such an extent… well, that’s David. Evenings when they should be asleep, we can hear them, snuggled into one of their twin beds, with David recounting a spooky ghost story, scary as he can make it, and his older brother listening breathlessly. It is David who tells the story, but it is Sheldon who is sensitive enough to be moved too much by ghost stories, which are therefore forbidden reading to him.
Regarding copy for future issues of Jamboree and Nyubai News (David is already flitting among two or three other titles), we conjecture interestedly but will not influence unduly. The printing end has been settled already, though. David watched rather enviously as Sheldon fed Daddy’s big press for the last runs of Jamboree; he has never admitted to his 2½ years’ difference. Therefore, Daddy said Sheldon could graduate to the big press at 10, and David would own the 2×4 press and his own type at that time. “And when I’m 10, I’ll give the 2×4 to Pamela,” adds David pointedly.
: GRANDMA HARRIET sent both boys blue satin baseball jackets. They were loudly delighted; for weeks they wouldn’t go out without demanding their Dodgers jackets. Then one day Sheldon finally broke down and asked: “Daddy, what does Dodgers mean?” And his Daddy born in Brooklyn, yet!
: HAVING WON the Yokohama Yacht Club’s one-lap free-style, Sheldon greeted his Dad at the finish of the Fathers’ Race with joyous relief: “Well, at least you didn’t come in last!”
 MOMMY WAS checking ears. “What are you looking for,” grumbled Sheldon, “fertile farmland?”
The Fog Is Lifting
SCW 1956: AMATEUR JOURNALISM, meaning the NAPA and AAPA, seems to have been muddling around in a gray fog the past few years. But here and there we see a sparkle of talent and interest, much of it new – leading to the hope that organized amateur journalism may some day return to the aspirations and standards of amateur journalism.
In the best tradition of the boy printer (yes, Violet Simpson!) is the Jayhawk Journal: Starting with a duplicated issue, graduating to a 3 x 5 press, then to a 7 x 11 kicker, learning presswork technique and taking a fling at linoleum cuts along the way. This is our tradition and our strength.
In the best tradition of the boy’s newspaper – in the tradition of the New Times of 25 years ago – is the Junior Journalist. A real news-paper is the most difficult type of amateur journal to publish consistently. We fervently hope that Alan Harshaw can keep it going vigorously.
It didn’t require enlargement to 5 x 7 size to make the Haywoods’ Just Our Type the fine journal that it is. With an artist-calligrapher and connoisseur of imported types producing it, J-O-T exemplifies in our hobby the function of printing as the “art preservative of the arts.”
Gator Growl fills today the spot held by the Californian 20 years ago – the journal of size and substance, edited with literary bent, capable of displaying a “big” manuscript without strain. Lee Hawes has indeed grown up in the hobby, and is already a young elder-statesman.
O. W. Hinrichs, Bob Price and Karl X. Williams will all sympathize with Harold Davids’ bout with a river a-flood; this, too, in a grim way, is in our tradition. Reflections and Refractions, with all that enthusiasm and good humor behind it, could be a top-notch paper, if someone would only visit the Colonial Press to find out what’s wrong with H ED’s ink.
Also in our tradition, and strongly, is the professional printer who turns to the art as a hobby. And so we have the fun and pleasure of John Brann’s Buddy.
These aren’t the only commendable journals coming out these days, but they show you what we mean. It is worth while groping through the fog of today’s amateur journalism to bump into fine forms like these.
SCW 1955: I HAVE just learned that my 11/3-point Japanese “leads” are made of zinc. Being harder than lead, they don’t wear at the ends; hence little trouble with dropped letters and punctuation at the ends of lines.
Siamese Standpipe 39
is concocted of odds and ends, old rags, bottles, baskets and Pepsi-Cola. The old rag was a piece of fire-damaged upholstery fabric wrapped around a linoleum block and printed right off the cloth for our Page One background design – an idea inspired by two words, “texture printing,” by B. M. Headford in CANIPSA, organ of the Canadian Branch of the International Small Printers’ Association. The “baskets” are background borders from Stephenson Blake, Sheffield, England. We never did achieve the exact “bottle green” Helen had in mind. And the Pepsi-Cola, to lubricate the pressman, costs 10 cents per special 6¾-oz. Bottle, so’s not to provide undue competition for the Japanese suger-water manufacturers.
Also Garamond type.
Helen and Sheldon Wesson
Members: The Fossils, AAPA, ISPA, NAPA, TWAPC