THE COVER: Linoleum block by the editor. Cut 10 years ago forTwigsbut never used. From a photo, also by the editor, taken in Seoul, Korea, the exact location since forgotten.
Twigs is back!
Sometimes plans for the things you like to do have to be set aside. When you have a family, own a house, are active in community projects, and do job printing in the basement shop, there’s little time left for amateur journalism. There are some who can and do, and I envy them.
I’ve been, however, an interested observer of the goings on in ajay circles, more or less, for I’ve done my best to “keep in touch;” by dropping in at a convention or two, looking in on the Metchap reorganization, or yapping with an amateur or three on the phone. To those who’ve asked about another Twigs, my stock answer was, “there’s one in the works.”
I’ve lost count of the times I had a few pages of copy written for a Twigs – or said to Betty, my wife, “I want to put out a paper! Will you help me out with some copy?” She gets that look on her face like “we’ve been through this before, doll” and says, “I scratched out 5000 words ten years ago and they never got printed – now you want more?” So I quietly drop the subject.
But you can’t say I didn’t try though, for the copy she did so tirelessly put onto paper was set into type and stood in two galleys, all seven pages, for seven years – never inked.
When I got that urge for activity again my first thoughts were would it be so badly out-of-date it would be impossible to change without starting all over again? It was, in fact so old, when I looked for the original copy to try and revise it, it had disappeared. I then read what was set in type aloud into a tape recorder, and played it back, writing it down in hope that at least some of it could be used if I had something to go by. The final decision after this was to scrap it all for it was beyond repair.
Number one on the agenda, then, when the Metchaps met at the Branches that June in 1965 was to distribute seven pages of blood, sweat and tears.
There’ll be no more “promises” of another Twigs “soon,” for I’ve hopes of renewed activity. No more un-inked type thrown in to make room for more un-inked type. What more can be said except Twigs is back!
It feels good already!
Betty, Dick and Suzann, 10 months, smile prettily in this photo-engraving made in 1957 to go with the seven pages of type about which this article is written.
Handsetting and printing a 44 page plus two color cover ad book is not necessarily my cup of tea. When I volunteered to be co-chairman of the Belford Engine Company 50th Anniversary Committee in September 1965, and we began to make plans for the celebration to be held on August 13, 1966, the thought crossed my mind that this might be a good time to try my hand (and luck) at printing the book. Time was not of the essence and at the onset we figured it shouldn’t run to more than 16 or 20 pages, 1,000 copies 6×9.
Slowly but surely the pieces were fitting into place. Township and State officials had accepted invitations, and Senator Clifford P. Case (R., N. J.) and Representative James Howard (D., N.J.) both expressed a desire to attend; the ladies auxiliary was planning how to feed the 1500 or so people expected; and liquid refreshments were arranged. We even had a Miss Belford Engine to act as hostess to the winner of the Miss N. J. World contest and the two runners up who had been invited. Publicity was going out to the local papers and radio stations who had promised complete coverage.
The ads were coming in at a steady rate so I began handsetting, save a dozen or two heads set on the Ludlow at work, and printing the program two pages at a time, keeping up with them as they came in. At least I thought I was keeping up. No one bothered telling the other members about the number of pages we planned on and soon the ads were coming in thick and fast. No deadline had been set – no one thought there’d be a need for one. We thought they’d just taper off and that would be that. Not so!
With the date about a week off I found myself working every night to 12:00 or 1:00 a.m. getting four, then two pages printed before I found it impossible to go any further, feeling more fatigued as the hour grew late for I was suffering from a cold that didn’t seem to be getting any better.
On the Sunday before the event I was really feeling bad with cough and chills, so decided to visit the doctor the next day for a shot to knock it out of me. That’s when he told me the good news – the early stages of bronchial pneumonia – and with a shot of penicillin where it would do the most good, was advised to stay in bed ’till Thursday, then come back.
So with prescription in hand and thoughts of 16 pages plus cover to print by Saturday, I came home to deliver the news. Betty had been working on this Anniversary even harder than I as she was home during the day and could take care of the necessary phone calls and correspondence. We both thought there’d be no program and that all was lost.
So on the couch I got, covered up and flipped on the “boob tube.” Evidently it was the daytime TV dribble that got me going, for on Tuesday afternoon I was back to work in the print shop setting a few lines before coming upstairs for a rest. On Wednesday things were going slow and it didn’t look like we’d make it, but another look at the “idiot box” got me going again. I worked all day Wednesday, all that night, all Thursday, and went to bed Friday morning (41 hours later) at 1:00 a.m., (It might be interesting to note that the last ad for the book was turned in at 3:00 a.m. by a fireman on his way home from work.) then up at 8:00 to finish up the last two pages and inside cover. Things were now moving but still not fast enough!
With all of the inside pages out of the way, including the inside cover, I set to work on the outside cover, first with the red run to be followed with the gold for the cut. In the meantime I had taken the finished pages over to the fire house where Betty and the girls set to work folding, collating, then stacking them carefully so that they could be inserted into the covers when finished. Just as they had completed this task I arrived with the covers which they folded, then inserted the inside pages, thus completing the operation. Next to come was the stitching and trimming – and the affair was to start at 1:00 p.m. the next day.
As co-chairman my presence was required at the fire house to help set things up, make final parade preparations as to what dignitaries would ride in what convertibles, the location of the beer truck, the soda dispensers and food tables (all to be separated enough so that one line would not run into another); the fencing to protect adjoining property; the Jobsite Johnnys, for our facilities were not adequate; the plaque commemorating the occasion; etc. So over we went on Friday night to take care of some of these things, then out for a leisurely dinner with the other co-chairman to discuss any things that might have been overlooked.
When we got home that night, Betty and I went to work stitching the books together. By this time Betty was pretty tired so I sent her off to bed. I was tired, too, but got my second wind and stitched until 2:00 a.m., then decided that sleep was in order and a fresh start in the morning (Saturday) would be better. We were up at 5:00 a.m. to finish stitching, then I began trimming (three sides). My cutter is a small 14 inch table model so ten books at a time was the limit – and the dull knife didn’t help much, either.
In the meantime Betty was doing more running around, taking care of last minute problems, following my directions as fast as I could think of them.
By 11:00 a.m. the book was completed and ready for distribution, the moment we had been waiting for but never thought we’d see. It contained, at final count, 133 ads of various sizes, and 83 one line boosters, bringing in $1,352.00 for the Company. Next came a shower and shave, my nice clean uniform, and with two large boxes of programs got to the firehouse to begin last, last minute preparations.
So after many months of planning, the last month or two with nothing else the topic of conversation in our house but the Anniversary, the affair came off – and was a huge success. As near as could be estimated, 2,000 people were in and out of the firehouse during the celebration, and another 2,000 people lined the parade route to view the collection of old and new fire trucks and ambulances from all over the state, the Senators, Assemblymen, the Mayor and the Councilmen, the beauty contest winners, the brand new convertibles – and four worn out members of the committee, who, by this time, were going through the motions by force of habit.
The Belford Engine Company seal was drawn by the editor especially for the cover of the 50th Anniversary Souvenir Program, about which this article is written.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bundle
(Some Comments About This Issue)
Thirteen years may be some kind of record for elapsed time between numbers of an amateur journal. That’s how long it’s been since Twigs number 11 was published – February 1954 to be specific.
What started out to be a simple everyday amateur publication turned into somewhat of a major clean-up job in the print shop. An accumulation of jobs that hadn’t been printed in years were simply in the way. Before any copy could be set, all this type had to be thrown in.
The story about the Souvenir Program book for Belford Engine’s 50th Anniversary would, I thought, be of interest and wanted to cover as much of it as possible. We had never attempted anything of this size before, and it was quite an experience for all of us. There were four people working on the Anniversary at the time and we tried not to overlook anything. The article ran to more pages than planned, and even as the type was being set, things that had been forgotten were added when possible. And there was the type for the lead story. It was set, with all good intentions, after the Metchap meeting here in 1965, and like the article says, stood around – but not quite seven years. With a re-write of the first paragraph, drastic revision of the second, and a new finish, it’s being used to reintroduce Twigs. Before we run out of pages, let me say that I wish to acknowledge, and with thanks, the numerous amateur publications that have been received over the years, both privately and in the bundles. Although no letters of thanks were forthcoming from here, they were all read with profound interest.
Let me say, finally, while there’s room…
This is the Last Word!
It’s the last to be written, set into type and printed. Don’t read this page until after you’ve read the next two – then it will still be the last word and I won’t be a liar.
If you want to read it before pages 11 and 12, then change this to something like “…the next to last word.” Go ahead! Take a pencil, cross out the title and write it down.
Then again, if you’ve opened Twigs right to this page and read this far, you have my permission to read further and call this “…the first word.” Go ahead! Change it again!
You don’t have to write or phone. I don’t plan to reprint Twigs and put this on page 12 anyway. If I did that I’d have to write about something else that happened last, and I wouldn’t have used up this whole damn page explaining why this isn’t last.
And besides… forget it!
PLEASE NOTE: Line one, page 11 should read: “Fourteen and one-half…” You guessed it! It was written and printed a year and a half ago.
Twigs An amateur journal published occasionally by James Richard Branch, West, Belford, New Jersey 07718, who would be the first to admit that it most certainly is. Handset in 12 pt. Caslon Old Style with heads in 24 pt. Jim Crow, 18 pt. Consort Condensed, 24 pt. Flash, and who knows what all. Printed two pages up on a 10 by 15 Chandler and Price. All copy, unless stated otherwise, is by the editor.