Once again National Amateur Press Association members witness a triple-play – Brodie to Spink to Babcock – in the production of this Scarlet Cockerel. By throwing wide the door to Warren Brodie’s venerable (and undusted) Printshop host Helm Spink baited the itinerant cockalorum into a five-day Cleveland visit. The result was inevitable: From 10 pt. Garamont (monotyped, leaded 3 pts., with 14 pt. Heads) 380 copies of this 22nd issue were printed, four pages at a time, on Brodie’s 10×15 C&P press, which seems to be thriving on this year’s diet of 3 Conapans, 3 Cockerels, and innumerable mailing bureau envelopes. The paper – obviously pre-war stuff – is 80 lb. Ivory wove Wayside Text. The time – is now 6 p.m. Wednesday 24 May – and so we must terminate this revel with Spink, Brodie in absentia, the Knacks, and other Conapans, to board a Texas-bound train. Until further notice please address Ralph Babcock, Great Neck, N.Y.
by Ralph Babcock
Every so often the March National Amateur is cluttered up with a bunch of half-baked ideas which some lamebrain thinks would go well in the constitution. This year Alfred Babcock is the offender. His eleven proposed amendments show plainly the hasty preparation and lack of understanding behind them:
The idea of contributing $1 to the official organ fund in lieu of a credential is cockeyed. We want writers and publishers – NOT just members. Even tho a person can’t write well, our constitution now allows him to publish a paper and submit that as credential instead.
Al’s idea of requiring election of ex-presidents to life membership is likewise silly. Any member who puts in a year as NAPA president deserves a life membership. The time to consider a person’s abilities and accomplishments is prior to his election as president – not afterwards. If he’s a jerk and has done nothing worthwhile he should never be elected to the presidency.
Levying a poll tax on the privilege of voting and holding office would bring surprisingly small returns. It would merely tend to discourage voting and office holding.
Equally stupid is Alfred’s interpretation of membership and voting credential requirements: Art. II, Sec. 2 plainly states “an amateur paper shall consist of a minimum of four printed pages 5 x 7 or the equivalent.” That “or the equivalent” plainly covers any difference in size of papers: 8 pages 3½ x 5 are considered equivalent to 4 pages 5 x 7, etc. An inch difference in margins certainly would not disqualify any paper which contained the 800 word minimum required of non-printed papers.
Thus you see how ill-conceived Al’s No. 3 Amendment is. His other proposals are equally half-baked. They show only too plainly their hasty preparation and lack of thorough thought. Just such hare-brained suggestions resulted in a proposal (several years back) to require all amendments be co-sponsored by ten or more prominent members. Amendments No. 3 thru 13 should be defeated.
Amendment 2 again presents the combined proposals of the Special Committee on Constitution of the Columbus convention. These were prepared and proposed by ex-presidents Haggerty, Townsend, Babcock, and Holman, along with Spink and Crane. These were approved by the Columbus convention. These are now up for the approval of the membership as a whole. Be sure to vote YES on Amendment 2.
Amendment 1 covers the cause of all this year’s furor over constitutional amendments: applicability of Sec. 68 of Robert’s Rules of Order. I don’t claim to be a parliamentary law expert, but I do favor adoption of Amendment 1.
Rusty Weixelbaum’s Amendment 14 brings up that old business of whether all papers should be sent to every member. I’d rather go back a step further and abolish all Associate, Limited, and Honorary Memberships – but no one has proposed that, and we haven’t given Limited Memberships a fair trial yet, so let’s concentrate on the thesis: Should all papers be sent to every member?
YES, wails Wesson. NO, claims Rusty, on the basis that Limited membership should entitle one to the official organ but not the mailing bundles; that members should relieve publishers of postage costs on publishing papers.
From time immemorial it has been a publisher’s “privilege” to pay the costs of publishing his paper. To publish it he must put it in the hands of other members – hence, mail it. At the same time he holds the right to determine to whom his paper shall be sent. If he thinks Joe Blow is a sap, a deadhead, a blot upon the face of AJ – he can refrain from sending his masterpiece to Joe Blow. (Of course, if he publishes an opinion that Joe Blow is the wackiest Scififan ever to sully the membership list, common decency requires that he send Joe Blow a copy; just as courtesy suggests sending one’s paper to new recruits and exchanging with other publishers and active members.)
Our mailing bureau began as a publishers’ cooperative. Privately mailing one’s paper to 300 persons costs at least $3 (plus envelopes and time). By sharing costs and efforts thru the mailing bureau publishers pay only 15 cents a pound. Naturally, official mailing bundles should go to all members.
When one has opinions he wants to reach the entire membership one can use the mailing bureau. But when one publishes an elaborate 24 page “literary” paper – which interests less than half the members, obviously, for not over 10% ever express an opinion on it – then it’s much more sensible to mail personally only 100 or 200 copies to those amateurs known to be interested. And so I shall!
MY MOTHER AND I
by Lois Grimes
My mother and I live alone and like it – I tell her we’ll both get our pension money someday and people won’t be able to tell which is the younger.
I had an uncle who drank, and in my adolescent, formative years his antics so filled me with disgust and loathing that when I was fourteen I was violently WCTU. This attitude stayed with me and as I grew older friends viewed me with alarm as tho I were going to break into an Epworth League declamation every time I saw the foam on a glass of beer.
But with rationing all has changed.
After some discussion mother and I decided we’d get our liquor rationing cards. So one Saturday we eased ourselves into our city’s liquor store and applied for cards. The store is located in the direct center of town and, because everything “wet” is legal again, the store is enclosed on three sides by plate glass windows which are kept very clean. No matter how surreptitious your manner you’re in full view of your fellow men – and you find yourself cringing into a corner to avoid meeting the crusader-blue eyes of your church pastor.
After they’ve checked your character (drink sometimes makes enemies of society) you are free to choose your brand. As a subscriber of “New Yorker” and “Esquire” I’ve been subjected for years to the large and tempting liquor ads: “Escape from Ordinary,” “distinctive flavor,” “absolute uniformity” – so I knew that which I sought.
We paid our money and, clutching our two bottles apiece (brandy bottles are mighty bulky objects), made our way home. Mother (who doesn’t know a sidecar from a handcar) was as anxious to sample her drinks as a confirmed delirium tremens-ite.
Now, she watches with avid interest when one rationing period ends and another begins. Then, even tho we have several bottles uncorked in the cupboard, we make a wild dash for town and the liquor store.
We laugh on the way home and her eyes are clear brown and not “boozy” at all. We’re never in our cups – oh, we have a little “nippy” now and then, but we’re never in our cups.
FOLLOWERS OF THE FLAG
by Rowena Autry
Long have I searched for the words of a song
That leaps in my heart as the flag goes by…
The color, the marching, the bugle-cry,
The full-throated yells of tall men, and strong,
With the mark of the plow on their calloused hands.
They have gazed long at their hills and sky.
They have come up from their fields to die
If they must, for safety of homes, and lands.
They have known plum trees, white with the snow
Of a blossoming April. Long have they known
The fragrance of furrows; hay newly mown;
Sunlight on green corn, row after row.
They have known twilight, and darkening skies;
Gentle winds blowing, and bright stars above…
I must find words to tell of the love
That sends them off marching with dreams in their eyes.
… But the flag goes on, and I stand there, weak
With the weight of a heart too full to speak.
IT CAN HAPPEN
by Ralph Babcock
Whaddya mean – “8 a.m. breakfast, nothing all day but eat, sleep, write and read; no colonels or captains to prance for, no 8-ball privates to bail out of trouble, no calisthenics…” It just doesn’t happen in this man’s army!… No? C’m’along down to Ward A-23 and hear the case of one Lt. Babcock… Y’mean Texas finally drove him to the psychopathic ward?… Well – Just “pipe” this telegram his sleepy wife received by phone one foggy March dawn in Boston: “Your husband serving two weeks sentence solitary confinement – her heart began to pound so hard she could scarcely hear the operator – for stealing while on furlough one loaded case of measles…” What, Measles, again! Yeah, that’s what she said. “How about some variety? You’ve had measles before. This makes three times in ten years!” … But honey – last year ‘t was only German (3-day) measles. This is the regular kind: two week quarantine… Y’mean there’s French and Russian measles left yet? … Naw – but they did have one chap in here who came back with measles a second time only a week after they discharged him… So I suppose you wanta bust that record now? Babcock, you’re lazier than I thot possible… Mmm. Could be. But for a 103 degree temperature and spots for a coupla days wouldn’t you accept two weeks peace and quiet? … Meals in bed, private bath, quart orange juice daily, three nurses, oodles other healthy stuff… “Baw!” howls wifie, “I’m disconsolate. You don’t like me as your nursie any more – go and get measles when you’re 2500 miles away, surrounded by pretty nurses! Hope they give you salts, cascara, and even castor oil!” … Oh dear, let’s not start on THAT again!
by Frank Earle Schermerhorn
Torrid youth goes raging forward,
Hangs mirages on the plain –
Burning footsteps never halting –
Cools the present with disdain.
Age remembers lost oases,
Sunk beneath the desert surge:
Bygone caravans are passing,
Droning low and sand-wind’s dirge.
“THERE’S MANY A SLIP…”
by William F. Haywood
It was Saturday, the best day of the week. The best day for Albert Carter, because it was Pay Day – with a capital P and a capital D. Still, Albert was the type of man who always approached the cashier’s tiny, barred enclosure with diffidence. Not that he didn’t deserve the few bills that lined his weekly envelope, but only because something in his character made him feel that The Company was doing him a big favor once in seven days.
Albert stepped gingerly up to the cage and announced, apologetically, that he was “Carter, Albert.” The cashier, who had been handing the envelope out to him for ten years, was there ahead of him. He pushed it through and grinned. “Take some of it home with you, Carter!”
Albert smiled discomfitedly and turned away, tapping the envelope to make sure he wouldn’t tear into the bills when he opened it. Mechanically he withdrew the money and counted it. He stopped and counted it again. He had been right the first time – there was an extra ten-dollar bill in his pay.
At first, he thought that there must be some mistake. He almost went back with his surprising haul. Then he happened to remember that Mr. Wilson had mentioned something about a raise – perhaps he had even gone to the Big Boss about it. Albert thanked Mr. Wilson mentally – he was beginning to feel a warm glow penetrating into his frozen clerical heart.
And then he had a sudden inspiration. In fact, his head was swimming with it – he would walk into the Big Boss’ sanctuary and thank him personally. He started boldly down the hall to the front of the building, and now that he had made up his mind, the courage was rising in his blood like the mercury in July.
He tapped on the door where the Big Boss has his name lettered in elegant gilt, and strode right in, almost (but not quite!) as bold as brass. The Big Boss looked up from the papers on his desk and asked, “Well, Carter?”
“Excuse me, sir,” burst out Albert, “but I wanted to thank you for the extra money in my pay envelope this week. You see,” he rode on over the executive’s ready-to-part lips, “I’ve been here for ten years, and I’ve always worked as hard as I could, and I figured perhaps The Company would consider raising my pay. Not, mind you,” he hastened to assure the startled man, “that I haven’t been treated generously all these years, but I was just hoping – well, thank you again, sir, you may be sure that I shall continue to do my very best.”
Carter caught his breath and backed out, closing the door carefully, if somewhat nervously, behind him. He walked down the hall with a new spring in his step, his head whirling with wonderful plans and ideas. Charlie Sellers was just coming in, and held the door for him. He greeted him with an airy salute and a “Hiya, Charlie, old boy!” that made Sellers gape. “Huh,” mused Charlie, “what’s got into him all of a sudden?”
As he bounced – you couldn’t call that new step walking – down the street, Albert was building castles in Spain. This new feeling was getting the best of him. Without realizing it, he crossed Main Street for the first time without waiting for the green light, and headed for Sylvia Loughlin’s house.
Sylvia Loughlin was the girl whom Albert had pictured as Mrs. Carter for quite some time, but he had never gotten much further than that. Albert didn’t believe in getting down to cases until you meant to do something about it, and Albert didn’t believe in marriage until you could afford it. But now – well, with that extra $10 coming along every week, shucks, a man could afford to think about such things, couldn’t he?
Albert was just barely inside the Loughlin front door, and hadn’t any more than taken off his hat, before he burst out with the news. “What do you think, Syl, I got a raise!”
She was really pleased, and she was as much surprised at the change in Albert as she was at his news. “Standing there like that,” Albert thought, “with such a happy smile, and an excited sparkle in her dark eyes, she was beautiful.” He bent over and kissed her.
He was startled for the second time in that momentous day – for he discovered something he had never known before. There was nothing more wonderful in the world than the girl you love. Before he quite realized it, they had decided that Sylvia would make the ideal Mrs. Carter.
The Big Boss had been thrown a trifle off-balance by the sudden outbreak in the nature of the otherwise-too-placid Mr. Carter. But after Albert had departed, he started to piece things together – the secret of being a big executive is knowing how to add up all the little things to make one big thing – and he hurried back into the Auditing Department.
“Who has been checking over the payroll?” he demanded in his best official manner, stabbing at the clerks in turn with his rapier glance.
In a moment he was looking at the books, and certifying what he had already suspected. There had been no change in Albert Carter’s salary in ten years, and he was supposed to have received today just what he had received the week before. Someone had slipped up, and an extra ten dollars of The Company’s money had trickled out through the name of Carter, Albert.
The paymaster was painfully apologetic. He assured the Big Boss that this had never happened before in all the years he had been passing out the salaries through the iron bars. He promised that it would never happen again. He explained that he would deduct the amount next week and everything would be straight.
The Big Boss considered things thoughtfully, while the office hung in petrified suspense. Then he roared with a laughter that was new to this frigid atmosphere. He was imagining the effect that the landfall might be having on Mr. Albert Carter, and his imagination was only a little behind the facts.
“Never mind that,” he told the paymaster, fixing him with his eyes, “just see to it that Mr. Carter receives the same amount every week from now on. We can’t admit that anyone here made a mistake.”
He shook the cramped little room with his booming laugh again, and went off to dictate a letter to Carter, Albert.
And so it was that Albert Carter, skipping along happily in his new-found world, never discovered that it was the paymaster who had handed him the key.
by Rowena Autry
Go after him with your lipstick on.
Allure him with dark-shadowed eyes.
Pout and smile. Each has its place.
… Yes, my girl, if you are wise,
Take heed before the bird has flown,
And concentrate upon your face…
Leave Shakespeare for another day.
Forget Beethoven. Classic art
And all your dictionaries too,
Will gather dust… if you are smart.
And if you wonder what to say,
“Yes, my dear,” will probably do.
by Burton Crane
The sergeant stopped at the half-arrested movement of her hand. Little trickles of sunlight moved in her crinkly hair, made liquid color of the bright blue of her eyes, outlined the urgent curves of her vital young body.
“I beg your pardon?” The voice was questioning, the eyes appreciative.
She flushed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I couldn’t help noticing… I mean your ribbons.”
He grinned down at her. “Sure. No harm done. What about ‘em?”
“You’ve been to Africa and Italy.” She paused, as if gathering resolution, then rushed ahead. “I mean, my brother’s in Italy and you’re in the same branch and I was wondering–”
The soldier smiled again. “Lots of guys in Italy.”
“Oh, you don’t know him. It’s just a chance. His name’s Dalton – Joe Dalton. I thought that maybe–”
The soldier broke in. “Not Sergeant Joe Dalton?”
“It was corporal the last I heard.”
“Yes, it was, but I’m sure he’s a sergeant now. Of course I know him. We were together at Messina. Well, well, well!”
Her eyes were happy. “Well, well, well!” she said.
“So what do you know? You’re Joe’s sister and I’m one of his best friends. Maybe he’s written you about me. The name’s Jernigan – Frank Jernigan.”
“Why, I believe he has,” she said. “I’ll have to look up his letters.”
“And I think I’ve heard him talk about you, too. Isn’t your name…?” He paused.
“It’s Emily,” she said.
“Sure! That’s right! Emily!” He took her arm. “Now, look, Emily, we don’t know each other very well yet but, after all, your being Joe’s sister and my being his best friend and all that sort of puts us in the same family.”
“Yes, it does, sort of.”
“So, what say we grab a bite to eat and see a show?”
The girl hesitated. “Well, I don’t know…” Her crinkly smile made light of all doubts. “Sure. Why not? After all, you’re a friend of Joe’s.”
* * * *
They spent a long time over breakfast. The coffee pot yielded its last few drops.
“I’ll make some more, if you want.”
“No. You stay where you are. Let’s just sit. I haven’t much more time.” Frank stretched his length under the table. What a wonderful girl! And what a wonderful time they’d had! “You sure make good coffee.”
She studied him, chin cradled in palms, bright eyes smiling. “You know,” she said, “We sort of got away from Joe. You haven’t told me much about him. Do you think he’s all right?”
“Sure. He’s bound to be. If he weren’t, you’d have heard about it. And Joe’s a boy who knows how to take care of himself. Why there was one time in Sicily when the Nazis has a road-block in a little valley…” It was a long story, not a good story but one rich in probable detail. And Joe, it turned out, was a hero as well as a brother.
Emily helped him into his coat. “I’ll come to the station with you,” she said. “Meeting someone who knows Joe is even better than a letter from him. He tells so little, and then it’s just wisecracks.”
“Oh, you got to make allowances,” said Frank. “Joe’s like that. But he’s a real good guy.”
Sergeant Frank Jernigan looked out the window at the Jersey marshes and grinned. He grinned at Newark. He grinned at Elizabeth. At New Brunswick he laughed aloud. He certainly had put that one over. Joe Dalton! Corporal Joe Dalton! In some tank destroyer outfit. Well, maybe some of the other fellows knew the guy. He’d never even heard of him!
Emily was smiling, too, and three lonely GI’s turned to watch her sunny figure as she tripped across Eighth Avenue. And it was worth smiling about. She’d never had a brother.
by Frank Earle Schermerhorn
Defend the walls, and flood the moat.
Within the portal men-at-arms
Are waiting. Soon the bugle’s throat
Will rout the dawn with bold alarms.
Then clash the leaguering host with spear
And horse and serried arrow-cloud…
My soul, forewarned, press on, and fear
No ambush laid in dreams, for loud
The strategies of pending hours –
That gild with noon our conscious night –
Cry havoc, past the waking towers
Of day, and plume our falchioned might.
by Ralph Babcock
The original Fossils eulogized ad infinitum the “good old days” of the pre-1890’s. Personally, I’ve never particularly admired and pre-1890 amateur papers. Altho the ‘80’s and ‘90’s may be credited with some excellent writing, the papers invariably were saturated with that distracting typographical spinach of the Victorian era. I’m inclined to agree that the NAPA reached a peak during the decades following the turn of the century. Thrift yearns for that 1900-10 period, and Haggerty, too, claimed that the years 1904-08 saw the best development of amateur journalism. That was the era of Steinberg’s Dilettante, Thrift’s Lucky Dog, Villa de Laura Times, Shillalab, Brodie’s Random Amateur, Campbell’s Scotchman, Heins’ Arrows, Sinclair’s Cartoons, Kendall’s Torpedo, Murphy’s Pioneer, Lind’s Pagan, and Ahlhauser’s Cynosure.
Lagging activity and the vigorous newborn UAPA worried Warren Brodie into a single-handed campaign of re-building during 1900-01. Then came the surge in activity around 1902 (the era mentioned above). A period of stagnation from 1912 to 1918 ended in an activity flurry in the early 1920’s, but – how close the NAPA came to extinction, to death and formal burial, during the boom days of 1923-29, few realize. Perhaps the philosophy of the times had something to do with it. Amateurs of the later 1920’s were a different type, of a different age, with different ideas about amateur journalism and activity. During that period C. W. Smith’s Tryout consistently topped everything. Sporadic papers skyrocketed about it to quick oblivion, yet one might almost say the backbone of the NAPA then was not the official organ but Tryout.
In 1930 the NAPA was re-born thru the Haggerty-Smith recruiting of boy-printers, and until recently few amateurs have had any conception of the achievements and standards of the earlier eras. The past decade, however, has seen gradual elevation of standards. No longer are thumnail 3½ x 6 or 4 x 6 papers the NAPA average. In 1931-32 Ripples from Lake Champlain sparkled alone, a 16 page-and-cover 4 x 6 paper, conducted on an aloof semi-professional basis (subscriptions solicited). Occasionally one hears reference to Leisure Hours, Sea Gull, Californian, Perspective Review, Bookmark, Pine Needles, O-Wash-Ta-Nong, and other papers which rose to prominence in the intervening decade.
Today our average is the 4-page 5 x 7 sheet. Today we have the vastly superior Aonian, Masaka, Olympian, and Go-Ahead, with Friendly Quill, Conapan, and Bavardage crowding the leaders. Today we’re discovering a new comradeship – the same amicable, competitive, social spirit of Brodie’s old Cleveland home. We find Crane, the Babcocks, Vondy and Cole getting together frequently; the Amateur Printers still ganging together; Ohio writers advancing to the lead once held by Oakland and Salt Lake City clubs. There is animated, good-natured (tho sometimes sharp) repartee, a healthy discussion of writing, editing, and printing – a competitive striving to produce worthwhile papers. These are indications that the National is surging to a new activity peak, with the Edkins-Thrift team pacing the pack. Writer and printer, Burton Crane is a genial genius, quick in the noggin and supercharged with energy. Ed Cole shines as a worthy critic and writer-publisher. And others – Wesson, Dr. King, Groveman, and Laube – bear watching.
One of the major finds of the century, however, is that Turnepseed demoiselle. Unlike some feminine prodigies, she runs on her own momentum, serving at the same time as a powerhouse of inspiration to others. Given a dozen more Willametta’s the NAPA might even challenge Roosevelt’s machine. Hence, knowing that she will wear with distinction the toga of the “Centurions of the Guard,” those constructive politicians whom Tim Thrift termed “not only leaders but builders… who left a deep impress on their time and were instrumental in preserving the best traditions of our hobby for posterity,” it gives this editor (who proposed her for NAPA membership) considerable pleasure in nominating for NAPA president, Miss Willametta Turnepseed.
To support Madame President we propose for Executive Judges: Tony Moitoret, Burton Crane, Tim Thrift. For Vice-President, Dr. Charles R. King. For Recorder, Gordon Rouze.
For Secretary-Treasurer we nominate that Quazy-Kat, Alfred Babcock. As a constitutional meddler there is undootedly a screw loose in the noggin of brother Al, but why not let the dear boy carry on as Secretary-Treasurer? He writes to two-thirds of the membership anyhow, so he might as well collect the dues and say hello to the newcomers officially while doing it.
For Official Editor, Frank Batchelder. Some may challenge this nomination, but we firmly believe the official editorship calls for a seasoned amateur capable of the fine work so evident in Go-Ahead. Wma., Alf, and Batch would make a fine team.