Such Honors I Eschew
by Sheldon Wesson
In common courtesy, I must acknowledge with dubious pleasure an honor beyond the wildest ecstasy of my dreams: An entire issue of the Phoenix (“A Literary Magazine“), published by Charles W. Heins, has been devoted to my degradation. This application of Heins’ usual mental filth puts me in a class with a number of other amateur journalists whose exalted status in the history of the hobby I could scarcely otherwise hope to attain.
It is necessary, however, in the interests of historical accuracy, that certain statements in the June 1959 Phoenix be corrected, just for the record. It is also necessary that readers of the Phoenix understand that none of the words in quotation marks therein, by implication attributed to me, has ever been uttered or printed by me. These are merely Mr. Heins’ synthesis of sentiments which he himself ascribes to me.
Heins: “…Sheldon Wesson, that elongated, gangling ‘loud mouth’”…
The Facts: Elongated and loud, I am. Gangling, I am not. Happily, I have not met Heins for ten years. Since then I have become disgustingly padded around the middle.
Heins: “…nailed my supposed head, as a trophy, up on the wall of his abode in Japan….”
The Facts: I have never seen Heins’ supposed head. I would be happy to nail his actual head on my wall; however, unfortunately, it is still attached to his shoulders.
Heins: “…where he ekes out a living, as a renegade to our former Jap enemies.”
The Facts: My pitiful living barely keeps my family alive in a 3,700-square-foot house on 1½ acres of garden. All cash contributions cheerfully accepted. I cringe here in shame in Japan, whilst just over one million readers of six influential business newspapers, published in New York, scornfully read the daily outpourings of my tortured soul.
Heins: “…by chance he got the order for the printing of the Spencer History…”
The Facts: Chance, hell! I asked to be permitted to do it. “Order?” Sorry, I am not in the commercial printing business.
Heins: “…this Wesson now cries to rear himself as another great Spencer, verges on the ridiculous….” etc., in the same vein.
The Facts: I will be very happy if it becomes possible for me to compile my proposed Centennial History of Amateur Journalism in 1976. If a charitable posterity then should rank that achievement with Spencer’s, I would be even more happy. See, Charlie, I’m not skulking about it; I say so out loud.
Heins: “…this Wesson with tainted Jap Bravado shouts: ‘What he will do! What his cronies must do to aid him’”….etc.
The Facts: Charlie, that is not good Japanese; it is just lousy English.
Heins: “…desecration and petty ghoulish malfeasance in the printing of the Spencer History”….etc., by allegedly deleting material in such a way as to detract from the great glory of Charles W. Heins and John Milton Heins.
The Facts: This is the only truly important charge made by Heins. I have caused to be printed in the Fossil, and here repeat in substance, a refutation – only because I want no smear to dim the luster of The Fossils’ achievement in publishing the book.
Neither I nor anyone else connected with the editing and publishing of the History deleted any material concerning the Heins family or anyone else. We caused material to be added, to round out certain aspects of the account which were beyond Spencers’ knowledge. These additions are specifically acknowledged in the text. The text was edited to assure uniformity of spelling, capitalization, etc. Otherwise, it as Spencer wrote it.
Heins: “…the diatribe this sneaky Wesson printed about us and at the spleen hurled at the Eternal Feminine… a copy which was not sent or ever seen.”
The Facts: I am happy, in fact eager, that any diatribe which I may aim at Heins should be open, on the record, and sent to him promptly. I am proud of them, with a I only regret that deadly, disgusted, deep-seated pride. I only regret that certain very funny cracks at his expense, printed some years ago, did not properly bear my name as author.
Heins: “…his own spouse… suppressed a manuscript….”
The Facts: Helen Crane Heins had the kindness to send Helen Wesson a manuscript on how she met and married Charlie in the hobby. This is one of a series Helen is collecting, and which she intends to publish, when completed. If others would reply as promptly as Helen Heins, the project would be printed. Such is the nature of Helen’s dastardly “suppression.”
Heins: “…she (Helen Wesson) having been an official of the puny American Amateur Press Association. A rebellious offshoot of the United APA. Which for this reason is avidly ‘puffed’ by the Editor of the Fossil to the detriment of space for National and Fossil matter.”
The Facts: Please give Helen her due: She was President, during two separated terms, of the AAPA, not just “an official.” Please give the AAPA its due: Since it split off from the UAPA it has been, most of the time, healthier than its doddering parent. And give the Fossil Editor his due: A APA members have just begun to be ‘old’ enough to become Fossils, and so the A APA is more prominent in the Fossil.It is an error to believe that the Fossil is devoted only to the National and The Fossils. It is devoted to the history of amateur journalists, with whatever association affiliated, as well as those who never did belong to an amateur journalists’ organization. This ignorance of the purpose of The Fossils and the Fossil ill becomes Mr. Heins, who terms himself (in defiance of history) “one of the organizers of The Fossils.”
Heins: “…is Wesson’s eager hope, by this (my attack on Helen Heins’ Eternal Feminine) to rear himself as a future Fossil President….”
The Facts: I do not have to attack Helen Heins in order to become a Fossil President. I assume that, as the inevitable trace of time proceeds, I will eventually become senior enough to hope for the honor. Meanwhile, I happily turn out four Fossils a year. See, Charlie, how refreshing it is to be honest? Try it yourself some time.
Heins: “The above Historical article… is here printed, as no required reply was received from Shelden (sic) Wesson, Editor of the Fossil, to whom the mss was submitted for publication.”
The Facts: The mss was never submitted to the Fossil for publication. The Editor constantly pleads for personal historical – yes, even hysterical – reminiscences, Charlie. This Charlie, is the unkindest cut. Say of me what filth you will, but please spell my name correctly.
Only 12 days remain before I fly to Boston to join Helen and the children, now en route by sea and rail, for the NAPA Convention. Thus I must entrust to a commercial printer this small effort which, simply for ease in classification, will be called
Siamese Standpipe 40
dated June 13, 1959 and published at 68 Asahi-dai, Negishi, Yoko-hama, Japan, where dwell Helen and Sheldon Wesson.