Ralph W. Babcock, Jr. – The Richelieu of the N. A. P. A.
by Virginia Winkelman
Have you ever read a history of Cardinal Richelieu in which he was pictured as an infamous scoundrel trying his best to dethrone Queen Anne, and have you later discovered another which heralded him as a great man who saved France and King Louis XIII from the ravages of the Spanish? It is in this manner that I present Ralph W. Babcock, Jr., past president of the National Amateur Press Association.
If Ralph were a very great man high in politics or world affairs instead of boy of twenty just starting out on his career, many controversial biographies would be written on him and the world would try to understand his complex personality. Napoleon is another such personage. Some acclaim him; some defame him.
In meeting Mr. Babcock, you are impressed with his friendly greeting, his cordial smile, his ambition, and it is true that each of these qualities is his; yet, his actions in connection with the National Amateur Press Association have sometimes caused reproach from those who are older, wiser, and more experienced. Impatience marks his every move – the impatience of youth.
Like the figure of my historical simile, Ralph possesses an incomprehensible desire for personal revenge. He makes many plans and goes to no end to carry them out. First impressions with him are lasting.
Babcock is one hundred per cent for amateur journalism. He shows an indefatigable spirit in furthering the affairs of the National, and devotes himself whole heartedly to his purposes.
To me, Ralph W. Babcock shows great promise of becoming a great figure in the world of today if his impetuosity does not overcome him; but his personality presents an enigma, unsolvable perhaps, except by time.
Thanks again to all who sent me letters and cards since the first issue of this publication. All who have written to me before, write again, and those who haven’t yet, please do drop me a line. I enjoy the correspondence and eventually answer it all.
The editor of this paper says his motto is “Michigan or bust!” I’ll get there if I have to crawl.
The Red Onion – Chapter II
by Victor A. Moitoret
When I awoke, the train was slowly winding down the long grade that approaches the wide bay formed by the mouth of the river. As we rounded horseshoe curves, I was able to see the engine ahead, going in the opposite direction from that which we were taking. The brakeman, an old friend of mine, passed through the train just then, having completed his duties, and recognizing me as a steady passenger, sat down beside me.
“How’s business?” he asked.
“Oh, fair,” I answered. “How about yours?”
“Well, it’s doin’ pretty good now, except for –” and he proceeded to tell me the story of a group of strikers who were doing their level best, (maybe I should say their evil worst) in an effort to take revenge on the railroad system for which they had formerly worked. It seems that following a big strike, some of the former employees had refused to accept the terms of the company and were disappointed when they found that the railroad could get along without them. They had been working though, for the past two months, and had succeeded in getting some of the regular employees on their side although they still held their regular jobs, “It’s gettin’ now so that we don’t know who to trust,” he objected.
Just then, he was called to his duties, and I was left to sit and ponder over the situation. It was apparent that if the company did not do something drastic to quell the strikers, that they would lose a lot of customers and have a lot more equipment damaged.
The train had reached the bottom of the descent now, and the engineer picked up speed as he nosed the engine around the curve and headed it for the station that marked the point where the train would be ferried across the river. As we pulled into the station, the last car of the limited going in the opposite direction, was pulled off the ferry and the crew swung her around so that we could move right on.
Our train was soon broken up into sections and safely placed on the ferry. All of the other passengers in the car I was in had gone out of the car onto the deck of the ferry to enjoy the boat trip across the bay. As for me, I knew the way across that bay “backwards and blindfolded,” I pulled a magazine from my pocket and settled down to enjoy a good story.
I became so engrossed in my reading that I did not notice one of the train crew who cautiously peeped in at the far end of the car. Would that I had! I did not know it then, but it has since been told me that the man I had missed seeing was one of the strikers’ spies. After seeing that I was the only one in the car, he crept around to the read end of the car, which was right adjacent to the end of the ferry, and quickly removed the blocks that held the wheels of the car from rolling. Then he slunk away to the crowded front of the ferry boat.
Slowly, oh so slowly, the huge passenger car began moving backward towards the point where the tracks ended at the back of the boat. Inch by inch at first, and then picking up momentum, its movement made itself noticeable to me inside. The train had originally only fifteen yards to go before it would plunge over the edge of the boat, and by the time I noticed its motion, it was already half that distance and increasing its speed all the time. Oh, why did I take that seat in the very center of the car? I dashed for the door, but before I could even get half-way down the aisle, I felt the car give a lurch as the front wheels met air in place of steel tracks. Then, with a rush, the back of the car came up, throwing me off my feet and wedging me hopelessly between two seats. Then, as the car settled slowly to the bottom of the bay, I fainted. (To be continued)
Robert Rolley… Editor
Member of the National Amateur Press Association and the Oakland Amateur Press Club.
Printed by the editor at the Sign of-the-Sun Print Shop, Oakland, California.